Christian Science: The Supremacy of Spirit

 

Richard Knox Lee, C.S., of London, England

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

Mankind's belief in a material origin with its heritage of animal propensities and selfish desires, its widely differing ideals and conflicting interests, has, since time immemorial, produced endless problems for the human race. These problems have continued because God's law of love that would remedy them has not been properly applied. The human love of power has blinded men to the power of God's love. It has ultimated in tyranny and destruction, in sin and disease, which are native only to the physical concept of man; and mortals yield to these erroneous influences because of moral weakness and ignorance of what man really is.

Christian Science offers full salvation from sin and ignorance through its revelation of man's spiritual origin, his likeness to God, and his inalienable birthright of dominion over the belief in a consciousness other than good.

The Psalmist sang: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water . . . his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps. 1:1-3).

God's guidance, provision, and protection may readily be realized by anyone who learns in Christian Science to utilize the moral and spiritual qualities divinely bestowed upon us all. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," on page 115 of this book enumerates the moral qualities as "humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance," and the spiritual qualities as "wisdom, purity, spiritual understanding, spiritual power, love, health, holiness." These moral and spiritual qualities fulfill the law of the spirit of Life which animated Christ Jesus and which St. Paul declared "hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

 

Our True Government

Today, perhaps more than ever before, the whole world yearns for deliverance from this so-called law of sin and death; it yearns for a sense of stability, for better social and economic conditions, for unity among men and nations, and for peace; but no merely revolutionary method or political panaceas can usher them in. Improved human conditions and freedom can be attained only through Christianly progressive steps leading towards the practical idealism taught by Christ Jesus and again today proclaimed in Christian Science. In other words, the basis of mankind's salvation can never be other than Christ's Christianity. The spirit of the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount must eventually become the sole motivating power in the government of all the nations of the earth; for peace and progress, to be permanent, must rest upon the supremacy of Spirit.

Since all reforms are brought about by individual changes of thought reaching to the aggregation of men and nations, so the reformation of individual lives prophesies world-wide redemption, even as Jeremiah foretold: "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord" (Jer. 31:34). Proper self-government, namely control of one's mental self, is attained by bringing every thought and desire into accord with the will of God; for in God, omnipotent Spirit, lies the power which unifies, liberates, and heals, and which leads on to the sovereign heights of spiritual dominion over all the earth.

 

Based on the Bible

The teachings of Christian Science are derived from the inspired Word of the Bible and are therefore entirely spiritual in premise and in purpose. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science through a spiritual understanding of the Scriptures, and he who would gain a demonstrable knowledge of this Science must acquire it in this way. With the first glimpse of this understanding Mrs. Eddy was healed instantly of an injury that neither surgery nor medicine could reach and which those around her thought would prove fatal. This healing caused her to discern the mental nature of all disease, and that true healing was moral and spiritual. It led her eventually to gain the complete assurance that divine Mind was all causation and that all effects were mental phenomena (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24).

Mrs. Eddy searched the Scriptures as Jesus searched them, not intellectually but spiritually, for she writes, "The one important interpretation of Scripture is the spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 320). This enabled her to understand the miracles recorded in both Testaments, to learn the secret of Jesus' teachings, and to demonstrate her knowledge, not in theological theories, but in Christian healing. Christian Scientists love their Bibles; they study and ponder them in conjunction with the Key to the Scriptures that Mrs. Eddy has provided. The Bible has thus become to them a living book; they find in it the simple yet profound truths regarding God, man, and the universe that enable them to destroy the troubles and trials and evils pertaining to the flesh. Christian Science dissipates superstition and shows how impossible it is for God, the first and only cause, to bring into being aught unlike His own perfection and goodness. Thus it replaces fear, doubt, and dismay, inculcated by unchristian doctrines, with a buoyant confidence in the supremacy of Life over death, of concord over discord, Spirit over the flesh, good over evil. Christian Science is therefore primal in daily affairs because it can be applied to every circumstance and can meet every need. It engenders a high standard of morality and promotes absolute fidelity to the marriage covenant. It accepts the substance of Spirit as the only possible reality of existence, and the truth it teaches is as steadfast as the rock of ages.

 

Founding of Christian Science

Mrs. Eddy saw beyond the bounds of materialism and found the living actuality of Divine Science, which as applied to humanity she called Christian Science. By healing hundreds of cases of inveterate disease, she and her students verified the fact that Jesus' healing works were not miraculous, but divinely natural. Mrs. Eddy had laid hold of a truth so vital that nothing could deter her from presenting it to the world. With infinite courage, wisdom, and love, this outstanding New England gentlewoman labored selflessly to bless mankind.

Besides writing and publishing the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy organized The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, which now has many branch churches, Sunday Schools, and Christian Science Reading Rooms all over the world. Through divine guidance she established its form of government set forth in the Church Manual and provided for its many activities.

In order to meet the broadening requirements of the movement, Mrs. Eddy established the Christian Science Quarterly with its weekly Lesson-Sermons, composed of selections from the King James Version of the Bible and explanatory correlative passages from Science and Health Lesson-Sermons "on which," she says, "the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends" (Manual, Art. III, Sect. I).

It is impressive to think of the thousands of men and women spread round the globe who know the value of studying the Lesson-Sermon daily, and who are endeavoring to realize its spiritual significance with beneficent results for themselves and their fellow men. The Lesson-Sermon is the "daily bread" (Matt. 6:11) of Christian Scientists, and wise are they who make it the substance of their first meal. Mrs. Eddy also established The Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel, and made provision for The Herald of Christian Science, published in languages other than English. All these periodicals carry to their readers helpful articles and authenticated testimonies of healing. But her launching of The Christian Science Monitor, in her eighty-eighth year, caused profound astonishment. This international daily newspaper, the only one of its kind in existence, is generally accepted as one of the best newspapers in the world. Its able journalism and high advertising ideals make it an outstanding influence for good in human affairs. Its object, Mrs. Eddy says, is "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353).

By virtue of Mrs. Eddy's revelation of the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of matter, Christian Scientists believe her to be the final revelator of Truth, since one cannot go further than allness. They love and revere her as the Leader of the great movement she has established, which has been built upon the pattern of selflessness and has no personal ruler. Through her understanding and application of divine Principle, thousands have been blessed with joy, health, and abundance such as they never believed possible. These recipients of God's blessings testify gratefully to the healing and regenerative power of Christian Science at the Wednesday testimony meetings held in every Christian Science church. And this, my friends, is but a part of Mrs. Eddy's stupendous lifework. The ages to come alone can tell all that she has accomplished for the human race.

 

The Impotence of Evil

Christian Science has created nothing new; it merely reveals what already exists eternally. It is a discovery, and its Discoverer has given to a waiting world the long-sought universe of Spirit. It teaches that true Science is a knowledge of God of His ways, His laws, His universe. It shows that His ways are not as our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts.

The Christian Science textbook states, "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony" (Science and Health, p. 390). If this is true, and Christian Science avers that it is, then evil in all its aspects has no more reality than ignorance of God has reality, and can remain no longer. When it is universally understood that God, the source and substance of all reality, is the infinite, all-inclusive, all-pervading Spirit, that made all and made all good, men will no longer be taught or believe that there is an intelligence, presence, or power other than good, and the phenomenon of evil will disappear. The beliefs of materiality, sin, suffering, and death, commonly regarded as inevitable and irresistible, have no more effect upon the omnipresent realities of Spirit than the closing of our eyes has upon the light of day. My friends, we must open our eyes to spiritual reality.

Jesus revealed the supremacy of Spirit in all that he said and did. He healed the sick, cleansed the leper, raised the dead. He restored the mentally unbalanced to a condition of soundness and in many other wonderful ways disclosed and exemplified man's God-given dominion over matter and its elements. He exposed the utter futility of belief in a power opposed to God. His daily proof of the positive nature of good and the negative nature of evil was the manifestation of Christ or Truth which inspired his followers to know and enjoy the freedom of Truth rather than continue in submission to the flesh. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15) and "Heal the sick" (Matt. 10:8) were his imperative commands. Christian Scientists are learning to obey this twofold demand and have met with such success that Christian Science is widely recognized as a most efficient curative and regenerative system. Christian Scientists are awakening to spiritual reality; they recognize the awful unreality of the suffering and limitation, injustice and frustration, to which they and others have been subjected and by which they have been deceived. Slowly but surely they are emerging from their dreamworld of material thinking and living and are expressing instead more of the countless spiritual ideas and qualities which constitute genuine selfhood and which fill the immensity of space. These spiritual ideas are the expressions of divine Mind which overcome the spurious so-called forces of ignorance, fear, greed, lust, anger, self-love, self-pity, self-will, and every other form of self-infliction that breeds disease, makes for war, and holds mankind in bondage.

Mrs. Eddy writes: "It may be that the mortal life-battle still wages, and must continue till its involved errors are vanquished by victory-bringing Science; but this triumph will come! God is over all. He alone is our origin, aim, and being. The real man is not of the dust, nor is he ever created through the flesh; for his father and mother are the one Spirit, and his brethren are all the children of one parent, the eternal good" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 22).

 

God Spiritually Defined

Christian Science gives an understandable and workable concept of God. It defines Him as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (Science and Health, p. 465). These terms best convey the true idea of Deity. They are synonymous and combine as one; they are the same essentially though diverse in office; they indicate God's nature and character, and the consequent nature and character of His image and likeness, man.

To understand God as immortal Mind quickens our capacity for right thinking and enables us to refute the false suggestions of mortal mind.

To know God as infinite Spirit enhances our spirituality and enables us to conquer all faith in matter and its errors.

To realize God as the Soul of all substance gives us the spiritual sense of all things and refutes personality. It reveals true identity and individuality imparted and preserved by Soul, and banishes the belief that life depends on a mortal mind and body. As reflections of Soul we know that the distinct identity and individuality of each one of us is intact and eternal: we each possess by reflection our own specific qualities, attributes, and characteristics, and have our own form or mode of expression. That which characterizes our individuality identifies us as the sons and daughters of God.

To understand God as the supreme creative Principle of being spiritualizes humanity and restores harmony and order. It reveals man's inseparability from Principle and so rules out sickness and eliminates sin. Jesus referred to the oneness of Principle and its idea, man, thus: "I and my Father are one," "My Father is greater than I," and again, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do" (John 10:30; 14:28; 5:19). He spoke of God as his Father and our Father, to be known and demonstrated in every right thought and deed. He said: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:16,17). Jesus exalted Principle, not person, in all his words and works.

To know God as everlasting Life destroys our belief in death. It makes us mentally alert, active, useful, and increases our strength and longevity.

To realize God as eternal Truth exposes the lie of materiality and imparts the ability, the joy and freedom with which to overcome it.

To comprehend God as boundless Love makes us fearless, compassionate, generous, and kind. It inspires us to master animality and hate, thereby enabling us to heal the sick and sinning. It removes all evil from our thought of others, so that looking beyond appearances we behold only the unblemished child of Love's creating. We must learn to love if we would become acquainted with God. St. John says: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God" (I John 4:7,8). To be one with God is to be one with wisdom, patience, forgiveness, and many other qualities through which Love is expressed. Love unites in Christian fellowship all who embrace it. It never ignores evil or excuses it, but handles and destroys it in the most effectual manner. It was love, not hate, that caused Jesus to call the hypocritical Pharisees "whited sepulchres . . . full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matt. 23:27), and on another occasion, to drive out the moneychangers and the cattle from the temple with a whip of small cords. Such incidents serve to illustrate the method Christian Scientists adopt. Divine Love, when understood and applied, rebukes mental errors and casts them out so that the healing Christ may enter in. Love is deep and tender; but there is nothing emotional, possessive, or sensual about it. Its reflection may be seen in life's shadows as surely as in life's sunshine. It penetrates every detail of our daily lives, saying to the sad and weary as well as to the strong and happy, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Love wings our efforts, inspires our struggles, as Truth heals our hearts and bodies when understood. It withholds not its amplitude from anyone, for Love gives and gives and gives.

Christian Science is the religion of perfect Love. Mrs. Eddy has written, "A heart touched and hallowed by one chord of Christian Science, can accomplish the full scale; but this heart must be honest and in earnest and never weary of struggling to be perfect to reflect the divine Life, Truth, and Love" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 150).

Individuals who lift thought above matter and its errors and learn in Christian Science to reflect the divine Spirit do not long remain enslaved by the illusions of physical sense. I know a young woman who for years was blind and dumb. She was also in bondage to severe diseased conditions. Many kind physicians had done their best for her but, like the woman in Scripture, she was nothing bettered and had grown worse. Her mother, weary of trying a material means to restore the daughter's health, reached out in prayer to God. She became acquainted with a Christian Scientist and sought her aid immediately.

Christian Science treatment was taken up, and during occasional visits to her patient the Scientist read aloud inspiring passages from the Bible and Science and Health. For a while there was no visible improvement, except that the patient showed obvious appreciation for the truth she heard and much gratitude for the practitioner's loving ministrations. Then came one glorious day when, listening to the word of Truth, she suddenly spoke aloud for the first time in six years and said, "Do you know, I can see that little book you are reading!" and "the blind and dumb both spake and saw" (Matt. 12:22). You see, my friends, she had glimpsed the truth of being, her perfect spiritual identity and individuality, her oneness with the Father. The light had lightened her darkness "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). She soon became a healthy, happy woman, with perfect sight and speech, a witness to the living Christ, "who healeth all thy diseases" (Ps. 103:3).

Many thousands of people have been healed simply through reading this inspired book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." It is not alone the quantity of the reading but the quality that counts. Pondering the letter and imbibing the spirit brings healing. The many wonderful healings in the chapter entitled "Fruitage" were the outcome of reading the book in this way.

 

Christ Jesus

Most Christians believe that Christ and Jesus are identical and that Christ left when Jesus left in what is called the ascension. Christian Science explains that Christ never left, because Christ is positive Truth, which antedated Abraham and which Jesus implied was eternally present to destroy all worldliness. Jesus demonstrated Christ so fully that he became known as Christ Jesus. Jesus was a human being, the best that ever lived, but Christ is the divine nature which animated him, and which in every age enables us to subdue matter by overcoming the errors of mortal belief.

 

Matter and Its Elements Unreal

Christian Science shows that matter is but the subjective state of mortal belief, that all things appearing to be physical or material are the counterfeits of God's perfect spiritual universe and perfect spiritual man. Being the product of false beliefs, matter is entirely negative and therefore opposed to positive Spirit. Knowing this, is it any wonder the Master exclaimed, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63)? To prove the nothingness of matter, Jesus walked on the water, passed through closed doors, and overcame time and space. In his ascension he rose above all mortal belief and therefore left no mortal body.

Let us for a moment examine the negative qualities opposed to Spirit that make up worldliness and claim to hide from our view the perfection of God and man. Here they are summarized under the heading "Depravity" on page 115 of our textbook: "Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death." What a motley crew of nonentities! And yet how much the world tries to make of them! Have you ever tried? I have, and with direful consequences. These elements of the carnal or mortal mind have no foundation in Truth. They rest merely on belief and are the causes of all their effects. They are impositions, belonging to no one, which Christ or Truth destroys. By knowing that "your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3), you never need fear them or be deceived by them again, for Christ reveals their nothingness and the allness of God, good.

 

Plenty in Place of Lack

The absolute good we realize in Christian Science appears in human experience as just the kind of good that is needed at the moment. No claim of limitation, no phase of error, unless we believe or consent to it, can close the avenues through which God's plenitude comes. Because Jesus knew this he was so truly rich that material possessions were of little value to him; and he always had sufficiency.

The tendency of mortals is to acquire more and more material possessions, when Spirit alone is substance and the true source of supply. Experience shows that such material possessions are seldom owned; they usually possess their owner!

The account of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand in a desert place is a clear illustration of how the material sense of acquiring eventually defeats itself and the efficacy of adjusting human consciousness to the divine. When the disciples looked down to the baskets for supply, they encountered a great sense of lack. Five loaves and two fishes were all that were left, and what were they among so many?

Jesus then took the loaves and fishes and "looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake" (Mark 6:41), and the disciples gathered twelve baskets of the fragments that remained after the multitude had eaten and were filled.

We may be sure that if a sense of lack steals over us we are looking into the baskets and counting the loaves and fishes; but if with Christlike understanding and true desire we lift our thought Spiritward, and act with full confidence in divine supply of spiritual ideas, as did Jesus when he blessed and brake, we too will find Spirit's infinite resources meeting our human need.

Although Jesus realized absolute good, he always made use of any relative good at hand, no matter how meager it seemed to the physical senses. He did not belittle it, as did the disciples, but he multiplied it by spiritual means to meet the human need. In her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 307) Mrs. Eddy says: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment."

 

The Truth About Man

For centuries men have suffered from the delusion that they can live, think, act, and prosper independently of God, who is the Life and Mind of man. The prophet Daniel declares, "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32). Christian Scientists are proving this declaration to be as true today as in Daniel's time. They know that in searching for God they find man in God's likeness; spiritual, not material; healthful, not sick; free, not limited; and because they are to some extent realizing this true sense of man, their longevity is increasing, their health is more permanent, their prosperity more assured.

God, Spirit, being All-in-all, the substance of ourselves is spiritual, and being spiritual it reflects the divine order and is therefore never out of order. Consequently, from the spiritual standpoint we have no substance called a body which is out of order. Our identity and individuality are included in the one Spirit; our real body is the embodiment of right ideas manifest in wisdom, strength, and joyful life, and all else that comprises the consciousness of true being. In divine Science we have never fallen into evil or disease, have never been born, and can never die. We have always been the children of God's care and rejoice in the apprehension of this grand verity, that we do express the qualities that reveal God. Mrs. Eddy writes, "The scientific man and his Maker are here; and you would be none other than this man, if you would subordinate the fleshly perceptions to the spiritual sense and source of being" (Unity of Good, p. 46).

 

Healing Prayer

All healing in Christian Science is the result of prayer prayer that is more often silent than audible. True prayer as Christian Scientists understand it is not supplicating a manlike God, but striving to see and to be a Godlike man. It is more than asking something; it is reflecting the divine Mind. "Not my will, but thine, be done" is the ceaseless prayer of the Christian Scientist. Prayer may begin with petition but must ultimate in realization. Prayer or treatment in Christian Science is the absolute acknowledgment of the ever-presence of God's infinite truth and perfection. But we do not need to know all of Truth in order to enjoy its freedom, any more than we need all the water in the seven seas in order to enjoy a swim, for even a small understanding of Truth has far-reaching effects. Treatment may be defined as the affirmation of truth and the denial of error, which brings the realization of divine power.

Jesus declared that the knowledge of Truth makes free. He was not concerned about physical symptoms, but he destroyed the false mental beliefs which produced these symptoms. He prescribed no drugs; he gave no direction regarding diet or rest; he never advocated surgery or hygiene; but he did advise taking less thought for food and raiment, and he did say, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14), thus indicating the mental nature of disease. His preparations for the sick and sinful were potions of God's qualities.

Jesus called death an enemy, and he went through it to show that in itself it had accomplished nothing and that it was not a steppingstone to Life.

When delayed healing seems to obtain in our experience, it may mean that we, like proud Naaman the leper, require greater humility and need to wash in Jordan seven times, that is, to continue to purify our thought by putting off "the old man with his deeds" and putting on "the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col. 3:9,10). Or it may be that we need to be rid of fear. Disease is not an entity and is not to be feared. Fear only aggravates it and should be cast out. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," even as Paul says (II Tim. 1:7).

I well remember seeing two children who were so wasted with consumption that the doctors could offer no hope of their recovery. The parents were frantic, and in their extremity turned to Christian Science for help. These little children bore most distressing symptoms of the disease, so much so that I thought at the time, "Well, nothing is impossible to God, but if this condition yields it will be truly wonderful." Under the lens of Christian Science it was soon revealed that the children were suffering mainly from their parents' thought, which was undisciplined, extremely fearful, and possessive. The children, in consequence, had grown to be selfish, disobedient, discontented, and diseased. Both parents consented to study Science and Health, and healing began immediately. With the aid of a Christian Scientist who gave his consecrated help what might be termed the "smother" love of the parents gradually yielded to the mother-love of God. They learned of but one cause and one effect. God, the parent Mind, and man, Mind's perfect idea, became the basis of their thought and demonstration. They learned that health does not pertain to matter, but to Mind, and that rules of health are not material but spiritual. They ceased contemplating diseased bodies and endeavored to embody spiritual ideas. The children gradually responded to this higher and holier consciousness and learned to love our Leader's hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal. With firm but gentle discipline and the persistent application of Truth, they became naturally obedient, industrious, and happy, and soon were completely healed. This is the grand necessity of Christian Science healing; it improves us mentally, morally, and spiritually, while restoring us physically.

 

Improving Our Opportunity

How blest we are today in having an understanding of the Mind of Christ to efface mortal mind and improve the human body. Christian Science heals; there is no doubt about that, but it needs to be practiced. We cannot enjoy the delights of travel simply by reading the map and never taking a step in accord with its directions. It is equally impossible to make the least progress in Christian Science without beginning to think and live according to its rules.

There is no time or place where we cannot think God's thoughts and so reflect His goodness. Freely we receive them, freely we must impart them. You all know that a piano needs to be kept regularly in tune, and so do we. If we do not use the goodness and love with which we are divinely endowed, we get out of tune not only with ourselves, but with everybody else. The only way to realize harmony or heaven on earth is to think God's thoughts. Christian Science teaches that "heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind" (Science and Health, p. 291). To use Jesus' words, it is "at hand" (Matt. 3:2), "within you" (Luke 17:21), and "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

Christian Science asserts that we do not gain heaven by dying, but by right thinking and living, and that what is not accomplished in this respect here will have to be done hereafter. Heaven is the reign of eternal harmony; but hell well, do I need to say much about that? Most of us seem to know the way there, and some, no doubt, feel they have had more than their share!

Hell is a mental experience, not a place. We make our own heaven and our own hell, and Christian Science has come to destroy hell by revealing heaven everywhere.

 

Spiritual Rebirth

People readily admit that sin, sorrow, and sickness are beliefs which are born of the flesh, but they are not usually so anxious to accept the corollary that chastity, joy, and health are the offspring of Spirit, and that to enjoy them we must be reborn by obtaining a Christianly scientific outlook. This new birth is not attained by human argument or by material force, but by steady growth in grace, humility, love, and good deeds.

Jesus declared, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4), that is, by giving expression to spiritual grace, thus showing that man's needs are primarily spiritual. He proclaimed, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). In other words, if his thoughts were above the physical and therefore moral and spiritual, he would awaken men to the supremacy of Spirit.

It was this serene, spiritual outlook that caused the people to come to him and to press upon him to hear God's word as he stood by the lake of Gennesaret. You can recall the incident, no doubt, in the fifth chapter of Luke, how the crowd became so large that he was obliged to take refuge in Simon Peter's boat and teach the people from the ship.

When he had finished, you remember, he bade Simon launch out into the deep and let down his net for a draught. But Simon, being a fisherman, replied, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net."

Then the story goes on:

"And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

"And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

"When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

"For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken . . .

"And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shall catch men.

"And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."

By this practical experience it appears that Jesus wished Peter to know that it was through great spiritual love that Jesus drew others to him, and that Peter would do likewise when he too followed the Christ, and with as great a success as when he let down his net and drew a great multitude of fishes.

May it not also be that Peter perceived that the human mind, forever out to get, is never satisfied; that it runs in extremes, either too little or too much? They had fished all night and caught nothing, then fished again, and overloading their boats, they had begun to sink! It must have become apparent that Spirit, being the source of supply, would meet man's needs abundantly at all times and in all circumstances. No wonder, then, having perceived life in Spirit, Peter was eager to live rather than to make a living, and "forsook all, and followed him."

 

Our Father's Business

Christian Science makes clear the fact that God's children are not at the mercy of chance events or changing circumstances, for they have access to those infinite resources in which there is neither lack nor loss. Riches and poverty, plenty and want, are but extremes of the belief that matter supplies the necessities of life. Matter is not substance. It is merely a temporal human concept. It promises much, but gives nothing! It is only the shadow of true substance. Mrs. Eddy says, "Christ, Truth, gives mortals temporary food and clothing until the material, transformed with the ideal, disappears, and man is clothed and fed spiritually" (Science and Health, p. 442).

The only unemployment is the lack of using God's spiritual ideas, and the only satisfying and profitable business is to place our affairs in God's care by affirming His allness and let divine Love so permeate our thinking that we freely reflect the graces of Spirit, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," as Paul enumerates them; "against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22,23).

I could tell of many individuals who at one time were "down and out," some of them heavily burdened with debt, others unable to find employment, and still others unable to hold good positions once they had obtained them, all of whom have become successful and respected individuals through utilizing the teachings of Christian Science.

Wise is the man who, through Christian Science, relinquishes faith in worldly methods, chance, and change, to let the moral and spiritual law operate in the minutiae of his human affairs and adjust every situation. He will neither suffer lack nor be surfeited with materiality. He will not selfishly work merely for his own comfort and advancement. Rather, as a Christian Scientist, he will strive to help others gain access to Love's bountiful provision by proving the rule, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it" (Ps. 127:1).

Christian Scientists everywhere are daily proving that to associate business and this means every legitimate human activity with an intelligent concept of God, so that it becomes the Father's business, is the soundest possible policy, and the only real remedy for the world's financial, economic, and political problems.

Our Leader writes, "It is only by acknowledging the supremacy of Spirit, which annuls the claims of matter, that mortals can lay off mortality and find the indissoluble spiritual link which establishes man forever in the divine likeness, inseparable from his creator" (Science and Health, p. 491).

 

 

HOME PAGE INDEX OF LECTURES