Its Logical Interpretation of the Scriptures
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
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Sixteenth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 7201 North Ashland Boulevard, Friday evening, December 11, by 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.
The speaker was introduced by Mrs. Bertha Gray Cole, Second Reader, as follows:
"In the Christian Science textbook by Mrs. Eddy we read, 'The Christian era was ushered in with signs and wonders.' In the gospel of Luke, the angel message heralding the birth of Jesus the Christ came to the shepherds in these words: 'Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. With the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.'
"This message has lost none of its beauty and power through the centuries and comes again to us in Christian Science with its universal appeal."
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: Its Logical Interpretation of Scripture." Mr. Kilpatrick spoke substantially as follows:
In her various works on the subject, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has included many wide and far-reaching predictions. History has proved, and is constantly proving not only the verity of these predictions but the further fact that they evidenced a keen spiritual faculty, vision, and foresight. In her book entitled "Pulpit and Press" (p. 22) Mrs. Eddy makes this statement: "If the lives of Christian Scientists attest their fidelity to Truth, I predict that in the twentieth century every Christian church in our land, and a few in far-off lands, will approximate the understanding of Christian Science sufficiently to heal the sick in his name. Christ will give to Christianity his new name, and Christendom will be classified as Christian Scientists."
This prediction was made relatively a short time ago. Very recently, according to reports appearing in the press of the country, one of the large Protestant church denominations in the United States, at its regular, general convention, was presented with a report submitted by a joint committee composed of bishops and deputies of that organization, after six years of careful study and investigation on the part of the committee, which report finds as follows:
1. "That Christian healing has passed beyond the stage of experiment and its value cannot be questioned.
2. "That throughout the world spiritual healing is no longer the hope of a few, but the belief and practice of a large and rapidly increasing number of persons.
3. "That such healing is an experience of mankind that can no longer be questioned.
4. "That while faith in any supposed remedy produces some effect, vital faith in God, as revealed in Christ, is followed by results which are more sure, more lasting, and of a more evidently spiritual character.
That report was signed and submitted not only by bishops and deputies of the church, but by some of the leading physicians and surgeons of the United States.
Mary Baker Eddy
The spiritual vision and foresight which prompted the many prophecies and predictions so characteristic of Mrs. Eddy's writings enabled her in the early sixties to discover and give to the world the religion which she predicts will eventually become the religion of all mankind. Christian Science came to the world through the revelation of Truth given to Mrs. Eddy after her release from a life of invalidism, through her consecrated study and search of the Scriptures. The question naturally presents itself as to how and why this revelation came to Mrs. Eddy. Revelation is simply the unfolding in individual consciousness of any ray of light that leads to the ultimate understanding of the great fundamental truths of existence. How does a revelation of truth come to anyone? How did it come to the prophets of old who foretold the coming of the great Master Christian, Jesus of Nazareth? How did it come to Moses, Elias, Daniel, Peter, James, John, St. Paul and others? How does it come to you and to me? The individual revelation of truth, the unfoldment in individual human consciousness of the great realities of being, comes only when individual thought has been nurtured and prepared to receive it. It comes because the mental soil has been cultivated and purified by unceasing desire for the pure and holy, and the contemplation of these.
It required the mind of a mathematician to discover and give to the world the truths about mathematics. It required the mind of a physical scientist to discover and give to the world the physical sciences. And so it required, a mind drilled and cultivated in spiritual things to discover and give to the world the great truths of Christian Science. Had not Mrs. Eddy given her entire life, her every thought and motive to spiritual and higher things, she would not have been prepared to take that higher step and, to rise to that plane of spiritual understanding and vision far above the thought of the world about her, where the great light of Truth could dawn on her consciousness as a divinely revealed effulgence.
So when we understand the true meaning of a revelation from God; when we can begin to understand, in reality, what God is, and our individual relation to Him, then will we cease to think of a revelation from God as a supernatural phenomenon experienced only by the chosen of God, but we will look upon it as a natural, everyday experience of those who, themselves, love and obey God. And with this understanding of what a revelation really is, do you not see that Christian Scientists cannot and do not idolize or deify Mrs. Eddy? Christian Scientists respect and love her for the great good she has brought into their lives through the revelation of this Truth which Jesus said centuries ago would make us free, not only in mind, but in body.
Mrs. Eddy's life was a most exemplary and unusual one. It was a life lived so close to God that when the still, small voice of Truth came to her she was able to receive and interpret it and give it voice and vitality through her clear spiritual vision. Her entire life was given to the study and pursuit of spiritual things far beyond those of her years and surroundings. She hungered and thirsted for the truth which she knew the world did not have, and which it so sadly, needed. She read, prayed, and wrote constantly on the higher and better things. This life of prayer, devotion to God, and an earnest longing to know more of what have been called the "mysteries" of existence, brought her, in her mature years, to that height of spiritual vision where the light of a new faith and a new concept of God, man, and the universe was borne in upon her consciousness, and she has given this great revelation to the world in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This revelation came not suddenly; but gradually, until finally, after years of consecrated study and self-denial, she was enabled to prove by works of physical healing and moral regeneration that Christian Science is the same truth that Jesus taught and practiced in the valleys of Judea and by the shore of the Galilean sea.
Mrs. Eddy's perception of the truth about God and man's relationship to God was the outcome of her exhaustive and exclusive study of the Bible, and through the understanding which Christian Science has thrown upon that sacred Book, the Bible has become the chart of life to thousands upon thousands to whom it has heretofore been closed. The foundation of the entire revelation which Mrs. Eddy has given to humanity in Christian Science is the clear concept of God and man which she gained through her ceaseless and prayerful search of the Scriptures. Therefore it is to the Scriptures we all must go if we would know the true God revealed in Christian Science. By way of deduction, let us see if we cannot come to a clear concept of God. In the first chapter of Genesis we read this: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; . . . and God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Here we find man a perfect image of God, pure, holy, spiritual, and upright.
Now, turning to the very next chapter of Genesis, just six verses farther along in the Bible, we read this: "But there went up a mist from the earth, . . . and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Here we have a second account of the creation of man diametrically opposed to the first account in the first chapter of Genesis just six short verses removed. Then going on a little farther, the third chapter of Genesis has this to say about this man made from the dust of the ground, this man who goes by the name of Adam, this man of flesh and blood and bones: “And unto Adam he (the Lord God) said, . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; . . . in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.”
Now there must be something wrong somewhere. What do you suppose has become of the dominion, the power, the goodness, the purity, and the holiness with which God endowed man only a few verses back, before the mist arose? Here we have clearly two distinct and opposing statements about man. One is that man is good, pure, holy and spiritual, has dominion over everything, is created of God, and is like God. The other is that he is a helpless, defenseless, powerless creature, made of plain everyday dust from no particular pattern whatever. The only thing in the Bible that separates these two differing accounts of man's creation is the "mist." No mention is made of the man created in the image and likeness of God as having sinned and fallen, or as having been changed in any way. There comes the mist, and then comes the account of the creation of man as about the most helpless and miserable creature one could imagine.
You will remember that we started out to ascertain what is the true nature of God. Now comes the question: Which one of these two creations, or men, described in the Bible as having been created by God, is like God? Both cannot be; that is certain. If we can determine which one of these two men is like God, we can determine what God is like. The Bible from beginning to end is replete with answers to this query. Isaiah, for instance, having knowledge, evidently, of this account of creation which depicts man as made from dust and as having had the breath of life breathed into his nostrils, writes: "Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Job, commenting on this same man, this Adam man, this man of the dust of the ground, says: "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. . . . For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease, . . . But man dieth, and wasteth away.” Jesus said, "The flesh [that is, the material man] profiteth nothing." We are not then, left long in doubt as to what the writers in the Bible think about this dust man, - this man of flesh and blood and bones, - this Adam man.
Of the man described in the first chapter of Genesis, made in the image and likeness of God and having dominion over all the earth, the Psalmist wrote: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." Some difference here between the man made in the image and likeness of God and the man made of the dust of the ground, who is depicted as a miserable, groveling, helpless creature! If we are to put any confidence at all in the Bible, we are bound to the conclusion that this man of flesh and blood and bones, this Adam man, is not the man of God's creating, and that, therefore, mortal, material man does not represent God. We are bound to the further conclusion that the man spoken of in the first chapter of Genesis, who is depicted as good and as having dominion over all the earth, is like God. So, if we have done nothing else from this course of reasoning, we have found that God is in no wise similar to that which you and I have been wont to call material man. And thus, by the process of elimination, we have abolished completely any sense of God as a humanly circumscribed personality.
Now, to face about in our reasoning: Jesus described God as Spirit, which, of course, has nothing to do in any way with what may be termed matter or the physical. Spirit signifies infinite, filling all space, ever present, everywhere, here and now. Jesus also referred to God as good; not as a good God, but as good itself. Goodness is what? Mental, of course. Goodness is not and never can be a quality of matter. It must be mental. St. Paul refers, on several occasions, to the “mind of the Lord” or the “mind . . . which was also in Christ Jesus, pointing out that the animating Principle or God of Jesus the Christ was Mind, and that this Mind is the true God. St. John tells us that God is Love. To be exact, St. John says: “Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." What is love? It is mental, is it not? It is something expressed in thought. Thus we see that the Bible leaves no room for doubt as to what God is and His exact nature.
Now, there is no equivocation whatever about Jesus' statement that God is Spirit. No one could misunderstand that. There is no question whatever about St. John's statement that God is Love. No one would deny that love is something expressed in thought, word, and deed. If, therefore, God is something expressed in the consciousness of man, is it not clear that the God of man must also be the Mind of man? And if this conclusion is a logical one then is it not clear that man, the image and likeness of God, which the Book of Genesis describes as good and as having dominion over all the earth, is mental or spiritual, and not physical?
For instance, if God is Love, as St. John says, do not you and I express the image and likeness of Love in the degree that we think in terms of love, kindness, gentleness, compassion, forgiveness, et cetera? If God is good, as Jesus said, do not you and I express the image and likeness of good to the extent that we think in terms of goodness, purity, honesty, et cetera? If God is Spirit, as Jesus points out, is He not everywhere present and ever available the instant we turn to Him in thought and express Him in our thinking? The Bible also tells us that God is our Life. If God is Life, and if God is Mind, is it not clear that life must be spiritual or mental and not material or physical? When Jesus said, "The flesh profiteth nothing," he also said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth." That is, it is the understanding of God as Spirit and man as spiritual that brings to us life eternal. For does not Jesus go right on to say, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life"? So, the man of God's creating, the image and likeness of God, must be the conscious expression of that Mind which is God, and this consciousness which constitutes the real man of God's creating can know nothing of matter or the dust man. The true man must be the conscious expression of Love and of Life and of Truth, Mind, purity, harmony, abundance, dominion, power, et cetera. This conscious expression of God, or Mind, Mrs. Eddy has called ideas of Mind, because idea is the only medium through which Mind can be expressed. So do you not see that the sons and daughters of God, or Mind, are right ideas, and that you and I become children of God only to the extent that we express in our thinking those right or divine ideas? For does not St. Paul say, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"? Explaining that sonship with God has nothing whatever to do with material birth.
But, someone may question: What about this Adam man, this man made from the dust of the ground? Does not the Bible say that the Lord God created man from the dust of the ground? Yes, the Bible does say that, but it says that after plainly stating that a mist arose which was responsible for this concept of creation. This material concept of creation, which includes the Adam man, is nothing more nor less than a mistaken understanding of creation, an illusion, a dream, which exists in the minds of mortals as the result of the mist. Then comes the question, What is the mist? Let us see. In II Corinthians, St. Paul has this to say: "For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Meaning, of course that the things which you and I cognize through the material process of seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing are not of God and hence not real. Now, all that can be cognized through the medium of the five physical senses is matter in one form or another. Nothing at all but matter can be seen, felt, tasted, smelled, or heard with the material senses. Therefore, according to St. Paul’s statement that “the things which are seen are temporal”, the material universe, which can only be cognized through the material senses, is not of God. If not of God, whence comes it, you say. What is it that makes it possible for you and me to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear materially? When we have determined this we have explained the mist.
In answering the question as to what constitutes the mist, Christian Sciences teaches that the material universe, which includes material man, is the product or manifestation of material thinking, or of what St. Paul has termed the carnal mind, and that we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear materially because we think materially. Matter and all things cognized through the medium of the physical senses are simply objects of thought and, therefore, that which is cognized through these senses is thought. Matter is material thought. Every object of sense is a thought of the carnal mind, otherwise Jesus never could have walked the waves, passed through closed doors, or instantaneously transported the ship across the sea of Galilee. Matter and mortal mind are one and matter cannot exist in your or my experience without the operation in our thinking of the carnal mind which St. Paul says is "enmity against God." Even physical science is now beginning to recognize and admit the findings of Mrs. Eddy regarding matter.
Dr. Alexander Findley of Scotland, for example, in an address before the American Chemical Society recently, made the statement that "matter is a vacuum as empty as the sky and the most we know about it is that it is almost entirely space. It is almost as empty as a perfect vacuum."
The American Bell Telephone Laboratories in a recent statement in the press find that "life is inexplainable in material terms; that ultimate division of the life energy in every cell is not explainable in terms of material physics. In other words, it corroborates the belief that all life is of metaphysical origin."
And listen to these words by Professor James J. Walsh, medical director of the Fordham University School of Sociology: The body is just as mysterious as the mind and while we know a great deal about it we are beginning to know how much there is about it that we do not know. The mind and body are not two separate things but are one thing. The mind represents the principle of life in the body and the two are so intimately associated that there is only a mental distinction between them."
Thus we see how Christian Science is leavening the thought of humanity in respect to matter and the material universe. Matter, sin, sickness, and death are the products of material thought or a state of consciousness, and that which obscures from our vision the true, the spiritual, and the eternal creation - that which constitutes the mist - is simply the world's wrong thinking. We see, feel, taste, smell, and hear exactly what we are conscious of, - what we think. If we could change our individual thinking sufficiently we would completely change our individual concepts of the world. The material universe with which you and I are familiar indicates the measure of the carnal mind which we hold in consciousness.
So, is it not becoming clear to you that what you and I conceive to be a material creation with all of its sin, sickness, poverty, want, misery, unhappiness, and death is the product or object of so-called mortal mind? As Professor Eddington of Cambridge University has recently said, "The universe we live in is a creation of our own minds." Each of us, then, is the author of his own little universe of matter. That is, our individual concept of matter, the world about us (everything that we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear materially), exists only in our thinking, in our consciousness, and we experience just exactly what we admit into our consciousness, even to the experiences of sin, sickness, and death.
This thinking which constitutes our material concept of existence is the product, or expression, of the carnal or mortal mind. On the other hand, as we have seen, God is divine Mind. Therefore, to the extent that you and I cease thinking in terms of the carnal and begin to think in accordance with divine Mind, God, to that extent are we expressing the image and likeness of God, and to that extent are we entering the kingdom of heaven, which, as Jesus so clearly explained, is not a place, a locality, or a mysterious future state of existence obtained through death, but is wholly a state of spiritual consciousness, or Mind. Have you ever stopped to consider what a ridiculous position we have always taken in regard to death and heaven? We have been taught, and most of us have believed at one time or another, that death is a steppingstone to heaven: that is, that when we die, we go to a place or a locality called heaven, and this in spite of the fact that the Bible plainly teaches that God knows nothing at all about death and that death is the worst enemy man has. But, nevertheless, we have been taught and we have believed that death is God's gift to man and that heaven is death's crowning glory. But have you ever noticed with what consistency even the best of us have been avoiding death to stay out of heaven? We get sick and, if we don't happen to be Christian Scientists, we send for the doctor. What for? So we won't die and go to heaven. The doctor comes and what happens? The struggle is on right then as to who is going to win - God or the doctor. If we get well, the doctor wins and he is a good doctor. If we die, God wins and He is a good God. And then we are blandly told that God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to take us to Him, the while our loving friends are left to mourn our exceedingly good fortune. Question mark! If, however, as Christian Science teaches, the attainment of the kingdom of heaven or complete salvation, is a spiritual or mental process, it becomes clear that death cannot, of itself, advance us one step towards the kingdom, for death is not of God, and heaven is a divine creation. It becomes also clear that if material existence is a state of mind, then all the experiences which go to make up material existence are likewise experiences of the same so-called mind. This would include the experience of death, which, as Jesus proved on more than one occasion, is a mental experience.
To explain: Each one of us, as we have seen, lives in a world of thought of his own expressing. You and I see, feel, taste, smell, and hear alike because we think alike. If our individual thoughts differed in essence or quality each would be individually conscious of an entirely different world from the other. For example: Your concept of others - your individual consciousness of those about you - is the same as their individual concept of themselves only because you all think alike. I belong to your world and you belong to my world because of the coincidence in our thinking. The question then arises, What of the experience of death? Inasmuch as the experience of death has nothing to do with individual consciousness, but is confined solely to our concept of matter, we pass through that experience only to find that our individual concept of ourselves and the world about us has not changed at all; and we awaken from that dream as material as before the experience, but with the additional understanding that there is no death. As matter is a mental concept, or an object in thought, and as death does not alter thought, our individual concepts of existence are not changed by passing through an experience which is simply a phase of the material dream of existence. So, right where you and I seem to be enjoying an exclusive material universe may be any number of material concepts of creation exactly similar to our own, because according to Professor Findley, just quoted, matter and the material universe require neither time, place, nor space for their expression. They are simply objects of thought. The experience of death does not involve a change of place. It is an experience of consciousness. Heaven is many steps beyond.
You will recall, by way of illustration, the Biblical account of the experience of Jesus and Peter and James and John on the mount of transfiguration. In the Bible a mount or mountain is used typically to designate an exalted state of thought or spiritual elevation. On this particular occasion Jesus had taken aside with him Peter and James and John, three of his most promising students, for a period of prayer and spiritual regeneration. While he was alone with them, and when their thoughts were elevated to a high level of spirituality, there appeared talking with Jesus, Moses and Elias, one of whom had passed on some fifteen hundred to two thousand years before. That is, Peter and James and John had been mentally raised to such a height of spiritual understanding by what Jesus had been teaching them that they were able to perceive and recognize the identity of Moses and Elias. This incident, taken together with what follows in the Bible account thereof, shows that death is really a mental experience, and that when you and I arrive at the mental state or plane of those who have gone before we will be with them, and recognize and associate with them consciously and materially.
That the world is beginning to glimpse the teachings of Christian Science in this regard is evidenced in the words of Professor William Brown of the University of London, who, speaking at New Haven, Connecticut, recently said: "Modern science has not been able to prove that the mind does not survive physical death, since it achieves a greater and greater freedom from the body during the lifetime of a person. There is nothing to prevent us from holding the view that, although self-conscious mind may have developed out of simpler forms of biological process, it gradually achieves a greater and greater degree of freedom . . . and eventually survives physical death." Now, if the mind survives physical death, as Professor Brown indicates, and if the mind and body are one, as Professor Walsh states, and as Christian Science teaches, does it not necessarily follow that the physical body (so-called) must survive physical death? "But," someone asks, "what about burial?" Why, inasmuch as the physical body is in reality only an individual mental concept, you and I bury our individual mental concept while the deceased proceeds on his way with his individual mental concept.
Jesus' resurrection, after his crucifixion, proved that death does not change the body and also that death does not bring us any nearer the kingdom of heaven than we are at the time death overtakes us. We have the problem of existence to work out as certainly after death as before, else what becomes of the necessity of being good and spiritual here and now? The Bible tells us that Jesus showed himself several times to his disciples after his resurrection, and to prove that it was the same Jesus and the same body he showed them the nail-prints in his hands and the spear-thrusts in his side. Jesus' ascension, after his resurrection, proved that the attainment of the kingdom of heaven is the individual mental overcoming of all matter and materiality through spiritual understanding.
The process of accomplishing this great spiritual regeneration whereby we can follow the Master in thought, word, and deed, is a process of true prayer. True prayer consists not in beseeching God to look down upon us, miserable sinners, in pity and mercy, but consists rather in spiritually raising ourselves to the full recognition of our sonship with the Father, and claiming our true heritage of dominion and freedom. Prayer is not the process of self-debasement or self-effacement. It is a process of self-immolation, whereby, with St. Paul, we put off the old man with his deeds and put on the new man by the renewing of the mind. It is the process of putting off the carnal, or mortal, mind in our thinking, and of expressing, in thought, that "mind . . . which was also in Christ Jesus." Prayer is raising up in individual consciousness the Christ, Truth, which animated the life of Jesus, and which St, Paul refers to as "the spiritual Rock” of which Moses drank in the wilderness. We are prone, in our thinking, to confine our concept of the Christ to Jesus alone, whereas the Christ is that understanding of God and man which enables us to overcome the carnal mind with its sin, sickness, and death. St. Paul explains the impersonal nature of the Christ where, in I Corinthians, referring to the experiences of the children of Israel, some fifteen hundred years before the time of Jesus, he said: "How that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses . . . ; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ."
Jesus made no distinction between the healing of sin and the healing of sickness. In fact he healed both, as Mrs. Eddy says (p. 210), by "the same metaphysical process." He recognized the fact that the world's sickness is largely the result of the world's sin. In Science and Health (p. 411) Mrs. Eddy writes, "The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin." Jesus, you will recall, in a great many instances bade those whom he had healed of sickness to “go and sin no more," explaining that sin was the cause of their sickness. In other cases he told the patient not to be afraid, indicating that fear was the foundation of his trouble. In a few instances he referred to their ignorance of the spiritual significance of the Scriptures as the cause of their trouble. It was always, with Jesus, one of three causes - fear, ignorance, or sin - which produced sickness.
The longer I study Christian Science and the more I observe the workings of the carnal mind in the affairs of mankind, the more I am convinced that fear plays a far larger part in the sickness, the unhappiness, the poverty, and the death of men than has ever yet been supposed. Jesus knew it and Mrs. Eddy knew it, but it takes most of us a long time even to glimpse it. It would seem that the very warp and woof of material living is fear - fear from the cradle to the grave. Take two men, by way of illustration; one of them an adept swimmer and the other not able to swim a stroke. Let them both be thrown into a body of deep water. What happens? The man who knows how to swim will stay calmly on the surface of the water, perhaps not even moving a muscle. He does not even try to swim and yet he does not sink. He does nothing but float around on the surface of the water. The other man who does not know how to swim will flounder around, churn the water, beat the air, and make all possible attempts to save himself, and unless aid comes he sinks. Now, what is the difference between the two men? Does the difference lie in the fact that one knows how to swim and the other does not? Not fundamentally. The difference is in their thinking. One is full of fear and the other has overcome his fear. The one who harbors fear sinks. The one who has no fear stays on the top of the water. There, is no physical difference between them. Now, if fear will do that to a man, is it at all unlikely that it can make him sick, poverty-stricken, and a failure?
The example just given has a most striking parallel in a certain Bible incident. You will recall that on an occasion the disciples of Jesus were in a ship in the midst of the sea, and a storm arose that threatened the ship and the lives of those in it. At the height of the storm Jesus came to them walking upon the waters. The disciples were unaware that it was Jesus, it being night-time, and they were frightened at the spectacle, but Jesus, reassuring them, bade them be calm and unafraid. Then Peter, whom Mrs. Eddy has designated as the impetuous disciple, being still in doubt, cried, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water," whereupon Jesus answered him, "Come." Peter, descending from the ship started to walk to Jesus on the water and, according to the narrative, did walk some distance, but after he had gone a little way, the storm, which was raging, filled him with fear, and as soon as he began to be afraid he began to sink and Jesus had to stretch out his hand and save him. Then Jesus said to Peter. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" - wherefore didst thou fear? - indicating very positively that fear will subject a man to about any phase of evil, while lack of fear will enable him to overcome even the laws of so-called physical or material science.
When mortals begin to understand the operations and workings of the carnal mind which finds expression in sin, fear, worry, human will, mad ambition, lust, hypocrisy, and a thousand other forms of evil, and how to meet and master these conditions through the Christ, then will they begin to gain that dominion over the earth which is vouchsafed them in the first chapter of Genesis, and health, prosperity, and happiness will be normal, necessary conditions rather than exceptions or accidents.
In answer to the charge which one sometimes hears, that Christian Science does very well in cases of temperament or minor functional disorders but is not effective in case of organic diseases, I want to relate one or two instances of healing which I am prepared to verify to the fullest degree. A young lady whom I know was born totally blind in one eye and stone deaf in one ear. In early childhood her other eye, with which she had been able only to distinguish light from darkness, became totally blind. She also early lost all sense of hearing in her other ear, so that from infancy to early womanhood she was completely blind and deaf. Because of her wonderful achievements through the senses of touch and smell as a blind and deaf subject, she attracted the attention of the medical profession in her quest for freedom, and exhausted the skill of the best medical talent in many parts of the country. On one occasion alone she was under examination by a clinic of over one hundred prominent physicians and surgeons. While in a state institution for the blind, she learned of Christian Science and later found herself in a position where she could avail herself of Christian Science treatment. She was under Christian Science treatment just one year when her healing was complete, and today she can see, hear, and talk as well as anyone. In her own words, "I hear and see perfectly now."
Another case was that of a young man, a student at the time at one of our large state universities. In infancy he had suffered an attack of infantile paralysis which left him with one leg shorter than the other, and in a withered and deformed condition. While at the university he endeavored to take up swimming by way of exercise and recreation, but on examination by the swimming master was told that it would be impossible for him to accomplish anything along this line because of the condition of his leg. By that time he and his family had become interested in Christian Science, and the next time he was home from the university on a vacation be called a practitioner one evening by telephone and explained the situation, and asked if the practitioner thought he could be helped. The practitioner assured him that all things were possible to God, and that he would be glad to help him. That night the practitioner gave the young man one treatment, and the next morning, bright and early, this young man called up the practitioner, and with almost overwhelming joy told him that when be awoke that morning he had found his withered leg as normal as the other, and, like the man of Bible history whom Peter healed at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, he was literally "walking and leaping and praising God."
Physiology classifies the actions and the activities of the human body in all of its processes and functions as either voluntary or involuntary. Some actions or motions of a man's body, it tells us, are governed by the human will, or mortal mind, while other activities of his body are carried on entirely without the volition or will of the human mind. It says that when I walk across the room my legs are acting under the volition of my own thinking; whereas when the heart performs its duty of sending the blood through the veins, it is acting entirely of its own volition and quite independently of mortal thinking. The former statement as to voluntary action is correct, the latter statement as to involuntary action is incorrect. The heart, the stomach, in fact all the organs of man, perform their functions under the direction and supervision of the mind just as certainly as one’s arms obey his thinking when he makes a motion with them. The mortal mind whether the individual be conscious of that fact or not, controls the entire system of the human body, be it arms, legs, heart, stomach, lungs, or what not, and there is no involuntary action. The sooner men begin to learn this fact, the sooner they will cease to be victims of their own ignorant thinking. Therefore, do you not perceive how absolutely necessary it is for each one of us to see that the mind which governs the body is freed from that which goes to make for sickness, disease, poverty, death, et cetera? We all have heard of instances where people have been killed by sudden shock or fright. Most of us know of people who have worried themselves sick or dead. Tears spring from the eyes, not because of any volition on the part of the eyes, but because of thought. It has been discovered that the secretions in the stomach of an animal animated by fear often become poisonous. There is no wrong thought entertained by a mortal which has not some ill effect on some function of the human body. There is not a condition of sickness or inharmony of any name or nature that does not have its foundation in human wrong thinking; and I care not whether it be a broken bone, a cancer, contagion, heredity, insanity, old age, poverty, crop failures, pestilence, storms, devastation, or what not.
So, is it not clear that to affect a cure of any disease or bodily disorder we must begin at the source - wrong thinking? If disease is the result of wrong thinking, does not the remedy, and the only true remedy, lie in right or spiritual thinking? And does not spiritual healing appeal to you as the only true and permanent method of healing? The body, which, itself, is an expression of the mortal mind, can be healed only as mortal mind, so-called, yields to divine Mind, which governs harmoniously. Here is what St. Paul 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," And he tells us how this is to be done where he says: "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
But, someone may say, would you dispense with the doctors and material methods of healing? Not at all. At least, not while there are so few Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are not opposed to doctors or to medicine for those who need them. Christian Scientists feel that they have advanced beyond material methods of healing through Mrs. Eddy's discovery not only that the cause of all disease is mental, but through her discovery of the spiritual method of coping with disease. No one knows better than the Christian Scientist his shortcomings in the practice of healing through Christian Science, but in view of the fact that the ranks of Christian Science are filled with those who have been healed through Christian Science after all other known methods of healing have failed, he is not inclined to let his failures turn him from the high purpose of his chosen calling, that of healing the sick in the name of Jesus the Christ. And further, he does not recognize the right of any other system of therapeutics to point at him the finger of criticism even in the event of his occasional failure.
It is often remarked that certain individuals would make good Christian Scientists because they do not believe in taking medicine, as though Christian Science were a religion opposed to medicine. Christian Science is not a religion opposed to medicine. It is not a religion opposed to anything. It is a religion in favor of good. It believes that God can heal better than man can heal, and it is proving its position. Christian Scientists are by no means the only people who do not resort to the use of drugs or medicines in time of illness. Nearly ten years ago I read a statement in one of the leading medical journals in the United States to the effect that at that time there were over forty million people in the United States alone who did not resort: to the use of drugs or medicine in times of sickness.
Difference between Material and Spiritual Healing
Sickness is a product of the carnal mind. Matter is also a product of the same mind. Therefore, if sickness seems to be cured by matter we have one phase of the mortal or carnal mind taking the place of another phase of that same mind, and the question is, which phase is the better? On the other hand, if sickness is displaced by an understanding of God - by spiritual understanding - then the healing is a true and lasting one, and one which has advanced the patient one step nearer to the kingdom of heaven.
If, for example, a pupil were sent to the blackboard to do a problem in mathematics and he put down two times five equals fifteen, what would we call that? We would call it an error. Where did the error originate - in the blackboard? No. In a false belief concerning the relation of numbers, entertained by the pupil. Now, suppose that the teacher were to go to the blackboard and erase the two times five equals fifteen; has that operation corrected the error? Not at all. It has simply removed the evidence of the error. To correct the error, the teacher must go to the source of the error, or the wrong thinking of the pupil, and as soon as the error is corrected in the mind of the pupil it ceases to exist. But until the pupil's thought has been changed he might repeat that error indefinitely. Sickness and its manifestations on the body are parallel to the error on the blackboard. As the erasure of the error from the blackboard does not correct the error at its source and thus prevent its repetition, so the healing of disease through material means does not go to the source of the disease, which is human wrong thinking. Whatever is not of God, men need not accept.
Health, happiness, freedom, and abundance are normal, natural, and God-bestowed. Sickness, sorrow, bondage, and poverty are abnormal and unnatural. Let us then become natural and normal men and women. Let us claim our God-given heritage of freedom in the name of Christ, Truth. Let us strive to understand man in the image and likeness of God and not be mere creatures of clay molded by every whim of the carnal mind; human shuttlecocks tossed to and fro by the battledores of creed and dogma; puppets at the beck and call of change and circumstance; sycophants, bowing to the ills and foibles of the flesh, but, in the words of Mrs. Eddy: "Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (Science and Health, p. 395). “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious - as Life eternally is - can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony" (ibid., p. 495).