Action and Influence of Thought
On the Affairs of Man
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
BEFORE beginning his lecture Mr. Kimball said that in order that his audience might realize in part the feeling with which he stood before it as an expositor of Christian Science he would state that he himself was a physical example of the power of the Science to heal.
PEOPLE are forever congratulating themselves on the measure of their enlightenment, their discoveries, their increased knowledge, and the vast development of the possibilities of existence. By reason of the natural processes of discernment or revelation different individuals have made known to the world things that were before unknown, or had been misconceived, or that had been considered unknowable or impossible. Many of these revelations have over-turned established conditions of thought and belief, and revolutionized the world. They have exposed the utter falsity of, and have reversed, previous conceptions, methods, and action.
In the exact ratio of this increased knowledge or perception is the conviction that the finite mind has a very imperfect and limited conception of the truth, or Science of being, and that the vast range of knowledge which is beyond its perception is infinite. Hence there is a great yearning for further revelation; a constant searching after truth by a people whose hopes and prayers are that there may be more light, and that the real facts of existence may be revealed.
It is noticeable that this same people, who thus pray for the revelation of the truth, usually reject and resist it when it is first made known, and often revile and persecute the exponent or revelator; but notwithstanding this, the truth of being is gradually impressing itself on the consciousness of mankind in spite of all opposition, and will continue to turn and overturn until "He whose right it is, shall reign."
One writer, realizing the imperfection of human knowledge, has said: "We have no exact or absolute knowledge, except of the science of numbers." This is hardly true, but it is true that only exact and demonstrably scientific knowledge can be relied on for the government and welfare of humanity. In the same sense that we have a comprehension of and the satisfactory benefits of numbers, we should also comprehend the science of everything that is included in the infinitude of being. Humanity must surely learn that, as there is the science of numbers, there must also be the Science of Life and the Science of health, and that this Science, wrought out in actual demonstration, will remove from humanity the discords of sin and disease.
We shall, therefore, the better prepare our thought for a helpful consideration of our subject this evening if we remember that the world is confessedly awry; is confessedly in a state of conflict and confusion; that it admits that it is the victim of ignorance of the laws of being, and is incompetent to accomplish for itself a state of harmonious and satisfactory existence. If we do this we shall be more ready to look for and to discern a possible remedy and more willing to hope and admit that such a remedy may be at hand. That condition of mentality which most clearly detects the errors of human belief is most receptive of the true ideas and the actuality of the Science of Life. It most easily grasps the truth which leads into all Truth, and is the mighty deliverer.
Over thirty years ago the most extraordinary woman that ever lived, after a life and experience that fitted her in the highest degree for so grand a ministry, and by reason of her spiritual nature, her high mental attainments, and deep insight into metaphysical Science and the things of God, stood out far in advance of the common frontage of human mentality, and announced the discovery or revelation of the Science of Life which she afterward named Christian Science. Not only this, but she announced that she had demonstrated beyond all question the Principle which she had discerned, and gave such an exposition of the Science as enabled any conscientious student to attest its verity by the healing of the sick and by obliterating thousands of ills that are just as abnormal and contrary to the Science of being as two and two are five is contrary to the science of numbers.
When humanity's plight shall have been fully realized and it shall have been learned that the true Christ knowledge of Life and all that it includes is really the Saviour of the world, then it will be seen that this revelation of Christian Science through Mary Baker Eddy is one of the most sublime spectacles of all history.
The textbook of Christian Science by Mrs. Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is absolutely unique. No other writers ever gave anything to the world upon which "Science and Health" could have been predicated. If there were no other evidence, the mere history of literature would establish the fact that Mrs. Eddy was the sole founder of Christian Science.
Notwithstanding this, there are people who never gave any heed to the subject until long after Mrs. Eddy's works were published, who profess that they have also discovered Christian Science and that they are sponsors for a different school thereof, as though indivisible science could possibly be manifested by different schools.
I am not here to engage in a controversy concerning this defective and presumptuous claim, which is really falling of its own unsustained weight, but will say that the fact that Mrs. Eddy was the discoverer and founder of Christian Science is now formulated history; is declared by encyclopedias, by dictionaries and biographical works, by the Parliament of Religions and its records, and is confirmed by the palpable fact that every statement written by anyone may be found substantially in the previously published writings of Mrs. Eddy. I do not recall one salient statement on the subject that was not better stated by her years before.
There are in the ranks of the Christian Science denomination in immediate affiliation with it hundreds of thousands of people who in consequence of this revelation and the unparalleled service of its discoverer have been rescued from graves, lifted from beds of pain and disease, redeemed from the depths of intemperance, degradation, and sin to a state of health, happiness, and morality. History does not portray a solitary creature since Christ in whose train may be seen such vast thousands as have been the beneficiaries of this discovery and the superhuman, God-directed labor of Mrs. Eddy, whereby its beneficence has found its way into the affections and weal of mankind.
Now in face of all this, there are people who, in assumed behalf of the race, are protesting that we are making too much of Mrs. Eddy. This comes with strange inconsistency from those who make much of Calvin, Wesley, and the pope at Rome; of Swedenborg, Voltaire, and others. It comes with poor grace from the laity which makes much of its clergymen; which accepts the minister as spiritual guide and interpreter and regards his opinion as wisdom and law. We might dismiss the claim with the retort that it comes to us with unclean hands, but I will make use of this reference to it to emphasize the fact that "Science and Health" teaches just the contrary. It exalts thought to the recognition of the allness of God. It leads the way to absolute loyalty and obedience to Him alone. It teaches the disciple to turn from personality and personal models to God, who alone can guide man aright.
Mrs. Eddy's practice is in strict accord with this teaching. Her constant effort with her students and followers has been to turn them from reliance on her and from all attempt at the exaltation of her personality, to the understanding of impersonal Christian Science, which is the true guide and way-shower. Her teaching in this respect has been effective, for her students do have a rational and scientific understanding of her work and relationship to the cause. It sometimes happens that sick people or neophytes in Christian Science who have been healed give vent to their gratitude in extravagant forms of acknowledgment and admiration, but this is neither inculcated nor encouraged by this Science, by Mrs. Eddy, nor by her students at large.
Christian Science, or the Science of being, is infinite. There is no beginning or ending to it. It covers all the phases of mind, law, government, substance, power, and action. Do not expect that I can tell you all about this Science in one evening, and do not be disappointed if you do not leave here with a complete understanding of it and fully equipped to move mountains. To grasp infinity in an hour or two is obviously impossible. I have known people to complain because I did not tell them all about Christian Science and the work of healing; whereas if they had grasped one-tenth of what I did say, they would have gone away rejoicing.
I am glad to say that Christian Science is a vast subject and covers a limitless area. It follows therefore that at such a time as this we can only consider certain phases of this Christian knowledge and my object is to speak to you to-night concerning the Science of Mind and of the action and influence of thought on the affairs of man.
The statement is made in "Science and Health" (page 234:24, 264th edition), that "sin is thought before it is acted," and this statement can successfully resist every conceivable argument to the contrary. Indeed, if you will give the subject very little scrutiny, you will discern its verity for yourself and know that sinful thought is the impulse and animus of every sin.
All the strife and war among nations is, primarily, thought. All the business affairs of the world are thus originated. Continents are discovered, explored, and colonized; nations are founded; cities are built; the earth is made to bring forth its produce; goods are designed and manufactured, and all of the vast, ponderous transactions of the world are procured and continued by the action of thought.
Thought establishes social relationships and on the other hand it murders and commits suicide. It brings forth the manifestations of music, art, and invention and again it demolishes and destroys. Without thought all human activity would cease; the earth would become depopulated; the wheels of industry would abruptly stop, crumble, and decay, and the work of man's hands be obliterated. Gaze where you will upon the scene of humanity and you may know that its visible presence on the earth and all of its possessions; all that it does or has ever accomplished; all of the minutia and immensity of its doings; indeed all things of whatsoever phase or nature that are included in the entire compass of its career are but the phenomena of thought; and you may also know that mortal man and his affairs, which exist because of thought,would be a nonentity without it.
I do not suppose there is one person here who does not comprehend that this is true; no one who does not, to some extent, grasp the apparent dominion of thought over all that concerns the destiny of mortal man, and because you can and do comprehend this I expect you patiently and intelligently to listen while I tell you that part of the revelation of Christian Science which our textbook explains with great amplification is, that thought and its phenomena, acting either immediately or remotely, is "the procuring cause of all sin and disease." (Science and Health, page 171:27).
I do not ask or expect you to believe this on the strength of what I am saying. You cannot possibly know it until you study this Science and get an understanding of its Principle and the rules of demonstration and then prove it for yourself so that no vestige of doubt remains; but in the presence of this apparent control of thought over humanity, this statement to which I have referred cannot seem to you to be very astounding.
Having prepared you for an admission that possibly the human mind, by means of its many ramifications, does institute and maintain diseased conditions, I will also add the correlative declaration of Christian Science that mind rightly directed heals disease.
Now let us retrace our steps a little and explore still further the Science of Mind which not only reveals the fact that the thought of mortals externalizes itself on the life, health, happiness, and destiny of each individual, but that our thoughts influence others as well, and further that the aggregate of the universal thought acts upon humanity, on its present plane of existence, as law and government.
Going on still further, you can learn if you will that all good or evil thought externalizes itself according to its nature. In other words, the truth of being manifests itself as life, health, harmony, and happiness, whereas error or an erroneous sense of being manifests itself in sin, discord, death, and the myriads of disaster which disfigure humanity and continue its strife, calamity, and despair.
You may learn that man governed by God would manifest life and happiness; he would be indeed the very likeness of God and have dominion over all the earth instead of being subject to it.
Now if the normal God-ordained state of man is one of harmony, and we behold, instead, that mortals are environed by and are manifesting every conceivable evil, and if we know that evil is but the paraphernalia of erroneous thought, then how shall we describe the only possible way of deliverance; the only process of redemption whereby humanity may escape from its appalling agony and travail and manifest that which is infinitely good? Do we not have at hand a logical and easily comprehended answer? Does it not palpably appear to you that in order to save the race, thought must be changed; that all of the individual and universal error which by its action prostrates and kills mortal man must be supplanted by the true or scientific sense? If erring thought is the cause of human evil, is there anything else to do but to change it and thereby establish different results?
At this point let it be assumed that the suggestion occurs to you somewhat as follows: "Well, suppose that I take it for granted that this is true, that the woe and mortality of mankind is in consequence of ignorance, superstition, misconception, false belief, theories, and control; suppose that I admit that it is a false sense of life which begets sin and its desolation; how am I then any better off unless I have some faultless standard whereby to judge between the false and the true; how am I to know that the ideas which are influencing me and others are tending toward mortality and its doom? Am I not still with Pilate, who typified the complexity of human dismay and need and longing by the inquiry: 'What is Truth?'"
Yes, you are; and so is every man who has no understanding of the demonstrable truth which reforms, redeems, revivifies and sustains, and which is revealed in Christian Science. This Science is chart, compass, and beacon light to the mariner on the sea of trouble and without it he cannot accomplish his own salvation. It must be a great satisfaction to you, however, that you are unlike Pilate in that you have the blessed lot to live in an age and under a condition of thought wherein it is possible to be lifted somewhat out of the besotted materialism which environed him.
It is your privilege to live in the era of Christian Science, when divine metaphysics asserts the facts of being in the consciousness of man who can at last understand the language of Spirit. The man of nineteen centuries ago could not comprehend the truth, and Jesus was too wise to utter it in his dull ears; but the man of today can hear, understand, and demonstrate the Mind which was in Christ Jesus and which saves.
It will be readily understood that if the millennium or the kingdom of heaven within is to be established to human consciousness there will be much to change and many radical changes. When Nicodemus asked Jesus what to do to be saved, the answer was, "Except ye be born again ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven," indicating thereby the necessity for the discernment of an entirely altered sense of life. Jesus and all who understood him admonished mankind to be transformed by the renewing of mind; to put off the old man with his deeds; to put off mortality and put on immortality; to have this Mind which was also in Christ Jesus — the Mind which heals the sick, annuls temptation and discloses that "the kingdom of heaven is within you" and "If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death."
The measure of human misery indicates the extent to which mankind is straying from the life that is good, and indicates the necessity for and the degree of transformation which must ensue. At this state of discernment we are at first liable to demur because there is so much to do in order to restore ourselves and the world to health, peace and concord. Mortals have struggled so long and unsuccessfully against evil that they have come to regard it as inevitable and irresistible and have sought to be reconciled to the many elements of life and happiness by the strange, futile hope that the last enemy, death, would bestow a peace upon them which the lesser enemies had despoiled. In gloomy abiding they have sinned, suffered, and gone to an unresisted grave under the delusive expectation that in some way God would be more merciful to death than He had been to life. When urged by conscience to a more exalted state of being, it has only seemed like an invitation to give up the pleasure of this life and enter upon a career of reluctant sacrifice and of resignation to sickness and death, with the uncertain prospect of a post-mortem heaven.
Now, Christian Science shows conclusively that mankind has nothing to give up but misery and that which causes it, including both sin and disease. It reveals the self-punishing and self-destructive nature of evil; it shows how to detect and master it; it discloses and makes available the natural dominion of man; it equips him with the understanding and the power which enables him to know that he is surely working out his salvation from evil without dying, instead of merely hoping for salvation after death. Moreover, it effaces the mystery which has always surrounded this entire subject, and man gains a comprehension of the rationale of his deliverance. Lastly, it begins forthwith to manifest itself in benefits and confers the assurance that it is leavening the entire lump.
It has been said that the only way to get even with a life insurance company was to die. It certainly seems as though the only way to test the common theories of salvation is also to die. But Christian Science bids man live, and the true understanding of Life which it bestows endows him with an endless continuity of benefits.
Inasmuch as Christian Science explains that sin and disease, as well as other human disorders, are occasioned by abnormal thought and erroneous belief and that the only remedy is Christian Science Mind-healing and the possession of the Mind of Christ, I will allude briefly to the real nature of sin and the reason why sin and error cause a sense of suffering.
The advancing thought of this age, rapidly progressing under the light of Science, is grasping the fact that the truth is, and that it is good, and that God alone is natural and lawful. When this shall have become self-evident to people, it will be seen that all evil and all that results in evil is abnormal, unrighteous, and unnecessary.
Christian Science still further reveals the fact that all that is unlike God, good, is evil, regardless of what the seeming may be to human sense; hence we are led to the statement that all evil, whether it be called sin, ignorance, error, misconception, or by any other name, and in spite of all opinion to the contrary, is harmful — inevitably harmful. Some forms of evil are manifested as what we call sin, others as sorrow, sickness, misfortune, destitution and various other ills, but they are all the offspring of the one evil, the "carnal mind," which is enmity against God, against Life, Truth, Love and the power and action of good.
It is generally acknowledged that men are sinful, and there is some apprehension of possible punishment therefor, but the continuity of sin is encouraged by reason of the established belief in a system of sorrow, repentance, and cancellation. If men really believed the scientific statement that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," he would, through fear of suffering alone, refrain. If the drunkard had only known, when he lifted the first intoxicating glass to his lips, that he was really imbibing the delirium tremens with all its horrors, he would most likely have hesitated long and successfully. If the sinner who "finds satisfaction in sin," as described in "Science and Health," only knew that every sin reacts upon itself and causes inevitable suffering, he would be appalled by the prospective anguish which evil entails upon itself and turn from it. The mission of Christian Science is to make known to mortals this very nature of evil and to reconcile them to their own deliverance from it.
The question may be asked, "Why is it inevitable that sin begets suffering?" "Why may not men sin if they choose to do so and then stop without ill effects?" This question is answered more fully and better in "Science and Health" than I can do it, but in order to bring the subject home to each one of us, I will partially explain, for example, the effect of envy, jealousy, anger, malice, and revenge on the person who manifests them. Humanity is at present living on a plane of law and control whereupon envy, hatred, and malice are as antagonistic to physical well-being as poison would be. The Bible says that he that hateth his brother is a murderer, and cannot inherit eternal life, and Christian Science shows that these evil thoughts are not only murderous, but that the most deadly effect is upon the perpetrator himself, for they kindle and feed the fires of hell within. He can not inherit eternal life because his own course is suicidal, and by reason of the bodily effects produced by sin he is destroying his own sense and manifestation of life. Such a sinner is operating on a plane which devolves penalties upon him in the way of disturbed circulation of the blood, obstructed bodily functions, and the impairment of organic action. These things interfere with and repress the healthy secretions of the body and clog the system with morbific substances. All this and much more is among the consequences of sin, and this suffering is not imposed by a wrathful God, who is bestowing vengeance on the sinner, but is simply a part of the evolution of evil which decrees its own penalties, even unto the extinction of life.
It follows, therefore, that the man who is sick because of his sin needs, not medicine, but transformation, mentally and morally, and the legitimate and efficacious annulling of the imposed penalty. When the Christian Scientist has to heal a case of sickness caused by sin, it is necessary to heal the patient of the sin or cause, and thus annul the penalty, and when such a case is not healed it is generally because the sin is incorrigible and will not yield. Many forms of disease are induced by grief, sorrow, mortification, anxiety, disappointment, and kindred influences, all of which need to be taken into account by the healer, for they are all abnormal and discordant; in fact, there is no erroneous action of the human mind that does not sooner or later externalize itself in some deranged physical condition.
"Science and Health" explains with much elaboration the subtle and complex action and effect of fear, which is always mental, upon the physical body. This would be of little satisfaction to anyone if it did not also explain how fear can be destroyed and its effects arrested and exterminated. It shows how unnecessary fear is and how it is based on erroneous premises and false beliefs about life and health; how it is propagated and sustained by the educated supposition that pain and disease are of divine institution and that man is unable to protect himself against them.
Christian Science points out the possibility of your obtaining complete mastery over the sense of pain and disease, and just in proportion as you gain this understanding and thereby manifest the natural dominion and control over bodily conditions you will gradually lose all conscious and unconscious fear and escape the havoc.
The change of thought which must and will transform the world will reverse all of the purely material theories about disease and show that many of the steps that are taken to prevent and cure it but aggravate and augment it. The new understanding of scientific law will annul the laws of disease, will locate mental causation and remove the consequences of fear.
I think there is a fable which represents a conversation between the plague and a traveler on the road to Bagdad. The traveler berated the plague for having caused the death of 10,000 men in Bagdad, when the plague exclaimed, "You are wrong. I killed only one man in Bagdad and fear killed all the rest." "Science and Health" would go farther and show you that fear killed them all.
I have spoken thus of the effects of sin because the paramount work of Christian Science is to turn the people from the evil which is destroying them. The healing of the sick is an incidental accompaniment of this work, but primarily the great aim is to reform the wicked, and one way is to show him the unavoidable consequences of sin.
In referring to the influence of fear I have not done it to alarm you. You need not be disturbed thereby, for notwithstanding the wretched and widespread havoc that results therefrom, Christian Science reveals the way to cast out fear, even unto the uttermost; and I make bold to say that there is no other revelation of the way by which to accomplish it. "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" than the Mind which was in Christ and which healeth all our diseases and casts out fear.
If you would save yourself unspeakable sorrow and pain, stop hating thy brother; strive at all hazards to banish from your mind and character resentment, wrath, and bitterness; learn to love, be kind, merciful and forgiving. Love will transform you, beautify you, ennoble you, and place upon your existence the seal of a royal, a splendid manhood.
Mortals seem not to be afraid to commit sin, although this cannot possibly be done with impunity. On the other hand, they cherish thousands of unnecessary and baseless fears about disease, and these fears themselves engender the very disorders they would avoid.
Mothers, in rearing their children, load them down with fear and penalties and thereby plant the seeds of disease and suffering. The majority of a mother's fears have no more foundation than the ghost stories which frighten the children and disturb their bodily condition. These fears are of man-made origin and act as disastrously on the health of the child as slow poison, impure air, or foul water.
The mothers who through fear of disease bestow the most anxious care upon their children and educate them so elaborately concerning so-called health laws and the fear of material conditions, confer upon them incalculable damage and shut out the control that they should exercise over their bodily health. All other things being equal, it is certain that the mother of a large family of children will raise more healthy progeny than in the case of a single child, who is constantly mesmerized by its mother's anxiety and excessive obedience to the most superstitious laws.
Mothers who are Christian Scientists will greatly improve the race during coming generations. Already they find, as a rule, that from the very day of the birth of their children they are enabled to guide them through the pitfalls of infancy and childhood with very little sickness and to avoid largely the prostrating fear which is the unfortunate heritage of nearly all other children. When mothers learn all of the possibilities of motherhood as they are disclosed in Christian Science, the race will enter upon a changed existence.
Evil thought concerning disease has an offspring in evil conversation about it, and to-day the race is inflicting the most appalling consequences upon itself as the result of insufferable and limitless talk about sickness.
I doubt if there is any other subject known to man in whose behalf the nimble tongue wags itself with such mischievous industry. People who fear and avoid contagion and infection will actually submerge themselves in the introspection of self and the inspection and comments of everyone else, not knowing that these things are more harmful and do vastly more damage than the contagion and infection. There are countless thousands who are constantly going down to premature graves that would have lived on if they had kept their ills to themselves, instead of making the fatal mistake of exciting the fears and the alarming speeches of almost every one that would listen. Medical records indicate innumerable instances where illness has terminated fatally, because of the fright and discouragement that were projected upon the patient by other people who, through narrative, prediction, or expressed fears, prostrated the hope and courage and expectation of the sick man, who, if undisturbed, would have recovered spontaneously.
People are intent upon sanitary improvements, ventilation and pure water, and yet they heed not the contamination of the mental fount, which is more important than all the rest.
Christian Scientists urge the avoidance of the world-wide habit of overmuch talking about the diseased condition of the body, because as a theme for conversation it is or should be unattractive and offensive to people of wholesome sensibilities. Secondly, because nearly all such conversation is among people who know really nothing about disease, its cause, the real signification of symptoms, or of the means of cure, and whose utterances are the distressing offspring of ignorance. And lastly, because such conversations propagate fear and plant the seeds of disorder and disease, which unconsciously lodge, germinate, and consume.
This world has for ages turned in vain to matter and a materialistic philosophy for deliverance from its woe, and in disregard of its own declaration that God, Spirit, or omniscience is all power, and regardless, too, of the fact that the divine Mind alone can govern man satisfactorily and aright; can alone wipe away tears and heal all of the diseases of the nations. The profundity of Mrs. Eddy's announcement made thirty years ago, that the only hope of humanity lies in the direction of Mind, has been recognized slowly, but in spite of all its reluctance and dimness of spiritual discernment, the world must awaken to that discovery.
In the future the only march of actual progress will be in the mental realm, and this progress will not be in the way of human speculation and theorizing, but in the actual understanding and demonstration of the Mind that is infinite God. I have just spoken of the divine Mind. This is very urgently objected to by some people who regard it as a serious error. When Mrs. Eddy first wrote "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" she knew that the world had a minimized and finitized sense of God, who is infinite, and in order to assist the thought to expand and reach out toward a more adequate sense of infinity, she gave certain technical definitions of Deity, which she explained at great length. In addition to such definitions as Life, Truth, and Love, she declared that God is infinite intelligence, substance, infinite Mind and divine Principle, and the person who by this means gains a grander and more perfect sense of God learns that he has been worshiping a finite mental image and calling it God. Men have opened the textbook of Christian Science, turned its pages and read that God is divine Principle, infinite Mind, and then closed the book in wrath to exclaim: "What monstrous sacrilege! What blasphemy! The idea of calling God nothing but mind, of reducing Him to a cold iceberg of a principle." And then they have gone forth to declare that Christian Science is damnable heresy, and that Christian Scientists are infidels.
Let us turn a little of the sunshine of intelligence on this objection, this precipitate frenzy from which standpoint we are so industriously advertised as infidels. Let us see if a grain of divine logic will not allay this tumult. Let us ask a few questions to test the merits of this impeachment.
Do you believe that God is infinite? Yes! Do you believe that He is infinite wisdom, intelligence, Truth and knowledge? Yes ! And yet you believe that God is mindless, do you? Oh, no, no! Ah, but you must believe that He is mindless if you consider it infidelity to affirm that He is divine Mind. There is no other alternative for you. God is either Mind or mindless. Choose ye whom you will serve; but, before you decide that He is mindless, let me tell you that a mindless God is nonentity, for mindless knowledge and mindless wisdom is simply inconceivable. Next let us examine this riot about Principle. What does Principle mean? It means primary, basic, fundamental — law, government, causation. Principle is that by reason of which all exists that does exist. Now, if God is not the divine Principle of the universe and of all being, who is? If He is not Principle, then He is neither primary, nor is He causation; and, if not these, then He is not infinite, and if your God is not infinite, then He is no God at all. All of the ill-considered objections to Christian Science have no more substance to them than this one has, and, when subjected to a scientific analysis, they become as dust and disappear. In Christian Science the allness of one God includes the allness of one infinite Mind, and one intelligence, and shows that the true function of man is to manifest or express this Mind, which was also in Christ Jesus.
The human being speaks of his mind, his soul, spirit, intellect, and mentality as though he possessed all of these things. He is never able to tell the difference between them or to know one from the other. No one ever saw any of them, or is able to cognize their abode or presence; and still he talks and writes and even sings about them incessantly. The Science of Mind shows that there is not the slightest evidence that he has anything whatever of the kind, except a capacity to think; to be conscious; to know. That consciousness or aggregation of thoughts or ideas constitutes all there is to what he calls his mind and indicates his own individuality. With this man the great question never urges itself — what is governing this consciousness?
If he is governed by error, by sin and the love of it, by superstition and an ignorant sense of being, then he will externalize the law and doom of the carnal mind in sorrow, pain, and sickness; for, as the Bible says, "to be carnally minded is death." But if he learns of God, and is governed by the divine Mind, if the consciousness of the truth abides in him, and the understanding of Life is manifesting man's dominion, then he will experience an entirely different existence, for "to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Every human being stands hourly at "the parting of the ways;" each moment he is called upon to choose whom he will serve. The understanding of the truth and obedience thereto will lead him through the channels of health and holiness and bestow upon him the countless benefits of intelligence; but if an evil and perverted sense of life governs appetite, affection, motive and obedience, then they will lead him into the mire of suffering and gloom and death.
The world has already entered upon an era of intellectual and spiritual advancement which was prophetically indicated by the motto adopted by the "World's Columbian Exposition": "Mind, not Matter." People have languished in the supposition that matter alone was practical, and that mind or spirit was vague and intangible. To-day, owing to the glorious revelations of Christian Science, the world stands within the vestibule of the vast dome of divine intelligence wherein is found the transcendent, practical power of the action of Mind over all things.
The only textbook of genuine Christian Science is "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy. This book, which has passed the 150th edition, contains a complete exposition of this Science and its application to the healing of the sick. The frantic efforts to discredit this book by means of shallow denunciation, ignorant criticism, and unfair analysis have utterly failed. No opposition or ridicule has served to suppress the sale or prevent the perusal of this book by the public. Why? Because the people who are most deeply interested in the subject, the sick and unhappy ones who have taken the pains to examine it in sincerity and with an honest desire to recognize its merits, have learned that it is true, and have become its beneficiaries in abundant degree by proving the verity of the Science which it discloses. If a lecturer on this subject were required to explain just what Christian Science is, he could not do better than to read to an audience this book of over 600 pages. For the reason that this is not possible, he is necessarily confined to a limited indication of what it accomplishes in the hope of interesting the listener in a further and more complete investigation. To narrate specifically all of the works which are being performed through its influence would be simply impossible, for they have been multiplied to a point that baffles estimate and computation.
We can, however, summarize the great good that is being accomplished, leaving the details to be disclosed to anyone who will inquire more definitely. I will first say that the man who feels its touch begins and continues a normal reform by means of a willing and satisfying destruction of temptation and evil desire. I believe that there is no influence exerted upon the sinner that will so rationally and effectually turn him from sin.
It has reformed drunkards and the victims of the morphine and other habits. Confirmed or chronic inebriety is among the infirmities of man which have been considered well-nigh hopeless. Material remedies cannot cope with inherited or acquired desire; neither have they any substitute or reinforcement for the loss of will power, which, it is improperly alleged, ensues in the case of the drunkard. The entire treatment of drunkenness has been based on incorrect premises and governed by erroneous conclusions. Christian Science treatment adequately reaches both cause and effect, and has restored multitudes of drunkards to a state of sobriety and usefulness.
It heals all kinds of people of all manner of diseases. At the World's Congress of Religions it was authoritatively stated that more than one million cases of disease had been healed by it up to that time, and that many of them had been considered incurable. It has cured diseases that have never been known to be healed by any other means. Indeed, I doubt if there are any diseases that have not been mastered by it. It has instructed the infidel and agnostic, who, unable to adopt any of the misconceived substitutes for Deity which have disfigured human thought, has been glad to acquaint himself with the understanding of God which unfolds the very substance and Science of being, instead of involving the believer in a labyrinth of mystery which gives no promise of yielding to anything but death.
Christian Science has purified and exalted the motives, desires, and aims of man; increased his wisdom, his executive and business capacity; arrested the havoc of vice; refined character and elevated manhood and citizenship. These are indisputable facts and they are indelibly engraved on the annals of humanity. To dispute them now would be folly. I leave them with you, without even entreating you to give heed, but being persuaded that the wise man will in due time discern that a happier destiny waits adoption by mortal man, and with the confidence that toward that destiny the weary sufferer will at last turn his footsteps to realize the deliverance which has been the hope of the ages.
[Delivered in the Coates Opera House, Kansas City, Missouri, and published in The Kansas City Times February 12, 1899. This is the second of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball.]