Christian Science: The Law of Spirit
Capt. John F. Linscott, C.S.D., of Washington, D.C.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Captain Linscott was introduced by Mrs. Livingston Mims, who said: —
The theoretical mind is ever the same. Nineteen hundred years ago the Greeks for centuries had been speculating on the Logos-Reason, or Word of God as the active Principle of Being. The great Alexandrian schools of philosophy, science, metaphysics, and theology were rife with sublime theories and magnificent hypotheses. Socrates had declared the immortality of the spiritual, with a quiet scorn of the temporal and material. Plato reveled in Utopian dreams, Stoics nobly wrestled with the flesh, the Pharisees and Sadducees disputed on doctrines and creeds. In the midst of this tumultuous, heaving thought there appeared a simple, sublime figure, Jesus of Galilee, speaking as never man spoke, authoritatively, from the calm of deep, spiritual wisdom. He said simply, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." He walked humbly with the multitude, proving the Truth of what he said, healing the sick, raising the dead, uplifting and spiritualizing humanity, teaching the power and demonstration of ever-present Love. It was as if he said, God is not a remote abstraction, a far-away ruler, and mighty king, but the divine Source of all good; an invisible but real divine substance or Mind, in which we live, and move, and have our being; an omnipresent and omnipotent force, intelligence, Love, Principle, that heals and blesses, feeds, clothes, sustains, and redeems man from the burdens of materialistic law by the ever-operative spiritual law of Life and Truth here and now. He said that even the lilies and birds teach you of the ineffable tenderness and care of this heavenly Father-Mother God; the All-in-all of Spirit — this Immanuel, God, Good with us here and now. This sense of God forever casts out evil and heals the sick, raises the dead.
It is this sublime, practical Christianity of Christ Jesus that Christian Science is reiterating and trying to re-establish as the religion of the future. Materialism seemed to obscure for a while its whole splendor, but the Christ Idea in human history has brought the hour of which Jesus spoke when he said, "The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." This leaven is now, in Christian Science, through the work of that consecrated woman, Mary Baker G. Eddy, transfiguring all human thoughts and changing the false conceptions of the universe, and man. Christianity is seen to be a Science of Life and health, and Jesus its scientific demonstrator, annulling and transcending all material law by the actual spiritual law, which St. Paul declared hath made us free from the law of sin and death. It is seen transfiguring material medicine from its grosser superstitions to finer essences, as Christian Science reveals that the divine Mind, the Mind that was in Christ Jesus, is the only medicine and the only Physician. The same silent force that enables a lily bulb to rend a rock in its travail of expression, is breaking the proscriptive fetters of theology, and it is flowering out into a larger sense of the one Spirit and one body of which all are members. The altruistic spirit of Love is abroad, God is seen to tabernacle with men, and His kingdom to come on earth as in heaven, and the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, begin to dawn.
In this white light of Truth, Science is seen to be not the evolution of material law, but the revelation of the spiritual law, bringing to light (to our understanding) the life and immortality that always was the spiritual fact of Being, where, in Divine logic, man and the universe must be perfect, even as the Father is perfect, and because the Father, as eternal Cause, is perfect, perpetuating his own perfect effects. This Divine logic is the leaven of Truth through the woman; and her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," unlocks for us this golden treasury of Life, and is inaugurating the greatest spiritual movement of the age.
I take pleasure in introducing to you the lecturer of the evening, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Mass. He had the privilege of being a close friend and co-worker with that great and good woman, Frances Willard, for ten years in the temperance work as a lecturer. He is now consecrating his splendid talents and energies to advancing this great spiritual movement.
I present to you Captain John F. Linscott of Washington, D. C.
Christian Science, as the law of Spirit, is the ceaseless demonstration of Spirit, the Creator, over the invisible and visible universe and human beings. It is the metaphysics of the divine Mind that was in Christ Jesus, understood and demonstrated in the destruction of the ignorance of God.
The introduction of a better and larger idea into human consciousness, if it be in music, art, mathematics, metaphysics or morals, has revolution in its purpose and meets with a conscious and unconscious opposition.
Moses led a nation of slaves out of Egypt under the battle cry, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord." It took centuries to establish that scientific fact in their consciousness.
Many of the major prophets won martyrdom through their efforts to hold the people to a mortal sense of things in the conduct of their national government. For teaching and demonstrating the spiritual sense of the Old Testament, as spiritual law, Jesus of Nazareth was murdered by the scribes and Pharisees, who were the acknowledged custodians and interpreters of the Scriptures. Bigotry was the cause.
Watts, Fulton, Morse and an army of bold thinkers worked amid the jeers of many and encouragement of the few. In a large degree human history is one of its resistances to the expulsive power of the better and larger ideas that come as blessings, and all of them emanating from the one great Being in Whom and by Whom we all exist forever.
As Christian Scientists, we believe the best idea that ever came to humanity was Jesus Christ, the perfect working model for all men for all time. We believe in his divine origin and the immaculate perception, conception, gestation and birth through the virgin mind and body of Mary.
Jesus of Nazareth was a scientific theologian. The Gospels are a record of his revealed theology. It embraces lesser phases than the direct revelation. It includes natural theology, moral theology, scholastic theology, speculative theology and systematic theology. But none of these include revealed theology, which heals mind and body.
The invisible Christ is ever saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in unto him, and sup with him and he with me." Whoever, through right reason and love for God and man, thus opens the door will win the revelation of God's will to man, which is the same today as when Jesus proclaimed it from the Judean hills. It will be the same theology that Jesus poured out upon material sense when they said he had a devil.
The direct revelation of Truth upon human consciousness is God's sense, or the changeless, ceaseless law of the Spirit of life as manifest in Christ Jesus, and the only way, the truth and the eternal life. This revelation of divine sense destroying human ignorance of God and man heals the sinner and sick by the one and the same revelation. This revelation, reduced to human comprehension, we call Christian Science, or the Science of Christianity.
If Christianity is true, there can be but one theology, and that must be the same as Jesus presented, demonstrated and practiced by his disciples. It must be divine in its origin, not human. And more than this, it must be proven true by doing the same works which he said would follow his teachings by all believers. Whoever has a conscious realization of the ever-active source of our existence will see the spiritual sense of Jesus' teaching, and come under the action of spiritual law described in the Old Testament of God.
The revelation of the character of the Creator to the human creature is the law of Spirit. It is free to all and God is ever talking.
The Holy Scripture reads thus: "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
This is the constant attitude of this ocean of divine Love and power to human ignorance, which is the sin and the sinner, and the law of sin and death.
The attitude of the sinner must be, "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin."
Divine Love calls us: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
I will define Christian Science as presented by Mrs. Eddy: "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."
Webster's definition of "science" is "God's sense, God's sight." We are Christian Scientists in the degree that we can see as God sees and feel as God feels. "Accumulated and established knowledge which has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths." "A complement of cognitions having in point of form, that of logical perfection, and in point of character, that of real truth." Logical perfection deducing from omnipotence puts the human intellect into a right mental action and invites the spiritual influence which becomes a spiritual law to it, in the degree of our love for God and man.
Webster's definition of "law" is "a rule of being or conduct established by an authority able to enforce its will." Law is universal, or particular, written or unwritten. In mortals it is the will of God as the rule for the disposition and conduct of all responsible beings toward Him and each other. In civil law it is legal science or jurisprudence or justice applied. The definition of law in its moral sense is a definition of Christianity.
Webster defines theology as "the science of God. The science which treats of the existence, character and attributes of God, His laws and government, the doctrine we are to believe and the duties we are to practice." "The systematic exhibition of revealed truth." "The science of Christian faith and life." "The science of God's love."
The term "science," as related to Christianity, has been obnoxious to many people, only because they had caught the general prejudice that has come down from the days when geologists contended that the earth was not made in six days of calendar time and Bible students contended that it was. The geologists were working in the science of physics or natural law.
The most vital question for all men to consider is this: Is there an absolute scientific method by which we can appropriate the action of the divine Mind as Jesus did and do the same things he did, as he commanded all Christians to do?
Our contention is that there is an absolute Science, with an absolute Principle, and an absolute rule, and an absolute result in the degree we understand it, and that this law of Spirit will act supremely in the intellectual and physical realm of a human being, destroying mental and physical discord, as surely as light dispels darkness.
Our text book, "Science and Health," teaches the Science of the divine Mind, which is divine metaphysics, or the law of Spirit.
It is not a transcendent philosophy. It is divine sense in eternal action, and the first text book on this subject ever printed. It is in its 238th edition of 1000 copies.
The consideration of our text book, "Science and Health," is the most fascinating study to one interested in the practical working out of the problem of eternal existence. Hundreds are healed by studying the book, as it unlocks the Bible, that great treasury of God's thoughts, and they eat and drink the blood and flesh of Christ.
We cannot tell you why Mrs. Eddy wrote instead of some noted professor of human theology. Neither can we tell why only one of the 10 rods in the ark blossomed, or why Mary bore Jesus, instead of some other virgin.
It is revolutionizing men's ideas of God and His relation to His creatures, and Mrs. Eddy, at first despised, is a colossal figure in Christendom, and future generations will build the monuments in testimony of her great work and service to man. We all love to speak of her by the endearing term of mother, and express our gratitude in good deeds.
[The introduction comes from The Christian Science Sentinel, January 2, 1902, and was originally published in The Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 17, 1901. The mayor of the city of Atlanta at the time this introduction was printed was Livingston Mims; Sue Harper Mims, his wife, who introduced Capt. Linscott, was herself also a Christian Science lecturer. Less than a fortnight after speaking in Atlanta, Capt. Linscott delivered the lecture again at the Lyceum Theater on North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland, Dec. 29, 1901; at least three Baltimore newspapers published excerpts of the lecture on Dec. 30, 1901. The summary of the lecture here provided comes chiefly from the Baltimore engagement.]