Christian Science: Godís Lovingkindness Proved to Men

 

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

 

All down the ages some have been enabled to "taste and see that the Lord is good." Being blessed by the lovingkindness of God they recognized the benign influence and praised the source, giving to us our enduring literature in the Scriptures. Mrs. Eddy says: "God is universal; confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him − that reflect Love" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 150).

 

Search for Truth

The human search through all the years has been for something satisfying and enduring. Because of the deceitfulness of false beliefs, men go on spending their "money for that which is not bread," and their "labor for that which satisfieth not." But the testimony of the Scriptures is that in every age there have been those who have recognized the actual truth; not truth relative to the blooming and fading theories of their time, and so as transient as they, but truth that from everlasting to everlasting is the same. This truth has proofs of a certain character, and the most salient proof is healing, whether of sickness, or of plague, or of national fear tending to defeat and disaster. The acceptance of the truth causes immediate reversal of the error which has been posing as fact or acknowledged as reality. The great work of the prophets was to call the attention of men to the real when they were enamored with the unreal, and the idolatrous in consequence. They sought to instill true reverence and true love into the minds of people ever lapsing into the variable devotions and innumerable fears of heathenism. They proclaimed a God of universal goodness, saying, "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord;" and, "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."

 

Enoch, Noah, Abraham

That writer knew fundamental truth who said, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy." In earliest times we find it recorded of Enoch that he knew this pathway. His brief biography tells us that he "walked with God." It is declared also that he did not die, but that God took him to Himself. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says that Enoch had "this testimony, that he pleased God;" so he was "translated that he should not see death." It is habitual for Christians to expect to have, after death, joy in God's presence; but Enoch proved God's presence to be joy and life while here on earth. Noah also reached fellowship with God and was "a preacher of righteousness," as Peter describes him. Being affiliated with divine wisdom, he "prepared an ark to the saving of his house," because he was "warned of God of things not seen as yet."

There is deep significance in Abraham's response to God. Following the inward impulse of faith, he turned away from the glowing prospects of high estate, in order to be free from the worship of strange gods and the claims of idolatrous kindred. He was a seeker after the one God, and in accord with the perpetual promise, "Seek, and ye shall find," he came to know "the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." Various records as well as the testimony of tradition led James to say of the patriarch that "he was called the Friend of God." It is easy, then, to see the sureness of the promise that "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him;" because if Abraham, like Enoch, developed friendship with God, the correlative fact is implied that both knew the eternal truth of God's benevolence for man. From this truth we may derive courage and comfort. Abraham's primitive perception of the eternal goodness caused him to be spoken of as "faithful Abraham," and led Paul to describe the faithful as those who "walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham."

The patriarch, however, looked out across the future ages with prophetic vision, for he knew that this saving truth of God's love must appear with larger demonstration of power and good will, and offer satisfying proofs beyond what he could demonstrate. The Prophet of Nazareth recognized what Abraham's faith had seen afar off, for he said to the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." From the mountaintop of his faith Abraham foresaw the time when by proofs undeniable God's love should be evidenced by the manifestation of the Son who was to reveal God's character by doing His will.

 

Law of Moses

So also Moses had the forward look.He promised the coming of a prophet of whom the Lord had said, "I . . . will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." Moses, like Noah, achieved that understanding of God whereby he was enlightened; for amid his many trials he "endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Though learned in the wisdom of the Egyptians, he found not God until in the wilderness alone, when the angel of God appeared to him. Then he was instructed by the wisdom of Spirit. He learned a new name for the God of the forefathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the great I AM − self-existent, eternal, and unchangeable being.†††††

When the ten commandments were eventually given, we can readily see that they were not, as some have said, mere ethical precepts based on Egyptian wisdom. They were based on the recognition of God as the source of eternal life, whose good will to men required of men good will to one another. Declaring the I AM, they also declared the changeless laws of morality. These were unknown to heathen or idolatrous nations, because their imaginary deities were transient, dethroning one another, or perishing; hence moral life depending on everlasting law was impossible for them. Into the world's confusion Moses brought the moral law, and the sanction of the commandments was the changeless being of God. The reason, then, why men should be kind to one another, refraining from unfilial action, theft, impurity, false witness, covetousness, and murder, is that they may avoid unlikeness to real being. Only by obedience can they be in harmony with the ever-living, and find the joys of the true path of life.

Could the men of this age, for instance, by obeying one of these commands, relinquish all coveting, what a change would arrive! Covetousness is desire for material good, and leads to fraud, chicanery, heartlessness, dishonesty, cruelty, and murder. The recognition of divine Being as the source of man's blessings, leads each one to foster and develop his own good. It brings about the change from selfishness to real benevolence, such as is implied in the admonition: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

 

Testimony of the Prophets

When God is identified as "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," the testimony as to the continuous being and righteousness of God is in no wise impaired by the fact that each prophet was, as was said of one of them, "a man subject to like passions as we are." Criticism of those who began to perceive the truth does not reach to the consistent truth of which they gained some perception. When Jacob made his struggle with his fleshly nature and emerged into spiritual understanding, so that the new name, Israel, was appropriate, the divine Being was identified by his people thereafter as "the God of Israel."†††††††

When David, the pure-minded youth, faced Goliath, the challenger of the hosts of Israel, it was with a clear trust in the unseen God of Israel; and in his faith and devotion he certainly was a man after God's own heart. When the temptation of material belief listened to had darkened his sense so that he fell into sin, he had with agony and repentance to regain his right relationship with the God of Israel. To this God of purity and absolute righteousness the prophets testified. One and another of them reached the spiritual vision of God's lovingkindness whereby all might have healing and salvation derived from the power beyond and above themselves.

Elijah raised from the dead the widow's son, who became a continuing proof of the divine Love which had preserved her household in the famine. Elisha proved in many ways the beneficence of the God of Israel; and when he healed Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy, he showed that his God was the God of all the earth. The kings of Babylon, and Darius the conqueror, who saw Daniel's proof of divine love and care, were led to glorify the God of Israel as the God above all. Isaiah and Jeremiah and Hosea declared God to be the source of healing and health. Habakkuk foresaw the universal beneficence when he said, "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." And Malachi, who took his figure from the sun rather than the sea, said that "the Sun of righteousness" should arise with healing in its rays. But they all foresaw the coming of the one who would present infallible proofs revealing the character of the God of the whole earth. If Abraham was glad in the prospect of the fuller appearing of that one who should adequately reveal the character of God, how full of gladness are we, the inheritors of "infallible proofs," who can know not alone "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," or "the God of Israel," but "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

God is best known where there is most likeness expressed. The patriarchs and prophets were prominent in their outstanding righteousness; but the works and words of Christ Jesus, and his god-likeness, constitute the adequate revelation regarding God's love to man, fulfilling the hope and vision of the prophets.

 

Testimony of the Son

The prophets rested in their hope. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, . . . that we might receive the adoption of sons." The characteristic of the Son was obedience. He said, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." He claimed clear vision because of this obedience, saying, "My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." He indicated that it was the very essence of his life to express God. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

The Son, then, was a manifestation of spontaneous obedience to God. Consequently we are able to learn the character of the Father from the works and words of the Son. Christ Jesus accepted this test, and demanded that men should judge him by it, for he said: "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

We find his complete elucidation of his oneness with the Father when he said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; . . . the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake."

 

God Revealed by Works

Evidently it is of first importance that we should consider both the works and the words of Christ Jesus if we are to know the revealment of God that came by him. His own way of proving that he was God's messenger when John was discouraged and doubted, was to show his works of healing to John's disciples and send them to their leader to tell him just what they had seen of the proving of God's "saving health" and His goodness to man. In proportion as we look past the creeds, theologies, and dogmas presenting human beliefs, and view the works of Christ Jesus, which the Father gave him to finish, we gain a simplified and comforting sense of God. Then we clearly see that God's lovingkindness for man which patriarch and prophet discerned and on occasions proved, was plainly revealed through Christ Jesus and demonstrated by many wonderful works.

It is no wonder that the gushing fountain of love to God which sprang up in the hearts of those followers who learned the truth about God from the Master, made them like-minded with him, "having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." The first task of the believers was to apply practically what they had learned, and so conquer their enemies. Only from those antagonistic and hostile could adherents be gained; yet the steady kindness of those believers, their proving of the love of God, first in their own happiness and then by good will to others, enabled them to make the real conquest, by changing opposition to friendship.

 

Universal Love

Judaism had reached the conception of divine fatherhood as regards one nation. Jesus enlarged the comfort of knowing God by showing how His care extended to the individual man, and so to all the world, as when he said, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." His works of healing brought to man an intimate and satisfying sense of divine love, individualized so as to meet exactly the human necessity. Paul described this lovely relationship which Christianity discloses, when he said, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." A more literal translation enlarges the conception somewhat: "My God − so great is His wealth − will, in glory, fully satisfy your every need, through your union with Christ Jesus."

Paul was one who early perceived the universality of Christianity. While some of the disciples were debating about the Abrahamic rite of circumcision, and making ritual the preliminary to the new life, he launched out into the world-wide conception of salvation as Jesus had proclaimed it when saying, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." In his letter to the Romans Paul clears up the national misconception when he asks and answers his own question: "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also."

The moral law given by Moses was lifted from being specific and arbitrary commands into comprehensive and universal guidance by Jesus. He made clear what had been somewhat dimly discerned, that the love of God to man requires man's good will to man. Therefore he subsumed the whole law in a first commandment to love God unfeignedly, with the whole being, and a second like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

 

Manís Good Will to Man

Christian Science enables us to see very clearly that the second commandment must not have a material interpretation. The drunkard in his cups may believe that he is fulfilling it by inducing his neighbor to become as besotted as he is himself. A neighbor is often discomfited and oppressed by the effort to force upon him the preferences of another. It is not real love, however, that seeks to govern others with evil habits, or with anxiety and fears. A pathetic complaint was published by an elderly lady whose sons and daughters tried to love her from the wrong standpoint. She naturally loved activity, but some one of her family was always standing over her to see that she did not overdo. If she forgot her shawl, there were loud protests; if she walked out in cool weather, she was rebuked. Every mouthful of food was watched by many eyes, and she was warned by different advisers not to eat this or that. This tyrannical care which she so resented was the result of fearfulness. No doubt her children loved themselves from the standpoint of fear and anxiety, and intended to love their mother as they loved themselves. But they were neglecting the command to love God unfeignedly.

This first command should be first in thought, and when it is obeyed, fear is cast out and peace reigns. The best service that can be performed is to reveal and prove the truth concerning a good God. To do this, there must first be an understanding of this God. If this understanding be present there can be no restraining of a wholehearted love of such a God. The next step is to realize what this God does. With this realization fear, care, and anxiety are superseded by peace, health, and joy of heart. Then only is one ready to love his neighbor by realizing for him the same love whereby he himself is blessed. When a man loves himself from the standpoint of first loving God with all his heart, so that in his life godlikeness appears and the opposite qualities disappear, he is able to show the neighborly love which brings no burden of anxiety and expresses no interference, because it is a love which reveals the salvation from sickness and woe that divine Love has provided for men.

 

Continuity of Life

Christian Scientists have been criticized because their thoughts do not dwell upon the crucifixion of the Master in the morbid way of medieval theology; but if we think of it, the keynote of the New Testament is resurrection, the happiness of life assured, and rejoicing that the fear of death is overcome. It was not God who brought about the cruel death of Jesus, but it was through the love of God that our Master accomplished the resurrection.Bitter malice was evident in his crucifixion, that the enduring relationship of man to God was revealed in the continuity of his life.

Jesus' trial and condemnation was the worst piece of injustice in history. He was then scourged to exhaustion, ere being crucified till he expired. By the spear-thrust he was, to mortal sense, doubly slain. Yet he proved by his resurrection how his life was unreached by the extremest hatred and crudest sin. His demonstration settled the question of the eternity of life as the expression of Love. He continued in the light of Life while the earth trembled and the darkness of human hate and fear enshrouded the land. Thus was forever revealed for our comfort the destiny of those who are friends of God. For the iniquity of mortals he was bruised, and the sorrows of the world's injustice were focused upon him, but he gave us the supreme proof that God is nigh even when human sense cries out that it is forsaken. Hence we see how the Father for the Son "abolished death," and through him "brought life and immortality to light."

 

Bemisted Ages

Did men understand the revelation of Christ Jesus and come into obedience to the moral law given by Moses first and now more clearly disclosed by the Master's "grace and truth"? Did the world progress onward from its need of the drastic commands, "Thou shall not," to the acceptance of spiritual guidance from him who showed how all may become "blessed" on earth? "Blessed are the merciful," said the Master. Did the world become merciful and obtain mercy? Did men rise to the understanding of what Jesus called his new commandment and express love to others as he had manifested it to them? For many years the followers of Christ showed themselves as peacemakers, as "the children of God." They proved the mercy of God by healing the sick, and were humble and merciful and kind. But ere three centuries had gone a change had come, the sense of mercy seemed no longer to be cherished, and the gentle rhythm of healing was not distinguishable amid the tumult − the sounding brass and clanging cymbals − of controversy.

Then began what some have termed, "the dark ages." It was as if the words of Amos were fulfilled in the famine that came − "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." There was noise enough of human speech, but that peace-giving potency whereof the psalmist testified when he said, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions," was little known. In viewing these centuries Frederick the Great could only think of men as having gone insane. There was hatred devoid of sanity manifested in religious persecution. Those who claimed to be following the revelation of divine lovingkindness brought by Christ Jesus, and disclosed in healing, were misusing their power and prestige in torturing and slaying their fellows. It seems quite incredible that meekness and mercy should have been discarded, the hungering after righteousness changed to satiety with injustice, and the royal privilege of peacemaking exchanged for the executioner's brutal work.

 

Faith that Died Not

And yet faith continued undying; and in many quiet places there were guardians of the revelation whose lives illustrated their "pure religion and undefiled." This faith expressed itself in many faiths, within which there came reformations and betterments as the understanding of the impulse and ideal of Christianity unfolded. There are differences of opinion as to the number of the sects that were active during the century that is gone; but the nineteenth century was distinguished for a notable stirring of faith in men's hearts. The Christian impulse was felt so widely, that in a multitude of ways men set themselves to the task of proving their friendship for one another. They associated themselves in uncounted charitable organizations. They formed benevolent societies and fraternities of all sorts. Within the churches and without, they became active in welfare work.

The crying need everywhere apparent, that men should find true guidance for their aroused Christian impulses, indicated that "the fulness of the time" for added blessing had come; and Isaiah's words were fulfilled: "It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."

 

Revealing of Health

The initiation of Christian Science began with the proving of God's love by a Christian woman who exactly and intimately realized what the prophet Isaiah had declared regarding the divine power: "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."

When she was fainting down to the gateway of death, Mrs. Eddy felt the impulse of Spirit which comes unseen, like the wind's breath. She was impelled to turn to the Scriptures, and guided to read the story of the healing of the paralytic man laid by his friends at Jesus' feet; and she was enabled to realize that the power then present to heal could not change through the ages, nor be ever absent. Upon this power of God she relied for her help, since all other aid was unavailing; and God gave power to the faint, and increased strength for her, till with the thrill of renewed understanding she arose, declaring herself healed. When she was asked if Christ had come again, her answer was that Christ had never left us. In later years she wrote of the experience: "It was the living, palpitating presence of Christ, Truth, which healed the sick" (Science and Health, p. 351).

This experience illumines the words of Paul where he speaks of "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." It makes clear to us what Luke meant when from his standpoint as a physician he was trying to make clear the spiritual method of the Master, and said of Jesus' work, "The power of the Lord was present to heal."

 

Discovery of the Law

It is not claimed that the experience of Mrs. Eddy was unique in Christian history. Where ever there has been uplifted spiritual faith, men have been able to discern and prove to some extent the goodness of God. In times of the revival of religion, healing has frequently accompanied the preaching of the gospel. It was so in Germany in Luther's day. He was able to heal his friend Melancthon when he seemed to be dying. And in the great movement which resulted in Methodism, there were many instances of healing, of some of which John Wesley speaks. While Mrs. Eddy quotes a modern poet in referring to her own experience, the vision of Longfellow describes the experience of men in all ages, −

 

But the feeble hands and helpless,

Groping blindly in the darkness,

Touch God's right hand in that darkness,

And are lifted up and strengthened.

 

In spite of the great number of those who found clarification of thought and the cure of bodily distress from the divine source through their uplifted faith and their "prayer of faith," Mrs. Eddy was the only one who was enabled to translate her experience in such a way as to discover the law and the Principle upon which that experience depended. She speaks of the experience being to her what the falling apple was to Newton. It was the occasion for the right reasoning which led to a discovery. We remember that Paul, after he was converted by the sudden accession of light, sought opportunity to prepare for the new work which his clearer understanding of God would enable him to do, and retired for three years into Arabia. Feeling likewise the need for quiet thought, Mrs. Eddy withdrew from society for about three years, in order to study the Bible more accurately and win the acquaintance with prophet and apostle into which her experience of healing would introduce her.

Mrs. Eddy was qualified like no other student or theologian of her time, to comprehend the basic truth in the Scriptures, because she had gained through her own experience a proof of God's love of similar nature to the healings there recorded. Students have taken to the Scriptures every sort of theory, and have sought to uphold their theories from the words of the record. She turned to the works recorded, seeking to understand them by virtue of her experience of healing. This enabled her to understand what have been termed the miracles. She says, "The miracles recorded in the Bible, which had before seemed to me supernatural, grew divinely natural and apprehensible" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 26). When her discovery was complete, she made clear that its basis was "the teachings and demonstrations of our great Master and the lives of the prophets and apostles" (Science and Health, p. 126). Thus began the era of Christianity practical.

 

Era of Hope and Faith

The era of the prophets was the time of promise, the era of the world's hope and expectation. Perhaps that hope is best expressed in such a promise as that of Isaiah: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing." Furthermore, of "the ransomed of the Lord" he says, "They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Such was the prophet's expectation.

Then came the era of the revelation of Christianity. The demonstrations of the Master and his apostles revealed the government by God, whereby man is governed for his blessing, and the glory of God is made manifest in salvation. This became the era of a larger faith. The apostles saw the promises of the prophets fulfilled. But as years went by men began to expect the fulfillment of the promises only in the future life. It was the Christian era, but an era of doctrinal Christianity. Every man became busy, saying to his brother, "Know the Lord." Consequently there grew up scores of sects with different theories as to the way of salvation. Salvation was held to proceed from a saving person, and to become efficacious in the future for some and not for others.

 

Transitional Questionings

Then appeared signs of a transition. The churches began to make less of dogma and more of life. They added Christian service to men to their formal services in honor of God. Christianity appeared outside of the churches in a general awakening regarding man's duty to man. Questioning arose as to the power of evil, so long submitted to in this life, in the hope of a blessed immortality after death. Men were stirred like Gideon when his land was impoverished by the Midianites, and he said, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of?" So amid the oppression of incurable diseases, and evils apparently irresistible, many cried out. If there be a God, why is His might not proven?

The answer had long been made that disease and pain and death originate with God, and that evil is of His sending or permission. But men began to question their guides and ask, How shall the physician's prescription avail to cure the disease, or how shall the minister's intercession make void the wrong, if God creates the agony and sends the evil? Can a drug thwart omnipotence? Can a man save from ills that are of God's sending?

 

Era of Demonstration

The answer to these problems and questions is found in Christian Science. During the forty years of Mrs. Eddy's ministry the world entered into the era of demonstration. All can inherit the promises of the prophets, and maintain the revelation of sonship which came by Christ Jesus, and prove, as did the prophets and the apostles, "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

The time was ripe for the discovery of Christian Science, which reveals God, not as the personal ruler selecting courtiers for personal advantage and banishing or destroying enemies, but as the saving Principle, or universal Love, reaching all mankind with His warmth and goodness as the sun blesses even the unthankful. The Christian impulse was awaiting guidance. All had a desire that Christian work should become sure of results, and not be haphazard. In fact, the world was longing for divine Love to be proven.

So the proof came, − through a woman, but according to eternal law. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science first found her proof in her own healing. She then found the nexus between her experience and those recorded in the Scriptures; and thus to her consciousness was revealed "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1).

This was Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy verified her discovery by proving to others this law of good. She taught pupils how to bless their fellowmen by proving the law. As the years went by, a great church appeared like a vine, with branches in every land. For the guidance of its members she ordained the Bible, with her divinely inspired textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," to be the pastor of all Christian Science churches. To carry to the whole world the gospel, the good news of God's lovingkindness to man, she initiated the literature of testimony, − the series of periodicals which record and relate the results of Christian Science. So we recognize the era of Christianity practical, that crowns the hope of ages and enriches the faith of centuries with love, which is the greatest of all.

 

Principle Reliable

Christian Science interprets the rule of Spirit. It reveals the fixed and reliable Principle of being. Its teachings are like a compass to a sailor drifting aimlessly in a fog. From it he regains his sense of direction. When Christian Science is accepted, the human will ceases to resist and resent, and subsides in obedience to divine intelligence. The love of God is proven by an inward and hardly explainable happiness. It is what one writer calls "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," guarding the thoughts and comforting the heart. When men understand it, they recognize what they have been missing and desiring all their anxious hampered years. They are enabled to "recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love" (Science and Health, p. 264).

Men have believed that their woes originate from material conditions, and have made remedies from matter, only to find new woes originating from drug and potion for which again new remedies must be sought. Here is a treadmill circle of uncertainty. At Helouan in Egypt a gun is fired at noon. A captain once asked the gunner how he knew when to give the signal, and was told that his watch was relied upon. When he asked how the watch was corrected, the gunner said he took it to the maker in Cairo. When he in turn was interviewed, and asked how he regulated the watch, he said, "I get the correct time from the sun." But men have discovered better ways for gaining certainty regarding time.

There is a watch factory where not even the circling sun is satisfactory as a standard of time. Deep down in the earth, so as to be free from the vibrations of its surface, are the instruments in an observatory whereby a fixed star may be viewed, and from its position the nights and days of the revolving earth are computed, and time is measured with exactness befitting the perfect workmanship of the chronometers.

If exactness regarding the time of day is desirable, then how all-important is it to have certainty regarding the truth of being.

 

Solving of Problems

Truth is known by the result that it solves problems. The enduring truth of God's love is the solution for every human woe, distress, entanglement, and error. The sick find peace, which is the remedy for their pain. To cite cases of healing seems needless, in view of the fact that the Journal since 1888 and the Sentinel since 1898 have regularly presented a record of the healing of all manner of disease. To encourage the hope of readers, Mrs. Eddy added not only to the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," but to her "Miscellaneous Writings," a chapter of testimony to the healing results of the truth made practical in Christian Science. Ten thousand voices give thanks to God for healing at our mid-week gatherings. And yet I may be permitted to tell of one in my own family who first tried out the skill of physicians at home, and then sought help abroad, returning at last from Paris with no hope of any final recovery. There was help nigh at hand, however, for she found a helper in one with a clear knowledge of Christian Science, who supplied her with knowledge of Mind's supporting power, and then took away the crutches upon which she had depended, saying, You do not need them. So came to her the freedom and happiness of the man healed at the temple gate by Peter and John, who "entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." The life of praise to God has continued, and because of that one healing, hundreds of lives have since been likewise blessed.

The suffering proud man finds ease from his rigid severity by becoming humble before God and relaxed into joyfulness. The mourner with a cherished bereavement, who thinks no sorrow like hers, and so has a grievance against the sender of the sorrow, loses both grief and grievance on learning that God is the origin of life, not death, and that He sends to man healing and resurrection. The criminal, tormented with dread while he seeks to find good as a deceiver of others, a trickster, a thief, or a murderer, can be redeemed from the torment of his own self-deception and find new life as a doer of good, not harm to others, so soon as he recognizes God's lovingkindness. The libertine, dwelling in agony with his perverted imagination, can be lifted out of "the miry clay," and have his feet set on firm ground, and instead of foul images in thought and foul speech expressing them, he can have "a new song" in his mouth, "even praise unto our God."

The perpetually disappointed man or woman, who is continually saying, "Everything is against me," can learn the way of God's appointing and discover that "all things work together for good to them that love God." The selfish way must of necessity bring disappointment, because the desires are set on what is transient, or else satisfaction is sought in what would harm others and diminish their well-being. In the right way of thought, the blessing of one does not diminish the good of another. Mrs. Eddy says, "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all" (Science and Health, p. 206). When man accepts the appointments of divine Love, and allows himself to be governed by infinite harmony, the rounded and continuous satisfaction makes him forget the days when he felt thwarted and disappointed.

The anxiously responsible person, perpetually solicitous and fearful, bearing all sorts of imagined burdens for others, finds a blessing inestimable when he begins to prove divine Providence. The sense of obligation endless and resources limited, the agony of perpetual demand beyond one's strength, the reproaches over duty unfulfilled, come to an end, and the assurance of God's goodness makes him a spontaneous helper of others. Disburdened himself, he is able to set others free. The man who has been a benefactor, and is exhausted by the demands of those who view him as a source of good, can learn how to reveal God as origin, and transfer gratitude past himself to the inexhaustible source of good, who "giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." His clients learn then to make themselves worthy of receiving from God, instead of enlarging upon their unlikeness to God in the endeavor to arouse human sympathy. True love does not demand the impoverishing of the good to enrich the undeserving, but shows all men how to become able to accept divine providing and receive the good which waits to bless every man.

 

Deliverance from Fear

The greatest deliverance that can come to men is deliverance from fear, and nothing is a final remedy for human fear except the divine truth of being. Ten thousand remedies are proposed by mortals, who divide fears into classes and give them names. Each century has its outstanding fear, which is its plague; and think of the myriad remedies proposed by superstition and pseudo-science for the plagues of past ages! But age by age the people of God have lived apart from the fears of the multitude. By their trust in the highest they have been comforted, that is, made strong. Their house has been on the rock, and, the winds may have blown and beat upon their refuge, but it fell not. Christian Science today is offering to all the peace which has been participated in by the few. It is universal in its application, and brings to man that demonstrable knowledge of God which is man's true remedy for all fear and trouble.

The wrong way whereby men seek to accomplish their desires is by force. Read history, and its record of cruelty shows in what hurtful ways men have sought to carry out their own will. Christian Science reveals the right method, because it begins with divine benevolence rather than with human ambition. By methods which bless but never injure, it reveals to mankind the way of welfare. By the proof of healing, it induces confidence in that which heals. The human tyrant holds his victim obedient through fear, which controls his mind, or by soldiers and prison walls, which control the body. Divine Science, by freeing one from pain and sorrow, delivers him into the peace of a loving obedience to God.

There is a realm of anxious care wherein those dwell whom disease oppresses, whose lives are clouded with prophecy of evil from the medical standpoint. Not knowing a way of certain deliverance, they concede to every new theory and demand. Medical men having achieved the control of some lives, are now asking to be given the right to use force in order to govern the lives of all citizens, and those under control make no argument against this imposition upon others. When doctors ask for police power to force men into their way of health, they are asking to be allowed to accomplish Mohammedan conversion.They are like reformers who with armies would force other peoples into their way of righteousness. By them any reluctance to accept the contamination of virus or the injection into the system of whatever serum is transiently believed in by part of the medical profession, is looked upon as hostility to health. They would force the world to be obedient to the theories of the hour by compulsion from without, and chastise the reluctant with the scorpions of fear. Christian Science does not heal by force, but by Love. It does not poison or dissect the body, but enlightens and enlivens the mind. No arbitrary power, no summoning of fear by prophecy of evil, is needed. Divine Love so touches the thought with answering love that the way of health is chosen naturally, and by his own desire and choice the patient walks therein.

Christian Science is the recognition of God as the ever-presence of good, and requires that men shall prove goodness to themselves and others. Evidently, then, the peculiar phase of evil in which any one finds sensuous delight must be forsworn. It is the searching power of Truth that men resist. The "word of God" is like a piercing, double-edged sword, because it is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." But there are those to whom this piercing brings no sorrow. They are waiting for the truth, and they love its appearing, no matter how much they have to give up for it. Of such, largely, is the Christian Science movement composed, and this accounts for its strength.

Wrong views of life rouse in men envy of those who do well and hatred of those who do ill. When once the scientific view is gained, these characteristics become obsolete. When well-doing is viewed aright, there is no envy thereof, but appreciation and gratitude. When ill-doing is viewed, there need be no unkind criticism or hatred, because it is seen that the fault in the wrong-doer is really loss or lack of good, and his need justly arouses compassion. The desire to supply the need is spontaneous on the part of one whose need has already been supplied by the unlimited goodness of God. The kingdom of heaven rules in him who recognizes good as universal and has become obedient to God with whole-hearted love. He is able to say, as Mrs. Eddy has so beautifully brought out in "Mother's Evening Prayer" (Poems, p. 4), −

 

Love is our refuge; only with mine eye

Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:

His habitation high is here, and nigh,

His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.

 

[From a pamphlet published by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1914.]

 

 

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