Science and Religion

 

William D. 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, Thursday evening, August 18, by William D. 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. Louise A. Smith as follows:

"A Christian Science lecture always brings with it a message of Love and Truth, which heals and corrects error of all kinds. You have been invited here this evening to listen to such a lecture, and I know that it will prove a blessing to each and every one of us.

"In the fifth verse of the Fortieth Psalm we read, ‘Many, Oh Lord, my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.’ Through the understanding of what God and His creation is, as taught in Christian Science, we, as students of it, are learning how to honor God as the giver of all good - to obey Him as the only lawmaker, and to adhere to His truth, the only law, the divine Principle of which is ever operative and always available - an ever present help in trouble.

"That all the world might know what Christian Science is and what it is doing for mankind, our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, established the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

"We have with us this evening Mr. William Duncan Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan, who is a member of this Board, and who is ably qualified to speak upon the subject of Christian Science. Friends, I take great pleasure in presenting to you Mr. Kilpatrick."

The subject of the lecture was “Science and Religion.” Mr. Kilpatrick spoke substantially as follows:

 

All here tonight, I take it, are more or less familiar with the rapid and unparalleled growth of Christian Science throughout the world; and it is, I presume, a reasonable assumption that those of you who are not Christian Scientists are here to find out, if possible, what it is that is attracting men and women in all walks of life and in all quarters of the globe to a religious movement which has been so strikingly free, in its stately goings, from those dramatic, sensational, and spectacular methods employed by so many present-day religionists to attract public attention. Something aside from emotionalism and sensationalism is prospering this gospel of freedom - this gospel of "on earth peace, good will toward men" - as no other teaching has prospered since our Master trod the hills and valleys of Judea, and it is to explain to you, so far as possible, what this something is that this lecture is given.

The question as to why mankind is gradually turning its gaze towards Christian Science finds its answer in the fact that because Christian Science is a return to the simple teachings of Jesus the Christ it is giving to poor, sick, suffering humanity some hope of release from its sorrows, its poverty, its sickness, and its sordidness. It is saying to the world today in the loving words of the Master, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is saying to you who are sick, you who are bowed down with the sorrows and cares of the world, you who are bound by the fetters of sin, you who are struggling with the specter of want or misfortune, in the words of Isaiah, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

 

The Mission of Christian Science

Not only is Christian Science a strict presentation of the teachings of Jesus, but, in the light of latter-day events, it would seem that its appearance had been timed to the purpose of saving the Christian religion from complete annihilation or, at best, a long night of darkness. Outside of Christian Science the trend of much religious and so-called   scientific thinking seems to be sadly away from the simple truths taught by the humble Nazarene. Surely, God in His wisdom has provided this present-day salvation that true Christianity may not only be saved to humanity but that it may be reestablished with men in its pristine purity to the end that once again do we see the sick healed, the lame made to walk, and the blind to see as was witnessed in Jesus' time. The time had come when something had to appear to prevent the utter loss to humanity of a pure religion based upon the platform of Christianity as given to the world by Jesus, and Christian Science is the answer to that necessity, - an answer, I am convinced, as certainly God-sent as was the appearance of Jesus the Christ the answer to the spiritual necessities of two thousand years ago.

Christian Science does not for a moment belittle the importance and the place in the divine economy of the work of the Christian Church throughout the intervening centuries since the days of Jesus. Briefly, following the history of the Christian Church since its inception as a consequence of the teachings and practice of the Master, it is found that in the early centuries of the Christian era (some three or four hundred years after the time of Jesus) the pure religion given to the world by Jesus was closely adhered to, with the result that the healing of all the ills of mankind, physical or what not, were the "signs following" which Jesus said should mark the religious status of a true Christian. But as time passed and the multitudes began to flock to this new religion, popularity so engulfed the Church that the spiritual import of Jesus' words was lost in the maze of pomp and ceremony, and creed and dogma usurped the place of simple uplifting faith and the healing which, of necessity, followed, and always will follow, the spiritual understanding of the teachings of the Master. Notwithstanding all of this, however, throughout those many dark years a spark of true Christianity has burned, sometimes very dimly, in the consciousness of mankind and has been carried on down through the centuries by the aid of the Christian churches, breaking into fuller effulgence here and there as some pure consciousness has been enlightened by the truth. And thus has the essence of the Christ teaching been saved to humanity until, through the spiritually clear vision of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, this smoldering flame has been fanned into its full radiance, and this new-old truth has come to the world to restore to mankind a religion of good deeds in place of creed and dogma.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

The struggles, the privations, the persecutions, the disappointments, and the bitter travail which were Mrs. Eddy's in bringing to birth this wonderful revelation would many times have turned back one less imbued with the sanctity of the trust. Her message was one born of a life of devotion to God and her love for her brother man. Hers was a message sent from God and it was her duty to give it to mankind for Truth's sake. Her natural sensitiveness, her meekness, and her gentleness shrank from the buffets which this revelation drew from a world of sin, but her devotion to duty, her love of God and man, her faithfulness to her trust, and her Christianity impelled her ever forward against the most discouraging and seemingly fearful odds, to the glorious end that once again has the standard of Truth been placed in the hands of men and the banner of the Christ unfurled to the winds of heaven for an eternal guide to humanity out of the Egypt of a darkened understanding into the Canaan of spiritual freedom.

Mrs. Eddy's discovery of God's law of freedom was, by no means an invention of her own creating, any more than was Newton's discovery of the law of gravitation the embodiment of a law of his devising. Mrs. Eddy's was the discovery of a truth that is as ancient as "the ancient of days" and one for which she claims no inventive genius of her own. Hers was a discovery made possible by her own purity of purpose and her devotion to holiness. She endured and triumphed against odds which you and I will never have to meet and which we can but faintly comprehend. But we can, with propriety and certainly without any undue sense of personal adulation, give humble thanks that some one has been able to withstand the shafts of evil and persecution which were the inevitable accompaniments of a revelation of so much importance to the world, that you and I might know of this great truth which Jesus came to give, whereby we may come into our spiritual heritage of freedom as children of the living God.

Something had to come to save Christianity from the failure of sectarianism, and it came in the year 1866 with Mrs. Eddy's healing and her discovery of Christian Science. This discovery was given to the world by her ten years later through her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science.

 

Christianity Threatened

Christianity had been sorely threatened from two directions. On the one side it was fast becoming the helpless victim of mere ecclesiasticism, while on the other side it had been the object of violent attacks at the hands of scholasticism. One familiar with the Bible and especially with the teachings and works of the Master will hardly disagree with me in the assertion that present-day tendencies in our educational and religious institutions lead thought away from the purely spiritual import of the teachings of the Man of Galilee. The growing tendency in our great educational institutions to discredit the teachings of Jesus on the ground, that they do not square with so-called natural science, the efforts of the Christian churches to evade their plain responsibility to heal the sick in conformity with the command of Christ Jesus on the ground that such healing was a dispensation intended only for his time, the schisms in the churches, - their creedal differences and wars, - would portend the rapid decline of the Christian religion were it not that God has sent us that which will not only save Christianity but which will, in addition, restore it to us in all its purity of purpose with "signs following."

Some time ago I attended the meeting of the alumni of one of our great institutions of learning where there was under discussion a project to establish a school of religion in connection with that institution. During the course of the meeting one of the sponsors of the movement made the assertion that "The proposed school of religion finds its necessity in the fact that the youth of our country is growing into man's estate without the slightest knowledge of religion and that to remedy this the student body should be made to see that Christianity and natural science are not at disagreement, but that they are in strict conformity with each other, and thus will it be encouraged to give more thought to the religious side of its education."

Now, my friends, in that brief statement, made with the very best of intentions and with a most lofty purpose, do we find the crux of the whole matter. It is because latter-day religions and scholasticism have so traduced the pure Christianity taught and practiced by Jesus, in their endeavor to harmonize the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of so-called natural science, that mankind is halting and faltering at the word religion.

 

Christianity versus Physical Science

The error of latter-day thinking - that is, the error from which has arisen the present deplorable tendency to discredit both the words and works of Jesus in the teaching of our religious and educational institutions - is twofold: -

1. The attempt has been made to square the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of physical science, and

2. Because this cannot be done the difficulty is being circumvented by explaining away the teachings of Jesus, and consequently the holy import of the Scriptures, by declaring that the recorded works of the Master, being unnatural and unexplainable from the standpoint of physical science, are not only impossible of repetition but were untrue in the first place.

Now that is exactly the situation as it exists today. Erudite theology and scholasticism are declaring to the world that the miracles of Jesus and his apostles and disciples, being unexplainable from the standpoint of physical science, are necessarily untrue and incapable of proof or repetition. And right there is the point of divergence between Christian Science and the material theories, held and taught by most religious teachers. Christian Science, taking the opposite position and reversing these destructive attacks on the words and works of the Master, declares that the teachings of the Bible, spiritually discerned, can never be made to accord with the teachings of natural science; that there is not one law of so-called natural science that Jesus did not completely set aside through his understanding of God and man's relationship to God; that the asserted laws of physical science are not God's laws and give no evidence of God's creation; that with the right understanding of God and man one may completely disannul so-called natural law, and that the statement of Jesus, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," stands as inviolate today as when it was uttered.

 

Christian Science Revolutionary

Christian Science is revolutionary. It is revolutionary to just the extent, in the same way, and for the same purpose, that the teachings of Jesus were revolutionary. Christian Science, in line with the purpose of the teachings of Jesus, is turning the thought of mankind away from a material basis and directing it to the spiritual. As Jesus lifted the human concept of God from the material to the spiritual so does Christian Science. Hence, the first step in gaining a pure understanding of Jesus works and teachings and in gaining a demonstrable understanding of God, man, and the universe in the light of Jesus' teachings is to dematerialize our sense of God and His law in our thinking.

St. Paul, in his first epistle to the church at Corinth, draws a clear line of demarcation between the teachings of Jesus and those of physical science when he said: "The foolishness of God is wiser than men. . . . But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world [the material world] to confound the wise; . . . that no flesh [no matter] should glory in his presence." And farther along in this same epistle Paul writes: "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom [material wisdom], but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." And then he proceeds: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth [material wisdom teacheth], but which the Holy Ghost teacheth [spiritual understanding teacheth]. . . . But [note this] the natural man [the man whose concept of creation rests in the material] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

To dematerialize our sense of God means to spiritualize it and to do this our understanding of God must rest wholly in the spiritual and not in the material. To illustrate, in a way, what I mean. Some years ago I dropped into a church where a minister was preaching a sermon against Christian Science. In the course of his remarks he said that when he died he fully expected to walk straight into heaven and to go right up and shake hands with God. Now that may somewhat exaggerate popular opinion about God, but I do not believe it is very far removed from the thought of God commonly held by most men of the Christian faith. In any event, it will furnish a foundation from which to explain what Christian Science teaches about God and man and their relationship to each other. To Christian Scientists the Bible, spiritually interpreted, contains no foundation for the concept of a material God or of a God humanly circumscribed or in any way similar to this fleshly, sick, sinful concept of man. It may be that because in the first chapter of Genesis it is recited that God made man in His image and likeness, it has been concluded that God must be like this mortal concept of man, but that would completely reverse the statement. It is not there recorded that God is made in the image and likeness of mortal man. It is stated, rather, that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Consequently, before we can ascertain what man is, it is necessary to ascertain what God is, and we can never gain this understanding by reasoning from the basis of a mortal man back to a God who is Spirit.

It is possible a material concept of God finds its inception in the Biblical statement, "The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear," or the statement from Deuteronomy wherein it is affirmed that "underneath are the everlasting arms," or any of a number of such helpful similes which we find in the Bible. But if one is to make a literal application of such allusions to the divine Being what are we to do when we come to that passage in Psalms where the declaration is made, "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust"?

Of course, mortals may believe anything they wish to about God. They may believe that God is the sun which belief is held by some people. They may believe that God is like a graven image or that God is a humanly circumscribed personality with a material habitation in a far distant somewhere called heaven. Some may go so far as to believe that Jesus is God, or even, that there is no God at all. In fact, all of these beliefs about God are held by some people, but the Bible, spiritually interpreted, gives no excuse for believing any of the things about God I have just enumerated, and we will cease to delude ourselves with these and other mistaken concepts concerning God and man in just the proportion that we do our own reading of the Bible and our own thinking rather than depend upon creeds and dogmas for our information, or allow others to do our reading, our thinking, and our interpreting for us.

 

God

Now just what is God and how is He to be made vital in our individual lives - in our homes, in our business, in the sick room, and so forth? One of the terms used by Mrs. Eddy in her definition of God is "Love." Christian Science teaches that God is Love. "Oh, yes!" some one may say. "That's not new, that's old. We have always known that. Let us see. Have we always known that? In I John we read, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." Now, how do we dwell in love, or God? Why, obviously, by loving, not by hating or faultfinding or fearing. St. John's explanation that "God is love" is plain and unequivocal. He does not say that God is a loving God. He says that God is Love itself and that to know God – that is to express God as His image and likeness - is to reflect Love. To think is purely a function of the mind, is it not? Hence, to love mankind is to know or reflect God as His image and likeness, and is wholly an exercise of right thinking, and is not a product of the five physical senses. Love, in the sense in which it is used in the Bible and in Christian Science to define God, does not involve a personal, sentimental type of affection. It has to do with that sense only which sees man as the image and likeness of God, - pure, upright, and undefiled by sin and mortality. And it is only as we see our brother man to be a child of God, regardless of what the outward evidences may bear witness, that we establish ourselves as His children and thereby come into our God-given heritage of freedom from the ills and woes of the world's giving.

If the fact that "God is love" is an abiding conviction with us we can never for one instant harbor any sense of hatred towards our brother man; we can never for a moment look with envy upon the good fortune of our neighbor; we can never be conscious of any sense of resentment or indignation at a seeming affront or insult at the hands of another; we can never be guilty of criticizing our brother man or of finding fault with him regardless of the nature of his offense against us. We most assuredly will not be found speaking ill of any one if we watch our thinking

We govern our health, our happiness, and our prosperity by our own thinking, and while it may not be of grave concern to our neighbor what we think about him, it matters a whole lot to us what we think about him, because our own thinking about our brother man has to do largely with what happens to us. We might hate another ever so much and not do him a particle of harm but that very act of hating our brother might bring on us disaster and disease. From the standpoint of our own self-protection we should never think anything about another we would not wish to be true about ourselves.

Now, another term employed by Mrs. Eddy, in her definition of God, is "good." Christian Science does not "teach simply that God is a good God. It affirms, as does the Bible, that God is good. Christian Science teaches that God is good itself, - not that good is simply a quality of God but that good is God. What is goodness? Is it physical or mental? It is primarily and finally mental. Therefore, to express good in our thinking is to express or reflect God as His image and likeness, is it not? Jesus said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."

In Deuteronomy we are told that "he [God] is thy life" and Jesus said that to know God is life eternal. If God is Life, and life consists in knowing God, and knowing God is purely mental, then life is not physical but is, rather, spiritual, for spiritual also means mental. Hence, Mrs. Eddy's definition of God as "Life" and her assertion that Life is Mind, or God. Life, then, if the Bible is to be taken as authority, resolves itself into a state of consciousness rather than into a physical or material state. We think Life. St. Paul takes life entirely out of the material and places it squarely in the realm of the mental or spiritual when he says: "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

You will recall the incident of Jesus' talk with the woman of Samaria at the well of Jacob on his journey from Judea into Galilee when he said, in explaining God to her, "The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . . God," he said, "is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." That is, God is neither here nor there. He is not a person located in some particular locality or place. He is, rather, infinite Being, filling all space, and must be so understood. Hence, Mrs. Eddy's definition that God is "infinite Spirit." To conceive God as infinite, filling all space, we must dematerialize our sense of Him and this process is distinctly mental.

In the book of Deuteronomy reference is made to Deity as "a God of truth" while the words of Jesus, just quoted, "They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,'' clearly define God as "Truth," one of Mrs. Eddy's terms for God. Truth is unquestionably mental, is it not? As you and I express, in our thinking, truth or true thoughts, we must be expressing the image and likeness of a God that is Truth.

St. Paul in his various epistles emphasizes clearly the freedom which is vouchsafed mankind from all the ills of mortality by individual conformity to the law of God. In his epistle to the Romans he says, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." If God then is Love and Life and Truth and Spirit, as the Bible declares, and these are all expressed or reflected by man in thought, word, and deed, then such thinking and acting brings one into harmony with this law of God which makes free, and this law of God Mrs. Eddy describes in her definition of God as "Principle." In the term "Principle" we have included  all spiritual phenomena, all causation, being, continuity, and effect, all the spiritual concomitants of a creation resulting from or expressing an eternal, unchangeable law.

Now, if God is Love, as the Bible declares, and love is expressed in right thinking; if God is Life, as the Bible declares, and our life consists in knowing God, and knowing God is purely mental; if God is Truth, as the Bible declares, and Truth is expressed in right thinking, or in truthfulness; if God is Spirit, or infinite, as the Bible declares, and infinity can only be comprehended mentally, then most certainly Mrs. Eddy's definition of God as Mind has its full authority in the Bible and in the words and works of the Master. In I Corinthians reference is made to "the mind of the Lord." Thus, by understanding God to be Mind and Mind to include all reality we come into our true heritage of freedom and dominion as children of God, through having, as St. Paul puts it, that mind in us "which was also in Christ Jesus." "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee," writes Isaiah.

Therefore, taking the Bible for our sole authority, we find God to be Truth, Life, Love, Spirit, Principle, and Mind. And thus, with the aid of the Bible, we have dematerialized completely our sense of God and find Him without a single material or bodily accompaniment or part. And we find Him available right here and now in just the proportion that we express or reflect Him as His image and likeness in our individual thinking. We begin to govern our own lives and experiences by spiritual thinking. In the operation of latter-day radio contrivances we extend our material aerials in a way that our receiving instruments record messages which fill the air, even though we are not physically conscious of the presence of these messages. Their presence is made manifest and audible to us through the aid of the aerial  and the receiving instruments when properly adjusted. So in our thinking. Our mental aerials determine what our bodies, our receiving instruments, record, - good or bad. If our mental aerial be one of hate, superstition, fear, worry, envy, lust, criticism, sin, discouragement, pride, greed, arrogance, or any one of the myriad forms of evil thinking, then our receiving instruments, our bodies and our lives, become subject to the many forms of evil which constantly lurk in the shadows of mortal ignorance, and these forms of evil are in turn recorded in discordant bodily conditions, such, for example, as sickness, disease, sorrow, sinful habits, poverty, misery, and the like. But let our mental aerials be those of love, compassion, trust, tenderness, thanksgiving, charity, gratitude, humility, forgiveness, sweetness, and the like, then our lives are filled with the gentle influence of ever present divinity, hallowing our every experience and blessing us with health, happiness, freedom, peace, and plenty.

 

God's Universe

Now, with our concept of God completely removed from the realm of materiality, what must be concluded as to His creation? What must be the natural subsequent to a spiritual antecedent? The answer is obvious. To dematerialize our sense of God, the Creator of all, means that we must dematerialize our sense of man and the universe, and that is exactly what Christian Science does. To assume that God, or Spirit, could be evidenced or reflected by, matter or physicality, by mortal man and a material universe, involves the impossible. According to the true account of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis we find man and the universe created spiritually and perfect, and so they must ever remain, as perfect and eternal as their Creator. Any other account of creation depicting man as material, sick, sinning, fallen, and dying is false and must ever remain so. The Bible, spiritually understood, is devoted to the task of drawing the distinction between the true creation and the false and material concept of creation. Now do not misunderstand this point. The Bible does not depict two creations. It points to the spiritual as the only true and permanent creation and instructs mankind how to proceed out of the bondage of a material misconception of things, into their freedom as children of God. The Bible, spiritually interpreted and rightly understood, does not teem with ambiguities, but contains a clear and concise method of escape from the bondage of man-made theories into our God-given freedom. God, or Spirit, never created a mortal man or a material universe, and hence the necessary contradiction between a science which involves a knowledge of material things and a science which recognizes the material to be the unreal and the spiritual to be the true and the real.

 

The Material Universe

But, some may say, how is one to believe that the material is untrue and unreal when the five physical senses bear constant evidence of the reality of matter? Do we not see, feel, taste, smell, and hear materially? True enough. In fact the only evidence we have of a material universe is through seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing materially. That being settled, the question, then, of the reality of matter, or that which we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear, revolves around the trustworthiness of the five physical senses.

Let us see how trustworthy and reliable these five physical senses are. All will agree that whatever an omnipotent and eternal God has created must be everlasting and eternal, and not subject to change or the mutations of time. If God has created the five physical senses as mediums through which His universe is to be recognized, then these senses cannot be subject to any influence but that of God, and must be as permanent and unalterable as God Himself. Just how unalterable and changeless are these senses? Why, they may be changed in almost an instant to bear opposite testimony to that which they are now bearing! They may even be obliterated entirely. For instance, place a man under a hypnotic spell, which is frequently done by those familiar with hypnotism, and the victim can be made to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear just the opposite to one not so influenced. It should be borne in mind that hypnotism is purely a mental process and involves nothing but the operation of the human mind, and yet it can be used to control the entire mechanism of the physical body. I have seen men under hypnotic influence do all sorts of things and think all sorts of things which a man in his right senses would not do or think.

To carry the illustration farther, if a man were placed under the influence of a drug or an opiate he may be made to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear nothing at all, in which case his physical senses have ceased to function entirely. Now, what has happened when one is placed under a hypnotic or soporific influence? Have his organs of seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing been changed or altered in any way or in any particular? Not at all. He still has his eyes, his ears, his nose, his mouth, his nerves, his brain, and so forth; and yet, in the case of the drug, or the opiate, he can see, feel, taste, smell, and hear nothing whatever, and in the case of hypnotism he sees, feels, tastes, smells, and hears that which does not exist at all or that which the hypnotist wills him to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear. What has taken place? What has been changed? Why, simply the victim's thinking. In the one instance, - that of hypnotism, - one so-called mortal mind has been taken possession of by another so-called mortal mind and one person does the thinking for another, which shows conclusively that the mortal or human mind may be subject to any kind of misconception, manipulation, misuse, or abuse, and in the other case, - that of the drug, - the individual mortal mind has been completely silenced, showing that this human mind has not the permanency and trustworthiness of a creation of an omnipotent God, or eternal Mind. In the case of a surgical operation the patient is placed under the influence of an anesthetic to silence pain. Now, what does the anesthetic do to the patient to silence the pain? Why, it simply stops the patient's thinking. That's everything in the world it does. As soon as the influence of the anesthetic begins to wear off the patient begins to think, and as soon as he begins to think he begins to feel the pain, showing plainly enough that the pain is not in the body, or matter, but in the thinking or the human mind. All, then, that has to be done to prove the utter unreliability of the five physical senses, which furnish the only evidences of a material universe, is to change or silence mortal thinking. And is not this sufficient evidence that our material concept of creation, which is cognizable only through the five physical senses, is evidently the product of mortal thinking or the mortal mind which St. Paul describes as the carnal mind, which he says "is enmity against God"? In the eighth chapter of the book of Romans this entire subject is handled in a most conclusive manner where it is written: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [to think materially] is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But, it goes on to say, "ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."

Then a little farther along in the same epistle is this: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

In this last sentence Paul gives the full and adequate remedy for this entire material dilemma. He says plainly enough, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." That is, if we believe in the reality of a material universe evidenced by the flesh, or the five physical senses, we are then subject to all of the so-called laws of materiality which ultimate in sin, sickness, and death. "But," he says, "if ye through the Spirit [through the understanding of God as Spirit and man and the universe as spiritual] do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." What are the deeds of the body? Why, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing materially.

In the clear light of Scriptural authority and of Paul's concise statement that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," why waste valuable time in speculating on the so-called theory of material evolution or in the attempt to prove or to disprove that this mortal man, this so-called man of flesh and blood and bones, had his origin in the jungles of darkest Africa with an ape, a baboon, or a monkey for his ancestors?

Whatever our material antecedents may have been, the question as to the identity of the progenitors of mortals loses all of its importance in the light of Jesus' most pointed statement, when, referring to this mortal or fleshly man, he said: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

 

Prayer

It must be perfectly evident that if the material sense of the universe is the product of the carnal or mortal mind then its concomitants, such, for example, as sin, sickness, poverty, sorrow, and death, must be the product of that same mind. And it must be equally clear that as fast as we can put off this carnal mind which brings us all these woeful conditions and in place thereof put on the mind of the Lord, we, in a corresponding degree, come into our birthright of freedom as the children of the eternal Mind, or God. As we have it in Romans: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Which St. Paul states again in a somewhat different manner in II Corinthians, where he writes, "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. . . . We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." The process, then, of putting off this old man with his deeds, this man of flesh and blood and bones, this carnal man, and of putting on the new man, or man of God's creating, is one entirely of mental transformation, and the process of mental transformation is accomplished only through prayer. With St. Paul, the Christian Scientist recognizes that prayer without ceasing is the only avenue of escape from the ills of mortality, and that the harmony of true existence becomes an abiding reality with us in proportion to the time spent in prayer. Praying without ceasing does not mean a never ending period of supplication to a distant, unknown deity; it means rather, the constant purification of thought wherever we are and whatever our task may be, to the end that we may ever have before us the image of the true and spiritual. It means that our gaze must so constantly rest on God and His creation that that which is not of God will cease to have an influence in our thinking and living.

In "Miscellaneous Writings," page 185, Mrs. Eddy tersely puts the situation thus: "Self-renunciation of all that constitutes a so-called material man, and the acknowledgment and achievement of his spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven; whence good flows into every avenue of being, cleansing mortals of all uncleanness, destroying all suffering, and demonstrating the true image and likeness. There is no other way under heaven whereby we can be saved, and man be clothed with might, majesty, and immortality."

 

Miracles of Jesus Natural

It was from this basis, and this basis alone, that Jesus proceeded to prove to a skeptical world that all so-called science based on matter or the testimony of the five physical senses is not an eternal science, with the result that there is not a single so-called law of physical, or material, science that Jesus did not prove utterly powerless and void in the presence of a clear understanding of God and man created in His image and likeness. No so-called law of physical science was employed by Jesus when he turned the water into wine at the wedding feast, when he walked the waves, when he fed the thousands in the wilderness with five loaves of barley bread and two small fishes, when he instantaneously transported the ship across the Sea of Galilee, when he passed through closed doors, and when he healed the sick; but, to the contrary, every so-called law of physical science was thereby broken completely. And in his work of overcoming all phases of mortal existence Jesus finally proved that death is not an open sesame to the kingdom of heaven, but that heaven is attained in exact proportion to our spiritual or mental regeneration.

 

Death and Heaven

Just where the fallacy ever arose which would induce one to believe that death and heaven have anything in common I do not know. Most certainly not in the Bible. Throughout the Bible death is a concomitant of sin rather than an outcome of righteousness. Sin is most clearly pointed to as a key to death. Then why, in the light of everything Scriptural, assume that death can ever get us any nearer heaven than we are right now? In the book of Proverbs it is written: "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death." And Jesus said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."

Therefore if we are living in a righteous manner, - thinking rightly, - we are defeating death, are we not? And if death is a stepping-stone to heaven, - and that is what the world has been taught these many centuries, - then we are keeping ourselves out of heaven by righteous living. If the righteous man can never experience death, as we are told in Proverbs, then something is radically wrong in the teachings of a theology which declares that we go to heaven when we die. If we go to heaven when we die, then, according to the Scriptures, the righteous man can never go to heaven because he can never see death. Jesus called death an enemy and St. Paul tells us that "the wages of sin is death." If sin leads to death, as the Bible tells us, and death is an open door to heaven, as the theologians tell us, sin, then, is the key to the kingdom of heaven. If heaven is a desirable ultimate, and we all admit that it is, and death leads us into heaven, as we have been so long time taught, was not Jesus defeating the very ends for which he came among us when he brought Lazarus back from the grave, when he raised from the bier the son of the widow of Nain, when he restored to life Jairus' daughter, and when he walked forth free from his own rock-bound tomb the third day after his crucifixion?

 

An Illustration

Thus we see how incompatible, from the standpoint of Holy Writ, are the teachings and practices of Jesus with those of so-called natural science or a science based upon matter as a reality or creation of God. Christian Scientists are rapidly learning the futility of endeavoring to work out one's salvation from the basis of both matter and Spirit, and are learning that absolute reliance on the teachings of Jesus is the only means of salvation from all the ills of the flesh. They are finding that any attempt to mix the medicine of Mind, or God, in other words, the Science of Christianity, with the nostrums of matter, or material science, will avail nothing. To compromise the truth, to satisfy fear or custom will prove disastrous. A case in point came to my attention some little time ago. A lady aged seventy-five or thereabouts was suffering with what physicians had diagnosed to be heart trouble. She had been under this sentence for some years and was rapidly growing worse. Finally she had to be taken to a sanatorium where she could be given the attention and nursing her case required. She was gradually failing and on several occasions it seemed as though the end had come. She was under the constant care of a physician, until finally the situation arrived at that stage where it seemed that nothing further could be done through material means. The doctor advised the nurse that nothing he could do would help matters, and that all that remained to be done was to keep the patient as comfortable as possible until the end. At this point the patient decided to try Christian Science, and at her request treatments in Christian Science were begun. At first she improved quite perceptibly. Then she lapsed back into her previous condition of helplessness. Then she improved again, and again slipped back. This condition of improvement and relapse continued for some time when she decided to go back to her doctor, saying she had given Christian Science a trial and was afraid to stick to it any longer. Her physician was again called, but he could do nothing for her. She grew rapidly worse. Finally, as a last resort, other physicians were consulted, but after due examination they pronounced the same sentence of incurability as the first one. They frankly and kindly stated there was nothing they could possibly offer of assistance, and she was given up. Then, virtually, at the brink of her grave, this lady again called for Christian Science treatment. She said she was convinced that nothing offered any hope unless it might be Christian Science, and in asking for treatment the second time she said she had a slight confession to make. She then related to the practitioner that while she was under Christian Science treatment the first time, with the aid of the nurse, she had secretly kept on hand a little bottle of heart stimulant the doctor had left her, and that whenever she became fearful of a severe attack she would take a dose of this medicine to help out the practitioner. Now she said she was ready to give Christian Science a fair trial and would resort to nothing material to assist her; she would rely solely on Christian Science, which she did. This was in the early part of the week, Monday or Tuesday, I believe. The work was begun and on Friday or Saturday of that same week this old lady who had been an invalid for years, in her bed most of the time, and had been given up to die by several physicians, walked several blocks to a business section of the city. She completely recovered from that condition and has never had a return of it.

Now, that healing, in itself, is no more wonderful than those which are taking place every day in every part of our land under Christian Science treatment, but it shows how purely mental the entire question of healing is, and how righteously exacting are the laws of God. It illustrates how absolute reliance on the one Father will win where a wavering, dishonest, halfway position will ultimate in disaster. Truly, in the words of the Master, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," - Spirit and matter.

 

Conclusion

The pure simplicity of Jesus' life, his lovingkindness, his tender compassion and forgiveness, furnish us the foundation upon which to build our own superstructure of spirituality, health, happiness, and prosperity. In learning to love, to forgive and to forget, as did Jesus, lies the secret of success. There is not a single inharmonious condition, physical, moral, or financial, that has not its immediate remedy in the teachings of the Master, and a right and happy solution of all our difficulties is ever knocking at our door. The humility, the meekness, and the unselfed love of the mighty Jesus - this man who overcame every material law known to mankind, this man who held the wind in his grasp and the waves in the palm of his hand, this man who could have escaped the part he played in the tragedy on Calvary, this man whose power of spiritual understanding could roll away the stone of materialism from the door of the tomb of mortality - should put to shame the arrogance and egotism of him who thinks to succeed without the Christ.

My friends, I cannot ask more of your time. There is so much to say about Christian Science, so much of good, so much that makes for true joy and rest and peace that one short hour is all too brief to unfold the riches of this treasure-chest of Spirit. Certain it is that God never made you sick, or sinful, or unhappy, or poverty-stricken, and just as certainly will God make you well and pure and happy and successful if you will only let Him.

Mrs. Eddy, through her great discovery of Christian Science, given to the world in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," has unlocked for us the secret of spiritual law contained in the Bible and especially in the teachings and works of Jesus the Christ so that, instead of being a book of mystery, the Bible has become a chart of life and peace and hope and happiness, - a chart by which mortals may guide their frail crafts away from the shoals and rocks of sin, sickness, poverty, and death into the quiet waters of Spirit, where sin and evil have no abiding haven, and God's goodness reigns supreme.

 

[From a Chicago newspaper clipping, date unknown.]

 

 

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