Christian Science: The Science of Demonstrable Prayer
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
Violet Ker-Seymer, C.S., of London, England, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Science of Demonstrable Prayer," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.
The lecturer was introduced by Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
My friends, on behalf of The Mother Church I thank you for your presence here. You have come in response to a generous invitation to hear a lecture on Christian Science by a member of the Board of Lectureship of this Church.
It may be safely assumed that all Christians believe in God's infinite ever-presence, but outside of the teaching of Christian Science, how little is His infinite presence taught or thought to be available for the practical solving of the problems of mankind.
Our lecturer this evening comes with a message designed to show each one of us how this divine presence may be understood; and may through individual effort be found available to solve every human difficulty.
May I recommend that we be alert with ears that hear, and we shall be rewarded.
I have great pleasure in presenting our lecturer, Miss Violet Ker-Seymer, C.S., of London, England.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Let us first of all look into the meaning of these two words, "Christian" and "Science." The words "Christian" and "Christianity" stand for the religion founded in the first century, A.D. Christian Science is based on the inspired Word of the Bible, and stands squarely on the pure teaching and the all-satisfying, redemptive, healing works of Christ Jesus, the Way-shower.
The word "science" is defined, in part, by Webster as: "knowledge of principles or facts. Profound, comprehensive knowledge made available in work, life or the search for truth."
Christian Science is, therefore, the demonstrable knowledge of God, divine Truth, brought to bear on the human problems of poverty, sin, sickness, and discord of every name and nature.
In her work "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 25), Mrs. Eddy tells us that she named this Science "Christian" "because it is compassionate, helpful, and spiritual." Christian Science is born of God, divine Love. It is, therefore, His revelation, divinely endowed with authority to reveal the true nature of God and spiritual man in His likeness, and with power to waken mankind out of its dream of sickness and sin, fear and sorrow; and through this spiritual awakening bring about release and redemption from all that is contrary to God's will.
You will naturally want to hear something about the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Since her earliest childhood, Mary Baker Eddy loved the Bible and lived close to God, good. Up to the time of her discovery of Christian Science, she was frail, delicate. Mrs. Eddy was highly cultured and intellectually gifted, and she had a wide outlook on life. At about the age of forty-five she met with an accident which the doctors pronounced fatal. In her extremity, the spiritually-minded woman begged the friends at her bedside to leave her alone with the Bible. As she read, in the ninth chapter of Matthew, of the instantaneous healing of the man sick of the palsy, the revelation of God's will so illumined her consciousness that she, too, rose from what was expected to be her death-bed, and walked, instantaneously healed. Awed by this miracle, and impelled by her deep love for God and humanity, she then withdrew entirely from society, and, for three years, alone with the Bible, in her modest home in the town of Lynn, Massachusetts, she studied and pondered the great facts of spiritual being and spiritual law, to which alone the marvel of her healing could be attributed. Thus, in quietude and spiritual communion with God, she discovered the Science of His perfect creation, and wrote the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
For some years before publishing this immortal work Mrs. Eddy proved the truth of its teachings by healing all kinds of sickness by spiritual means.
Mrs. Eddy then entered upon a life of almost unparalleled spiritual and human activity, until, in the year 1910, she passed on in her ninetieth year. It is not too much to say that every waking hour of these forty-five years was spent in highest, humblest service to God and humanity. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science was rarely seen, but this revelation has shed the light of God, good, broadcast over all the earth. Confronted with the superhuman task of spreading, and establishing the knowledge of Christian Science throughout the world, Mrs. Eddy wrote in one of her hymns (Poems, P. 14):
"Shepherd, show me how to go
O'er the hillside steep.
How to gather, how to sow, -
How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way."
The way was often rendered very rugged, but with tireless fidelity, wisdom, moral courage, and unselfed love she held the great truth of Christian Science before the hungry, doubting, hostile gaze of the whole world. She trod the way rejoicingly, assured that it was the way of primitive Christianity, revealed by Christ Jesus, the Way-shower.
Mrs. Eddy was also led to establish the vast organization of The Mother Church and its branches, daily increasing in number, power, and influence, and forever safeguarded by the flawless wisdom of the By-laws in her Church Manual.
The particular aspect of Christian Science which has been chosen for today is: The Science of Demonstrable Prayer.
This question of prayer is one about which there is much uncertainty, much controversy, doubt, confusion, and disappointment. So much so that some discouraged persons have altogether ceased praying. Mankind is puzzled to know how to cope with its problems of poverty, sickness, sin, sorrow, and all their sad consequences, and skepticism and atheism have almost stifled humanity's best hopes. The "I don't understand" attitude, or agnosticism, is in fact, held by many today. Yet every one still longs for, and looks for, the betterment of human conditions. To understand God and the true nature of prayer is, therefore, humanity's most vital need, and the sure key to the solution of all its troubles. Has not prayer remained unanswered because the true nature of God has been so little understood? Does mankind in general understand God as Jesus did?
We know that Christians do not worship carved images, but I invite you to consider whether the religious views of modern Christians are not obscured by many superstitions. For instance, have you not met people who, disregarding God, believe in good and bad luck, seek to read their fate through palmistry, astrology, and even through a pack of cards? In other words, through some human superstition? Again, do not others resign themselves to sickness, and to other afflictions, because they believe them to be the will of God? And do not insurance agencies, even in this supposedly enlightened age, designate earthquakes and other wholesale disasters as "acts of God"?
Now, the complete and final revelation of God has come through Christian Science with its clear, practical message on the subject of demonstrable prayer; that is to say, prayer bringing to mortals definite proof that God is infinite Truth, Life, and Love, whom none need fear, but, whom all must obey – the God to whom all may find access, through whom all may find redemption from every phase of evil here and now.
God, the giver of all good, and of good alone, is unceasingly pouring forth life, holiness, health, intelligence, and joy on all His spiritual creation, and Christian Science teaches us exactly how to perceive, to receive, and to manifest these practical tokens of divine Love.
The Christian Science textbook opens with 17 wonderful pages in the first chapter, entitled "Prayer." Within these pages, every unbiased reader finds much to ponder, much to rejoice in, much to learn, and much that may cause him to revise his old concept of prayer.
It is the mission of prayer to silence fear, and spiritually attune the ear to the infinite harmony of God's creation, which is totally free from fear, sickness, sin, materiality, and mortality. As God is revealed, humanity is healed.
I should like to quote you a few lines from a well-known hymn which indicates the different stages of prayer (Christian Science Hymnal, p. 91):
"Prayer is the heart's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"Prayer is the simplest form of speech,
That infant lips can try:
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.
"Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian’s native air:
His watchword overcometh death –
He enters heaven with prayer."
Prayer might be likened to Jacob's ladder, of which we read in Genesis that it was "set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
Note that this ladder was set up on earth, which indicates that God, good, is not remote but ever-present, and that heaven is not a distant place to be reached after death, but a divine state of consciousness which is, in ever-increasing measure, attainable here and now. And what are the "angels" ascending and descending this ladder of thought? Angels are not fancy, winged figures. On page 581 of the Christian Science textbook we find this simple and appealing definition of angels: "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect: the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality."
So you see that every true spiritual thought and desire entertained by you is your link with God, ever-present divine Mind.
Perhaps the very first rung in this ladder of prayer is indicated in Job's humble desire: "That which I see not teach thou me." This desire indicates the teachable, humble, listening attitude, whereby a mortal does not seek to gain God's ear for the purpose of pouring out his mortal woes, but seeks to incline his own ear in order that, through spiritual sense, he may catch the pure, healing, reassuring messages of Truth and Love. This willingness to learn more about God, and God's image, humbles intellectual vanity, pride of opinion, pessimism, and leads up to the next rungs of hope, faith, expectancy of good.
Mountaineers find that their range of view widens as they leave the valley; so true thoughts and right desires grow stronger as they ascend above the valley of materialistic thought and aspire to the heights of spiritual perception. It may seem a long way to the top of the ladder of prayer, - to the summit of spiritual understanding, - but Christian Science teaches that from the start joy is added to joy, and that with every rung attained, conditions of health and character are improved.
Another rung in this ladder of ascending thought is the ripening desire to understand and obey God's will rejoicingly, knowing it to bestow only holiness, health, and perfect purity. This resolve always to obey every call of God, good, leads to the rung of obedience, on which we meet the angels, or thoughts, of courage, perseverance, and peace. It is, therefore, the rung on which mortals learn to drop discouragement, worry, and self-will. Christian Science teaches the great necessity for understanding the statement in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done."
These words, so full of blessedness, "Thy will be done," have been strangely misconstrued. By many, God has been regarded as exacting, almost cruel, and sad events have been attributed to His jurisdiction. In considering this question of God's will, the words and works of Christ Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, shall be our guide.
All professing Christians will agree that Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, understood and obeyed the will of his heavenly Father, so that every time he healed the sick, cleansed the sinner, and raised the dead, he was obeying God's will. This being so, it is logical to admit that these evils were then - and are today - in every case directly contrary to God's will. They will also agree that God, whom Christian Science designates as divine Principle, has one uniform purpose, beneficent towards all, and the same in all ages.
Disease, then, as well as sin, is unchristian, contrary to God's will, or Christ Jesus would not, and could not, have healed it, and Christian Science would not be healing sickness all over the world as it is doing today. This recognition of God’s good-will and its practical results whenever it is understood, and obeyed, brings us to a wonderful rung in the ladder of prayer. We meet here the most cheering, strengthening, indispensable comrade in daily life - the angel of gratitude.
"But," one may say, "gratitude is quite natural when everything is going well, but here am I ill, worried, afraid, anxious about my loved ones, and about the future, so how can I possibly be expected to feel any gratitude?" Real gratitude is much more than a personal matter, and I invite you to consider gratitude from a somewhat wider standpoint. If there were only matter, brain, and the five senses, - and no God, that is, nothing to guide, and to guard mortals from their own undoing - there would be no moral standard, no kindness, no justice, no honesty, no capacity to distinguish right from wrong, for there would be no right, and therefore no ability whatever to resist temptation. In short, but for the invisible, potent influence of God, good, counteracting evil in the measure in which it is obeyed, mankind would speedily be engulfed in a morass of materialism from which there would be no escape.
Through Christian Science, one learns to know God as perfect, operative, divine Principle, Love, available to mortals in their every need, and therefore gratitude is boundless and unwavering. This gratitude abides in spite of the discordant evidence of the physical senses, for spiritual gratitude, which is allied to spiritual understanding, is fed from the deep, everlasting wells of divine Love. Through steadfast gratitude, courage is maintained, discouragement is banished, and even under trying circumstances the prayer of spiritual gratitude looks Godward and cries: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." An understanding of God's beneficent law heals sick minds and bodies. It is in the darkest hour that the Christian Scientist clings most firmly to gratitude, which banishes dismal despair, resentment, and fears; for gratitude is one of those transparent, spiritual qualities through which divine Love shines with healing light.
There is a question which some of you may be asking yourselves, namely: How can prayer heal a sick body without the additional use of material means? Christian Science diagnoses disease as primarily mental, and only secondarily made apparent on the body as an image of mortal thought. To illustrate: If some object were throwing a dark shadow on the floor, and you wanted to remove the shadow, would you scrub the door? No, you would remove the object which was casting the shadow, without touching the floor; and the shadow would vanish.
So Christian Science deals directly with the fear and the mental discord expressed on the body as sickness, and as harmony is restored in the mind of the patient, the sickness, which was only a physical effect or shadow of a so-called mental cause, disappears. I say "so-called" mental cause, because God, the one perfect Mind, is the one perfect Cause; so, in absolute Truth, God, there is neither a physical nor a mental cause for sickness.
The doorway of health, God-given, unchanging health, stands wide open in front of every person in this world today. There is one universal health, here for all to enjoy - the "health of his countenance." Health can neither be gained through matter, nor can it be lost through matter; health is a spiritual fact, based on Spirit, and sustained by spiritual law; health is the natural fruit of spirituality, and as such, no matter how desperate the physical condition may seem to be, health is available to all, through spiritual understanding, which regenerates mind and body. Every physician will tell you that fear is one of the worst foes of health, and it is obvious that fear is a mental state which material medicine cannot alleviate. Fear is contrary to divine Love, contrary to God's good-will, contrary to His beneficent omni-active laws of health, holiness, and immortality.
Through the study of Christian Science, fear and all the ignorant beliefs of the human mind begin to disappear as quietly and as naturally as darkness vanishes when the sunlight steals quietly in at your window at dawn. The darkness is blotted out without any struggle or conflict, for, as every child knows, darkness has neither starting-point nor abiding-place in the sunlight.
Now, this is what happens when spiritual light, the recognition of God as infinite good, omnipresent Love, begins to blot out the mortal belief in fear and evil. Christian Science makes it plain that evil has no cause nor creator, no starting point, and no abiding-place in God, in Truth. There is no truth in evil and no evil in Truth; and that is why Christ Jesus said that "the truth shall make you free." Through the knowledge of Truth, health and righteousness are attained. All belief in evil is as negative as darkness and as incapable of withstanding this influx of spiritual light - this message of Christian Science: Isaiah says of the "ransomed of the Lord, " "They shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
But there is something for each one to do! Let us suppose that you are sitting in a dark room, inside a closely shuttered house, with the brilliant sun shining outside; would it be reasonable for you to stay behind closed shutters praying for the sun to shine in? Obviously not! The change would have to take place in you, not in the sun. Now, a great many of us have, so to speak, been sitting in mental darkness, behind the shutters of fear, discouragement, resentment, hardness, shutting out from our consciousness the unceasing love and bounty of God, good; and remaining deaf to the joyous, true thoughts, the angels of divine Mind. But those shutters are nothing but false beliefs, and they cease to obstruct in proportion as thought is firmly held to the truth about God and man. In proportion as the angels of right expectation, obedience, courage, and gratitude are faithfully entertained, they admit the ever-present light of love and truth.
You remember our Master's parable of the tares and wheat? This parable foretells the destruction of all belief in matter, sin, and fear, through the recognition of the infinitude and immortality of Spirit, for nothing is true but Truth. Christian Science designates as real all that is God-made, and as unreal that which is of mortal invention, and not God-made. This Science of right thinking therefore reveals the necessity for keeping a clear mental line of demarcation between the real and the unreal, for through this clear mental distinction, true ideas – wheat - are garnered in consciousness, and false beliefs – tares - are gathered out, tied into bundles, and burnt - destroyed by true ideas.
How do you regard sorrow, for instance, as a tare or as wheat? Sorrow is apt to be self-centered, and sorrow prolongs suffering, through self-pity. Sorrow adds no joy to the world. It offers, and it accepts, no balm. Sorrow heals nothing, and it refuses to be healed. Sorrow, then, is the long-drawn echo of error. Surely such sorrow is unavailing - the tare which is robbing us of our harvest of joy; and it is not only robbing us, but also all with whom we associate. Now, how may we gather our harvest of joy, and be comforted? By expressing divine qualities, by grasping nobler motives, and by reflecting the Mind which is God. Through Christian Science, many a one has found that the love of God enters the heavy heart, turning its selfishness into unselfed love, its fretting into peace, and its mourning into joy. The prayer of rejoicing is one of the rungs in Jacob's ladder.
Returning to this line of demarcation between the real and the unreal, this line which is never blurred at any point nor at any moment, - on which side of the line do you place fear? Is fear real or unreal?
Christian Science denounces fear as atheistic, because it denies or doubts God, good. St. Paul wrote to his young disciple, Timothy: "God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
In the Christian Science textbook (p. 410) we find this statement: "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!' " No matter how desperate so-called physical conditions, or human circumstances, may seem to be, this divine command and benediction, "Be not afraid," holds good and operates for good. What is the remedy for fear? In the New Testament, we find the only real recipe in the world for overcoming fear. Mark it well, use it well and it will serve you well. In the words of John, it is this: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." God is infinite Love, infinite Spirit, which knows no fear, because Spirit knows no matter, and where there is no belief in matter there can he no fear.
I want to ask you a question: Can you think of any form of fear which does not in some way relate to matter? Is not fear always concerned about the material body, about material possessions, about financial fortunes or misfortunes? Fear always attaches itself to some material, temporal concept; and therefore fear is idolatrous. Fear is never entertained about anything spiritual and real. So, one cannot leave the root of matter and only dock the shoots of fear, if one would be free. You will agree that, but for the belief in matter, there would be nothing through which fear could express, or embody, its false beliefs of sickness, sin and death.
Christian Science teaches that divine Love casts out fear, because it spiritualizes thought. We lose the fear of fear when we see that, since there is no fear in Life, God, fear is lifeless, and powerless to affect either the health or the life of man. To the Samaritan woman, Christ Jesus said: "They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Not in matter and in fear, but "in spirit and in truth." Fear is overcome through transferring dependence from matter to Spirit. Health, strength, activity, intelligence, are all of them God's spiritual gifts to His image. Divine Mind has never withdrawn one of these blessings, and man in God's likeness is unceasingly expressing them. One aspect of healing in Christian Science might be epitomized as "letting go," and "holding on." Letting go of matter, holding on to Love, which is Life.
The inspired message of the Psalmist, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day," is not only infinitely comforting, it is also a definite commandment, as imperative as any of the Ten Commandments - Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not kill, and so forth. In your real being, as God's ideas, there is complete, glorious freedom; immortality; constant clear vision of reality; understanding; fidelity; spiritual dominion; so remember always that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." It is God who enables us to reflect His perfect love that "casteth out fear."
Let us now consider, for a few minutes, the great question of spiritual reflection. Ascending the ladder of prayer, we begin to see that God's own image and likeness is the expression, manifestation or reflection of God's perfection. In St. Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians there is a very beautiful verse which we might call the reflection verse. It is this: "We all, with open face beholding as In a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Christian Science teaches us to look constantly and confidently into God's mirror - the reflection of good, and good only. And what do we see there? Spiritual life, love, holiness, health and joy - every needful quality and condition. And what do we not see there? We do not see evil in any shape or form, for there is none. But a mortal, taking frightened looks at the mirror of mortal beliefs - like Narcissus of old - sees nothing but a mortal, sees nothing but the temporal and false. Only through reflecting God's consciousness do we learn the truth about ourselves, our fellowmen, and all creation. And does the truth, you ask, accomplish anything practical? It does. Through understanding this statement in the Christian Science textbook (p. 478), "That only is real which reflects God," I can testify to the disappearance of a large growth, regarding which a surgeon had said to his patient that it could only he removed by an operation. Obviously, this discordant belief, this shadow, did not reflect God, and therefore it had no life nor mind, nor truth, nor substance; no soul, nor principle, and no law to support it. So, the belief in it, the fear of it, and finally its outward appearance vanished entirely after a short period of Christian Science treatment. It was not in the mirror; and only that which is in God's mirror - God's reflection - has life or is real. Disease and sin are but the mirage of mortal thought.
When any fear or temptation seems to press upon you, instead of brooding over the discord, turn right about mentally; refuse to entertain the wrong thoughts or fears, and take refuge in the mirror of Life, Love, and Truth. Look straight into this mirror, God's reflection, in order that you may be "changed into the same image," and do not look away from divine Love, and Love's image, until this Love, like light, has blotted out the delusion. Seek perfection through the reflection of God, good.
Let us now consider another point in connection with prayer: the question of
According to the teachings of Christian Science, the element of petition in prayer may he right or it may be mistaken. Petition which credits God with sending trouble on His children and implores Him to spare them, petition which begs God to condone sin, to increase material riches, to call His children to heaven through death, - all this is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and of Christian Science. Yet Jesus said: "Ask, and ye shall receive." On the subject of petition, Mrs. Eddy writes in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (p. 6), "All Christian faith, hope, and prayer, all devout desire, virtually petition, Make me the image and likeness of divine Love." "Petition"! Could any prayer be simpler and more practical, more beautiful than this one, "Make me the image and likeness of divine Love"? Mortals need to realize this great gift of reflection, which God has forever bestowed on His own image; and if their petition is sincere, they will seek to express always, and only, qualities emanating from divine Love.
"Teach me to do thy will," the Psalmist says; "lead me into the land of uprightness." "Teach me," "Lead me" is petition. The land of uprightness is here, through upright thoughts, motives, and desires, all of them inspired by God and leading to God. These desires are destined to be awakened, strengthened, and fulfilled in every one here today. Why? Because God is the irresistible attraction of good, sooner or later drawing all, and revealing to all the pure, precious gift of spiritual sonship.
Now let us suppose that your life is a melody from which you are learning to exclude every false note. A simple musical illustration may help us. Let us say that you are enjoying the performance of some great pianist, who, at his recital, interprets the classics - Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and so forth. You sit there and enjoy the finished performance, but what of the years of practice which have preceded it? This same artist probably started to learn the piano when he was a little boy, and spent many painful hours - no doubt painful to others as well as to himself - mastering chords and scales and, later on, struggling to master the piece of music in front of him. Perhaps, after a year or two of practice, a charming, simple rondo of Mozart was given him to learn. What a lot of wrong notes he played! What a lot of right notes he left out! Now, please consider this point for a moment. Where were the wrong notes which the little boy played? Were they in the composer's manuscript? Did he ever actually see those wrong notes or did he merely play what he believed? Did the piano oblige him to play the wrong notes, or was it vice versa? And where did those wrong notes go to as the child continued his faithful study of the piece of music in front of him? Through his own growing sense of melody, he learned to eliminate them. How unreal these wrong notes were - mere illusions! Nobody created them, and they had no power to assert themselves, for they were due to ignorance. And all the time, there on the page in front of him was the beautiful melody, waiting to be played.
Now, this is what happens to students of Christian Science. Through their study of the truth about God and man, the illusions of sickness, fear, sorrow, bad temper are silenced, for such discords have no place in God's creation or in His consciousness - no purpose, authority, power, nor actuality whatever, furthermore, the discord of disease is not produced by the material body, any more than the false notes were produced by the piano. They were imposed upon it through ignorance and false belief.
The pure melody of God's plan of creation is indicated in the last verse of the first chapter of Genesis: "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." And in the Gospel of John it definitely states that "all things were made by him;" and also that "without him was not any thing made that was made," Then let us rejoice, and draw deep breaths of thankfulness. Evil has no creator! "The Lord he is God; there is none else beside him." Let us, then, set to work patiently to express melody - good only, and turn thought again and again, always joyously, always thankfully, to the perfect page of God's creation, which is always present. In God's plan, every idea has its place and a divine purpose to fulfill. The true melody, divine Love, is ever-present. Let us learn to express love perfectly. Isaiah says: "The Lord shall comfort Zion: . . . joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Joy, gladness, thanksgiving - the ever-present escort of angels, leading thought upward and onward.
In order that our lives may express unbroken melody, another quality, or idea, is needed, that is: perseverance.
Jesus often spoke to his disciples of the need of watching, and of keeping one's light burning. He spoke also, not only of the "first watch" but of the "second watch" and of the "third watch." If the solving of your problem seems to be very slow, then take courage: for Jesus said of those who continue to watch the great facts of spiritual being: "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: . . . And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants." Christian Science shows one how to be just as faithful and untiring in the third watch as in the first watch.
You remember the old fable of the big fagot composed of hundreds of little twigs? One who had been challenged to break the fagot in two, seized it, bent it across his knees, and then gave up, declaring it to be an impossible task. A wiser and more patient man then loosed the big bundle, and one by one broke each twig of which the big bundle was composed. Old beliefs and habits of thought are not broken in a day, but every day we can win little victories over these old, dry, dead twigs, of false belief, break them up with Truth. Only, beware of little defeats and infidelities, for they only add more twigs to the bundle. Even if healing seems to be realized only very slowly, let none listen to doubt and discouragement, for these suggestions are the voice of the stranger, the anti-Christ. Yielding to discouragement is mental disobedience to the Christ, Truth; and spiritual courage is always sustained by divine Mind and the Love which never faileth.
There is another very powerful element of prayer to which I will now draw your attention, and that is the prayer of protest. In the chapter on Prayer (p. 12) - those wonderful seventeen pages already mentioned - Mrs. Eddy refers to Jesus, "whose humble prayers," she says, "were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." Where and when did Jesus pray this powerful prayer of protest - the truly protestant prayer of man's likeness to God, and of man's health and immortality? Jesus prayed it everywhere, and prayed it the more earnestly when the evidence of the senses seemed the most distressing. The Way-shower's prayer of protest of man's Godlikeness increased in power as the occasion seemed to require.
Jesus prayed this prayer of protest of Truth, and of man's likeness to God when one was brought to him "blind from his birth." He knew that man in God's image expresses every attribute of God. He knew that sight is spiritual and indestructible, and he therefore healed the man of his mortal belief in blindness. He prayed the prayer of protest of Truth, and of man's likeness to God, when a maniac, a reprobate woman, a cripple, or an afflicted boy was brought to him for healing. He saw through, and beyond, the evidence of the five senses, and upheld the true protest of man in God's likeness, with the result that they were all released from their various beliefs; they were healed by divine Mind, God, through Christ Jesus, God's faithful witness. Finally, Jesus prayed this prayer of protest in his own behalf, and after three days of wrestling with the belief of death, he emerged from the sealed tomb, free, consecrated, transfigured by his uninterrupted reflection of immortal Love.
My friends, we stand face to face with the same problems which Jesus faced and we stand hand in hand with the same power which upheld Christ Jesus, and we today can pray this same inspired prayer of protest and obtain the same results. The Christ-power is available to you and to me today, for the Christ-idea is ever-present.
The parting words of Christ Jesus to his disciples, as recorded in the last two verses of Matthew's Gospel are these: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Now what is the meaning of these words, uttered just before the fleshly disappearance of Jesus, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"? What is this "I"? Not the visible, personal Jesus, but the Christ, to which Jesus bare faithful witness from the beginning to the end of his glorious earthly ministry. Without this Christ, the true idea, or understanding, of God and man, Jesus could not have healed the sick, nor taught his disciples to heal; could not have fed the multitude nor walked on the water; could not have raised the dead, nor risen from the tomb; nor could he have left us the immortal ideas plainly recorded in the New Testament. Without this one Christ, there would have been no revelation of Christian Science.
It is this redemptive, healing Christ-idea, or understanding of God and man, which is with us all, everywhere, every moment. If there were no Christ, no true idea to act as mediator, mankind could have no knowledge of God and therefore no access to God. Take the sun, for instance: we only know of its light and warmth through its rays which reach us. So God, divine Mind, reaches us through right thoughts, inspired desires; through spiritual qualities of joy, peace, and purity, and these spiritual ideas and qualities are with us "even unto the end of the world" - to the end, or extermination of all material belief. And what did Jesus say as to the continuity and availability of this power of God to heal and save mankind? He foretold the appearing of Christian Science, which is the second coming of Christ, when he said: "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
This promised Comforter is come, and is with all mankind today: this Comforter is Christian Science, - infinitely comforting, cleansing, healing, - proving by "signs following," by the recovery of health, peace, and spiritual individuality that the vital power of the Christ is operative in our midst now. The Psalmist rejoiced in this eternal truth which is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever" when he said: "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." This dwelling is spiritual consciousness, the reflection of God, good. "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
A Sanctuary for All
In one of the busy thoroughfares in London, a philanthropist erected a simple little chapel into which young and old, rich and poor, the good and the bad, the joyous and the sad, may freely enter and find rest and peace. This shelter of bricks and mortar hints the ever-presence of the sanctuary of divine Love. How may we enter this spiritual sanctuary? Through the doorway of prayer and earnest desire. You remember how Jesus cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple, and upbraided them, saying: "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." What are the thieves which must be cast out, and kept out, in order that we may abide in holiness and health, in love and harmony? These thieves are many suggestions of fear, sickness, and sin: and they are always unreal, unworthy, and powerless. Through the holiness, the joyousness, and the continuity of your own reflection of God, good, you may always abide in His love and care. "The Lord is in his holy temple," the prophet writes; "let all the earth keep silence before him." In proportion as erroneous belief is silenced in human consciousness, the same Christ-power is felt as when, after the temple was cleansed, we read that "the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." We can all meet with this one Christ in the temple of purified consciousness. All, without exception, may abide in this temple or consciousness of peace, joy, and love, hearing always the melody and harmony of Spirit. St. Paul's appeal knocks gently at your mental doorway, saying: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you"?
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, March 3, 1928.]