The Religion of Christian Science
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
William D. Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Mich., a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled “The Religion of Christian Science” last evening under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway, and St. Paul Streets.
The lecturer was introduced by Bliss Knapp, C.S.B., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
All that the Christian Science movement represents today has been made possible by the discoveries of Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy made all her discoveries in the realm of Mind or Spirit. She has recorded in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, her observations and findings in the realm of thought. In this book, she teaches that every physical phenomenon is the product of mortal thought, and that discordant thoughts and conditions are the result of disobeying the law of God, which is applicable to the solution of every human problem. The religion of Christian Science is therefore eminently practical in daily living.
Our lecturer is here this evening to tell us something helpful about the religion of Christian Science, and he is well qualified to do it. He is a member of the Board of Lectureship of this church, and it gives me great pleasure to present to this audience Mr. William D. Kilpatrick, C. S. B., of Detroit, Michigan.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
In the Book of Revelation, the beloved disciple, John, writing in exile from the Isle of Patmos, says of the Christ: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This touching sentiment finds a most beautiful counterpart in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, where she has written (p. 224); "A higher and more practical Christianity, demonstrating justice and meeting the needs of mortals in sickness and in health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday?"
This angel visitant, my friends, this Christ, which has existed throughout all time, that of which Jesus spake when he said, "Before Abraham was, I am," is revealed in Christian Science. This revelation has come to the world - it has come to you and to me - with its message of love and compassion and succor knocking for admission, and it is of this guest, this revelation of the Christ, that we shall speak today.
It would be quite impossible in the brief period at our disposal to more than touch on a very few of the salient points of Christian Science, but we shall endeavor in what time we have, to treat our subject in the simplest possible manner so that those who are unfamiliar with it may gain as clear an impression of it as it is possible to give in so brief an address.
Christian Science comes to you, my friends, an open book. It has nothing to conceal but volumes to reveal. Its story is simple and sweet. It is a story of love and compassion; one of hope and happiness; one of comfort and good cheer. Christian Science is the great angel of peace come to earth to heal it of its sorrows and its woes, its sickness and its sin. It is the everlasting foe of fear and unhappiness and disease and poverty and misery. It is the day-star of the Christ guiding into paths of peace and joy and plenty. It bids you doff the sackcloth and the ashes of grief, despair, and grave forebodings and don the garments of contentment and happiness. It will lead you into paths and pastures you know not of and holds for each one of you a God-crowned promise laden with blessings rich and precious. It comes to bring peace to a struggling world and its troubled hearts. Again we hear the voice of the Christ crying in this age to tired humanity: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
And so, if there are those here today who are struggling under a load of care or sorrow; if there are those who are bowed down with the weight of years and unremitting and fruitless toil; if there are those who are sick or needy; if there are those who are shackled with the bonds of sin and misfortune, we have for you a glorious message. And when you leave here today we trust and pray it will be with a lighter heart, with more of the hope and the joy and the peace and the comfort which is the gift of God to every one of you.
In the words of that beautiful hymn: -
"How gentle God's commands!
How kind His precepts are!
Come cast your burden on the Lord,
And trust His constant care.
"His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I'll drop my burden at His feet,
And bear a song away."
In brief retrospection, I may say that, in spite of all the good Christian Science stands for, of all the good it embodies, of all the blessings it has brought and is bringing to mankind, it has met with tremendous opposition in achieving the high pinnacle to which it has climbed in the hearts of suffering humanity. This truth has been vilified and ridiculed, stoned and spat upon and persecuted and prosecuted, and this, by the same element of mortal mind that presented to the world that awful tragedy on Calvary, - the crucifixion of Jesus.
Because the teachings of Jesus base the teachings of Christian Science, and because Christian Science teaches and practices what Jesus taught and practiced, it can hardly be hoped that Christian Science can escape a repetition of the persecutions directed at the humble Nazarene.
It was because Jesus healed the sick without drugs and reclaimed the sinner without resort to the use of ritual and dogma and creed that he was crucified. And it is because Christian Science heals the sick without drugs and saves the sinner without creed or ritualism that it has shared the bitter cup of the Master and has borne in silence his cross of persecution. And just as Jesus crowned the cross of his crucifixion with the sublime victory of his life's mission, his resurrection and ascension, so Christian Science is placing on every cross along its path of progress a crown of triumphant achievement, and today the cross and the crown are held aloft to guide the footsore and the weary along the steep and rugged pathway of life.
The great lesson for all mankind in the life of Jesus lies not in the Master's crucifixion but is found, rather, in his resurrection and ascension. The crown of triumphal achievement in Jesus' resurrection and ascension far transcends the cross and in the crown-topped cross do Christian Scientists behold the true symbol of that for which Jesus lived and suffered and triumphed. In the lesson of Jesus' life the cross represents to Christian Scientists the darkest hours of his career. With his resurrection and ascension do they see the dawn of a new light in the history of mankind which is destined to lead humanity on and on to those divine heights which will enable it to place the crown of victorious endeavor on every cross in its pathway from earth to heaven.
Christian Science is primarily and exclusively the religion of Jesus the Christ. It is a return to the teachings of primitive Christianity and as such it must necessarily include the practice of healing which exemplified the life, not only of Jesus, but the lives, as well, of many of the early Christians, even the lives of those who had never been taught of Jesus. We have been prone to think that the healing of the sick, the maimed, the halt, and the blind by Jesus and by his disciples and apostles was the outcome or result of a special dispensation from God to Jesus which was, in turn, passed along by him to his followers in some mysterious or occult manner. That is, we have been taught to believe that the healing works accomplished by Jesus are the manifestations of a superhuman power with which Jesus was especially endowed to distinguish him from the rest of mankind; that this power was something mysterious and that it is in no wise the heritage of all who obey God.
This is a very erroneous concept of Jesus and of the import of his holy mission and it is a concept which has robbed Christianity of the very essence of that for which Jesus struggled and for which he permitted his crucifixion. In this mistaken concept, that the power to heal the sick and to raise the dead by spiritual means alone ended on the cross, do we find the blighting limitation from which Christianity must be freed. This wrong concept, that spiritual healing was a special dispensation from God bestowed upon Jesus alone and for a limited period of time, has for centuries deprived mankind of those wonderful blessings which Christian Science has come to restore.
The healing work accomplished by Jesus was the outcome of his religion, - a necessary concomitant. Spiritual healing, as taught and practiced by Jesus, and as taught and practiced by Christian Science, is a necessary and logical consequence of religion. Jesus healed the sick, walked the waves, fed the multitudes, and raised the dead by his religion, the religion he came to give to the world - to you and to me - for our salvation right here and now. Jesus himself tells us that this power, which was manifested by those works which have been denominated miracles, was unfolded to him through his study of the Scriptures and his consequent ability to discern God aright. Jesus' spiritual conception by Mary and his devout study of the Scriptures made possible that keen spiritual perception which enabled the Master to discern more clearly than any other human what God, the Father, is and man's true relationship to God. This clear concept of God and of God's power as reflected by man is the foundation of all the teachings and works of the Master and constitutes his religion, - the religion he came to give to mankind, - the Christian religion.
Jesus' clear concept of God and of man's relation to God had always been a possibility. That is, what Jesus taught concerning God and man always had been true and always will be true. This truth had always existed, but it required a pure, spiritual mentality to grasp it. That this truth about God and man had been discerned in a greater or less degree by various religious thinkers of early history is evidenced in the Scriptures comprising the Old Testament and in the many wonderful works accomplished by those who, from time to time, have risen high enough in spiritual thinking and spiritual perception to glimpse the glories of the existence wherein man may be found in the image and likeness of his Maker.
Throughout all time, those, who through prayer and devout thinking have so clarified their consciousness as to perceive God and man aright, have been able to give to the world some fruits of their spirituality in works as wonderful in a degree as those accomplished by Jesus. As far back as the Scriptures take us do we find evidence of works accomplished by those who have discerned aright the true God and His creation. Whenever, through the centuries, mankind has glimpsed, through right thinking, the true God, then do we find a record of works similar to those which so signally marked the inception of the Christian era.
In the very beginning of Bible history do we find the account of the translation of Enoch as a result of his religion - his clear perception of the true God and His creation. It was Moses' religion - his right, concept of God's power - that enabled him to lead in triumph the children of Israel out of the land of bondage. It was his religion that enabled him to provide the Israelites food and drink when it seemed humanly impossible to escape death from hunger. You will recall how the manna was furnished for them in the desert and how Moses brought forth water from a rock in a dry and parched country. It was Joshua's religion - his clear concept of the true God - that enabled him to command the waters of the River Jordan to roll back in their course while the Israelites passed through on dry land to safety, and it was by reason of his religion that he was enabled to command the sun and the moon to stand still. Through his religion Elijah multiplied the widow's measure of meal, filled her empty cruse with oil and restored to life her son. Elisha's religion enabled him to raise to the surface of the river the sunken ax-head, to restore to life the son of the Shunammite mother, to multiply one small pot of oil so that all the vessels at hand were filled to running over, to feed one hundred men with twenty barley loaves with much left and to spare and to heal the leprosy of Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria. The religion of Daniel saved him from the hunger of the lions and through a clear understanding of the true God and His power and presence the three Hebrew young men were delivered unscathed from the fiery furnace.
All of these Old Testament miracles were accomplished through the same means as were those of Jesus. The clear concept of God that made possible the ascension of Jesus accomplished the translation of Enoch four thousand years before. The understanding of God that enabled Moses to supply food to the Israelites in the wilderness enabled Jesus to feed the multitudes by the shores of the Galilean Sea fifteen hundred years later. The understanding of God that enabled Joshua in the year 1400 B.C. to roll back the waters of the Jordan enabled Jesus to still the tempest and calm the waves in his time. The understanding of God which enabled Elisha to raise the ax-head to the surface of the river, to restore to life the son of the Shunammite mother, and to multiply the widow's oil enabled Jesus nine centuries later to walk the waves, multiply the loaves and fishes, and raise from the bier the son of the widow of Nain. The religion which healed Naaman of his leprosy in the year 800 B.C., healed many lepers in Jesus' time. The religion that saved Daniel from the hunger of the lions and the three Hebrew boys from the furnace of fire delivered Peter six centuries later from the prison at Antioch and enabled Paul to restore to life the young man at Lystra. This same religion enabled the early Christians for many generations after the time of Jesus to obey the command of the Master to go into all the world, preach the gospel, heal the sick, and raise the dead.
So we find, by an enlightened study of the Scriptures, that spiritual healing, or the working of miracles, as recorded in the Bible, is not an evidence of any exclusive, supernatural power bestowed by God on some especially favored individual, but that it is the power of God available for all His children and demonstrable by all in proportion as we gain the true religious concept of God and His creation. The life and teachings of Jesus reveal clearly that his whole mission was to so endow mankind with religious enlightenment and true understanding of God and His creation that all mankind could do the works which he did. It does indeed seem almost incredible that the Christian church of the past seventeen hundred years could have so completely missed the very heart and soul of his life's mission.
Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them," and he devoted his whole career to showing mankind what those fruits should be. In fact, his earthly mission was to show mankind that unless their religion brings forth the fruits of healing and saving as exemplified in his life work it has sadly misinterpreted its import. To give to his disciples a graphic and impressive lesson, - to show, one might say his supreme disapprobation of the religion which is evidenced only in words rather than in healing works, - you will recall that near the close of his earthly career Jesus cursed the barren fig tree, - the fig tree that to all outward appearances was a fruitful example of its kind but which on investigation and close acquaintance proved to be utterly devoid of fruit but profuse in beautiful and promising foliage; in other words, barren of works but prolific in appearances.
Jesus did not heal the sick, walk the waves, multiply the loaves and fishes, raise the dead, and many other wonderful things simply for the gratification of the multitude: nor were those works done for the mere purpose of showing mankind what he personally could do. He did these things to show to the world, to you and to me, what are the fruits of a right understanding of God and man's relation to God. He did these works to show humanity what it means to be a true Christian. Jesus said: "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
What Jesus accomplished by way of healing and saving was the positive result of his mental application of a scientific principle. Jesus was the only truly scientific man who ever lived, and he scarcely uttered a word or accomplished a deed that was not in direct opposition to what we have always conceived to be physically or materially scientific. In other words, Jesus completely disregarded and nullified, through those works which he accomplished, every so-called scientific principle based upon materiality, or matter, of which you or I have any knowledge, showing conclusively that God does not operate through material law and that the law of God, when scientifically and intelligently applied, is one of annihilation to the so-called laws of matter, or of evil.
Jesus disregarded all the so-called laws of material existence through his understanding of God's power, - through the religion he came to give to you and to me, - and he said plainly and unequivocally, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." These works, or miracles, were done by him through the correct understanding of God which he came to establish with mankind. Now, if the so-called laws of matter, which Jesus so completely disregarded, were God's laws, Jesus could never have set them aside. That must be perfectly clear to everybody. Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Fulfill what? Why, God's law. That is, to establish God's law on a basis understandable to you and to me. Certainly then, that which Jesus destroyed or disregarded cannot be an expression of God's law or of anything of God's creating, for what is of God could not be destroyed even by Jesus. It consequently follows, then, that the power which Jesus employed in accomplishing the annulment of so-called laws of matter must have been of God. For did he not say, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil"? So what he destroyed or overcame cannot be of God and that by which he accomplished these wonderful works must have been of God. Therefore, the miracles of Jesus are examples to us of what the correct understanding of God can accomplish. And Jesus said that those same miracles, or signs, which he presented to the world, shall follow, or characterize, the lives of those who believe in and understand his teachings. Jesus' life mission, then, was clearly to establish with mankind that understanding which would enable them to heal the sick, cast out demons, walk the waves, and even raise the dead, as did he. This understanding must embrace a clear concept of God and God's creation, for Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing; . . . but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
The important thing, then, for you and for me to glean from the life and the teachings and the works of the Master is a clear understanding of what this Father, this God, is who enabled Jesus to do those mighty works which he said you and I should be able to do also. And that, my friends, is the mission of Christian Science, to reveal to the world what God, the Father is and how to demonstrate that relationship with the Father which existed between Jesus and God, whereby we can go about doing good as did he, healing the sick and the sorrowful and saving the sinner. In the seventeenth chapter of the book of St. John, in Jesus' wonderful prayer to God before his betrayal and crucifixion, referring to his disciples and to you and to me, he said: "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. . . . Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. . . . and the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one."
This unity, then, this oneness with the Father, with God, which was exemplified in the life and teachings and works of Jesus is what all mankind must ultimately demonstrate, not only that they may be able to do those works that Jesus did, but that they may be able also to enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has given to the world a concept of God which always attributes all power to Him and which is making it possible for millions of earnest, honest people to so demonstrate their God-bestowed relationship with the Father that once again are the sick being healed, the sorrowful being comforted and the sinners being saved as was done in Jesus' time. Mrs. Eddy, among other things, discovered that God is divine Mind. And on careful reflection it becomes quite apparent that God must be Mind, else how could He be the all-wise, the governing, controlling, and directing intelligence of the universe and man, which the Bible declares Him to be? The wonder of it is that it took a nineteenth century woman to discover so simple and self-evident a fact. Therefore an acquaintance with Mind, God, that is, an intelligent understanding of God to be Mind, enables mankind to establish, through the process of thinking, that unity with God to which Jesus refers in the Scripture just quoted, where he says, "That they may be one, even as we are one." As we know God aright, as we know and express in our thinking that Mind which is God, are we establishing that unity with God which Jesus said existed between him and his Father.
We all know, from our study of the Bible, that the only method employed by Jesus in accomplishing his works of healing and regeneration - his miracles - was prayer or communion with God. It was through prayer that he was enabled to walk the waves, feed the multitudes, heal the sick, and raise the dead. Prayer is the process of right thinking and nothing else; so, if God be divine Mind, God can only be known or expressed through right thinking, or thinking good. Consequently, Jesus' process of prayer was a process of establishing his unity with God through thinking those thoughts which emanate from divine Mind. God being Mind and man's true relationship with God being established by knowing this Mind which is God, by thinking rightly, it can readily be seen that the true man, or man of God's creating, must be that man who has a complete and full comprehension of divine Mind. That is, he must be that man who knows nothing unlike that which is contained in the divine Mind. And from this we begin to understand a little of what it means in the first chapter of Genesis, where it says in depicting the true creation: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." So man reflects the image of God in just the proportion that he reflects or understands divine Mind.
This concept of God, as Mind, completely eliminates any thought of the divine Being as an exaggerated personality, humanly circumscribed, seated on a throne off somewhere in the blue empyrean, and brings God and heaven right down to us here and now. Spiritual thinking is right thinking and right thinking is prayer and prayer is knowing, or reflecting in thought, the divine Mind, whereby we establish our present conscious unity with the Father. In thinking good are we reflecting God, and as we reflect God we take on His image and likeness, and taking on His image and likeness we, likewise, obtain that power over the carnal which so exemplified the life of the Master. In the first chapter of John, twelfth verse, it is written, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name," indicating most clearly that this sonship with the Father - this unity with God - this reflection of God - His image and likeness - is achieved through a mental process entirely and depends exclusively on our individual ability to recognize God as Mind and to comprehend what this Mind is.
Now, it would seem, on first blush, quite incredible that humanity, merely through a right mental process, through spiritual thinking, could overmaster physical conditions and laws and overcome the manifestation, in all its various forms, of evil or matter. Yet, that was what Jesus did, and that is what he always did in his three years work with men. Mrs. Eddy's discovery, however, made through her search of the Scriptures and devout and unceasing prayer, has solved this problem for us and has explained most clearly how Jesus was able to overcome all the so-called laws of matter and how you and I, by demonstrating our conscious unity with the Father, as Christian Science teaches us how to do, are enabled to obey his command to follow his example. Mrs. Eddy's discovery, aside from revealing God to be divine Mind, includes, among other things, the further revelation that matter and the entire material, or physical, universe, with all its so-called laws and phenomena, including mortal or physical man, are but the objectifications or externalizations, to mortal perception, of that which St. Paul has denominated, or named, "the carnal mind" in contradistinction to that Mind which is God. She discovered, in other words, that matter is a false mental concept. So we have, on one hand, the divine Mind, or God and His creation, which is the true, the real, the permanent; and on the other hand the carnal, or mortal, mind and its manifestations which are unreal or temporal, because not of God. And when we have translated the material universe, including its sickness, its sin, and its death, into a mistaken concept of the carnal mind we do not have far to go to perceive that the process of overcoming the so-called material, or carnal, with the real or spiritual - with God, or divine Mind - is purely mental.
If matter were real and substantial and anything but a mistaken mental concept Jesus never could have performed a single miracle and you and I would now be hopeless waifs and weary wanderers on an uncharted sea of Stygian blackness and endless gloom. If matter were not a mental manifestation, Jesus never could have turned the water into wine, walked the waves, instantaneously transported the ship across the Sea of Galilee, passed through closed doors, multiplied the loaves and fishes, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." And again, "I have overcome the world."
Thus we find that heaven, instead of being a far-off place or event, obtainable only through the experience of death, is here and now a present and immediate reality, - a condition capable of present attainment. If God is Mind, as He must be, then the kingdom of God, or heaven, must be the kingdom of Mind or a condition of Mind. Heaven, then, is a state of Mind or consciousness, and that state of consciousness is obtainable right here and now in proportion as we substitute in our thinking the divine for the carnal. As we put off this carnal mind with its deeds, - this mind of sin and sickness and sorrow and hate and lust and greed and selfishness, - and in its place reflect that Mind of spiritual purity which is God, are we entering the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," not afar off. And you will recall that on one occasion Jesus was asked relative to the whereabouts of heaven, and when it should come, and his reply was, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." So, entering the kingdom of heaven through the pathway of prayer is not a process of overcoming matter with mind; it is the process, rather, of overcoming the carnal mind with the divine Mind, - evil with good. We are eliminating, in other words, the creation's of the carnal mind - "the world, the flesh, and the devil" - with that Mind which was in Christ Jesus. We pray ourselves into the kingdom of heaven rather than enter heaven through death's doorway. For did not St. Paul say, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace," and also, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory," showing clearly that death and heaven have nothing whatever in common, and that death is a concomitant of corruption, rather than a stepping-stone to eternal bliss.
The process, then, of establishing one's unity with the Father - the process of knowing God aright - is a process of true prayer. It is only through prayer that the world will ever be saved from its sickness and its sin, from death and the grave. Prayer, my friends, - true prayer, - is a process of elimination and substitution rather than one of compulsion or persuasion. Through prayer we eliminate from our consciousness all thoughts which are unlike God and in place thereof we substitute those thoughts which emanate from God, or divine Mind. Through prayer we put from us thoughts of sickness and disease, and in place thereof there come to us thoughts of health; through prayer we put away thoughts of sin and evil and take to us thoughts of righteousness and purity; through prayer we eliminate from our consciousness those thoughts which make for poverty and lack and limitation and in place thereof are established those thoughts which make for abundance and freedom and peace. And just in proportion as we eliminate, through prayer, thoughts of sin and sickness and selfishness and hate and lack do we experience in our daily lives health, purity, peace, love, charity, and abundance. True prayer is the process of thinking whereby we unite ourselves with the ever present God, or divine Mind, rather than a process of endeavoring to acquaint some distant deity with our trials and tribulations.
As we begin to work in Christian Science, as we begin to understand what true prayer is and how to pray as Jesus did, we begin, little by little, to displace in our thinking fear, anxiety, envy, malice, hatred, lust, revenge, and the like, the procurers of all disease, and to realize instead confidence and assurance and meekness and love and trust and charity and forgiveness and purity and sweetness. We begin to displace our concept of God's creation to be crassly material with the understanding that God's man and universe are pure and spiritual. We begin to break the fetters of creed and dogma and ritual and to emerge into the freedom of unity with the Christ. And as we progress in prayer and understanding of God, His law begins to manifest itself to us, and through us, in proportion to our purification of consciousness, in better health, better morals, better living, better business, in more love for God and all mankind, in a more harmonious condition generally. We begin then to understand a little of what Jesus meant when he said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." We begin then to understand a little of how Jesus accomplished his wonderful works and to appreciate how far we have still to traverse, - how much genuine purifying we have yet to attain before we can fully obey his command to "go, and do thou likewise."
It is through prayer that we gain our atonement - our at-one-ment - with God, with divine Truth, with Life and with Love, whereby we can go with confidence to the bedside of the sick and bid them "arise and walk;" to the charnal house of the sinner and command the "evil spirit to come out of him," and to the tomb of the dead and bid those asleep in materiality to "come forth."
Christian Science, my friends, is the outcome - the emanation - of a life devoted to prayer. Mary Baker Eddy's love for God and for all mankind, her ceaseless devotion to right, her untiring and prayerful search of the Scriptures, her sublime compassion for poor humanity, and her never ending desire to know God aright made it possible for her to give to the world, in the year 1866, this pearl of great price, this great discovery which she has denominated Christian Science. Christian Science is not an invention, nor is it what some have been pleased to call it - "one of the new religions."
It reveals the law of God. Mrs. Eddy's discovery and her wonderful achievement in establishing a church for the perpetuation of this discovery are not the results of chance nor of circumstance. Christian Science is the fulfillment of prophecy and has come to us in due time and order in accord with God's directing. Mrs. Eddy never claimed to be anything but the Discoverer and Founder of this great truth, but it will be a long time before the world will have begun to properly appreciate what she has done for mankind and what trials and vicissitudes were her lot in standing before the tremendous opposition to her first lispings in the new tongue. This great discovery came to the world because the world was, in a measure, ready to receive it, and it came through Mrs. Eddy because she was ready to understand it and to give it to a waiting humanity.
As we are told in the Preface of Science and Health, with the charge placed upon Mrs. Eddy to plant the vineyard came also the charge to water and care for it, the charge to provide those means whereby this great discovery could be perpetuated to posterity. This charge Mrs. Eddy has faithfully fulfilled in the establishment of one of the greatest and grandest church organizations the world has ever seen, - the great Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, with its network of branch churches extending to nearly every part of the civilized world. No one individual in all history has every accomplished what Mrs. Eddy accomplished in so brief a period, and the fruits of her planting bear ample evidence of her fitness for the role of Discoverer and Founder of this great movement.
Nor did Mrs. Eddy give to the world this boon of great price until she had proven beyond cavil that it bore the stamp of divinity. Through the application of the truth revealed to her through this discovery she was enabled to raise herself from an invalid's bed and to accomplish her complete and instantaneous recovery from the effects of an accident, the physicians had pronounced fatal. Following her own healing she spent several years in her search of the Scriptures and in healing others of all manner of diseases to be able to give to you and to me what is today found in Christian Science. It was nearly ten years after her own healing through this discovery before she published her first edition of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," This appeared in 1875. Since that time this book and other writings of Mrs. Eddy on the subject of Christian Science have been read and studied by millions, and her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," has experienced a sale among religious books exceeded only by the Bible. In fact, the book, Science and Health, has stimulated a demand for the Bible which is unprecedented, and today, as a consequence of Christian Science, instead of being a book of mystery, the Bible has become the chart of life to thousands upon thousands to whom it has heretofore been closed.
In the work of establishing our sonship with God we are bringing to light the true concept of the brotherhood of man, and in the right understanding of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man lies the salvation of humanity. National, racial, class, and family characteristics, distinctions, and tendencies lie in the carnal mind alone, and when each one of us shall have established his individual unity with the divine Mind, or God; when, in the language of St. Paul, "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," then, indeed, will there be "neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all."
Christian Science, through its simple message of love, is tearing from religion the masks of cold conventionality, conservatism, pride, superstition, and formalism impelled by man-made creeds and dogmatic ritualism and in place thereof it is planting the seeds of kindness and love and confidence and trust and hope resultant from a knowledge of the true God and His Christ. It is bringing God and heaven down to earth, - down to you and to me, here and now. It is planting love where fear and hate were wont to dwell; health where once was sickness; plenty where poverty and want have stalked, and joy and happiness where sorrow and sin had their abiding place. It is bringing to a suffering world a new and pure humanity, and in this new humanity we find the secret of Jesus' life mission. The burden of his whole career was to inculcate in mortal consciousness a pure humanitarianism. In I John we read, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him;" and Jesus taught that, to know and understand God to be Love itself rather than some loving personality, we must first learn to love our brother man aright. Human tenderness and love and compassion and forgiveness and long-suffering base the teachings and the miracles of the holy Nazarene, and unless we find our path to the crown-topped cross over the causeway of charity and love and gentleness and sweetness we have missed the lesson, of Jesus' great sacrifice.
Jesus' teachings admit of no cold conventionality, no austere disinterestedness in the woes of our brother man, no arrogance and no pride. Jesus brought his understanding of divine Love right down to earth, and in his charity for those who would persecute him, his patience with the dull stolidity of his followers, his forgiveness of his enemies, and his tenderness, he showed the way for all mankind. Out of the agonies of his crucifixion was born his compassionate appeal, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
In the religion of Christ Jesus there is no hate, no envy, no jealousy, malice, nor revenge. Therein is no abiding place for aught but love; and as we bring into our experience thoughts of love and forgiveness and charity for all mankind are we hastening the full comprehension of the right concept of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. In Science and Health, page 476, Mrs. Eddy has written, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.” And so, only as we see our brother man in the light of divine Science, as a true, pure, upright child of God, are we establishing our unity with the Father and healing the world of its sickness and its sin. Only as we endow mankind with our love and tenderness and patience and compassion do we become heirs of that Love which is God. Hate and greed and envy and malice and selfishness and jealousy and the like have no part in the divine Mind, and just in the proportion that we allow these thoughts an abiding place in our mental household are we separating ourselves from God and those blessings He has vouchsafed every one of us.
Sickness, my friends, - disease by whatever name, - is but the physical by-product of sin and grief and fear and hate and sensuality and superstition and false theology, and if we would heal the world of its bodily ills we must first correct its mental maladies.
To gain the height of spiritual perception, where we can discern God to be Love and man to be His image and likeness, we must climb the steeps of human forgiveness and tenderness and compassion. What a picture of human charity and love is portrayed in the meeting of the Master with the Magdalene at the home of Simon! What a lesson therein for all of us! Here was a woman, come in the fear of her shame, in the meekness and agony of humble contrition and repentance, to seek the Christ. The conventions of the world, with its self-righteousness and hypocrisy, would have driven her hence. But not so Jesus. His tender kindness, his forgiveness, and his love led her away from herself and the world and up to God and she was healed, and Mary Magdalene, this woman whom the world today would shun, was last at the cross of his crucifixion and first at the tomb of his resurrection.
And, then, when they brought to him the other woman in the very presence of the temple at Jerusalem and accusing her before him said, "Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" Jesus then and there met and rebuked forever the self-righteousness and the hypocrisy of all mankind throughout all time in his masterful reply, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." And his tender "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more," will stand throughout the ages a beacon light to the unfortunate, the world-weary, and the disconsolate to guide them into that harbor of Love where condemnation and scorn have no abiding haven and "where," as Mrs. Eddy has put it in Science and Health (p. 454), "Love is priestess at the altar of Truth."
Can you and I, then, afford to withhold from the world's sick, its sinning, its downtrodden and unfortunate, that love and tenderness and forgiveness bestowed on such by the Master? Can we afford to let the little foxes of suspicion and condemnation and envy and jealousy and hate and criticism and pride and self-righteousness steal from us our God-bestowed unity with the Father? When we are tempted to judge or condemn, to find fault or to criticize, to hate or to envy, let us put our finger on our lips and consider how much of good, how much of joy and peace and happiness and hope and comfort one little thoughtful deed, one tender word, one kind and compassionate look may mean to some weary one.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 366), in closing that wonderful picture she has drawn of the meeting of Jesus with the Magdalene, Mrs. Eddy has written: "If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted. If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing under the napkin of its form, nor bury the morale of Christian Science in the grave-clothes of its letter. The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love."
When, my friends, through love and tenderness and compassion we have touched the humble heart strings to rhapsodies of ( ) and contrition and meekness and wakened earnest, honest longing for the things of God you have opened the gates of heaven for someone.
And with these familiar words from the poet Whittier I shall close.
Then, brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother!
For where love dwells, the peace of God is there:
To worship rightly is to love each other;
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.