Godís Answer to Humanityís Cry for Freedom
William Duncan Kilpatrick, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
It is thought by many that the days of revelation are past: that is, that the phenomenon of a revelation from God to man belongs to olden times − to Bible times − and that such a revelation is a thing not to be considered as a present-day possibility. If God is looked upon as a far-away, unknown, humanly circumscribed personality, revealed to man only after death, then, of course, this conclusion is natural, but when God is known and understood to be what the Bible says He is, namely, infinite, ever-present Love, divine Mind, expressed through man in divine consciousness, a revelation from God becomes a most natural experience. We often hear the expression, "the power of a right idea." What is a right idea? Whence comes it? And how is it apprehended? As God is quite universally admitted to be the author and creator of all good, every good or spiritual idea must come from God, and when a good or spiritual idea is borne in upon the consciousness of any individual that must be a revelation of God, or from God, to that particular individual, whether that same truth has been revealed to others or not. As Jesus so clearly explains it in his wonderful Sermon on the Mount, "The pure in heart . . . shall see God," the "pure in heart" are, of course, those who think in terms of purity. Therefore, those whose thoughts are dwelling on things good and spiritual, or, as the Psalmist puts it, "in the secret place of the Most High," are seeing God. All here, then, are capable of seeing God or receiving a revelation direct from God, in the proportion that their thoughts become pure and spiritual. As often as the truth about God or God's kingdom is borne in upon your consciousness just so often are you receiving a revelation direct from God.
Mary Baker Eddy
Probably the most striking example
before the world today of "the power of a right idea," or revelation
from God, is the great movement of Christian Science. This movement with its
many avenues and channels for accomplishing the purpose for which it was
destined, namely, the salvation of humanity from the bondage of sin, sickness,
unhappiness, misery, poverty, degradation, and the like, may be said to be the
outcome of a right idea revealed to the consciousness of one lone, God-fearing
woman in the year 1866. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of
Christian Science, was born and reared among the rugged hills of
From this revelation of Truth to Mrs. Eddy has come the Manual of The Mother Church, which provides for a church organization and government which is strikingly unique. From this revelation has come The Christian Science Publishing Society with its many publications − Christian Science missionaries − going into all parts of the world with their message of truth, good will, healing and happiness. Some of these publications are, The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine printed in English; the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly periodical, in English; The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper which within a few brief years, has immeasurably promoted the cause of clean journalism; Der Herold der Christian Science, a monthly magazine published in German and Le Heraut, a monthly magazine, published in French.† These are but a few of the fruits of a right idea revealed to the consciousness of Mary Baker Eddy in the year 1866, and given to the world by her in the year 1875, in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and subsequently in her other writings on the same subject. When one stops to consider that but a little over a half century ago there was but one Christian Scientist in all the world; when one pauses to contemplate the wonderful growth of Christian Science and its marvelous accomplishments in healing the sick, the sinning, and the sorrowing in the few years which have elapsed since its discovery, could there be any doubt that the revelation which came to Mary Baker Eddy, in the year 1866, was from God?
Humanity's Desire for Light Brought Christian Science
And wherein lies the secret of the phenomenal growth of Christian Science? There must be a reason. The world, for many centuries, had seemed content with a religion which placed its hopes for man's salvation in the far distant future. It seemed satisfied in its contemplation of a far-away, unknown, unknowable, and unapproachable God. It was quite content in the belief that God sends suffering to His children. It was satisfied in the thought of a heaven obtainable only through death. It was firm in the conviction that God makes a man sick and then abandons him to the hopeless agency of ever-changing, speculative, human theories to gain his health. It was satisfied to cloak its hope for future happiness in the mysticism and superstition of creeds, dogma, pomp, ceremony, ritualism, and the like. It had not seriously thought of a present-day salvation and freedom from sickness, poverty, sorrow, and death through prayer and spiritual understanding, because it had been taught and believed that all salvation must come after death. It had never believed the statement in the Bible that death is the enemy of man and not an open door to the kingdom of heaven. It had not clearly sensed what Jesus meant when he said that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" that is, here and now, and not afar off, and that heaven is within us − within the realm of consciousness or right thinking. It had not understood those words of Jesus "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." The Bible had evidently been read only with eyes that saw not. Too many had delegated their religious reading and thinking to others with most disappointing consequences.
But there came a change and men gradually began to think for themselves, to reason for themselves, and to demand the why's and wherefore's of those things which they had theretofore taken for granted. They began to ask a reason for things, and reason was not in that which they had believed in the past. Men were eager to believe the Bible, − always have been eager to believe the Bible, − but the time was rapidly approaching when they would have to be convinced by something more than mere conjectural promises.† Revelation, with its enlightenment, brought the human cry for freedom − freedom from the bondage, more of erroneous beliefs and religious superstitions than anything else. In human consciousness there has ever burned a spark of true Christianity, or the Christ, which had been gradually, though at times very slowly, growing into brighter effulgence.† This gleam of the Christ in human thinking has steadily brought to mankind the longing for the full light of Truth which would make men free physically and morally, and when, through this growth in spiritual thinking, mankind was prepared to receive this light, it broke forth in all its beauty, power, and grandeur in the wonderful discovery of Mary Baker Eddy. And thus came Christian Science.
A brief experience in my life, if you will permit me to relate it, may illustrate what Christian Science has meant too many. In my early youth I experienced what was termed "salvation."† I joined the church of my fathers, subscribed to the church creed, and took part in all the church activities. Like most others, I never questioned as to what my salvation consisted of, or just how it was to be accomplished. I was anxious to be saved, and joining the church seemed to be the accepted method. My impression was that the process of joining the church, the public acknowledgment of my "belief" in Christianity, and the good efforts of the minister would accomplish my salvation. Salvation, it seemed to me, rested with the church and its ministers rather than with the individual. Time went on, and, as is generally the case in the life of most men, when I became a little more settled in thought − when I had seen a little more, observed a little more, learned a little more − I naturally began to do a little thinking for myself, I began to wonder what I had been saved from. I had never become a serious sinner; nevertheless I was not free in my thought that I had been saved from sin. Of course, I could fool the world into believing that I had been saved from sin, but I could not fool myself. I was tempted to sin just as much as my brother who had never joined the church. Finally, I came to the firm conviction that I had never been saved from sin, and that there was no man nor institution on the face of the earth who could save me from sin. I saw that my salvation rested solely with me and with no one else. Then again, I reflected, what about sickness? I was often under the care of a physician. I knew that Jesus healed the sick and said that every one who believed on him should do the same works that he did. Had not I said, on joining the church, that I "believed"? And here I was subject to all kinds of physical difficulties. The more I thought and observed, the more I became convinced that the men of my acquaintance who had never been saved were in a very much better physical, moral, and financial condition than I. And so my thoughts and observations led to the conclusion that I had not been saved from any of the things which men would like to be, and should be, saved from.
When I took my problems to those who should have been spiritually enough enlightened to solve them I was told that all such questions would be answered in the life beyond the grave. I was told that there are many things that it is not given us to know here, but that if we will stand firm in the faith and believe, all our questions will be answered in the great hereafter. Well, that was a little too vague for me, a little too much like guesswork and I did not like guesswork. Inasmuch as I was in about as good a position to foresee what might happen after I left this vale of tears as any other man, I was not very much impressed or awed, and the more I thought and the more I enquired of those who should have known about such things, the more I became convinced that I knew as much about it all as anyone and I knew nothing at all. I became skeptical, cynical, unbelieving, and none too good.
Then came Christian Science with its offer of freedom from sin, sickness, and so forth, right here and now. A member of my family became interested in the subject by being completely healed of a very serious physical difficulty, and out of sheer curiosity I began reading the Christian Science literature which I found about the house, especially the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. I had always believed that if healing of sickness and the like was accomplished in Jesus' time, it should always be a part of Christianity. I found also that, if I were to understand Christian Science it would be necessary for me to understand more of the Bible. I found that Christian Science offers a logical, demonstrable, scientific, and most reassuring explanation of the Bible from beginning to end, and from then on, instead of being a book of mystery, contradictions, and abstractions, the Bible became a chart of life, by which, when studied in the light of Christian Science, I could work out my everyday problems, be they physical, moral, or financial. At this juncture two incidents happened which greatly stimulated my interest in the subject. One of these was furnished by a well-known local minister of the gospel who made the announcement in a local newspaper of his intentions to preach a series of sermons which would not only "expose" Christian Science but which would, in his estimation, provide its quietus, at least so far as that particular locality was concerned. I read the report of one of these sermons and immediately became more firmly set in my opinions that Christian Science was not only the truth but that it was just what I needed and intended to have.
The second little incident was that of the prosecution of a local Christian Scientist in a court of law for not employing medical aid at the time of the illness of one of his children. At this trial I heard three prominent members of the medical profession − men of my acquaintance, who had made a professional examination and diagnosis of the case − testify. The first testified that he had thoroughly examined the child and pronounced the case a most aggravated condition of diphtheria in its worst form. The second one testified that he had thoroughly examined the patient and that he found no indications of diphtheria whatever, but that it was suffering from a very severe attack of tonsillitis. The third doctor testified that he had thoroughly examined the patient and that it had neither diphtheria nor tonsillitis, but was simply suffering from a severe sore throat. Additional evidence was brought out that, in spite of the fact that the child was seriously ill with either diphtheria, tonsillitis, sore throat, or whatever it might have been it nevertheless was healed in Christian Science in a very much shorter time than any one of the diseases mentioned by the doctors could possibly have been healed, according to their own testimony, through material means.† Briefly, that was my introduction to Christian Science and I presume it is the experience, in one way or another, of thousands upon thousands who have found peace and hope and happiness in the wonderful unfoldment of truth that comes with an understanding of this vast subject.
The Cause of Humanity's Bondage
The keynote of Christian Science is "freedom" − freedom from all the inharmony of human existence, which binds mortals like bands of steel. The reason mankind is held in bondage to the thralldom of sin, sickness, poverty, sorrow, inharmony, want, woe, and the like is because men do not understand what it is that binds them with these shackles.† They have ever been truly willing to be free from these relentless human foes, but this freedom has been denied them because of their ignorance of the cause of this bondage.† The utter inability of prevalent theories, both religious and medical, to free men from sin and sickness should long ago have convinced them that they were on the wrong track, and that instead of working with the effect in view they should turn their attention to the cause. If men knew what made them sick they would know how to get well. If, for instance, sickness exists as a condition of matter, or physicality, then, of course sickness could be healed by doctoring matter. If sickness is not a condition of matter and does not have its foundation in matter then all the medication in the world would not heal it. Have material methods of medication freed the world of sickness? No. To arrive at the cause of all the inharmonies of mankind, Christian Science teaches that men must first learn of God. That is, they must learn what God is, and what man in God's image and likeness is; and this knowledge, when applied in their everyday human affairs, will not only reveal the fact that all erroneous physical effects have a mortal cause, but it will at the same time accomplish mankind's freedom from these physical effects completely and finally.
Christian Science teaches that all bondage − physical, moral, financial, or what not − has its foundation in mortal beliefs, and that therefore humanity's freedom from these conditions lies in spiritual thinking or thinking based upon God as the only Mind. It teaches also that a man can never know how to think rightly, constructively, and correctively until he learns what God is, and what man in God's image and likeness is.
The Bible teaches that God is Love; it teaches that God is Spirit; that God is Life; that God is Truth; that God is Principle, and it teaches that God is Soul. In your early concept you probably had a finite, human, limited, personally circumscribed sense of Deity.† Before Christian Science opened the Bible for me I always thought of God as a humanly circumscribed personality of which this mortal fleshly concept of man is an exact counterpart, because I had read in the Bible that God made man in His image and likeness. I had not stopped to consider that the Bible does not say that God was made in the image and likeness of this mortal man. I, like almost everyone else, had simply thought of God as the image and likeness of mortal man, instead of thinking of man in the image and likeness of God. Now, in the light of what the Bible teaches about God − that is, that God is Love and Life and Spirit − where could there possibly be any basis for the concept of God as a finite, humanly circumscribed personality? You see most of us have never taken the Bible into account. We have simply been doing our thinking along the lines of least resistance. We have believed what someone else has believed, or else we have formed our own individual concepts about God, the while we have completely ignored what the Bible teaches about God.† If there is any one thing for which I am grateful to Christian Science above everything else it is that Christian Science has made me read, study, and understand the Bible. And I have found as you may find on studying the Bible, that God is exactly what Mrs. Eddy describes Him to be in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 465), namely, "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love."
Man's Reflection of God
And how are these synonyms to be
comprehended and their meaning applied by you and me? Why, through spiritual
thinking. If God is Love, as the Bible says He is, then He must be expressed or
reflected by man in terms of love, or in loving acts.
Is it not clear to you, then, that as we give up thinking in terms which have ever held us in bondage, and in place of that behold God and man in their true light, that we are breaking these bonds and setting ourselves free from the thralldom of wrong thinking?† And is it not likewise clear that no one else can do our thinking for us, and that our freedom, our salvation, or entrance, we might say into the kingdom of heaven is purely an individual experience and that no one else can accomplish this freedom and this salvation for us?† When Jesus admonished us to love our neighbor as ourselves he was as much concerned for our welfare as he was for the welfare of our neighbor in giving us this rule of conduct.† Jesus knew that each individual has his own salvation to work out. He knew that in the proportion that we love our neighbor in that proportion are we reflecting God, or expressing God as His image and likeness, and thus becoming the children of God. It was as much on our account as on our neighbor's account that Jesus bade us love our neighbor as ourselves.
The Material Universe
"But," someone may say,
"what about this material − the material universe, the material
body, et cetera? If God did not create them who or what did?" Christian
Science shows that just as God is Spirit and God's man is spiritual, to be
found only in the realm of Spirit and Spirit's ideas, so the material − the
physical man and the material universe − are to be found in the realm of
erroneous or material concepts, − in the realm of what St. Paul has
described as the carnal mind. Christian Science teaches that all which is
cognized through the medium of the five physical senses is purely the result of
evil or false beliefs; and that in place of this mortal or unreal existence is
spiritual reality or God's creation, not cognizable through the medium of the
physical senses. It teaches further that in the proportion we cease thinking in
terms of the carnal or material, or, as St. Paul puts it, as we "put off
the old man with his deeds," and instead thereof express in our thinking
divine and eternal ideas − "put on the new man" − in that
proportion are we coming into our true heritage of freedom and dominion as
children of God. As it is put in II Corinthians, "For the things which are
seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." One of
the clearest evidences of the influence of good or spiritual thinking on
mankind generally is to be found in the growing present-day attitude of some
physical scientists in regard to matter or the material universe. One of the
most startling assertions and admissions from the pen of a physical scientist
that I have seen, appeared in an article in the
To be sure, our scientific friends have gone only part of the way. They have just discovered what Mrs. Eddy discovered over sixty years ago, namely, that the material universe, with all its sickness, its sorrow, its poverty, its want, and its woe, is the product of the carnal or mortal mind. But there they stop. They have, to be sure, gone full many a league in the line of right thinking, but Christian Science takes us still farther and instead of leaving us with a universe of misery created by the carnal mind, with no possible means of escape from all that this implies, Mrs. Eddy discovers that the real man and universe of God's creating, the man and universe whose origin is described in the first chapter of Genesis, are creations of the divine Mind, which is God, and have existence as divine ideas, and that mortal man's salvation or freedom from mortal bondage lies in substituting divine ideas for carnal beliefs.
Freedom from Sin
Christian Scientists throughout the world are daily proving that in the proportion that their consciousness is filled with the true concept of God and God's man − in the proportion that they substitute in their consciousness the true for the untrue, the spiritual for the carnal − in just that proportion are they accomplishing their freedom from the ills, the sicknesses, the cares, the want, and the poverty of mortal existence. All wrong conditions are the results of indulging in wrong beliefs, and every wrong condition, no matter how firmly the material bonds may seem to be welded maybe corrected by spiritual thinking.
Some time ago I was introduced at a lecture by the First Reader of the church for which I was lecturing. After the lecture this gentleman took me to his home for a brief chat and while there told me a most remarkable story. He said that as a young man he had been given every opportunity that one could wish for. He had had a good home, ample means, and the advantages of a thorough education. After graduating at a university he had entered the practice of law in a western city and had become very successful. He was an honored member of the bar of his state and had been elected to several positions of trust in the community in which he resided. His position as a public man brought him in contact with all classes of people, the low as well as the high and in time he became a victim of the drink habit. The habit grew, and eventually gained such control of him that he began to lose his friends, then he lost the public office to which he had been elected.† Then his private business began to fall off, and finally he found himself a pauper, with not only his friends, his business, and his money gone, but with no particle of self-respect left. He fell so low that even members of his own family cast him off and he became a wanderer, and eventually nothing better than a tramp, living from hand to mouth, sleeping wherever he could find a place to sleep, eating when he could beg food or money, going hungry much of the time, associating with the lowest class of vagrants, traveling in freight cars from place to place, a social outcast, a pariah. That was the condition to which that man had fallen when a member of his family found Christian Science. When this student learned of the freedom which an understanding of Christian Science will accomplish for men, his first thought was of this dear one, this derelict adrift on the sea of human misery. A search was made and eventually he was located. In loving earnestness and tenderness he was persuaded to take up the study of Christian Science.† He was tired of the husks of materiality upon which he had been feeding, tired of the constant fruitless struggle to be free from his own self-imposed bondage. He longed for home and his dear ones; for the touch of a loving hand. He was eager to return to his "father's house." And so, joyously he grasped at the hand which Christian Science held out to him. He began to read and study and pray. The Bible became a new book to him, a book of life indeed, and eventually, through his own efforts and those of his dear ones and the help of Christian Scientists, he was lifted out of his former self, and his footsteps were turned toward God and heaven. He was healed of the drink habit, the drug habit, various forms of sin and viciousness; his self-respect was restored; his health was restored; his position in society was regained; his friends returned to him, and he eventually gave his life to the practice of Christian Science. When I talked with him it was in his own home, one of the finest in the city in which he resided, and his sphere of usefulness was unbounded. He was healing the sick and the sinning in that community, and was doing more good than he had ever hoped to do in the heyday of his material prosperity. His healing was accomplished through the change in his consciousness, through his understanding of the true God and of his own position as a child of God. He learned that man's birthright, man's God-given inheritance, is freedom, not subjection to the relentless masters of sin, disease, appetite, poverty, misery, et cetera. He learned through his own study of Christian Science that one's fetters are welded by one's own false beliefs, and that these bonds may be unloosed and man set free by a change in consciousness − and he had not only learned this lesson but he had proved it by gaining his own freedom and by helping others to gain theirs. Could there be any greater proof of God's omnipotence?
A Thought Universe
The experience of that man, and this is but one out of thousands, is proof ample that in our material existence we live in a world of carnal consciousness, instead of a self-created world of matter, and that we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear materially just what we believe. We live in consciousness rather than in matter, and we establish our own experiences of so-called material existence in proportion as our thinking is humanly right or wrong; that is, we rise or fall in our scale of human living in the proportion we believe in good or bad. Thus, if we are believing in matter as real or a creation of God; if we are believing that sin is a pleasure and indulging sin; if we are believing that sickness is God-ordained or a condition of matter instead of a condition of mind; if we hate, if we worry, if we are fearful, selfish, revengeful, and so on, we are then on the mental level of existence where hate, worry, fear, poverty, sickness, and sin abound and we suffer not only from our own wrong beliefs but we are more or less susceptible to the beliefs of those who believe as we do. By entertaining erroneous beliefs we unite ourselves with the mortal mind beliefs of others, and consequently become more easily receptive of the sick, sinful, hateful, poverty-stricken, and miserable beliefs of the world; because, according to our scientific professor, everything we see, feel, taste, smell, or hear is the manifestation of human thinking, be it a broken bone, a cancer, a disease germ, a tornado, or a bank failure. We unite ourselves with the sick beliefs of the world by believing in sickness and materiality. We unite ourselves with the sinful beliefs of the world by believing in the pleasures of sin. We unite ourselves with the malicious or harmful thinker, the jealous or revengeful one, by ourselves hating or being malicious or jealous.
Our method of protection from malicious or vicious minds is clearly set forth by Mrs. Eddy in S&H 571:18, where she has written, "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." How does one become clad in "the panoply of Love"? Why, simply by loving. Our "panoply of Love," our protection from evil beliefs and influences, does not come from without but from within, from our individual reflection of that love which is God − omnipotence.† To the extent that we are loving rightly, to that extent are we "clad in the panoply of Love," and to that extent, and to that extent only, are we protected from the harm that would reach us from without. As Jesus has expressed it, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man;" that is, the erroneous thinking from without has no power to harm us unless our own thought barbs or permits it. Our own spiritual thinking constitutes an impregnable armor of protection from all evil.
The Human Body
By the same token we hold our
bodies in our thoughts. The human body is the manifestation of mortal thought,
and we outline on that body what
we hold in thought, be it good or bad. In fact, the mortal body is the outward
manifestation of mortal consciousness, and as our bodies are the delineations
of our false reasoning, that, likewise, which affects the body, be it sickness,
deformity, weakness, weariness, broken bones, accident, or what not, are outlines
of mortal beliefs − my mortal beliefs, your mortal beliefs, the world's
mortal beliefs for ages. As Mrs. Eddy puts it in her book, "The People's
Idea of God," pages 10, 11: "We possess our own body, and make it harmonious
or discordant according to the images that thought reflects upon it. The
emancipation of our bodies from sickness will follow the mind's freedom from
sin; and, as
It is easily proved and quite universally admitted that every function of the material body is affected by the mortal beliefs we entertain, but it is not so readily admitted, however none-the-less true, that every so-called normal function of the body, the normal action of the heart, the blood, et cetera, is a manifestation of mortal mind. Hence not one single expression of inharmony of mortal existence, be it disease, cancer, blood poisoning, broken bone, poverty, old age, crop failure, business depression, lack, or sorrow, but has its origin in mortal mind. And not one of these erroneous conditions will ever be permanently and scientifically corrected until men learn this, and learn how to know the truth correctively and constructively. As St. Paul puts it; "Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord;" that is while we conceive matter to be the creation of God or anything but a mental concept; while we are holding the body constantly in mortal thought; while we believe that God's man lives in a material body; while we are looking to the body for the issues of life, − for pleasure or pain; while we feed our mentalities on the husks of materiality, physiology, anatomy, and the like, − to just that extent are we at home in the body, and to that extent are we subjecting ourselves to the so-called ills of the flesh.† St. Paul, continuing this line of reasoning, says, "We are . . .† willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord;" that is, that in the proportion that the true sense of God, and man created in God's image and likeness, holds place in our thinking − to the extent that right thinking is replacing wrong thinking, to that extent are we absent from the body and present with the Lord. If God is Mind, as we have seen that He is, to be present with the Lord is, obviously, to reflect that Mind which is God.
Heaven and Prayer
In the light of spiritual understanding with which Christian Science endows one, the Bible takes on a new significance, and that in it which has heretofore seemed little more than a beautiful myth or an abstract reference to a future existence, becomes of vital present-day import. We find, through our understanding of God as divine Mind and man in the image and likeness of God as purely spiritual, or divinely mental, that heaven, instead of being a locality, is a divine state of consciousness which you and I may experience right here and now, in the proportion that we substitute, in consciousness, the divine for the carnal. With the understanding that the material is simply the manifestation of mortal mind consciousness and that heaven is a state of harmonious consciousness obtained through understanding the Christ, we find material existence to be but the counterfeit of spiritual existence, or heaven. That state of consciousness which we call material, with its sin, its sickness, its sorrow, its poverty, and its death, contains all of hell there is or ever will be. That state of consciousness we call spiritual existence, which is free from all materiality, contains all of heaven there is or ever will be. So the process of obtaining heaven, or of entering heaven, is one of individual right thinking. Pomp, ceremony, ritual, intercession, or what not, it must be clear, can never take the place of individual mental purification in accomplishing one's journey from earth to heaven. The process of thinking whereby we come into a clear understanding of the true God; whereby we can perceive ourselves as the image and likeness of God, − as children of God, − pure, upright, and free, unfettered by sin and mortality; whereby we can perceive all the beauties of God, the beauties of holiness, here and now, is a process of true prayer.† Prayer may well be said to be the process of mental purification whereby one establishes his present conscious unity with the Father, or the one Mind, or God, rather than a process of endeavoring to acquaint some distant, unknown, mythical deity with one's trials and tribulations.
Physical and Mental Freedom
A most convincing example of how freedom from physical bondage follows freedom from mental bondage, under the most seemingly adverse conditions, came to my notice not long since. I was in a small company of Christian Scientists where there was a young man who attracted my attention because of his clear perception of the truth as taught in Christian Science, his earnestness, his humility, and his spirituality. The question was raised there as to the wisdom or success of Christian Science endeavors in various penal institutions of the country. It was questioned as to whether or not the same amount of effort directed in other channels would not reach more people and do more general good.† On my departure this young man to whom I have referred, drove me to my hotel. On the way to the hotel he told me that he had been particularly interested in prison work conducted by Christian Scientists, and had witnessed many healings of sin and sickness through the application of Christian Science in the prisons. He said he wanted to tell me about it because of his particular and peculiar interest in the work. He said that he had helped start Christian Science work in one of the most noted criminal prisons in the United States; that he had helped organize and promote this work from the inside − as one of the prisoners. He said that he had been an inmate of that institution for some years as a life prisoner, with no possible excuse for clemency or parole. While there, a little band of Christian Scientists had come to the prison to inaugurate Sunday services and to help such as wished to be helped through the ministrations of Christian Science. In that way he had become interested in Christian Science, and through his study (and he had plenty of time for that) he began to gain a clear understanding of God and of his own status as a child of God. He began to read and understand the Bible. He began to glimpse his own true self in the light of divine Science and to sense what his birthright was as a child of God. He saw that his fetters of bondage had been forged by his own erroneous thinking, and he saw that as long as men think wrongly they are in as relentless bondage as he seemed to be, whether they are confined in prison walls or not. He began to see that one form of bondage is no less mental and no more material than any other; that the sick man, the sinful man, the fearful man, the man who believes he lives in matter or mortal body, is in no less bondage than he who believes he is held between prison walls. He began to see himself as God sees man, as God sees all of His children right here and now − pure, free, upright, and holy, unfettered by any of the bonds of mortal belief.† He began, I say, to glimpse some of these things, and as he grew in understanding and in the clear purpose to live aright, and to devote his thinking to the right, he began to lose his sense of bondage, not only of body, but of mind, and he began to feel that sense of freedom which only pure thoughts can bring. He made no effort to obtain physical freedom. His work was devoted to knowing God aright and himself aright. He began to see and comprehend what Jesus meant when he said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He saw that man's freedom depends on one's clear perception of the truths of existence. He perceived that the truth will not make us free unless we know the truth. He saw that it is the truth held in consciousness that makes free, and he knew that as soon as he could become mentally free, as soon as he could clearly perceive his true nature as a child of God, that was all he would have to know. Time went on, and one day the officials opened those prison doors for that young man, and he walked forth free, a living example of the power of the Christ in human consciousness. He was not only free from a life sentence behind prison walls, but the rights of full citizenship were restored to him, and today he is a most useful member of society, a good husband, a devoted father, and a soldier in the great army of Christians who are bearing aloft the standard of the true God, with the banner of the living, palpitating Christ unfurled to the winds of heaven.
Was not the redemption of that young man full compensation for the work and sacrifice of those who so lovingly gave of their store of good to help the strayed and downtrodden?† Can we measure in our human, limited concept the great unfathomable good that one such healing will bring to all humanity? That which came to that young man in the silences of his cell; that which bore to him the true concept of God, and man in God's image and likeness; that which opened the windows of a warped, sinful mentality, to let in the light of Truth; that which set him free in mind and body; that "still small voice" of "on earth peace, good will toward men," was the Christ coming to that human consciousness to reveal the realities of existence. It was the same Christ that animated the patriarchs of old − Moses, Elisha, Elijah, Isaiah, Joshua, and Jeremiah. It was the Christ that enabled Jesus to cast out demons, walk on the waves, heal the sick, raise the dead. It was the Christ dwelling in the consciousness of the Master that enabled him to endure the agonies of the cross, roll away the stone from the mouth of the sepulcher, and to overcome death. It was the Christ of which Jesus spoke when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," and, "I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." Should we, then, delay to know more of the great truth through Christian Science, whereby we may,† the more effectually, give that cup of cold water in Christ's name which brings freedom and joy and peace to suffering humanity? We may never know of the good we do through kindness and gentleness and love to our brother-man, but we can know that God cares for His own, and that not one good deed, one good thought, one good motive, is ever lost.
Good is of God and God is omnipotent. Good brings its own reward, so let us never falter in our efforts to help our brother-man. Let us broadcast the seeds of kindness and gentleness and compassion about us, and trust God to give the increase. In the words of the hymn (Hymnal, p. 63):
Speak gently to the erring: know
They must have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
O win them back again.
Speak gently: it is a little thing,
Dropped in the heart's deep well;
The good, the joy that it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.
In closing I would like to leave with you the words of Mrs. Eddy found in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 55); "Truth's immortal idea is sweeping down the centuries, gathering beneath its wings the sick and sinning. My weary hope tries to realize that happy day, when man shall recognize the Science of Christ and love his neighbor as himself, − when he shall realize God's omnipotence and the healing power of the divine Love in what it has done and is doing for mankind. The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing."