Facts and Fictions
About Christian Science
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
If you had ever sounded the depths of human misery; if you had sat, as it were, by an open grave and watched yourself dying inch by inch and then, if you had been healed and restored by Christian Science, as I have been, you could understand the impulsion which induces me to appear before you in this behalf. I stand here as one of a vast multitude of people who have been delivered from horrible depths and who, having come up out of great tribulation, are animated by the one hope of making known this gospel of healing and deliverance to all who have ears to hear. As a visible example of the power of Christian Science to rescue a man from the grave, I can with good conscience commend my subject to you as being worthy of earnest and monopolizing attention.
In presenting the subject of Christian Science to such an audience as this, the difficulty lies in the fact that it is impossible to do any sort of justice to this vast, infinite theme in one short hour. If two weeks were allotted to us in which to present an exposition of Christian Science, its rules and operations, and to analyze and eliminate the objections that usually suggest themselves to the inquirer, we might say that the subject could be amply set forth.
The lack of unlimited time will compel us, therefore, to make such use of this brief opportunity as will perchance enlist your respectful interest, and incline you to a more thorough investigation of the demonstrable Science of Life known as Christian Science, which today is manifesting its practicability in the healing of the sick, the reformation of the wicked, and the amelioration of a multitude of evils which are prostrating the race.
I know of no subject that is so variously and deplorably misstated and misunderstood. It is a very common thing for people to ridicule what they do not understand, but most of the misconceptions of Christian Science are so absurd that it is not surprising that people, after erecting such men of straw, proceed to deride and stone their own mistaken concepts.
The object of such lectures as this is to meet and demolish the prejudices, objections, and antagonisms that are engendered by an erroneous or unfriendly perversion of the statements and operative influence of Christian Science; and with this hope in view, I shall, before speaking of what it is and does, refer to some of the objections that are allowed to stand at the portal of human thought, there to refuse admission to a guest that would bestow the most consummate blessings within the range of human experience.
Nearly every scientific fact or spiritual idea that has ever been discerned by man concerning any subject whatever has antagonized the previous, dominant but defective beliefs on the same subject. For instance, when Galileo announced the rotundity of the earth he was imprisoned by the belief that the earth was flat. Most scientific revelations have been rejected by the people for the sole reason that they have always believed something quite different.
Many persons shut themselves out from the countless benefits of Christian Science and reject it because it differs from their previous conceptions and educated thought. They are unwilling to interest themselves in it or accept it if it disturbs or challenges their belief on any subject, little realizing that the history of the finite mind shows that its only hope is in active progression in the direction of immutable science. Not knowing indeed that until consciousness shall awaken in the image and likeness of omniscience, it will never and should never be satisfied.
Let us examine this objection to Christian Science, which is today knocking at the door of human thought, and see whether the fact that it differs from former beliefs is for or against the probability of its being true. Survey the history of humanity as a whole and behold its monotony of woe; its conflicts, carnage, and antipathies; its destitution, cruelty, and man's inhumanity to man; its inveterate anguish, bitter tears, and broken hearts. Behold its jails, hospitals, and asylums; its beds of disease, open graves and its final catastrophe — death.
Inquire of this maelstrom of misery called humanity if it is satisfied with its sore travail and apparent destiny and you will get in answer one interminable wail — no! no! no!
Now behold also its assiduous and frantic efforts to escape from its bondage. In its pitiful yearning for deliverance and hope of salvation from its misery it has resorted to every conceivable material device. It has made use of its highest but defective sense of science. It has turned to its philosophy, ethics, and morality, and to myriads of religious beliefs and conceptions of deity, and all of these efforts to extricate itself have failed. Although the world is witnessing higher forms of good all the time, on the other hand, notwithstanding the efforts of mankind to dominate the manifestations of evil, there are to-day more forms of disease, more epidemics, more contagious and fatal diseases, more phases of sin, disaster, and calamity than ever before.
It follows, therefore, that all this evil is either an inevitable concomitant of man's being or else that the way of salvation therefrom has not been discerned, and especially the way revealed by Jesus. It also follows that if there is a way of salvation from evil, it must be very different from those ways which have been tried and have failed. The demand for different results is equally a demand for a different way; and an enlightened reason, logically directed, should absolutely require a different understanding of being and its modus operandi from any that have been tried in vain.
It does not follow that because Christian Science presents a different way it is, for that reason alone, true; but the fact that it is different is in logical accord with the palpable necessities of the situation, and so far as it goes this very fact or difference should commend it to you rather than stand as an objection. If in the search for deliverance of the race you turned to what purported to be the text-book of the Science of being and found that all that it contained was in amicable accord with what you and others before you have believed, you might close its useless pages as you would an empty tomb and know that it was a sepulchre which contained no saviour for you or any one else.
All absolutely scientific and spiritual ideas have found their way to humanity through some individual instance of human consciousness. This is called revelation, inspiration, perception, discernment, or discovery. Christian Science must needs have been discerned or revealed in a similar manner — that is to say, it must have been perceived and formulated by some man, woman, or child, but notwithstanding this simple rule of metaphysics, some people raise objections because it has been discovered, and its institutional and systematic activity has been founded, by a woman.
Strange, though it may seem, this antagonism to woman is a conspiracy against her sex into which women themselves enter with the most naive and complacent zeal, intent upon the endeavor to show that woman is not fit to know the truth.
I ask your attention to a threefold examination of the validity of the prevalent assumption that woman is not a natural and suitable instrument for the impartation of any science or truth.
First, from an historical standpoint, let us see that the annals of primitive man reveal two characteristics, namely, great ignorance and an apparent disparity between the sexes. As the beams of the rising orb of civilization are cast upon our history they reveal a lessened degree of both ignorance and disparity. Later we learn that the influence of Christianity, with its enlightenment, shows as an incident of revelation the accelerated pace of woman, and at this day we behold her gradually moving up alongside of her masculine companion in all the different departments of intellectual endeavor, and we are led to the palpable conclusion that the supposed inferiority of woman has been an utterly unwarranted assumption, and that as a matter of fact, when ignorance gives place to enlightenment woman shows equal capacity to understand science and demonstrate it.
Let us look at the question of woman's mentality from the standpoint of him who believes that brains think and evolve or take cognizance of truth. The human brain contains, I suppose, eighty or ninety per cent of water, and the remainder is made up of iron, starch, phosphorus, lime, and ever so many other non-intelligent things. Now if it be assumed that this mass of non-intelligent matter can think, what reason can there be for the assumption that the water and starch in a woman's brain may not know as much or anything that the water and starch in a man's brain know?
It is positively true, however, that brains do not think or know, and that the consciousness of man is metaphysical and not material. The so-called mind of a mortal consists of the aggregate of his ideas or knowledge. We do not know of anything more true than the statement that two and two are four, which statement is an idea of the science of numbers, and yet there is no possible reason why that idea or any other may not be a natural constituent of a woman's consciousness as well as of a man's.
I might go into a much more exhaustive analysis of this subject to show beyond all cavil that he who doubts the possible discernment by woman of anything that is true is lagging much behind the times, and to present many reasons why the discovery of Christian Science by the Reverend Mary Baker Eddy is in accord with the most exacting demands of the Science of Mind and should be gladly accepted as a most significant and hope-inspiring fact.
An objection has been made to what has been called an attempt to mix science and religion, or to reduce religion to the level of cold and cheerless science. This comes strangely from those who have for ages declared that God is Omniscience — All Science — All Truth. If God is infinite and is All Science, it follows as a logical sequence that any religion that properly represents the deific nature must be scientific and in accord with ascertainable and demonstrable Truth, instead of being theoretical, conjectural, and proofless. If Jesus Christ did the will of his Father, he must have done the will of omniscience and must have done it scientifically or in accord with natural law and not miraculously, for miracles or violations of divinely constituted law are impossible with infinite omniscience. Jesus understood the Science of being and manifested this omniscience, and it was this Christ knowledge or Christian Science — this true operation of Mind properly and intelligently directed — that healed the sick, raised the dead, and dominated so-called material laws. It is only because many people have a very defective sense of the meaning of the word science that there is any objection to conjoining the words Christian and Science.
Another reason that deters people from seeking the salutary influence of Christian Science is the denunciation of scholastic ecclesiaticism. Christian Scientists do not let their light shine through any endeavor to assail and denounce other religionists who assume the right to worship God according to their own light, and I shall not now denounce any personality, but I beg to say that we are aware of the unjust, cruel, and perverted declarations that are bestowed upon Christian Science from the standpoint of religious beliefs and to assert by way of counter comment that I never read a sermon or editorial article of this kind that betrayed the slightest knowledge of what Christian Science really is. From the pulpit it has been denounced as hypnotism, mesmerism, spiritualism, agnosticism, Buddhism, and the like; whereas an educated hypnotist, mesmerist, spiritualist, infidel, or theosophist — the people who really know the most of these things — could show you that Christian Science is unlike any and all of them. It has been declared that we do not believe in God or the Bible; that we do not accept the divinity or Messiahship of Christ; that we are prayerless and unchristian, and that Christian Science is of the devil. Everything that ignorance, bigotry or ferocity could invent to malign us has been in activity, and yet it is a fact, as stated in a recent editorial of the Syracuse Herald, that the denomination of Christian Scientists has probably grown more rapidly than any other known to religious history.
How easily and ruthlessly people assail and persecute the religious sense of each other and with how little assurance of being right themselves! No Christian sect could have any standing if it denied that Jesus voiced the truth and that the truth is universal.
If we assume that his mission was to establish a religion, it must have been a universal religion, and the fact that there are hundreds of sects with different beliefs, is conclusive evidence that his teachings are not understood. In the presence of this irresistible conclusion, what an opportunity there is for humility and the merciful tolerance on the part of any sect that has no demonstrable understanding that it is right. If this audience could be transferred to some oriental scene, there to gaze upon some graven image which the people worshiped as God, and if you were to declare that God was quite different from this image, those people would quickly decide that you did not believe in God at all, and would perhaps call you Christian dogs and infidels. This would be largely the case if you were to traverse the entire range of religious belief, whether you encountered the disciple of the mythological gods, the sun worshiper, or the Christian. The same mental rejection of your sense of deity would ensue if you did not coincide with their ideals. People have asserted that God is infinite and then after confessing themselves to be finite they immediately proceed to formulate a finite conception of infinity and then denounce everyone who does not accept and adopt their particular concept and call it God.
I wish to call your attention to the fact that there have been thousands of religious sects, each purporting to define Deity. Also that many of these have been and now are in the most violent antagonism to each other, and further that scholastic ecclesiasticism has involved the world in the most awful carnage and atrocity that deface the pages of history. Whoever you are, or whatever you believe, be not surprised nor cast down because sectarianism which always challenges everything unlike itself rises with irrational effrontery to impeach your understanding of God and hope of heaven. The man-made theories and concepts of Deity are always at war with each other and will be until a universal religion shall declare God aright and religionists shall cease to destroy each other in the name of God, or rather in the name of what they believe to be God.
It is a common thing for men to declare that they have read the textbook of Christian Science and that they know all about it, and then proceed to make hundreds of baseless misstatements showing not an atom of real understanding. I have read this text-book through probably fifty times. I have diligently studied it for more than ten years, during which time I have also been at work in its demonstration, and yet I would not say that I knew all about it or that I had done more than to pass the threshold of this vast metaphysical structure. I know enough, however, concerning the theology, ethics, and morality declared and inculcated by Christian Science to affirm that it is pre-eminently Christian and to refute categorically every challenge to the contrary.
Christian Science presents itself to humanity in a two-fold nature. First there is the theological or spiritual aspect, and secondly its application to the healing of disease.
I propose to consider briefly both of these and will first endeavor to reconcile you to its theology, and in doing so will begin by taking up the claim that Christian Scientists do not believe in God. Remembering that someone has said that "Every man is the creator of his own God," I might pertinently ask which God is it that we are said not to believe in? If reference is made to any of the finite, material, and mental images called God, we will admit that we do not believe in any of them.
Christian Scientists do believe, however, in the only living and true God, and the pages of our text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pulsate with the ever-recurring acknowledgment of Him and with admonitions to obey His laws.
We believe in one supreme individual God, infinite and incorporeal, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, all-inclusive and self-existent Spirit, and we believe that, as the Scriptures declare, He is Life, Truth, and Love. We do not believe that He is localized, or that He is an object or a thing. Nor do we believe that He is a person nor the image and likeness of person, for person and personality are finite.
Because He is infinite Life, Truth, and Love, He cannot manifest Himself otherwise and therefore does not cause the sickness or death of anyone. Nor can He be wrathful, capricious and experimental. Moreover, He does not create nor conspire with evil.
If God is infinite Life and the omnipotence of good, it follows that sickness and pain are not divinely procured or instituted. On the contrary, God is and must be found to be the healer of disease and an ever present help in trouble. Man-made creeds, doctrines, and hypotheses have depicted all sorts of attributes, characteristics, and we may say monstrosities as belonging to God, but Christian Science reveals the falsity of these misconceptions and declares God as He is.
Our attitude concerning the Bible is well expressed in the tenets of the Christian Science churches which declare that "we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (Science and Health, page 497:3.) This does not mean that we subscribe to the senseless proposition that God dictated every word contained in the Bible or that the Christian must believe every word, from cover to cover, to be inspired. Metaphysical science shows that the world never included and will never witness a man who can believe two statements that are in flat contradiction of each other. It is simply impossible and it is absolutely unnecessary for a man to suppose that God requires this impossibility of him in order to achieve the kingdom of heaven. That man is self-deceived who thinks he can perform such an impossible mental contortion — and self-deception, even though perpetrated in the name of God, is always in vain.
Christian Scientists know that the thread of inspiration is traceable throughout the entire Scriptures, but they also know that the original text has been sadly mutilated by translators and that interpolations and a defective sense of God have been projected into them by uninspired writers whose material natures have failed to catch the true spiritual tones. Notwithstanding all this, the Bible contains everything that mortals need as a manual of right living and as a guide to immortality, but the truth therein which is to work out the transforming salvation of men must be spiritually and scientifically discerned, and all prevalent, superstitious, and irrational interpretations must be abandoned, for they will never make possible the redemption of the race. Even the palpable and mandatory instruction to heal the sick through the action of Spirit or Mind is materially interpreted as meaning that medicine should be the healer. I have never heard of a denomination of Christians, who, man for man, studied the Bible more than Christian Scientists do. I do not believe that there are any Christians who read the Bible more reverently, hopefully, or profitably or who more prayerfully and constantly strive to discover its light and follow its commands.
You are aware of the fact that in this hour the Bible is being assailed at every point; that theologians are constantly admitting that the current doctrines and beliefs are confusing and involved and are becoming less tenable; that a sense of insecurity, perturbation, and dismay has ensued in consequence of the penetrating scrutiny and analysis to which these doctrines are being subjected. In connection with this subject let us read a quotation from the address of Hon. C. C. Bonney, President of the Congress of Religions held under the direction of the World's Columbian Exposition which he delivered at the opening of the Christian Science Congress: "No more striking manifestation of the interposition of Divine Providence in human affairs has come in recent years than that shown in the raising up of the body of people known as Christian Scientists, who are called to declare the real harmony between religion and Science and to restore the waning faith of many in the verities of the sacred Scriptures." The text-book of Christian Science is the Key to the Scriptures. It effaces mystery, brings to light that which has been considered unknowable and reconciles man to God.
We deny the assertion that we do not believe in the divinity of Christ. On the contrary we know that Christ was and is divine and can prove it. Many people make the mistake of supposing that the corporeal personality or bodily presence of Jesus was God, whereas divinity is spiritual and not material and the chemical elements which constitute the body of man born of woman do not express Spirit and cannot be God. Even Jesus himself repudiated this supposition when he said: "Why callest thou me good?" And "It is expedient for you that I go away." If he had regarded his corporeal presence as divine he certainly would not have told his disciples that it was good for them to be deprived of it.
Christian Science shows that He who created, governed, and impelled Jesus was God, the infinite Mind, that the Mind which was in Christ Jesus was the divine Mind and that in this way Christ or the Christ-Mind was divine and he and his Father were one.
In the life, teachings, and demonstrations of Jesus Christ, Christian Scientists behold a complete divine exposition of the way whereby mortals can and must escape from the misery of mortality. They set for themselves the task of literal and uncompromising compliance with his precepts and teachings and they carry this obedience to the point of healing the sick as he distinctly and repeatedly commanded his followers to do and they consider such healing a natural and indispensable manifestation of a correct understanding of Christianity.
We repudiate the accusation that Christian Scientists do not believe in prayer. Years ago, when "Science and Health" was first published, it advocated silent and individual instead of audible and public prayer and gave many salient reasons to show why it would be more rational and efficacious. When Christian Science churches were organized they followed the form of prayer thus indicated, concluding with the Lord's Prayer and as a consequence the author was denounced as "the prayerless Mrs. Eddy." Twenty years later the first "World's Congress of Religions" convened at Chicago and all of the general meetings of the Congress were opened with silent prayer and the Lord's Prayer. Twenty years after denouncing the Christian Science method of prayer it was adopted by the most august and important religious convention ever assembled on earth because it was palpable that it was the most feasible way in which a body of men and women could satisfactorily and effectively pray.
I assert that the genuine Christian Scientist prays without ceasing and with intelligence and effect. A very large portion of Christian Scientists have been members of other denominations. They are familiar with the attitude of those respective churches concerning the subject of prayer. I never knew one who would not say that under the light of Christian Science he has gained a much better, more satisfactory, and more helpful sense of God, of the Bible, and of all the fundamentals of religious life and understanding.
And now, knowing as we do, that we are worshipers of God, the God that is Spirit, that is omnipotent good, Life, Truth, and Love; knowing that we are followers of Jesus Christ and striving to obey the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount; that we are striving to cast evil out of ourselves and others; to bind up the broken-hearted and heal the sick, is it any wonder that we ask of this generation, "For which of these things are we being stoned?"
I have dwelt thus on the theological aspect of Christian Science for the reason that so many people are deterred from looking to it for help because they have been educated to suppose that it was some dreadful, ungodly heresy, some satan let loose, or else that it was vague and substanceless agnosticism or worse. Now I know that I voice the sentiments and experience of all genuine Scientists when I say that the natural and inevitable influence of Christian Science on the student who enters upon its study and demonstration in good faith is this: It will make him happier under any and all circumstances than he otherwise would be. It will make him a better man, a better friend, a better citizen. It will improve him morally and physically. It equips him with a dominant control over circumstances and conditions that he never before possessed. It purifies his individual and social status. It enables him to cope more successfully with pain, disease, fear, grief, sorrow, and other desolating emotions and conditions of human experience. It rationally and satisfactorily reconciles him to abandonment of evil. It acquaints him with the true God who doeth all things well. It eradicates the dreadful fear of God, of death, and of hell. In fine it reveals the true state of man as the image and likeness of God; elucidates the hard problems of existence and sets mortals at work scientifically to achieve the kingdom of heaven within them. I could recount an interminable array of benefits, but suffice it to say that the Christian Scientists themselves who alone know what it is and hence are alone able to judge, rest upon the undeviating conviction that they have found the Science of Life; that they know that they are demonstrating its verity and they are satisfied. And all of this is not at all because of ignorance and superstition, for, taking them as a whole, they have known of nearly every religious, ethical, and philosophical belief that is to-day current or dominant.
As we approach the intimate connection between the theology of Christian Science and Christian Science Mind-healing, I will state by way of a connecting link that our textbook declares that "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe." (Science and Health, page 313:23.) All Christians will at least acknowledge that he voiced the truth and that his utterances or teachings have endured the test of nineteen centuries. Christian Science reveals the fact that he had the most profound and substantive understanding of the Science of being, and that to the extent that his followers could comprehend him, he taught them, and he declared that all those who believed or understood his word or teachings could heal the sick. He never claimed that his healing was miraculous, but on the contrary he understood that it was the natural phenomenon of the understanding of a universal Principle, and he declared: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."
The supposition that Jesus' work was but the spectacular exhibition of a mysterious local power inherent in himself alone, and that his works were miracles done in contravention of law, and that God, who "is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever," changed His eternal and infinite nature long enough to interpose a spasmodic and abnormal intervention in behalf of a few sick people for effect — all of this fabulous error must give way before the light which shows that both sin and sickness are unnatural and monstrous, and that an understanding of Science as taught and demonstrated by Jesus reveals the scientific and Scriptural method for destroying both.
The use of medicine in case of disease had been in vogue for two thousand years when Jesus appeared and ushered in an entirely new dispensation. He healed the multitude of all manner of diseases and gave an unfailing exhibition of Christian Mind-healing. He taught his disciples so that they could heal, and they in turn taught their followers, and history, according to Gibbon, recites the fact that until the close of the third century healing was a regular phenomenon of primitive Christianity. Soon after that time the integrity of the Christian sect became involved with the materialistic chaos of the Roman Empire and the healing power was lost.
The verity of the Scriptural accounts of the healing has been challenged by those who affirm, with reason, that there can be no such thing as a miracle, and that if such works were performed at all they must have been done in accord with science and could therefore be done again and now. To such, let me say that Christian Science authenticates the Scriptural accounts by revealing the modus operandi of such healing and satisfies the most skeptical and exacting state of inquiry. The discovery of Christian Science by Mrs. Eddy and its systematic and scientific exposition by her includes the discernment of the Principle of true metaphysical healing as practiced by Jesus and the early Christians. While it includes vastly more than the mere healing of disease, its operative effect constitutes the revival of or re-establishment of the same curative practice that was instituted by Jesus as a part of his work of overcoming evil.
It has never been claimed that Christian Science was an invention of its discoverer or evolved by her. It was not presented as her view, belief, or opinion. On the contrary, it is before the world as a demonstrable Science, discerned, formulated and demonstrated by its discoverer and founder. Like all exact and true science, it rests not on theory or profession for the evidence of its verity, but rather on proof and must be and is being supported by indisputable demonstrations. These proofs are the signs following an understanding of the Principle and compliance with its rules, and they constitute the only feasible evidence of such understanding.
Before speaking on the subject of Scientific Mind-healing, I would like to say that it is authoritatively, stated that during the thirty years in which such healing has been practiced more than one million cases of disease have been healed thereby, most of which or a large portion of which were considered incurable. Much of this healing has been so palpable and indisputable that all classes of people are acknowledging the results, but on the other hand, an effort is made to account for the facts of healing in every conceivable way except the right way. Many critics make a short cut and call it mesmerism or hypnotism. Others declare that it is like the spasmodic instances of faith cure and prayer cure. Others that it is simply the influence of one powerful will over another, or that it is wholly the result of a dominating faith on the part of the patient that its operation will heal him. Now let me tell you that it is none of these. Christian Science healing is the operation of a scientific Principle, and no one knows how these patients are healed but the Scientist who knows enough to heal them. It is indeed folly for people to seek thus to explain away something that they know nothing about.
If a representative body of workers in the science of numbers had been struggling for ages for the solution of a hard and world perplexing problem and one of them should finally announce that he had discovered the solution, do you suppose the others would refuse to attempt the demonstration on the ground that they did not believe it? Would they not know enough to know that if the discoverer had demonstrated his proposition, it would be inane for them to ignore it or try to demolish it with incredulity and scorn?
In speaking on this subject we do so from the standpoint of the demonstrations of a demonstrable Science. We speak with the invulnerable confidence that we are absolutely right, with the ascertained knowledge that Christian Science is true. In considering these remarks, therefore, please remember, even though you may not be at all impressed by what is said, that there are tens of thousands of people who assert that they are at work in this demonstrable Science, and that they are proving the verity of its divine Principle, and if it shall be asked what is the nature of these demonstrations, I answer that among the proofs may be cited the healing of cancers, consumption, inaccessible tumors, hereditary diseases, abnormal growths, epilepsy, locomotor ataxia, and all kinds of organic and functional diseases that have been considered incurable.
At this point the question may be raised as to whether humanity needs anything better for the cure of disease than the medicines which it has been swallowing for ages, and in considering the subject please bear in mind that I have not a word to say against the estimable men and women who are engaged in this field of practice. In commenting on the system I shall say nothing worse than the physicians themselves are constantly saying. Indeed I will preface my own remarks by quoting three out of thousands of similar statements from medical authorities in order to show you that I am not unwarrantably critical. (Doctors James Johnson, Mason Good, and Chapman are quoted here as found in "Science and Health," page 163.)
The history of medicine shows that the use of drugs or material remedies for disease has prevailed for four thousand years. As before alluded to, diseases have multiplied greatly during this time, and the percentage of people who are contaminated by disease has been constantly increasing. During this era of medical treatment, certain phases of physical deterioration have developed and prevailed which threatened the extinction of the race. If, during this period, a dominant principle had been at work, we should see a lessened prevalence of disease and a higher average of healthful conditions.
I shall not attempt an elaboration of the reasons why the practice of medicine for four thousand years has failed to cope with or lessen the area of disease, but will name two important reasons, both of which are fundamental. I think I shall state it fairly when I say that medical theories concerning disease are, as a general thing, based upon the assumption that matter, and by this I mean also material conditions, that matter can of its own power and action originate, augment, and continue disease, and thereby dominate man, or the consciousness of man, even to the point of killing him. Also that his only remedy is to offset, if possible, or neutralize this material action by the use of medicine or material means, thus making the issue a conflict between different phases of material action and power. It should be stated that one school of medical theory and practice does, to some extent, take cognizance of mental conditions in estimating the cause of disease, but even though admitting certain mental influences the remedy used is still the same, namely, matter.
Now Christian Science shows that the theory that disease is primarily of material origin is defective and that diagnoses of disease in accord with that theory do not penetrate to the foundation of their causes. It shows that the treatment of disease from this standpoint does not touch causation, but devotes itself to effects. Christian Science shows clearly the actual causes of disease of all kinds and when one understands this feature of the work, he can comprehend why sickness can be healed by scientific mental treatment. He can also understand why Christian Science heals many diseases that have always been considered incurable.
Another defect concerning medical practice is that materia medica is not scientific, but is a house divided against itself, inasmuch as all material remedies act differently with different people, and all have a reaction in proportion to their positive action. The significance of this statement and that which it involves is little known and little heeded; indeed, humanity makes no account of this important fact, so important as to be one of the principal reasons why, from a material standpoint, medicine has not dominated disease in human history.
The disclosures of Christian Science are that instead of being subject to material causation, Mind rightly directed, and this means much, can prevent and cure disease and manifest its mastery over pain and sickness. This scientific treatment is not vague or intangible, but is seen to be the only natural way and the operation of divinely natural law; indeed, it is a fact that while Christian Science is not at all of the nature of what is called faith cure or prayer cure, it is actually the manifestation of God-with-us, healing all our diseases.
People who for ages have been taking medicines and have come to regard them as substantial have difficulty in grasping the statement that Christian Science treatment is substantive to the extent of overcoming the most virulent or stubborn disease. It is a fact, also, that because of their chemical action drugs are regarded as absolutely indispensable; indeed, many urgent arguments are presented to show that they are altogether essential. This educated sense concerning them makes it more difficult for people to grasp the fact that the true mental healing is more effective. I shall not attempt to meet these arguments in detail but will make one statement which covers the whole ground. It is that the effect of any drug on the human system can be produced by hypnotic influence without administering a particle of medicine and that if all drugs were dispensed with, their effects could be produced at will.
I speak of this for the information of those who are not at all familiar with the subject and who do not understand that in the treatment of disease mental action is more potent than the action of drugs. I do not refer to it as an endorsement of hypnotism, for Christian Science and hypnotism are not in agreement at all. It is not the object of these remarks to include any explanation of hypnotic phenomena, but I will say that hypnotism is the action of one human will over the consciousness and bodies of others, and is liable to manifest all of the frailties and all of the evil of personal ignorance and wickedness.
We cannot go into an explanation of Christian Science treatment, but will say briefly that in the matter of sickness greater results have been thus effected than have been achieved by medical remedies or treatment. We are familiar with the occasional reports of death being caused by fright. Fear is purely mental activity, and yet its results are often of the most extreme nature, physically. If, therefore, an abnormal mental action may kill a man, how much more should scientific and normal mental action help him. It is not asserted or pretended that there are no failures under Christian Science treatment. It is not pretended that Christian Scientists have as individuals or as a class risen to the height of demonstration that excludes all failures. That these sometimes occur is not the fault of the Science, but may be the fault of the practitioner or the patient. Most of the cases that find their way to Scientists are those which have failed to yield to any other form of treatment, and they come to us as a last resort. They are the kind that are called stubborn or incurable, and I give it as my conscientious conviction that fully eighty per cent of these cases are either cured or materially improved.
I once applied to the officers of the World's Fair for space in which to exhibit the publications of our Society. They at first declined, thinking that the subject was not of sufficient importance. In the course of conversation, I said "if it could be authentically established that one single case of cancer had been cured by a physician using material remedies, you would be willing to grant space on which to erect a monument to that man a mile high, and yet the Christian Scientists, who have healed hundreds of cancers, are obliged to entreat you for a place in which to exhibit the books that show how it is done."
In the course of time they provided ample space for us, and did more than we asked, and I now relate the incident for the purpose of emphasizing the significance of one fact which should be borne in mind when one is inclined to doubt or scorn the reputed effects of Christian Science. Regardless of what any one may think or say, the fact is incontestably true, namely, that hundreds and hundreds of malignant cancers of indisputable nature have been healed by Christian Science. On the other hand, I understand that medical records do not include the cure of a solitary case of the kind by the use of medicine since the world began.
At this stage of Christian Science practice it is asserted that the patients as a rule recover more quickly, are more quickly relieved of pain, are not as liable to recurrence, avoid any form of reaction whatever, and are cured of a wider range of diseases than under any other form of practice. If this can be truthfully said during the pioneer stages of this work, when its practitioners are operating in the midst of oppressive and even virulent antagonism, what may we say prophetically of the time when the blessedness of this heavenly visitant shall be recognized by the race that is to-day in supreme need thereof, and when people shall turn to it with the same confidence and approval that is now bestowed on the different systems of drugging?
In a letter to Dr. Priestley, February eighth, 1780, Benjamin Franklin wrote as follows: "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 prevented or cured, not excepting even that of old age, and our lives lengthened at pleasure, even beyond the antediluvian standard. Oh that the moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity!"
Notice that Dr. Franklin speaks of true science. He was sufficiently advanced as a true scientist to perceive that there must be and was the Science of health and the Science of morality; indeed, he doubtless knew that there was the Science of everything, and he knew that when the Science of being was discovered and understood, it would usher in the millennium, for when Science governs, all is harmony just as when the principles of mathematics and music govern numbers and tones.
Franklin may have known that humanity did not understand the Science of Life, but was being governed by an utterly erroneous sense thereof, and as an inevitable consequence it was all awry and distressed. He must have known that sick and malicious men were not in the image and likeness of omniscient God, were not normal, natural, or lawful, and that this abnormal condition must be changed, and that mortals should attain a knowledge of Science in order to escape from the misery that an evil sense of being entails upon itself.
Now, Christian Science shows specifically wherein humanity is in destructive and deplorable error, why it suffers, why it is in such grievous and detestable conflict with itself, why its utter ignorance of some of the simplest yet fundamental laws of being causes ceaseless anguish and why the fervent and anxious efforts of individuals, societies, and governments to correct or control have failed. Then it indicates the remedy, marks out the way, and reconciles man to his salvation through obedience to the ascertained, natural laws of God. It clearly and scientifically indicates the millennial state that shall ensue just as soon as mortals know enough to know that they would be ten thousand times happier if they were governed by good instead of evil.
On the other hand, it shows them the fraudulent imposition that beguiles them with the supposition that evil can possibly ultimate in anything but suffering. The first step necessary in order to accomplish the redemption of this race is to convince the individual that he is being fooled, misled, and tormented by all sorts of unnatural and unnecessary influences; and that he does most positively need to be born again, born of the understanding of Life which achieves for him a sense of harmonious existence, the kingdom of heaven. He must see that he has been submitting to a long list of dreadful things on the supposition that they were according to law, perhaps the law of nature or the law of God. He must see that God, who is infinite Life, has not ordained any laws or processes for the destruction of man, and he must learn that instead of being reconciled to mortality by the supposition of salvation after sin, sickness, and death, that the Mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, is the Saviour from sin, sickness, and death. The revelation of Christian Science lifts horrible burdens from humanity, gives hope to the despairing man, and arms and equips him with the dominion which is his natural, God-ordained heritage.
Christian Science brings to light the true, supersensible or spiritual capacity of man. It shows the defective nature of the senses and sense testimony, and the lamentable condition of men who are governed by laws which appeal to the senses alone instead of the divine or spiritual law which governs man aright. It shows that this spiritual law or scientific action of infinite Mind is not queer and intangible, but is substantive and satisfying and is available to him in the every day affairs of his career, and I ask you to note that the entire body of Christian Scientists would be unanimous in saying that they are proving this daily and would not turn back a solitary step if they could.
The ages have heard of the omnipotence of God or Spirit. If there is any truth in this utterance it means nothing else than that the spiritual power is all-powerful. Happy the hour for every mortal then, when he learns that the power of good is irresistible and ever present, and that the so-called power and law of sin and disease are wholly of human procurement and exist only as a mistaken belief of the human mind.
The world needs to be aroused to a realizing sense of its predicament. It needs to be awakened from the awful lethargy of ignorance as well as from the intoxication and delirium of evil. It needs to learn the power of divine Mind, the Mind that means life, health, goodness, and their possibilities, as well as to learn the dreadful effects of evil thought which externalizes itself in such wide-spread and obdurate woe.
To accomplish all this reform and deliverance; to turn men from blind faith in something they know nothing of and cannot possibly understand to a feasible, rational, reasonable, faultless and demonstrable understanding of God and man and their relations to each other; to establish the true brotherhood of man; to quench the fires of strife and to tranquilize nations — this is the mission of Christian Science in this age, and as such it commends itself to every creature who will admit that it is laudable and profitable to heed the words and emulate and imitate in practical living and power the example of Jesus Christ, who overcame the world, the flesh and the devil, sin, sickness and death, through the power and action of the divine Mind.
I have made no attempt to inform you fully as to what Christian Science is, but as intimated, I have hoped to lead you to a respectful and expectant examination of this subject and particularly to a careful study of its textbook by Mary Baker Eddy.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" is the only textbook of genuine Christian Science and the only one that will ever be needed. Few books ever ran such a gauntlet of criticism or so thoroughly stirred the antagonism of beliefs and theories previously entertained. Futile attempts have been made to dispose of it by declaring that it was a rehash of Buddhism or idealism or mystic philosophy, and certain writers are named who are said to have presented the same ideas previously, but let me tell you that all the books of the world that seem to touch even the hem of the garment of Christian Science do not in the aggregate include one-hundredth part of the substance of "Science and Health," nor do they approach in the slightest degree the grandeur of a complete exposition of a demonstrable science. The book is the handmaid of the Bible. It is like a lamp shedding light on the Scriptural pages, revealing its true theology and the true philosophy of life. Its study and even its perusal have healed tens of thousands of helpless invalids and extricated thousands from the mire of unspeakable evil. For these reasons Christian Scientists study and value this book, not as supplanting the Bible, but resting upon it, not superseding, but supplementing the Holy Scriptures. Knowing, as we do, full well the consummate and sublime work that this book and the Science it explains are accomplishing for this stricken and storm-tossed world, is it strange that we should utter the conviction that if you will search the blessings in all recent centuries this book will stand out as God's great gift to this age.
I do not ask you merely to believe one word of Christian Science. It is not a speculative philosophical suppliant appealing to your credulity for support. It asks no favors, nor does it need the approval of man. But I present it to you as something to know and to demonstrate, as a demonstrable science of that which is, a science that does not argue or engage in unseemly controversy, but which manifests its Principle, its universal good, in signs which follow an understanding thereof. It would be utterly useless to attempt to make you believe in Christian Science because of either arguments or lectures, but if there are any among you with heavy hearts, who are struggling with grief, sorrow, or any of the vicissitudes of what seems a hard fate; if there are any who are weary of pain, or sin, or disease; if any who are under the distressing bondage of appetite or habit; if you yearn for the relief and deliverance of your brother man and have prayed for the salvation of an unredeemed and suffering people; if you have become dismayed and perplexed because of hope deferred and the miseries and the mysteries of life, then I say turn reverently, hopefully, confidently to Christian Science, this manifestation of good, and it will wipe away tears; it will pillow the weary head in peace; it will strike off the fetters of disease and bestow the balm of heaven upon your wounds.
Or if, perchance, you have become weary of the unanswered prayer; if a long, wistful, and fruitless search after God has left you with unsatisfied longing in the midst of unbelief and doubt; if all spiritual sense seems chilled and shriveled for want of substance; if the spontaneous desire for a more spiritual animus and a more spiritual religious experience has been ungratified; or if you have wandered through the mazes of sectarian and doctrinal perplexities in search of the peace of God and found it not; then I say turn to Christian Science whereby to acquaint thyself with God and be at peace. It will reveal to you the God that is infinite Love, who inspires no fear, but stills the tumult of dread and unrest and alarm. It will lead you heavenward by sure ways through all the possibilities of deliverance and step by step you will know that your Redeemer liveth, and you will be satisfied.
[Delivered in the Grand Opera House, Atlanta, Georgia, and published in The Atlanta Constitution April 8, 1898. This is the first of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball.]