"Why Should It Be Thought Incredible
That God Should Raise The Dead?"
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I ask you for the moment to let your thoughts traverse a long stretch of centuries and rest on one of the most dramatic scenes of all history.
In the midst of this scene is a man in bonds and at bay. Having actually communed with God, having felt the very touch of a divine afflatus, this man, taught and impelled by infinite wisdom, stood forth an avowed disciple of the Christ which heals and redeems. His sturdy manhood had been chastened and ennobled by divine revelation, by discipline and experience, and by the descent of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of a besotted generation his moral, ethical, and spiritual culture had exalted him so far above the countless millions of the earth that he stood there an instance of sublime isolation, almost alone on the earth, with hardly one solitary companion of all the race who had touched the supreme height of his own ascended thought.
Because of his responsive obedience to divine leading this lone minister of God was arraigned before the bar of public opinion, which was inflamed with rage at him who had dared to reform the sinner, to heal the sick, and to preach the immortality of life and hope of salvation in disregard of the theories of the schools and of the sensuous system of pretense and hypocrisy which it were mockery to call religion.
Permitted to speak for himself, conscious of the divine presence and nature, and animated by the same Mind which was also in Christ, he turned to a lost race and with unspeakable but hopeless compassion uttered this demand: "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
Paul was confronted by a race of materialists who had no consciousness of being that was above the level of the material senses. To see, hear, smell, taste, and feel was the sum of existence to them. In their opinion matter was intelligence, substance, and life, and all that they include. Even their sense of God was material, opaque, spiritless, — an utter misconception of Deity, without God and without Mind. This false stratum of consciousness, devoid of any supersensible capacity to discern the reality of God, is less than man, because it is less than the intelligence which Paul says must be spiritually discerned. The Apostle, having gained some measure of divine intelligence, stood there as the representative of the Mind and wisdom that is God. His accusers, steeped in the barren traditions of a sensuous philosophy and religion, were governed by the "carnal mind," which is enmity against God, against Life, and therefore against the life of man. Before him was a generation whose material sense of being had involved it in a carnival of sin, violence, and disease. Wherever the gaze turns, it finds that poet and philosopher, politician and religionist, prince and plebeian, were all on a dead level with matter and utterly without knowledge of the scientific fact that the normal and natural mentality of man is supersensible or spiritual. An ignorant sense of being sat in the place of God or Truth, and had established in the consciousness of mortals the reign of sin, sickness, and death, and this same erroneous sense had since maintained its tenure by claiming these to be ordained of God, to be the natural and inevitable concomitant of being.
To this ignorant and tumultuous state of humanity Jesus preached the gospel of healing through the power of intelligence. In that day the carnal mind, true to its nature, declared that Jesus was of the devil. Paul's appeal brought forth from Festus the accusation, "Much learning hath made thee mad," and to-day the same revealed Truth, urging itself through Christian Science, elicits from the same carnal mind ridicule, assault, and defamation, the abuse which a bigoted and limited mentality usually bestows on that which it cannot understand.
"Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" For what reason is it that this appeal strikes such dull ears or stirs the antagonism of the materialist? It is because, first, he has an utter misconception of what God really is; second, he has a misconception of what causes sickness and death; and, third, he is ignorant of the proper and scientific means of cure. The materialist dwells wholly within the finite. He cannot possibly depict in consciousness anything that is higher in the scale of being than matter. Hence his sense of God or infinity is wholly finite. He declares that God or Spirit is omniscience, all knowledge, and then assumes that intelligence is in matter. His sense is that Deity is a man-God; that is to say, that God is some object to be cognized hereafter by the senses and that on a large scale he acts very much as a man would act, capricious, tentative, changeable, full of experiments and expedients; involved in all sorts of evil, and under the necessity of making use of evil in order to bring out the possibilities of good. His sense is that God has created everything, and therefore has created all the evil; hence, that the evils called sickness and death are divinely instituted and in accordance with the law of God. This theory involves not only the assumption that God has created man with his ultimate destruction in view, but also involves the monstrous doctrine that he has created a considerable portion of the race in accordance with the system of fore-ordained or prenatal damnation. The materialist believes that God has created the ferocity of beasts and provided for the hereditary transmission of countless ills, and he denominates nearly every disaster as a "visitation of God."
According to popular belief God strikes dead the infant at its mother's breast, and in turn removes the mother from her helpless brood despite the agonizing prayers that appeal for deliverance.
The man-made creeds depict a repellent God whose plan of existence includes the sureness of agony, disaster, and death; the certainty of a tortured and wrecked manhood as the natural and requisite preparation for either heaven or hell. No wonder that such a people are afraid of God! No wonder that while trying to believe that death will usher them into the presence of God they resist unto the uttermost the death process which is said to be the open door to Heaven! The materialist will declare that through sin came death into the world, and immediately forgetting that God is not sin, will compile a creed or religious system that recognizes sickness and death as of divine procurement. So when Paul's question reaches his ear, his answer is ready. To him it is indeed incredible that his God, who has instituted sickness and death, will contravene his own law and nature by raising the dead and healing the sick. His sense of the divine nature is so defective that it includes no probability that God will turn aside the dread destroyer which he has ordained to do his will.
Oh, thou stricken, deceived humanity! To what pitiable depths hath the carnal mind led thee, bound and fettered thee, and cancelled thy God-given dominion over evil! Thy house is indeed "left unto thee desolate," for a perverted sense of Deity has substituted an image of havoc and vengeance for "Him that healeth all our diseases." It has involved mankind in a perpetual quarrel about God and engendered the atrocity of sectarian strife and bitterness which to-day stands impeached in history as having been the monster assassin of the race. To such a condition of thought the supposition that God will raise the dead or heal the sick is indeed foolishness, and the fact that there is such a thing as spiritual power or the action of divine intelligence able to cope with and master the so-called laws of disease is inconceivable. The opacity of materialism includes no such possibility in its estimate of cause and effect.
"Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead," and heal the sick? What have the sick and the dead meant to humanity? What is the educated sense of this generation on this subject? In what direction does it look for causation and natural law? What is its theory as to the inception of disease and mortality's processes? The answer is this: That notwithstanding the awful penalty which the materialist pays for his idolatry, he locates intelligence and causation in matter; assigns for every material phenomenon a material cause; and holds that matter has inherent power and action, governed by material law and mindless principles. This fatal conception insures its own defeat, and man thus deceived and governed is indeed a mortal man. With matter for his life, matter for his foe, matter for his brain or mind, and a mental image for his personal God, what else is there for the man who is governed by a materialistic philosophy of being, save to endure all the ills it ordains for him, and to plunge headlong toward an unknown doom?
Midway he is involved in the innumerable woes which he calls the mystery of evil that has so greatly baffled and perplexed mankind. In its endeavor to solve this mystery humanity has made the dire mistake of deciding that part of the evil is caused by God, or the God-ordained laws of nature, and part of it has been caused by the devil. Also that both God and devil are immortal entities and coexistent factors in an eternity of both good and evil. Notwithstanding the fact that this is utterly inconsistent with the declaration that God is infinite good, Life, Truth, and Love, nearly all the philosophy and religious beliefs of the world are permeated and fatally contaminated by this evil assumption. This supposition that God is a natural source of evil, and particularly of sickness and death, logically excludes all hope of divine deliverance and would oblige the sufferer to contend against God Himself in order to escape.
If God procures sickness and death, what sacrilegious folly it is for a man to frustrate the divine intention by the employment of physicians and drugs! Indeed, under such circumstances the only consistently Christian course would be one of absolute reconciliation to disease and resignation to such will of God.
The world will never emerge from the area of disease until it shall have solved scientifically this problem, the answer to which is of the most vital concern to this race: "Is God for or against disease and death?" That is to say, is that which is origin, source, causation, basis, law, government, power and action for or against the inception and continuity of disease?
Physiology, which takes no cognizance of the mental, moral, and spiritual, answers this question by declaring that sickness and death are caused by matter and its evil laws. Human philosophy and religious theories declare that God made matter and equipped it with destructive laws and is therefore the originator, or procurator, of the phenomena of these laws, such as pain, sickness, and death. Not only this, but theoretical religious beliefs assert that God, although not creating sin, permits it, and has even fore-ordained that some of His children shall be damned because of that which He permits. This premise, if true, would lead to the irresistible conclusion that He thus allows sin, sickness, and death to exist and continue as a part of the naturalness of this universe. The attempt to avoid inconsistent and pernicious conclusions by declaring that God does not originate evil, but permits it, is of no avail whatever. On the contrary, it involves the searcher after God in hopeless confusion. If God permits evil, He, being infinite, must have infinite knowledge of that which He permits; therefore He would in such a case have infinite knowledge of evil. Because God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, he would thus be the eternal knowledge of evil, and that knowledge would be a part of Himself forever. Moreover, if God is infinite good and is perfection, and as such permits evil, then it is good and perfect for Him to permit it; and if it is a good thing for God to know and permit it, then it is a good thing for man to permit it, because man is the image and likeness of God, and has been commanded to be perfect as his Father is perfect.
The admission that God's eternal law causes the sickness and death of man necessarily involves the conclusion that such law will eternally cause man to be sick, because infinite laws cannot change. Indeed, the logical conclusion of every premise which includes God as the origin of or participant in evil, leads to perpetual discord and chaos, suppresses hope, and institutes the reign of dismay and despair. If the fundamental laws of being, called the laws of God, operate in any way so as to cause sickness, then the divine deliverance is impossible, because God cannot undo Himself or cancel His own law.
Christian Science practitioners are learning that the belief that the woes of life, and especially the misery of disease, are in some way caused by God, or permitted by Him, does much to disinherit the invalid of his natural dominion over evil, prostrate his favorable expectation, and plant in his consciousness a hopeless resignation to what is called the inevitable. Such a mistaken theory shuts out the sick man from reliance on God as an ever-present help, and turns him to mindless matter in the hope that it will deliver him.
If you knew a community of people whose business and financial affairs were perpetually awry, and if you knew that this trouble was in consequence of an utter misconception of numbers, their value and laws, you would conclude that a knowledge of the science of numbers was necessary in order to establish a normal condition of affairs. Likewise, if all their musical efforts were discordant and offensive, you would know that it was because of ignorance of the science of music, an understanding of which would restore harmony. If you found them in a state of conflicting opinions concerning government, you might know that the science of government alone would compose their difficulties. Suppose you found them subscribing to, and professing to operate in accord with, countless beliefs concerning God and man, and you saw that these contradictory beliefs manifested their destructive antagonism by impelling their adherents to kill each other and to mangle each other by thought, word, and deed. If so you would know, if you understood the Science of Mind, that these people had no correct knowledge of God, or of true religion, and that an understanding of the Science thereof was essential before they could have a universal religion, worship God aright, and establish the true Christian brotherhood.
Finally, let us assume that you found them sick and involved in a labyrinth of conflicting theories and practice concerning the laws of life and health and the cause and cure of disease. In such a case you should also know that the Science of Life and health, and the Science of healing were not understood, and that an understanding of such Science was needed in order to establish and maintain an harmonious existence. You should know that it would establish health and dominate disease, and that the operation of such scientific understanding would manifest itself in benefits that are parallel with the deepest human need, and which would be in satisfying response to such demands.
This race is slowly learning that its ills are because of ignorance, and that its only remedy lies in gaining a knowledge of the truth or Science of being; and when people generally learn this important fact and turn in the right direction for relief, they will find that such relief is at hand and available. The question is often asked, "How is knowledge of the truth or Science to reach humanity and effect the much needed benefit?" The answer is that all the truth that has ever reached the world has come through individuals by way of revelation, inspiration, or discovery, and thus it will ever be. Through man or woman God has made known and will impart the scientific or true sense of Life which will transform mankind, usher in the millennium, and establish the kingdom of heaven within.
To-day Christian Science, uttering itself through its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, declares itself to be the demonstrable Science of Life. It substantiates every salient and true statement concerning the infinity of God as omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, — as Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love, and has made known the Science thereof in such exact form as to meet the most urgent demands of logic and reason. It excludes all seeming necessity for conflicting man-made creeds and religio-philosophical theories, and is in and of itself true Science, true religion, and true philosophy.
It overturns nearly all previous conjectures as to the nature of evil and the cause of human woe. It discloses the knowledge of God and of Life which is so precisely true and scientific that an intelligent and consistent structure of action may rest thereupon. It relieves the learner of the necessity of trying to reconcile himself to the contradictory and the amazing propositions and statements which have been urged upon him as theology and philosophy, and which he has tried in vain to believe.
Christian Science shows that all the laws of God are contrary to disease. It shows that sickness is not in accord with natural law or with any fundamental law of divine ordination. It shows that the so-called laws of disease inhere in the universal mortal or human mind, and that they act, not as law, but as human belief and fear only.
The revelation of Christian Science on this subject alone is releasing the world from a terrible strain that has blighted its hopes and annulled the efficacy of its prayers. Those who are familiar with metaphysical healing know of the paralyzing effect on the body of the fear engendered in patients by the thought that they are suffering and dying according to God. Christian Scientists know that the distressing fears that have their origin in false religious beliefs, and are encouraged by them, cause havoc and suffering to an extent that is beyond estimate. The testimony of many people that are healed includes the statement of their relief and great joy when they first became convinced that their suffering had not been entailed by God.
The so-called mystery of evil is solved by Christian Science, and the enigma of the ages is no longer an enigma. The false supposition that evil is based on principle and operates according to law is being dispelled by the intelligence which reveals its actual nature, and strips it of its pretensions and power. Evil, instead of being entity, is merely a negation. Instead of being immortal, it is finite and self-destructive. Evil is nothing more than error, and an erroneous sense of life, and as such it has no more inherent or real power than any other error ever has. As error it has no power of continuity or duration as against the might of intelligence.
The human race is unlike God today, not because of law, but because of error. All of its sin and sorrow, pain, sickness and death; all of its poverty, depravity, and dreadful strife; all, indeed, that is unlike infinite good, is in consequence of ignorance of the Science of being. Mortal woe is because of mortal error; sickness is of mental, or mentally erroneous, causation, and has no legal sanction or impulsion whatsoever. The only force back of sickness has no more substance than error, which is always primarily mental, and whose effect on the body is incidental.
No matter how you may denominate the Redeemer of the world, the fact remains that the redeeming influence needs not to contend against matter, but against error. As Paul says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood," and we do not need to in order to dominate the ills of the flesh. An evil, defective sense of life is the "murderer from the beginning." It is ignorance which fraudulently intoxicates mortals with sin, and entails upon them the delirium of suffering. It is ignorance which locks humanity in fratricidal conflict and cruelty, ruptures the brotherhood of man, and impinges upon earth's creatures the pangs of suffering, disease, and death.
For centuries the world has stumbled on, deprived of its natural rights and happiness, and in ignorance of the cause of its troubles. At every inch of the way it has wrapped its rags of error around it, and complacently assumed that it understood the facts of being. The deep sleep of materialism has rendered it insensible to Truth, which, throughout all ages, has uttered its peals to ears that were dull, and to men that could not be raised to understand and give heed. There is no more pitiable phase in all history than that which depicts the obstinate and even venomous opposition of mortals to the revelations of science, which were really angels of mercy and deliverance.
How long will this people resist the scriptural declaration that through sin or error, and not through the laws of matter, came death and sickness into the world? How long will it be thought a thing incredible that God-ordained intelligence should heal the sick and raise the dead?
A casual examination of metaphysical Science reveals the cause of human woe. There is no longer any excuse for ignorance on this subject nor is there justification therefor. We are face to face with the phenomena of evil, and acquainted with the nature of that which is accomplishing the ruin of humanity; and the question that urges itself upon this age is this: Are the ways and means of mortals now coping with error, and releasing them from its grasp? To what extent are its philosophy and sectarianism reforming the sinner and destroying temptation? To what extent is medical theory and practice establishing health as a permanent, scientific fact? The answer is that never was there a greater degree and scope of sin, nor a greater variety and range of disease than now. Never was there greater apparent need of a scientific understanding of being which will tranquilize and regenerate the race whose material vagaries and love of sin continue to repeat the gloomy history of centuries.
To this age, which has been a prey to many temptations and is submerged in sickness, depravity, and death, comes as of old another prophet with the most alluring message that ever touched the ear or inspired the hope of humanity. To this generation, which is gaining a partial sense of its plight, and comprehends somewhat its supreme need of the knowledge of true Science and true religion whereby to clear up the mystery and dispel the fierce contention of its existence, hath appeared another messenger declaring a gospel which includes the promise of deliverance from every woe that besets the race.
This message and gospel is Christian Science, the Christ Science, or knowledge of God and of the Life that is God. Like almost every revelation known to man, it has antagonized the chief priests and exponents of nearly every school of thought, or system of philosophy and religion that is unlike itself. This resistance is habitual, and indicates the obdurate nature of the erroneous misconceptions that are formulated by the human mind, or, as it calls itself, the human brain. When Galileo announced the rotundity of the earth, the most eminent theologian of the day denounced him as a "poor fool that is trying to overturn the sacred art of astronomy."
Christian Scientists are not surprised at this opposition, nor do they murmur because anyone cannot, or will not, comprehend the verity of Christian Science; but, as a matter of historical propriety, they remonstrate against the falsity of statement and profligacy of libel and of personal abuse which is bestowed upon its discoverer, in the vain hope of making it and herself appear odious.
When the history of these days of scientific and moral reform is written, with the full import and effect thereof in view, what will be said of the reception of the loving, holy woman who has thus described her entrance upon the scene of human need? "I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind. The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who to-day as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 226:22.)
As of yore, she came utterly alone, with the same isolated grandeur of message, motive, and impulsion. As of yore, she alone of all the earth had reached her own high plane of spirituality and scientific mental culture. Her consciousness alone had been sufficiently purged of materialism to admit the light of spiritual revelation, which should make visible the things of God as declared in Christian Science.
I would fain spare in pity the men and women of this generation; but, alas, they have, to their shame, bestowed upon this messenger of hope and salvation every offensive thought and word that the ingenuity of evil could suggest. Think you that any creature of this earth, unsustained of God, could have endured for thirty-three years the flood of evil that has poured itself out against this woman? Looking back on the history of the reformers and prophets of God, do you recall any who have not been literally obliged to abide in Him while the storm raged and exhausted its fury? Do you remember any who have advanced with the torch light of Truth into the confines of materialism that have not been stung and stung again by ignorance, bigotry, and sin? Think you that any person ever lived who would voluntarily endure it for money, fame, or the love of dominion over man? Think you that anything other than divine impulsion and sustenance and the most exalted love for God and humanity could have ever induced such endeavor as has been put forth by Mrs. Eddy for a third of this century?
The discoverer of the Science of Christianity has had to wait long and patiently for the world to hear, and even partially comprehend, her divinely entrusted message, but she has not held her lonely watch in vain. With godly perseverance against what sometimes seemed awful obstacles, she has endured, rejoiced, loved, and triumphed until she has impressed upon the consciousness of this age the salient facts of the Science of being, which are revolutionizing thought, changing the philosophy, theology, and ethical tenets of individuals and of the schools, revealing the possibilities of Mind, the Science of healing, and a rational mastery over sin.
Utterly alone with God, she has, with ceaseless and holy zeal, projected upon the thought of this people the eternal verity of Christian Science, until in this hour hundreds of thousands of adherents stand immovably fixed in the understanding of the self-evident and demonstrable Science, supported and avouched by millions of instances of demonstrations, and attested by countless achieved results in the midst of which the world now stands, for they are already a part of its very history and existence. Now, as in Jesus' time, the laity or common people who received him gladly, recognize instinctively the great boon which is being conferred upon them and which engages their affections and satisfies their reason in spite of the threats and misrepresentations that would dissuade them.
The same Truth that impelled the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles, and indeed every man and woman to whom it hath been revealed, voices through the great leader of reform in this generation the same imperative demand which a spiritual sense of being forever urges upon the material sense, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" and this people, so long sunken in the deep sleep of a destructive career, is at last awakening to hear the blest evangel, and to heed the deliverance which has been the hope of the ages.
Many of the searchers after God have had glimpses of the divine nature, and felt its power. Many have had much faith to think that all things are possible with Him. Others have admitted the omnipotence of God but doubted His willingness to exert it in behalf of the sick, or delegate any interposing power to anyone else since the time of Christ and the apostles. But now comes the declaration of Christian Science, through its discoverer, which carries thought far beyond the frontiers of former hope and expectation, and opens wide the possibility of life and peace. What a balm to suffering man! How grandly it meets his needs and gives cheer and comfort to his endeavor! The statement is this: "God will heal the sick through man, whenever man is governed by God." (Science and Health, page 495:1.)
It matters not that some people hasten to denounce this and the incidental practice of Christian Science Mind-healing as being sacrilegious. The vital question is not as to what anyone may think about it, but whether it is a scientific fact or not. The statement is in exact accord with the Principle of Christian Science, and is attested by every instance of genuine Christian Science healing. The demonstrator of this Science understands the Principle thereof and the rule for demonstration, and he knows that the proofs verify both the Principle and the rule.
If many professors of the science of numbers had been working long for the solution of a troublesome problem, and one had finally announced the discovery of the principle and rule, and that he had thereby solved the problem, would the others refuse to give heed, and say they did not believe it, simply because his way was different from the ways they had been unsuccessfully trying? Would they not at least carefully examine and study the stated principle, and apply the rule before denouncing both? The operators in a theoretical life practice that has failed are hardly qualified to judge of a demonstrable science which they have never attempted to demonstrate, nor does the bald denial of those who do not understand it weigh an atom in the scales against the one who not only understands but can prove it.
In a symposium on the subject of Christian Science prepared by physicians and ministers, which was lately published in a newspaper in New York, the facts of Christian Science healing were partially, but reluctantly, admitted. Until recently it has been habitual with its opponents to flatly deny the healing testimony, but a continuity of such custom is no longer feasible, because the people are so familiar with the facts that a denial thereof now betrays either ignorance, or dishonesty. An effort is therefore manifested in the "symposium" to discredit the character of the healing by declaring it to be in the nature of "hypnotic suggestion," and one doctor sententiously adds that "every physician is familiar with the influence of suggestion and expectancy on the sick." I should like to ask how much they knew about it thirty years ago. How much did they know before Mrs. Eddy discovered the Science of true metaphysical therapeutics, and explained the unscientific nature of mesmerism? She showed that hypnotic influence and suggestion affected the sick, but explained why it acts in the mental realm just as morphine in the physical, and why the last end of the patient is worse than the first.
Thirty years ago the medical professor despised nothing more than he did the mesmerist and his mesmerism. Today many of them are studying and trying to amalgamate it with the drug system, and even participate in formulating what is called a system of "suggestive therapeutics." One writer in the "symposium," in the attempt to make Christian Science treatment appear valueless by calling it "suggestion," declares that the effect of such hypnotic suggestion, no matter how salutary it may seem to be at first, exhausts itself in a short time, and the patient relapses. This is precisely what Mrs. Eddy has taught the world on this subject for thirty years, but to have the doctor utter the same thing now embarrasses the "symposium" somewhat, because it is an impeachment of the belief and practice largely maintained by his profession, and utterly cancels the statement of another celebrated man, who writes on the same page that mental science (which is falsely so-called and which is purely mesmeric) is of scientific value. Opposition to Christian Science does indeed make strange bedfellows.
A metropolitan editor recently expressed surprise that we did not "come back at" the people who are making public utterances of antagonism toward Christian Science. One reason why we do not is that there is no unity in the thought, theory, or practice of those so opposed. Indeed, the medley of conflicting human thought which rises up to declare the unreality of Christian Science without having any knowledge of its nature is self-contradictory, illogical, and grotesque beyond the capacity of any man to estimate. It is a house divided against itself. To "come back at" it would be as profitless as to chase after the terminals of the rainbow. The house itself cannot stand. It will fall in due time.
The crusade of reform which is now progressing in the name of Christian Science is not controversial, but educational. It is useless to quarrel with the opponent of Christian Science because, as a matter of fact, he condemns that which is his own misconception. I never knew of a person who really understood it that did not recognize its verity and accept it with rejoicing. The man who does not understand it and know its great value cannot be persuaded by acrimonious and undignified debate, but needs to find his way through the pathway of loving kindness and by means of the processes of education.
Another reason why we prefer to hold our peace is that many of the unfavorable utterances concerning Christian Science are in the nature of sheer defamation. They are nothing but graceless lies and we do not care to yoke ourselves in an unprofitable race with falsehood.
There is one lie, however, that came under the jurisdiction of the United States courts several years ago, to the effect that Mrs. Eddy is not the discoverer of Christian Science, and that her works are not original. The Federal Court in taking cognizance of this false claim, entered a decree confirming her status as the author and originator of the substance and details of her textbook, "Science and Health," and entered judgment and injunction against the would-be infringer. A well ordered mind usually accepts such a decree as decisive and conclusive.
As a lie which has been exposed, it is now hoary with age and should have become weary of the use for which it is being urged in vain. Nevertheless there are people, intent on assaulting Christian Science without regard to ways and means, who rehabilitate this fabulous charge, and continue it in ignoble service.
My attention has been called to a sermon preached in Massachusetts in which this old story is repeated to the effect that Mrs. Eddy got her ideas from the manuscript of the late Dr. Quimby of Maine. This whole question of originality was involved in and disposed of by the legal decision referred to, and the fact that Mrs. Eddy is the discoverer and founder of Christian Science is now formulated as history and acknowledged by encyclopedias, dictionaries, and biographical works. There are, however, several features of the case which the court decision does not take cognizance of, and which are worthy of mention:
1. Dr. Quimby was an avowed mesmerist.
2. Christian Science and mesmerism are like polar opposites. They are antipodes, and could not possibly proceed from the same source.
3. The proposition that a professional mesmerist could originate "Science and Health," or that the discoverer of Christian Science could also be a mesmerist, is not only inconceivable but impossible.
4. People who have examined the fragments of manuscripts which Dr. Quimby wrote, and made the examination with a view to using them to discredit Mrs. Eddy's position, have admitted that they were valueless for such a purpose.
5. The only semblance of a basis for this report is the statement of Dr. Quimby's son to the effect that Mrs. Eddy's ideas were the same as his father's.
6. Mrs. Eddy herself says that she not only did not get any of the ideas of Christian Science from Dr. Quimby but that his views were utterly unlike it.
Did you ever know a woman, who from childhood's early hour, had with purity of motive and with steadfast, holy purpose clung with uncompromising fidelity to God — eager to know His will and satisfied with obedience? Did you ever know of such a woman whose eighty years of journeying along life's pathway were marked by monuments of integrity, chastity, benevolence, and self-sacrificing love? Do you know that her life has been one of ceaseless and unselfish devotion to the welfare of her fellow man and that she has endured all of the evil shafts that have been directed to her because of her endeavor to reclaim a lost race, rather than to falter and give way? Do you realize, when with her, the presence and balm of a deep holy piety, the justness and merciful nature of her judgment, and the rectitude of thought that is in communion with God? If you do know such a woman then you know that the very substance and grandeur of her life constitute their own best evidence that she is neither robber nor liar.
In the midst of the cheerless expanse of misrepresentation, there is an occasional oasis, and I am glad to acknowledge the fairness of one writer in the symposium, a minister, who wrote concerning the propriety of our use of the word "Christian," as follows:
"This new ism is more than a scientific truth: It invests it with religious feeling. It recognizes in the human spirit a manifestation of the divine spirit. It recognizes in God the indwelling spirit, the life and force immanent in all mankind. It leads its followers, therefore, within the soul to meditate upon this great mystery — which is the heart of all religion; and thus frees a spiritual force which has mighty potencies of healing. In this aspect of the movement it is a sincere and earnest following in the blessed steps of his most holy life whose name all the Christian churches bear, but whose ministry of healing these churches have mostly forgotten. Thus it is entitled to the first half of its name." — The Reverend R. Heber Newton.
Another writer says: "I think the prevalent newspaper persecution which the Christian Scientists are being subjected to is both wrong and injudicious. Let us remember that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Persecution has been the highest boon that has ever befallen any religious sect. If these persecutors are sincere and desire to extirpate the so-called fraud, they are adopting the very method that will not exterminate, but perpetuate it. It is probably not known to the ordinary newspaper reader that this `sect' already counts its adherents by the millions. They have built magnificent churches in all parts of the Union, whose congregations always tax the capacity of their capacious auditoriums. It is well to understand this phenomenon thoroughly before undertaking to overthrow it. If it is founded on the truth, it is folly to try to batter it down. If it is false and fraudulent it can never be exposed save by exact and precise knowledge of all its workings and phases." — The Reverend Henry Frank.
This advice is tardy but wholesome. If those, who hope to extirpate Christian Science by telling people that they love to be deluded, will heed this admonition they will do well. They should know that they appeal in vain to the man, once dying and now restored to life, when they urge him to re-enter the sepulchre because he has been deluded by the fraudulent claim that God healeth all our diseases. In vain will they urge the blind that now see to close again their eyelids and endure the gloom prepared for them by those who declare that Christian Science is heresy, because it threatens to deprive the All Presence that is God of the presence and eternal companionship of a personal devil.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that man governed by God should heal the sick? Jesus and the apostles, as well as the early Christians, healed the sick without the use of any material remedies whatever, and in utter disregard of the laws which the matter-physicians say must govern the case; and yet Jesus did not come to disregard law but to fulfil law. If in fulfilling natural or divine law, he discredited so-called medical laws, it must have been because he knew that they were not laws. The Science of Christianity explains this by disclosing the fact that Jesus understood that disease does not act in response to natural law, but in accord with the aggregation of universal human belief, which is wholly erroneous and which, exerting its pressure mesmerically, is accepted as law and submitted to as such.
Christian Science explains that because these influences are of a mental instead of material nature, and operate as such in case of disease, then there is no scientific relationship between this influence as causation and the use of drugs as remedy. This is one of the important points at issue between physics and metaphysics, between materia medica and Christian Science Mind-healing, and while I do not assume that this brief exposition of statement is necessarily conclusive, it will serve to indicate the nature of our contention, namely, that because sickness is the phenomenon of the error of the carnal mind or mortal mind, it can be met and mastered by the natural might and action of Truth, which being ever-present is available to man in every hour and circumstance of his need. Jesus said to the sick woman, "Satan hath bound thee," and instead of drugging her into a state of insensibility he unbound her and did for her all that she needed, through the power of Mind.
What is God that he should heal the sick through man? Our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by the Reverend Mary Baker Eddy, warrants this statement — God is infinite good. God is not only all-knowing, but is also all-knowledge. It is inconceivable that all-knowing God should be mindless, hence the further statement that God is divine Mind.
This infinite Mind must include all truth — all true ideas — and the truth about everything that really is. It does not include the supposition that "two and two are five," or any other statement of error or evil, because all such are unreal images of the human mind and are no part of the all-knowledge that is God, for God, as the Bible asserts, "is too pure to behold iniquity." God is omnipotence and omni-action; hence the divine power and action are necessarily the power and action of the truth, or of true ideas about everything.
Man cannot do more or better than to know the truth. According to the Scriptures, the whole duty of man is to know God, or Truth. If he knows the truth it must be the same Truth that is God, and when the individual consciousness is animated by Truth, or God, and manifests the true idea or sense of all things, he also manifests the power and action of Truth. This bestowal or presence of divine intelligence is "God with us," or Life and good with us, and its presence and action have the same influence on the erroneous sense which causes and continues sickness that light has on darkness. It is easy to understand that darkness cannot possibly resist the light which invariably dominates it. When light asserts its presence and action darkness simply ceases to be.
Christian Science explains that the only scientific cure for disease is the power and action of Truth over error, Life over death, and Science over ignorance, and declares that this is the only genuine Mind-healing. It is not the influence of the human will or of one person's mind over another's, but it is the manifestation of the divine Mind or intelligence, which is omniscience and all powerful and which equips man with dominion over all the earth.
This clearly distinguishes true metaphysical healing from the theory and practice of medicine, which holds disease to be material in origin and operation, and seeks to dominate it by the use of matter, thereby instituting a conflict between material forces, a house divided against itself. It also distinguishes it from all other forms of metaphysical endeavor, which also regard disease as a purely physical phenomenon, and seek to overcome matter by the mesmeric action of what is called the human mind, or brain.
An understanding of the real nature of Science would lead every man and woman to expect and demand that the Science of healing should heal. It would lead them to repudiate any supposed science of healing or system of healing that included a confession of inability in the form of a long list of incurable diseases. The Bible speaks of God, or divine intelligence, and the action thereof, as the healer of "all our diseases," and it says Jesus manifested the will of his Father by healing the sick of "all manner of diseases." Not one instance baffled him and he has presented to the world an unfailing exhibition of Christian Science Mind-healing as an essential part of the way of salvation which Christians declare to be the only way.
The Bible is filled with intimations that the sick man should turn to God for deliverance. There are hundreds of texts indicating that, if this is done aright, he will be delivered. Does this mean that he shall turn to Mind, or matter? Jesus reiterated very many of these promises, all of which were scientifically founded. Did his practice interpret his words as encouraging reliance on drugs, or unintelligence and its power, in case of sickness? In seeking to "save that which was lost," and to lead mankind through the only pathway of deliverance from sin, sickness, and death, all of which he overcame as our exemplar, did Jesus heal the sick through the power of Spirit or not? Which is in palpable compliance with, and in imitation of, the words and practice of Jesus: a system of drugging, or a system whereby Truth overcomes error — a system that encourages man to find all in God, or to find it in the perishing forms of matter?
Whenever men learn that God is the Healer of the sick, they will also learn that it is because of the action of the truth which promises to set them free; and, if any change is effected by the action of the truth, or by scientific understanding, it must be error that is changed, because Truth cannot change its immortal self. When it is in operation in human consciousness it heals all manner of disease, because it destroys all kinds of error. The imperative requirement that the Science of healing, whatever it is, must heal, is met by Christian Science. It includes no admission or supposition that any disease is incurable, but explains that all healing is possible in the Science of Mind.
The practitioners of this Science have not yet gained the fullness of understanding and spiritual growth that makes possible the highest and unfailing manifestations of healing, but nevertheless, nearly two millions of instances of healing done by them thus far include nearly all, if not all, the diseases known to man, many of which have never been healed by drugs since the world began.
Nearly thirty years ago Mrs. Eddy wrote the book, "Science and Health," which has made such things possible to the world. In that book she said: "A higher and more practical Christianity, capable of meeting human wants in sickness and health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh . . . . as he came of old to the patriarch at eventide?" (Science and Health, page 224:27 — 264th edition.) Nearly thirty years ago this divine message uttered itself in the human consciousness, and waited for history to record the answer. The history and its answer are before us to-day, written in the experience of suffering thousands of humanity who have been extricated from nameless conditions of sin, depravity, agony, and disease, because the very hand of God, through Christian Science, hath reached far down into the abysmal depths of woe, and redeemed them through the transformation of mind. I wish it were possible to pass in review before the world the vast multitudes that have been the beneficiaries of this sublime, manifest good. If such a thing were feasible, there would indeed be an endless procession, and as each one of these of earth's creatures came before you, he might stop and relate an experience that should stir this race to its very depths. They could tell you of the deaf that now hear, and the blind that see. They could tell of drunkards reformed and of tears and sorrow that had ceased. They could tell you that the anguish of disease had been dispelled, and the anguish of sin had at last found atonement and forgiveness, and long before this grateful throng, with its new-found hopes, had come and gone you would have learned that every righteous need and every righteous prayer of the human heart had had its answer through the bestowal of divine Love, whose way is revealed in Christian Science.
There are people who invite the world to believe that all of this is of the devil, but I submit to you the proposition that there is no society in existence of a philanthropic, ethical, or religious nature that would not rejoice if such results could be traced to its influence. I would be glad if every instance where the influence of Christian Science had touched the experience of man might be emblazoned in the sky, and subjected to the scrutinizing gaze of all the earth. There is not one which could be contemplated by a person of moral sensibility or religious instinct, unbiased by bigotry and partisanship, without compelling the admission that it was of benefit to mankind; that it meant the disappearance of evil and the overcoming of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, page 162:4: "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth. . . . . It changes the secretions, expels humors, dissolves tumors, relaxes rigidmuscles, restores carious bones to soundness. The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the . . . . divine Mind."
The world which, because of an erring sense, enters into headlong contention against the truth and instinctively rejects it, is now in the travail of contention over the claim for the supremacy of Mind and of spiritual law. The senses of mortals are in bonds now to an evil conception of existence which hath wound its toils about them and placed them in the tomb of mortality where men sin, sicken, and die. But the voice of the impersonal truth, which is Christ's new coming, is with heavenly assurance and authority calling them to come out of death's tomb into the freedom of those who know the will of God, and do it; and as they awaken and come forth, with bonds loosed, and with manhood disenthralled, it no longer seems a thing incredible with them that God should raise the dead.
[Delivered May 1, 1899, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago, and published in The Daily Inter Ocean, March 2, 1899. This is the third of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball. This copy of the lecture came from that book. The lecture was also published in The Christian Science Journal, May 1899; the date on which the lecture was given in Chicago was supplied from the Journal.]