Christian Science and the Freedom of Man

 

The Rev. William P. McKenzie, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Last year there was published a most interesting book entitled, "Up From Slavery," written by Booker T. Washington, the well-known liberator, through education, of many of the negro people in our land. In this book it is related that the songs of the slaves rang out with greater hope as emancipation drew near. They heard of victories for the North, and sang more boldly. They had sung of freedom long and long, but had always explained that this freedom was to be found in the better land beyond the Jordan of death. But the new hope made them feel that liberty was coming to them here, in this world, and with that enlarged thought their hearts were thrilled as they sang of freedom. Like these slaves we have been singing of liberty to come. In song we have given assurance to others that,

 

On the other side of Jordan,

In the sweet fields of Eden,

Where the tree of life is blooming,

There is rest for you;

There is rest for the weary,

There is rest for you;

 

and yet, ever-present with us has been the eternal Christ, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that travail, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is the mission of Christian Science to repeat that eternal message. By the issue of its text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker G. Eddy, it has proclaimed the way of emancipation; and so, even while men and women are singing their hopes of gaining, in a far land, freedom from sorrow, the joy of freedom now and here is being proclaimed for them.

The struggle of man to escape from slavery is the story of the ages. We know little of it, for in literature we get glimpses only at the misery. We see some Crusader knight fainting in Algerian heat, and maltreated by a barbarian captor. We see men yoked together in Basta's carriages, and lashed like beasts. We think of gentlemen of culture chained to seats in the galleys where hopeless and exhausting toil drains the life. We read of the horrors of slave-pens in Africa, and the hideous agonies of the slave-ship. Tennyson in revolt against industrial slavery under the new-made millionaire, depicts

 

grimy nakedness dragging his trucks

And laying his trams in a poisoned gloom.

 

There are yet places where men can be lost to the world, losing name and nationality, and even desire to remain alive. Though men still live their lives in the sunless depths of salt mines, and youths stagger in the palpable darkness and terror-haunted glooms of coal mines, bondage is to-day mental; for lives are lived without the light of divine Principle, and surrounded by the terrors that dwell in darkness. As the Congo slaves were yoked in bands and driven whither they would not, so to-day men are yoked by selfish compacts, and driven by those who make gain out of them. As ancient task-masters compelled Egyptian hordes to labor under the driver's whip, so to-day men are driven to put forth their strength in multitudes, under the lash of prejudice and partisanship and fear. The pharaohs of to-day are not throned in palaces, but as false theories of life, as un-Christian philosophies, as cruel dogma and unprovable doctrine, they hold men in slavery through fear. Tyrants have always claimed a power indefinite; by arrogance, assumption of control, and mysterious threats, they have striven to instil dread into their subjects. Fear is their hold on their victims, but it is not external; they work on a mental condition.

It is through fear that the oppressor takes away his right from the defenceless, but fearlessness is a defence. By the name given to the royal palace at Potsdam, now kept as Frederic the Great left it, we are reminded of that miller devoid of fear, who withstood the demand of a great king. Sans Souci his neighbors called him, for his countenance was bright and his heart ever happy and care free. So well ordered was his mill that the king desired to own it, but the man refused to sell; and moreover quietly withstood the king's angry threat to take it, by reminding him that there were courts of justice in the land. The powerful king could not frighten his subject because he was not a coward, and the man compelled the king to recognize the power above his own. Browning pictures this thought of divine protection; after describing the way in which a tyrant has his poor victim snared and is about to destroy him, he makes the tyrant confess:

 

Just my vengeance complete,

The man sprang to his feet,

Stood erect, caught at God's skirts, and prayed!

So I wan afraid!

 

Men are held as slaves by tradition, custom, and the fear of man, because of the answer in their own hearts given by superstition, vanity, and cowardice. Hence it is with the character of men that we must work if liberty is to be achieved. The Puritan tried to develop righteousness without joy, and the Cavalier sought for pleasure without righteousness. "The glorious liberty of the children of God" implies relief from all that hinders normal development in both righteousness and happiness; and the work is not the strenuous life of contest and warfare whereby the world has hitherto been deluged with blood, but is that patient labor of self-purification whereby healing may be given to the world. In struggles for liberty hate has often been the strongest motive. But why hate the tyrant and so embitter one's own life? He sits in lonely gloom, his imagination racked by ghostly memories of wrong. He knows no rest from his fear; and hate forces him to greater wrong by arousing greater fears. Were he healed, his cruelties would cease.

The difference between liberty and license must be made clear. The uselessness of struggles animated by hate has often been shown. When the Spartan helots revolted they did not gain liberty. When the Roman gladiators subdued their masters they did not make themselves free. The French revolutionists proclaimed liberty, and poets like Wordsworth expected to see fraternity and equality established. But how could cruelty, murder, unrestrained hate, establish liberty, or remedy the cruelty of tyranny? For these revolts there was found no basis in enduring truth, and the caprices of changing leaders were like the shifting sands on which nothing could be built. By the evil man it is not liberty, a universal blessing, that is desired, but license or unhindered action according to his caprice. He would destroy all law, for law obstructs his brutal selfishness.

Christian Science reveals the way to liberty, in self-government under law. License means government by selfishness, but the way of law and Science leads to the ultimate fact that for man the only true freedom is in goodness, in release from evil and its modes of deception; whereas license means freedom or unhindered action in evil. Should you allow lawlessness to prevail in a class in mathematics, then each indolent scholar could claim for his wrong solution the place and reward to which only correct solutions are entitled. Liberty through lawlessness is impossible, for the scholar can gain it only as he understands and obeys the science of numbers. Liberty for him is freedom from errors, and fellowship with those who are emancipated through knowledge.

In this light we can understand Jesus' words, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He was the great emancipator. "To this end have I been born," he said, "and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." All through his life he bore witness to the truth about God. Men believed that they were governed by an external force and will which they could not comprehend. If the divine will is incomprehensible then man must submit to everything, even disaster, disease, fear, despair, not knowing what that will may be. If God cannot be known, if He does not rule man through intelligence, then submission to every unknown force is right enough lest divine will be opposed. But Jesus came to make the truth about God known. By his works of healing, wrought through divine power, he revealed His character to be Love; and by his teaching he made it clear that God was not incomprehensible force, but Intelligence or Mind to be comprehended and loved as the heavenly Father of man. Christian Science brings to us the known God once more, offering proof and teaching that we may gain the freedom which truth always establishes. In the mind that knows the truth about God there is joy, for the truth about God includes the truth about man as the child of God. When God is known and love springs forth, the sense of sonship makes a man free from what is unlike God. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

Some of the conditions which enforce mental slavery to-day may be glanced at, as they are the difficulties to be overcome in the emancipation of man. The main error may be said to be a wrong sense of the source of good. "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for that which satisfieth not?" is an old question. Spiritual sense apprehends the truth that man can find no satisfying apart from a right relation with God, the Life and Father of man. Material sense is that erroneous condition of thought wherein matter is believed to be the real and enduring and satisfying substance.

 

Matter Not The Source Of Good.

Let us examine the belief that man's good is derived from matter. We see it leading to a search for happiness through the senses, and making of men gluttons, drunkards, or libertines, all slaves! Or we see men deluded by the expectation of satisfaction from mere possession, and enchained by envy and covetousness, or perhaps seduced by avarice into crimes like theft and murder. Crime is impossible for one made free by Christ's truth, because he finds no compulsion from the motives which lead to crime. Seeking his good from mind he sees that the false theory leads to degradation, cruelty, despair, discord on earth, and ill-will to men; and that man's true freedom and joy may be found in kindness, benevolence, and recognition of God as the source of good.

 

Fear Of A Material Cause For Evil.

Those who look to matter as the source of good are brought into bondage to fear that matter is the source of evil as well. The material body seems to originate disease whereby evil-doers are punished and so reverses their cherished expectations that pleasure would be found in sense rather than in soul. But it is not the ill-doer specially who is in bondage to fear of disease. From that fear few escape. Could we unveil the records of epistolary correspondence, what a story of universal belief in disease we should read. Like migratory birds these missives fly in flocks back and forth from friend to friend throughout the land, and as in ordinary conversation how frequently the tale of sickness is told. Many conceive the producing cause of sickness to be a blind and occult force, unreasonable, capricious, and mysterious. By others it is thought of as incomprehensible law, and for the hurtful action of this law of matter a remedy is sought in matter. Were the remedy for sickness in matter, the drug, infusion, or decoction, would have inherent power: and by this time a remedy for every known disease would have been discovered. It is because effects correspond so much with the patient's changing state of mind that we have continually changing fashions in drugs. Schools of medicine break away from traditional remedies of the past, but they form new traditions from which others must in turn gain freedom.

When we look over the area of thought occupied by theories regarding sickness and possible remedies for it, we are amazed at the way in which by mere belief the race is controlled. We consider that an evil fate has indeed befallen the man who is exiled from his home, or by a fine deprived of his means, or brought nigh to starvation through misfortune; yet how many are exiled from friends in the search for a salubrious climate, how many have spent their all on medical advice and remedies, and how many live on the verge of starving through fear of the hurt that may come from food. Long ago hordes of Assyrian slaves spent their toil to enrich those who controlled them. Today men who are able by mesmeric advertisements to make multitudes expect benefit from their nostrums, build up fortunes from the toil of those who are thus controlled. Christian Science liberates sufferer, slave, and exile, by revealing the one remedy for man's woe as a prodigal in the far land of superstition. So long as he is a serf to belief in the action of non-reasonable powers or driven by the lash of fear of the unknown, man is the servant of the lowest thoughts and seeks satisfaction from husks; but the word of truth restores him to his natural home and the Father's love, and this is the healing of Christian Science.

 

Pride Of Life.

Another difficulty to be overcome is pride as an ideal of life It is seen in the search for distinction, and for the approval of men, by which many men become degenerate, fawning, deceitful, unscrupulous, and unjust. A man who loses his view of a standard of truth, in the endeavor to be diplomatic may become dishonest. The extreme of this has been termed Machiavellism; but Jesus corrected the whole tendency when he said, "How can ye believe which receive glory one of another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?" More perverse yet is the pride of those who claim to be specially favored by heaven. Religious pride is the foe of natural Christian living.

Consider how wars have begun because of pride. Consider the discords in life because of family pride, hard and cold; national pride flaming out in quarrels; religious pride with inquisitions and murders. In innumerable cases contests could have been averted, wars or strikes prevented, had there been one man animated by Christly meekness able to meet pride with true humility, and so eliminate the personal elements from the strife and reveal the action of the divine Principle we call God. By the healing work of Christian Science such men are being developed; men who fear nothing but to do wrong, men of steady mind because they humbly recognize God's rule and have become content to obey God rather than man. Their advantage over other good men is that they can prove the Principle they believe in. When the thought of God is dogmatic or theoretic you have as many theories as there are men. Each man is a sect by himself. But when God is known as one Mind to be revealed by proof, then in proportion as proof is given you have wise and harmonious action among men. "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy."

 

Theory Of A Double Life.

Like a fog which one strives vainly to dislodge by beating the air, so does the theory of a double life for a man darken his present way. He believes in a bodily life here and expects life from a different source beyond the grave. He sings, "Brief life is here our portion," or else "Here we suffer grief and pain," because taught that on earth he can only know material things and in heaven he will know only things spiritual, if he successfully avoids the lower region where the material body is to exist forever, maintained and organized as a vehicle for the inflow to his sense of unending misery. Jesus taught that man may change here into the true consciousness which overrides death. His own consciousness was spiritual, that is, occupied with realities and unburdened by any belief in the transient. Where the senses perceived suffering and disease, he apprehended the true man, the creation of God; and where the sufferer and sinner had faith to accept the heavenly gleam of truth, he too gained the true consciousness of man, and found himself, in some degree at least, image and likeness of God.

The problem then is to obtain such direct communication with the original source of Being that God is known to man as not only his Life in ages to come but now; and not only a source of all good in the far future, but in the present. Such godliness is profitable both for this life and that which is to come, for it makes life continuous and shows the quality of life to be so harmonious and pure and joyful, that sin, disease, and death, are wholly absent from it.

 

Fear Of Hypnotism.

Still another difficulty in the way of man's freedom in truth is fear of the malevolent action of other minds. Were it known how prevalent is the belief in witchcraft or black magic in certain communities, many would be surprised. The cowardly purchase the curses of those claiming occult powers to do evil, and the victims of their hate are terrorized in proportion to their ignorance. The records of history display the overt action of envy, self-will, rivalry, and hate, in deception, cruelty, injustice, and murder; and when we remember that every act proceeds from a cherished thought, we may well believe that such thoughts prevail yet among men, and in secret ways endeavor to work out evil. This is true, however, that those who exercise the control of will over others and influence them for their own selfish ends, prepare for themselves mental darkness and godless despair; whereas those obedient to God, who heal and liberate others, walk "the path of the just," which "shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

 

Knowing The Truth.

When the separate minds of men are controlled by selfish lust and selfish fear, by belief in matter as a cause apart from Mind, or belief in the power of malevolent minds through hypnotic control, there exists a condition of lawlessness. Each man's interest seems in contest with that of his neighbor, and selfishness brings forth every kind of discord. Men fail to escape from anxiety, pride, fear, sickness, doubt, and sin, until they learn that causation depends upon divine Mind, and that man is self-governed by Mind or God. Christian Science brings freedom by revealing the available power of "the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth," and by exchanging "the spirit of bondage" for "the spirit of adoption." Knowing the Spirit of truth is the awakening of reason so that the mind cognizes the facts regarding God and man; receiving the spirit of adoption is recognizing sonship with God, it is the awakening of love so that the heart rejoices in God as Father of all.

The Founder of Christianity had marvelous faith in the vitality of truth. Egyptian rulers spent the labor of years in erecting gigantic monuments which tell us nothing now. The world is full of pathetic efforts to establish names in the memory of man. The man of Nazareth overcame the temptation to desire fame and power, and made himself a servant of truth. Then came to him the vision that the spoken truth could never pass away; and we now see that it has leavened the ages. But the words and works of Christ Jesus are inseparably connected as revelation of the truth of God. The characteristic of Christian Science is its recognition that the proof of healing is as essential now as in the beginning of the Christian era, and should accompany the doctrine of Christianity. For ages the words and works of Jesus have been divorced. His works have been termed miracles and wonders due to supernatural interference with regular conditions, when they should be viewed as the regular and natural result of knowing the presence of God, the all-pervading, all-persistent, all-potential Love. Leaving out the proof of God given by the healing, redeeming, and renewing of man on earth, it is easy to see how doctrines were laid down from imagination instead of reason. Frederick the Great declared that the study of history led one to think that from the time of Constantine to the date of the Reformation the whole world was insane. During those years of darkness there were ten million victims of religious persecution. Since healing became a lost art, men have fought together and slain each other in dispute as to the manner of the proceeding of the Holy Ghost, proving on both sides that they had failed to receive the Holy Ghost, and such reception was all that concerned them. The theories regarding God framed by imagination and fear, made life an endless struggle to please a personal Ruler who had infinite capacity for displeasure.

 

Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear,

Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of the weal or the woe;

 

yet solution comes not from imagination or caprice, or Utopian dreams, but solely from establishing the atonement of man with God by revealing to man the true God, and renewing man's mind after the image or character of his Father in heaven. Let us follow out some of the results of Christian Science, which liberates man on every plane and shows its results through every manifestation of life, physical, mental, and moral.

 

Healing.

By healing them Christian Science ransoms men from the tyranny of superstition and the despotic misrule of fear. The history of suffering to which the sick have been subjected in all lands under superstition, has some gruesome chapters. The days may be past for us when starvation, blood-letting, searing with hot irons, cupping and blistering were in vogue; but some victims remain who have survived such experiences. The list of compositions nauseating and unclean that have been used for medicine, is long indeed. Consider the fears which invade like a conquering army the mind of a sufferer, as his advisers give utterance to their forebodings and outline the pictures of disease. Yet when they give up hope he is like one who hears his life declared forfeit, for he knows no way to struggle against the unjust sentence whereby he is condemned to death.

A large percentage of the avowed Christian Scientists come from those once sentenced to die, who have been redeemed from anticipation of the shrouding darkness, and that last strangling fear which is death, and given back to usefulness and new life. Formerly they lived as a monarch does who is in danger of invasion from abroad while mutiny and rebellion within threaten his realm. Now they find fear subdued, and the rule of Life established, reducing to harmonious action all the functions of man.

A gospel which does not include healing is not good news enough, seeing that the need for relief from sickness is so great. Indeed, the term Christian can hardly be applied to a doctrine which fails to include the proof whereupon Jesus builded his teaching and established his ministry as from God.

 

Reforming.

By reforming them Christian Science redeems men from the misrule of passions and appetites. Men who consciously choose sin are gnawed by the worm of unceasing and cruel remorse until their love of sin is destroyed. But it is possible by coming to a right sense of God to lose the tendency to sin, and this good way is the scientific way. There is no potion or drug which will heal sin. It is the sin of avarice which makes men advertise with seductive suggestion various intoxicating beverages as remedies for the sorrows of life. Then you see remedies advertised to cure the hurtful effects of strong drink; and again cures for the drug habit induced by these remedies. As if one should proclaim the last a remedy for the sorrow caused by the drug, taken to cure the sorrow caused by the drink, taken to cure the sorrow of life. This round of despair reminds one of what Isaiah depicts when he says, "He who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare." Health and a cure for the evil of intemperance would require the removal of the sin or lawlessness of avarice in the publican, and the sin or lawlessness of appetite in his victim. So far as regards the inebriate, cases are on record where one hearing of the truth stated in such a lecture as this has begotten a new sense of life in a man, and enabled him to separate himself wholly from drunkenness. Thousands of slaves to evil habits and low desires have been healed through treatment in Christian Science or through reading its text-book, Science and Health; that is, they have been redeemed from the misrule of appetite, and brought to understand the government and the beneficent action of divine law which manifests God as Love, healing and saving man.

 

Renewing The Mind.

By this men are redeemed from the control of false logic and baseless tradition.

Something of the insanity of the Middle Ages remains in the terror-inspiring doctrines whereby men even yet are held in dread of God and in the belief that cruelty is legitimate in dealing with men. What a nightmare the dread of eternal punishment has been. It has been proven in Christian Science that release from that horror in thought, has frequently brought immediate release from bodily suffering and has restored the insane. So soon as the thought was transformed by a true witness concerning God, the sense of healing came, even as when Christ bore witness to his and our God and Father, and the sick responded to the truth and became well.

A sorrowful tradition from that past when men, were governed by imagination, fear, and superstition, rather than by Science, is the theory of God as the infinite image and likeness of human personality, and therefore changeable, vindictive, merciless to enemies, and capable of jealousy and favoritism. Oliver Wendell Holmes in his "Urania" speaks of those who believed it was their duty to accept such a God,

 

And praise a tyrant throned in lonely pride,

Who loves himself and cares for naught beside;

Who gave thee, summoned from primeval night,

A thousand laws and not a single right.

 

Such an erroneous conception of God has developed a fawning, deceitful, cringing, pharisaic sense among religionists; and a hostile, bitter, contemptuous and resentful sense among the irreligious. When the mind is renewed it sees clearly the impossibility of God changing His nature from Love into any condition opposite thereto, or combining in His nature Love and opposite characteristics. "God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all;" so we say that God is Love, and in Him there is nothing loveless or unlovely at all. We have a parable in mother-love; it has no form, but is like the light embracing in compassion every child. So went forth the tenderness of Christ like sunshine, healing, comforting, redeeming; and he said that his works of love were done by God, and revealed God. If God was available then, here and now must this provable power of Good, this perfect God, this divine Principle or Cause, be present to all that call upon Him in truth. Christian Science sets forth man's right to be in harmony with the true beauty of reason, and so redeems him from credulity; frees his mind from that which is illogical, and his heart from any fear of an unloving God or an unjust heavenly Father.

 

The Life-force of Christianity.

Christianity should reveal life to man, the potency of ever-abiding good, and the joy of love upspringing like an unfailing fountain of water. The church of Christ is the body in which the mind of Christ acts, governing all the members, as intelligence controls the body and produces unified effort. From the true church of Christ should emanate love that saves men from error and satisfies their deep longing for good. It should be a living force in the world fulfilling the beneficent offices which men seek to fulfil by their thousands of benevolent societies. But how shall this be until men are individually free by knowing the truth and obeying its present impulse. The doctors and teachers of Jesus' day were letter-wise in regard to the traditions of the past, but with him were the present light and wisdom of the Spirit. They could shut the sick out from human intercourse, and condemn, injure, and punish the sinful; but Jesus could make the sick well, and release the sinful from motives for sin, and so from sin and its consequences; and this healing and redemption is the life-force of Christianity, which may have its resurrection in every heart through Christian Science to-day. Is it not better to be glad in the life than to give doleful reverence to the husks or shells broken and cast aside by its growth? for such are dogmas from the past. Christ has been lost as presence, because made remote historically, or beclouded dogmatically, or removed from our thought of practical life reverentially; whereas to find Christ abide with us forever through renewing of the mind, is to find Emmanuel, or "God with us."

 

Self-government by Divine Principle.

It may legitimately be asked, How may healing, reformation, and renewing of the mind be wrought out? The solution to the problem of life is found when freedom is gained through self-government by divine Principle, manifest in health, righteousness, and kindness.

We might illustrate self-government from the standpoint of the artist. When we view a picture we may feel that there is an inharmony, yet be unable to point out what causes it; but the artist who has made his thought obedient to beauty, and knows how to express his thought in form and color, when called upon to criticise can swiftly and surely decide not only what is wrong, but also how it is to be amended. One who does not understand the principle involved may guess that something is wrong, but the artist knows what would be right. He mentally sees how the line should be drawn, how the color should appear.

When we look at a great picture we see the artist's thought. The more he has realized of the permanent principle of beauty, the more he brings us into communion with that high and uplifted thought; for it is mind that is manifested in the form and color he uses as a medium for its expression. If a picture can reveal mind, how much more may the life of a man reveal mind. Christ was the revelation of the divine ideal for man. He depicted God's thought, and manifested divine Mind so perfectly that it can be said, "In him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Christian Science reveals the way in which Christlikeness may be manifested in human relations. It makes of its students accomplished artists who, instead of viewing the error as real, vision the Truth which brings out harmony. The very moment an action is outlined in thought, we should be able to detect the flaw or error, and instantaneously correct it. Every artist knows that if the lines are wrong which decide the form in his picture, no after labor upon coloring will remove the inharmony: and so in many lives, long years of patient repentance may prove unavailing to change the effects of some radical error. But in the light of Science the self-government of man by Truth can be so exact that every fundamental defect in character can be corrected, and an intuition be gained which, like an artistic sense, decides swiftly and unalterably in favor of that which brings harmony.

Self-government may also be illustrated in connection with one of the most common conventions of life, the agreement of men in regard to time. The child unable to tell the time must be externally governed as to rising and retiring, must be called to meals and directed by others so that his actions may accord with the conventions of the home. When the child at last learns to know the time, and understands the value of punctuality, he becomes self-governed. We clearly see, in considering time, that when a train begins its journey at the announced minute and leaves behind it the belated passenger, the purpose of punctuality is not to punish him, but to produce harmony for those who obey the time-table. The traveler left behind suffers only from his own lack of self-government. In similar ways do those who are disobedient to the divine law of life suffer. Men are not punished by Good directly, but punish themselves when they fail to come obediently within its sphere of action.

We can find another illustration in the operation of a principle with which we are all familiar. In his first financial operations a child has to be governed by the telling of some one else. He does not know the value of pieces of money, what he should pay for an article, or what change he should expect. Without knowledge of his own he has to have faith in the word of others. But in proportion as he understands the science of numbers he becomes self-governed; and, moreover, discovers that what is right has power of its own; as when he shows a mistake to another and finds him immediately acknowledge the correction. It is to the advantage of all honest men to have others figure correctly. They would rather associate in financial operations with one who was a good arithmetician; and moreover they clearly understand that his apprehension of the principle of numbers does not limit or impair theirs, but, enlarges the good of all. The larger the number of those self-governed by the science of numbers, the greater the harmony in the business world. Those who are self-governed by Truth know that there is nothing occult in truth whereby it may be kept for a select few. They also know that the happiness of the world will be increased in proportion as men know and obey the truth. But those who look upon material things and possessions as the good of life, have the feeling that the more any one else gains, the more they are diminished. Consequently instead of rejoicing in the growth and gain of others, a sense of envy, jealousy, covetousness, and avariciousness, comes in, and instead of being self-governed from the apprehension which they have from within of a divine Principle, they become externally governed by error in the form of motives, beliefs, and considerations, which have an altogether false basis. They are roused up to arrogance, and self-will, and vainglory, as well as agonized by the envy and jealousy of others, and this all comes from allowing themselves to be governed from without by error, instead of being governed from within by Truth.

Obedience to the convention of time, the science of numbers, the principle of beauty, serves to illustrate how obedience can be rendered to that universal principle for the present life of man, "that same mind which was also in Christ Jesus." He distinctly indicated what the power was whereby his work of redeeming was done when he said, "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." He evidently meant that his healing work revealed divine Principle and did not infer personal causation. A teacher correcting a mathematical error does not claim to be the potency, but only to reveal the truth which is potency. So Christ Jesus continually declared that he was revealing the Father, and bearing testimony to that power which sent him, and to this Power Christian Science is to-day bearing witness, by proving the healing efficacy of divine Love. The Founder of Christianity in all things acted as witness to the truth which was universal, or as embodiment of its action; and thus he was to men the truth and the way, and revealed the true or normal life for man. By the Science of Christianity the way is made plain for all.

Common theological teaching represents man as governed from without: Christian Science teaches how he is to be governed by divine Principle within. A visiting prince from Germany wondered at the good behavior of crowds in this land, and noticed that they were self-controlled. In many lands external control by the military is necessary; but such control is needless when men are self-governed by a law of right.

Self-government in Science requires recognition of one God, one Principle or Mind, and is that control by divine Mind which establishes good in character and unselfish love in conduct. We must first learn that Good is not far from any one of us. Our selfish striving to find happiness by getting ahead of others is actuated by the belief that there is no present good. Looking to matter instead of mind, and striving to possess things by wresting them from others, men make of earth a battle-ground, where they struggle under changing leaders and with diverse battle-cries. Through Christian Science men may learn to exercise reason, and change their beliefs in error for belief in truth, and then may rise from the true belief to an apprehension of Truth itself, and so gain a sense of an omni-active Principle. When they perceive this to be ever-present, decisions in life can be made whereby this Principle is manifested, even as in mathematics every correct solution is a revelation of the principle of numbers. The kingdom of heaven is within consciousness when the mental activities gain decisions in accord with Love as Principle, and life and happiness are then as one. A man without any standard, governed capriciously by what is without, becomes the "double-minded man, unstable in all his ways," and from instability and weakness it is but a step to actual wickedness. Peace is the message of God to man, peace that brings healing; "but the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." The man who would enter the kingdom should humbly make small beginnings, and joyfully acknowledge small gains; he should relinquish known errors honestly, and continue righteous efforts patiently; he should appreciate kindly the good in others, and await peacefully the ultimate good, then may he gain the heavenly mind, calm in judgment, alert in good-will, and open to all truth and beauty and Christliness.

 

The Leader Of The Movement.

We look back to the life of George Washington with full appreciation of his skill and good judgment in working out his country's freedom. Yet how can we appreciate the anxieties of the untried way, the perplexities of novel situations, when he was stung by criticism, and dismayed by pettiness and meanness among those upon whom he had to depend. But he rose higher in self-government, and so gained more of that divine aid which comes to those great in unselfishness.

It was so also with Lincoln, the Emancipator. To our sense, now that his character stands forth in historical perspective, "the first American," it seems impossible to think that he had to face reviling and mockery, degrading abuse, poisonous aspersion, and hate that planned his murder many times, and at last accomplished it. We recognize now that his mockers and revilers judged and condemned not him, but themselves. The mocker to whom the great, tender-hearted man, bearing the burden of a nation's woe and the world's hope, appeared to be only an ape, revealed the simian station of his own thought, devoid of the intelligence which proclaims manhood. The reviler of the good man shamelessly reveals his own nature, barren of good. Indeed, no witness to truth has ever appeared, no good man has ever lived his life according to a true standard, who has not caused a revealing of the thoughts of many hearts, welcome from those of prophetic insight, hoping for the good; and opposition from those to whom truth comes like light, to reveal barren lives and secret methods of doing ill.

When half a century has gone, and men look back to this time calmly as we now look back to the years of the emancipation struggle, it will be deemed a thing incredible that the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of an emancipation movement not merely for a nation, but for all minds in the world, that this benefactor of man should ever have met with misrepresentation. Like other prophets of liberty to man she had to struggle alone with the perplexities of the untried way. Loving retirement, she had to face publicity. A modest and gentle woman, she had to face the rudeness of ungoverned and ignorant men. But by gentleness she has conquered ill-will, by blessing enemies she has changed them to friends, and by praying for those who would like to despitefully use and persecute her, she has preserved her sense of God's nearness and love. This sense of the abiding presence of divine Principle, and her achieved self-government by God, make her a wise friend to the race, and revelator of the way of peace for man through Science. Indeed, if to be servant of all is to be greatest of all, this greatness of loving service is hers; for the ministry is not as the transient usefulness of a political chief, not as the momentary benefit of a partial reform, not like an invention superseded in a day, it is the ministry of truth to abide with men forever.

In Christian Science men from the Hebrew people, the race to which we owe our sacred literature, have found the one God of their prophets proven to be the one who "healeth all diseases." Seekers after a religion that will heal the sick, coming from the far-off Armenian church, have found here on earth a Christianity which fulfils their ancient tradition as to primitive Christianity. Men who preserved a religious spirit amid the formalities of conventional religions, have joyfully acknowledged Christian Science as presenting God "in spirit and in truth." Men with religious aspirations, who could not affiliate with churches, and so were denominated infidels by those who can criticise but cannot heal, have found in Christian Science their deepest longings satisfied. And hopeless men, calling themselves agnostics, and thinking of man as a helpless atom thrust about by relentless and cruel forces, have found, through healing, the proof of divine good-will to man, and their hearts answer with joy to Love, the known God. Could we number the cases of healing through Christian Science, we should find how vast a multitude has been emancipated from suffering under every kind of sickness and sin, redeemed from insanity, withheld from suicide, and ransomed from the death-grip of incurable disease. These all know that the course of events would not have changed for them had not Christian Science brought light to their hopeless darkness, new motive to counteract despair, new life to uplift from weakness and suffering. Those who are honest and true have enlisted under the banner of the white Christ, and though their progress may not be evident to all, they are marching on.

In the Atlanta campaign the marching soldiers had often to make their way through brushwood which hid them from view. The commander of a regiment would see at a time only the single battalion behind him. The extended line to left and right, the reserve in the rear, he could not see. But the whole force was moving steadily forward, obedient to one impulse. On one occasion the marching host reached a savanna, and as it emerged from the concealing brushwood into the long, narrow meadow, the divisions and regiments were revealed, with their distinctive banners; then uniting all came the flag for which the army as one man fought. As the men saw the flag of their country displayed, and far as the eye could reach saw the line of comrades in arms extend, a spontaneous cheer broke forth in response to the thrill of patriotism and brotherhood. So shall those now obediently marching under the leadership of Christian Science, behold the banner of the peace-bringing Christ displayed, and thrill with the joy of brotherhood as they recognize the host of their comrades in the Christ-work of redeeming of the world. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God: and such we are."

 

[Delivered in Symphony Hall, April 10, 1902, under the auspices of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, MA and published in The Christian Science Journal, June, 1902.]

 

 

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