Christian Science: The Road to Salvation
Violet Ker-Seymer, C.S., of London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Many have consulted various philosophies, ancient and modern, with a view to finding out the status of being and the purpose of existence, but have found that this intellectual search has left them none the wiser, for the human intellect does not pierce the veil of the physical senses. Humanity's highest yearnings can be satisfied only at the fount of Spirit, and through spiritual sense. Christian Science is a revelation. It brings into view the real man, God's image, who is forever healthful and active, pure, carefree, and joyous.
Until mortals awaken to the guidance of God, divine Mind, they wander in the mazes of mortal thought, encountering constant obstacles to health, progress, and happiness. Many years ago I visited a maze in the grounds of a royal palace. As I recall it, the maze consisted of high dense hedges, puzzling pathways, walls, and here and there a gap through which visitors passed hopefully. At every turn, however, they faced still another wall, and penetrated more deeply into the maze until the guide, from his elevated post, showed them the way out.
Many of us feel puzzled, discouraged, and rebellious because of the plight in which we find ourselves, apparently through no fault of our own. Invalidism confronts one; sorrow another; bankruptcy another. The daily grind; the whirlpool of pleasure; aimless monotony; domestic tragedy; these are some of the blank walls with which humanity seems to be faced. In their efforts to escape from their mental unrest, mortals take up first one thing, then the opposite thing; hopeful at first, later on disillusioned. Finally, they conclude that death alone can solve the riddle of existence. But no one ever finds the way to heaven through following the line of least resistance.
Christian Science is tenderly leading humanity out of its troubles. Through spiritual enlightenment, it lifts us above this mist of confusion; it clears our vision, and plants our feet on the straight, open road of salvation. This road is the mental road of true thinking, true living, and true loving. It is the way of Life, Truth, and Love which Christ Jesus exemplified. Christian Science divests us of pride, and clothes us with spiritual humility. This humility is a great pathfinder, leading out of the limitations of mortal beliefs, into boundless spiritual freedom. So, for this hour, you are invited to consider certain spiritual facts, which are of vital importance to your progress and to your happiness. First of all, you will want to know the foundation upon which Christian Science rests.
The Omnipotence of Good
In the first book of the Bible it is stated that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," and the last book of the Bible declares that "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Christian Science teaches that, since divine Principle cannot fall and cannot fail, the individual who discerns and obeys this divine Principle proves, in ever-increasing measure, his dominion over all discord, here and now.
Let us now examine some of the problems which confront humanity. It may be said that the majority of people take up the study of Christian Science when they are in despair about their health. In restoring health to the sick, Christian Science stands unswervingly by the fact that God, the sole creator, created neither sin nor sickness, nor so-called laws of disease; nor did He create drugs or provide for surgery; because the need of them has never arisen in the one perfect creation. Spirit alone has the power to heal the ills of mortal mind and body. Sick mortals, however, ignoring their spiritual needs, look to material means for their health; they sink their faith in medicine, powders, ointments, which have to be swallowed, rubbed in, or inhaled. The sick body is subjected to chemical baths; to massage; electrical batteries; ultra-violet rays; poisonous germs are injected; and a veritable civil war rages in the poor physical body! All this materialism is surely degrading to the individual, because he can be lifted out of his suffering only through his higher nature, not through his corporeal senses. In Christian Science faith is divorced from matter and rests completely in God, Spirit, and His perfect spiritual laws. True health cannot be discerned through making a study of disease and all its distressing symptoms, for it is the mind of mortals which must be healed before the sick body can be restored to health. Material ways and means fail to bring about the needed mental regeneration. We know too much about mortals, and too little about spiritual man, our real selfhood. When their earnest study, compassions, and unselfish labors are diverted from material to spiritual research, physicians will rejoice in a far richer harvest of healing, and will fathom the secret of abiding health.
What was it Christ Jesus knew that enabled him to heal sickness, to restore sight and hearing, to cleanse sinners, and to raise the dead? And where did he seek his knowledge? Not in books depicting disease; not in physical charts, but in divine Mind, God; through prayer; through spiritual communion; and by his study of the older Scriptures. The Bible and the Christian Science textbook are unfolding to humanity God's spiritual laws of health and holiness; joy and freedom. There is, in reality, no such thing as a law of disease. Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 268), "God's preparations for the sick are potions of His own qualities." Justice, wisdom, mercy, peace, purity, these, and many other qualities, are the constituents of abiding health.
A disturbed mental condition leads to physical disturbances. A specialist was once called to the bedside of a patient, who was suffering from an acute disease. The specialist courteously inquired whether the sick man had had occasion to be very much annoyed or extremely disturbed by any occurrence recently. The sufferer frankly owned that at a recent board meeting of a large and important company, which he attended as chairman, everything had gone contrary to his wishes, and he had completely lost his temper. The specialist attributed the outbreak of disease to this outbreak of anger, which poisoned the system.
Some people imagine that hypnotism and Christian Science are identical, whereas they are radical opposites, and for this reason the hypnotist and his subjects are merely tools of the human mind; and it must surely be obvious to everyone that the human mind holds no remedy for its inherent imperfections. Darkness cannot beget light: a dark room cannot make itself light. So, the mortal discords of fear, sickness, and pain can be healed neither by hypnosis, auto-suggestion, nor by probing into what are termed subconscious impressions. Indeed, in the long run, hypnotism and psycho-analysis often increase the suffering of mortals, for mortal mind cannot heal the discord which these methods expose. "Then how," you ask, "does a Christian Scientist heal the sick? Does he claim to be perfect?" Far from it; but he unhesitatingly claims perfection for divine Mind, God, and for the man of God's creating. Infinite Mind, God, is faultless, fearless, painless, sinless, deathless; this Mind imparts purity, health, joy, immortality; and, moreover, supplies them impartially to all. Hence this Mind, the "mind . . . which was also in Christ Jesus," is the sole healer of evil in all its phases. From this one infinite Mind, God, emanates the entire authority of Christian Science. It banishes discord by bringing to light man's heritage as the son of God.
What does man's divine inheritance include, and what does it exclude? It excludes fear, pain, selfishness, intemperance, jealousy, resentment, sorrow. It includes health, unselfed love, peace, purity, true comfort: it includes righteousness. Only through spiritual understanding can mortals rise above the mist of ignorance. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 390), "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony."
Many individuals find it hard to resist temptation, but the light of Christian Science penetrates and purifies every would-be hiding place of sin. It does not spread over mortals a veneer of hypocrisy, crying, "Peace, peace; where there is no peace." It equips the student with understanding so that he may definitely prove that "righteousness and peace have kissed each other." As mortals repudiate all belief in a carnal mind, and reflect the one Mind, God, temptation flees, and they rejoice in spiritual freedom, "for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Temptation is a belief in the absence of God, good. But God, good, is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient; so the one who clings to this scientific fact cannot be overcome by any temptation, nor by any fear. The following case of healing proves the truth of the Psalmist's statement, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." At a Christian Science testimony meeting, a speaker related that she had been healed of many physical ailments through Christian Science, but that she continued for a long time to wear glasses for defective eyesight. One day, however, while she was studying an article by Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings," a certain sentence arrested her attention, and her eyes were suddenly opened to the fact that indignation is always unrighteous. Owing to certain circumstances, she had for years been harboring what is often misnamed "righteous indignation." Directly she saw her mistake, repentance filled her heart. As this spiritual illumination came to her, and with it a great sense of love and forgiveness, the print of the page before her appeared to become illegible. This was puzzling, for was not the print identically the same as a moment before? She took off her glasses, polished and replaced them; attempted to read, and repeated this process several times, but without success. Greatly wondering, she then looked at the page without her glasses, and was amazed to find that the print stood out distinctly, and that she could read it with perfect ease. From that moment she laid aside her glasses and her eyesight was normal. She concluded her testimony by saying, "I advise everyone here to cease calling his sins by fancy names!" Through Christian Science evil is brought out of its hiding place and it is blotted out by the light of Truth. Of course, a clearer spiritual sense with resulting physical healing might come to another as other phases of error were overcome.
How long after the light of Truth has exposed some fault should we allow that ignorant belief to remain in our consciousness? Not one hour, for divine Mind contains the very quality which can immediately blot out the specific error that is deluding us. As love and patience are reflected, so the belief in their opposites fades out. Then let us not procrastinate in our advance. A well-known novelist describes one of his characters as a man who fails to carry out any of his good intentions. "I have been meanwhiling all my life," the man says. He means to accomplish great things some day, but "meanwhile" he is idling away the years, and is allowing golden opportunities to slip past him. Why linger in the valley of suffering and limitation when the mental way is made so clear by Christian Science? Why should a single life seem empty, dark, or forlorn? The "meanwhile" arguments include : conservative views; superstition; moral cowardice; imaginary pleasures; downright laziness; faith in matter; force of habit; resignation. In other words, troubles are not experienced owing to circumstances, but owing to one's own mental condition. Sooner or later, each one must be roused out of his mental slumber; so why leave unclaimed our wonderful spiritual legacy?
Are we, any of us, loitering in the ranks of the "meanwhilers"? Then we can at once step honestly out into the ranks of "doers," and learn to prove that man in God's image is alert, obedient, actively expressing the power of good and the beauty of holiness. Every one of us has his glorious work to do, and no one else can do it for us.
The upward way is the only way. Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 19): "We go into or we go out of materialism or sin, and choose our course and its results. Which, then, shall be our choice, — the sinful, material, and perishable, or the spiritual, joy-giving, and eternal?" Christian Science declares that there is but one real gravitation or attraction: the supreme attraction of God, infinite good. All that is good is absolutely satisfying to one's higher nature, and God has endowed His likeness with no lower nature. Of the true, spiritual man, God's image, which is your real selfhood, St. John writes, "He cannot sin, because he is born of God." From this spiritual basis it will be seen that man, conceived of divine Love, Spirit, cannot be either material, sick, or sorrowful; he cannot be poor, he cannot be unloving or unloved, and he cannot die because he co-exists with God, who is immortal.
As you constantly realize man's pure and perfect spiritual origin, you will experience, in your own daily life, evidences of your spiritual sonship, and you will cry, "Abba, Father." You will know that, as God's reflection, your every desire is inspired, directed, controlled, and fulfilled by divine Principle, Love. You will know that your hourly purpose in life is to express the abundance of health, loving-kindness, prosperity, and joy which God is impartially bestowing upon every idea in creation. You will know that because divine Love, the perfect cause, enfolds you, no harm can come to you so long as you abide, in loving obedience, under the shadow of His wings, reflecting good. For this reason, no intruding disease can trouble the serene activity of God's child, for it is not Love's purpose for its beloved reflection. You are on the highway of salvation. "Cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard tor the people." Let Christian Science gather out of your thinking all that is unyielding or disobedient. Let it remove any stumbling-block from your mental pathway as you bear onward the standard of divine Principle, so this Principle will guide and guard you on your upward way.
To Christ Jesus, the Exemplar, the only road was the road to salvation; he followed no side lines. All along the upward pathway Jesus replaced the mortal beliefs of sickness, sin, mourning, death, with health, joy, holiness, and life. At the age of twelve, his spiritual vision already soared above the realm of mere intellect, and he confounded the wise men in the Temple with questions they could not answer, and with answers they could not question. The invincible power of Christ, Truth, illumined the consciousness of Jesus, and he responded to every behest of divine Love: his self-immolation was complete. We picture him moving among the sick multitudes that thronged him, and teaching the Pharisees who taunted him. In the evening, he sought the quiet hillside, in order that he might find fresh inspiration, courage, and power through communion with the great Father-Mother of the universe. Infinite Mind and inexhaustible Love know no exhaustion, no staleness, no reaction; and the faithful watcher is recuperated. Jesus no doubt loved the Psalmist's statement, "I shall be anointed with fresh oil," which, according to Mrs. Eddy's definition of oil in the Christian Science textbook means ever-renewed "consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration" (Science and Health, p. 592). Yet when in wondrous communion with infinite Spirit, Jesus beheld his beloved disciples battling with the storm and toiling at the oars, he reflected the spontaneity of divine Love by moving rapidly across the waves to their rescue, unmindful of matter, time, space, or his own needs: mindful only of infinite, ministering love and compassion. With the serene vision of God's perfect creation always before him, he could stretch out his hands to the troubled, human multitudes and draw them into the peace and safety of spiritual consciousness. God creates and maintains His own reflection, spiritual man, immune from temptation, and invulnerable to sin, disease, and death.
How may we begin to prove this great fact? How may we advance unhindered, and undelayed by self-deception? We can accomplish this through refuting every argument that seeks to associate one with evil. Every mortal, let it be remembered, dwells in the atmosphere of his own thinking; that is his world; and in order to improve his circumstances, he must first improve his thoughts. "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house," writes the Psalmist. Metaphysically, our house is our consciousness; our mode of thinking. How much of our thinking is absolutely true to God and to His perfect image? How much of it is false, or confused, or vague? How may we escape from the maze? How can we distinguish falsehood from fact? By realizing that there is but one infinite Mind, God, and that man is the pure reflection of this one Mind. Let us accept only the thoughts and desires that God sends to His image: let us accept only the angels of His presence. "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" There are no sick, sinful, anxious, nor sorrowful thoughts in divine Mind, nor in man, God's own image. This is the basis from which to discard the counterfeit beliefs, the dross of error.
A friend of mine, who was associated with a big railway company, told me that at stated intervals the company engaged an expert to sort out all false money which had found its way into the coffers; and this false coinage was then withdrawn from circulation. In this overturning much had to be discarded. What do mortals purchase when they entertain, and circulate, false beliefs, counterfeits of Truth? Only sickness, sin, and various discords. Then shall not we, God's witnesses, reflectors of divine Mind, take hourly stock of our thoughts and our motives? Shall we not refuse to accept, circulate, and report false beliefs, descriptions of accidents, fears, sensational experiences? How shall we begin the cleansing, sifting process? Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 88): "How are veritable ideas to be distinguished from illusions? By learning the origin of each." Have fear, hate, pain, envy, sorrow any origin, or any hiding place in God, good? Are they intelligent? No. Do they ring true? Are they valuable? No. Do they connect us with our real spiritual being? No: they seem to separate us from God, and from each other; they sow the seeds of error. Then why do we allow these impostors to lodge in our consciousness? Through apathy and dishonesty. Are we ready to stand before divine Principle and have our thoughts laid before us at any and every moment? If there is something which we are inclined to hide away either through pride, apathy, or dishonesty, that something stands between us and our demonstration of immortality, for only the ideas of divine Mind are immortal.
Then, when we are tempted, frightened, confused, let us ask ourselves this scientific question: Does this discord originate in divine Mind, God? Is it His state of Mind? No. Then is it my state of mind, as God's witness? No. Then it is a worthless counterfeit, a false coin. The entertaining of resentment, fear, jealousy, anxiety will only purchase trouble for you. So, when these counterfeits attempt to deceive you, God's witness, refuse them admission, promptly and persistently. Refuse to circulate lies. Do not allow them to dim your constant vision of spiritual perfection and your demonstration of harmony. If you had inadvertently accepted a false dollar bill, would you pass it on to an unsuspecting neighbor? No. Then, if someone has poured out to you some tragic tale, at least you should resist the mortal tendency to snatch up your pen and give a long account of it to a friend. You should not fly to the telephone and excitedly tell someone all about it, winding up with the exclamation, "Isn't that tragic! Isn't that terrible!" Do not be the devil's advertising agent! Let us share only what is cheering and uplifting, always gravitating Godward, always prompt and loving in helping each other over the rough places. Let us exchange criticism and condemnation for love and compassion. Condemnation never healed anyone; in fact, arrogant, personal condemnation, being devoid of truth, wounds without healing; whereas wisdom, and the reflection of divine Love, heals without wounding. A modern poet writes:
A clear pane,
A clean pane,
Is what I would be —
Unconcerned with temperament and personality;
I would have Love shine through me, so
that my friends would say
Not: "What a lovely pane of glass!"
But: "What a lovely day!"
(By Kathryn Collins)
The advancing student of Christian Science is learning to turn his gaze from mortal imperfections to spiritual perfection. He is learning how to be at peace with God, with his own true selfhood, and how to become a peacemaker among men. He is learning how to drop all for the spiritual ideal. Christian Science is without question the greatest peace-making influence on earth today, for it is exposing and destroying the hidden evil beliefs which, like treacherous explosives, undermine the peace of nations. Christian Science teaches that God is the only real Mind and that the only real power is the power of God, good. It regards evil as the one common enemy and overcomes it with Truth, Christ. Christian Science is equipping its students with the weapons of Spirit, through which alone material weapons can be laid down; it is casting out the belief in sin, and letting in the glorious light of Truth.
Every true thinker is a factor in this dawn of universal health and universal peace; and in our day we are witnessing the fulfillment of Scriptural prophecy.
Mary Baker Eddy
Jesus declared that he had many things to say to his contemporaries, but that they were not able to receive them; so he prophesied the coming of a Comforter, or spirit of Truth. For many centuries his teachings have been leavening the thoughts of mankind, and preparing the way for the advent of Christian Science. This revelation came through Mrs. Eddy because she was pure enough to receive it. She is respected and loved by all who understand her mission and are proving its power for good; and she is misrepresented only by those who have not yet studied, grasped, and applied her teachings, those who have not yet felt the touch of the Comforter, the ever-present Christ. Are not those who have been healed of sickness, freed from sin, reclaimed from atheism, released from poverty, fear, and sorrow the ones best fitted to judge of her consecration, and the infinite value of her revelation? I have met people who for almost half a century have been students of Christian Science; those whose children and grandchildren have had no other religious teaching, and have used no other means for healing sickness, and for maintaining health. It is no unusual thing for children reared in Christian Science to heal themselves and others through their clear understanding of God and man. In the Christian Science Sunday Schools, the first lessons taught are the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, all of them taken from the King James Version of the Bible. How is it that thousands of people, both ministers and laymen, are reading the Bible daily without really getting rid of their material beliefs? It is because they do not grasp the deep spiritual meaning of the Bible, nor apply its trenchant truth. And why are other thousands, students of Christian Science, being healed of sickness and sin through their daily study of the same Bible? It is because of the spiritual light thrown upon its pages by the Christian Science textbook, which is indeed a "Key to the Scriptures."
Mrs. Eddy's teachings have touched the heart of humanity, because she reached the very heart of the teachings of Christ Jesus. Mrs. Eddy writes (Christ and Christmas, p. 53):
"What the Beloved knew and taught,
Through understanding, dearly sought,
With fierce heart-beats."
For many years Mrs. Eddy labored alone, and her ascent of the mount of revelation was a long and lonely one. The first forty-five years of her life she spent in the shadow of physical and mental suffering, yet always searching for the truth about God and man. Through many years she investigated everything that seemed to her worthy of investigation, including philosophy and homeopathy. From early childhood she studied the Bible, and at the age of twelve she absolutely rejected the doctrine of predestination and everlasting punishment. She reached the place where the Bible became her only beacon-light, and so deeply did she penetrate into the sanctuary of Spirit and discern the power of spiritual law that in innumerable cases she healed diseases and deformities instantaneously. At last, as a result of her profound study of the Bible, she gave to the world her immortal work, the Christian Science textbook, which is transforming the lives of mortals today, and will continue to do so until all mankind has thrown off the yoke of materialism. In 1875, at the time the Christian Science textbook was published, there was no Christian Science church, no class teaching, hardly one with whom Mrs. Eddy could share her vision, and her work at that time was often opposed and derided, and her very life was threatened. Yet, to quote her own words: "I pressed on . . ., trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged" (Science and Health, p. 226).
Today the beneficiaries of Christian Science cannot be numbered, and the By-Laws of her Church Manual provide for the cohesion and permanency of the entire organization of The Mother Church and its branches. Mrs. Eddy resisted the tide of popularity just as she had resisted the tide of persecution. During the last forty-five years of her earth life, the light of Christian Science shed its broad beams on all humanity. This spiritual light is outshining the darkness of sickness, sin, and sorrow; the light of Christian Science is setting at rest the doubts of agnostics; it is revealing to men their birthright of dominion over all evil, and it is indicating the opportunities which are within reach of every one of us. Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 265), "Mortals must gravitate God ward, their affections and aims grow spiritual." We should not delay our spiritual advance by dishonest excuses, by mental "detours," or by "meanwhiling" arguments such as, "When there is less poverty, more abundance, less friction in my home, less opposition to Christian Science, more peace and beauty of environment, I shall be happier and more grateful." Yes, my friends, many of these conditions do seem to be hard, but let us admit that suffering is due solely to one's own state of thought, and that divine Principle is at hand to remedy it. What is the remedy for our woes and our failures? This ever-present remedy is undivided allegiance to divine Principle, Love. Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 154): "Have no ambition . . . apart from holiness." Every difficulty is really an opportunity for us to prove that evil is unreal, and that "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Do you say you have no opportunities? Your every day is filled with glorious opportunities; the opportunity to maintain the consciousness of purity, kindness, power, serenity, joy; the opportunity to advance without regard to what your environment may be; the opportunity to prove that neither solitude nor society can prevent you from dwelling in "the secret place of the Most High." In the Old Testament we read that Daniel and his three friends triumphed over resentment, fear, danger, self-pity, and the malice of their foes, in the lions' den and in the fiery furnace. These men were true to God, to spiritual man, and so they triumphed and rose higher because of this opportunity to triumph in seeming adversity. Jesus triumphed over the last enemy in a sealed sepulcher, deprived of air, light, or food, because he did not cease reflecting the one infinite Love which can neither be shut in nor shut out. His consciousness was not for one moment confined in a sepulcher; for he knew that he lived in God, not in a material body. His thoughts moved in infinite Mind and he could not die because he admitted no temporal or material thought into his consciousness. He could not be held to matter, because matter is but the embodiment of false beliefs. Through his fidelity to the Christ, Jesus ascended beyond the vision of the physical senses. In the radiance of his resurrection morning he knew that Love, Spirit, is the only substance; so the stone of the sepulcher was rolled away and he was free. Inspired by the divine Love which carried him over the water, Jesus then passed through closed doors to comfort the disciples who had failed him. They were taking refuge in matter; yet even here divine Love reached them, through the self-immolation of the great Master who proved to them that life is wholly spiritual. Do we yet realize what it means to live, move, and have our being in the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God, good; infinitely beloved, individually and everlastingly supplied and cared for? Some of us are shrinking behind closed mental doors, behind seeming walls, but material resistance is unreal, for infinite good is omnipresent and God is All-in-all. Mortal egotism cannot help yielding up its resistance when the power of Christian Science penetrates the dark places of fear and reserve, and doors long closed are opening to the touch of divine Love. Why not yield up all resistance now?
You have perhaps heard of the shipwrecked mariners who were adrift on a raft in the broad Amazon River. Because they imagined that they were surrounded with salt water, they were perishing through their self-imposed thirst. Seeing this, their rescuers cried out, "Lower your buckets, you are in fresh water!" What had robbed them of the abundance at hand? Delusion, not lack; their own mental condition, not any problem of circumstance or environment. What is robbing some of us of the abundant supply of health, happiness, holiness? Only the carnal mind; our own mental condition: delusion, not lack. This ignorant mental condition, this delusion, can readily be exchanged for the consciousness of divine Love which is available to all who are willing to put off the old man, and to learn the joy of spiritual reflection.
Spiritual man has no sense of personal possession, hence he believes in no personal lack. The arguments of anxiety, self-importance, pomp or pride, poverty or suffering, do not touch the man of God's creating; no sin can bind him, no fear can haunt him. So Christian Science says to all who are languishing on beds of sickness; to all whose heart is heavy with sorrow; to all who are carrying the burdens of sin, anxiety, or pain: "Awaken! Drop your self-deception. No lack, sickness, nor danger surrounds you. You are safe in the omnipresence of infinite Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, divine Principle. Abandon the false. Realize where and what you are. This very hour, and in every place, the blessing you need is being bestowed on you. Rejoice and be grateful! 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.'"
One of the open doors into heaven is gratitude. Spiritual gratitude is not dependent upon circumstances; it is the master of circumstances because it is the master of erroneous thoughts and feeling. Gratitude to God is the master of resentment and discouragement. Real gratitude is not subject to ebb and flow, for it is inseparable from spiritual understanding: it is a stable, constant quality; gratitude dwells upon cause rather than effect. Spiritual gratitude never falters in its joyous acknowledgment that divine Love is now bestowing health, joy, intelligence, and every needful thing upon everyone, every moment. Gratitude is clear-eyed. Gratitude is the radiant reflection of divine glory, shining in the heart of man. Gratitude abides in the temple of prayer.
How many of us have ceased praying either owing to indifference, to honest doubt, or to repeated disappointments at finding our prayers unanswered? How many feel that they are self-sufficient and can dispense with prayer? Sooner or later, this tether of mortal self-sufficiency comes to an end and mortals look Godward. Others, again, regard Deity as an obdurate ruler who must be placated and appealed to in prayer, but Phillips Brooks has rightly said that "prayer is not conquering God's reluctance, but accepting His willingness." How diverse and contradictory are the mortal concepts of prayer! Christian Science deals very tenderly with this subject, showing men how to pray aright.
The first chapter in the Christian Science textbook unfolds the ascending footsteps of prayer. It shows mortals how to receive what divine Love is bestowing. The beloved disciple discerned that the gates of the heavenly city, spiritual consciousness, "shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there." There is no evil in spiritual consciousness, and spiritual man is always receptive to good. In infinite Mind there is no mental darkness, no night of sin, pain, or sorrow. Let us suppose that a motley crowd of sick and poor people, young and old, halt and lame, grown tired of the din and darkness of their own dwellings were to approach the gates of a public recreation park; they would all of them be free to enter just as soon as they reached the entrance, no matter what they looked like, nor how far they had traveled. Similarly, spiritual consciousness is holding out its welcome to all. At its ever-open gates of purity and peace, "everything that defileth or maketh a lie" is to be surrendered. Those who are unwilling to surrender the false cannot rejoice in the true, although it is equally present for them. "Error excludes itself from harmony" (Science and Health, p. 537), Mrs. Eddy writes. On the other hand, as we learn to obey divine Principle, we find that the spiritual harmony we are reflecting excludes error from our thought and experience. Which, then, shall we exclude, the harmony or the error, hell or heaven?
In the silence of each one's heart, the "still small voice" of Truth is sometimes heard, and everyone really desires to awaken from his idle dream of pleasure, which too often turns into a nightmare of pain.
So, from the prayer of the publican, all the way to the sublime prayer of Jesus, Christian Science points out each ascending footstep, until the attraction of good is proved to be supreme in our heart and we hear the divine benediction, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Man's real senses, his God-given spiritual senses, apprehend beauty only, and man in God's likeness is eternally expressing the beauty of holiness. This reflection is natural and continuous, since God is All-in-all. There is no opposing element in the infinitude of good. Man, the image of God, is never less than pure, loving, joyful; for in God's creation, there is nothing to know, there is nothing to express but the eternal unfoldment of infinite good. All creation expresses the spontaneity of divine Love. Spiritual dominion is the understanding of the allness of God; spiritual dominion is the evidence of God's eternal, perfect manifestation. This is the truth of being. It is the truth of your being. As you realize this, every one of you will be able to give evidence of your sonship. Then, as you find these questions stirring in your mind, "What am I? What is the purpose of my existence?" learn to grasp and to apply this spiritually scientific fact stated by Mrs. Eddy (Miscellany, p. 165), "I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing."
Remember that with the aid of Christian Science you are on the road to salvation, never on the road to failure; the road to health, never sickness; the road to joy, never sorrow; the road to love and unselfishness, never self-interest or indifference; the road to righteousness, never sin; the road to honesty, never compromise; the road to action, never delay; the road to victory, never resignation; the road of the everlasting "now," not the uncertain "hereafter." Every true thought you entertain is a breath of eternity. Did the daily life of Jesus, spent in healing the sick and the sinful, becloud his spiritual vision of the real man? No, it heightened it, for love is clear-sighted and incessantly active. Then, when some puzzled wanderer in the maze crosses your path and dumbly seeks spiritual help, keep your vision of spiritual man clear and pure, and, as Mrs. Eddy says (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 86) : "Cleanse every stain from this wanderer's soiled garments, wipe the dust from his feet and the tears from his eyes, that you may behold the real man, the fellow-saint of a holy household." Also (ibid., p. 95): —
"And comforters are needed much
Of Christlike touch."
(A. E. Hamilton)
What is the "Christlike touch"? It is the touch of the Father-Mother God, combining strength with tenderness. It is the strong hand which lifted Peter above doubt, deceit, and the drowning waves. It is the touch of Mind that restored the man who said his name was Legion. It is the touch of Spirit which redeemed the Magdalen. It is the powerful hand which turned Paul from persecution to preaching the truth. It is the touch of Life that awakened Lazarus from his dream of death. It is the touch which can make everyone here infinitely wise, strong, tender, and compassionate in ministering to the varying needs of his fellow-man. The "Christlike touch" is the touch of Christian Science: it is the outstretched hand of God restoring to mankind abundant health, holiness, joy, and dominion.
Christian Science is, in the words of Isaiah, "The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."
"Press on! dear traveller, press on!
I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,
It is the straight and narrow way
That leads to that eternal day,
That turns the darkness into light,
That buries wrong and honors right."
(Christian Science Hymnal, p. 42).