What is the Living God?
Edward A. Kimball
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I do not know what may be before me in the future, but I do know that I would have died eighteen or nineteen years ago but for Christian Science, — had it not been that Christian Science is available to a man who is dying. Now there are a million people, almost, who might, if it were feasible, come before you and tell you just such a story as mine and give you opportunity to believe that some mighty influence is at work transforming men and women. And yet we come not to boast. We are not here to advertise it, not here for converts, but simply for testimony, to tell you a little about what it means, and then to leave it all to you for you to do with just as you please.
You need not be afraid of me, because you don't have to believe anything I say; I simply ask you to put your thought in the way of analysis, simply to investigate, simply to examine — that is all. I can tell you a very little about this vast subject in an hour; I could not tell you very much about it in a week; so what I say today must necessarily be fragmentary and incomplete. But as I was wondering about what I would talk to you about, an incident that occurred a few days ago came to my thought, and it was after this fashion: I was riding in a railway train and noticed that a man and woman entered the car and sat immediately in front of me. Having nothing else to do, I noticed that the man took from his pocket one of our Christian Science periodicals. He read it in a superficial or casual way, and then passed it to the lady and said: "Here, mother, here is something that will amuse you; the idea of calling that CHRISTIAN SCIENCE which denies Christ."
That was what I listened to, and I sat there and ruminated some; and as I remembered what history declares concerning the sectarian differences and antipathy; as I remembered that in this behalf men had wounded each other and murdered each other and inflicted every conceivable form of agony upon each other; as I remembered that even in our day various Christian sects are in a state of antipathy and some in a state of antagonism toward each other; as I remembered the vast array and the innumerable Christian sects, the old inquiry came to me: "What think ye of the Christ?"
Now, I do not believe the English language, or any other language could be enlarged so as more completely to misrepresent a people, or misrepresent a religious movement, or misrepresent any declaration of a religious body, than do these words of the man in the car misrepresent Christian Science; and they are employed in our midst every day. People who present the semblance of respectability, people whose business it should be to preach the gospel of love and loving kindness, rise up day after day to utter that utterly false statement that Christian Science is a denial of Christ. Jesus himself once made a memorable inquiry. He asked of Peter, "Who say ye that I am?" Do you think for a moment he wanted Peter to say: "Why, you are a tall gentleman with brown hair and engaging manners and gentleness of speech"? Think ye for a moment that he wanted something to describe his body, his corporeal presence? No. What he yearned for and what he got was an evidence of the penetrating perception which announced itself thus: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Now let us inquire before we go on, in order to get something practical out of all this; in order to get something that some day will cure you, will wipe away your tears, will bind up the broken heart; in order to arrive at some conclusion that will better our lives, let us inquire: What is the living God? You might go to a million men and get a million answers, for no two people have the same opinion about God; and go to very many people — and possibly some in the audience — and they will tell you: "I don't believe in God at all. I do not believe there is any God."
Christian Science promises to reconcile reason, and that means the reason of every man, to God. I am going to reconcile the reason of what is called the non-believer to God, right here, in five minutes, logically and clearly and irresistibly, so that no man that leaves me will again say that he does not believe in God. What they do not believe in is somebody's opinion of God. They do not believe in the various graven images of stone, or brass, or wood, and they do not believe in the mental graven images that have been declared to be God. Let us see: I believe that any one who knows enough to go to a lecture knows enough to know that he did not create himself. No one in this room but knows that some animating force, some impulsion of power or energy or intelligence, induced his existence; no one in this room but knows that the universe with all of its organized things stands at the standpoint of effect, and knows that something has been the cause, the origin, the foundation, — the basis and principle of this effect. There is not anybody in this room who does not believe that, nor any one who does not know enough to know that that which induces the universe is spiritual, above every other power, above every other force or activity. Here comes the next contention: What is it? An intelligent or a non-intelligent cause? Many philosophers will tell you the cause of the universe was nothing but a blind force; and if this is not the manifestation of the densest ignorance, I should like to know what it is. Are you intelligent men and women? Yes. Is your intelligence the offspring of non-intelligence? Is the cause of your intelligence a non-intelligent cause? Who can possibly think such a thing as that? It ought to have gone without a moment's debate years ago. That which created the intelligence of man is itself intelligent.
We ask everybody to see this, that the origin of man and of his intelligence is itself intelligent. Christian Science comes to declare that the first and primary and everlasting cause of the universe is itself an intelligent cause. There is no such thing as unconscious intelligence; therefore, it follows that that cause is a consciously intelligent cause. Inasmuch as it was all in all before it manifested itself; inasmuch as it has adequately been declared to be infinite, then it is one; so there is but one cause or one conscious, infinite, intelligent cause of the universe, which is its will, government, law; its maintenance and sustenance. Is there anybody in this room who does not believe that? No. Christian Science declares that this is the only thing that is entitled to be called God, or Deity. So if you believe in that, you believe in Deity; for there is nothing else in Deity. So Christian Science declares this, that there is one God, one conscious, individual, spiritually self-existent being; and that being, as the Scriptures declare, means Life, Truth, Love, all knowledge, all wisdom, all science, all power, all presence, — the only creator of all that actually is.
Dear friends, Christian Science declares that is the living God and the only one; that is our God. Then comes the question: Is the living God the only true God? Is He good or evil? He must be one or the other, for the simple reason that God is infinite. He cannot be infinite good and infinite evil at the same time. It must be one or the other. Which one? Christian Science declares that we will never know good aright and never will know the living God, until we know that our God is good, infinite good, and mean, when we know it, that He is absolutely apart from evil, uncontaminated; that He is not involved in it in any way; does not make use of it; that God is not the author of disease, has not procured it for any purpose whatsoever, but is altogether contrary thereto.
As I pass by this statement, I want to tell you what Christian Science declares. Because of the world's contrary belief of God, it has involved itself in the unspeakable agony of the ages, and every man and woman pays the awful and destructive penalty for the blasphemous assumption that God does evil and inflicts evil on the world. Educate men as they have been educated, to believe that God sends the earthquake and the fire and the pestilence and famine and disease and woe and disaster to mankind and you will educate them all to be afraid of God; afraid of what He has done or may do or will do. I do not doubt what some of you will reply to that statement; I have known people to get up and go out because I have said it. I will ask you: Are you afraid of insanity? Would you be afraid if you saw it rushing in upon you? Yes. Are you afraid of unbearable anguish? Yes. Are you afraid of the ravages of disease? Yes. Are you afraid instinctively or actively of death? Yes. And if you believe God causes all of these things, are you afraid of God? Yes. That is not all: This universal fear on the part of the human race constitutes the primary cause of nearly all the havoc and tragedy of mankind. Nearly all of it springs therefrom. This universal fear on the part of mankind is the cause of nearly all sin, nearly all disease, all poverty and rancor among nations. It comes about as near being all of the devil as anything you can think of.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Thou shalt have no other God than the one that is good. Christ Jesus was the son of the God that is infinite good, who hath done all things well, and hath done no evil at all. Again, what is the meaning of God? What is His law? We hear much about the law of God. According to Christian Science, His law is the law of perfection, of health, of life, of infinite good. Thou shalt have no other law than the law of Life; and let me say incidentally that Christian Science teaches that God has ordained no discomfort, no law of disease for you; on the contrary all the law that is necessary to your recovery from sickness, all the power necessary, are in this room now; in any room that you have ever been in; are with you always, a very present law of Life and good (Love and good) and you do not need to procrastinate your recovery. You do not need to wait; you do not need to implore God to do something He has not done for you. All you need to do is to stop being afraid and learn that in our God and His law and His power we have an ever present help that is the healer of all diseases. Thou shalt have no other law to govern you, than the law of health and Life.
What else about the living God? What has He ever done for you? You have been educated to believe that He created you and then furnished you with the sting of pain and the blight of disease; burned down your houses, and all that sort of thing. What must we know in order to get right? We must know that he gave men, provided for men, dominion over all the earth; and that surely means dominion over your own body and over your business and over your household affairs and over your surroundings and environments and conditions. It means that you should be master of your foe instead of its victim. It means that you are to learn that this is essentially, divinely prescribed and divinely operative, and that the only thing for you to do is to lay hold upon it, to manifest it. Well, what is the situation? Who believes that he has any such God? Who believes that this is a divine provision? Who manifests dominion over all the earth? Not one. And Christian Science teaches that we will never know God aright, never know heaven, never know Life, never know felicity, until we know enough to know that God provided for us a righteous dominion over all evil.
What say you of the ever living God? Am I degrading your estimate of our Heavenly Father? Does it in any way impair your confidence in God to have me plead in His name that you will learn that He is good, and that He has done nothing for you but provide life and prosperity and welfare and heaven and joy and peace? Is that too good or is that too bad to believe about God? "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God."
And what is the son of God? Again you ask the question and you get a million answers, because no two people believe alike concerning Christ and the Christian mission and its real import. You will find some people who will tell you that the bodily presence of Jesus was God. They will tell you that his historic corporeality was Deity and that you should understand that there is no distinction whatever between the man Jesus, who was on the sea of Galilee, and Deity itself. And so, poor dear people we have been trying to believe that, because we have been told to; and there are people who will denounce Christian Science as being non-Christian because we deny that the bodily Jesus is God.
If a denial is to be in question, let us deny that Jesus is Deity, because he specifically denied that he was God. He said that he was the son of God and that his Father was greater than he was; and he said that he was going to his Father; and he said there was no good in him, that his Father did the work, and that his Father worketh in him, and so on. Could any statement be more explicit and to the point? He certainly used clear language to indicate that he was not God.
Now, what have you got to do in order to believe that he was Deity, and in order to be rational and consistent? In order not to be insane, you have got to believe, first of all, that infinity created the universe; then you have got to believe that infinite power or impulsion created the Virgin Mary; that God or infinity, the divine law or Principle of being, was created; that God was dead for three days and there was no God during that time, and a lot of things of that kind you have got to believe. And would you ever find yourself a little bit tired? Did you ever realize that your mind was as much of a maelstrom of havoc and chaos as it could be? There is not one who can believe it, any more than we can believe that black is white. It is an impossibility for the human mind to conceive.
Of all the people in the world, I believe we are preeminently distinguished for the intelligent acceptance of the declaration that Christ was the son of God. No one living more thoroughly, more without reserve, accepts, declares, and lives in the established conviction as to the divinity of Christ. How, then, are we to reconcile these two things we are saying? Paul says, "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ." Why? What is the object? Why, that Mind which was in Christ overcame temptation and sin, healed the sick, raised the dead, raised Jesus from the dead, overcame obstacles, cast out devils, and demonstrated the power of something to overcome every form of evil. What mind was it? Why, it was the Mind people always called omniscient for so many ages, intelligent God, which can never be described in any better way, no matter how many names you use, than the original foundation, or Mind, or intelligence of the universe. We say that it was the Mind that was in Christ that constituted his divinity, which constituted him as a Saviour; enabled him to heal the sick and do mighty works. It is that manifestation of God, of Spirit, or spiritual activity, that is the Christ.
The body of Jesus is something that you con-template as being murdered. Christ raised Jesus from the dead. Christ demonstrated the power of God and the unity of God and man; that raised the dead. So there is the distinction between the bodily Jesus and the divine Christ. What does the word Christ mean? It means Immanuel, or God with us. It would be as though you were to see Jesus endowed with extraordinary spiritual understanding, Jesus anointed by the divine Spirit, spiritual mindedness, and in that spiritual mindedness we have the Christ. What think ye of the Christ? The manifestation of God, the ambassador of God? The word and will of God manifested to the world? What think ye of it? It has been declared that Christ is the Saviour of the world. What does the world need to be saved from? Why, go the rounds of humanity and one will tell you: "I want to be saved from a broken heart," another from his poverty, another from the terrible weight of affliction, and long before you have seen them all you will learn that the world needs to be saved from everything, everything evil.
Now comes the question: What think ye of the Saviour? Have we an irresistible, competent, and adequate Saviour, or not? You have been told that the sinner has a Saviour, that the sinner has an adequate salvation through Christ from sin; but you never were told that the insane man had; never that the poor man had. No. Theology bids the sinner hope; it tells the sinner to rejoice, for "Christ is your Saviour." I care not how rotten you are with iniquity; I care not if you are Nero, Judas, if you are the incarnation of hell and damnation, you may be hopeful to the extreme, because Christ is your Saviour. But to all these sick people, all those who are cast down and heavy laden and disappointed, there is nothing left for them to do but to cry on, nothing but the intensity of pain, nothing but more gloom and depression. Christian salvation is for bad men, not for sick ones. What think ye of the Saviour; is it one to save or not?
What do you need to be saved from? From the mystery of evil. Philosophy has wrestled with the subject for ages and has practically given up its own admitted conclusions; but this is one thing it declares to you: It says that the fear of to-day and the sin of today bind insanity on the sinner; that all these miserable things that infect you exist because they have a right to and they can of their own will kill you or make you sick; and that you have no adequate resistance; and that there is nothing for you to do but to go down and die under it, and be as amiable as possible.
Christian Science comes with an entirely new tongue. Forty years ago Mrs. Eddy came out from the old form of thought, and declared that disease and sin and fear and insanity and all kindred fears were illegitimate, or disorders of human procurement, or of the carnal mind, and not of divine Mind. She entreated the world to learn this — that evil is destructible and that disease is curable. She declared these things to be abnormities, having no basis, no God, no Truth or Science; and she was stoned. Every discoverer is stoned. The first one to learn anything true is always stoned. But she continued to publish and to demonstrate and to teach, and this knowledge has multiplied and it has absolutely been a heaven. Now the physicians are declaring that if humanity had never departed from the normal, there never would have been any sickness. What do you think of that? Go on another year, another ten, and you will see the day when it will be universally declared, namely, that disease is an abnormity.
I used to know a woman in an insane hospital who believed that she was all covered with feathers. If you had gone to the woman, and said: "Why, Mrs. Lawrence, dear woman, don't you know that you haven't got any feathers? This is simply an illusion," she would have said: "Why, dear child, feel of my arm; feel of all these feathers, how soft and silky they are; why, of course I have feathers." Suppose that woman came to you for treatment, what would you treat her for? Feathers? If not, why not? She says she has them; every time she sees you, she says: "I am covered with feathers." Would you begin by declaring that this woman had feathers according to divine law? Oh, no, no! You wouldn't do that. Would you say that God furnished her with feathers? No. Suppose the next person said: "I have smallpox." Would you say God furnished him with the smallpox? And so on ad infinitum. Has she got feathers according to divine law and purpose or not? Are these feathers legitimate, or is the whole thing an abnormity? If it is legitimate, why do you try to cure her? — for if it is all rational you would be irrational to try to cure her. Indeed, a person would be insane if he tried to cure her unless he went on the assumption of an abnormity. Suppose she is cured; then you would simply have changed the belief. Do you not see what we have to overcome in all forms of disease? I do not think you see it because of my exposition, because I have not said enough about it to warrant your conclusion; but I will tell you that the conclusion is warranted by Christian Science teaching; that all disease is illegitimate, — its origin, its cause, its modus and its law are illegitimate.
That being the case, we advance against disease, in the crusade, with the understanding that it is unnatural and ought to be abolished. What think ye of the Christ? He knew more than all other men combined about God, man, the universe, and law. Everything he did he did in the wisest way, the natural way, and the lawful way. He healed the sick without a failure, spontaneously; he manifested beyond all cavil that it can be done; he declared that he did it according to the will of God, that he did it in fulfilment of law, meaning in demonstration of divine law. He did it without any premeditation, without any process whatever. He attested the absolute capacity of something to heal sickness; and when he overcame it, did he overcome something that God had ordained, or did he overcome a disorder, an illegitimate monstrosity that had frightened the people? Christian Science says that is what he did when he healed the sick. Paul says: "Christ has abolished the law of sin and death." What think ye about it? What think ye about Christ? Do you think he abolished the law of sin and death? And that means the law of sin and disease, because death is but the culmination of disease. What think ye? What does it mean to abolish law? Did Christ come to abolish divine law? No. No. What did it mean to abolish it? It meant to extinguish it, to annul, exterminate, make of none effect. What kind of law was it then that Christ abolished? Christian Science teaches that it was a spurious sense of law, admitted by humanity, feared by humanity, and one that governed us and according to which we have sickened and died.
I will give you an instance of how the spurious law of humanity will kill a man. I was visiting, several months ago out West, a lady and gentleman, and found that the man had been sick several weeks with fever. He became very much emaciated and terribly frightened because of loss of weight. His wife told me the doctor despaired of curing him because he was so frightened. The fear paralyzed his bodily activity, and the result was he could not break the fever. She said: "I wish you would go in and see him." And I said, "Well, I will;" and I went in, knowing that he did not understand my Science, and that I must speak to him on a very simple plane. I addressed him thus: "Do you know that the human body consists of about 85% water?" "Why, no." "Well, it does. You let a man who weighs 200 pounds lose a hundred, and what he really loses is about 90 pounds of water. That is all. You are in a state of terror and dismay because you think you have lost a lot of nice blood and bones, skin, and muscles and stuff of that sort, and the only thing that has happened to you is that you have leaked out a lot of water. Now all that you need to do is to get that water back and you will be all right." Then I said: "I will tell you how to get it back; the first thing is for you to stop thinking of all you think you have lost; then to know that you do not need to be afraid, simply because you think you have lost it; and lastly, that just as soon as you stop being afraid — because you don't have to be afraid — nobody has to be afraid, the whole thing is gratuitous, absolutely, — just as soon as you stop being afraid, your body will resume its normal activity, and you will be well." I stayed with him until the corners of his mouth had turned up and the terrified look had gone, and shortly after, his wife wrote me that the fever broke that day. Fear was gone and her husband was getting well, and by way of a little merriment, she added: "He is getting that water back too."
Now that seems like an uncommon incident, but we are doing that all the time. Suppose that man had died in three or four days; and he would have died if this thing had gone on; suppose he had died, would he have died because of the law of God? No. Would he have died because of the law of matter? No. Would he have died because of the law of life or death, or because of the law of science, or anything else? No, he would not. Suppose he had died, and his friends had got together and written some resolutions (for he was a good man) something like this: "Whereas, God in His inscrutable wisdom has taken our beloved brother from our midst" and so on, you know how they go, what would have happened if he had died in three days?
My friends, will you think that I am rough, if I, remembering that we profess to worship a God that is divine Love, one more tender than the tenderest mother; knowing, as I do, that he is consummate benevolence itself; knowing Christ Jesus declared,"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden," — am I too rough when I say that every such resolution that was ever passed was blasphemous? Do you know a more gentle word whereby to describe this interminable impeachment of our God, which declares he is stinging a babe while at its mother's breast; making widows of our women by taking their husbands to His bosom? Alas, how long! how long will we go down to the hell of our punishment for this terrible mistake? What think ye of the Christ?
Resist Satan, he hath bound the woman. Jesus did not say God had bound her, and he instantly cured her. Satan is the word for evil.
What think ye of the Christ? What would have killed the man if he had died? You don't need to plunge into philosophy or religion or theology. If he had died, it would have been simply because he did not know enough to live, — that is all. What would have killed him? Carnal mind, enmity against God, enmity against Life, enmity against man, operating through fear and superstition and ignorance and vice and wickedness and everything else, — that is the stuff that would have killed him, and kills everybody else, unless Christ comes; unless the man gets an intelligent sense of his own life, it will kill every last one. It is the mind that means fear, it is the mind that means disease, it is the mind that means hell and damnation; and that is what was killing that man. And don't you see it was according to a spurious law that he was dying? Just as fast as he could, he was dying under a spurious law — an abomination, supposed to be law. "Christ hath abolished the law of sin and death."
The whole Christian Science mission is the enforcement of the law of Life; and all that Christian Scientists practise is the enforcement of the law of Life and health, and the annulment of the spurious law of sickness and death, which is scaring everybody to death. What think ye of the Christ? It is said he came to seek and save that which was lost and in doing so reformed the sinner and healed the sick man. What did he do that for? Is it a natural purpose, a natural modus? Is that the business of Christ, to heal the sick? Then is it the business of Christ in saving humanity to overcome disease or not? If so, how did he do it, and what did he have to know in order to do it? Now I am speaking without deliberation on the subject and in a fragmentary way, and I cannot possibly do it adequately; but I am going to hurry along, and I make this connection between the manifestation of the law manifested by Christ Jesus and the manifestation of this law to-day. Let us see about these people, whether they have a right to be healed or not, whether they are doing their best to be healed.
I do not suppose that there are more than three or four million people in the world who, in the hour of sickness, turn instinctively to God instead of to pills. The other thirteen hundred million all turn to the drugging system or to material means. You know that. Do you know that of that thirteen hundred million people forty million die every year? Do you know you are members of that organization that sanctions the drugging system? That it has got practically a monopoly of the whole curative field? The government supports it by means of legislation, gives heed to it on every occasion, and yields to a demand on the part of the drugging system that all other systems shall be excluded. Do you know that this drugging system has forty million dead people on its hands every year? You do not deny it, do you? The statistics compiled by our government, not at all in consonance with Christian Science, declare that forty million people die every year. And, moreover, one of the most celebrated London surgeons declared that more than twenty million people die prematurely. Even upon this plane half of them have no business to die; and the drugging system comes to the front with forty million dead people, half of whom have no business to be dead, and asks the legislature of your state and of every other state to exclude Christian Science, which has cured every last disease that the drugging system says cannot be cured.
Jesus Christ knew all about the healing of the sick, and he knew just what Benjamin Franklin knew when he declared that when the science of healing is understood and practiced it will either prevent or cure all manner of disease. He knew he was working with that which was omnipotent to abolish disease.
What does Christian Science do? It asks the people who are not dead whether they are doing the best they can to live or not. And it answers this question and says you are not doing the best that can be done. Your system is inadequate and has in itself no promise that it can ever eradicate disease. First of all, it is not a science. It does not declare itself to be; it says that it is not. Its theory and practice change every day; it is advancing or receding constantly. Some of you here remember the time when they used to bleed everybody that was sick. The physicians now say they bled George Washington to death, thus killing him. I remember if a man stubbed his toe, they bled him. Then they began putting leeches on everybody. Then they gave calomel, until their teeth all loosened and fell out. Then they took up first one and then another theory until they came to the blue glass theory, and so on indefinitely, until we have ever so many of these fads and fancies.
So then we object to what is called the theory and practice of medicine because it is not a science at all. It proceeds after the manner of expediency, is experimental and accidental, and there is nobody in the wide, wide world who will more freely admit this than the physician himself. We declare it is unfair because it does not take cognizance of the primary cause of disease. On the contrary, until recently, certainly until the hour of the homeopathic physician, the drugging system insisted upon it that matter was the whole cause of disease and the system treated everybody as though they were just so much matter, so much stuff; and they treated the stuff without reference to the mental, moral, or spiritual man. They would put pills into the stuff, run electricity into the stuff, bathe the stuff, and if this did not cure him they said the stuff was incurable.
In no instance do we admit that what the physician denominates as cause is cause. You go to a man, or let him come to you, and say: "I want to be cured." "What is the matter with you?" "Stomach out of order." "What is the matter with your stomach?" "Well, they tell me that the lining of my stomach is irritated." (There is your effect, isn't it?) "Have you any idea why your stomach is irritated?" "Well, I have, I must confess." "What is it?" "Why, whiskey; whiskey has irritated it." So then you have, according to the matter system of disease, your cause and effect — whiskey and inflammation. According to Christian Science, neither one of these is the cause, and you have to go away back of that whole business. Perhaps that man drinks whiskey because he has inherited the so-called contamination. What are you going to do with that? That is the cause of the man's trouble. An inordinate appetite is always abnormal; that is the cause.
You may find another person who has indigestion. He is so hateful and full of wrath and anger that he absolutely congests his stomach. The system that does not take cognizance of fear, which is the chief cause of disease, is utterly unfair. Christian Science pretends to be a better way because it searches into the false belief which is the cause, and declares that when you learn what is the cause of disease you will learn why it is that disease is curable. When you abolish the cause, then the body resumes its normal activity. The drugging is unfair because it has not shown any ability whatsoever to cope with the disease; however, the theory is now about to be abandoned; you know the physicians are running away rapidly from the application of drugs, are admitting their inadequacy, and it won't be very long before the people who use drugs will simply be read about in books as among the barbarians and the ignorant people of the past ages.
Christian Science would be of small value if it could not conversely declare what is the better way. There is a better way, you ask? What is it? And before I answer you as to the better way according to Christian Science, I must tell you, alas, that the people who most industriously stone us because of our way are Christian people, carrying upon their banners that they are followers of Christ and worshipers of God.
What is the better way in Christian Science? It is the way ordained of our God, provided by God, fundamentally correct; to know God according to the law of God; according to divine purpose, which was before Abraham; according to all that means God, good. We declare that He is the natural and everlasting cure of all diseases. It is the way through Christ; the way through the Saviour; the way through him who said his was the only way. It is the way demonstrated. What he was trying to teach and what he brought to mankind is the way of Christ scientifically understood. It is the practical way. It is the way which overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil; it is the way that overcomes sin and fear and ignorance and superstition, and all these things that have involved humanity.
What was his way? We declare that Christ Jesus invoked and showed forth the supreme power of the universe, the supreme law, when he healed the sick; and he did it not by way of mystery or of unnatural interference with law, but under the process of benevolent manifestation or demonstration of divine law. And, on the basis of pure knowledge, (he did not do it by way of mere mental suggestion,) he declared: "These things shall ye do." "Go and do likewise." "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
We Christian Scientists are derided and scorned and thought to be weak because we have faith in God; because we trust in Him; and because we have faith in the promise: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee." Stayed on what? On the assumption that God wants you to be killed? Has ordered your disease and pain? Will that keep you in perfect peace? "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace . . . . because he trusteth in thee." Now what do Christian Scientists do? What is the law of God to man? We begin first of all to stop being afraid; and we are not afraid of what? We stop being afraid of devil, hell; we stop being afraid of disease and pain; we stop being afraid of the whole philosophy of doom that is carrying men down into its own hell; and the consequence is that we Christian Science people are not one-half so much afraid as we used to be; not so often, not so much.
I remember how they scared me about my food when I was dying in a sanitarium. We are all taught to be afraid of our bodies, to be afraid of the sun that shines upon us, to be afraid of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and of everything we do or do not do. So universal is the cry of alarm, so insistent is it that the mother tells the child it will have to suffer whether it does or does not do something. It does not seem to make much difference what the child does — it does not matter — there are more fears told the child than could be put in a book. And when I realize how the world is scaring itself to death, I am reminded of the man who, having studied the subject of damnation, came to the conclusion that you will be damned if you do and damned if you don't.
When I was in a sanitarium, supposed to be dying, one would come along and say, "Look here, Kimball, cheer up, cheer up ! I used to know a man who was sick just as you are, and he got better." "How did he get better?" "Oh, simple enough, simple enough; the man found out beefsteak did not agree with him and he just stopped eating beefsteak and got well." (No more beefsteak for Kimball.) The next day another man got well. How? Oh, he gave up eating bread and butter. (All right, no more bread and butter for me.) Next day another got well. How? He found out that clam soup agreed with him, and he ate enough clam soup to cure him. I sent off to New York and got a barrel of clams, and before I had eaten a peck they made me sick. And they kept on at me until they got me down to a baby food, and then I couldn't digest that. Why? Because I was scared; they scared me out of my digestive apparatus, and from that hour on I could not digest food until Christian Science broke that fear. I will eat anything now and everything and mix it up indiscriminately as to hour and time, and if they want to, let them fight it out.
I am no longer afraid of the food I eat, and that is one thing that happens to Christian Scientists; they stop being afraid of first one thing and then another, until it comes to about a thousand, and just as fast as we drop off this insane fear, because we don't have to be afraid, we lose the penalty of it, and you do the same. No, you don't have to be afraid. Go home to-night and stop it, and to-morrow you will have a new circulation in your blood, a new nervous system; you will digest your food better, you will sleep better, you will do your business better, because you are not afraid. It is utterly illegitimate, altogether disorderly and improper, and the whole of it is simply because you don't know enough to know that you have dominion over every last thing that harasses. Learn that, and that will be the end of fear and the beginning of health. You as an audience will live longer for having heard this lecture than you would otherwise, simply because you will not be so much afraid. I care not if you came here instinctively to reject everything I say, you will live longer because you will not be so much afraid.
We are learning not to hate so much; not to get so angry. We are learning that the most insane thing, the most irrational, suicidal thing for a man to do is to make a hater of himself; for if there were no other reason, he would hate himself to death. We are learning to stop that irrational and foolish bad habit of being envious and jealous and malicious and vicious, and it is because of all this that we do not fight back when these people are pelting us. I noticed in a paper to-day that somebody, who evidently likes to fight, is going to give a lecture about shams, one of the shams being Christian Science. Now you might think that we would talk back, but no, we Christian Scientists are taught and know that it is an abomination before God and a decent humanity for one religionist to lampoon and assail and malign another who differs from himself. I care not what you believe; not one atom do I care; the one important thing for me to know is this — that you are entitled to my compassionate consideration; you are entitled to my respect; you are entitled to my applause for all that you do that is in the right direction. You are entitled to my kindest wishes, to my deepest encouragement; and you are entitled to nothing from me but that which means love and charity and loving kindness, and you must not get anything else from me. I have not even a rebuke or a reproof to one whose light is so dark that he sees in it nothing but the impulsion of fight and bitterness and wrath.
Christian Scientists and their religion will stand upon its merits; be judged by its works; be commended because of its beneficent influence — or it will fall. The tongue of man, the ingenuity of slander and defamation and assault, can never overthrow that which justifies its existence, and it, to-day, is before this world in justification of itself. Go to the home that has been debauched by a drunkard. See the woman, the mother, the wounded affections, and the unwholesome, starved brood, all in the depths of degradation because of this man — and then reform the man. My dear friends, have you not then a practical manifestation of that which justifies itself? In the case of the man who was dying, whom I saw, have you not done something practical for him, if for no one else? Follow along the highway of Christian Science practice and find the sinner reformed, and you will find that which justifies itself.
So it is with the defamation of our Leader, who is traduced and lied about and made subject to every abomination and every pusillanimous thing that humanity can try; but it matters not. Every reformer has been stoned; every one has been lied about or murdered; and this dignified woman has no answer to it all, no answer to the world, other than the innocent rectitude of her purpose, other than the uncompromising honesty, the faithfulness to her mission, and the declaration that it has not been in vain. There are more than a million people who declare that by its means they have been extricated from the very depths and brought to all that means health. I wish that you might some time know why it is, what is the reason, that so many people declare that they have been cured of incurable diseases and so unspeakably benefited. I do not ask you to believe anything to-day. I wish you might some time want to know — because whenever you want to know you can learn; and what you learn the first day will produce a dividend of happiness; the next day another dividend, and before long, possibly to your surprise, you will find your heaven opening up to you; you will find a balm that binds up the wound; you will find that which casts off the fetters of disease, casts aside the alarm and consternation, and begins to reflect God and law and dominion; all that means the right man and the rights of man, will be revealed unto you and you will then say in answer to the question: "What think ye of the Christ?" you will say: "I know that my Redeemer liveth."
[Delivered at the National Theatre, Dayton, Ohio, December 2, 1906. This is the ninth of 18 lectures featured in the book Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball.]