Christian Science and the Brotherhood of Man
William D. McCrackan, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
There was a large and interested audience at the Christian Science Church, on Market Street, Sunday afternoon, to listen to the address of W. D. McCrackan, C.S.B., of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Boston. The lecturer was introduced by W. C. Lawsin, in a few well chosen words. The lecture follows:
This term, Christian Science, is nothing short of an inspiration; for what, I ask you, is the great conflict which is supposed to be before the world of ideas to-day, the irrepressible conflict, as it has sometimes been called? Is it not the seeming conflict between revelation and reason, between Christianity and science? The pulpit, the press and the university are constantly searching for a common ground for these two factors. Earnest men, in their most earnest moments, are striving to reconcile them.
Christian Science has discovered this common ground, and has effected this long-sought reconciliation, by proving that there is no conflict between revelation and spiritual reason, and none between Christianity and divine Science, but that the two coincide and are based, not on the evidence of physical sense, but on the higher evidence of Spirit.
Christian Science is showing that Christianity, in order to fulfill its benign mission, must be understood to be truly scientific, and that the term Science must be applied to the orderly working of God's laws and must, therefore, be essentially Christian in meaning.
The Nature of God
The study of Christianity, and thus of Christian Science, properly begins with the study of God. It will be readily acknowledged that much depends upon the answer to the question: What is God?
It is only beginning to dawn upon mankind at large how much depends upon this answer. While it has, perhaps, been generally conceded that man's attainment of holiness has depended upon this answer, it has not always been recognized that his true happiness, also, depends upon the same answer, still less that his very health — mental, moral and physical — is affected favorably or adversely, according as God is understood to be Spirit and Love, as the Scriptures declare Him, or supposed to be a god of wrath and variableness, as the human mind has only too often imagined him.
We cannot afford to think falsely about God. He must be to us the infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present Father, from whom cometh every good gift, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
As a matter of fact, all Christians are pretty well agreed upon this definition: God is quite generally regarded as the First Cause, the Creator and Controller of the universe. including man. If there be a point of divergence from these generally accepted definitions which Christian Science marks, this point is more likely to appear in the practice of our Christian profession than in the definition itself.
It is well to acknowledge God as supreme over evil of every sort, but it is better still to know Him to be so in specific instances of sin, sickness or sorrow, and thus to make a practical application of this knowledge or understanding in reforming the sinner, healing the sick and comforting the afflicted.
That mankind at large is by no means agreed as to the nature of God is shown by the fact that some persons still consider Him to be the author and procurer of sickness, if not of sin. In the minds of some people this loving Father, whose power is unbounded, and whose ways are infinite, is supposed to send sickness to His defenseless children in order to reform them! this majestic and glorious First Cause, having an unlimited choice in the matter of selecting methods for governing man, is believed to decide to do evil that good may come, when, unhindered and unchecked, He might do good directly.
Christian Scientists do not believe in a god of this kind. It does not seem reasonable or logical to them that the Source of all good should send forth evil, even as a subterfuge for doing good. Christian Science teaches us to know God as completely and wholly good, without variableness or shadow of turning. Christian Scientists do not believe that God deliberately afflicts His children, or that the evil in the world can be traced to Him. It is difficult to estimate the harm which has been done by the teaching and inculcation of false notions concerning the nature of God. A belief that God has attributes similar to those of mankind, that He can be revengeful, that He can distribute His blessings with favoritism, that He can be induced to advance one person at the expense of another, that He is limited in His capabilities and in His powers — all these false beliefs must inevitably produce fear in mankind: fear of lack and want, fear of disease and death.
But he who knows that God is infinite, divine Love, that He is omnipotent, and not limited by human attributes at all, will have a serene sense of security in knowing that our Heavenly Father has already provided all that is necessary to supply our needs. Such an one knows that God is the infinite Source of supply; that man has perpetual access to an ever-flowing fountain, and no worry nor anxiety will obtrude itself upon his consciousness. He will recognize his supply to be as truly assured, day by day, as the little child who never doubts for an instant the capacity of his father and mother to supply all his needs.
The Scriptures tell us that God made man in His image and likeness. The Scriptures also speak of God as Father, and of man as offspring or child, and this glorious concept has given rise to the understanding of the Fatherhood of God, to which Christian Science has added the concept of the Motherhood of God as well, thereby completing and rounding out the idea of the Godhead as a complete Parent. If all men are the children of One Parent, and that Parent is Love, as the Scriptures declare, and if that Parent is infinite and just, it follows that God has endowed His children with divine rights, and that these rights are distributed justly and equitably, in accordance with a divine plan.
The Works of Christ
There is another aspect of Christian teaching which Christian Science emphasizes with special insistence, and that is that Christ's promise and injunctions were meant for all men, for all time, and were not intended to be confined to a particular set of men known as his disciples and apostles, nor to a limited period of time, vaguely designated as the early Christian era. When Christ addressed to them his injunction to "preach the Gospel, heal the sick," we take this to have been addressed to Christians of the present day as well. And we feel that our view of the matter is proved correct by his promise. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do (John 14:12).
If our Heavenly Father sent His son to redeem mankind, it is evident that the methods employed by Jesus must have been in accordance with God's laws; that they were legal, legitimate and normal. It cannot be supposed that Jesus worked contrary to the established laws of God, and, therefore, it must be right for his followers everywhere and always to strive to imitate these methods to the best of their ability. Christian Scientists consider it their duty, as well as privilege, to strive to heal the sick by spiritual means, as well as to reform the sinner. When the Gospel narratives are carefully read, it is astonishing to find how constantly Jesus was occupied in healing the sick. The reformation of the sinner and the restoration of the sick were accomplished by him through one and the same process. His teachings were not barren theories, but bore fruit in actual demonstrations. He offered proof for everything that he stated, and Christian Science, based upon this understanding, is known by its blessed fruits.
The Healing of Disease
No science is worth anything which cannot be demonstrated. And this leads me to speak of that aspect of Christian Science which is, perhaps, most prominently before the public, namely, the healing of disease.
It is not likely that, at this late day, there could be found anybody who has not at least heard of a case of physical healing through Christian Science. Most of you have doubtless known personally men and women who have been thus healed, and some of those present have experienced this great boon in their persons.
There is no limit to the power of Truth. It asks not whether the case be acute or chronic, benign or malignant, and it is significant that many, if not most of the cases healed by Christian Science, are those which have been pronounced incurable by the physicians. The patients have come to Christian Science only as a last resort. In order to rescue mankind from the misery and chaos which such conditions invite, it is necessary to remember that God, the only Mind and divine Love, is the ruler and arbiter of the universe, including man.
Christian Science has been before the public for some thirty years, and during that time it has healed virtually every disease known to man. At this very hour, in various parts of the world, its healing results are being manifested, and every form of evil is yielding to its benign ministrations. On all hands people speak of its dynamic force. It has rescued those addicted to vices of various kinds. It has made chronic invalids sound of limb and cheery of disposition. It has relieved mankind from pain and suffering. It has removed the incapacities and disabilities into which mankind falls through sin and ignorance. It has reunited families, and is saving little children from sudden calamity.
Christian Science is establishing, by degrees, in the sight of all men, a logical, scientific and Christian method of overcoming evil in all its forms with the understanding of the omnipotence of good. But it is no mere optimism — no mere hope or expectation. It is the understanding of the law of God and the recognition and realization of God as Spirit, and man as spiritual. Its Principle is God and its motive is the mental, moral and physical regeneration of mankind. It recognizes material conditions as effect, not cause, and operates for a cure in the mental realm, wherein reside the suggestions and predisposing causes of disease.
Nor is Christian Science mere stoicism. It does not involve submission to disease and the willingness to suffer from it. It does not teach nor preach apathetic indifference to suffering, but it calls for mental action to resist evil and overcome it with the Mind that was also in Christ Jesus. Christian Science produces a mental attitude which is alert, agile and active, and this mental attitude is found to make men more capable and useful, whether their occupations be in the various departments of business life or in the professions and arts. On all sides a process is going on which magnifies good at the expense of evil, and this process is leavening the general human consciousness with its good news of health, holiness and happiness.
Let it be understood at once, however, that we cheerfully acknowledge the devotion and the humanitarian methods which characterize the members of the medical profession. We know full well their diligent study and their acts of heroism, but we are persuaded that we have found a better way of healing the sick than by material drugs or manipulation, a way which experience and common sense alike have led us to adopt as a help in time of trouble.
Let me also acknowledge without reservation that there have been failures, that Christian Scientists have not always known enough about God, nor loved enough to demonstrate the Principle and rule of Christian Science. But such failures have been relatively rare, and were for years treated as sensational news, to be carried from end to end of the country, and to be headed with startling captions. The public has now learned to recognize that. In view of the long obituary columns which appear in our newspapers bearing the names of those who have died under the most approved methods of material medicine, the occasional failures of Christian Scientists dwindle into insignificance, and are not worthy of the special prominence once given to them.
The truth is that Christian Science is now performing a work in modern society and civilization which has rendered it indispensable and essential to-day. If we could imagine it for a moment set aside, or its beneficent activities curtailed, we would not know whither to turn in order to find a substitute.
Indeed, it is now more generally than ever conceded that many diseases are of mental origin. Progressive physicians are found paying increased attention to mental symptoms. Christian Science goes one step further and shows that all disease, as well as sin, can be traced to false mental concepts, either directly or indirectly, either consciously present in the patient's thought or latent in general human consciousness. Not physical, but metaphysical medicine, is what humanity craves and needs. Fear, doubt, envy, malice, anger, pride, selfishness and other evils externalize themselves in a diseased matter body. Love, confidence, compassion, humility, honesty, and other normal states of mind, produce healthy conditions on the body.
But in order to effect a change of thought, the Christian Scientist does not rely upon himself, but upon God, the divine Principle, all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present. For surely it should not seem strange to any one that He, who is infinite power and intelligence, should be able to heal the sick, as well as save the sinner. In the words of Paul, when he stood at bay before King Agrippa, in Caesarea: "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
If God is really eternal Life, then the real man must be immortal and indestructible.
There was a time when the church valued this power of healing the sick as an evidence of its divine origin. For some three hundred years Christians healed the sick by spiritual means, but when the primitive church, strong in spirituality, gave place to an establishment strong principally in temporal things; when Constantine proclaimed himself a Christian Emperor, and seized the reins of power in the church itself; when Christianity became crystalized into a hard and fast system; when, in a word, materialism drove out spirituality, then the spirit of Christ, the mind which was also in Christ Jesus, and which was also in his disciples, his apostles and their followers, became attenuated, and the power to heal the sick by spiritual means was slowly lost.
Imagine a world of happy men and women, starting out to do their work every morning guided solely by Principle, sustained by God, who is substance. Imagine them all dwelling in the one Mind, conscious only of one power and intelligence, uniting in one indissoluble bond and acknowledging one Supreme Being, Mind, Spirit and Soul.
In such a world no material problems could arise to harass us, for the ever present thought of Life would drive away all fear of death; the knowledge of Truth would dispel all doubt and suspicion and Love would cast its glow of joy and its glory of happiness over all men and over the whole universe.
My friends, let us see whether it is not true that while we have been planning and contriving to establish the brotherhood of man by material means, lo, and behold, it is already here in spirit. Let us see whether we may not work together to bring out the manifestation, the realization of this brotherhood, by remembering the injunctions and promises of Christ.
The Brotherhood of Man
Christian Science not only provides a way of reformation for the sinner and a cure for the sick, but it supplies a key which must eventually be applied to all other reforms as well. It is destined to become the right hand of the reformer by proving to him that the way to help to reform others is first to learn to reform himself. Christian Science is establishing the understanding that what helps one helps all.
It may be that we sometimes forget to recognize how greatly we depend upon harmonious co-operation even for our commonest needs.
Imagine for a moment the diversity of activities involved even in a single one of the many industries. Take the simplest possible illustration, the producing of a loaf of bread. Consider what that means in the way of cooperation. There is the tilling of the soil; the making of the plow; the gathering of the harvest; the milling of the wheat; the transportation of the wheat, with all the accessories that the word "transportation" implies in the way of rails, road-bed, cars, etc.; consider the bakery; the supplying of the finished loaf, until it reaches the table of the consumer. There is represented to us, in so simple a matter as the production of a loaf of bread, a marvelous co-operation, most of which is unconscious on the part of the participants. It is not likely that the final consumer will ever meet the original tiller of the soil or any of the vast number of producers who have contributed to placing the loaf on his table. Yet each, acting according to his best understanding, has labored for the given end, and has thus proved that what helps one helps all.
In the mental realm, in Christian metaphysics, the same holds good. Unknown to one another, we help each other by laboring to keep our own thoughts clear, our hearts tender, our sympathies sweet. Without necessarily coming into personal contact, we thus contribute to create a better state of consciousness and a purer tone in public opinion and to express, in a measure, the brotherhood of man.
It is evident that before the brotherhood of man can be established in organization and the constructive work of society be placed upon that basis, this brotherhood itself should be properly understood. Mind precedes matter. A mental concept must first be formed before a material action can take place.
Suppose I desire to build a house: my first step is to go to an architect and have him draw up plans; he forms a mental concept of the house, modified by my wishes in regard to the matter and this mental concept is the idea which will presently blossom forth into a plan. The architect then takes his plan to a builder and soon we find a house of wood and stone erected on the desired site. Suppose ten years to go by and the house to be torn down to make room for city improvements: still the idea or plan of the house is not affected thereby, but lives on as a mental concept, capable of being reproduced materially at the will or wish of the architect. The vital part of the house, then, is its idea. In considering this subject of the brotherhood of man, it is essential and indispensable to arrive, first of all, at a proper understanding of the idea for which it stands. This idea having been established, the application of it will unfold itself as the need arises.
Mrs. Eddy has stated, in her great work "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 340): "One infinite God, Good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Since man is spiritual, the brotherhood of man must be a spiritual fact. Whatever material contrivances, societies or co-operative plans mankind may formulate and establish to carry out the idea of the brotherhood of man, the kernel and essential fact of the situation is that this brotherhood of men is, in its nature, spiritual.
It is of little avail to attempt to establish the appearance of brotherhood and fraternal relations on any supposed material basis, until the spiritual fact has first been clearly established in the minds of men. If some benevolent despot, arrayed with unlimited power over the material affairs of mankind, commanding unlimited means, controlling all avenues of traffic and transportation, all deposits of wealth, directing all legislation and all administration of the law, should, by the utmost exertion, finally accomplish the herculean task of establishing a system of government which would guarantee to all mankind equal rights and justice so far as their material needs and aspirations were concerned, and if a system of absolute social, economic and political equilibrium could, by such an agency, be established to-day, and placed in thorough working order, to-morrow it would already be out of order and in need of repairs. A little bit of malice, a speck of envy, a taint of jealousy, greed, or any one of the common sins with which mankind is afflicted, would suffice to stop the whole of this elaborate and cleverly devised machinery, or, at least, to interfere perceptibly with its harmonious action.
If we take the history of any nation, we will find that constant attempts to disrupt the brotherhood of man have been made and have only too often succeeded. In the Bible narrative we find that the brotherhood of man had no sooner been established in the persons of Cain and Abel than it was violently disrupted by a little bit of envy and jealousy on the part of Cain. We are told that when his offering received no respect, he "was very wroth, and his countenance fell." If we follow the history of the Jewish race as depicted in the Bible this same disruption will be recognized as constantly reappearing and due, in every instance, to some form of sin. We find Jacob and Esau separating; the sons of Jacob ridding themselves of Joseph by reason of envy; we find the kingdoms of Judah and Israel drawing apart, and eventually punished by being sent into captivity. Similar illustrations might be quoted, ad infinitum, from the histories of all nations and people.
Upon closer study, then, the prerequisites to any practical scheme for expressing the brotherhood of man is found to be self-knowledge, leading to humility and love and the overcoming of evil in the individual consciousness.
Suppose that two persons in this audience should agree never to hate again, no matter what the provocation, no matter whether they were seemingly justified by the customary codes of mankind; suppose a third person should join these two; a fourth; a fifth; ten persons; a hundred; a thousand; suppose a million persons should agree never to hate again; and suppose this process to take in, by degrees, the whole human race; would not hatred be as completely eliminated from our midst as though it had never been? Suppose all the other sins to which flesh is heir, to be eliminated, one by one, from human consciousness in the same manner; is it not evident that by degrees sinless man would make his appearance, and also the complete Brotherhood for which we so greatly long?
I am not of those who decry the various attempts which are now being made and which have been made to express the Brotherhood of Man in material affairs. I honor all those who are laboring in many ways to express this idea, whether in social, economic or political conditions. The reformer in various activities is contributing to the final perfect expression of this lofty ideal but the point never to be forgotten is that this Brotherhood must be recognized and cognized as a spiritual fact, and this cannot be disregarded, but must be understood and accepted before the desired material consummation can take form.
I would, therefore, call your attention to the noble results which a study of Christian Science is destined to produce in bringing out this ideal. The human race has been too prone to put the cart before the horse in all these problems, to look at material conditions and manifestations as cause, and to relegate man's mental attitude to the realm of consequence or effect. Jesus reproved this false method of reasoning when he said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things shall be added unto you."
Christian Scientists do not look upon heaven as a locality to be attained through death, but consider it to be a mental attitude wherein good is understood to be omnipotent and every semblance opposed to good ceases to have significance, entity, reality or existence. When men can know themselves to be thus in heaven, they cannot desire to oppress their brethren, nor can they be influenced by greed, fear, envy, jealousy or malice, but must know each other as they really are, as the children of a common Parent. Then must "all things be added," for the expression of this mental attitude brings, as a necessary consequence, the safeguarding of the rights of others and a tender solicitude for their interests.
When the true Brotherhood of Man is understood, man can never be lonely. [When this Brotherhood is understood to be, primarily, and essentially, spiritual, not material, then it follows that man really chooses his comrades irrespective of material circumstances and surroundings, independently of time and space.
[For instance, there are many people in our day, in many parts of the world, who are the comrades and companions of Shakespeare, although he lived some four hundred years ago. They know how he thought, and that thinking was the real Shakespeare. There are others who are intimately acquainted with Homer, who is supposed to have lived, approximately, three thousand years ago. It is evident, therefore, that in true companionship the question of time and space can be eliminated. There are many people to-day who are friends and acquaintances of Beethoven, although they have never seen him. They know his musical thought. Their friendship with him is a mental matter. Beethoven himself, we are told, after he became deaf, continued to compose, although he never heard the sound of his own compositions. He thought his music and wrote it down, and thousands of persons have heard that music since and can think it after him. There are those who are so well versed in the science of music that they can think music without actually hearing it through the physical sense of hearing. And so it is with all the great men who have ever lived; they live today and our appreciation of them and companionship with them is mental and not material.
May we not say that it is the privilege of the Christian to enter into companionship with Jesus the Christ, his disciples and apostles and the early Christians? Is it not true that when we possess the key of understanding which unlocks the meaning of their lives and explains their sayings, we become their companions, although nearly twenty centuries separate us from them in point of time?
These considerations open up a vista of great possibilities, which Christian Science explains and emphasizes. When it is understood that the works of Jesus and his followers were not supernatural, illegal and illegitimate in the sight of God, but were supremely natural, lawful and normal, and when it is perceived that God's laws hold good for all men, at all times, then Jesus the Christ becomes an elder brother, showing the way by actual demonstration and proving every step to be taken, while his words of advice, such as his Sermon in the Mount and the parables he related, acquire a fraternal meaning which they could never have had as long as Jesus could be considered to be an exhibitor of miracles.
It is true that Jesus was engaged, from the beginning of his ministry until its close, in meeting, and overcoming laws and beliefs which perhaps men have looked upon as natural and, possibly, as God-given, and yet Jesus overcame all that was evil and disastrous in so-called natural law.
We are told that Jesus, after his temptation in the wilderness, went through Galilee healing the sick of all manner of diseases, in every case exposing and dissipating the customary procedure of specific diseases. The Bible narrative not only records his destruction of disease, but it is related that Jesus fed five thousand in such a way as to break the law of human limitation, that he walked the waves and stilled the storm, that he raised the dead; in every instance overcoming established beliefs which the general human consciousness had formulated into laws. We find in the Gospels that the disciples and apostles followed his teachings and demonstrations to the best of their ability, and in the Acts are recorded their experiences after Jesus himself had left them in the flesh, and had sent them the Comforter. I believe it is possible for the man of to-day, be his occupation what it may, his profession what it may, to form a lasting friendship with the great elder brother of Christianity, to know him well, to follow him truly, and to love him deeply, as a present help in time of trouble.
The Discoverer and Founder and Her Writings
It would not be just to you, dear hearers, nor to myself, to adjourn this lecture without reference to the noble woman, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, through whom God has spoken so clearly and tenderly to this age. I need not say that all I have been able to tell you about Christian Science is derived from a study of the illumined works of this good woman.
It is a pretty mean man who objects to any message because it comes through a woman. A little review of the world's history will show that this is, primarily, the age when it is the privilege of woman, not only to guard the Truth, but to utter it as well. Working her way up through successive conditions of supposed inferiority, woman stands today the acknowledged coequal of man, and no one can say her nay. In my opinion, it is natural and appropriate that a message of Truth to this age should come through a woman, and no man who is familiar with the historical trend of the ages can fail to appreciate that this is of vital consequence to the human race.
The public should know the simple facts of Mrs. Eddy's history. That she was born in New Hampshire, of New England parents, that she was well educated in her youth; early displaying exceptional literary capabilities, that she was specially spiritually endowed, and that the whole trend of her life has been marked by a search for God and the desire to express Him, and Him only. As a result of this search she made her discovery of Christian Science, and since then her activity has been principally directed towards the promulgation and preservation of Christian Science. In the course of this labor she has written works which have illumined the Scriptures for a vast multitude of earnest men and women. She has emphasized the cardinal point in the history of primitive Christianity, namely, the spiritual healing, which, during successive centuries, was seemingly allowed to lapse and become obsolete. With great foresight and wisdom she has established agencies for the teaching and practice of Christian Science, in order that this great gift to mankind be preserved inviolate and the individual man might "know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent" and, through this knowing, the great and noble Brotherhood of Man might be established for all time.
As a literary man I would like to offer my tribute of special appreciation of her epoch-making writings. Their originality is uncontested, and the profound meaning which pervades them is deeply felt by all who approach them from a standpoint of sincere search. They are works to be read and re-read; they are not barren treatises, to be read and laid aside, but they contain a living and abiding message to be applied to everyday affairs. It is the experience of all that such application brings with it a clearer understanding of the Scriptures and an unfolding of their spiritual meaning. Above all, Mrs. Eddy has, in her works, offered a new criterion for art, a new test by which art should be measured, namely, its power to heal. If science be knowing, then art is application and demonstration. Those who have been healed by reading Mrs. Eddy's works, and their number constitutes a vast multitude, have been brought face to face with a new art, according to which, it is my firm conviction, mankind will, more and more, judge all art, and, in accordance with such judgment, will classify the works of men.
Consequently Mrs. Eddy's works open up a vista of far-reaching consequence on this subject of art. I myself am not familiar with any books, except the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings, which show this characteristic of healing those who read them. In all the range of literature, whether in the department of technical writings, medical works or Belles Lettres, I know of no book which can perform so noble a service for mankind. Those who have studied Mrs. Eddy's writings, and have learned to apply their teachings, can understand that this effect is produced by the statements of Truth which she has written down in them, and by the resulting destruction and dispersion of false beliefs inherent in the general human consciousness. For myself, it seems to me that all the arts are destined to feel this grand rejuvenating example and impulse; that they will be refined and purified thereby, and supplied with a new motive. Hereafter, the test of a work of art will not only be whether it gives pleasure to the human senses, but whether it is in accordance with the eternal and indestructible Truth of Being, — with the Science of Being and the laws of God; and whether it corrects some false sense, destroys some evil tendency, or dispels some fault in the general human consciousness. From this standpoint, it is easy to see that a tremendous impulse towards reformative work in the arts has sprung into being through Mrs. Eddy's writings, and that as the full import of those writings dawns upon mankind, their effect is destined to make itself felt in all branches of human activity, from the loftiest enterprises to the simplest daily tasks.
A great multitude of intelligent and earnest men and women are bound to Mrs. Eddy by the indestructible bonds of love and gratitude, both for what she is, and what she has done, and is doing. They owe their health and happiness to her lofty life-motive and her moral courage. In order to make them free, she has been willing to pass through the shadows and mists of misrepresentation and prejudice which cluster around every new movement; she has marked the path through the dark forests and has come out upon the serene heights into the sunlight and the atmosphere of divine Love, which is impartial, universal and immemorial.
To-day she is prized as a great religious reformer, and her name is a household word in all parts of the world, while her words are treasured in a host of loving hearts.
When you come to think over the problems and answers which I have placed before you to-day, I hope that some helpful thought may abide with you and bear fruit, but I do not ask you to believe anything I have said because I have said it, but to use your own good judgment, and draw upon your own practical experience and your common sense. Christian Science eschews mere academic discussions and theoretical dissertations, but is a science which demands daily use and demonstration.
The first step in the understanding of Christian Science, and the necessary prerequisite in the application thereof, is to strive to know God.
If you would reform the sinner, first know God, and then you will be able to recognize man, and to know what he is and what he is not.
If you would heal the sick, first know God.
If you would comfort the sorrowing, know God.
If you would be honest and competent in business, or in professional life, know God.
If you would find the Brotherhood of Man, know God.
If you would gain eternal life here, know God; for Jesus said: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
[Delivered May 15, 1904, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Market Street, opposite Pine, in Poughkeepsie, New York, and published in The Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, of Poughkeepsie, New York, of May 16, 1904. A less complete account of the lecture, delivered March 16, 1905, at First Parish Church (Unitarian), Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cambridge, was published in The Cambridge Chronicle, March 18, 1905. In a few places in the Cambridge account, which did not include the title of the lecture, the word "unity" was substituted for the term "Brotherhood of Man".]