Christian Science: Godís Law of Freedom and Dominion
William Duncan Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
William Duncan, Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Mich., lectured on "Christian Science: God's Law of Freedom and Dominion," at Cadle Tabernacle Monday night under auspices of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis. Mr. Kilpatrick is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. He was introduced by Miss Helen Harney and his lecture follows substantially as it was given:
In the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke it is reported that Jesus sent seventy of his disciples out into the world to practice the science which he had been teaching them. According to the narrative, the seventy returned unto him with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." To which Jesus replied, "Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." By which, of course, he meant that they were to rejoice not so much over the works that they did as over the fact that they had the spiritual understanding to do them. In those few words Jesus emphasized the fact that one's spiritual understanding - that is, the understanding of God and man's relation to God - is a necessary prerequisite to the overcoming of material conditions, and that the inevitable consequence of such understanding or right thinking is, among other things, individual dominion over materiality. We can but infer, therefore, from his statements that the principal purpose of our great Master's career was to endow men with that mental equipment or spirituality which would enable them to conform to his injunction to do the works that he did without restriction or limitation.
Jesus' words and works proved not only the supremacy of spiritual understanding in connection with things material, but they proved that as one grows in the understanding of God and God's spiritual universe one's individual ability to control the material or the unreal is correspondingly enlarged and perfected. Jesus taught that spiritual understanding is a necessary foundation for all Christian endeavor; that the spiritual is the real, and matter, or the material, is unreal, because not of God; and that, therefore, as the spiritual gains ascendancy in our concept of creation, to that extent are we able to bring out in our individual experiences a more harmonious materiality. That is before we can mentally eliminate all matter as he did we must be able, through our understanding of God and God's creation, to control and regulate our concept of the material.
This does not involve, in any sense, the use of what is known as will-power, or the operation of the carnal mind over matter. The carnal mind and matter, as we shall see, are one, and therefore one could not be used as a corrective of the other. The material and all the inharmonies of human existence were shown by Jesus to be but products of wrong thought, or the absence of a right comprehension of God. Through the correct understanding of God as explained in Christian Science we gradually learn how to bring into our thinking and our lives the harmony and sublimity of the divine, and through the influence of the divine in our thinking our outlook and our lives are brightened and purified. As our thinking is brought into obedience to God, our living and our environment become spiritual and purified, and therefore instead of regulating and controlling the material through the operation of the human will or the carnal mind, we are bringing out peace, harmony, and happiness through the operation of God in our consciousness. We are ruling out the inharmonies of wrong thinking by the substitution of the divine in thought. It is God in consciousness who does the work.
As explained by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, on pages 217 and 218 of her book, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" we read: ďAn improved belief is one step out of error, and aids in taking the next step and in understanding the situation in Christian Science. . . Jesus demonstrated the divine Principle of Christian Science when he presented his material body absolved from death and the grave.Ē Jesus' demonstrations of the spiritual over the material advanced in an ascending scale of importance, so that his final accomplishment was the complete individual elimination of all material conditions, even the individual elimination of a material world and a material body. This complete and final victory over the world and the flesh we have been wont to term his "ascension"; but before this final accomplishment of complete spirituality, Jesus established the indisputable fact that all matter is but carnal thought objectified, and that, therefore, through the application of the spiritual in our thinking, we are able, to that extent, to exclude the carnal, and thus present a more harmonious material concept. On page 177 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science, by Mary Baker Eddy, we read, "Matter or body, is but a false concept of mortal mind;" and on page 591 of the same book Mrs. Eddy tells us that matter is "another name for mortal mind." Obviously, then, the less of the mortal we express in our thinking and the more of the spiritual we entertain the more harmonious becomes our concept of the material. Thus Jesus demonstrated that he could control and regulate, through the Christ, the condition of his body as well as of the world about him, thereby presenting to humanity a more harmonious material existence as proof of his spirituality. As St. Paul puts it, where he says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Jesus' first recorded proof of the supremacy of the spiritual in connection with the material occurred at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, when he turned the water into wine. The miracles or demonstrations of Jesus thereafter proceeded in an ascending scale of importance, and included healing of all manner of sickness, dementia, leprosy, broken bones, withered limbs; stilling of tempests; calming the waters of a storm-swept sea; the instantaneous transportation of a ship across the sea of Galilee; his disappearance from the midst of an angry and threatening throng; the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; discernment of the unexpressed thoughts and intents of others; passing through closed doors; the overcoming of material lack; the elimination of space; and the overcoming of death, not only for others but for himself, - all of which were for your and my guidance in working out our individual salvation from the material. Every step taken by Jesus in his brief career must sooner or later be taken by you and me, in one way or another, and not death itself will relieve us of this necessity nor hasten the hour of its accomplishment.
The discovery of Christian Science, or scientific Christianity, by Mary Baker Eddy, in 1866, advanced the accepted concept, of the Master's mission from a mere system of human ethics - the ultimate of which was the condemnation and destruction of sin through the questionable doctrine of vicarious suffering - to the larger and fuller apprehension of his life-mission to include a method of individual control over sin, sickness, and all material conditions, thereby endowing humanity with that broader view of the spiritual and eternal which rules matter out of the realm of the real and invests mankind with complete dominion over things mundane.
As we begin to glimpse the full import of Christian Science, - what it has brought to mankind; the light it has thrown on the sacred Scriptures; the freedom it promises and brings to a suffering, sinful, poverty-stricken world, - we begin in some degree to comprehend and appreciate the meaning and colossal importance to humanity of the life of Mrs. Eddy. No influence since the time of Jesus of Nazareth has been felt throughout Christendom as has the life-work of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Her life and her writings are filling the hearts of a sick and weary world with hope and joy. Her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is the most widely read book in the world today outside the Bible. In fact, it is a book which has given back to a starved humanity the Holy Bible in all its purity of purpose, and is indispensable to a right comprehension of that sacred book in connection with one's study of Christian Science. In Science and Health may be found the key which unlocks the secrets of Jesus' wonderful accomplishments, whereby we too may take up the cross as did he, and don the crown of spiritual endeavor.
The religious error of the centuries has been a circumscribed, localized, and humanly personalized concept of God; and this in spite of a Bible so filled with exact statements as to God and His nature that it would seem almost humanly impossible for anyone familiar with Bible teachings to go as far astray as erudite theology has gone in its concepts and conclusions about God.
In the twentieth chapter of the book of Exodus we find this most illuminating and unequivocal command: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them;" which, of course, not only includes a ban against the worship of idols or images but includes, also, a ban against the worship of any likeness, either mental or material, of which an image or an idol might be a supposed counterpart or replica. In other words, an idol or an image could not possibly represent or express the God which mankind should worship. God could not only not be an image, but an image or an idol could not represent God. If, then, we are holding in thought a humanly personal or circumscribed God as the object of our devotions; if we are worshiping a God which we mentally pattern in the similitude or likeness of a human being; in fact, if we are worshiping a finite God, - a God who could be represented or depicted by outlines, boundaries, or form, - are we not disobeying this sacred, unmistakable, and unavoidable command?
If God is not something of a finite or circumscribed nature; if He is not a humanly conceived God, what is He? What does the Bible tell us about Him? It would be a rather useless procedure for the Bible to tell us so definitely what God is not, and then leave us to blind conjecture to determine what He is or what He is like. Jesus, the best authority we have stated in no mistakable terms exactly what God is and how we are to worship Him. Jesus said that God is Spirit, and, "They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Now what does the term "Spirit" here signify? Does it signify something that is humanly devised, humanly circumscribed, pictured, or patterned? Does it signify anything that could be localized, limited, or outlined? No indeed. It signifies something that is infinite; something that fills all space; something that is everywhere, in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances and conditions. It signifies essence or ever-presence, in contradistinction to that which might be conceived of as outlined, humanly formed or placed. It signifies something even more infinite and ever present than the very air we breathe. Would you attempt to make a graven image or likeness of something that fills all space? Could you, in fact, conceive of such an image or likeness?
This all-embracing term "Spirit" as signifying God includes many synonymous terms used by other Bible writers to define God, such as the term "Life." In the book of Deuteronomy we are told that God is Life. If God is Life and God is Spirit, Life, then, must be spiritual, filling all space and ever present. One would not think of making a graven image or likeness of Life.
St. John furnishes us with another synonym for this infinite God in the term "Love." St. John plainly states that God is Love. Now just how anyone could think of making a graven image or likeness of Love I do not know. Yet this is practically what men have been doing for ages: trying to localize, finitize, materialize, and humanly personalize a God who is Love. Love is something that you and I must express in thought, is it not? John did not say that God is a loving God. He said that God is Love itself, and there is no other way in human experience that a God who is Love could be expressed or realized except in individual thought.
St. Paul uses another term to define this infinite God where he refers to Him as Mind - as the Mind which was in Christ Jesus. The term "Mind'' thus used by St. Paul to define God must indicate a Mind which is infinite, which fills all space, and which is ever present and ever available. This Mind could not be circumscribed or confined to a brain or a skull; it must be unlimited and unconfined. God as Mind must be a God which is intelligence, and this intelligence must be ever present, filling all space, and ever available. It must include all deific and divine qualities, such as love, patience, kindness, purity, honesty, and so forth, none of which could be expressed or realized in any way but in thought. An infinite Mind which is God must have existed throughout all time, regardless of persons or localities, and could only find expression through the thinking of individuals. One would not think of making a graven image or picture of a Mind which fills all space.
Thus we see that the Bible not only tells us what God is not, but it tells us in no unequivocal terms just exactly what God is, what His nature is, and how He is to be explained or realized by man.
In the first chapter of Genesis we find that man is created in the image and likeness of God. It is obvious that this image or likeness could not be unlike God; otherwise it would not be an image or likeness. If God is Mind and Life and Love and Spirit, and so forth, then man must be the exact image of Spirit and Mind and Life and Love. Man could not include one element of materiality, because Spirit is infinite and fills all space. Man could not include one element of mortality or death, because Life knows no such thing as death. Man could not include one element of hate, because Love fills all space and knows naught but love. Man could not include one element of evil, because God is good and knows no sin. Man could not include one element of ignorance or spiritual barrenness, because Mind or God is all the intelligence there is, and this divine intelligence is conscious of nothing but the spiritual.
This infinite Mind, which is God, must have some medium of expression, and the only medium of expression that Mind or divine intelligence could possibly have would be through idea. Divine intelligence, for instance, must be expressed through you and me in our thinking, and this thinking, to conform to St. Paul's injunction to have that Mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus, must consist in expressing ideas which have their inception in the Mind which is God, and not in ourselves. Take, for example, love. You and I may express love in our thinking. That love is not something which you and I - have created or which has originated within us. It is something you and I have appropriated from that inexhaustible supply of Love or divine Mind or intelligence. Love has always existed. As there is but one God, and as God is Love, there could not possibly be more than one Love. So the Love which you and I express in our thinking comes to us from without. It comes to us from the one infinite intelligence, and is expressed through you and me as idea. Kindness, patience, tenderness, gentleness, are all ideas of Love. Now, ideas are the only sons and daughters that Mind or intelligence has. Therefore these ideas, resident in individual consciousness, or thinking, constitute man. Man as a son of God must be an idea, a compound idea, of that divine intelligence or Mind which is God. God is Mind or divine intelligence, existing in infinity outside human consciousness. This Mind is evidenced or expressed through ideas. These ideas, existing in their entirety outside human consciousness, constitute the Christ. When these ideas, or the Christ, wholly displace false carnal beliefs in human consciousness they reveal and constitute the individuality of man, or the true man, the man of God's creating.
So the man of God's creating is not made up of flesh and blood and bones; he is not subject to birth, growth, maturity, and death. He is co-eternal and co-existent with God, dwelling as a divine idea in the consciousness of the Mind creating him. He is idea - divine, pure, indestructible, eternal; never subject to matter or the vagaries of matter; never fallen; never subject to sin, sickness, poverty, want, unhappiness, or death. To the extent that you and I admit into our consciousness and express in thought those ideas which constitute the Christ, those ideas which are the sons of God, to that extent, and to that extent only, are we becoming God's children and bringing ourselves under God's eternal laws of health, happiness, freedom, and spirituality. Love, kindness, obedience to good, spirituality in thought, purity, honesty, forgiveness, forbearance, patience, and the like, are all children of God, and you and I may avail ourselves of their blessing to just the extent that we admit and entertain them in individual consciousness. We have the privilege, here and now, of availing ourselves of our sonship with God, depending entirely on our method of thinking and nothing else.
What say you then, of this material man, this man of flesh and blood and bones, this Adam-man? Who made him? What of his beginning and what of his end? What of this world into which he is born, in which he lives, and out of which he thinks he dies? As the creation of spiritual man, or God's man, is recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, so the second chapter of Genesis is accredited with the account of the creation of this matter-man, this Adam-man, and this second and material account of the creation of man pictures him as the product of a mist or a mystification or a misunderstanding. This term "mist" is referred to in other parts of the Bible by other names, such as the "covering cast over all people," and "the veil that is spread over all nations," spoken of in Isaiah. In Hebrews, this term "veil" is used as a synonym for the flesh. In other parts of the Bible we find the terms darkness and ignorance used in place of the term "mist" or ďveil." St. Paul, in referring to the material, uses the term "carnal mind" in place of the term "mist." Therefore, our only conclusion, is that material existence is not a product of God or intelligence, but is the outcome of the lack of intelligence or Mind, God; in other words, the material is a state of non-intelligence, or no intelligence, which in its last analysis is unconsciousness. Mrs. Eddy refers to material existence as a dream in which the dream and dreamer are one. The process, then, of awakening from this state of unconsciousness into our true and spiritual state of existence involves putting off the material and putting on the spiritual. Referring to this material man, whose origin is described in the second chapter of Genesis, Isaiah said, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Job, referring to this material man, this man of flesh and blood and bones, this Adam-man, said: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not." Peter said of him, "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." Jesus said, "The flesh [that is, this man of flesh and blood and bones; this Adam-man] profiteth nothing." Thus we find that the writers in the Bible do not attach much sanctity to the creation or perpetuation of this mortal man - this Adam-man. He certainly is not a child of God. He is not even a fallen child of God who subsequently may regain a state of original perfection. He never enjoyed a state of perfection, nor have any of his ancestors or forbears enjoyed a state of perfection from which they have fallen. God's man could not be unlike God. He could not sin any more than God could sin. He could not have fallen unless God had fallen. He could not be sick; he could not be poverty-stricken; he could not be material any more than God could be sick or poverty-stricken or material.
How to account for this mortal sense of man; how to escape from all the direful consequences which the belief in his reality brings us; and how to claim and appropriate to ourselves our God-given heritage of freedom and dominion as children of God, is explained to us in Christian Science. Just as God is ever present Mind or divine intelligence, existing outside our individual consciousness, awaiting admission thereto through our individual thinking, so, what St. Paul has called the carnal mind, that which is referred to as the "mist" or the "veil," counterfeiting the divine at every point, claims existence as one mind outside mortal man or human consciousness, awaiting admission thereto. Just as we admit the divine into thought at our own will or volition, so do we admit the carnal into thought at our own will or volition. As divine ideas are not emanations of brain or of the individual, so carnal thoughts are not emanations of brain or the individual. In either case - the case of divine ideas or the case of carnal thoughts - they are all expressed through man in consciousness or thinking. So thinking may be said to be the process of accepting into consciousness or rejecting from consciousness divine ideas or carnal thoughts, rather than the process of creating or originating either.
As the reflection of divine ideas through man constitutes spiritual existence, without any taint of matter or materiality, sin, sickness, or death, so the expression of carnal thoughts in individual consciousness or thinking constitutes our material concept of existence - this world of matter and this man of flesh. Matter and the material world, including mortal man, with all his sin, his sickness, his poverty, his want, and his woe, exist, not because of any creative power of their own, but because of the existence of the carnal in individual thought.
This carnal mind, so called, in its attempted counterfeit of the spiritual, contains all the elements of evil, and these elements of thought admitted to individual consciousness result in individual material existence. Because of the supposed existence of the carnal mind in your and my thinking - or the absence of the divine - we are conscious of matter. The material world is simply the carnal mind expressed in individual consciousness, and therefore must be a counterfeit world. You and I, for instance, think in terms of the carnal mind; this carnal thinking in turn is objectified as matter. Thus matter has no more substance than thought, because matter is thought. The process of material existence is something after this fashion: first, the carnal mind claiming existence outside of human consciousness or thinking; secondly, the admission to your and my consciousness of carnal thoughts coming from this so-called mind; thirdly, the individual objectification of these carnal thoughts as matter. Your and my material world are simply the individual objectification of carnal thoughts which you and I admit into consciousness from this one so-called carnal mind which claims existence outside of mortal man. Therefore, your world and my world are individual and separate; that is, your world is the individual objectification of carnal thoughts which you admit into your consciousness from without, and my world is the individual objectification of carnal thoughts which I admit into my consciousness. Consequently, each of us makes his own individual world by his own individual thinking, and therefore there must be as many material concepts of existence as there are individuals, and each material concept of existence must be a counterfeit of the true and spiritual - the infinite.
The material does not exist outside your and my thinking. It exists in and because of our thinking. On page 67 of "Retrospection and Introspection" Mrs. Eddy furnishes us with this most illuminating explanation, where she says, "Sin [that is, the carnal mind] existed as a false claim before the human concept of sin was formed." Now what is the human concept of sin, or the carnal mind? Why, matter or material existence. "Hence," she says, "one's concept of error [or the carnal] is not the whole of error," explaining, of course, that the carnal exists outside human consciousness and becomes a part of one's conscious existence only to the extent that it is admitted to individual thinking. Then she goes on to say in this same article, "The human thought does not constitute sin, but vice versa, sin constitutes the human or physical concept;" that is, the carnal mind does not originate in individual thinking, but, comes from without, and this carnal mind admitted to thought or consciousness constitutes our physical concept of existence. "Sin is both concrete and abstract," she goes on to say; that is, error or the carnal mind exists in its abstract state as one so-called mind outside human consciousness without physical evidence, but when it is admitted to human consciousness it becomes concrete or individual, that is, material. So the carnal mind becomes active in individual thinking. Therefore, each individual concept of material existence must, of necessity, be separate and distinct from every other individual concept of existence.
The five physical senses are mental objectifications of the carnal mind; therefore, we are not conscious of matter because we see, feel, taste, smell, or hear matter. We are conscious of matter because seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing are creations of thought. We do not see with our eyes or hear with our ears, even from a material point of view. We see, feel, taste, smell, and hear with our thinking. An unconscious man, for instance, is possessed of all his material faculties, and yet he cannot see, feel, taste, smell, or hear a thing. He doesn't even know that he has a material body, and he can't begin to see, feel, taste, smell, or hear again until he begins to think again. And further than that, someone else may do our seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing for us; that is, we may be made to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear what someone else thinks. Take, for example, the operations of the hypnotist. I have seen a hypnotist take possession of the mentality of another to the extent that the victim could be made to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear anything the hypnotist might mentally suggest. I have seen the victim of a hypnotist be made to suffer intense physical pain when no bodily injury had been inflicted; and I have seen such a victim become perfectly oblivious to bodily injuries, pin-pricks and needle thrusts at the suggestion of the hypnotist. I have seen subjects of hypnotism be made to think that they were enjoying the extreme pleasure of swimming when there was no water in sight. I have seen them 1isten intently and with extreme delight to the strains of beautiful music which did not exist. I have seen them enjoy a banquet in the absence of a particle of food. In fact, I have seen individuals so completely dispossessed of their own power to think that their seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing have been exclusively that of someone else. They have seen, felt, tasted, heard, and smelled the thoughts of another, a fact which not only proves that we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear our own thoughts, or thoughts only, but which proves also that our thinking is not done through the medium of brain, and that the operation of thinking is of such an indeterminate nature that someone else may take complete possession of our physical senses and do our seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing for us.
All our experiences of life exist in our own consciousness. All the sin, the sickness, the poverty, the want, the woe, the unhappiness of mortal living exist only in and as a consequence of the carnal mind entertained in individual consciousness. All happiness, joy, love, purity, holiness, freedom, abundance, true health, and harmony exist in the divine Mind or God, and become a part of our conscious existence to the extent that this Mind finds an abiding place in our thinking. So, do you not see how completely within our own control are our own lives and experiences? Every material condition has its spiritual opposite in Spirit or God, and as the material is quite obviously the product of our own erroneous thinking, do you not see how we may begin to change our material picture for good by gradually excluding the carnal, from thought and substituting in place thereof the divine or spiritual? Material existence may be likened to the canvas of an artist. With the brush of carnal thoughts we paint our material picture of existence with all the experiences of life. We paint into that picture, matter, grief, sorrow, want, lack, unhappiness, poverty, hate, greed, selfishness, fear, strife, dishonesty, impurity, loss - all of the phases of the carnal mind. Nothing ugly, harmful, or discordant can come into that picture, that is not made possible by the carnal in our individual consciousness, and nothing can erase from that picture these dark images of thought but the divine entertained in human consciousness.
Our picture as it now exists is a world of matter filled with sin, grief, regrets, sorrows, failures, mistakes, want, workless and helpless men, broken homes, shattered fortunes, crippled businesses, disappointments, misunderstandings, disagreements, jealousies, hatreds, suspicions, trickery, treachery, occultism, secret mental manipulation, passions, false appetites, and the like. All of these exist in the individual picture which you and I have painted with our brushes of carnal thoughts. All these exist in our individual worlds because of the carnal which exists in our individual thinking. So, do you not see that our remedy for individual freedom from all these ills lies, not in changing the world's thought, not in changing material conditions or manifestations, but in changing, by the influx of the divine, our individual thinking?
For every untoward, harmful, ugly, and baneful incident, experience, or circumstance in our individual picture, there is a corrective, alterative and obliterating spiritual idea which, if admitted to and entertained in individual consciousness, will, to that extent, change and brighten our individual pictures of existence. For every hate there is an idea of love. For every argument of unhappiness there is the panacea of joy. For every ill there are God's ideas of perfection and health. For every want there is the idea of God's abundance; for death there is Life; for false appetites there is the idea of completeness and satisfaction; for dishonesty there is honesty; for impurity there is spirituality; for inharmony there is harmony; for strife and misunderstanding there is the one Mind; for selfishness and greed there is ever-present abundance and fulfillment: for matter there is Spirit.
We paint into our pictures exactly what we hold in thought, and just as the artist changes his canvas by a stroke of the brush here and there, painting out the shadows with the sunshine, the gloom with the light, the rough places with the traceries of harmony, so each one of us may paint and regulate his own world and experiences for good by refusing to admit the carnal into thought and by tracing on his world canvas only those pure and exalting ideas which he knows come from God, and which, when allowed place in consciousness, obliterate the dark and unpleasant aspects of the mortal picture and brighten it with the sunlight of God.
If we would have a world filled with love, happiness, harmony, contentment, abundance, success, and joy, you and I must make it so. Each of us creates and lives in his own individual world. If we would have our world filled with love, you and I must put the love there. If we would have our world filled with joy and happiness, you and I must put the joy and happiness there. If we would experience abundance, we must not think in terms of poverty. If we would enjoy health, we must not think in terms of matter. No one else, no outside condition or influence, can make for sorrow or happiness in our individual world. Each one of us experiences and takes out of existence just and only what he puts into it. Our world will not contain anything of love for us if our consciousness is filled with hate and criticism. Our world will not contain anything of joy or happiness for us if our own thoughts are those of worry and sin. Our world will not contain anything of abundance and success for us if our own thoughts are those of fear, penury, and lack.
We think ourselves into the kingdom of heaven. We never enter heaven through the doorway of death. Death is a part of that carnal mind which brings sin and suffering and pain and want and woe. Death, the Bible tells us, is the work of the devil, and one would not hope to gain heaven with the tools of satan. Right thinking or spiritual thinking, is prayer. Right thinking is the process of mental purification, and mental purification rules out of thought all that has to do with the carnal - all sin, sickness, and death. Heaven is that state of consciousness which harbors no trace of the material - no element of the carnal.† Hence, right thinking or mental purification leads to heaven, and Paul's demand to "pray without ceasing" becomes a paramount and constant necessity.
So, do you not see how regulatory our right thinking becomes; how by bringing God into our lives, by admitting divine ideas into consciousness, we bring good into our daily experiences? Our material world at its best is but the carnal in thought objectified, and therefore, the substitution of divine ideas in our thinking must eliminate some of the carnal in our world, and in place of the carnal establish the divine and harmonious. Our material world is an inharmonious one to you and me only because of the inharmony in our own thinking. As fast as you and I can bring into thought the harmony of the divine, just so fast will materiality lose its inharmonious aspects and assume the aspects of peace and harmony. When we can so fill consciousness with the divine that we can see our brother man as Jesus saw him, we will not come in contact with dishonesty, trickery, or hate in our everyday life. To the extent that we through our own pure thinking see man as God's child, to that extent does he cease to be dishonest, untruthful, and hateful to us. So, do you not see what a powerful instrument for good we have with us always, and how our right and pure thinking constitutes an impregnable armor of protection from all the evil influences and forces claiming existence in the realm of the material?
Thus we begin to understand that our mental attitude toward others is governed not so much by our concern for the welfare of others as by our concern for our own welfare. If we cannot see our brother man as God's child, free from sin, sickness, poverty, and the like, we certainly cannot expect to eliminate these conditions from our own experiences. Jesus did not admonish us to love our neighbor as ourselves so much on account of our neighbor as on account of ourselves. Jesus knew that in the proportion that we see our neighbor as a perfect child of God, unfettered by sin, sickness, and poverty, in that proportion are we overcoming those conditions in our own individual consciousness and experience. And thus do we realize the necessity of protecting our own thinking at all times and under all conditions. In the material picture which we paint with the brushes of mortal or carnal thought we must understand that one wrong thought held in consciousness affects the entire picture, and that we cannot hope to bring out harmony in any of our experiences if wrong thought exists in one particular. That is, one wrong thought in consciousness has the uncomfortable and inevitable faculty of affecting the entire picture, just as a wrong stroke of the brush in the hand of the artist may mar the entire aspect of the painted canvas.
Hate, malice, impatience, dishonesty, and so forth, toward one person or one thing in our lives, even though our mental attitude towards all other persons and things be ideal, will affect our entire mortal picture and will bring inharmony into everything we undertake. And just as one wrong thought works ill in our entire material picture, so one right idea held in consciousness will change the entire picture for good and the more of God we entertain in consciousness, the more harmonious and sublime becomes our mortal, material picture, our lives and our daily experiences. I have known a failing or a bankrupt business to be revived and resuscitated by the correction of an erroneous or inharmonious condition in the home. I have known nothing in all my experience that tends to business failure more certainly than inharmony in the home. The same rule applies to all departments of human existence. A lady I know had been suffering for some years from a very pronounced and painful tumor. At a Christian Science lecture she gained a clear spiritual understanding of a certain passage of Scripture. This clear understanding operating in her consciousness healed her almost instantaneously of that tumor, although the particular passage of Scripture had nothing to do specifically with tumor or with healing. This but illustrates in a degree how Truth or right ideas operating in individual consciousness affect, alter, and heal that which needs correcting in the mortal picture which the carnal mind has painted for us.
Every carnal thought expressed as a material object, every carnal thought expressed by word of mouth, every carnal thought which comes to your and my consciousness, comes by way of mental suggestion. That which you and I feel, see, taste, smell, or hear through the material senses is simply a suggestion of the carnal mind. There is nothing in material existence but thought, and these thoughts, no matter whether they appear as persons, places, things, or thoughts, stand constantly at the door of consciousness knocking for admission, and the admission of these thoughts creates that carnal consciousness which expresses itself as a material world. The very atmosphere is surcharged with mortal or carnal suggestions, crowding for admission into individual consciousness, and it is only through spiritual understanding that we gain the acumen whereby we may distinguish the true from the false and thereby throw about us that wall of protection which proves a sure defense from all evil influences.
Thought is the most potent and tangible thing in the material world, whether it be expressed as matter or unrecognizable by the physical senses, and unless one is instructed in the ways of true holiness and spiritual understanding, one becomes the puppet and slave of all the evil and hidden influences of carnal existence. Many evil influences exist in the realm of the mental to which individuals become victims and subject without their knowledge or consent because they are not instructed in and familiar with the power and potency of the divine. When one learns of the omnipotence of divine ideas and understands how to distinguish the divine from the carnal, then one, through his alliance with God by right and pure thinking, ceases to become a victim of the mental and evil suggestions and influences which today are handling and manipulating the thoughts and consciousness of humanity through directed mental suggestion.
So, do you not see that our deliverance from all the worries, the cares, the poverty, and the misery of mortal living lies with God? My friends, bring Him into your consciousness. Make Him a part of your conscious existence, your life and your being, and He will be your "very present help in time of trouble." Having that Mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus is praying with God. Pray constantly. Never cease your constant, conscious communion
†with Him whom "to know aright is Life eternal". (Science and Health, p. vii). "Be instant in season," and out. Cherish and guard those silent, consecrated moments you spend with Him. They are worth more to you than untold riches and the beguiling joys and pleasures of the flesh. Lengthen your moments of silent and reverent prayer with Him into hours - hours of holy, sanctified communion. Know God as you would a dear friend. Know Him as your Mother and your Father. Talk with Him. Think with Him. Your moments and hours of holy contemplation of God, and with God, will bring to you unknown and unthought of blessings; they will bring a comfort, a conviction, a peace that nothing else can. Your hours of silent prayerful thought will be to you "Immanuel" - "God with us" - and will infold you in the love, the compassion, the care, and the guidance of His infinite and omnipotent wisdom.
His Christ is here and now pleading for asylum with you. Let him in, welcome him, cherish and hold him. He is saying to you in the words of St. John: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;" and, "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, date unknown.]