Christian Science: Its Promises and Their Fulfilment
Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Tuesday evening, April 24, 1900, witnessed an enlivening scene at Tremont Temple, Boston. It was the occasion of the lecture on the promises and fruits of Christian Science, by Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D., of Chicago. Mr. Kimball, although one of the original members of the Board of Lectureship, and although as such he had lectured all over the middle and far West, never before had appeared in Boston. He was invited by the Board of Directors of the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Boston, Mass, to deliver the semi-annual lecture under the auspices of this church, and kindly responded to the invitation. The magnificent audience chamber of the Temple was filled to its full capacity with an expectant assemblage, eager to hear Mr. Kimball's exposition of his great theme. All the seating room was exhausted and many stood. From the first utterance to the last, Mr. Kimball's words were listened to with an intensity of interest seldom to be witnessed on any public occasion.
His fame as a lecturer had preceded him away beyond Christian Science circles, and much was expected of him from strangers and Scientists alike; nor were they disappointed. As a sound, practical, able, and convincing presentation of some of the leading phases of Christian Science, it would be difficult to conceive how Mr. Kimball's effort could have been improved upon. Calm and dispassionate, kindly in every reference to other sects and systems, yet strongly argumentative and replete with striking illustrations, was this lecture throughout. Of his manner the Boston Globe says: —
"He spoke in a simple, plain, forceful manner upon the promises and the fruits of Christian Science, and said that he owed his life to its system of healing."
Simplicity, coupled with force and deep earnestness, were truly characteristic of his manner. His treatment of Christian Science in its practical application to business men; his references to the help it had been to scores within the range of his personal acquaintance, who by reason of the clearer understanding of men and affairs it brought were able to meet and overcome difficulties which otherwise would have baffled their skill; their freedom from anxiety formerly weighing so heavily upon them; their improved or restored health, all this, as recited by the speaker, left deep conviction in the minds of his hearers.
His own restoration to perfect health through Christian Science after he had tried in vain all other means, gave especial weight to this part of his remarks.
The life and character of our beloved Leader, as the revelator of this great healing and saving Truth, her labors of self-sacrifice, and her beneficent achievements for the race and their mighty prophecies for the future, were forcefully but touchingly brought out.
The lecture as a whole gave convincing proof of the great work that is being wrought by this important arm of service.
Promptly at eight o'clock the Rev. William P. McKenzie called the assemblage to order, and in the following well-chosen words, introduced Mr. Kimball: —
Ladies and Gentlemen: — The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., gives you a cordial welcome, offering you with all good-will this opportunity to hear what is true concerning Christian Science from the lips of one who knows the truth.
Christian Science presents to men the Scientific mode of benevolent action to-day. As a system it is based on the premises that God is Good and omnipresent as Mind; that the action of this wholly good Intelligence is Love; that Christ Jesus revealed by his life and teaching, and by healing the sick and curing sin, illustrated the action of this divine Mind, and that man in his true estate is governed by that same "Mind which was also in Christ Jesus," and therefore, following the example of the Nazarene prophet, he in similar ways may go about doing good. The ideal for conduct is set forth in the concluding church tenet of our Mother Church which says, "We solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus, to love one another, and to be meek, merciful, just, and pure." The Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, author of the tenet just quoted, and Founder of this great spiritual movement, as well as Discoverer of Christian Science, is a Reformer whose work future ages will bless. But to-day, already, tens of thousands appreciate the results of her lone and patient labor for years, which has set forth the spiritual and practical ideal of Christianity whereby, as the world accepts it, the re-union of Christendom may be possible. For it means the reestablishment of primitive Christianity with demonstration and power.
Consequently among people who are intelligent regarding Christian Science, it makes its appeal to those of liberal thought and benevolent purpose. Opposition that is simply unintelligent cannot eventually withstand such generous efforts to give enlightenment as the free public lectures now being given, the periodicals published, the regular Sunday services and testimonial meetings in many places, and the proof given by unnumbered cases of accomplished healing.
In meeting opposition that is unreasoning or prejudiced, the usual method is patient continuance in well-doing; as it is kindest for the sake of seeming foes to be sowing seeds of kindness for their reaping by-and-by.
The speaker of the evening has been such a continuer in well-doing that he may not know how widely the influence of his good work extends. It would take too long for me to relate how I have been blessed thereby. But much as might be said, a good man is ever beyond praise. Those who in all ages have presented to the world the true type of manhood have been named gentlemen; the highest title among these has been the Christian gentleman; but when Christian Science adds health, and power to do good wisely, to the already good-willing heart, you have the finest type of all.
The lecturer of the evening, Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D., of Chicago, is one who stands as a witness to the beneficent and restorative power of Christian Science. When at the head of large manufacturing interests, with time and attention completely occupied in the activities of successful business operations, he felt the pressure of over-burdening care and consequent illness forcing him slowly to the grave, but when other means availed not, out from the shadow of death Christian Science brought him, and of his restoration he will tell you to-night. He is but one among the thousands of clear-headed business men who have become identified with the movement because in their own experience they have found Christian Science to be a religion which gives practical results, not only in healing sickness but in elevating human life. He will assure you that the blessings he has enjoyed are not for one only, but for all. I have the honor to present to the audience Edward A. Kimball of Chicago, Christian Scientist.
In appearing before an audience like this I am conscious of being in the presence of those who entertain divergent views and opinions concerning nearly every question that engages the attention of man.
It is probable that you, among yourselves, differ concerning politics, religion, and Christianity; concerning philosophy, economics, science, education, cause and effect, ways and means, and even what we call common sense.
I am aware that a lecture on Christian Science attracts unto itself people who widely differ in opinions concerning this subject — what it is, what it means, and what it does.
There are in this presence people whose hearts are overflowing with gratitude because they have been raised from abysmal depths of evil, and who are insistently giving thanks because Christian Science has bettered their lives and turned the currents thereof into channels of peace and health.
Others are emerging from the gloom of what has seemed to be an inevitable fate to peer wistfully towards Christian Science; to hope that it is true and that it may stay the havoc of disease and the dark hand of death.
There are others here who are indifferent; some who may be unfriendly, and others, perchance, in a state of antagonism to what they conceive Christian Science to be, but be this as it may, it matters not to me.
I have known what it means to entertain the most withering disdain for what I thought Christian Science was. I have known what it is to emerge from enmity to a state of tolerance. I have felt the fierce sting of agony and sat side by side with black despair. I have known what it means to be revivified by the faint hope, yes, the last hope, that in the purport and possibilities of Christian Science there might be some measure of deliverance for me.
I have known what it means to be healed thereby when all else had failed. I know what it means to gain some understanding of this Science; accurately to test and prove its value, and to stand immovably fixed on the basis of achieved results in demonstration of its eternal verity. We Christian Scientists have traversed every inch of experience from violent antagonism on one hand to a satisfying consciousness that it is true, and that its blessings answer the dearest hopes of humanity.
In coming before you, therefore, I am impelled by a loving consideration for every man and woman in this house, regardless of your moods, regardless of what your opinions are or what they may be.
Coming together as we do, somewhat after the fashion of many men of many minds, a discussion of a subject like Christian Science is hampered to some extent by preconceived opinions and the native tendency of men to disagree; nevertheless, we can all of us meet for one moment, at least, on the common ground of universal admission that human existence is unsatisfied and unsatisfying.
This race stands historically as a self-confession of its own unhappiness, and has burdened the ages with its protest against its intolerable vicissitudes and its dreaded doom.
Meeting here as brethren in a kinship of human need, face to face with the miseries and hard conditions of the race, I ask this question: Are the ills of this existence inevitable, or is there a lawful and natural way of universal deliverance?
Is it proper and opportune for us to discuss the possibility of an imminent salvation from evil?
Assuming that you will admit the desirability of such deliverance, we invite you to give heed to some statements concerning the way made known in Christian Science.
I shall not attempt a technical exposition of this vast theme in one brief hour. The entire subject is fully stated and amplified in our text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker G. Eddy. He who would most wisely answer the sweeping question, What is Christian Science? cannot do better than to refer the inquirer to that book.
I shall, rather, speak somewhat of the promises of Christian Science and of their fulfilment.
That which I shall say will be new to some of you, and in order that I may gain my way to your mental hospitality, I ask you to remember that all revealed truth or scientific discovery comes to us by way of surprise. It revolutionizes, turns and overturns, supplants the old, supplements and substitutes, reforms and transforms. You know yourselves that the world is being called upon incessantly to discard the old and re-adjust itself to new discoveries and a more intelligent grasp of the facts of Being.
Christian Science announces itself as the Science of Being and the Science of God and man, the Science of Mind, the Science of Life, and the Science of healing; and as the Science of healing it promises that when understood it will abolish disease and eliminate it from human history. This statement is a surprise, surely, and is immediately met by old conditions of thought which declare that it is no Science at all. The issue is thus joined, and a contention is precipitated which will continue until the world shall have wrought out for itself a solution of the problem.
From whence proceeds this judgment that Christian Science is not a Science? It comes from the prevalent belief that the drugging system includes the only scientific treatment of sickness.
In submitting to the test, we are willing to have Christian Science judged by the highest standard that the mind can formulate.
One hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin wrote: "The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried in a thousand years the power of man over matter. All diseases may by sure means be either prevented or cured, not excepting that of old age, and our lives lengthened at pleasure even beyond the antediluvian standard."
I quote this as one of many utterances by men of science prophetically indicating the discovery of the Science of healing which would infallibly cope with disease and exterminate it. The inexorable demand of science is that the Science of healing must heal. There is no other perfect standard; no other basis from which a righteous judgment can proceed.
The world has witnessed but one exhibition that was in accord with this exacting requirement of Science. Jesus of Nazareth healed the multitudes of all manner of diseases instantaneously. Not one single case baffled him; there was no instance of failure.
There are people who have claimed that the scriptural account of his healing is spurious, and that he never did it. Others claim that he went off into India and studied occultism and mesmerized his patients, and some have declared that it was his excessive bodily vitality that effected the cures, as though the Redeemer of the world were nothing but a magnetic doctor. But Christendom unites in declaring that Jesus voiced the eternal Truth to mankind and all the centuries; that he was the very mouthpiece of infinite Intelligence, and manifested divine Wisdom.
He knew more about God and man, more about law and government, more about the cause and the cure of disease than all other people that have ever lived.
He said that he came to do the will of God and to seek and to save that which was lost. In fulfilment of this mission what did he do? He reformed or healed the sinner and he healed the sick man.
In thus healing the sick did Jesus, who manifested the infinity of Wisdom, choose the best way, the right way, the lawful and therefore the scientific way, or did he choose an inferior way? He knew that drugs had been used for two thousand years; the same drugs which some people have thought God devised for the purpose.
Could Jesus have done God's will had he overlooked or disregarded a divine provision and adopted means that were positively opposite? Has God two ways? One that is perfect and effective, and a poorer and antagonistic way which manifests itself in dismal failure?
An analysis of this subject necessarily involves these questions: Was Jesus wise, and, therefore, scientific? Was his work scientific or lawless? Did he manifest natural law and God's eternal order, or did he contravene all law and present a mere spasm of supernatural interference with the naturalness of Being?
Christian Science answers all these questions, and thereby overturns all the guessing, all the preposterous theories whose only tendency has been to minimize the deep significance of our Lord's mission, and present it as a mere spectacular show.
It shows that Jesus' work was based on infinite Principle; a knowledge of which enabled him to manifest the right way, and therefore the only scientific way in which to heal. It includes, moreover, a complete declaration of the Principle, and an exposition of a faultless rule whereby it may be demonstrated.
Christian Science is forcing these questions upon all Christian people; can there possibly be more than one science of anything? Can there be more than "one Science of healing"? Did Jesus understand and practise it? Was his original Mind-healing Scientific or unlawful? If Jesus' healing was lawful and Scientific, are methods which are extreme opposites also scientific, or are they necessarily inadequate?
If Jesus presented the only right way, is there any other right way?
If Jesus' way was in contravention of law, how can it be a way for us to follow who are commanded to obey God's law? If it is an impenetrable mystery, how can it be of the slightest availability to mankind, who are expected to follow in that way?
Christian Science shows that Jesus was natural, lawful, and law fulfilling; that he was scientific and presented a way of healing which can be clearly understood and demonstrated with scientific accuracy. Thousands of people, once dying, are alive and well to-day in consequence of this Science and the understanding thereof, made available to any and every creature on earth.
Christian Science appears in an age when men and women, ministers and physicians, a revered judiciary and philanthropists of every type are earnestly endeavoring to christianize the race and ameliorate its woe. It is no part of our desire to clip the wings of any righteous effort in this direction; indeed we glory in every good deed, every step of reformation, and every heavenly aspiration and desire; nevertheless, in considering all the endeavors that have been exerted in behalf of the sick, we cannot fail to notice that not one has ever attained to a state of excellence that satisfied the demands of Science or the practitioners who have ventured forth in its name.
Thousands of eminent men and professors in the different schools of material practice have confessed that, taken at their best, the results of their efforts have been inadequate and unsatisfactory.
After devoting their lives to the study and practice of medicine they have published innumerable opinions to the effect that medicine is not a science but is conjectural in theory and largely experimental or accidental in practice; that there is no theoretical or systematic classification of diseases or therapeutic agents that can be relied upon as a safe guidance in practice; that the primary cause or the essence of disease is practically unknown, and that the use of drugs as a remedy for sickness has destroyed more lives than war, pestilence, and famine combined.
If the drugging system were a manifestation of the Science of healing it would follow as a logical conclusion that Christian Science healing, which is the antipode of materia medica, was not scientific, but in view of the fact that it is admitted that the former is neither scientific, exact, satisfactory, nor adequate, and of the admission that there are very many diseases which it does not pretend to cure, it will be seen that it does not constitute a faultless standard that can be used to warrant the impeachment of any other system whatever.
I shall not pretend to prove that Jesus' healing was scientific, for no lecture ever proved anything, but it is proper to say that Christian Science, in explaining the Science of Jesus' ministry, removes it from the realm of the mysterious, miraculous, and unnatural.
He instantaneously healed all manner of disease. Imagination cannot possibly formulate a better way or depict better results.
The discovery of Christian Science reveals the Principle of primitive Christian healing and is re-establishing the efficacy thereof. In Principle it includes no admission that any disease is incurable, and in practice nearly every known disease has been healed thereby, including the entire list of those that have been counted incurable according to materia medica.
Christian Science healing of to-day is like the early Christian healing because it effects a moral reform as well as physical. It cancels temptation, destroys sin and its effects on the body. It touches the real moral and spiritual nature of man.
Through the action and supremacy of divine Intelligence divinely bestowed and directed, as the natural heritage of man, it reforms the sinner, reclaims the drunkard, heals the sick, spiritualizes thought, elevates and regenerates.
I have sat by the bedside of the dying and seen them thus withheld from death. I have seen the tear-stained cheek, the quivering lip, and the inebriate with his delirium: I have known people who were prostrated by grief, sorrow, remorse, and the inveterate anguish of disease, and I have seen all this, yes, more than this, dispelled by the touch of God as made known in Christian Science.
Another promise of deep import to the world is that Christian Science will reveal and establish an enlarged sense of the possibilities of salvation, and in this particular it overturns many old theories which have limited the deliverance of men from evil and prostrated their hopes.
Inasmuch as people have regarded the work of Jesus as miraculous and supernatural, it is no wonder that they have disagreed in their speculations concerning the scope of the salvation which he came to reveal. It seems absolutely amazing, however, that instead of allowing his own works to serve as the best interpreter of his words and his plan of salvation, the world has ignored the object-lesson, or demonstration of truth, and formulated a theoretical salvation which leaves out all possibility of divine deliverance of the sick. According to the Science of Christianity, Jesus manifested the will and law of God in man's behalf. He showed that the only way to "save that which was lost" was to heal it of sin and disease. The prevalent denial of this is a denial of the works of Jesus. It is a denial of the Christ ministry, and therefore a denial of Christ. To discard or reject it as "the way" is to mutilate Christianity and utterly abolish the efficacy of salvation and the operation thereof. Jesus said: "Preach the Gospel:" "Heal the sick." "The works that I do shall he do also."
Jesus indicated his own sense of the scientific nature of salvation when he said: "The truth shall make you free." He indicated that there was nothing supernatural or mysterious about healing the sick and sinful, but that it was to be in consequence of the knowledge of the Truth or Science. His ministry was to overcome evil of every kind, and not to submit to it or urge his followers to submit. Many of the man-made theories of salvation involve the necessity of getting sick and dying in order to be saved, upon the supposition that when you are thoroughly dead you will be thoroughly happy; but Jesus never invited any man to be sick or to die. On the contrary, he taught them and urged them to gain a righteous mastery over disease.
The world which has been baffled by the mystery of evil has sought to solve the problem by assuming that evil was caused or permitted by God, and particularly that sickness and death were of divine procurement.
This dire mistake has shut out all supposition that salvation through Christ included salvation from disease.
People have speculated about evil and wondered whether they were going to hell or not, as though evil were inevitable and natural and hell a necessity. Their theories have never for a moment admitted the possibility of earthly deliverance and have never been in accord with the words of Jesus: "The kingdom of God is within you." It would seem, that instead of wondering whether they are going to hell or not, people would much better address themselves to the endeavor to get out. Go to humanity and witness its tears, sorrow, and broken hearts; its strife, woe, sin, disease, and death. Listen to its ceaseless wail of anguish and its pitiful appeal for deliverance, and you will find that it is enduring a hell upon earth. Now the question of vital concern to us is, Can we get out?
Nearly all the philosophy and religious systems declare that you cannot get out. They hold that most of the evil is inevitable and irresistible, and that salvation therefrom is impossible. They contend for the immortal continuity of evil and then assume that man can escape that immortality by the supremely evil process called death. Christian Science, which reveals the Science of salvation, declares that you can get out. It shows that evil is an abnormal and unlawful monstrosity which can be overcome, and as soon as people awaken to a perception of this, all the deadly philosophy whose siren's song constantly allures mankind to a dreadful and unnecessary doom will become extinct, and the perfectibility of man will come to light. There is no reason in logic, science, or sound theology for accepting Christ as the way revealed by infinite Wisdom and then assuming it to be the way of sickness and death, in spite of the fact that Jesus' practical example abolished sickness and death because they were unlike God and His law.
Christian Science promises to re-establish the natural, God-ordained dominion of man over evil. The Bible says that God made man in His own image and likeness and gave him dominion over all the earth.
Do you know of any man who manifests such dominion? On the contrary, do you not know that every creature on earth seems to be like a mere bubble, tossed to and fro on the sea of capricious destiny; the prey of disease and the reluctant victim of "outrageous fortune"?
Many of you have heard of the condemned felon who, on the day appointed for his execution, was turned over to some students for the purpose of experimenting with him.
They told him they intended to open an artery and bleed him to death. They bandaged his eyes; pretended to open the artery; allowed some lukewarm water to run over his arm and drop into a pail, and in due time the man, supposing he was bleeding, died. A perfectly healthy dead man! What killed him? Certainly there was no material cause, no violence, no abrasion or wound. Then why did the man die?
Will you permit me to suggest that he died simply because he did not know enough to live? He was too ignorant to live. If he had known enough to live, he might have done so, and that knowledge would have constituted his inherent dominion over his own life.
Some one has said, "What is the use of knowing a whole lot about anything if what you know isn't true?" This man knew a whole lot about himself that was not true, and what he knew that was not true was the cause of his death.
He belonged to a race that has not the slightest idea that it has any dominion over disease, and which, because of knowledge that is not true, is likewise submitting without necessity to a veritable maelstrom of evil. The whole world through ignorance, superstition, sin, and an utterly perverted sense of life and its possibilities, has disinherited and bereaved itself of its birthright of dominion. I do not know of any prevalent philosophy or religious belief other than Christian Science that induces the faintest supposition on the part of man that he has dominion over evil, and especially over disease.
At this point I want to say a word to the business men and all the practical every-day workers in this busy life.
I was for many years a successful manufacturer, accustomed to large affairs. I know that such people cannot do business on the basis of mysticism or blind faith. We find it necessary to keep pretty close to the line of legitimate cause and effect. And yet how often our best plans go amiss! How often our energy is wasted because of unseen influence, or of default on the part of some one we have relied upon. I know that you can look in all directions; you who are merchants, teachers, artisans, clerks, professional men or housewives, and count a multitude of failures, disappointed hopes and trials that you have been unable to control. Was it because these things were inevitable or part of a relentless fate? No! It was because you never understood the mysterious hidden influences that have beset you and your affairs, and have not known how to cope with and master them.
Christian Science reaches every nook and corner of everyday work, duty, and opportunity. The understanding of it enables every man and woman to accomplish greater results in every field of endeavor.
One of the most pernicious influences that prostrates the race is fear. It palsies hope and expectation, limits and dwarfs the capacities, impairs human judgment and reason, and opens the door to many of the failures and ills that harass the world's workers and shatter their hopes. I was what is called a broken-down business man because of over-work, anxiety, and fear, but I know that I would not have broken down if I had had the understanding of Christian Science which casts out fear and cancels its penalties.
Bankers, manufacturers, merchants, and people engaged in all kinds of legitimate business or labor are gaining a dominion over their affairs which to them is more wonderful than the healing of the sick, and which cannot be comprehended by any one who is not to some extent familiar with the limitless possibilities of divinely bestowed intelligence.
In a recent address Bishop Morrison said that although not endorsing Christian Science, he thought that one of the reasons for the rapid growth of our denomination was our insistent recognition of God. In this he was right. Christian Science so reveals the nature of God that we are learning to turn to Him in every hour and circumstance of our need.
I know that if any one had told me fifteen years ago that I could be healed by the interposition of God, I would have thought it the most far-fetched proposition that could have assailed my ears, but this was because I had been educated to believe that he was a God of wrath who had instituted sickness, and who had perhaps arranged for my own damnation.
Now we are learning that God, who is the intelligent basis, source, origin, and creating cause of all that has actual existence, has ordained for man nothing but health, holiness, perfection, and life.
We are learning that humanity is awry, not because of God and His law, but because it is involved in the violation of law and has entailed upon itself the wretched penalties, which it has come to regard as natural.
If Mrs. Eddy's work had done nothing more than to break the pitiful fear of God and of Divine law, that alone would have been an unspeakable boon. Christian Science, however, goes much farther than this, and is establishing the individual consciousness of God as Good, as divine Love and infinite Intelligence, and brings to pass the realization that this ever-present wisdom and power of Good is the healer of disease and is far more available to mankind in business and the different departments of life, than what people have called human judgment or energy.
The Scriptural promises have been ample and far-reaching, but human misconception of God has, to a large extent, shut out a fruition until this day of Christian Science, wherein men are learning that these promises are not a mockery, but are based upon absolute law and power which are available to them in every step and incident of their lives.
Christian Scientists do insistently recognize the fact that there is no other way whereby men can be saved, or ever will be saved, from the prevalent miseries of this existence, except through a knowledge of God and the sufficiency of His grace, and as they come under the government of God they find that the results are adequate and satisfying. History recounts the fact that throughout the ages, men who have lived near to God have been able to accomplish what others could not do, and this history will repeat itself until all men shall have gained dominion through righteousness over all the earth.
Christian Science promises to compose the dreadful religious strife which with appalling industry and continuity has mangled and murdered mankind throughout the ages, and still mangles it.
If you were appointed to save the race from the evil which besets it, and if you were to look for the causes of its misery, you would find that sectarian strife has been "a murderer from the beginning." You would find that for ages men have been guessing about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ; that they have formulated all sorts of creeds and established thousands of antagonistic religious sects, which have throughout history assaulted each other with the most demoniacal ferocity. It is probable that more men have been murdered in the name of God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ than have fallen in all the nonsectarian wars waged since the beginning of history.
If you could find the countless millions that have been the victims of religious fanaticism and hatred, and ask each one for an inscription to be placed upon his tomb, he would say, "You may write, This man was torn from a happy home and family; he was wounded and tortured; he was boiled in oil, sawn asunder, and burned at the stake by people who assassinated him because he had a different guess about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ from theirs."
You may say that this has all ceased now, that religious people are not allowed to kill each other any more. You may refer to the fact that the criminal law has largely suppressed murder in the name of God; but I ask you, "Has the criminal law suppressed the miserable quarrel? Is there not the same sectarian bitterness, the same denunciatory sermon, defamation, and hateful assault?"
If you were the Saviour of the world, would you not stretch forth your hand in deep compassion to these dear people and say, "Ye do greatly err, not understanding God, not understanding the Scriptures or Jesus Christ."
In contemplating this bitter conflict and the long duration of its woes, would you not as of old say to the world, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"?
Through Christian Science, the world will learn the science of Christianity or the Christ truth which "shall make you free." It declares God aright and furnishes a key to the Scriptures which effaces mystery and makes plain the word of God to man. An exact and true understanding of God will manifest itself in a true or scientific theology, which will tranquilize the strife and establish a Christian brotherhood, whose chief aim shall be to live in imitation of Christ.
It has been declared, however, by many people that Christian Science is not the Science of Christianity, and, indeed, that it is not Christian at all.
Inasmuch as there are one hundred and forty-two Christian sects, each one different from all others, there can be no standard with which Christian Science can be compared. In the absence of any unity of Christian creed, theory, or practice, I can only state our sense of what Christianity is and leave you to decide for yourselves as to its merits.
Christianity means Christian religion, Christian theology. Christian theology includes the understanding and acknowledgment of one infinite, individual, supreme God, who is, as the Scriptures declare, Life. Truth, and Love; who is Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence, the sole creator of the universe, including man. He is the source, origin, cause, and Principle of all that really is. He is infinitely good. He is all-inclusive and self-existent Spirit. He includes all law and government. He hath already done all things well, and there is none beside.
This understanding of God impels man to learn His will and do it. Man thus governed learns that "God healeth all thy diseases," and is an ever-present help in trouble. Christian Scientists are learning to trust this God and rely on His promises. They are proving that God is Life and means life, that He does answer the righteous prayer and lead His own in the way of life and peace.
Christianity includes the recognition of the Bible as including the inspired word of God. Not that man must believe that all the errors of translation and interpolation need be subscribed to, but that one must gain the true spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures and find therein a perfect manual of life and a sure guide to salvation.
Christianity must include the recognition of a rational understanding of the divinity of Christ. It means Christian living rather than mere profession, and it means a literal obedience to the injunction "follow Me," "Go, and do thou likewise," and "Preach the gospel," "Heal the sick."
True Christianity involves the admission of the Christ-way of salvation as the only way that is according to the will of God, including the salvation from disease as demonstrated by Jesus. It includes the necessity of observing the highest possible standard of morality and of individual and social purity.
It includes prayer without ceasing; the constant desire to live righteously, to love both friend and foe, and to find the life that is void of offence before God and man.
As Christians, we believe in the atonement; the resurrection and ascension; in the spiritual import of baptism and all the essentials of Christianity as taught by Jesus.
We believe that Christianity should reconcile mortals to the abandonment of evil and should satisfy and compensate them with the joys of holiness. Christian Science has not appeared to supplant historical Christianity, but to supplement and re-inforce it, and to add new impulse and larger scope to its efficacy.
There is no need or disposition to desecrate your religious sense by odious comparison, but I ask you for a moment to sit in conscientious judgment and say if you know of any form of religion that is more calculated to reveal to man the one actual God and incline him to a willing and profitable obedience. Do you know of one more calculated to establish for him "the Kingdom of Heaven within;" to heal his diseases; annul his temptations; exalt his motives and aspirations, and make of him a loving, upright friend and citizen, full of the business of doing good?
Mrs. Eddy, in her work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," declares with much emphasis and amplification that Jesus Christ presented to the world a complete exposition of the way of salvation from all evil, based on a faultless understanding of the Science of Being, or a knowledge of the truth about life and its normal possibilities. She shows that Christendom, instead of understanding the Science of the Messianic mission has been guessing at its meaning for centuries, and has involved itself in one vast maze of doctrinal antipathies, which have engendered a fratricidal Christian strife, instead of Christian living, and has often mangled and slain men instead of saving them.
Infinite Science alone declares itself as the interpreter of the Truth, and until men gain a knowledge of the Science of existence, or the actual truth about Being, they will not be free from the ills that are entailed by ignorance, fear, superstition, and sin.
"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Free from what? Is this a tangible and available promise based on Divine law and warranted by the fundamental Principle of being? Or is it merely a sentiment which first excites a transient emotion and then mocks the hope of the bondsman who is to look in vain for a fruition? Is it really true that knowledge of Science or the Truth will make men free from evil? Christian Science answers this question affirmatively. It discloses the Science of Life which delivers. It presents the rule for demonstration, and substantiates both Principle and rule by means of millions of proofs which are in faultless verification thereof.
The ages have hoped and prayed for the same measure of deliverance which Christian Science reveals as possible and natural.
Thousands have prophesied the time when the Truth or God, governing men aright, would abolish death, usher in the millennium and establish the reign of heaven within. Is it possible for this prophesied millennium to occur until after some influence shall have destroyed sickness? Will it be possible until salvation from sin, disease, and death shall have become an accomplished fact, instead of a mere hope? Will it be possible until man shall have regained a lost dominion over all the earth, and until the strife of creeds shall have been composed, and all mankind shall unite in one universal, Christian brotherhood, in the common understanding and worship of our one God?
Objection has been urged to Christian Science because it has been discovered by a woman, as though woman were not fit to know the Truth, and in spite of the fact that all revealed truth has found its way to humanity through the consciousness of some man or woman, and always will.
I do not know that what I have said has impressed you at all, but suppose that we assume for a moment that Christian Science, its message, promise, and fulfilment are true, and that a supreme blessing really waits at your door for adoption.
Through whom or through what kind of a person would you desire this revelation to reach you?
Let me picture a girl born in New England of a pious ancestry, and reared in a home atmosphere of uncompromising rectitude. A girl who with Godly instinct appropriated the surpassing beauties of a deep spiritual culture, and sought prayerfully to lead a life that was without reproach before God and man.
Follow her through a consecrated childhood; through the years of education and the discipline of life's experience. Witness her researches in the depths of science, philosophy, metaphysics, and theology, as well as in the vast possibilities of Mind; her sturdy morality; her honesty; her tender love and ceaseless efforts for humanity, — indeed, sum up an instance of prayerful, God-serving womanhood, wherein are to be found the traits that adorn and dignify the human character, and then answer if you would be willing that such a woman should bear to suffering mortals a message from God that is to dispel the anguish of the ages. The Discoverer of Christian Science is and has been just such a woman, and her absolute fitness for the mission entrusted to her has been manifested by its work of healing and reform unparalleled since the time of primitive Christianity.
I represent just the difference between a live man and a dead man because of the discovery of Christian Science.
I am on this platform to-night instead of lying in a grave in Chicago only because of Mrs. Eddy's enduring faithfulness in making these things possible.
As one among a million of beneficiaries of this endeavor,. I would be less than man if I did not blend my voice with the others who are with sensible gratitude acknowledging the ministry of Christian Science.
Coming before you to-day as man comes to his brother man with a message of hope and deliverance, I have nothing whatever to ask of you, not even that you will bestow your approval on Christian Science or believe what I say simply because I say it. I am not here so much to ply you with discussion and entreaty as I am to tell you that we are escaping from dismal depths of woe, and to utter the hope that if ever you are stricken and desolate because of disease; if you are ever frantic with pain, or cast down by the tumult of sin, if hope turns to ashes and despair enthrones itself because of the supposed hopelessness of your lot, you will remember that Christian Science promises in the words of its Discoverer to "cure all thy sorrow and sickness and sin." It promises to bring to pass the prophecy of St. John, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
[Delivered April 24, 1900 and published in The Christian Science Journal, June, 1900. In the text above, the introductory paragraphs before the actual lecture appeared in The Christian Science Sentinel, April 26, 1900.]