Christian Science: The Religion of Joyous Attainment

 

Earl McCloud, C.S.B., of San Antonio, Texas

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Earl McCloud. C.S.B., San Antonio, Texas, a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Religion of Joyous Attainment" this noon under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Colonial Theater, 106 Boylston Street, Boston.

The lecturer was introduced by Georgina Tennant, C.S., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

"On behalf of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, I welcome you cordially to hear a lecture on Christian Science.Men's outlook on life depends on their idea of God and this lecture will show you why confidence and joy are natural to all of us when we are instructed by Christian Science.

"The title of this lecture is Christian Science: The Religion of Joyous Attainment and the lecturer is Earl McCloud of San Antonio, Texas, who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of this church.This lecture will be printed in full in today's issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

"I now have the pleasure of presenting to you, Mr. McCloud."

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

What is it we are seeking? Everybody, whether consciously or unconsciously, is seeking after something. Health, plenty, education, success, happiness, culture, harmony, peace - these are only a few of those needful things for which we, and those around us, are reaching out and hoping to attain. Almost everything - good or bad - is at times the aim or purpose of mankind. We often can ascertain the state of our progress - spiritually or otherwise - by determining what is our goal in consciousness.

Paul points out the need for seeking and striving after good in his epistle to the Philippians where he says, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13,14).

We, who are students of Christian Science, have come to know that God, the source and origin of all, is the constant and continuous Giver of good - and of good alone - to all His children everywhere.

One among the many great services rendered to the world by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist; its forever Leader, and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is her teaching that humanity has the right always to the attainment of good - and good alone - because God has created nothing else, and certainly has meant them to have and to enjoy nothing less.

Jesus said, in teaching his doctrine, "Your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22);

but, as one observes the goings and comings of mankind, what is his impression as to the apparent greatest need of humanity today?


Joy Is the Greatest Need of Humanity

It is joy - expectant and confident joy! What worry, fear, pain, greed, jealousy, hatred, malice, and limitation are seen pictured upon the faces of those who scurry or creep by us - each seeking a way out of difficulties, but apparently looking in the wrong direction for the attainment of relief.

There is nothing in matter or material means with which to meet this demand for help. Alas, we know from long experience that that is not the way out. We have tried all those paths - and found each only a short, rough, dead-end street, from which all have had to retreat in confusion.

Here we have this world of ours groping in a mist of its own making, stumbling and falling, nursing its wounds, its hunger for peace and comfort - and all because it has confused material knowledge with divine intelligence; it has been looking in the wrong direction in its efforts to evade this maze and morass of misery.

Christian Science is pointing the world to the one way out - complete and joyous reliance upon the God and architect of the universe, who planned everything so differently for us all.

The Bible, that precious volume which, with our textbook, was ordained by Mrs. Eddy to be the joint pastor of the Church of Christ, Scientist (Manual. Art. XIV. Sect. 1), teems with admonitions to be glad and rejoice, to look to God with joyous expectancy of the attainment of good - and good alone.

An all-good God certainly would not have counseled us to turn to Him with confidence and expectancy if He had not planned and been prepared to care for all our needs. Christ Jesus has told us God already knows what things we need before we ask (Matt. 6:8). And he has counseled us to pray, believing that we receive what we need (Mark 11:24).

What glorious confidence in good Jesus manifested, no matter what the problem confronting him seemed to be! Such confidence could not have been felt by our Master had he not implicitly known and understood God to be ever-present, all-active, all-knowing, all-powerful Mind.

Jesus could not have faced what he knew was to be inflicted upon him by a carnally minded society, infuriated by its misconceptions of his teachings, had not his mentality been permeated by the quiet confidence so beautifully depicted in that Psalm which he must have made his own, because he so often referred to God as a shepherd:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over,

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever" (Ps. 23).

 

Confidence in Prayer Brings Healing

This constant expectancy of the attainment of good - and good alone - enabled him to solve every problem which menaced his gracious mission.

This shepherd Psalm is a model prayer - a prayer of calm expectancy and of grateful attainment. It is the type of prayer utilized by the students and followers of Mrs. Eddy's teachings.

What the world needs today is this joyous confidence in answered prayer: in the home, on the playground, in business, in school, or on the battlefield - whether on land, on or under the sea, or in the air. On all sides we find evidences of this aroused appreciation of the effectiveness of prayer - a fervent reaching out to the Giver of good (and of good alone) for salvation from the encroachments of evil.

The chapter on "Prayer" in the Christian Science textbook points out the proper way of approaching God. It shows that divine Love is ever available to all mankind under all circumstances. It recommends silent prayer as most conducive to active results. It shows that right desire itself is prayer. It demonstrates that prayer must include an absolute faith in joyous attainment. It points out that we should not attempt to use prayer as a confessional, to tell God that which He already knows, or ignorantly to seek to influence God by praise to increase His already bountiful outpourings. It shows the error of pleading with God, as one would plead with mankind; the error of reminding God to do what already is done.

Treatment in Christian Science is prayer - the prayer which affirms the ever-presence, all-power, and all-inclusive wisdom of divine Mind. It demonstrates that when one turns to God in this spirit of prayer, the seemingly insurmountable fortifications of error are broken down or melted away, then and there.

A friend of ours found himself suffering with severe abdominal pains at a time when relatives, who were not Christian Scientists, were visiting in the home. Such pressure was brought to bear that soon three physicians were called in. Their verdict was appendicitis, and the solution an immediate operation in order to avoid a fatal outcome.

The patient, who had been praying for divine guidance all through their examination and consultation, had no hesitation in making his decision. It was for Christian Science treatment (and for that alone!) because it never had failed him theretofore.

A Christian Science practitioner, called to the home, began realizing at once the power, presence, and activity of God in human affairs and the impossibility of evil of any description surviving the manifestation of this activity. He saw that man, as God's image, is a spiritual idea, and brought home to himself, and to the case under treatment, Mrs. Eddy's clear statement (Science and Health, p. 463). "A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive."

 

Manís Relationship to God Demonstrated

Soon after his arrival, the patient was quietly asleep. It was not an instantaneous healing, but many phases of the diseased condition departed, singly or in pairs, as the work progressed. These developments were painless and without inconvenience to the patient. This man was up and about his business in a very short time, finding that he had also been healed of the smoking habit.

The Christian Scientist who had done the praying rejoiced at this, another proof that God is not afar off, but the answerer of prayer, who is near at hand and always available.

Mrs. Eddy has made the following important statement in the Christian Science textbook (p. 246); "Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars. The perfect and immortal are the eternal likeness of their Maker."

Mankind, on the other hand, seem to accept the false belief that they are destined by divine decree to a short span of life, in which their efficiency is lessened by infancy, childhood, and adolescence at its beginning, and by waning powers, decrepitude, and senility at the closing of this period.

Such things could not be true of man made in the image and likeness of God. Most certainly not. There is no joyous expectancy of attainment in such a view - rather a blighting sense of futility and uselessness.

What started all this anyway? What is responsible for such a misrepresentation of God's plan for His beloved son and heir?

In the ninetieth Psalm, the tenth verse, we read: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength, they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

The doleful outlook given in this Psalm has been accepted throughout the centuries as divine authority for the belief that man should do all his planning and provisioning with the idea that his earthly usefulness is to cease at or about seventy years of age.

Let us consider Moses, who, at the age of fourscore years, undertook one of the world's biggest mass migrations, in the face of a hostile ruler who was backed by great force of arms, and carried it to such a point of success that he could leave its culmination to Joshua, his second in command. And how many were in this migration which he directed? The Bible says there were about six hundred thousand men, and there were women and children besides. And there were also great herds of sheep, and goats, and cattle, and other goods to be transported and cared for.

Thus did his experience refute the despairing note of the Psalmist about human frailty, by his carrying on this great task for forty years - until he had reached sixscore, one hundred and twenty years of age.

And what was his condition at the end of that time? The book of Deuteronomy says. "His eye was not dim nor his natural force abated" (Deut. 34:7).

 

True Existence Is Eternal

Mrs. Eddy points out this fallacy that God not only has set a limit upon man's life, but enforces it. She shows us we have a right to the attainment of a long, full life of service.

Mrs. Eddy gives us, in the chapter "Footsteps of Truth" in the Christian Science textbook, intensely vital statements, which have served to reinvigorate many who had faltered because of the belief of the passage of time, forgetting that God, the Giver and preserver of life (who is Life itself), is not governed by the ticking of clocks, the tearing of leaves from calendars, the rotations of the earth, or its revolutions about the sun.

She shows us that God knows nothing about time, since He exists in eternity, where man, His image and likeness, also exists. Since God is ageless, man also is ageless. God and man are in the eternal now, knowing neither a yesterday nor a tomorrow.

Existing in eternity, God is no older today than He was the day you were born.Then how can you - His image and likeness - be any older? You cannot. Age, then, is self-inflicted through wrong thinking. We all are living right now in the very day in which God created man in His image, after His likeness.

Mrs. Eddy gives examples in Science and Health of the recovery of youthful faculties or of the long retention of them, demonstrating that vigor and vitality are man's eternal birthright, if man will but vigorously claim them. She warns against recording ages. She calls attention to the human tendency to measure and limit that which is beautiful and good, inferentially pointing out the tendency in the opposite direction to put no limit whatsoever upon that which is evil and ugly.

Our beloved Leader caught the vision of that mighty angel of the Apocalypse who declared there should be time no longer (Rev. 10:6). The same view Peter describes when he says, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (II Pet. 3:8).

And what are we to do to safeguard this inheritance of eternal life against the encroaching, creeping lies of age?

A little girl of my acquaintance, not much more than three years old at the time, startled her parents at the breakfast table by putting this question to her mother: "Mother, why do they say a baby's old? A baby's not old."

This being a Christian Science home, in which children were encouraged to think, ask questions, and participate in grown-up discussions, the mother asked, "What do you mean, darling?" The child replied: "People say a baby's one hour old, one day old, one week old. A baby's not old."

 

Mrs. Eddy Disproved Limitation of Time

This very young Christian Scientist had laid her finger upon the basic error governing this lie: The tendency to begin arguing age immediately after birth.

And what does Mrs. Eddy give us for reassurance against these lying arguments? Listen!

"The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun" (Science and Health, p. 246).

Mrs. Eddy did much to prove this in her own experience. She accomplished so many highly important achievements for the Christian Science movement long after she had passed the threescore-and-ten lie of limitation. She was put to many tests which proved the keenness and constructiveness of her thinking and set at nought mortal mind efforts to limit or destroy her lifework.

One of the outstanding tasks she completed in the course of this period was the founding and the launching of that great newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, the mission of which she described as "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353).

And how wonderfully the world is being blessed at this time by this ably edited newspaper, which made its appearance in 1908; when our beloved Leader, according to the reckoning of this world, passed the eighty-seventh anniversary of her human birth!

We can learn to say with her, "Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight" (Science and Health, p. 246).

What a debt of gratitude we owe to Mrs. Eddy for her long life of service to mankind! Always she placed first the opportunity to advance the healing truths of Christian Science, in order that the world might see them more clearly and take advantage of them.

No selfish ambition, no craving for place or power ever were allowed in her thinking. She read too clearly the needs of suffering, despairing humanity to permit a sense of self to interfere with her mission.

Mankind has come more and more to acknowledge the worth and success of that mission, now being carried to further fruition by her followers. Her name as a world leader in religion is claiming an even higher and higher place in the estimation of thinking men and women.

As this healing Truth she taught is spread abroad over the earth and the ills of mankind are cured through its ministrations, the possibility of the joyous attainment of any worthy goal is made more and more apparent.

And how about those who seem to lack the wherewithal to meet the financial demands made upon them daily and hourly? May they likewise look to the Giver of good - and good alone - with joyous expectancy of attainment?

Our Leader has proved in her own experience that God supplies all need, taking as her example the so-called miracles of Jesus, when he fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and fewer fishes; when he told Peter to take the tax money from the mouth of a fish he was yet to catch; when he sent out his disciples on a healing mission, with no advance provision for their food. clothing, and shelter.

 

Attainment Keyed to Spiritual Vision

When Abraham and Lot, his nephew, came out of Ur of the Chaldees, Lot lifted up his eyes when called upon to choose his habitation, but all he could see was the material evidence of prosperity. So he went into the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.

You recall what happened to him and his family.

And what of Abraham? In the fourteenth and fifteenth verses of the thirteenth chapter of Genesis we read: "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever."

And Abraham chose the better, the spiritual part, because as a prophet of the Lord that was what he could see when he lifted up his eyes. And as a result, he did not disappear into the mists of obscurity, as did Lot, but as Mrs. Eddy has said, became an illustration of "the purpose of Love to create trust in good" (Science and Health, p. 579). On page 593 of the textbook, in the Glossary, Mrs. Eddy has defined the word "prophet," in part, as "A spiritual seer."

A young newspaperman who, shortly before, had begun looking into Christian Science, found himself apparently needing more money.He couldn't see where it could come from under the circumstances under which he was working, He felt led to follow the admonition of Isaiah, "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes: for thou shall, break forth on the right hand and on the left" (Isa. 54:2.3).

In his consequent effort to see farther and more clearly, to enlarge the scope of his consciousness of supply, he went to a Christian Science practitioner, who told him he had the right to look lo God - the Giver of good and good alone - for the attainment of his legitimate desires.

Much comforted, the young man returned to his work and continued to think along these lines. Things began to happen almost immediately. The managing editor left for a more promising opportunity in the East, which led to a war correspondent's job and the writing of successful books. The news editor was made managing editor. The young Christian Scientist was promoted from assistant city editor to news editor, with a nice increase in salary. The city editor was given more money because of having somebody promoted over his head. A newspaperman from another section of the country, who walked into the office that day seeking employment, was made assistant city editor. And thus it went, many being blessed.

It didn't stop there. The man who had asked help found many more opportunities to be more useful. He was asked to write editorials for a newspaper in a city not far away. He wrote after-dinner speeches, and minstrel monologues, and was paid for them, too. These opportunities had been passing him on the street before. Now they came up to him and demanded attention. When the time came, he had the money he needed. You may ask how I know so much about this case. Well, I was that young newspaperman.

You see, you have to get your own consent to be prosperous, as you do to be well and strong, to be happy and joyous. We all can be spiritual seers.We need to be, because today we are being assailed through the five material senses with the seeming evidence of war, chaos, destruction and lack.

Has Christian Science anything to offer by way of solution? Have we the right to look to the Giver of good - and good alone - with joyous expectancy of attainment in this crisis? Yes, we certainly have.

 

Mankind Turning to Real Substance

The teachings of Christian Science show us that the world consciousness is being stirred to its very depths that it may be cleared of the poisonous elements lurking there. The powers of this earth have been shaken to their cores, and everything that is not based upon a right, spiritual foundation is crashing down. The eyes of mankind are being turned from the insubstantial things upon which their dependence has been placed to the substantial things of God.

Jesus said, in part, in the twenty-first chapter of Luke's Gospel: "But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified. . . . Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. . . . And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

How applicable this seems to present conditions!

In this world chemicalization, almost incredible are the evils being brought into the open to be healed by Truth.They claim to be destroying life, substance, morality, spirituality, religion, government, property rights, family ties, and everything else that has been considered to make up an ordered and orderly society.

From the beginning of mortal history, unscrupulous men, longing for world domination, have striven to utilize their falsely mental powers to dominate others and to turn all human agencies to their own glorification and material enrichment. One by one these self-ordained Caesars have risen, trod the world stage for a season, temporarily wrecked nations, and wrung tears from the eyes of millions. Where are they now? Vanished from the sight of mortal man - all but forgotten save for crumbling pages in the fading history of this material universe. They did no good. The evil they did lives thus but feebly after them.

Mankind, reflecting in some degree the spiritual qualities, faculties, and attributes derived from the Creator - the creation of good and good alone - has survived throughout the ages the persecution of his would-be dominators and destroyers. The real man is indestructible because of his indissoluble connection with his Maker. He lives on to bear witness to the eternality of his God-given being. Man's seeming bondage to all forms of tyranny must yield to a diviner sense of his freedom, his God-ensured liberty. We, as Christian Scientists, have come to know the real man is not in bondage to any material sense of power. Created in the image and likeness of his Maker, given dominion over all things, nothing can cast him down from that high level which is his by divine decree.

The way out of this maze of discord, strife, unhappiness, destruction, fear, hatred, malice, envy, jealousy, and dishonesty is not to be attained through any material means whatsoever. It is only through spiritual attainments that complete liberation can come. Never forget, when assailed from all sides by evil, that this is purely a state of mental chemicalization, which presages a complete healing for all the world.

And what was it Jesus said in the twenty-first chapter of Luke's Gospel?

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Look up! Looking down, we find only the temptation to believe in the reality of evil.

Look up, not down! Look up to divine Love, not down to hate. Look up to Life, not down to death. Look up to divine Mind, not down to mortal mind. Look up to Soul, not down to sense. Look up to Spirit, not down to matter. Look up to Truth, not down to error. Look up to Principle, not down to nothingness.

 

Love Points the Way to Victory

This is the prayer of constructiveness, the antidote for the seeming destructiveness of evil; the expectancy of the attainment of blessings with which we, as Christian Scientists, know today is big, despite all indications to the contrary. This looking up is the attitude of expectancy of attainment.

It is the only way in which we shall be able to see the road to world salvation - to freedom from this lying claim to evil's domination. Only through Love can this be wrought out. Hate and revenge can never win the victory. Love alone can conquer and restore the world to a right state of thinking.

The Psalmist clearly depicted this state of mind when he sang:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

"My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.

"He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

"Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

"The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

"The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

"The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

"The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (Ps. 121:1-8).

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 5, 1948.]

 

 

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