Christian Science: What It Is and What It Is Not

 

Charles E. Jarvis, C.S., of Los Angeles, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

"Christian Science: What It Is and What It Is Not" was the subject of the lecture delivered Sunday at Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Irvington, by Charles E. Jarvis, C.S., of Los Angeles, California. Mr. Jarvis who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., was introduced by Lloyd Reich. The lecture follows in full:

 

Just one hundred years ago a school board in an Eastern state refused the use of the district school for a debate on the possibilities of railroads, on the ground that the Bible makes no specific reference to such things. Therefore, if God had intended that men should travel through space at the frightful speed of fifteen miles an hour. He surely would have indicated it in His holy word.

In 1861, a man was arrested in New York City for attempting to promote an alleged invention called the telephone by means of which it was proposed to transmit the human voice over metallic wires.

But railroads and the telephone, to say nothing of innumerable other devices, which were regarded at first as wholly revolutionary and impractical, have slowly and irresistibly compelled universal recognition and adoption because of overwhelming proof of their practical utility. Any one of these contributions to human welfare might have appeared at any earlier period, had the basic laws underlying these inventions been understood. Nevertheless, these inventions did not make their appearance until human thought had advanced to the point of receptivity, until it was prepared through the natural processes of education and evolution to overcome the skepticism and prejudice with which it has invariably greeted every new idea. It would be difficult indeed to recall a single instance where a new device or a process, however worthy, has not, at the very outset, met with some degree of opposition and resistance.

This applies with full force to the Christian Science movement. Just a little more than sixty years ago, Mary Baker Eddy, a gentle, refined New England woman, proclaimed to the world that she had discovered the divine law by means of which Jesus the Christ healed sin and sickness, and overcame death, that she had tested and successfully proved the present-day utility of this law, not only for herself but for others as well, and that she termed her discovery - Christian Science. Think you that the world greeted this announcement with joy, or that humanity rushed enthusiastically to accept or even investigate the claims of this new religion? No; many of you in this room recall the days when Christian Science was regarded as not alone heretical and unChristian, but actually dangerous, opposed to public welfare, and something to be avoided. Christian Science has won its way gradually and persistently in the face of almost inconceivable forms of opposition, misrepresentation, detraction, and defamation of both its revered Discoverer and Founder and the teachings she promulgated. Today Christian Science is regarded as something more than just another religious creed. It has survived the infallible test of Jesus - "By their fruits ye shall know them." Were it not for the healing of mind and body as the result of the operation of this law of God successfully demonstrated all these years, Christian Science might be but another sect or creed to be added to the many doctrines or denominations into which men have attempted to divide Christianity.

 

Significant Progress

But, we are witnessing today an encouraging condition in the religious world. There is a growing tendency on the part of some, at least, of the more than one hundred Protestant denominations to put aside their comparatively slight doctrinal differences and unite on the common ground of worshiping one infinite God and His Christ. In the midst of these broadening tendencies Christian Science is rapidly being recognized for what it is - a practical, demonstrable Christian religion. The right hand of fellowship and recognition is being extended to Christian Science by those denominations some of whose representatives were heretofore given to opposition and violent denunciation. Of course, this opposition was due largely to ignorance of what Christian Science really teaches, and the fact that these teachings are based wholly upon the words and works of Jesus the Christ, of the apostles and prophets, as set forth in the Bible. In many instances, we are glad to say, these same individuals have overcome their prejudices and have become not only tolerant and respectful, but often quite neighborly. It is by no means an uncommon thing today for a Christian Science lecture to be given in the church of another denomination, whereas only a few years ago such an event was practically unheard of.

When we pause to contemplate the enormous strides the world has made by way of emancipation from drudgery and privation as the result of human inventions, likewise when we consider the freedom from sickness, disease, sin, sorrow, and discouragement resulting from the successful application of God's unerring law as exemplified in the teachings of Christian Science, we begin to realize, in a small degree, how great is the good provided by God for His children. You will remember the declaration, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

 

Teachings Unique

Webster's dictionary defines Christian Science as "a system of healing disease of mind and body which teaches that all cause and effect is mental, and that sin, sickness, and death will be destroyed by a full understanding of the Divine Principle of Jesus' teaching and healing. The system was founded by Mary Baker Eddy, of Concord, New Hampshire, in 1866, and bases its teaching on the Scriptures as understood by its adherents." There, in the fewest possible words, is a comprehensive definition of the most important teaching concerning the lives and welfare of the human race that has unfolded since the days of Christ Jesus.

It is to be observed that in the definition just given there is no reference to hypnotism, mesmerism, spiritualism, theosophy, or, in short, to any of the various other beliefs which, in fact, have nothing in common with Christian Science. Please understand that Christian Science has no quarrel with or criticism of those who embrace these systems. Every individual possesses the right to think for himself. That which makes Christian Science unique in the field of metaphysics and which distinguishes it from all other Christian religions is the great fact that it teaches absolute reliance upon God alone for the healing of every form of discord, physical as well as moral and mental. Christian Science does not compromise with drugs, medicine, or material systems of healing, but accomplishes its results upon the literal acceptance of God's word as it appears in the first chapter of Genesis: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

All professing Christians will agree with the declaration of Jesus that "God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." It therefore does not require any intricate or elaborate process of analysis to reach the logical conclusion that if man is made in the image and likeness of God, man must be the reflection of God as Spirit. In other words, that which is reflected must be like that which it reflects, just as a reflection in a mirror delineates every feature and detail of the original. In like manner, as man reflects the qualities and attributes of God, Spirit, man in reality must be spiritual and not material. Certainly matter is not, cannot be, the reflection of Spirit, nor can the material body, which is said to be composed of chemical elements, be the product of anything but material theory. Therefore, in order to understand the operation of Christian Science or spiritual law in human consciousness, we must replace our faulty, erroneous, concept of God as a person or a magnified human being by a right understanding of Him as Spirit, divine Principle.

Every now and then we hear of the discovery of some lost or forgotten but almost priceless painting, a product of one of the old masters which has remained unrecognized for years because some subsequent artist being in need of a canvas, and ignorant of the value of the original, appropriated it whereon to delineate an entirely different subject. Eventually, someone familiar with originals is led to investigate the picture. As the various accumulated coats of varnish and pigment are little by little removed, the precious masterpiece gradually takes form until its original character and beauty is finally revealed.

Christian Science operates from the basis that each one of us, in our true selfhood, is an original masterpiece of God's perfect handiwork. Right where Christian Science finds us -  right where we overcome our false prejudice and reach out to God for deliverance - the restorative process begins. It makes not the slightest difference how badly, at the moment, our real self may be defaced or obscured by thick coatings of sin, disease, despair, poverty, self-pity, and the like, with all of their crude and unlovely outlines. Little by little, by means of the persistent application of what Mrs. Eddy terms "the universal solvent of Love" (Science and Health, p. 242), that which has concealed one's true selfhood disappears. The period necessary to complete the restorative process depends upon the tenacity of the obscuring errors, upon our recognition of them as spurious, and our willingness to relinquish them.

Christian Science is a revelation from God. It is an exact, demonstrable science as well as a practical, satisfying, livable religion. Christian Science is easily comprehensible to human thought, and it is applicable to every human need.

Every farmer and horticulturist is familiar with a condition of the soil known as hardpan. The soil itself is fertile and productive, but has lain fallow so long and has become so packed and hardened that neither roots nor moisture can penetrate it. To overcome this condition dynamite is used because the force of exploding dynamite is general in its direction and even a small charge will shatter the ground over a considerable area. When the ground is thus transformed into a state of receptivity, air, water, and tiny roots easily find their way, and growth and productiveness follow. There are states of thought which have seemingly become so set or hardened through the indulgence of long-cherished, tenacious beliefs of self-will, self-righteousness, self- justification, false theology, outworn dogmas and theories which might well be regarded as a sort of mental hardpan. But when Truth is properly and intelligently applied, there is a tremendous breaking up of these old superstitions. Truth operates in every direction and nothing can withstand its irresistible power of penetration. Once a state of receptivity is established, divine Love will transform and illuminate one's entire existence.

Christian Science is not a so-called class religion. On the contrary, its universality is self-evident from the fact that it numbers within its ranks of healed and redeemed people, those from every walk of human endeavor. It includes the scholar and the philosopher, as well as those deprived of earlier educational advantages and those of foreign tongues, some of whom have mastered the English language so that they might acquire for themselves a comprehensive demonstrable understanding of the subject.

There is no discordant human condition, however severe, from which one cannot be delivered by the power of God. To assume that Christian Science may be all right for another, but not for ourselves or that Christian Science may relieve or even heal mental or nervous disorders, but is inadequate to heal organic or physical disease, is to close one's eyes deliberately to incontrovertible proof to the contrary. To assume such a position, is to doubt the ability of Almighty God to govern and control His own creation.

There are few places in the world today where the healing results of Christian Science are not easily available for personal verification if one entertains any doubt on this point. One may attend a Wednesday evening meeting in any Christian Science church and listen to the testimonials of those whose lives have been regenerated, physically, mentally, morally, by means of Christian Science treatment, or he may read of these healings in one of the authorized Christian Science periodicals.

These published testimonials are not solicited, but are voluntarily submitted by the individual out of gratitude for his own healing and in the hope that his experience may help others. These statements are duly attested by those familiar with the circumstances; they are held for a reasonable time, then verified again before publication, so that such evidence can be accepted with full assurance as to its genuineness.

 

Method Described

Quite naturally, some of you may ask, But what has actually taken place with these people? Just how, for instance, was the physical healing accomplished? What was the modus operandi, if you please. It is upon this point that there has arisen, in times past, more or less doubt and speculation, because the practice of Christian Science does not involve the laying on of hands or bodily manipulation, nor does it employ the application of any medicine, drug, or nostrum, externally or internally. Christian Science deals wholly and exclusively with thought. Mrs. Eddy tells us in one of her books, "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 34), "The mortal body being but the objective state of the mortal mind, this mind must be renovated to improve the body."

Christian Science treatment is prayer, which is based upon the premise that God is the sole creator of all things, and that man is created by God, in His image and likeness. Therefore a right understanding or the right idea about God and man, and of man's relationship to God, is primarily essential to an apprehension of Christian Science treatment and its results. Prayer is normally a part of the daily life of every consistent Christian. It is the means through which the human communicates with the divine. Too often have we sought material things through prayer, forgetting the admonition of Jesus, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Jesus left for all time a sublime example of the results of true prayer, and he gave us that remarkable prayer which meets every human need and which begins, "Our Father which art in heaven." Christian Scientists are striving to gain a more demonstrable understanding of that effective, fervent prayer which Jesus assures us availeth much. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy the author devotes an entire chapter to the subject of prayer, which is not only accepted by Christian Scientists but is conceded by many great thinkers to be one of the most remarkable treatises on prayer ever written. In demonstrating the teachings set forth in this chapter, Christian Scientists are learning that to the extent we are constantly thinking the truth, we are obeying Jesus' command to pray without ceasing.

Mankind has been dependent for so long upon drugs and material remedies for physical relief, without the slightest realization that a proper understanding of God had any bearing upon the problems of our daily existence, that the idea of spiritual causation may seem revolutionary, even at this late date. Let me assure you, my friends, that these statements are not bald, empty abstractions. They are not transcendental. They are concrete facts, supported by too many cases of those whose entire outlook has been revolutionized, whose lives of seemingly hopeless invalidism, sin, and degradation have been transformed, healed, beautified, and ennobled by reason of this very process.

 

God

Instead of regarding God as a remote, indefinable, mysterious power, we are learning to know Him as a God of love, as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent good. As one writer has so beautifully expressed it, "Nearer is He than breathing, closer than hands or feet." A finite, human sense of God, as a changing and changeable Deity, is being reversed. The false concept is being replaced by an understanding of God as Principle, as infinite, immanent, immutable Mind, or intelligence. Instead of trying to influence God to conform His way to ours, instead of outlining in a more or less arbitrary way just how our plans should eventuate, Christian Scientists are learning to subordinate human will and selfish desires to the will of God. To the extent that the individual will put aside self and in humility look to God for help, knowing that "he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth," that individual can rest assured that his seeming problem, whatever its nature, will be solved in a manner and to an extent far transcending his fondest hopes or expectations.

One of the most frequently encountered although seldom recognized obstacles to human progress is a limited sense, or lack of expectancy. How often have we heard expressed a desire to undertake some worthy or perfectly legitimate undertaking, accompanied in the same breath by fear of failure. Or having striven for and finally achieved something really commendable, we are so apt to doubt its continuance with a "too good to be true" or "too good to last" reservation. All that is real and good is of God. Therefore all good is permanent and indestructible. How important then it becomes to maintain resolutely an attitude of constant expectancy. Jesus was so positively convinced that his prayers would be answered, that he often gave thanks to God in anticipation of their fulfillment. There was no fear or doubt in Jesus' thought when he stood before the tomb of Lazarus and said: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth;" and Lazarus came forth and resumed his usual activities. Jesus assured us that we must expect all good. "If ye have faith, and doubt not, . . . if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Jesus knew better than any man who ever walked the earth that God is expressed or manifested in accordance with law. Jesus' sense of expectancy was therefore unlimited, boundless. Since Mrs. Eddy's discovery that this divine law is available to meet present-day needs, every manner of discord has been healed as a result of the intelligent application of this law. Then, may I ask, have we not a perfect right to expect that every discordant condition in our human experience will be harmoniously adjusted in consonance with this law?

 

Mental Nature of All Things

How exceedingly important it becomes, then, for us to keep before our thought at all times the spiritual fact of man as the perfect image and likeness of God, just as the artist or sculptor constantly turns to his model in order to accurately delineate the subject on canvas or in stone!

It will greatly facilitate this process if we will but realize, as I said before, the mental nature of all things - that all is the manifestation of thought. Everything we see about us, all that is cognized by the physical senses, is primarily the manifestation or expression of thought. For instance, we regard the giant dirigibles, great ocean liners, monumental office buildings, and the like as purely physical achievements, but at the same time we are apt to forget that all of these objects are really the expression of thought. Whether it be a locomotive, an airplane, or a tiny watch, it was first envisioned in the thought of its originator.

Then, in order to convey intelligently the idea to others, every detail as to material form and arrangement is carefully set forth by means of drawings and specifications. These in turn must be accurately followed in every particular in order that the perfect objective may finally appear.

Christian Scientists are striving to maintain continually in consciousness the right idea, the perfect model of man as the spiritual image and likeness of God, knowing that as this is done, there will inevitably follow improved manifestations of right thinking as evidenced by more harmonious conditions of body, home, family, business, and so on. To this end, we are following, to the highest of our understanding, the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and the other writings of our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy. These books set forth in minute detail the rules and methods whereby one may attain a complete understanding of the Science of Christianity. Moreover, these books constitute the complete detailed specifications, as well as the working plans for this greatest of all undertakings - the redemption of mankind from its false beliefs. Every emergency and contingency is anticipated and the remedy provided.

 

Reciprocity Essential

Now I would not have you conclude, however, from anything I have said that Christian Science will do all these things for you without a conscientious effort on your part. Christian Science is not a subject we can hope to master in a practical degree by occasional resort to its ministrations. Nor is there any vicarious atonement provided for in the teachings of Christian Science. We cannot work out our salvation by proxy nor can one carry another into the kingdom through his thinking. Each individual must sooner or later face his problems squarely for himself. No one can do another's thinking.

Christian Science is a religion of individual thinking or mental effort, individual activity, individual responsibility. It rests, then, with each individual to determine for himself the extent to which he expects to benefit by the blessings of obedience to a divine decree or demand. These blessings consist in part of a growing love for God and our fellow man, a better understanding of God and of man's eternal oneness with Him; which is followed by the gradual unfoldment of man's God-bestowed capacity, efficiency, and ability to achieve. At the same time, the blighting influences of fear, worry, hatred, resentment, and the like gradually disappear, to be replaced by a peace and tranquility which passeth understanding. Then, it follows that our so-called bodily discords will be found to have disappeared into their native nothingness.

At this point one might naturally ask: If Christian Science accomplishes all this, why is it not more universally accepted? Why is it that humanity is so slow in adopting that which promises so much by way of salvation? It is because of the extent to which we as a race have become so submerged in materiality, to our reluctance to abandon these old dogmas, superstitions, and false systems, and to the obstacles or besetments, which confront one when contemplating a new and progressive step. A little more than sixty years ago Mary Baker Eddy made her startling discovery, which may be summed up in what is known as "the scientific statement of being" (Science and Health, p. 468): "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual." It is upon the basis of an intelligent application of this statement that Christian Scientists are overcoming the obstacles encountered along the way.

 

Obstacles to Be Overcome

First and foremost in the line of obstructions or obstacles in one's pathway to freedom stands fear. From the very beginning of one's existence he is confronted, surrounded, and unconsciously predominated by this vicious belief, until one wonders how he has survived at all. Did you ever stop to consider the extent to which one's daily experience has been affected by this evil influence? We have been afraid of the air we breathe, afraid of our food, of the weather; in fact we would be amazed if we were to be confronted by a catalogue of the various forms assumed by fear and which have consciously or unconsciously governed or influenced every moment of our existence. Fear, ignorance, and false belief are the destructive influences responsible for war, epidemics, financial panics, accidents, and even death itself. Such dire catastrophes are unknown to God and have no place in the kingdom of heaven. As a matter of fact, it is nothing short of blasphemy to impute to a beneficent God the calamities and discords of human existence, all of which can be traced to this false sense of fear. When, however, in the face of some impending disaster we understandingly invoke the law of God and thereby accomplish our complete deliverance from the evil which threatened us, we simultaneously prove   the utter nothingness of the evil, as well as our fear of it.

Another outrageous imposition on humanity, another obstacle to be overcome, is the belief- in a so-called false law of heredity. Incidentally this is a self-imposed form of bondage, though unwittingly so, for according to the Bible the children who obey divine law do not suffer for the sins of their parents. In spite of this assurance, humanity has continued to be deceived by this grim specter until whole families have suffered unspeakably by reason of the fear that they were helplessly and irresistibly doomed because of the diseases or sins of their forefathers. If Christian Science had nothing more to its credit than the annulment and utter demolition of the claims of this spurious so-called law, Mrs. Eddy's teaching would be more than justified. God did not impose any law of material heredity upon us, nor does He know aught of it. Christian Science teaches that we can free ourselves and others from the blighting influence of this miserable belief in heredity transmission by knowing that as man is free-born of Spirit, he is subject alone to the laws of Spirit, God, and therefore inherits only health and perfection from his heavenly Father. Therefore there is nothing to prevent each one of us from working out his complete salvation.

Another spurious law is that of limited opportunity. Those outworn fallacies that opportunity knocks but once at every man's door, and the false statement that "opportunities lost can never be regained" no longer have any force, for it is constantly being proved that man actually exists at the standpoint of unlimited and perpetual opportunity.  To believe otherwise is to close the door to new and broader opportunities for greater usefulness and freedom than one has ever enjoyed. Do not be afraid to accept that which God has in store for you, for remember the promise of Jesus, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are so apt to outline some course of human action, and if it fails to result according to these plans, we are disappointed. Do not allow yourself to be deluded by the false, mesmeric belief that your opportunity has gone by. As one more and more learns to depend upon God for occupation and supply, he discovers that new and undreamed of opportunities constantly unfold to him, and this knowledge of itself is cause for rejoicing. If we are fearful of losing our position, or have become temporarily mesmerized into believing that we are limited to or dependent upon some one person alone for our supply, it were well to remember under such circumstances that in reality we are dependent upon God for all things, and He has nothing but unlimited good in store for all of us. In his parable Jesus represented the Father as saying: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." We are so prone to limit ourselves by clinging to positions really outgrown, that we are apt to become like a little girl whom I once knew. This little girl was obliged to spend much of her time in bed. She often amused herself by playing on a toy zither. One day a friend, knowing of her circumstances, brought her a regular full-sized zither. Instead of rejoicing at the gift, the child shrank from it, clinging to her toy for fear it would be taken from her. The visitor quickly discerned the situation and departed leaving the larger instrument on the bed. Some hours later, the little one reached over and timidly touched a string. Amazed at the beautiful rich tone of its vibrations, she was encouraged to repeat her experiment. She soon recognized the superiority of the larger instrument and wondered how she could have clung so long to her small and inadequate toy.

 

Law

Webster's dictionary gives us as one of the definitions of law: "Rules . . . made obligatory by some sanction which is enforced for their violation by a controlling authority." In taking up the study of mathematics, for instance, we learn at the very outset that this science is based upon fixed laws, and that the slightest departure or deviation from these laws inevitably results in discord. When we have undertaken the solution of a mathematical problem but fail to obtain the correct result, we know that the law itself is not at fault but our application thereof has been wrong. Then we are obliged to retrace our steps until we uncover and correct the error which has caused the trouble.

Once victorious, we are encouraged by our success to approach the next and more difficult problem with a confidence born of our previous experience.

It is obvious to every thinking individual that we live in a universe governed according to law. The daily revolutions of the earth on its axis, the successive changes of the moon and the rotation of the planets, are familiar examples of the operation of this law. The existence of this and similar laws has been established by physical scientists as the result of their search for the causes back of all physical phenomena.

In like manner Mrs. Eddy discovered, as a part of her divine revelation, that there is a law of God applicable to every human condition, and that this spiritual law when understood and properly applied, can be successfully demonstrated. This law governs man and the universe. This law, of which God alone is the author, is supreme, imperative, absolute, and eternal. The orderly, irresistible, immutable operation of this law cannot be interfered with, cut off, reversed, or set aside by evil of any name or nature. Man lives, moves, and has his being in consonance with this law, and there are no circumstances or conditions which are not amenable to this universal law of Spirit, God, by means of which one can accomplish one's complete deliverance from evil.

 

Counterfeit Beliefs

One of the most insidious and persistent obstacles with which we have to contend, is that of false law - that which presents itself under the plausible guise of law, but which upon careful analysis is found to be nothing more than a tradition or some form of counterfeit belief, which has been universally tolerated or entertained so long, it has come to be generally accepted as law. In this category there are such false beliefs as fear, heredity, lost opportunity, limited expectancy, and the like, which are, after all, not laws at all, for they are being constantly and completely rendered null and void by the law of God. These so-called laws become, then, mere superstitions or delusions, which have no more power over us than the effect of a nightmare or dream from which we are awakened by the voice of Truth. Whereupon the tendencies to envy, jealousy, fear, and hatred cease to be manifested, as overwhelming streams of love spring into activity, and we become conscious of our existence and of our inalienable birthright as children of God. The unfoldment of divine law or the inspiration of the right idea is the consuming fire which destroys the dross of false belief.

When the right idea unfolds in individual consciousness, it transforms, enriches, ennobles one's entire nature. This right idea about all things is God with us, Christ with us. Love with us. It means health, happiness, holiness with us, and it gradually permeates one's entire surroundings, home, office, environment, business.

In order for the right idea, the truth about all things, to be established in consciousness, we must first divest thought of its false material beliefs. We must be willing to relinquish long-cherished convictions to which we have clung so persistently in spite of repeated failures and disappointments.

Did you ever go up to an old attic used for years as a storeroom and start there to clean house? Do you recall how difficult it was to discard certain things, although they had long since served their purpose and were of no further use to anyone? It is a wholesome thing for each of us frequently to undergo a thorough mental housecleaning, to go deeply and conscientiously into our own thought to see if we have not been entertaining about ourselves or others some false, unloving beliefs which are not entitled to room in our mental household and when discovered, should be promptly and completely destroyed. Before knowing anything of Christian Science I had always depended upon and was a liberal user of medicine in many forms. Immediately following my first healing under Christian Science treatment I threw away everything in the form of proprietary or patent medicines, but I carefully retained a few of the so-called simple household remedies, placing them in a little cabinet in my workshop. A few weeks later I was cleaning house in this workshop, and upon opening this cabinet and discovering those bottles, I laughed aloud at my former skepticism, and promptly destroyed the bottles and their contents. From that day to this, some twenty-five years, materia medica has not been used in our home, but we have relied solely upon God, and He has never failed us.

And here let me say that Christian Scientists respect the medical profession in its conscientious efforts to relieve suffering humanity. Surely no higher incentive could actuate anyone, but it is to be remembered that our medical friends are dealing with matter and material effects, while Christian Science deals with mental causation alone, and we are convinced after our experience with both systems that we are following the better way, that taught and demonstrated by Christ Jesus.

 

Discoverer and Founder

Christian Scientists worship one infinite God and Him alone. They do not worship Mrs. Eddy, but they entertain for her a profound reverence, and a deep, abiding sense of loving gratitude for her sublime achievements. Her own healing from a condition so severe that it threatened to end her earthly existence, led her to turn further and unreservedly to God in her intensive search for the definite rule which she felt existed, and which could be applied and proved by all mankind. She was convinced that God alone had been responsible for her own recovery and in the light of that experience she was inspired by a holy purpose to share her discovery with the world.

With her gaze steadfastly turned to God, she withdrew from society, and for three years devoted her entire time and effort to searching the Scriptures. Finally, God rewarded her diligence by revealing to her the truths she has set forth in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is the textbook of Christian Science. No other book, except the Bible itself, has brought such a message to humanity. The study of this textbook and the application of the truths set forth therein have brought health to the sick and diseased, renewed courage to the despondent and discouraged, freedom from pernicious habits, comfort to those who mourn, and, above all, a practical, livable religion which meets every human need. Having demonstrated beyond question the existence of a definite rule or law of healing, Mrs. Eddy's intense nature and indomitable courage impelled her irresistibly to go forward in the face of every form of opposition which human ingenuity could devise. Mrs. Eddy retired from the world and its allurements and consecrated her every effort to building up the movement she had founded.

Today, as in times past, there are those who say that they would gladly accept the teachings of Christian Science, but they cannot accept Mrs. Eddy. The revelation and the revelator are inseparable and it would be quite as logical for one to attempt a similar separation between Christianity and Christ Jesus.

At no time following her great discovery was Mrs. Eddy's life inconsistent with her teachings.  She proved for herself every step of the way as the movement unfolded, a movement which stands and will continue to stand throughout all time as a magnificent and ever expanding testimonial to the heroic but successful efforts of one brave, pure-minded Christian woman. No one else can do her work or ever take her place; so my friends, Christian Scientists are not to be regarded as narrow-minded, inconsistent, or fanatical when they hold in deepest reverence and with profound gratitude the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science movement, and some day mankind will recognize her as one of its greatest benefactors.

 

Conclusion

To those of you who may be struggling with the delusions of discouragement; who feel that God's goodness may be for others but not for you, or that it is too late to undertake the study of Christian Science and thereby accomplish your own deliverance, let me say to you that every one of you is at this very moment right at the threshold of the greatest opportunity ever presented to you - the opportunity of accepting and proving for yourself that "God is no respecter of persons."

You as a perfect child of the infinitely good God are not doomed to irresistible failure because of any past experience or because of any spurious law of lost opportunity or of any counterfeit law of heredity, fatalism, foreordination, or predestination. You are subject and amenable alone to the only law there is, the law of God, which insures your complete and permanent freedom and it also insures success to every righteous, persistent effort in your existence.

Do not despair. It is never too late to begin. There are no hopeless cases in Christian Science. It is said that in semi-arid countries there are dormant seeds so far below the surface that it is only at rare intervals that sufficient rain falls to penetrate the ground to such a depth. But when moisture finally reaches these tiny seeds, they immediately become active, push upwards to the sunshine and soon the desert is carpeted with beautiful flowers, where previously only barren sands have been. There are no so-called chronic conditions of false belief, manifested as mental or physical discord, so deeply imbedded in human consciousness that they cannot be reached and transformed by divine Love.

Christian Scientists are not only convinced that they have found the "pearl of great price," but they yearn to share this treasure with others.

In the name of a redeemed people who have been healed of disease, emancipated from sin and false appetite, released from the clutches of poverty and other conditions of unspeakable misery, we joyously proclaim to you that you do not have to wait until some period in the infinite future for freedom, but the day of salvation is here and now. In the words of a familiar hymn (Hymnal, P. 12):

 

Why search the future and the past?

Why do ye look with tearful eyes,

And seek, far off, for Paradise?

Beneath thy feet, Life's pearl is cast.

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, May 1, 1931.]

 

 

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