The Cause and Scientific Cure of Disease
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
By way of justification for assembling this vast audience, I declare to you that Christian Science, in its nature and influence, includes nothing but supreme good for all mankind.
Appearing to a race and generation that is hard pressed by the tumult and vicissitudes of its existence, Christian Science comes like a dove of peace, bearing upon its wings a ministry of healing and of deliverance for suffering humanity in this hour of its pitiful need.
Standing here in testimony and witness of its sublime blessedness, I seek to engage your attention because Christian Science is demonstrably true and because its natural and inevitable influence in human behalf is being manifested to thousands whose lives were desolated by sin, disease, and despair.
For thirty years a brave, loving woman has, with holy impulse, been presenting the Christian propaganda to the world. During this time the Principle and Science thereof have been set forth in a textbook and elaborated by teachers, practitioners, and lecturers.
Many misconceptions and misstatements have been corrected, and gradually the public has been led to relinquish a false estimate and to realize that it is a subject which is justly engaging the attention of earnest, sensible people and bestowing upon them greater happiness, better health, and better morals.
Christian Science is primarily and essentially a religion. As a religious denomination which is manifesting its right of existence by destroying sin and sickness, it is proper that we should present it to our fellowmen and justify it before this generation; nevertheless we have no need nor disposition to quarrel over religion or engage in unseemly controversy. On the contrary, we deprecate the evil of religious strife and assault and deplore the facility with which sectarianism denounces everything unlike itself. Our board of lectureship was instituted for the purpose, largely, of establishing a complete offset to, and refutation of, the misrepresentations that have been bestowed upon Christian Science and Christian Scientists, and in this behalf these lectures have stood forth throughout the land and have told you much of what we believe and what we are doing.
They have told you that we believe in God, that we are learning to know His will and are glad to obey it. They have told you that Christian Science rests upon and is fully sanctioned by the Bible, and that we accept the Scriptures as containing the inspired word of God. You have been told that we accept the Messiahship of the divine Christ and are endeavoring to follow literally in the way which he established by precept and example.
It has been stated that Christian Science purports to present the actual truth or Science of Jesus' mission, and that its aim is the re-establishment of the primitive Christianity which was governed by his teaching and works.
You have been told that we are striving to turn from and obliterate evil; to live according to a high moral and ethical standard, and that the primary office of Christian Science is to effect a moral reform.
It has been explained that we believe in prayer without ceasing; in the highest social and individual purity, and that the demands of Christian Science are in strict accord with the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
You have been told that through the influence of Christian Science vast thousands have been healed of all manner of diseases, and that these people are insistently bearing testimony as to these facts, and impressing the world with the conviction that a transforming influence is exerting itself for the salvation of men.
In this very city all of the prevalent misrepresentations have been categorically denied and refuted, and the opposite facts have been so amply stated that there is no longer a semblance of justification for false and misleading statements.
Men and women are struggling with the enigma of human existence. Many noble people have exhibited splendid devotion to the cause of human welfare. They have been disciples of numberless phases of philosophy, religion and non-religion. As Christian Scientists, we glory in every good thing they have ever done or thought. We respect their right to exercise independent moral and mental integrity and to worship God as seems best to them without molestation. On the other hand, we know that we should be lovingly accorded the same right, conscious as we are that the substance and animus of Christian Science is Godlike, Christlike, moral, and spiritual. We stand on its platform and demonstrations, confident that it will redeem mortals from all evil, and unmoved by ridicule, defamation, or falsehood.
I do not need to reiterate the statements which have heretofore been presented, but shall devote this hour to the endeavor to make some explanation to you concerning the way in which we derive benefit through Christian Science and the way in which you can benefit yourselves to-day and ever afterwards.
The subject is vast and I shall only attempt to bring to your attention one or two simple phases thereof, but if you will appropriate them and put them into practice, they will be of incalculable value to you.
Bishop Morrison of Iowa, in a public address, uttered substantially these words: "I do not wish to be understood as endorsing Christian Science, but I am persuaded that the rapid growth of this movement is in consequence of their insistent recognition of God."
We do seek to recognize and acknowledge God in all His ways because we have a far better and larger sense of Him than ever before. Indeed, if it would not give offense, I would venture to say that we have a larger sense than most other people have because we believe specifically that He is the healer of the sick, as the Scriptures declare, and we are proving that this is true.
The question then arises, "What is God and what has He done that any one may in consequence expect to be healed of disease?"
According to Christian Science God is the Principle and animus of Christian Science Mind-healing.
If there is any one here who is an agnostic or infidel, who has not been able to comprehend or believe in any of the many conceptions called God, and who instinctively rebels against my statement, I ask him to wait. I do not mean any such god or any of the gods that he has repudiated or rejected.
If there are any here who have feared or idolized a god of wrath and vengeance or one that has ordained sickness and death, and who, in consequence, are incredulous as to the willingness of God to heal, I say to them I do not mean any such god as they refer to. Indeed, I do not mean that any one of the numerous misconceived mental substitutes for Deity is the Principle of Christian Science healing or of anything else.
All men differ and always have differed as to what Deity is. It is not my purpose to compare or comment on these wide and confusing differences, but I will give you some idea of what we mean by God as the healer of the sick and the Principle of such healing.
According to divine Science or the Science of God, the man who confesses himself finite cannot with a sweep of mere words adequately describe infinity, but this Science declares that infinity necessarily means one — one God, one supreme, all-inclusive entity or individuality.
God is infinite intelligence and wisdom. He is omniscience — all science, all knowledge. He is the one infinite consciousness of being or conscious being; the one infinite Mind. This infinite Mind includes all consciousness and continuity of life, and therefore is Life. Infinite God or Mind or Spirit is the sole creator, source, cause, origin, basis and foundation of all that really exists.
He is primal and is therefore the divine Principle of the universe and is its law and government. He is good and is the power of good and He has already done all things well.
He is not only Life, but hath ordained eternal life and is the law of life and health to man. He is omnipresent, not as a corporeal being or personality, but is present as truth, intelligence, good, and the law of harmony and life, and all of this is available to man, not by way of miraculous intervention, but because of the ever presence of every thing and every power necessary to his permanent welfare.
The God we worship is good and He is able, willing and ready to redeem mortals from the evils imposed upon them by an utterly perverted sense of existence. They will never emerge from the area of disease until they comprehend the scientific fact that all that means God — all that means the natural law of God — all that means basis, source, and cause — law, government, and power, is contrary to the inception and continuity of sickness.
At this point is seen one of the chief differences between Christian Science and all other schools of religious belief. We believe that all evil is finite, unlawful and unnecessary, and that it has no immortality or inherent power of continuity. We believe that through a knowledge of the truth, which Jesus said would make us free, we may in time dominate and abolish every form of evil in accordance with his command and example.
Now if what I have said be true, it follows that nearly the entire philosophy of life which has governed men for ages is false and destructive. Certain it is that people regard sickness as natural and according to law, and are submitting to it, and are living and dying in accordance with a philosophy of death which Christian Science declares to be absolutely wrong.
A discussion of this subject of healing hinges on the question: "What are the primary and intermediate causes of disease?" Physiology, which takes no cognizance of the mental, moral, and spiritual nature of man, answers this question by declaring that sickness and death are caused by matter, and the prevalent human belief is that matter includes in its nature and law the power and disposition to make a man sick and finally to assert a fatal mastery over his existence.
This theory of causation naturally creates a universal and individual state of dread, alarm, and fear. In fact, it is absolutely indisputable that the whole human family is in a state of conscious and unconscious fear of pain, disease, and death which it supposes are caused wholly by matter.
Here Christian Science differs from materia medica, physiology, and all other material theories and beliefs. It declares that nearly all disease is caused primarily by ignorance, superstition, false beliefs, sin, and fear, and locates causation in the mental realm instead of in the material. I do not intend to try to consider all of this subject now, but will refer to evil and sinful conditions of thought and to fear and its effects in order to indicate the way in which Christian Science becomes available in such cases.
One of the first things that a student of this Science grasps is that the fundamental nature of the Science of Life and its law include no law of sickness and death; that these twin evils are abnormal; and that matter has no actual power to make him sick.
Then, regardless of all theories and practice to the contrary, he changes his entire standpoint of thought and action and is governed by an entirely different philosophy and science of life. He is relieved to find that God has not made him sick and that matter cannot keep him sick. The tension of fear which has been lifelong begins to relax as he learns that disease is something that he can cope with. As this fear, which has insidiously disturbed the bodily condition, begins to subside, the human organism resumes a more normal condition, and he establishes in his own experience the fact that a knowledge of this Science of healing is breaking down the cause of his trouble and annulling its effects.
The ordinary human being is educated to fear from his very babyhood. He is taught to fear what he eats and drinks; to fear the heat and the cold; the atmosphere, moisture, and climate. He fears to exercise and he fears to be inactive. He is afraid of germs and microbes that never used to disturb any one and he is afraid of nearly everything else under the sun, moon, and stars. Not only this, but he feels the mesmeric influence of the universal fear on the part of the race. And all this is in consequence of the supposition that matter holds at its disposal the issues of life and death.
The common belief that if a person gets his feet wet that occurrence will make him take cold is erroneous and unlawful. It is the universal belief and the concurrent fear, rather than matter, which brings to pass what is termed the cold. The human body very largely consists of water. Now, I ask you, is there any good reason why water should take cold when it gets wet? Is there any good reason in scientific cause and effect why the water in a man's foot should take cold when it gets wet any more than the same water in a duck's foot or in the tail of a fish?
Take all the substances that are said to compose the body, such as water, lime, starch, iron, phosphorus, et cetera, and aggregate them in a mass or body minus the mind, and that body will not take cold or congest. If matter knew enough to take cold when it gets wet, it would always take cold under similar circumstances and all bodies would do the same thing.
It is not material causation but mental that governs the case, and such mental influence and procurement is not a necessity under natural law, but is the unnatural and abnormal consequence or penalty of erroneous human belief and fear on the subject.
One difficulty in understanding this is that people are not aware of the mesmeric influence that the thought of the race has on each one of its individuals, including infants, who manifest the same prevalent evil conditions before they acquire any conscious belief or fear. Metaphysical Science, which diagnoses or analyzes disease from the basis of mental causation, reveals the fact that many kinds of bodily ailments and organic derangements are the direct consequence of the fear that matter governs rather than mind.
Up to the time that Mrs. Eddy discovered the Science of Mind or divine metaphysics, the world had a very defective knowledge of what mesmerism is and of the extent and nature of its influence. After years of study, observation, and scientific investigation in the light of Christian Science, she announced in her textbook the nature of mesmerism and its action as a procurator of disease.
People had thought, and most of them now think, that the word mesmerism refers to some mysterious influence or power which a few people have as individuals over the minds and bodies of some others who are susceptible thereto and whose consent is necessary before any results can be manifested. The world has been densely ignorant on this subject. It needs to understand this phenomenon of the human will in order to escape from the evils which it entails on every one.
Mrs. Eddy has explained it at great length in "Science and Health" and shows that it is not the man that is mesmeric, but the thought. It is not merely a declared fact, but it is a well ascertained fact that all mortal thought is more or less mesmeric in its action and influence, and that everyone, without exception, is subject to it who does not know how to resist and overcome it. This discovery has made it possible to account for many diseases and occurrences that have seemed mysterious and baffling and has also made it possible to effect a remedy.
It is well to say here that the superficial antagonist who is intent on discrediting the healing work of Christian Science, which is so palpable, rushes into print or to the rostrum to declare that this healing is accomplished by means of mesmeric or hypnotic suggestion. He does not know what hypnotism really is and has no real knowledge whatever as to the modus operandi of Christian Science healing, but these things are easy to say and it is particularly easy to repeat what some one else has said.
Now let me tell you that the Christian Scientist understands the nature of both of these influences and I declare to you that in every solitary case of healing, we have to meet and remove the effects of some form of mesmerism and never make use of what is called hypnotic suggestion, which is the very opposite of Christian Science.
One of the most common errors is the belief that when there is stomach trouble it is in consequence of food, and we frequently hear the remark, "My food does not agree with me," or that some particular article of food does not agree.
In perhaps four cases out of five the stomach trouble is the result of continued fear, anger, grief, anxiety, malice, or some other specific form of known sin or ignorant belief. In such cases the only scientific and adequate remedy is to cancel the cause and thus abate the effects.
I know from experience and observation that people who are afflicted with stomach troubles gradually abandon first one article of food and then another because of fear and under the supposition that this is necessary, and this practice is often continued until the diet is reduced to a crust of toast and a little hot water. Even after this fearful concession is made the patient finds there has been no relief, simply because he has been augmenting the cause while doctoring effects.
One of the most prostrating evils incidental to sickness is the assumption or declaration that one has an incurable disease. Materia medica admits that there are very many diseases that cannot be cured by material means and in consequence the world has come to regard such diseases as necessarily fatal. All that this really means is that the physicians cannot cure them. The Principle of Christian Science does not include the admission that any disease is incurable, and its practice has already resulted in the healing of all of the supposedly incurable types.
The unnecessary supposition that one has an incurable disease is mischievous in the extreme, and often insures the speedy decline or collapse of a patient. If, according to Christian Science, the deplorable fear about fatal diseases should subside, the improved mental state which would ensue would instantly improve the health and prolong life. This form of fear is largely projected by the patent medicine advertisements and their alarming display of what are called fatal symptoms, and the ordinary conversation of people is equally bad, as well as the hopeless diagnosis of the physician and its death sentence. Imagine the vast relief that mortals will experience when they learn that all diseases are curable.
Another pernicious habit is in the universal expectation of decrepitude and decadence. There is a common fear of over-doing, of getting tired, or exhausting one's strength, of too much study. There is an incessant admonition to be careful and there are penalties without number that are prophesied and pronounced.
No sooner do people reach a state of manhood and usefulness than they begin to talk about growing old and to settle into the grooves of incapacity, failure, and imbecility.
This entire area of evil expectation and of submission based upon the assumption that people cannot perform or endure is the principal cause of most of the nervous prostration, mental impairment, breaking down, premature age, and helplessness. All of this is the havoc of evil mind and its beliefs and laws rather than the laws of God, nature, or necessity, and Christian Science is destined to change this evil.
I might go on indefinitely and indicate hundreds of ways in which fear, and even the fear of pain and disease, affects the body disastrously. I might cite countless instances, well known and acknowledged by all, which would illustrate or give emphasis to what I have said. Many of you would admit that fear had some influence on the body, but until the day of Christian Science the obscure and yet far-reaching influence of this evil mental action was practically unknown and unresisted.
The important service that I desire to render you at this moment and at this part of my address is this: You do not need to be afraid of thousands of things that you have been afraid of.
You do not need to be afraid of matter or of any so-called material law of disease, or that the symptoms of disease can dominate you.
You do not need to be afraid of what you eat; of overwork; of a draft of air or loss of sleep.
You do not need to be afraid of insanity or nervous prostration or of a broken constitution simply because you have an active mentality and think much and constantly about business or the affairs of your life. These and many other calamities are inflicted upon people, not because of law or necessity, but contrary to it, and are the result of the action of human beliefs and fears.
I have stated to you that Christian Science declares that all that is included in the divine nature and phenomena means health and life as the normal state of man, and that all of the actual law of being supports this scientific postulate.
You may say that this seems very strange and that you do not know whether it is true or not, and I understand very well that you do not know, but I will say to you that nearly two millions of instances of healing through Christian Science have been based on this scientific fact and attest its verity, and these instances include the healing of diseases that have never been known to be healed by any other means since the world began.
When first presented to me, I had no faith in any of these things, but as a last resort I was obliged to venture upon a test, and when I did venture persistently and in good faith, I found that the demonstration verified the Science and its promises. It saved me from the grave.
A study of Christian Science, logically and rationally induces one to abandon many false beliefs and fears, and you will find, if you will likewise investigate, that you will gradually enter upon a transformed existence. You will find that the pains and symptoms will begin to abate and disappear. You will learn that this new understanding of Life and its laws enables you to dissipate fear and its consequences and that you are gaining a lawful and God-given dominion over sickness.
Go to your homes and test this statement thoroughly. Try to realize that God never made or procured sickness and that it is simply a monstrosity of human inception.
Begin to act as though you had dominion, and as though the fear was a baseless fraud, and, for the sole reason that good is omnipotent and that a knowledge of the truth does make free from error, you will find to your joy and, perhaps, surprise that man, governed by intelligence, can triumph over evil.
Throughout the Bible there appears on one hand the repeated outcry of men for deliverance from fear and on the other hand we find the words of Jesus and other men of God entreating mankind to fear not and bidding them hope that God will destroy fear. Certainly we should have had no such teaching if fear was not destructible and contrary to the naturalness of existence.
If you were to question Christian Scientists on the subject they would tell you that a great blessing had been conferred on them through the ability to mitigate or destroy fear, and I make bold to utter the statement that there has never, before the day of Christian Science, been a complete exposition of a scientific method by which this could be accomplished.
Continuing our discussion of the cause of disease, I refer again to the statement that sin is a cause. The Bible says that through sin came death into the world and death by sin, and this, of course, should be understood to mean that through sin came sickness, of which death is the ultimate. We do not understand this to mean that the word sin refers only to crime, vice, or immorality, but that through all kinds of ignorant and destructive beliefs and an evil and fatal misconception of life and what pertains to it, the world has involved itself in mortality.
Christian Science practice is demonstrating absolutely the verity of its own disclosure which is that hatred, grief, remorse, envy, and kindred evils, as well as fear, will, if persisted in, inevitably cause bodily disorder and suffering. It shows that the Bible statement that "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" is positively true.
Such evil and inflaming mental conditions quickly disturb the nervous system, the circulation of the blood, and the integrity of organic action. Very many instances of sickness have no other cause, and yet how much attention is paid to the moral or immoral element in the patient in the ordinary diagnosis of disease? None. In such instances the drugging system is absolutely oblivious to the actual cause. No wonder that it does not dominate disease!
People have been urged for hundreds of reasons to abandon sin. Christian Science joins in this entreaty; and while it pleads this cause, because righteousness is far better, it also warns men to flee from sin because of the sureness of the penalty which sin inflicts upon its victim.
Picture to yourself some man or woman who is kind, loving, and upright; one whose fair life is marked by the milestones of benevolence and good deeds. Notice the effect that such a mental condition has produced on the face of this person with the softened expression and pleasing lines.
On the other hand, witness the man whose mind is evil; who for years has been animated by hatred and other brutal propensities that distort and debauch mankind. Witness his face, hard, repellent, and twisted. Its very offensiveness of outline and shape is itself an evidence of the incarnation of evil. You know that this disfigured and twisted face has been caused by a wicked and sinful mind.
Now I ask you if such evil thought can twist and distort his face, don't you suppose it can twist and distort his liver? Suppose that such a man who was suffering in consequence of his evil thoughts should resort to the prevalent theory and practice of medicine for relief. Can you conceive it possible that there would be any scientific procedure in administering liver pills to him, or in changing his diet? Such a patient does not suffer because he ate ice cream or mince pie, but because his very being is wrenched and torn by evil thoughts and motives. He needs not a change of diet, but the transformation of mind; for, "to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
I am not attempting to explain fully all of the causes of disease, although Christian Science leaves nothing of this kind unexplained. I know that the thought may come to you that I am not satisfying you concerning hereditary diseases and such types of diseases as locomotor ataxia, abnormal growth, failing eyesight, and many other difficulties; but this is not because of inability, but lack of time; and so, anticipating criticism in this direction, I shall simply try to impress upon you the declaration of Christian Science — that evil thoughts and practices, which may be briefly classified as sin, fear, and erroneous and fatal beliefs, are the cause, immediate or remote, of the sickness which afflicts mankind.
Knowing this to be true, the practice of the Christian Scientist is directed to the removal or destruction of the cause, and he proceeds in accord with the knowledge that neither fear, sin, superstition, nor ignorance is indestructible. He knows that you cannot remove ignorant fear by means of a plaster, nor transform the moral and temperamental status by means of mud baths. He knows also that these causes are abnormal, unlawful, and unreal and that he can master them because of divinely ordained and divinely bestowed intelligence or Science.
The declaration of Mrs. Eddy that sin or evil is unreal greatly disturbs many who do not understand what is meant by it and who assume that indulgence in such a belief would be the license of sin.
Let me say that no one knows more thoroughly than does Mrs. Eddy that mortals are manifesting sin and that it is evil, destructive and indefensible. No one knows better than she does that sin entails upon its victims its own suffering and damnation and that the only possible escape from punishment is through reform and regeneration. And yet she rightly declares that sin is in consequence of an unreal sense of existence and that mortals are making a reality of that which is unreal.
It will be admitted by all right-minded people that man ought to stop sinning. It will also be conceded without argument that all men could stop sinning if they wanted to and knew enough.
Now suppose that everyone should stop sinning tonight and never sin again. What would become of sin? Man would continue to exist and be far happier than now. Do you suppose that if sin were an entity and had all the inherent elements of immortality it could be thus silenced and become obsolete forever? Would it not appear that if sin could thus be abolished it was at most but a temporary and false sense of that which was real? Would it not appear that sin was a mental and moral derangement and an unreal state, just as the vagaries of the insane are unreal?
Again, suppose that sin did cease to prevail and improperly to animate mortals; do you not see that it would cease also to act as the cause of disease and that to a corresponding extent the sickness and suffering would likewise cease?
Think for a moment of the effect on the ordinary mortal if he should be informed of an occurrence that caused him the most acute distress, grief, or alarm. If continued he would manifest physical disturbance and finally be sick. Now let it be known to him that the report which had caused all this havoc was utterly false and unreal. What would happen? Why, the tension of fear or distress would immediately relax and he would regain peace of mind and peace of body.
Now, my friends, Christian Science shows that this entire race is in very much this same condition. It is in a state of active or latent alarm and dread, because it supposes itself to be at the mercy of material causes; subject to a law of sickness and death, and liable at any time to fall, helpless and hopeless, under its dire and offensive operation.
Let us suppose that an enlightened sense of Life should touch the consciousness of humanity and show that all these beliefs are false and unreal. What would then happen? In such an event the whole area of universal as well as individual fear would relax, evil and ignorant beliefs would give place to a normal sense of life and, as these procurators of sickness were disarmed and abolished, the sickness which they caused would also be abated.
This enlightenment concerning this mystery of evil is just what Christian Science bestows on those who understand it, and it is this Christ Science or Christ knowledge of Life and its naturalness which destroys sin and fear and ignorant beliefs, and heals the sick.
You will readily understand that if these evils were thus destroyed, it would be because of the action and power of intelligence, or Truth, or God, and it would thus be seen that God or divine influence produced the result of healing and was therefore the basis or Principle of the transformation.
The suffering invalid who has contended in vain against what he has supposed caused his trouble is first told that he has been working in the wrong direction. Then he learns what it is that needs to be met and mastered, and the necessity for a radical change in endeavor. It would be of little satisfaction to any one to be told that his sickness was caused by fear or sin or some other evil mental influence if there were no remedy; but Christian Science reveals an adequate way whereby all evil can be lessened and dispelled.
How all this can be accomplished is explained in the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mrs. Eddy. I would be glad if we had time in which to explain the process now, but for want of time I will say that all these evil influences such as fear, the desire to sin, depraved appetites, and their evil consequences are mitigated and removed through the power of Mind; and when I say Mind, I mean that Mind which was also in Christ; and when I refer to this influence, I mean that it is divine intelligence bestowed upon man.
Describing it more specifically, it means that a man or woman who has gained a demonstrable understanding of Christian Science and who has imbibed the spirit of it and is honestly living in compliance with its holy teaching and in imitation of the life of Christ can for himself and others remove fear and its effects, destroy temptation and evil desire, and heal disease.
In doing this they illustrate the supremacy of good and of spiritual law and righteousness, and they do it in accord with the scriptural promises, a few of which I quote:
Ezekiel, XVIII, 21 and 32: "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do all which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."
"For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, said the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
Luke, XX, 38: "For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living."
Jeremiah, XXXIII, 6: "Behold, I will bring it health and cure and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth."
Throughout the Bible there are many definite declarations and intimations that if a man is righteous he will escape from evil. I quote one from Exodus, XXIII, 25:
"And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee."
According to Christian Science, to be righteous means more than to be moral. It means to be right in every way. But the man who is moral and religious and yet believes that God has ordained sickness, is not right. If he fears any inherent power of disease to kill him, he is not right. If he is even afraid to get his feet wet, he is not right.
One of the questions that perplex mankind is this: "Why do people who have been good all their lives suffer so much? Why are they sick so much when sinful people seem to prosper?"
It is for the reason that while they are good in some directions they are wrong, and fatally wrong, in others. One of the most difficult patients to heal is the one who believes that God has brought sickness upon him for some good purpose, and has entered upon a sort of suicidal reconciliation to sickness and death on the supposition that this is God's way of getting man into the joys of heaven.
It seems to be a common habit for clergymen to think that they have got to break down, or give out, or to suffer in some way because of their occupation or form of life. But this is not because there is any law of being which naturally afflicts them because they read the Bible, pray, study, think, or do anything else that it is right to do; but it is because of the individual and collective fear and belief on this subject which they can destroy when they learn how to do it.
The Holy Bible, which millions regard as containing the Word of God to man, or at least a certain perception of the truth on the part of sacred writers, indicates that God ordained that man should have dominion over all the earth. It declares that the human race has brought its own evil upon itself. It prophetically indicates that evil can and will be destroyed, and that the time will come when there shall be no more death, pain, sorrow, nor crying.
It will be impossible for this millennial state to occur until all of these evils which now withhold it are abolished. Now can you in reason conceive of any influence that can possibly effect the needed change except the government of God, of intelligence, Truth, good? Is there anything really available to man except the right knowledge of God and obedience to Him,"whom to know aright is Life eternal"? (Science and Health, pref., page vii:19.) Shall we look for any other panacea than that uttered by him whom all Christians have denominated as the "Saviour of the world," and who said "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"?
The promises and prophecies are not a mockery, but they point to the salvation which this saving knowledge of the truth will procure, and moreover, they do not point the sufferer to mindless drugs nor to a far off and unavailing God, but to the resources which, like the kingdom of heaven, are always within.
My friends, Christian Science teaches that God has already done everything for man that he requires, and that we need only to lay hold upon the possibilities of life and find that in the Mind which was in Christ is health, life, prosperity, and dominion over evil, and to find that this Mind, this Saviour, is within. The Christian Scientist is gaining a knowledge which is power and an ever-present help. Under all circumstances he finds that it equips him the better to withstand evil and to manifest good and to fulfil the utterance, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
The practical influence of Christian Science does not stop at the reformation and healing of the sick and sinful, but extends itself into the everyday life and into all the affairs of busy men and women. It accomplishes for such people benefits that are as marked and as much needed as the cure of disease. The lives, efforts, pursuits and achievements of them all, including artisan, farmer, preacher, merchant, clerk, housewife, and professional man, are all hampered by fear, anxiety, and lack of confidence as well as by very many other evil influences which they do not understand. They often find that their best plans and wisest endeavors go amiss; unseen obstacles thwart them; inadequate results, disappointments, and failures prevail.
What is the matter with these people? You will find some who believe that all of the bitterness, trials, and failures of their careers are according to an inevitable or prearranged destiny.
You will find that professors of a speculative philosophy have formulated an ungodly theory that these people are engaged in a fratricidal and competitive struggle for the survival of the fittest and that at the bottom of the entire social fabric is a law which provides that success is wholly contingent on the caprice of fortune and that only those who can outdo or overwhelm others can succeed or have the right to exist. You will find, indeed, that nearly all men are joined in a monotonous reconciliation to evil and to a belief that its fierce despotism and procurements are resistless.
I would speak to those whose problems day by day seem as perplexing and urgent to them as though they were sick; to the people whose lot is already hard and who seem to be the prey of circumstances and difficult conditions. It may seem to you to be an unavailable declaration, but nevertheless, I am here to tell you that these evil conditions are not lawful, but are the results of abnormal causes which can be controlled. The same evil sense of life and the same defective philosophy of evil which have entailed sickness upon men have likewise entailed discord upon all their affairs, and the same Science of Life which controls and corrects a man's body will also control his business.
Again I ask, "What is the difficulty?" It is that people do not understand what the trouble is, how to master it, or that they can master it through the power of Mind rightly directed. The dominion which was God-bestowed is the dominion of Mind over evil, and Christian Science is revealing this Mind to men. It is explaining the Science of Life. It is educating men to use the power of good and for good purposes, and as a result business men find that they have a larger control over their affairs. They can do business upon a more satisfactory basis and with better results. They can do it without fear and anxiety. They can better learn how to deal with others, how to detect evil mental conditions, and how to better accomplish anything that it is right for them to do.
The same is true with people in all other spheres of occupation. The teacher can do better; the farmer can do better; every one can do better.
Thirty years ago Mrs. Eddy, whose entire previous life had especially fitted her for such a ministry, appeared in the very front of this religio-scientific age to fulfil a mission and declare a message which we consider was of divine impulsion simply because we know that it is true and because we know that if true it must have proceeded from God, who is all Truth. The world, which is finally recognizing the great value of her mission and the beauty and grandeur of her life, is acknowledging her service and fitness as the Leader of a great religious movement and bringing to pass a new truism — that in this day a prophet is with honor and respect in his own country.
More than thirty years ago, after being rescued at the last moment from impending death, she knew that she had been healed by the revelation to her of what she afterwards proved to be Christian Science. Leaving all the old moorings in philosophy, materia medica, and scholastic theology, she stood absolutely alone as the only Christian Scientist on earth. Surmounting obstacles and opposition that were appalling, she has so impressed the truth of Christian Science on the world that there are now well toward one million believers who are witnesses to the cure of two million instances of disease.
Words of mine fail utterly to scale the lofty summit of her moral and spiritual culture or indicate the exalted nature of her purpose and the wide range of its philanthropy.
In conclusion, I say to you that in Christian Science there is no longer an unknown God. No longer do the distorted graven images of human thought mask or hide from us the real God, who is altogether lovely, who is dearest friend, whose help is ever available, whose grace is sufficient, and who created man that he might have life and peace.
Christian Science promises to lead mankind to God through the highways of health and life instead of death. It promises to humanity in the name of God, not the doubtful felicity of the grave, but a sensible, practical dispensation of good now. It promises to incline men naturally and willingly to a more spiritual life which will satisfy them — and it promises that as they wend their way to a sure heaven, this Christ, Truth, will be the Christ Way-shower through all the mazes and besetments of an evil sense and an evil age, until they shall, with undeviating trust and confidence, abide under the shadow of Him who has said in the words of David:
"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high because he bath known my name.
"He shall call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
"With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
[Delivered in Convention Hall, Kansas City, Missouri, before an audience of 10,000 people, published in The Kansas City Star October 1, 1900. This is the fifth of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball.]