Christian Science Consistencies
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
In beginning his remarks Mr. Kimball stated that it would be impossible for him to tell all about Christian Science in three weeks; consequently his audience need not expect to hear a complete explanation of it in an hour or so, any more than it should expect to hear all about the Christian religion told by a preacher in a sermon. He said he could make it plainer to his audience by telling, not what Christian Science really was, but how it differed from what they had always believed. He said in part:
We believe God is infinite, eternal, self-existent, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and that He is Life, Truth, Love, good, and that He is sole creator of, and the law and government of, all that has actual existence. In logical and necessary consistency with this, we repudiate every assumption that He has created sin, sickness, or death, or that He has procured them, or that they are any part of His nature, plan, or necessity. God is contrary to disease, and disease is contrary to God — an abnormal monstrosity of the so-called "carnal mind," which is at enmity to and unlike God, who, instead of having instituted sickness, is the natural healer of the sick.
We believe in the divinity of Christ and accept him as the only Messiah. We are striving to live in imitation of his teaching and works. We differ from others because we do not believe that his work, done according to the will of God for the salvation of mortals, was mysterious, miraculous, or unnatural. Christian Science teaches that his ministry was by way of object lesson — palpable proof of practical and universal utility. He so understood it and stated it accordingly.
We differ concerning the nature of sin and evil. A consensus of opinion on the part of the world is that evil is an entity which includes all of the elements of immortality; that it is as real, actual, and eternal as God and destined to exist in perpetual companionship with God, who is declared to be everywhere and to know all the evil there is forever.
Christian Science declares that all evil is temporal and temporary; that it contains the seeds and nature of its own destruction and extinction; that it is unnatural, abnormal, unlawful, and unnecessary, and that it can be mastered and lawfully abolished. All sin and evil is finite and is doomed to utter extermination and is but the paraphernalia of the same carnal mind, or an erroneous, vicious, ignorant, and perverted sense of true being. Jesus said, "Overcome evil," "I have overcome the world," "Go, and do thou likewise."
A race of people, educated to believe that God has procured their inevitable suffering and tragic doom, and that evil is not only indestructible, but irresistible, is permeated individually and collectively with fear, dread, and alarm, and with perpetual expectation of disaster; and this fear constitutes in itself the prolific cause of mental and physical degradation and disease.
Materia medica and physiology hold that disease is natural and to be expected; we declare it to be unnatural. Physiology asserts that the primary cause of disease is to be found in the realm of mindless matter, and we know that causation is to be found in the mental realm.
The matter physician admits that the drugging system is defective and that its practice is tentative, experimental, or accidental, and often is by way of expediency, and we hold that Christian Science, as the Science of healing, is demonstrably perfect and that as soon as the practice thereof is fully understood, it will abolish disease.
The matter physician regards matter as able to dominate the life and peace of men and liable by its own caprice to make him sick and kill him, whereas we cling to the supremacy of Mind and the law and power of Spirit.
We believe in prayer without cessation and in silent prayer. We also believe in the highest moral and ethical standard of living. We believe in standing up and being men and women and not crawling about and calling ourselves poor worms. We believe in demanding certain things for ourselves, as of a right belonging to us.
Christian Science is not understood and it is maligned, and reviled, and abused by those who know least about it. It appeals to those in trouble, in vicissitudes, in sickness, and in need. It comes to a people who are engaged in a conflict of religion, who are inquiring for Truth. You belong to a race that has no fixed or definite opinion about anything. There is one God, one Truth, one right way, yet there are today 2,000 religious sects in operation; there is one God, one Truth, and one Christian religion, and yet there are over one hundred different sects who believe in that religion. Do not these facts warrant an honest investigation and do they not entitle us to our belief as much as they do them to theirs? But, as it has always done in the past, Christianity holds up its hands and cries, "nay, nay," when any attempt is made to move on or to progress. Christian Science cannot be properly compared with religion because there is no unit of religion with which to compare it.
When Jesus healed the sick, whose work did he triumph over, that of God or that of the devil? Now be careful how you answer or your religion may collapse. If it was over God's, he changed God's will and God then is not the same yesterday, today, and forever. But happily it was the devil over whom he triumphed.
Some believe the Bible is all inspired, even to the covers. We believe that if God had dictated the Bible, He would have done it better and would not have made any contradictions or mistakes such as were made. All through the ages there have been men who have lived close to God, and they have given in the Scriptures their understanding of God, divine law, et cetera.
The power of mind over matter is immeasurable. Caesar might have had a steamship; Napoleon an automobile; Abraham a sewing machine, if they had only thought right. Thought would have given them these things as soon as they could have been made. But they did not have the right kind of thought.
Seventy-five per cent of all the people ever sick would recover spontaneously if they were let alone.
A few years ago a woman in Texas was killed by having a folding-bed fold up on her while she was asleep. At a memorial service held by friends and relatives a set of resolutions were adopted which began in this manner: Whereas God, in His inscrutable wisdom, et cetera: Therefore, be it resolved that we bow in reconciliation to His divine will, et cetera. And a few days later they filed suit in the Circuit Court against the manufacturer of the folding bed and wanted damages for something which they had said God had done in His inscrutable wisdom. Christian Science denounces any such doctrine or belief as that.
Mr. Kimball paid a high tribute in conclusion to Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. He said there was no just reason why a woman should not know right and appreciate it just as quickly as a man. Nothing, he said, is superior to a splendid woman, and he characterized Mrs. Eddy as the most splendid woman he knew. He said she was honest, sincere, modest, brave, pure, and high-minded and she bore all the vile and malignant slurs cast at her with a patience and fortitude similar to that in which Christ endured those of his revilers.
[Synopsis of lecture delivered in Jacksonville, Illinois, and published in The Jacksonville Courier, December 15, 1902. This is the sixth of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball.]