Christian Science: Its Simple and Inevitable Appeal
John C. Lathrop, C.S.B., of Brookline, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
When Mrs. Eddy, the revered Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was asked the question, "If Christian Science is the same as Jesus taught, why is it not more simple, so that all can readily understand it?" she replied in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 68): "The teachings of Jesus were simple; and yet he found it difficult to make the rulers understand, because of their great lack of spirituality. Christian Science is simple, and readily understood by the children; only the thought educated away from it finds it abstract or difficult to perceive. Its seeming abstraction is the mystery of godliness; and godliness is simple to the godly; but to the unspiritual, the ungodly, it is dark and difficult. The carnal mind cannot discern spiritual things."
The Carnal Mind
The Holy Bible is considered by all Christians to be the highest source for spiritual information and inspiration. The Bible was Mrs. Eddy's only textbook and guide in her discovery of Christian Science.
Turning in the Bible to St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, to the seventh and eighth chapters, two remarkable and helpful chapters, we find a summing up of the simple truths of human life and experience. Therein Paul goes to the root of human trouble, and finds the cause of all confusion, discord, suffering, sin, and death to be, as he says, "another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members;" therefore, as he says, "the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do." This law, or sense of sin, in his members — that is, in his flesh or in matter — he calls the carnal mind, which he says is "enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Then Paul goes on to tell us he has discovered a right law, a spiritual law, a law after the inward man, which he delights in, and which when served, is a law of life and peace. He sees prophetically that this higher law of intelligence, when understood and obeyed, will unite all humanity in Christ, all becoming "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ."
God's Spiritual Law is Christian Science
It is the purpose of this lecture to show that God is the only Mind, and also to show wherein God's spiritual laws are a simple discovery, how they are simple, natural, and beneficent, and how they can now, and must inevitably, supersede the carnal mind or human will, and all human ways and means.
Christian Science makes it clear that if eighteen hundred years ago St. Paul could have had a positive spiritual awakening as to the distinction between spiritual sense and the carnal senses, it surely is high time to-day that this distinction was correctly understood, the experience daily repeated, and the simple rules applied to the conquering of all forms of disease and sin.
Spiritual Receptivity of Children
Jesus said: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." The mind of a child is open, trusting, simple, and loving. The child-thought is pure, happy, and honest. It is good ground, and you can say to a child that God is Spirit, that He is Mind, and that He is All-in-all, and therefore matter and evil must be errors and must be nothing, and the child will not resist the thought, but will at once have simple faith in the fact. What is more, the child will so far accept the truth of it, that he will quickly prove it by wiping out some thought of fear, sickness, or sin. Try this any time with a young child and see. The happy and healthy children in the large Christian Science Sunday Schools attest amply the evidence of this truth.
To me, the teachings of Christian Science have seemed from the first simple and natural, and I attribute it to the fact that I was taught its truths when I was a lad, when I was quite ready to accept them.
Purity and Simplicity of the Child-Thought
The eminent French scientist, Fabre, has written: "Nature is a riddle, without a definite solution to satisfy man's curiosity. Hypothesis follows hypothesis; the theoretical rubbish heap accumulates, and truth ever eludes us. To know how not to know, might well be the last word of wisdom." Here a little child, who has never known, whose rubbish heap of theory has not accumulated, whose spiritual sense is unclouded, can come at once in his thought to spiritual truth, can feel it and express it. And therefore Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 68), "Only the thought educated away from it [Christian Science] finds it abstract or difficult to perceive."
When Jesus wrought wonderful cures of the blind and lame in the temple, the children received it, and cried, "Hosanna to the son of David," at which the chief priests and scribes were sore displeased, but Jesus said to them, "Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" A little child has not been educated away from God Spirit, and he is able to receive spiritual thoughts. The child-consciousness is far less material or carnal. It has not as yet been educated in theoretical material law. The material sense of the child is dormant and undeveloped, and his natural spiritual sense drinks in thoughts about Spirit, divine Mind, Love, and true nature. Christian Science teaches that education of the right sort is most essential, but that the development of thoughts in young or old which only lead away from Spirit, God, are merely material, speculative theories about man and the universe, originating in ignorance or sin, and ultimating in sin, sickness, and death. To know how not to know these false material theories can be said to be the solution of the French scientist's riddle, the actual last word of wisdom. These theories of life and intelligence in matter the child instantly feels are inconsistent, he instinctively feels they are error, and he receives simply without opposition the teaching that the kingdom of Spirit is All-in-all, and thus his consciousness becomes a reflector of God's spiritual law.
So it is observed that a normal child is not afraid. If left to his own instincts, he fears not man nor beast, sin, disease, nor death. He is trusting, hopeful, healthy, and happy, and if this child were only allowed to continue innocent and ignorant of material cause and effect, he would mature strong and vigorous, joyous and free.
Truth Available to All
But what is to be done for the adult, that one who, like St. Paul, is bound and bowed down by the beliefs, the customs, the habits, and laws of the carnal mind? What is to be done for that one who is existing in daily fear of disaster, of failure, loss, disease, and death? Surely, absolute Truth must sometime become just as simple, as available and inevitable to the one who seems more materially minded, and there must come a time when he will, like the prodigal son, turn from his husks and will awaken.
The discernment of the true idea of God and of man, Christian Science shows, is an individual experience, a process of awakening and development, Mrs. Eddy writes in "Science and Health with Key in the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science (p. 556), "Mortal mind must waken to spiritual life before it cares to solve the problem of being, hence the author's experience; but when that awakening comes, existence will be on a new standpoint." If the child starts in the race unhandicapped with false education, the extra burden or baggage borne by the adult can readily be laid off. Each individual must inevitably undertake this task — a joyous, buoyant, expectant, and inspiring experience; and eventually he will be successful.
Mrs. Eddy's Awakening and Discovery
The search after Truth was undertaken by a lone woman over sixty years ago. Mary Baker Eddy had come up out of great tribulation. She had borne an unusually heavy cross, and had washed her robes white in bitter trials and self-sacrifices. With the pure heart of a child, single-handed she clove her way through a jungle of carnal-minded theories, laws, and customs, surmounting mountain after mountain of opposition. She never wavered, and her steadfast faith in spiritual things was rewarded, for one day during the year 1866, after an accident the doctors called fatal, she opened her Bible, and as she read, the light of eternal Truth dawned upon her consciousness, and she was healed of the disorder. The discovery that restored her to strength and health was the simple metaphysical fact that if like produces only like, the logical truth of being must be that since God is Spirit or Mind, and All-in-all, as the Bible teaches, then Spirit never created aught unlike Spirit. Therefore, if God, good, is the only creator, the divine Mind, Spirit, must be the only substance, and that which God creates never could be anything but mental, spiritual, and eternal. Hence man and the universe are now and always will be spiritual and perfect; are ideas of God, His reflection, a substance which is as tangible and real to spiritual sense as is the metaphysical fact that two plus two is four. This revelation dawning upon Mrs. Eddy's consciousness was quickly followed by the inevitable conclusion, namely, that no opposite substance or thought could be real or true; therefore, the substance called matter, and beliefs called sin and evil, must be false, having no real existence or power.
Let us learn about it from her own words in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures " (p. 108): "When apparently near the confines of mortal existence, standing already within the shadow of the death-valley, I learned these truths in divine Science; that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present; that the opposite of Truth, — called error, sin, sickness, disease, death, — is the false testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter; that this false sense evolves, in belief, a subjective state of mortal mind which this same so-called mind names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit. My discovery, that erring, mortal, misnamed mind produces all the organism and action of the mortal body, set my thoughts to work in new channels, and led up to my demonstration of the proposition that Mind is All and matter is naught as the leading factor in Mind-science."
These conclusions, it will be found, are incontrovertible, and are in perfect accord with the most inspired utterances in the Bible. Jesus said, "Doth this offend you? . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh [or matter] profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Said Paul, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." And again said Paul, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. . . . Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Then Jesus made that remarkable impersonal statement, "Ye are of your father the devil [or evil]. . . . He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Acquaintance with Mrs. Eddy
It was my great privilege to know Mrs. Eddy personally and intimately. From 1896 to 1910 I saw her and conversed with her repeatedly, and eighteen months of this time I was a member of her household. Mrs. Eddy was always a consistent Christian Scientist. To my best knowledge and belief, she practiced what she believed and taught. Enemies of Christ Jesus believed about him what they wished, and even called him a glutton and a wine bibber. Why? Because he opposed these very evils in themselves, and continually rebuked the willful and materially minded. It will ever be thus. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." To-day those oppose Mrs. Eddy, and perhaps would overthrow her church and her Cause, because they will not be subject to the law of God. Human will or the carnal mind thinks it must be a dictator, a personal power.
My first visit to Mrs. Eddy in 1896, after leaving the business world, when I was invited by her to come to Pleasant View, Concord, New Hampshire, was to me a never-to-be-forgotten experience. As a business man, and as an open-minded searcher for truth, I approached Mrs. Eddy honestly and fairly. Her sweet, gracious, and motherly manner; her youthful, graceful, and dignified bearing; her remarkable poise, keenness, and intelligence quickly set at naught any suggestions to the contrary which may have been lingering in my thought, evil rumors sown abroad by the ambitious and jealous-minded, which were more rife at that period than to-day. I may say I was particularly impressed by the impersonal handling of the questions asked her. She attacked no men or persons, and I came away from that visit with the conviction that Mrs. Eddy was guided in her wisdom by a mind not merely her own, but as I afterwards better understood, by the one divine Mind or divine Principle of man's being.
Let me add this, that Mrs. Eddy was never one whom any persons could influence, no matter how close they might be to her. She understood the human will and its carnal mesmerism, and she invariably turned to divine Principle, God, for her direction and for her healing. It would be impossible to conceive of Mrs. Eddy employing for herself aught but spiritual means. This was shown conclusively to me one night while I was living in her home, a time when she was under an especially burdensome stress. Her helpers at the moment did not seem ready spiritually to relieve her. and it seemed she would not be with us in the morning. In her extremity, she did not turn to opiates or narcotics or drugs of any kind. She turned to her Bible. It opened at the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, and she read these words. "[Love] beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." The next morning, when she appeared, as well and keen as usual, she said that when she read that healing verse, she realized that she did not have to bear burdens, that Love lifted them all, and then the mesmerism broke and she was free.
Christian Science Permanent and Irresistible
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the reality of but one life, truth, intelligence, and substance naturally has evoked stubborn opposition from the material world. For nearly fifty years I myself have witnessed this antagonism flare up, bitterly attack, condemn, or silently scorn the pure and consistent teachings of Christian Science. But as wise old Gamaliel said, "If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." And Christian Science has not come to nought, but has proved its divine source and power. But the antagonisms of mortal mind have come to nought — the proud, selfish carnal mind, for revilings, persecution, and all manner of evil said falsely against Christian Science have only caused it to be blessed, and to multiply and be more investigated, until it has spread irresistibly over the world, bringing its healing and redeeming message alike to high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant.
Faith Must Become Understanding
And now what are a few more of the truths which make Christian Science distinctive from every other religion, doctrine, and theory? Christian Science shows that faith cannot stop at mere belief, for at that point faith is without anchorage, and is blind. Being blind, it at times wavers, and cannot cope with stubborn material laws and with sin. Therefore faith must develop into understanding. Understanding does not swing back and forth as does blind faith, but is governed by divine Principle and definite rules, which always can be demonstrated. Understanding is just as simple as faith, when the rules of spiritual understanding become clear and plain. A child with simple faith can move much, but as the child is taught and gains spiritual understanding, demonstration over every material law, and over every phase of disease and sin, becomes possible.
Falsity of Material Sense
Mrs. Eddy discovered that what shuts out the true sense of Spirit, God, is material sense, and it is evident that whatever shuts out God has no relation to God, and must therefore be false. This false sense or evil sense evolves matter, sin, sickness, death, she discovered; hence the liar and the lie are one and the same, and are denominated mortal mind, or the very carnal mind with which Paul battled. Jesus called this false sense, or sense of evil, a murderer and a liar from the beginning. The false material sense which mortals accept and obey is anything but simple, for it continually leads mortals into confusion, darkness, discord, suffering, and death. Why should any sensible person desire to be left alone in this misery and unhappiness? Material beliefs and matter evolve a complexity of life which is vanity and vexation of spirit, the very reverse of that which is really simple and harmonious.
We have now learned that Mrs. Eddy discovered and elucidated a divine Principle and rules, through the understanding of which we may proceed from belief to faith, and from faith to spiritual understanding; namely, we have discovered through divine law that material sense testimony is false, because it is not created by Spirit, God. And being false, all its beliefs about life, substance, and intelligence are false. Did not Paul write, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him"? And did not Paul further say that "the natural man [the material man] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, became they are spiritually discerned"? So, my friends, step by step I trust you will be led into the understanding of eternal truths revealed by Christian Science, simple truths because they are natural, unchanging, practical, and all powerful.
Practical Application through Right Thinking
And now we come to the practical application of the truth, which is simply a process of right thinking, and right thinking is right prayer. To think rightly each day about God, man, and the universe, is to live daily a life of right prayer, and to obtain daily bountiful blessings. Instead of believing in the vague, confusing and contradictory testimony of material sense, from which springs all sickness, discord, and sin, Christian Science shows us bow to lift our thoughts higher and apart from this false sense of existence. We are taught to affirm the allness and all-power of Spirit, divine Mind. Then the things (thoughts) which God, divine Love, Spirit, prepares for those who love Him, will be born in our thoughts. This hungering and thirsting after righteousness, this right affirmation about God and man, will enable us to reflect the Mind which was in Christ Jesus. This right affirmation of Truth, Christian Science shows, must be coupled with a right denial of error, and if we have faith in our honest claims, this denying will be easy and natural. And thus material sense is repudiated emphatically and thoroughly, until its false beliefs of fear and sickness, sin and death, are annihilated and disappear.
Jesus and the Christ-Idea
In this enlightened age, does this process of right thinking appeal to you as dark and difficult? It should not, for according to the teachings of Christian Science, it means the inevitable coming of the Christ, the true idea of God. Jesus plainly prophesied this coming of the Christ, Truth, which animated him, when he said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; . . . and he will shew you things to come." Thus according to Jesus, and according to Christian Science and its spiritual revelation, the Christ was more than the human Jesus. Christ was the idea of Truth which animated Jesus. Jesus was born of Mary, the best and most spiritually minded man who ever lived. The Christ was and is born of God, Spirit. This true idea of God comes through right thinking to human consciousness, and destroys evil thoughts, sick thoughts, thoughts of fear, of confusion, thoughts of lack, proud and willful thoughts, and all material sense that leads to discord, disaster and death.
Simplicity and Practicality of Prayer
And thus the meaning of prayer is simplified and made practical by Christian Science; prayer that is a seeking after what is right and best, and no person should honestly want other than what is best for all, or good for all. Now right thinking about another person will do vastly more for that person than you may know. If a right affirmation of Truth, and a right denial of error will change our own thoughts about fear, lack, and disease, think a moment, and you will see that, the same thoughts of infinite Truth reflected toward the error in someone else's thought will similarly reach that thought, and improve it. Why? Because divine Truth is infinite, and needs only to be mentally realized and reflected to reach all human consciousness that is open to it, and so cast out the darkness of error. It should be understood, however, that Christian Scientists never try to influence the thoughts of others, except when treatment is requested.
Does not this opportunity and ability to obtain an answer to your prayers appeal to you? Right thinking about God and man, and about spiritual sense and material sense, everyone some day will find is a simple process. Doubt, fear, or human will have no place in true prayer, because God is Love, to be loved and proved, not feared. Prayer is an individual demonstration of divine Principle, the will of God, Christian Science shows. It is the affirmation of the truth of being, and a denial of error, and this constitutes a Christian Science treatment. In this way real harmony is brought to pass in our lives, and health and abundance of good are demonstrated by each individual, and are not these the signs of true prayer? Is not this rule of prayer the one Jesus taught when he said, "Therefore take no thought, saying. What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . . But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Wrong and Right Viewpoint
In this endeavor to persuade you to see God, Christ, Jesus, man, prayer, the Bible, matter, sin, healing, and salvation as Christian Science reveals them, we recognize that mortals have different viewpoints. If you were wholly satisfied with your own view-point, probably you would not be here. Dissatisfaction with the old is like a wedge, a good wedge which widens our thought, and if the thought be honest and fair, it is the good ground which receives the seeds of Truth and brings forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. But look out for the thorns and stony places, as Jesus admonished, which are evil thoughts, or wrong thoughts. There are four evil thoughts, which seem particularly inclined to snatch away the good seed before it has taken root. These four I am going to call to your attention. They are procrastination, pride, fear, and ingratitude.
Certain Four Wrong Thoughts
To frustrate these wrong thoughts, these subtle enemies to mortals' highest progress, a daily rousing of one's thought, and an awakened and persistent determination, are necessary. That wrong thought "procrastination" will cause you, if it can, to put off and put off the further investigation now of this subject. Every Christian Science church has a free Reading Room, where the public can go quietly, and think, and read, and become informed, and obtain Christian Science literature. Every church has some member or many members, male or female, or both, who are public practitioners, and to whom you can go with equal trust to obtain treatment and advice in Christian Science. Free public lectures, like this one, are frequently given by the Christian Science churches and societies. Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings are regularly held, and the Lesson-Sermon which you will hear read on Sunday by a First and a Second Reader, and the many spontaneous, grateful testimonies given on Wednesday evenings, are so sincere, joyous, and impersonal as to be most inspiring.
Do not allow that other evil thought called "pride" to limit and sidetrack you in your honest progress. Pride, I believe, is the most subtle of the four evils mentioned, for behind pride is generally a selfishness, a self-will and self consciousness, which hold one back with a false sensitiveness, which is narrow, unprogressive, and limiting.
How Fear Is Banished
As for fear and ingratitude, a day might be employed in recounting the blessings Christian Science brings by helping us to conquer these foes of human happiness. If Christian Science did nothing more than help mortals to overcome fear, that hobgoblin of imagination and darkness, it would be a great boon to the human race. Fear is found to be the cause of much of all sickness, discord, and death. It is now said confidently that the cause of the late world war was fear. Fear about death and the future, fear about disease and suffering, about contagion and accident, fear about supply and occupation, about family trouble. I know a good man who is an expert gardener, who will freely handle all kinds of shrubs, plants, and flowers, and yet he is afraid of a pretty little ivy vine that decorates fences and trees and the ground. And I know a good woman who came along one day, and with her bare hands removed from a tree a quantity of this same humble ivy, and like Paul and the viper, she emerged unharmed. Her fearlessness and trust in good protected her. It is a travesty on mortal courage that this same good gardener, will much to his annoyance, hurry home to stay with his wife, should at any time heavy clouds gather and lower and threaten. His wife is afraid of thunder and lightning. You can fear dogs and cats and insects; you can fear heat, cold, and darkness, and even fear your own shadow. Shadow, yes, in fact all fears are but shadows, or a mist veiling one's clear sense of man and life. An understanding of the Principle and rules of Christian Science dispels this mist or mystification, and reveals the true sense of man, his eternal life in divine Mind, his unchanging strength, his inexhaustible supply of wealth and health, and realizing this, what becomes of fear? Fear is found to be only a suggestion of error, a false belief of life, intelligence, and substance in matter. Step by step Christian Science helps one to dispel error with Truth, and thus fear, ignorance, and sin are overcome in our lives, and health and harmony inevitably prevail.
Foundation of All Sickness
"Fear, ignorance, or sin," Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 411), is "the procuring cause and foundation of all sickness." The cause of all disease is found to be, not matter, not the flesh, not blood, nerves, nor germs, but material sense or belief, from which proceeds fear, ignorance, and sin. Should we not be grateful that Christian Science has come in the fullness of time to show mortals how to reverse this false belief, how to supplant it with thoughts of spiritual sense, right thoughts? And when the cause of disease and death is obliterated, the good effects in strength and vigor must inevitably follow.
True Healing Is Glorifying God
A critic says, "Christian Science denies the existence of pain and disease. How then can we glorify God by claiming that He cured disease which doesn't exist? Must we not have a thing before we can be cured of it?" I trust the lecture already has answered this question. Christian Science does not deny that pain and disease exist to material carnal consciousness. The sense of disease and pain is quite real to that consciousness, but is that consciousness real or is it false? That is the point. I trust we have shown that it is false, and that God created only what is like Him. What the divine Mind knows, and is conscious of, is the only presence, power, or reality. Christian Science teaches that God does not have to know sin in order to destroy that error; likewise disease. If he knew sin or disease, they would be a part of His creation, a reflection of Him, and they would then be eternal. Is it not simple for us to see that while disease, pain, and sin seem real to a temporal, darkened, material sense, these beliefs do not exist to spiritual sense? Then is it not a simple fact that in the proportion we claim our God-given heritage and dominion, to this extent false beliefs, sin, disease, and discord vanish from our thoughts, and thus God is properly glorified and magnified.
Christian Science Healing Is Permanent
It should be evident that Christian Science healing goes far deeper than material methods of healing can do. Those healed by material means may soon relapse back into old beliefs and conditions, because they are healed merely by faith in matter, and the trouble cannot be thus removed. Matter or drugs do not heal, for they have no intelligence or life. Belief in matter, or faith in some person, may change the current of thought, and thus a belief in health or in strength brings a degree of healing. Science and Health says (p. 169): "The good that a poisonous drug seems to do is evil, for it robs man of reliance on God, omnipotent Mind, and according to belief, poisons the human system. . , . It is mortal mind, not matter, which brings to the sick whatever good they may seem to receive from materiality. But the sick are never really healed except by means of the divine power. Only the action of Truth, Life, and Love can give harmony."
Therefore Christian Science shows that true healing, wherein the mental cause of all disease is fully cast out, whether the cause affecting the person be fear, ignorance, or sin, is permanent healing, and cannot relapse; the person remains healed, for he cannot return to that which is dead and plucked up by the roots.
Sin Wholly Unmasked and Denounced
But still it has been said that some persons healed by Christian Science are not thoroughly healed, or some persons treated by Christian Science are not healed at all. Yes, and so it was with Jesus and his cures. A few were not healed as quickly as others, because, as Jesus said, of their lack of faith. "According to your faith be it unto you," said he. To-day, as then, Christian Science shows, they who cling stubbornly to sin will continue to pay sin's penalty, and be punished. Pride, ingratitude, greed, selfishness, hatred, resentment, bitterness, temper, lust, dishonesty, etc., are states of mental deformity which breed fear and disease, and hold fast to these conditions.
Christian Science goes the whole way into the nature and mystery of sin, as no other system or religion can do. It shows up sin as mesmeric suggestions, which claim more power as they become more willfully aggressive. Christian Science teaches how to unmask and denounce the unseen forms and methods of evil or sin. In our ignorance or in our apathy, we may feel a false security, like the ostrich with his head in the sand, but Christian Science arouses the dreamer from this self-mesmerism, and teaches him to be awake to error, and to realize the oneness and allness of the divine Mind. It shows him how by realizing this omnipotence of the one Mind, a belief that there is any other mind or channel for evil suggestion is cast out, and when such beliefs are rightly repudiated, they cannot then harm anyone, Evil thoughts and purposes are thus made null and void, and sinful suggestions, dispossessed of their seeming power, can only destroy themselves. Systems called hypnotism, suggestive therapeutics, mental science, mind cure, faith cure, and spiritualism, are the very opposite of Christian Science.
Christian Science Complete and Intact
During the long time in which I have been interested in Christian Science, I have witnessed the rise and fall of many movements intended to displace or replace Christian Science, but that which is of men naturally comes to nought. These impotent attempts, without exception, have been proved to be willful, egotistical, and dishonest, and in time the error has destroyed itself. Christian Science has stood alone in its complete revelation and discovery, and must forever thus stand in order to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Human attempts to augment Christian Science, or to combine other systems, or so-called new revelations, with the pure teachings of Christian Science, at once indicate a lack of spiritual understanding, and guidance by divine Principle, and such innovations and extravagances always have and always will find their dead level.
Real Remedy for Self-indulgences
The position of Christian Scientists must ever be one of adherence solely to divine Principle, the oneness of divine Mind, and it must be a continual guarding against the down pull of personal sense. This selfish sense, which covets place and power, this carnal sense which claims freedom to willfully indulge so-called pleasant but poisonous suggestions, shown in the drinking of intoxicants, the using of tobacco, and the social extremes of the day, is dealt with wisely and effectively by the teachings of Christian Science. Christian Science does not say harshly, "Thou shall not," but uses Jesus' method, and says, Blessed are ye if ye abide in the truth. That is to say, when one's thoughts are governed by divine Principle, whatever one needs in order to be rightly supplied, and to rightly progress, will be given him.
Christian Scientists believe fully in loyally obeying the laws of the land, and that the Eighteenth Amendment is a wise and just law for the protection and good of all. Christian Science teaches that the whole question is ultimately an individual one, and that Christ Jesus pointed the true way. Christian Science goes to the root of the tree to remove the evil, knowing this can never be done by lopping off its branches.
In the early days when our Cause was young, and I held the office of First Reader in a branch church in New York City, I was invited one day to attend a monthly gathering of young ministers, called the Young Ministers' Club. Nearly all denominations were represented, and the subject for that day was, "The Poor Man's Club, or the Saloon Back Door Problem of New York City." The Christian Scientist guest was welcomed pleasantly. When the speaking began, member after member arose and told of his own unsuccessful efforts to reform some drunkard. Failure after failure was related. Remedies were proposed, but as I sorrowfully listened, the methods seemed to me like lopping off the limbs of a tree to destroy its roots. At the close of the speaking, someone asked that their guest be invited to give his views. This I was very glad to do, and I began by relating several notable demonstrations of healing of habitual drunkards. I explained that Christian Science had healed these cases only by going to the root of the trouble, and through realization of the allness of the one Mind, the patient's mental state had been changed from a selfish love of intoxicants to a normal healthy distaste for them. Thus the wrong sense of pleasure was cast out, and the reform was permanent. When I finished speaking, to my surprise there was general and hearty applause, and before the meeting ended, again to my surprise, the Christian Scientist was unanimously voted a member of the club.
Way to Kingdom of Heaven
"Wherefore," admonishes the Bible, "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing [the unclean thought]; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Members of The Mother Church and of branch churches love to obey this wise injunction to come out from material thoughts and be separate, knowing it to be the only way to the kingdom of righteousness, the kingdom of harmony, of heaven. It is said that Christian Scientists must be broad-minded. Yes, they must; but they know also that they must be single-minded, and come out and be separate from those suggestions from the self-indulgent carnal mind, which would impede their progress in Christian Science. Their eyes are open also to those suggestions which would separate, sometimes in the wrong way, that is, the mesmerism which would separate from each other, good, honest, devoted workers, when each knows that the enemy is not personal, but impersonal. They know that what needs to be done is to separate the evil from the real individual, to blot out the former and love the latter, and thus be able to unite shoulder to shoulder in the oneness of Mind, and all together press on patiently to real demonstration and progress.
Gratitude, Joy, and Blessedness
Christian Scientists are grateful, and need to be joyously so, to foil error, and to prevent "ingratitude" from snatching away the good seed. But how can God's children fail to be grateful and joyous when they count their blessings, and remember all that God hath prepared for them that love Him, for, as the Apostle says, "He hath prepared for them a city," here and now, a heavenly consciousness, and there is no night there, no carnal mind, no material sense, no fear, no sin, disease, nor death. "For," said Paul, "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost [joy in Christian Science]."
[Delivered Sept. 16, 1929 at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Peekskill, New York, and published in The Highland Democrat of Peekskill, Sept. 20, 1929.]