Christian Science: Its Practical Excellence
John C. Lathrop, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The following lecture on
"Christian Science: Its Practical Excellence," was delivered today at
B. F. Keith's Theater, by John C. Lathrop, C.S.B., of
The purpose of this lecture is to show the practical excellence of Christian Science. It is not the intention to berate any religious or therapeutical theory, or any one's beliefs, but to persuade that Christian Science is just the happiest, the purest and most practical way to health and harmony the world has ever known; to show that it is Christ's way to salvation.
Christian Science the Guide
All persons desire harmony of mind and body. All desire to escape here and now the seemingly endless trials and sorrows, the sickness and suffering, the fear, sin and death of mortal life. All want salvation and desire a present salvation from the ills and torments of the flesh. Christian Science is the guidepost pointing the direct way to this salvation. Christian Science is more than the guidepost; it is also the conveyance. It points and provides the way out of disaster, and proves itself to be what Jesus foretold must come when he said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." (John 14:16). All who have felt the healing and saving power of Christian Science, believe that it is the long looked-for Holy Comforter, "even the Spirit of truth" who "will guide you into all truth" (John 14:17, 16:13).
Ignorant and Superstitious Beliefs
I came in touch with a good man who conscientiously believed that Christian Science is as he said "a new order, a new era, a new revelation," but he said his misfortune was that he was a mere onlooker, an outsider, he could not enter in. The stumbling block to him in Christian Science was what he calls its denial of facts. He thought he was suffering from a tumor which he believed was a fact and that he was getting worse every day. He said he could understand that such an abnormal growth had no existence in a spiritual body, but that he was not a spiritual body, and not likely to become one. He said he vainly tried to meditate and pray. He longed for purity and righteousness and peace, but got only doubt and uncertainty and defeat. He believed that God could cure him if He would, but that God might desire him to die for the sins of some old ancestor he never heard about, that he was up against the hereditary law of "the sins of the fathers," and that such being the law, the fact, how could he deny it, - he could only "grin and bear it."
There is a common ignorance as to what law really is, what the fact is, what belief is, and what superstition is. There are still men and women who are sure that the stars sway human destiny, who will not look at the new moon over the left shoulder or through glass; they would not for the world go under a ladder; one foot before the other in getting out of bed, crossing a threshold or starting on a walk is beneficial or malevolent. This is superstition in a material age, and the more material a thought the more superstitious it is. Vast suffering and sorrow have been caused, and the law of heredity has been supported by a too hasty interpretation of Moses' Second Commandment about the sins of the fathers. Many people have sickened and succumbed because they feared they were of the third and fourth generation who must suffer for the iniquity of their fathers. What the Second Commandment really says is that it is only upon the children "that hate me" that the iniquity of the fathers shall be visited unto the third and fourth generations, and this is emphasized by the prophet Ezekiel who says, "As I live, saith the Lord God. . . The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: . . . In his righteousness that he hath done he shall live . . . For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, said the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye" (Ezek. 18:3,20,22,32.). When will all good people see that God has no more pleasure in the sickness and fear, the ignorance and superstition of mortals, than He has in the death of him that dieth. Wherefore turn yourselves and live! Turn your thoughts away from the material and limited beliefs about God, man and the universe, about Spirit and matter, about heaven and hell, about Christ, Truth and Jesus the Wayshower, about everlasting punishment and immortality. Turn, as your thoughts turned from the spinning wheel, the tallow candle and the stage coach. All these questions and difficulties are made clear by the teachings of Christian Science, and in the process thereof the sinner is awakened and the sick are healed.
Awakening From Material Beliefs
Our timorous friend with the tumorous belief need not despair. He is not an outsider nor an onlooker, but is just as much a child of God, and within the scope of God's ministrations, as are all God's creation. What he needs is to be waked up, shaken up if necessary, to feel a fuller faith in God's allness and goodness, His omnipotence and His infinite ever-presence. The prophet Isaiah cried, "Awake, awake," . . . "Loose thyself'' . . . "Shake thyself from the dust" . . . "Put on thy beautiful garments . . . O captive daughter of Zion" (Isa. 3:1,2). The situation with mortal belief is just the same today. Material belief still has many captives enveloped in "dust," blinded by an inherited, ignorant or educated false sense of God and man. O captive mortal, your eyes and ears are still filled with "dust," namely, the antiquated belief that life, intelligence and substance are in matter. "Shake thyself from the dust." Loose thyself, O captive mortal of today. Loose thyself to see what Christian Science reveals to the world, and it reveals just what the Bible reveals, namely, that God is All-in-all, therefore that He is omnipresent and omnipotent; that he is Spirit, hence Spirit is All-in-all; that He is Mind, hence Mind is All-in-all; that this one Mind by virtue of its oneness must of necessity be Principle or Truth; that divine Principle or Truth governs through immutable laws all God's creation, which are ideas or thoughts; that these ideas or thoughts constitute man and the universe, all being spiritual, individual and perfect; that this perfect and spiritual man is the image and likeness of God just as the first and real creation in Genesis records, and as spiritual ideas, the real man reflects God as the rays of light from the sun reflects the sun, and that this true likeness or reflection of God is our real selves, in other words, the Christ man whom Jesus beheld in himself and called the son of God, the perfect man whom Jesus saw in others and thus healed the sick.
O captive mortal of today, you who believe you are a sufferer from disease of any nature, you also can shake yourself from the dust, and accept these fundamental truths. You can surely do it, and it will pay you to try. It will heal you and set you free. And when you have accepted these truths as foundational facts, what then is the inevitable conclusion? The query to follow is the natural question, What of this material man and universe? Whence came this man created according to the second chapter of Genesis, the male out of dust, and the female out of a rib? This dust man, or lust man, who by the very nature of his so-called origin and existence denies not only the allness of God as Spirit, but the allness of God as creator. What about this dust man and rib woman, and all their material, selfish, sickly, and wicked thoughts? What about matter and the whole material world? What of them and if it be all error, how is the error to be accounted for and disposed of?
Disposal of Matter
Did you ever try to lift yourself by your bootstraps? It can't be done. Yet this is the way some persons try to deny matter, by using matter to lift themselves out of matter, by looking at it continually and then deciding it is too real to be denied. And so they do not discover its unreality and the true way to dispose of it. How do you dispose of an error in a mathematical problem? By looking continually at the error, by talking about and crying over it? Evil and error and matter, fear, sickness and death are outgrown by waking up from a false sense that we believed was true, and this false sense is changed by discovering the true sense of God, of man and the universe. Isn't it only by discovering the truth in mathematics that you get rid of the error?
Did you ever learn to float in the water? At first you are sure you will sink, and perhaps fear will cause you to, but if you will be still and conquer fear, you will be upheld and carried along quite securely. It may seem hard to drop matter, and yet it is simple - like learning to float. Faith is the principal factor in learning to float, just as it is learning to do any big thing, Faith in the unseen, in what the material senses do not testify to. Paul said, "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith abolishes fear, and entirely changes your point of view. Christian Science calls matter error of material belief, because matter is the very opposite of Spirit, which is All-in-all, and God never made anything unlike Himself, Spirit. But whence came this error of belief with all its sin, sickness and death, to which we are captives? Whence came the belief that you couldn't float? But when you find yourself quietly floating down the stream, gazing happily up into the peaceful blue sky, you never ask yourself what has become of that belief. It will never trouble you again, and you know it, for it has vanished into that imaginary realm of ignorance and illusion, to join its comrades - all those other false beliefs, beliefs in something unlike Spirit, God.
This seeming something, this false claim of life, intelligence and substance in matter which causes all fear, sickness, sin and death in the devil or evil which Jesus came to destroy. He denounced it as a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies, and said, "The light of the body is the eye (the thought): If therefore thine eye be single (thy thought be single), thy whole body shall be full of light" (Matt. ). A lie is defined as a deception. Jesus healed the sick by knowing they were deceived by false beliefs, that they were captives of a darkened thought or false sense and he set the captives free physically in his single thinking, that is, his right thinking about God and man. Jesus' spiritual right thoughts reflected the Christ Truth, which the captive felt mentally, and thus was freed from the influence of the evil and sick beliefs which were affecting him physically.
Jesus well knew the allness of Mind, and the all power of right thought, thoughts which were single. In other words, God's thoughts, thoughts which knew no power nor presence but Spirit, Mind, Truth and Love. Jesus knew, as he said, that "the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John ). Jesus could do nothing but think and reflect the thoughts which came from God. He knew of but one Mind, which to him was the Principle of man. The divine Mind being All-in-all was his Mind, as Paul says, "the mind that was in Christ Jesus."
It was thus that Jesus expressed the Christ, Truth, or the true idea of God. This explains his dual nature, Jesus the physical, temporal man, born of Mary, and Christ, the spiritual, eternal man, born of God. The Christ was manifested through the spiritual thoughts of Jesus, and this Christ, Truth, was the light and power that destroyed the sickly and sinful thoughts of mortals.
Oneness and Allness of Thought
Jesus also knew that if the one
Mind were his with which to think, it was the Mind with which to think of all
God's children, and his real mission to mankind was to teach mortals this great
fact. Then they could do the works that he did, and as he said, could do even
greater works. It has been said, "Freedom of thinking is simply nonsense,
and we are no more free to think without rule, than we are free to act without
one." Such a belief savors of the fear and superstition of the dark ages.
In its ignorance it expresses a very limited sense of God and man. It is a
belief that is still in prison behind the bars of material law. Did not Paul and
Peter, James and John emphasize the divine right of freedom in thinking? Paul said,
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5),
and again, "Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and
perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Thomas A.
Right Thinking Is Right Prayer
The act of using this divine Principle and these rules discloses the true meaning of prayer. In fact, thinking by divine Principle and rule, and thinking blindly according to material belief, constitutes the exact difference between right prayer and wrong prayer, the difference between the prayer that avails, and the prayer that gropes in the dark and falls, between the prayer that heals the sick as well as the sinner, and the prayer that limits God's power, and doubts His willingness to destroy all kinds of error. Most people believe that prayer to God is good thinking. Why not extend the good thinking instead of limiting it or stopping it altogether? Extending it is exactly what Christian Science does. Extend it to the point of deciding that your thoughts shall no longer be governed by the false belief that life, substance and intelligence are in matter, with its sickness, sin and death. Extend it to decide that your thoughts shall be governed by the one Mind that was in Christ Jesus, by Life, Truth and Love, the divine Principle of man's being, and when your thoughts are thus governed, you find that then you are really praying, for right thoughts governed thus will reflect the Truth that heals the sick. Your thoughts are your own to manage them or allow them to manage you. Which shall it be? "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve," whether the divine Principle of man's being, or human will. Says the grateful one, "Right thinking healed me when everything else had failed. Good, clean, happy, wholesome thoughts took the place of bad, wrong, poisonous ones. I have somehow learned the truth about man. That's all. It's just that whereas I was blind, now I see."
Three Eras of Mental Awakening
The human consciousness has experienced three eras of awakening since Jesus uttered those memorable words, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." (John 16:12) First came the era of belief which prevailed from the third to the fifteenth century, namely, that one mind governed the world, but that was claimed to be one human mind which God had especially created to do the higher thinking. The next era was called the Reformation, which, began in the sixteenth century, when the great rights of freedom of thinking were insisted on, and when it was claimed that there were many human minds, each created by God, who gave each an equal and independent right to think for and govern himself. The third and last era has simply been the inevitable result of the second. In the ripeness of time, in the year 1866, Mary Baker Eddy, a New England woman of Puritan forbears, discovered the divine Principle of being, which means that there really is and always has been but one Mind, but that Mind is God, and not human minds. She discovered that the material mortal mind is merely a false belief of life and intelligence in matter, in other words, an evil sense which mortals must overcome and out of which they must awaken. This discovery marked a distinct and radical advance over the previous eras, for with this discovery came the Spirit of truth, foretold by Jesus, the full Christ power to heal mentally the sicknesses and sin of mankind.
Mrs. Eddy’s Discovery
Mrs. Eddy writes of her discovery in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science (p. 188), "Christian Science reveals incontrovertibly that Mind is All-in-all, that the only realities are the divine Mind and idea." She says, "This great fact is not, however, seen to be supported by sensible evidence until its divine Principle is demonstrated by healing the sick and thus proved absolute and divine. This proof once seen, no other conclusion can be reached." She writes in Retrospection and Introspection (p. 28), "I had learned that thought must be spiritualized in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science."
After your thought undergoes this necessary change, or you are healed or are able to prove the Principle of Christian Science, you will never again, if you have done so, think that Christian Science is queer or heretical, or be in the least disturbed perhaps because the discovery of Christian Science came through a woman. This will then be to you a most natural and beautiful dispensation. During the quarter of a century in which I have been active in Christian Science, I have seen hundreds of good people scorn, scoff at and revile its radical teachings, but within a day or a month, lo, I have seen their point of view changed, their thoughts completely transformed, transformed by the renewing of the Spirit. Roused and encouraged by the sensation of health, old thoughts have passed away, and all things have become new. Prejudice has given way to open-mindedness, fear to faith, and pride and self-will have yielded to meekness and trust. I remember a good woman, a former patient, whom I treated and treated; finally I discovered that what prevented her healing was her belief that if she was cured she would have to give up her church. When I assured her that this positively was not the purpose of Christian Science healing, but that her healing would make her a better Methodist or Episcopalian, her thought immediately became receptive, and she was restored to health at once. It is wonderful how the clouds and storm of a stubborn prejudice give place to the sunlight and peace of an enlightened consciousness. When you have been made well and strong through Christian Science, you will have only thoughts of love and gratitude for its discoverer.
Mrs. Eddy’s Rare Virtues
I was acquainted with Mrs. Eddy twenty-five years ago, and for fifteen years, at frequent intervals, it was my great privilege to be a personal witness of her rare virtues. As a former member of her household, I can give first-hand testimony upon the beauty and consistency of her life. I believe no person ever lived, except Christ Jesus, who has loved humanity and sacrificed for humanity as Mrs. Eddy has done. Night and day for fifty years, without holiday or intermission she labored incessantly for mankind. Her absolute reliance upon God was her most conspicuous trait. Wholly fearless of criticism, above revilement, forgiving her enemies, with the true Christ spirit she pressed on, overcoming evil after evil. When once asked what she did and how she stood it when she was so unmercifully maligned and persecuted, she quickly replied, "Why, I will tell what I do, I do as the tall grass does when the tornado passes over it. I bend, and when the storm has spent itself, I come right up straight again." Humility, patience and love have been the guiding stars of her life. The entire world seemed against her, but with indomitable courage, untiring persistence and Christly compassion, she worked unselfishly for her great ideal, which, as she writes, was "to impress humanity with the genuine recognition of practical, operative Christian Science" (Misc. Writings, p. 207).
Three Steps Necessary
The strongest and most appealing claim of Christian Science is that it operates, that it works. But like an automobile whose engine won't go unless it is given the right mixture of gas, Christian Science does not heal the sick or the sinner unless the mixture is right. Here Christian Science differs radically from an automobile, inasmuch as the oil or mixture used is the pure power of divine Principle, of Truth and Love, a spiritual understanding that uncovers every valley of sin, and lays low every mountain of disease. The human thought passes through three steps or stages in acquiring this power, and they are the same three steps taken in winning any worthy goal. First, belief, second, faith, and third, understanding.
You take the first step, for instance, when you come to a lecture, or go to a practitioner, or read Mrs. Eddy's writings, because you believe enough in Christian Science to take the trouble to find out something about it. But that is only belief. The lecture, etc., give you, we trust, sufficient hope and courage to strengthen your belief, and to take the next step. We hope the Truth heard or read has changed your thoughts, and you are healed of some disease or sin. You are encouraged.
You have seen the proof, and now have positive faith in what Christian Science can do. Your uncertain belief has become a surety, and you now have faith. But you cannot stop here. Faith is really only a way station. Yet, sad to relate, there is where most Christians get off and settle down. And they are not entirely to blame. They are like the old deacon who always began his long prayer, "Oh Lord, we come to thee because we've nowhere else to go." Their faith has lacked something, something more vital to produce the greater works. James said, "Faith without works is dead." This does not mean that the sweet faith of many Christians has wrought no works whatever. But the signs and greater works that should follow them that really believe, have strangely been lacking. One moment faith is beautiful, active and full of hope: the next moment it has turned to doubt, fear and discouragement. Mrs. Eddy likens faith to a pendulum swinging between the real and the unreal, having no fixity. Human faith is blind; it is blind because it is personal; it is based upon personal material sense, and not upon divine Principle. Blind faith is the law without the gospel, the letter without the Spirit, and the letter alone, the Bible says, killeth. Human faith has lacked exactly what Christian Science has come to supply. It has lacked understanding.
Understanding is the backbone of faith, giving it strength and ability. It includes the good faith but not the bad. Faith will no longer waver and be reversed when it has expanded into understanding. When you witness another pupil in mathematics get his answer you have faith, but not until you learn the rule and work out the answer yourself, do you have understanding. It is just so with the problem of life. Christian Science has come in the fullness of time to declare that the sweet Christian faith of the ages, while honest and humble has fallen short and has not satisfied, because it has not been supported by spiritual understanding, the understanding of God to be the divine Principle of being, the understanding of Spirit, and of Christ, of Jesus and the real man, the understanding of matter, evil and sin, and the understanding of prayer, salvation and immortality. Spiritual understanding is more than human knowledge. Human knowledge comprises the things within the limits of the five material senses. Christian Science reveals man's true sense to be a consciousness of infinite Spirit and its infinite ideas, - a consciousness of the unreality of evil and the material senses. This consciousness is spiritual understanding which casts out error and heals the sick. Thus, Christian Science has opened the way to eternal harmony and happiness by supplying mankind with spiritual understanding, and therein lies its supreme and practical excellence as the Comforter leading into all Truth.
Early Christians Lacked Understanding
When Jesus said to his disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you but you can not bear them now" (John ), undoubtedly he meant that they lacked spiritual understanding. The "many things" he referred to were many things about God, and many things about evil and sin. It has taken centuries of human trial and experience to lift faith above a personal and blind trust in God to understand Him as Life, Truth and Love, as the one and only Mind, as the divine Principle of being, as omnipotent, and omnipresent. In fact, in no other way can God be known as omnipresent and omnipotent. It has taken centuries to understand God as the one infinite Spirit, and to realize the sequence of this fact, that man must be spiritual and not material.
This understanding that there is one Spirit only and that the real man is the idea of Spirit, therefore cannot be material, completely denies the belief in spirits many or mortal bodies which can communicate spiritually, and shows that belief to be wholly material and erroneous. Of what profit is it to probe into the so-called immaterial world only to obtain information which depicts it as a sphere practically identical with the material. The belief of spirits many is a belief of minds many, persons many, bodies many, which is wholly a material condition, and is the very opposite of the one omnipresent Spirit. Christian Science reveals, that the one Mind or one Spirit expresses all right ideas, including man, which communicate only by reflection, by spiritual consciousness and not by material.
Spiritual understanding uncovers all
the insidious workings of evil and sin. It
does not belittle or ignore sin, as some have imagined. Far from this. Only
spiritual understanding will unmask the subtle ways of evil. While revealing
evil's complete nothingness, it exposes its false claims, forms, methods and subtlety.
Evil must be understood for what it is not, before its influence upon morals is
destroyed. Hence, the necessity for its complete exposure. Spiritual understanding
alone discloses these "many things," which the disciples were not
ready to bear. Had Jesus' immediate disciples and the early Christians possessed
the spiritual understanding which uncovers and denounces the serpentine
workings of evil and sin, their thoughts – their faith would have been invulnerable
to the poisonous suggestions of the human will. Instead of being mental victims,
they would have been mental victors, and Christianity would have been saved
eighteen hundred years of delay, discussion, division, disease and death. The
vital question which Christian Science presents to you today is, Will you be a
victim or will you be a victor? Will you allow ignorance, fear, superstition
and the human will to imprison you and make you sick, or will you be governed
by the one Mind and Principle of your being and be free? "Choose ye this
day whom ye will serve." The straight and narrow way is through spiritual
understanding. An ardent church member after once attending a church conference
New Love for God and Man
The most comforting sensation that Christian Science brings is a new love for God and man. This new love reveals the true meaning of God as Soul. Love of God as an infinite personality in the form of a man has always been a limited love, since it has been impossible to conceive of an unlimited personal form. The five material senses never did and never can testify to such a God. It has been an imaginary God, and the love of Him in this personal form has been limited, and therefore the faith in Him doubtful and wavering. No wonder God has not been sought directly to heal our diseases as well as our sins. No wonder He has been appealed to in a wrong way through fear to forgive our iniquities.
Most mortals are limited in all their ways. They have a limited sense of health, of strength, of life, of supply and of love. Their happiness and joy are limited, and they hold a limited sense of God, of Christ, of man and of heaven. Fear accompanies this limited sense, for limitation and fear are companions, and are the logical effects of a limited material consciousness. Denying the reality of matter, dropping the material personal sense of God, and claiming the allness of Spirit, the spiritual sense of Him as infinite Life, Truth and Love, gradually dawns upon the thought, and a new outlook, a new existence unfolds to the awakening thought. God, as manifesting all Love, all presence, all power now becomes possible and real. He becomes the one and only Soul or Spirit. He no longer is limited by the confines of material consciousness. Material consciousness gives way to spiritual consciousness, and thus spiritual understanding with all its power and dominion takes the place of limited faith. Limitation and fear are now put under the feet of spiritual understanding. The Principle and might of infinite Spirit, the light and presence of infinite Love are found ever at hand to destroy the false beliefs of fear, sin, disease and death. Thus through Christian Science the fulfillment of Jesus' two commandments is made practical and possible. The ability to love God with all the heart and all the strength and all the understanding and your neighbor as yourself, comes only through spiritual understanding.
It has been said, "The strongest argument for Christian Science is the people who are Christian Scientists." This is truly judging the tree by its fruits. Christian Scientists show plainly the marks of conquest and victory. Formerly perhaps proud, arrogant, willful, sensitive, sickly, discouraged, they now are free, active and happy, with faces radiating courage and health. They have been humbled by the Truth - the divine Principle of their being. The personal sense they have held of God, of themselves and others has changed to a spiritual impersonal sense. They now have learned how to turn to divine Principle for help and supply, how to depend upon Principle and not upon material personality. This has given them humility and peace and a strength outside of themselves. They now know how to work out their own salvation, and to let the light so shine before men, that men may see their good works and glorify their Father which is in heaven, which work really is all that satisfies. Christian Scientists have learned the wisdom of giving out. Obtaining all they have through demonstration of divine Principle, they cannot possibly keep in themselves what they receive. They can no longer be sponges. They are like rays of sunlight reflected by the mirror of Christian Science. And this is why they rejoice. Their window panes of thought must be kept so clear that they will continually pass along the reflected love and joy and strength and health, which are ideas of divine Mind coming from and returning to God. A Christian Scientist is learning how to work, how to loose himself from sin, how to awaken from mesmerism, how to banish fear, to conquer disease and to destroy death. In short, he is learning how to live, and is getting ready to live and is not getting ready to die. Death to him is an enemy, as Paul called it a false belief to be died to daily, that is, to be destroyed daily. Therefore death is nothing to be afraid of, it is merely the wages of sin, whose sting is abolished in human consciousness by the Christ, Truth, until "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things, are passed away." (Rev. 21:4.)
Doing One’s Own Part
My friend, you of the timorous fear or the wavering faith, there is immediate hope, healing and salvation awaiting you. It is right at hand and awaiting you to do your part. To do your part means to humble pride and self-will, to do all you can, and leave the rest with God. Jesus once likened the kingdom of heaven to a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. You commence to do your part when you come to this lecture, now don't stop. You are still quite dusty. It requires what seems at first some sacrifice, but how can one ever fill a pitcher that is already full. It may seem like sacrifice to empty the pitcher, especially when it requires some effort, but you never overcame anything without rousing yourself and using energy. Afterwards you find you have made no sacrifice whatever; you merely have made room for the Truth and your tallow candle has become an electric light. It was not until I decided to own a copy of Science and Health myself and to make some sacrifice and stay home evenings long enough to read carefully each night two pages of that book, that the truth in Christian Science became clear to me, and I began to understand its divine Principle. Then to get more and more understanding I found I had to prove what little I knew step by step, just as one does in arithmetic, and the more I proved the more clearly I understood.
You, yourself, can obtain this same start in Christian Science by reading Science and Health. Get a copy, and it will mean more to you if you own a copy. The little sacrifice may open your thought more to the Truth. Or go to a Christian Science reading room where you can read one. Read the book slowly, humbly, without prejudice, and with a hungering desire to know the Truth: then your thought will be receptive, and then the truth about God and man will be clear and will heal you. The last chapter in Science and Health contains 100 pages of testimonies of these impersonal healings; healings of the best kind, from getting the pure direct rays of Truth by reading Science and Health.
Another thing you can do is to attend the Wednesday evening testimony meetings. Many hopeless and discouraged people have started on a new road after hearing the sincere and heartfelt personal experiences told at these weekly meetings - healings of sickness and healings of sin, acute, chronic and organic, by present treatment and by absent treatment, or the healing of one's self through one's own work, which is a more impersonal and satisfying demonstration. Among the endless testimonies related, one hears for instance of the frequent healing of the tobacco habit. This form of bondage, like all other false appetites, yields readily to the purity and power of divine Principle. The speaker relates how he gradually became the victim of this unclean and poisonous habit, perchance deceived into believing that it would steady the nerves or give him courage; meanwhile going selfishly about enveloped in a foul atmosphere, which polluted and poisoned nature's sweet fragrance not only for himself but for all others with whom he came in contact. Christian Science waked him up to the selfishness of this desire, made him willing to give it up, and took away the false appetite; and the buoyancy and strength in his testimony told plainly his freedom at being liberated from this too common form of bondage.
A Practitioner’s Help
Another important step yon can take is to go to a practitioner for help, and do not be afraid to do this. Pride and sensitiveness will try to hold you in pain and suffering. Having practiced Christian Science myself for many years, I know what this fear and procrastination are like. The first treatment you take should and frequently does accomplish the healing; but should you be obliged to take more than one, it will be made an opportunity to assimilate more of the Truth, and gain more spiritual understanding. While helping you to be healed, the practitioner helps you to be a better representative of God, and helps you gradually to help yourself, to "bear (your) own burden" (Gal. 6: 6), as Paul puts it. In other words, to be the son of God and joint heir with Christ that you were created to be. And as God's child, you are helped to express the individuality, freedom, and dominion which are your natural birthright and inheritance. Mrs. Eddy inspiringly points this out in Science and Health (p. 228), "The enslavement of man is not legitimate. It will cease when man enters into his heritage of freedom, his God-given dominion over the material senses. Mortals will some day assert their freedom in the name of Almighty God. Then they will control their own bodies through the understanding of divine Science."
The Real Man, His Birth and Dominion
This new view of man's true inheritance and present dominion is most encouraging, and is a revelation to the sufferer and to the sinner. To discover in Christian Science that you did not start from dust, or from a rib, or from an egg, and that this theory is only what material belief makes it, limited, sensual and dying, is to sound a trumpet of hope and victory. To find that you can shake yourself free from these obnoxious beliefs about the creation of man, and can do it now, and in just the proportion that you do it, will the real spiritual man appear to your understanding, is to be born again, not of the flesh, but born "of water (purity) and of the Spirit," in accordance with Jesus’ demand (John 3:5). Then will "the old man with his deeds be put off," then will "the new man" (Col. 3:9,10) or spiritual man be put on, then will God’s healing power, dominion and peace be fully expressed, and, in the words of Paul, "we (will) all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).
[From an Indianapolis, Indiana newspaper clipping, March 1, 1922.]