Christian Science: Salvation Through Spiritual Sense
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
Christian Science was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy fifty-two years ago. Thirteen years after the discovery the first "Church of Christ, Scientist," was organized in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then nearly eighteen hundred organized churches or societies have been established over the world, forty-one cities each containing two churches or societies, and twenty-four other cities each containing from three to eighteen churches or societies. At the Wednesday evening meetings held in these churches and societies over ten thousand people each week publicly and voluntarily bear grateful testimony to the healing and regenerative benefits they have received through Christian Science. Scores of additional carefully authenticated testimonies appear weekly and monthly in the Christian Science Sentinel and The Christian Science Journal. If these are some of the present fruits of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy asks in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 349), "what will the harvest be, when this Science is more generally understood?"
Discoverer and Founder
I first met Mary Baker Eddy twenty-two years ago, when, on leaving the business world to embark in the practice of Christian Science, she invited me to visit her at her home in Concord, N. H. In those early days there were conflicting stories afloat about Mrs. Eddy, and so I decided to keep on, as it were, my "business spectacles," look at her through them, and thus not be fooled by any possible personal influence. Great was my relief and satisfaction on meeting a person who did not at all accord with what I had heard. I found myself in the presence of a person of marked gentleness and refinement, whose manner was quiet, modest and deeply sincere, who spoke with great earnestness, continually referring to God with such unusual trust and conviction that my thought soon left her personality and did not return to it. I discovered that instead of her human personality dominating me, something entirely above the human was governing Mrs. Eddy, and in turn strongly impressing me. I remember she answered some difficult questions, and her simple, unhesitating, strong, and certain manner convinced me that she was not depending upon her mortal self or human will for knowledge, but that her wisdom was the outcome of her implicit spiritual faith in God. Those who knew Mrs. Eddy best never had but one opinion about her absolute reliance upon the divine Mind for every daily move. I may add, merely in the way of confirmation, that in after years it was my privilege for a period of time to be a member of Mrs. Eddy's household, when I possessed every opportunity of watching her dally habits, which I found to be as honest and consistent in spiritual guidance and practice as were the fruits in abundant and beneficent results. What I then witnessed confirmed what had gradually been formulating in my consciousness, namely, that spiritual Truth has always been revealed to those who were most spiritually minded, and that Mrs. Eddy's natural love for God and His laws enabled her to understand and reveal both to this age. And so what I then saw answered conclusively to me an old question. Was Mrs. Eddy commissioned by God or by man? And if by God, can God make a mistake? Gratitude opens the door to spiritual understanding, whereas harsh judgment closes this door. Gratitude for the lives of great people, rather than opposition to their work and doctrine, constitutes the open door to spiritual understanding. History shows that those who profited most through the unselfish and noble lives of great men and women were those who were most deeply touched by a sense of gratitude for those lives. Noble motives will prepare one's thought for spiritual discovery, and thereafter the honesty and verity of Mrs. Eddy's great discovery will never be doubted.
There are in the world today, as there always have been, many diversities of human opinions or points of view. Once succeed in changing a person's point of view and you give him a wholly different outlook, as when you change his point of view from west to south or from west to east. Suppose a person, who, from birth had been taught to wear blue glasses and to view the world through them, after twenty-five years of continual use of blue glasses, were told that everything is not blue but white and gold and green and brown, it would be difficult for him at once to credit the truth and change his way of thinking. If he were told to take off those useless and disfiguring glasses and have a look at things as they really are, he would reply, "You are mistaken, I have always seen the world this way, and so has every one else I know. Of course the world is blue, and not green and brown and white and gold." That person's point of view would need to be changed. It is certain he saw everything wrongly, but was ignorant of it.
Most persons today are wearing "blue glasses" and do not know it. These are mental glasses through which they see the world, not as it really is and was created, but as their educated point of view has made it to them, and according to prevailing opinion, they will insist on seeing it so until they take off their "blue glasses" and change their point of view. Changing their point of view will change everything for them, and if their new viewpoint be correct, the outcome will be an ever increasing degree of harmony, health and happiness. Only proof and demonstration, however, convince us which point of view is right and which is wrong. Words only serve to awaken us and show the way.
There is little difference of opinion about the fact that mortals need a clearer way and a truer point of view. All agree that the world seems to be about as full today as ever of sin and fear, hatred and jealousy, impurity and disease, vanity and selfishness, and that calamities, tumults, and wars have not substantially decreased up to the present hour. Surely it is too late now to believe that the cause of these evils can be traced to the great source of infinite purity and goodness, the one eternal and immutable Spirit, called God. Surely intelligent people do not any longer believe that God is the cause of human discord and suffering, any more than they believe that the principle of mathematics is the cause of the failures of pupils to understand and prove its unchanging rules. As ignorant sense of the rules prevents the principle of mathematics being correctly proved, and just so, it is today discovered by all fair-minded persons who have removed their "blue glasses" that it is an ignorant material sense of God and His spiritual rules, which results in fear and disease, selfishness, war, calamity and death. The way of health and harmony, the way of true prayer and salvation, lies along the pathway of a right understanding. This right understanding comes through the study and practice of Christian Science, and in the measure that it is attained it constitutes a spiritual sense of God. The chief purpose of this lecture is to consider and, so far as the time allotted and the speaker's ability permit, to reveal this true sense in contradistinction to the claims and evidence of the false material sense or the material point of view.
When, as a business man, I attended my first Christian Science meetings and understood very little of the talks which went clear over my head, I determined that if ever in the future I spoke publicly upon the subject, I would couch my remarks, as it were, in the plain language of the street, so that the business man and other people could comprehend Christian Science. But as one's thought changes from the material viewpoint to the spiritual, the latter becoming more and more natural and simple, one is inclined to forget these early resolutions. Besides, as the spiritual idea is so exactly opposite to the material belief, it is difficult always to express the higher idea in ordinary material terms so as to make it comprehensible from the material point of view. Jesus once said, "No man putteth new wine into old bottles." He used parables and similitudes to help reveal the spiritual idea. We are therefore confronted with the happy task of attempting to change your thought about matter and evil by the employment first of human reason, afterward depending upon divine revelation and demonstration awakening in your thought the true spiritual idea of God, man, and the universe.
A friend of mine once said, "I recognize the power of the human mind over the body, and I recognize matter also." Matter is actually the greatest humbug in the world, as the world will sometime discover. Probably no other kind of ghost has fooled so many people, or deceived them so badly. Paraphrasing the saying of a famous American, matter may fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but it can no longer fool all of the people all of the time. To the five material senses, matter seems to be very real, but matter is not at all what it seems to be; material scientists will tell you this. Its claim of possessing life or intelligence or substance is now found to be absolutely false. Under increasingly powerful magnifying glasses its nature as substance continuously changes, and its original form and character are reduced to the minute forms called ions and electrons, and the latter in turn are reduced to what practically is material energy or mind. Here material science finds itself halted by a great gulf, which it never will be able to bridge and continue farther with material reasoning or material knowledge. Under a very strong magnifying glass the particles of matter are seen to be constantly changing and moving about, as though at war with each other. This is actually the fact, and it has been taught in the schools that the material body undergoes a complete renewal once in seven years. This period of time has in recent years been gradually reduced, an eminent French scientist, Camille Flammarion, reducing the time by more than one half, and quite recently a scientist has announced that this bodily change takes place once in two months. If this be a fact, it makes a total of just six distinct material bodies that you and I have exhibited during the past year. And we would ask, by the way, what has become of those so-called chronic diseases which you thought you had two, four, or six months ago? Surely they were not in the matter.
And so matter is discovered through human reasoning to be quite a different substance from what it appears to the material senses to be, and to possess no life or no intelligence of its own. And as material energy or mind, it is found to possess a very false sense of life and intelligence. Then it must follow that if the matter has no life or intelligence of its own, it can have no sensation. Matter as flesh or blood, nerves or arteries, cannot ache, swell, harden, or be diseased; matter can form no opinion or report no message, for it is found to be a dream substance, which seems very real but which is not. Nonintelligent matter is not a lawmaker nor a lawbreaker, for as it is without mind, it can impose no laws whatever upon man. Matter is said to be largely impregnated with germs and microbes. Bad germs are said to cause disease and good germs to be necessary for health. As matter is found to be unintelligent and unreal, there can be no bad germs or good germs; then there is nothing to fear or honor in this direction.
As for the five material senses through which mortal mind substantiates matter, these five senses are correspondingly fallacious and ephemeral. Matter having no intelligence cannot of itself see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. Innumerable illustrations could be cited proving that the material eyes do not see, nor the material organism of the ear hear, etc. Hundreds of times daily you do not see what the eyes are looking at, because the thought has been distracted by something else. Dreams are splendid illustrations to prove this. Eyeglasses, which are carefully placed outside before the eyes, should be fitted to the thought, and not to senseless matter. Just so with the hearing. A few minutes ago your ears did not hear that noise on the street, simply because your ears did not hear. Your thought or consciousness was on and hearing this lecture. Many times while eating a meal, sometimes of many courses, if your thought be distracted by absorbing conversation, you will taste little or nothing you have eaten. Does not all this prove that your consciousness of sight, your consciousness of hearing, taste, is the only sight and hearing and taste that you have, and until you learn the truth about sensation, this consciousness is mortal mind and not matter.
Mortal mind is nothing more or less than the false belief that there is life, intelligence, and substance in matter. What is left of mortal mind after all its false material beliefs have been exposed and reversed? It will not have a foot left to stand upon. Its fraudulent character will be laid bare to the world. Its finite, limited, self-centred beliefs are without Principle, therefore constitute selfishness, and from these selfish wilful thoughts proceed the sins and evils of the world. And, in turn, from these sins and errors proceed all the discord, disease, and death which afflict mortals. Did not St. Paul call death "the wages of sin?" Jesus denounced the devil, or evil, as a liar and the father of lies. A lie was never the truth, and can never reverse the truth, but Truth uncovers a lie and destroys it. Thus it is discovered that sin and evil, in other words, mortal mind never had a real origin or existence, is really not mind, but is simply error of belief. Now let it be understood that it is not the painful sensations of this false material sense which makes it subtle or dangerous, but rather its pleasant sensations. But that kind of sensation which inevitably results by reason of its falsity, its mental discord and suffering is not a permanent and satisfying pleasure. Therefore it is not a pleasure to gratify the false, deceiving senses, but it is a pleasure to master and overcome them.
And so we turn from the falsity to the reality. Dreams in sleep, no matter how real or alluring they may seem, do not get us anywhere. We must awake and be quickened to make progress. The only way to reason away error is to demonstrate the truth. Human consciousness awakened to the truth will cause error to fall back upon and destroy itself. Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." God is Spirit, as the Bible teaches, and Christian Science reveals that He is the only Spirit, or Mind. But how to be quickened by God, especially in the hour of trial, is the question. The Scriptures declare that God is too pure to behold iniquity, and that a falsity cannot be beholden by the divine Truth is now quite apparent. Then if God, Spirit, cannot be seen or approached through material senses, through what human avenue can He be reached and His infinite blessings be bestowed? The answer to this preeminent question should now be more simple. If God, the divine Mind, is to be reached through thought only, as many believe, what other channel of thought exists after the material has been eliminated?
There is scarcely a normally minded mortal who holds not daily some thoughts of truthfulness, sincerity, faith, hope, courage, affection, purity, honesty; in other words, some unselfish thoughts, which cannot be called material, but which point thought higher to a universal good. Every one knows that these and kindred thoughts bring satisfaction and happiness and lead to better things. Turning away from matter and self, moved by some motive for the universal good, is to touch the divine Principle of being, and is to gain some sense of Spirit, of God. This sense, which all normal mortals possess to some extent, even though they may be ignorant thereof, is known in Christian Science as spiritual sense, and it is the way through which man knows God, and is known by Him. Christian Science serves to awaken these thoughts and motives, and by means of them to educate and encourage until the spiritual sense of things is discerned and begins to be demonstrated or proved by overcoming the false evidence of the material senses, especially when that evidence is in the nature of fear, sin, and disease. Spirituality, or spiritual sense, may be thus awakened and may become a very common or general sense. In fact, the true sense of Spirit is real common sense, even as the sense of matter is found to be nonsense, and Christian Science is but another name for this common sense law of life. Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science in her "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1) as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."
The apostle John, than whom no disciple of Jesus made clearer the spiritual rules of life, said, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him." He that dwelleth in love, purity, honesty, unselfishness, knoweth God and is expressing God, whereas one whose thought is a channel for "the lust of flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father," as John declares, "but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." This "will of God" is known in Christian Science also as the will of Principle, the will of the one Mind, Truth, Life, and Love, for if the will of matter or the flesh is proved to be an erring sense forcing mortals into tormenting fears, incessant troubles, subtle sins, distressing disease, and direful death, then the will of divine Principle, when properly proved, produces the opposite results, and awakens mortals to moral courage, increasing purity, abounding health, unlimited harmony, and eternal Life.
Its Practical Application
Granting then, as all Christians do, that God is the one infinite Spirit, or Mind, the omnipotent All-in-all, the question arises, that all-absorbing practical question which vitally interests all mortals, How is this divine Principle of the allness of good to be applied in the lives of mortals? How is it to save us from the fears, wickedness, and suffering continually experienced in mortal life? Christian Science answers that as the means is plain, the method is equally so. To begin with, the reference already made to the pupil applying the principle and rules of mathematics to overcome error, is a fair illustration of how God and His spiritual laws should be applied in the minds of mortals to overcome there the errors of existence. The truth about the principle of mathematics dawns upon the striving thought of the pupil, and in this ratio the error disappears; just so, the truth about the infinite Principle of Life, God, the truth that Spirit is infinite and omnipotent, dawns upon the receptive thought, and exactly in the same ratio do the discordant and false material beliefs of life in matter vanish. In mathematics this is called demonstration, and it is called the same in Christian Science. To demonstrate the allness, omnipotence and perfection of divine Principle, therefore, becomes the whole duty of mankind, and in proportion as this is done, the lives of mortals are brought into harmony with God, and salvation and perfection are attained. No movement should be made, no work undertaken, no thought should be given to the body, no thought projected into consciousness, before it is first weighed by spiritual Truth and Love and not found wanting.
This method of believing and affirming with absolute certainty that God is just what the Bible implies Him to be, namely All-in-all, and believing, as Jesus taught, that the things one righteously asks for shall come to pass, indicates something of the true nature of prayer according to Christian Science. Proving the divine Principle of his being in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death is a practical and certain illustration of true prayer which should appeal to every earnest Christian. Instead of being prayerless, as some have imagined. Christian Scientists, in so far as they practice their Science, live lives of continual prayer. They pray morning, noon and night; they pray before they work, eat, or sleep. The Christian Scientist prays, not to beseech the infinite to grant some personal desire, or to inform the All-wisdom of something God does not already know, but he conscientiously affirms the truth of being, and denies the errors or belief, opens one door of his thought and shuts the other, until harmony, health, and peace are brought into and govern his consciousness and his prayer has been answered. This prayer is not, therefore, a blind belief in a personal deity, nor a wavering faith in a far-away mysterious God, but it is a faith which has advanced to spiritual understanding, and become settled, certain, and always available.
The Bible declares, "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Salvation does not follow a blind personal belief in a personal God or a personal savior; if it did, we should not be admonished to work out our own salvation, or be told, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things." This work of overcoming can only effectively be done according to a divine Principle and rule, and this Principle and rule must sooner or later be understood by each individual in order to "put off the old man with his deeds" and inhabit the kingdom of harmony. Blind faith is ignorant of sin and how to handle it; it knows not how to uncover and rebuke error, therefore this fatal omission prevents the answer to its prayers. Blind faith accomplishes some measure of good; good motives could hardly fail to reap some reward, but mental blindness, Mrs. Eddy explains, "clings fast to iniquity" (Science and Health, p. 448), and naught else than enlightened spiritual understanding will uncover and destroy the manifold delusions of sin, sickness, and death.
Disease and Its Remedy
Gaining an understanding of Spirit and the omnipotent power of spiritual laws, and an understanding of the false nature of matter and of mortal mind and material laws, the seeker is armed successfully to cope with any human discord. Is it then surprising that he should presume to attempt to heal disease as well as sin? What is disease that it should elude the minister and be assigned to the physician, and what is sin that it should defy the physician and be allotted to the minister? From whence originated both? From God? No, neither the one more than the other. Jesus' identical handling of sin and disease should long ago have convinced the world that they have an identical source. Centuries ago David wrote: "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities are afflicted. . . . Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he . . . sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." Christian Science has undeniably demonstrated that much of the so-called chronic and incurable disease is caused by hidden or wilful sin, and very few physicians today will contradict this. Then it is true that they both have their origin in thought; their cause cannot be in matter, since matter is nonintelligent. Their remedy is that power which will permanently heal the thought-cause, and this remedy is the Word of God scientifically understood, which in the words of the Bible, "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
My friends, to one who has proved this truth for over a quarter of a century, as I have done, and witnessed the Principle of Christian Science heal nearly every known disease and sin, this is not a theory but a fact. It can no longer be said, as was stated in the "Medical Record," that it is doubtful whether the sum total of diseases is any less than it was before the medical profession reached to its present high standing, and that "in the opinion of some medical men diseases are on the increase." Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 404), "Healing the sick and reforming the sinner are one and the same thing in Christian Science. Both cures require the same method and are inseparable in Truth." This cannot longer be doubted when spiritual sense versus material sense is clearly understood. Fear and sin, Christian Science teaches, are elements of all disease, and fear is the cause of the majority of human troubles. The understanding of Christian Science prevents fear and heals fear, and in this alone Christian Science is a priceless benefaction to the human race. Established on the rock of spiritual understanding, you will no longer fear "the fury of the oppressor," or what mortal man or mortal belief can do unto you, for possessing consciously the sense of divine reality and protection, "where is the fury of the oppressor?"
Fallacy of Human Will, Blind Faith
Christian Science teaches that the real power in the universe is necessarily Spirit, Mind, God, and that in the final analysis, whatever the temporary evidence may be to the contrary, there really cannot be any other power than God. If matter in its different forms cannot cure the sick, no more can its false and suppositional mental cause, mortal mind or human will, do so, both being the same in quality and powerless. The human will expresses the selfish, aggressive, and therefore false nature of mortal mind. This false mentality appears to control human beings and human destiny, but Christian Science shows that in proportion as the evidence of the material senses, when it testifies to sin, disease, or any discord, is questioned and rejected through an understanding gained only by Christian Science, then a higher sense of being, purely educational and more nearly spiritual, supplants the false control and establishes an improved condition of mind and body. How much better it is for any human being to educate himself in this, the spiritual way, than to follow the narrow, limited systems in vogue! Human experience shows that these do not tend to encourage and build up the better side of human character, and that the effect of mere mortal mind influence upon mortals is stupefying and degrading rather than elevating and inspiring. Human will has no more intelligence or power to heal the sick than matter has, for they are kindred and inseparable from the beginning. A falsity may seem at times to change another falsity, but this appearance is deceptive or mesmeric. In the words of Jesus, "the last state of that man is worse than the first." One error cannot destroy another error.
What is called the influence of the human will is aggressive, not Christian, and is known as mesmerism or hypnotism. It is the very opposite of the uplifting and strengthening nature of spiritual thought or divine Mind, which awakens, upbuilds, and regenerates. The healing action of Christian Science is the exact opposite of systems founded upon the use of blind faith and human will, and as the beliefs of mortal mind are legion, such systems are legion in name and variety. Departing in a degree from matter into the realm of mind, their methods would sometimes deceive the unwary, who may associate them with Christian Science, but material sense cannot possibly be related to spiritual sense, nor be a departure therefrom. This wide distinction must be clearly understood, as it will be in the proportion that the oneness and allness of divine Mind are discerned, and this Principle and operation of Christian Science are demonstrated. Then it no longer can be thought that the operation of Christian Science is the mere parrot-like act of saying there is no sickness, or that trouble is nothing. Sin and disease cannot permanently be cured by any such method of superficial and shallow suggestion. Suggestion is an implement of the human will, and does not destroy the cause of disease.
Operation of Christian Science
The operation of Christian Science in healing disease and overcoming sin is the action of the divine Mind, God, the Principle and power of the universe through good thoughts, that is, thoughts which, admitting that they have action and power, are equally good for everything and everybody in creation. These thoughts come to a human being through the study of Christian Science, and reveal this divine power which is omnipotent, and make this divine power available in proportion as it is understood and accepted by means of such thoughts. In this sense, and in this sense only, is the operation of Christian Science the operation of good thought on evil thought, true thought on error, and the effect is the same as the effect of an all-powerful positive upon its negative, as for instance, the effect of light upon darkness. As light is reflected from the sun and annihilates darkness, just so the qualities of divine Truth and Love are reflected by one's purified consciousness, and penetrate and destroy any dark, evil, diseased, or fearing condition of thought in human consciousness. It is the realization of the allness and omnipotence of Spirit or divine Mind which constitutes this spiritual reflection, and when spiritual reflection heals the sick or the sinner, error and evil are cast out, and the cause and the effect of the disease are then, and only then, fully and permanently destroyed. Spiritual reflection will uproot and entirely remove what wilful suggestion only smooths over or changes into a different evil form.
The relapse of disease and its continuance in new forms, a difficulty so prevalent and mysterious under material modes of treatment, is now understood, and such experiences are not possible when divine Principle has destroyed the evil thought-germs of mortal mind. It is also understood in Christian Science that acute, chronic, and organic forms of disease are only in essence more or less deeply seated states and stages of mortal belief, which require in a like degree more positive and radical spiritual realization to heal.
Jesus the Way-Shower
My friends, Jesus once said to his followers, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." It is quite universally accepted that Jesus did his healing works through spiritual means and methods, through his spiritual understanding of God, and not by means of drugs, blind faith, or will power. Surely Jesus meant that his followers should understand what he understood and work as he worked. Otherwise how could he be the Way-shower? He must have regarded sickness as mental the same as he regarded sin, and he cast them both out of mind, as when healing the palsied man, he said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," and to the man who had been physically infirm, "Sin no more, lest a worst thing come unto thee." If Jesus understood that his Father was our Father, as he declared, he certainly knew that this spiritual Father was the one Spirit, or Mind, and desired that his followers have this same Mind that was in himself. Moreover that they employ the intelligence and understanding of this divine Mind to overcome every ill.
Jesus daily proved the divine Principle of his being, the oneness and allness of divine Mind, by casting out the sins and errors of mortal mind, and it was the cross or burden of his career that his mission to humanity was so little comprehended, and that they were unready to understand the "many things" of the kingdom of heaven, which he strove by parable and similitude to teach was within them, a condition of Mind here and now, and not a condition of matter to be hoped for hereafter. Is it not probable that Jesus would experience the same anguish could he be here in the flesh today witnessing the terrible hatred, conflict, want, and woe consuming the world simply because most mortals have failed as yet to understand the mesmeric nature of material sense in its subtle, selfish, wilful, and autocratic processes? It is indeed encouraging that the leaven of divine Principle in the spirit of world-wide justice and individual liberty is seen to be overturning and uniting in one Mind the people of the earth. Is not this a forerunner of the eventual dawning in every consciousness of the love and purity, the healing and peace, of the impersonal Christ. Mrs. Eddy maps the way to universal harmony when she says in Science and Health (p. 467), "It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established."
Jesus and the Christ
Among the many remarkable statements in the writings of St. Paul is this one, "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." This would seem to mean that Paul recognized two distinct characters, namely, a temporal man, Christ after the flesh, or Jesus, and the real man, Christ after the Spirit, or Christ the son of God. It was thus that Jesus seemed to recognize himself, as when he spoke of himself as the son of man or of Mary, who had come in the flesh to be the Way-shower, and as Christ the son of God, one before Abraham with the Father, who as the spiritual idea of God was to be manifested through the spiritual consciousness of Jesus, and save Jesus from the sins of the world.
This is the teaching of Christian Science which removes the mystery and confusion from mortal's belief in this wonderful dual personality, and distinctly separates the spiritual from the material, which is a vital idea for all men to understand and demonstrate. Christian Science teaches that each mortal must awaken and discover in himself the spiritual idea, or Christ, which is "born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." This idea of man is the true man, the Christ man, the image and likeness of God, our real selfhood. The Christ, Truth, in human thought, in the measure that it is gained and maintained, is the same spiritual consciousness which enables one to cast out error and to heal the sick. Then it can never be said that Christian Scientists do not recognize Jesus, or that they "do not pray to Christ." On the contrary, Jesus is accepted more clearly and gratefully than ever before for just what he claimed himself to be, and for his selfless and matchless mission to mankind. As for praying to Christ, they do as Jesus did, that is, pray through the Christ, rather than to the Christ. Every good thought of Christian Scientists in their continual prayers must reflect the Christ, Truth, for the Christ is the active idea of Spirit, which destroys error and inharmony and brings an answer to their prayers.
The reverence which Christian Science bestows upon the ideal Christ, and upon Jesus, the highest human example of the perfect man, is impressive and practical. Christian Science teaches that the Christ is made manifest through our improved human thoughts, through those qualities of affection, humility, faithfulness, patience, compassion, temperance, morality, which are stepping stones out of matter into Spirit. Human thoughts must be improved, they must become wise and constructive, and these successive rounds of the ladder must be mounted step by step before complete reality is reached. It may be added that the textbook of Christian Science "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy mentions Jesus' name four hundred and thirty-four separate times and Christ two hundred and five additional times. Indeed Mrs. Eddy's veneration of Jesus has been most evident to all who have known her, and long ago she established a rule incorporated in the by-laws of The Mother Church that "careless comparison or irreverence to Christ Jesus is abnormal in a Christian Scientist, and is prohibited" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sec. 3). The gentle, patient, compassionate, selfless Savior will through Christian Science become to posterity a mightier and more practical example, because Christian Science is helping to explain what Jesus meant when he said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Science and Health (p. 25) says, "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus."
It is not to be wondered at that a fleshly sense has during the material ages crept into the Bible and partially obscured the original divinely inspired meaning of the Scriptures. The same scientific separation between the spiritual Christ and the personality of Jesus, which must be made when reading about Christ Jesus, naturally must be definitely made between Spirit and matter when reading the entire Bible. Then the healing and saving currents of true spirituality will be discerned on every page, and the dear old Bible, which to so many has been an ancient writing, thought by them to be now inconsistent and impracticable, will be found to be the same inspired Word of God, and it will be on every man's table, his chief guide to eternal Life.
Science and Health and Mrs. Eddy
The key which unlooses the inspired meaning of this guide is rapidly attaining its rightful place in the thoughts of men. Mrs. Eddy named this key "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This inspired book requires when reading it the same definite separation between Spirit and matter to be made as does the Bible; then it will be understood and this understanding will heal the reader, as it does in innumerable cases. Some familiar words and terms used in Science and Health may at first seem incongruous, and this is as Mrs. Eddy has explained, because she found in material language a great scarcity of words to express the right spiritual idea, but had to use such words as were available.
A wrong sense has often been taken of the true meaning of Christ Jesus and of the Bible. This is also the case with "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," for such is the perversity and tenacity of the material mind, and if this material and personal judgment has influenced thought toward Science and Health, it is not surprising that it has done likewise toward Mrs. Eddy herself. Prejudice, ignorance, and distrust, however, give way before the facts. Those so erroneously influenced, who afterward come to know Mrs. Eddy, invariably experience a total change of feeling. How true are her written words, "It is self-evident that the discoverer of an eternal truth cannot be a temporal fraud" (Miscellany, p. 143).
And now, my friends, for a complete exposition of Christian Science, we always recommend the inquirer to read the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book can be obtained at any Christian Science reading room. Science and Health should be read at first slowly, and if read with a humble, hungering, and thirsting desire to know the Truth, the accurate statements therein will quickly appeal to the reason and hold the interest, until the reader gradually discovers for himself the divine Principle and rules of right thinking which heal and save. Heaven is not a region nor a locality to be entered physically, but it is a state of purified consciousness, a state of spiritual understanding, a salvation from sin, sickness and death. Death, devil, hell, sin, disease, and disaster are the experiences of "the old man," which St. Paul insists must be "put off." Christian Science shows that they are not the facts of being, but are only illusions of material consciousness which must be worked out of, and in the ratio that this is done, salvation is attained. Will you choose the material, afflictive, and perishable, or will you choose the health-giving, joy-inspiring, and permanent? "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood or the gods of the Amorites, . . . as for me and my house," said Joshua, "we will serve the Lord." Christian Scientists are the most joyous people in the world, because they strive to serve the Lord in Truth and spiritual understanding. But they know that they do not serve the Lord by going to sleep at their posts, or by crying "peace, peace; when there is no peace," or by ignoring, excusing, or evading evil in any form. Girt with the sword of Truth and Love, a Christian Scientist as a Christian soldier marching as to war, goes forward into battle to vanquish the Goliath of material sense. Clad in the armor of spiritual understanding, roused to the demands of divine Principle, he wrestles valiantly with the foe of impersonal error from within and from without, and, having done all, he stands, until error, having no further support, surrenders, and destroys itself. This spiritual consciousness is the real vision, and "where there is no vision," the Bible says, "the people perish." This power of spiritual consciousness is a present reality and a present possibility. The vision "shall speak, and not lie," says the prophet "though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come," and this "accepted time," Paul said, is now. "Now is the day of salvation," and it will be experienced by you according to your willingness and readiness to receive it. "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
[Delivered Nov. 17, 1918, at Scenic Temple under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Chronicle, Nov. 23, 1918.]