Christian Science: The Way of Obedience to Divine Law

 

James Harry McReynolds, C.S.B., of Dallas, Texas

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

James Harry McReynolds, C.S.B., of Dallas, lectured on "Christian Science: The Way of Obedience to Divine Law" Tuesday evening in the Murat Theatre under the auspices of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist.

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

Who is it that demands our obedience?  In the First Commandment the divine decree is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3).

What is obedience?  According to the dictionary it is the act or fact of yielding to authority, control, or a command.  Obedience to divine law means the act of yielding to the authority or control of divine law.  And what does obedience to divine law involve? It involves yielding to the law of Love.  In the Gospel of John it is recorded that Jesus said, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (16:10).

 

Blessings of Obedience

Obedience to the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," bestows upon men the authority of divine law; and it is lack of obedience to this commandment which is the source of all our difficulties and troubles.  In the light of Bible evidence, it should be clear that mankind's mistakes and failures have resulted from disobedience to this all-inclusive divine statute.  In view of this Biblical evidence we should bestir ourselves to greater and more spontaneous obedience.

Think of the hardship, disappointments, and suffering which would be avoided if we made unto ourselves no graven images, such as the belief that man is material, that he is limited by environment and heredity, that superstition guides destiny, that he must eventually die, and that mortal so-called laws govern his life.  But think what it would mean if mankind recognized instead that the real man is spiritual, unfettered by environment and heredity, guided by divine Mind, and that his life is governed by the immutable law of Truth and Love.

Obedience is the chain which links mankind to divinity; it enables one to realize his at-one-ment with God.  In obedience to the will of God one works with assurance, since that which God demands of man is certain of accomplishment, because the divine demand and the ability to meet the demand are from the same source.  The intelligence and authority which proceed from God include no mortal element; consequently there is no possibility of failure when utilizing them.

 

Understanding of God Essential

Someone may be saying, "If only I were able to understand God, I am sure I would be obedient;" or, "I want to be obedient, but I don't know who or what or where God is."  We are assured in the Bible that it is not only possible, but that it is our duty, to know Him; and further, that nothing but blessings result from this understanding.  "They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord" (Jer. 31:34); and "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land" (Isa. 1:19).

The important thing, then, is to understand God aright.  The question naturally follows, How is it possible to know God, to understand Him, to be assured of His presence?  This query is answered in the Bible and is made practical to human understanding in this age through the teachings of the Comforter, Christian Science.  In Deuteronomy (4:36) we read, "The Lord he is God; there is none else beside him."  God, therefore, is eternally the same, always like Himself and like nothing else, since there is nothing outside of His infinitude, His infinite goodness, to which or with whom He can be compared.  God is wholly good; and in the magnitude and sublimity of His all-embracing goodness the realities of being - ability, intelligence, and substance - are always available in the overcoming of every human difficulty.

In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 587), God is defined in part as "The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting. all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love."  Applying this definition of God to the verse quoted from Deuteronomy, "The Lord he is God; there is none else beside him," could be interpreted to mean that the Lord He is divine Principle; that is, He is the only cause or creator, and there is no creation except that which He has established; the Lord He is Mind, and there is no intelligence, ability, nor understanding except that which is derived from the one unlimited divine Mind; the Lord He is Soul, and there is no true individuality nor selfhood apart from Soul; the Lord He is Spirit, and there is no substance, power, nor activity outside the supremacy of Spirit; the Lord He is Life, and there is no ,existence, being, health, nor immortality except that which is bestowed and maintained by eternal Life; the Lord He is Truth, and there is only harmony, law, order, justice, and faithfulness in the realm of universal Truth; the Lord He is Love and in infinite Love is included only goodness, mercy, purity, and loveliness.  When mankind learns that the Lord is "the great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all acting, all-wise, all-loving, an eternal" Father-Mother God, who created man and is responsible for his well-being and being well, he will have no reluctance in turning to Him for his help, guidance, and support.

 

Christ Jesus' Obedience

The Master, Christ Jesus, both understood and was steadfast in his obedience to the First Commandment.  Of him our Leader has written (and I quote), ". . . he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness" (Science and Health, p. 20).  His strict obedience to divine Principle lifted his accomplishments entirely out of the realm of the problematical and speculative, above the conflict of mortal mind and mortal mind controversy.  His clear discernment of the Christ made it possible for him to know God as his Father, his creator, his only source of power and authority.  His statement, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10), reveals the fact that he was aware of his at-one-ment with God because he understood the nature of God and consequently was never overawed by evil and its boastfulness to power, prestige, and substance.

Jesus entertained no doubts as to his true identity as the Son of God.  His statement, "I am come in my Father's name" (John 6:43), makes it plain that Jesus was not God and did not claim to be God, but that he came in the power of God to manifest the Christ, to reveal to human consciousness the ever-present, redeeming, and saving nature of God.

Christ, which Mrs. Eddy defines in the textbook as "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (Science and Health, p. 688), has been present in all ages.  That Jesus recognized this truth is evidenced by his reply to those Jews who questioned him regarding his identity and divine origin when he said, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:68).  "This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in flesh, continued until the Master's ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science, taking away the sins of the world, as the Christ has always done, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to mortal eyes," writes the Discoverer of Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 334).  On the resurrection morning. in order to lift the Magdalen's thought above his material personality, Jesus said "Touch me not" (John 20:17); in other words he admonished her to cease clinging to his human selfhood and seek to understand what is defined in Science and Health as "Christ the spiritual idea of sonship" (ibid., p. 331).

 

Material Sense Testimony Unreliable

To those unacquainted with the teachings of Christian Science the declaration that evil is unreal may seem incredible, inasmuch as the truth of such a declaration is not in accord with physical sense testimony, but it is not puzzling when the use of the terms real and unreal is understood.  All that proceeds from Truth, God, is classified as real because it is eternal, spiritual, and indestructible, and those things which appear real to the material senses are termed unreal because they are unlike God and therefore cannot proceed from God; and since God is the one and only creator, anything contrary to His perfect, spiritual creation is without actual existence or reality.

Mankind has been so misguided and erroneously educated by materialistic teachings that one is prone to treat as incredible that which cannot be perceived by the physical senses.  And yet what is more real and tangible than truth?  No one doubts the power and effectiveness of truth in destroying a lie or a myth, in spite of the fact that truth cannot be seen or heard by the human eye or ear because it can only be mentally or spiritually discerned.

We are constantly correcting physical sense testimony in our daily activities.  We do not say the sun, moon, and stars are lost or destroyed when they are obscured by clouds, and no doubt is entertained that the light of the planets is continually shining.  We see the effects of the material law of gravitation, but we cannot see gravitation or its law; yet we have the greatest respect for it and its operation, despite the fact that we have no material evidence to support our faith in this so-called law.

It was his perception of the Christ, Truth, which enabled Jesus to refute and correct material sense testimony.  He was never bewildered by the claims of the physical senses. Through his spirituality, his Christliness, Jesus saw man as he really is, namely, as the creation of God, whole, healthy, and harmonious; whereas those gaining their impressions through the physical senses saw incompleteness, disease, and inharmony. When he went to the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he contradicted and corrected the evidence of the senses which those about him had accepted as true, and said, "Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43).  Had he accepted even momentarily the evidence of death which Lazarus' friends had accepted, he could not have awakened him to the divine light of the Christ, which reveals man as he eternally is, the unchangeable and deathless reflection or likeness of his Maker.  And the same healing Christ which enabled Jesus to demonstrate the integrity and perfection of man and to proclaim his own ministry of Love is present now to reveal to us the fruits of obedience.

 

Reward of Steadfast Faith

There is a narrative in the Old Testament, in II Kings, of a spiritually-minded woman who discerned and trusted the power of God.  It is the narrative of the Shunammite woman.  She had learned from Elisha's teachings to acknowledge and obey the substance of the First Commandment, "The Lord he is God; there is none else beside him," and implicitly trusted God to the exclusion of physical sense testimony.  When to all appearances her only son was dead, she went immediately and confidently to Elisha, the man of God.  When he saw her coming, he sent his servant to meet her and ask her if all was well with her, her husband, and her child, to which she resolutely replied, "It Is well" (II Kings 4:26).  Was she not turning away from the erroneous evidence of the material senses which asserted that her son was dead?  Spiritual sense alone enabled her to know, as Jesus did when he said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6: 63).  Accompanying her to her house Elisha closed the door - shut out the material sense testimony - "and prayed unto the Lord" (II Kings 4:33).  You know the result; his prayer was answered, and the lad was restored to life and was presented to his mother.

This is only one of many instances in the Old Testament where false, material sense testimony was successfully refuted by those who were steadfast in their faith in God; thus proving that the discernment of the spiritual truth of being is always available to those who perceive the unalterably good and perfect nature of God.

 

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

While these healing truths were utilized and demonstrated by the prophets, by Jesus and his disciples, and the early Christians, the Science of these works remained to be discovered by a God-inspired woman whose spirituality also enabled her to refute material sense testimony and give to the world her divinely inspired revelation, Christian Science, or the Comforter, promised by Jesus.  Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and Leader of this great movement, in commenting on the First Commandment writes in Science and Health (p. 340): "The First Commandment is my favorite text.  It demonstrates Christian Science. It inculcates the triunity of God, Spirit, Mind; it signifies that man shall have no other spirit or mind but God, eternal good, and that all men shall have one Mind. The divine principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal."

Answering the question regarding the demands of this Science, Mrs. Eddy has written (ibid.. p. 467), "The first demand of this Science is, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'  This me is Spirit.  Therefore the command means this: Thou shalt have no intelligence, no life, no substance, no truth, no love, but that which is spiritual;" and again, "Jesus urged the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' which," she says, "may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, - even God, good" (ibid., p. 19).

As a child Mrs. Eddy loved the Bible narratives, and her continued study of them through the years gave her a thorough and practical knowledge of the Scriptures which made its teachings the word of Life to her.  This led her in later years to turn to God for healing when the various schools of medicine failed to bring relief or affect a cure.  She had often pondered the accounts of healings related in the Bible and was unable to accept the theory that healings accomplished through spiritual means were no longer possible.  It did not seem either reasonable or logical to her that God is declared to be eternal and unchanging and that there is none beside Him, and yet one could not seek and find His help now as in the past.

As a result of her consecrated study of the Bible and her prayers she was instantly healed of the effects of what was thought to be a fatal accident.  This convinced our Leader that she had found the healing Christ, and she was inspired by a divine impulsion to seek out the law of God which had so quickly and marvelously brought about her recovery.  Later, she wrote, "Jesus said: 'These signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.'  Who believes him?  He was addressing his disciples, yet he did not say, 'These signs shall follow you!' but them - 'them that believe' in all time to come" (Science and Health, p. 38).

After her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy devoted her every thought and effort to the task of making her discovery available to mankind.  She never lost sight of the fact that of herself she could do nothing, and this great sense of humility and unfaltering reverence for God enabled her to accomplish her great work for humanity. She has given the full statement of this Science in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" which may be obtained at Christian Science Reading Rooms and may be found at most public libraries.

 

Consistent Obedience Required

Have not all of us at one time or another in the midst of trouble appealed to God with such frantic zeal that we mistakenly labeled it sincerity when actually it was nothing more than anxiety?  Then when our temporary difficulty had vanished, we made little effort to obtain a greater understanding of God and consistently obey Him.  When seeking to rid ourselves of trouble, we affirm and protest with all our might that we are never out of His presence, but when the tense situation is eased, we are prone to act as though God were less than omnipresent, or present only when greatly needed.  How much more consistent we would be if we conducted ourselves on all occasions in accord with a realization that God is always present!

Jesus was able to accomplish his healing work instantly because he never had to consume time in reminding himself that he was in the presence of God.  It was his constant awareness of God's presence and power which enabled him to perform his mighty deeds with ease, naturalness, and directness.  He did not forsake or turn away from God when there was no great trial confronting him or when there was nothing of consequence pressing him.  He remained steadfast at all times in his loyalty and obedience.

The fact that Jesus' admonition, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33), has not been heeded and obeyed more implicitly is due to a lack of spirituality, lack of discernment of God's omnipresent and omnipotent nature.  Jesus understood what was involved in seeking first the kingdom - that it meant laying aside every belief in a selfhood apart from the spiritual, every belief of substance, health, or pleasure in matter, and living in the constant realization of God's goodness, ever-presence, and omnipotence.

 

True Nature of Health

The subject of health is one which is of vital concern to everyone.  Let us do some logical thinking about it, leaving our preconceived opinions long enough to consider it from a spiritual viewpoint.  In the infinitude of Life, which is God, it is plain that nothing exists which is unlike Him.  In this perspective we see that health is not dependent upon a material body or physical organism, but emanates from God and is wholly dependent upon Him.  Thus it follows that the divine energy of Spirit, Life, is forever invigorating man, sustaining and supporting his being.

Health, seen in its spiritual and true light, is to be realized, rather than regained; in reality it has never been affected by disease, injury, or age, for it is maintained by infinite and indestructible Life.  Nothing can be taken from it or needs to be added to it to make it complete and perfect.  One realizes health just as he realizes his at-one-ment with God. You do not bring His presence into being or convey it from a distance. God is omnipresent - always and everywhere present - consequently the divine qualities of Spirit - substance, intelligence, and health - are always and everywhere present and need only to be recognized and accepted.

Where is man's health?  It might be said that wherever God's representative, man is, health is.  Because health is spiritual it is not localized or excluded from certain areas; it is everywhere available and expressed; and when this is understood, it excludes all belief in any inharmonious condition.  As one awakens to or becomes conscious of his freedom, does he not become aware of such freedom wherever he happens to be?  Similarly, he manifests health as he awakens to its reality and presence.  Through this awakening he loses at the same time the thought of disease.  He discovers that the inharmony which he believed to be real has vanished through his acceptance of the reality of health - its indestructible, unchanging, and spiritual nature.

When is man the image and likeness of God?  Always, because God is always expressed.  Then, when does man express health?  It must be always.  Health is just as much a part of man as any other divine quality.  Man cannot be the perfect expression of God and at the same time manifest anything less than health.  Man is no more separated from health than he is separated from God.  He cannot be separated from God, who is his life, and if he lives in God, he cannot be sick.

This teaching of Christian Science regarding health may seem revolutionary, but mankind's thinking of it needs revolutionizing.  Health is not merely a painless state of being, but a consciousness of man's wholeness and of his complete agreement with God. We need to awaken to the ever-availability of God's "saving health" (Ps. 67:2).

Strict obedience to the First Commandment brings freedom from disease and infirmity. To those who hold to the belief that health can be attained and maintained through the use of material means, this statement may sound impractical.  Doubt arises simply because we do not sufficiently understand the mental nature of disease and the spiritual nature of health.  It is evident on all sides that physicians are attributing more and more importance to the mental causes of disease.  As an illustration, fear is recognized by them as the direct cause of many kinds of ailments, both chronic and acute.  We learn in Christian Science that fear is an element of all disease.  To eliminate fear it must be opposed with divine rather than human power, and the Bible tells us that this power is the manifestation of Love.  St. John declares, "Perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18).  As we eradicate fear, the main source of disease is destroyed: consequently there is nothing erroneous left to produce an effect.

 

Practice of Christian Science

Let me explain, though briefly, how one may begin the practice of this healing Truth.  In the first place, the one seeking freedom from sickness, sin, or limitation might begin by acknowledging that the First Commandment is for his benefit, protection, and government.  Through his acknowledgment of the fact that "the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him" he would claim his right to the blessings of this knowledge and obedience.  He would need to be honest and sincere in rejecting any false sense of modesty which might hinder him from recognizing the truth about man in the image and likeness of God as the truth about himself, regardless of the physical sense testimony. Remembering that "the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him," he would exercise his God-given authority to refute a spurious argument of evil as an impudent and baseless lie.

Obedience to the First Commandment enables us to understand that God's supremacy and omnipresence preclude the supposititious presence of anything unlike Him; that God, good, creates, governs, and maintains only that which is good, and, therefore, good for man.  An acceptance of this truth would endow him with enlightened faith in God's power to heal; in other words, it would destroy all belief in the reality of the inharmonious condition.

He would acknowledge with conviction that God is Truth, and that man is always like Him, rather than like any supposititious opposite of God; that God is omnipresent and never absent; that God is omnipotent, all-powerful, and never less than all-powerful; that God is wholly good, not good at one time and evil at another, or a mixture of good and evil.  He would acknowledge that God is eternal Spirit, in which there is no materiality; that He is Life, in which there is no element of mortality, decay and disintegration; that He is unchanging Love, not a mixture of Love and hate; that He is immortal Soul, in which there is no sensuousness.  He would realize the fact that God creates and governs man and is the source of his being; and that consequently man can experience only health, harmony, and immortality, since there is nothing outside the infinitude of divine Mind for man to inherit or experience.  When these truths are realized, the manifestation of freedom from discord of every nature is certain to follow.

I know a man who had a most unsightly growth on the side of his head.  This condition made him very self-conscious, and his fear was so great that he became emotionally upset every time he mentioned it, even in asking for Christian Science treatment.  It was plain that this abnormality had been produced and nourished by the man's fear; in fact, it was but the objectification of fear.  To have attempted to treat this case as a material condition would obviously have been illogical.  The scientific thing to do was to heal the man of his fear, to help him replace his doubt and anxiety with steadfast faith in God's healing and saving power.  To this end Christian Science treatment was given, and very shortly it was evident that the fear was being dissipated, with the result that in about three weeks' time the parasitic growth had entirely disappeared.

This individual had become conscious of the fact that God did not create nor was He supporting the malformation, and this illumination enabled him to realize that it was nothing more than a perpetration of the devil, evil, a false belief, which the Apostle John tells us the Christ came to destroy.  The man saw that the effect of his fear was just as mortally mental as was fear itself, and soon he was able to accept and utilize the statement from Science and Health: "Truth destroys falsity and error, for light and darkness cannot dwell together.  Light extinguishes the darkness, and the Scripture declares that there is 'no night there.' To Truth there is no error, - all is Truth" (pp. 474, 475).  His healing was the natural outcome of his enlightened faith which gradually dispelled the darkness of fear with its effects.

 

Magnifying Good

Is it too difficult for mankind to accept the truth about God - His infinite goodness, omnipotence, and availability?  Surely not!  And Christian Scientists in increasing numbers are proving that disease can be permanently cured, harmony restored, and poverty overcome through recognition of the unchanging nature of God and His constant care and protection of His creation.  Every inharmonious condition which might beset humanity could be satisfactorily disposed of if each one would bestir himself to know God aright and apply his spiritualized concept of Truth to the problem.  There is nothing ethereal or impractical in seeking to spiritualize consciousness - to see and acknowledge that there is one God and none beside Him.  But rather it is impractical and unrealistic to believe in any other power or presence.

Let us exalt and glorify the power and goodness of God.  In this way we shall be able to silence evil and its boastfulness, which seeks to make cynicism and coarseness appear glamorous and worldly living smart, and instills a desire for indulgence in habits which lead to extravagance and licentiousness.  If a thing is evil, the degree of its use does not alter its innate nature, and no good is accomplished by partaking of it in any degree, for evil only results in more evil and misery.  The fact that it is stupid rather than smart to temporize with evil should be obvious to all right-thinking people.  Indulgence in evil cannot bring satisfaction, no matter what the temporary enjoyment or gain may appear to be.

 

Permanent Peace Attainable

Let us consider another phase of the fallacious propaganda of the carnal mind which says humanity is unable to unite in peace as in war.  War is primarily waged for peace, but when hostilities cease, the seeds of discontent sown by the carnal mind ripen in an atmosphere of suspicion and selfishness, because we fail to recognize and outlaw the real culprit, mortal mind, which blinds mankind with the mesmeric suggestion that peace is not possible between men and nations.  The God whom we worship is not a God of war, but of peace.  When we come to have faith in God, divine Love, and are willing to exalt and uphold peace instead of halfheartedly supporting it, lasting peace will be found to be practical.

At this point I can almost hear someone saying, "But it is the nature of man to be fearful, and he will always be suspicious; fear, greed, and lust are so much a part of him that wars will continually be waged for the survival of the fittest."  Now is this the truth about man?  The answer to this question can be found in Scriptural statements such as these: "God created man in his own image" (Gen. 1:27); "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord" (Isa. 43:10); "I have created him for my glory" (ibid., 43:7): and "Thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him for my glory" (Ps. 8:5).  In the light of these Biblical declarations it is clear that there can be no warring elements in the real man because he possesses and expresses only the divinely bestowed qualities of Love.

 

Overcoming Failure

Perhaps no phase of the carnal mind has plagued mankind more persistently than failure and the fear of failure.  This suggestion has come to all of us in one form or another, and all have to some extent yielded to the temptation to believe in it.  The advance agent of failure is discouragement, and Christian Science enables us to recognize this argument as a suggestion of the carnal mind and overcome it.

Discouragement and failure result from the contemplation and acceptance of a personal sense of ability and responsibility; and whenever one thinks in terms of a selfhood apart from God - what he can or cannot do of himself - he is at that moment believing in a sense of limitation and restricted activity.  This personal sense of intelligence, substance, and power must be replaced by the spiritual sense of divinely bestowed ability.  And how is this sense to be attained?  It is by recognizing Spirit, God, Mind, as the source of man's intelligence and ability.

Spiritual sense is a quality of Soul, Spirit, which is forever expressed by man and is inseparable from his being.  Through spiritual sense mankind becomes aware of the fact that God's omnipotence and omnipresence expose the fallacy of failure, limitation, and inharmony.  God is telling us today what he told the prophets centuries ago: "There is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?" (Isa. 43:13); and "I am the Lord. . . . is there any thing too hard for me?"

These familiar and comforting words from the twenty-third Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," have been rendered by a modern translator, "The Eternal shepherds me; I lack for nothing" (Moffatt).  This statement cannot be both true and untrue.  If we accept it as true, we must accept the fact that God's boundless substance and infinite goodness are available at all times and under all circumstances.  There is no other life than omnipresent Life, no other substance than that which comes to man continually from infinite Spirit.  As the divine light of Christ illumines human consciousness, one awakens to a realization of continual security.

That which is conducive to genuine security leads to ultimate salvation.  We read in Science and Health these words (p. 291): "But this last call of wisdom cannot come till mortals have already yielded to each lesser call in the growth of Christian character. Mortals need not fancy that belief in the experience of death will awaken them to glorified being."  We attain the blessing of complete salvation by overcoming fear, ignorance, and animality, in other words, the carnal mind which culminates in death.

You will recall the narrative of Paul and Silas who were cast into prison and their feet fastened in stocks to make sure that they would not escape.  As a result of their midnight songs of rejoicing and praise to God, the Bible records that "suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed" (Acts i6:26).  After the keeper of the prison had witnessed God's liberating and saving power, he turned to Paul and Silas with the question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"  The reply was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (ibid., 16:30,31).

On another occasion Paul said, "By grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8).  Did he not imply that one must have faith in the healing and regenerating Christ, which comes to the receptive thought to illumine and purify human consciousness of its fear, ignorance, and sin?

Commenting on the subject of faith, Mrs. Eddy has written, "The scientific, healing faith is a saving faith; it keeps steadfastly the great and first commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' - no other than the spiritual help of divine Love.  Faith in aught else misguides the understanding, ignores the power of God, and, in the words of St. Paul, appeals to an unknown power 'whom . . . ye ignorantly worship' " (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 153).

Salvation, therefore, is to be gained by living rather than dying.  "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." wrote the Psalmist (118:17).

In closing may I quote from Deuteronomy (10:12,13), "What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, March 19, 1948. Also published in The Largo (Florida) Sentinel, April 14, 1955.]

 

 

HOME PAGE                INDEX OF LECTURES