Christian Science: The Science of Divine Mind
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer was introduced by Elbert E. Clawson, First Reader of the
All of us have, at one time or another, been faced with the need to overcome belief of illness, unhappiness, or inharmony. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, we read, "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony."
Restoration, as understood in Christian Science, is accomplished through spiritually understanding the nothingness of the false claim which is disturbing us. In the Bible we read, in the Book of John, Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Throughout all ages
signs of Christian Science, the Science of Christ have appeared. On
Recognizing the power of God, Moses was able to bring forth water from a rock in a dry and thirsty land; at his word manna came down from the skies to feed the hungry multitude. Those who hearkened unto the voice of the Lord and gave ear to His commandments by keeping His statutes, were healed of disease; their fidelity to the law was blessed of God.
Centuries later Jesus of Nazareth declared: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." He proved the power of God through his mighty works; and those of his immediate followers, to whom the divine Spirit was revealed, were also able to heal the sick, restore the sinner, and raise the dead. In fact Jesus promised to everyone who might comprehend his teachings, "The works that I do shall he do also."
In our own time the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, stood on a mount of revelation, and again came down to give to the people the same truth, the same Christ, and the same God which Moses saw face to face as "I AM THAT I AM," and of whom Jesus, said, "I and my Father are one." Mary Baker Eddy received the final revelation of the Principle, which is divine, and the rule by which man utilizes this divine power. Christian Science teaches one God, one Christ, and man as God's reflection. It reveals God, divine Mind, as the source of man's true being and demonstrates that in proportion to the understanding and utilization of this revelation are the sick and sinning healed and awakened to Life eternal.
Those who have proved this can testify to its authenticity. Demonstration of the healing power of God is sufficient proof that He is here and now, as He always has been and always will be.
The Spirit of Truth
In the Bible we read of many remarkable healings. The faith and trust of many of the Biblical characters in an omnipotent good was so unwavering that the thoughts and lives of those who believed were transformed and illumined. They had the spirit, but not the letter. Jesus understood more than anyone else, but he did not find enough faith in and receptivity to the things of Spirit to be able fully to explain his teachings to the people. John records that Jesus said to his disciples: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth."
It was this "Spirit of truth" that was revealed to Mary Baker Eddy because she was prepared. Through many years of consecrated study of the Bible her thought was made ready. It was no coincidence that she received this revelation and was worthy to treasure it. She recognized the value of the discovery that came through her own remarkable healing, and it became her supreme desire to give this Science to humanity in a form they could understand. She knew it was the promised Comforter, that "Spirit of truth" which would lead into all truth so she devoted her life to giving it to the world.
It is not easy to state spiritual truths, scientific facts, in a language which all can understand, but Mrs. Eddy accomplished this task. The truth of her revelation can be applied to the everyday needs of humanity. Christian Science is absolute. It is discernible, and clear to the thought ready to receive it.
We can be very grateful to Mrs. Eddy that her own physical healing did not constitute her ultimate goal. Her love for man was augmented by her love for God. She worked tirelessly, without faltering. In the face of terrific opposition, and with little human aid, to give us this "Spirit of truth," refusing to be turned aside or discouraged. The full expression of this revelation is found in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which she wrote.
Since demonstration to Christian Science rests upon a correct understanding of God, the first step is the recognition of God as All-in-all. In Isaiah we read, "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."
Christian Science gives us the ability to discern the spiritual import of the Bible, reveals the infinitude of God, and makes plain the way of redemption from sin, sickness, and death. Today many gratefully acknowledge that discord of every nature has been destroyed and eliminated from their thought and experience through the understanding which Christian Science has brought to them of Life, Truth, and Love, or God. In view of this fact, one naturally seeks to know something definite of the nature of God.
In Science and Health there is a chapter entitled "Recapitulation," which Mrs. Eddy has devoted to questions and answers. To the question (p. 465), "What is God?" she answers, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." These seven synonyms have become familiar to students of Christian Science and indicate the wholeness and completeness of Deity. Each one is equally important and significant, but let us consider the synonym of Mind, which has given reassurance and hope to thousands.
The fact that God is Mind is a sure basis for the understanding and practice of Christian Science, and it dispels the false beliefs which have identified the term "God" with material beliefs. To know that God is Mind eliminates uncertainty, encourages a wider vision, and enables one to recognize God's omnipresence and to prove the redemptive power of His allness in everyday experiences.
When we consider the commandment
which Moses gave to the children of
At a time when fear and limitation face men and nations on every side, the spiritual fact that there is but one Mind, and that Mind God, is a scientific truth that is able to destroy any foe that opposes it. Thought established on a divine basis recognizes the omnipresence and omnipotence of divine power and protection.
It is also a fact that the ideas which reveal God reflect the "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind." By these ever-operating ideas Christian Science enriches all the avenues of human activity. Above all, it lessens fear and teaches men how to turn to God in the face of danger, and confidently expect only good. In the Christian Science textbook, under the caption, "Mental Treatment Illustrated" (p. 410), Mrs. Eddy declares that "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, "Be not afraid!' "
Fear is the first enemy to be destroyed. Christian Science reveals how fear vanishes in the presence of divine Mind, for there is nothing to fear in all-inclusive good. Any thought that does not come from divine Principle is without authority or power.
Mrs. Eddy writes in the textbook (p. 85), "Mortal mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts." Here she exposes the fraudulent and deceptive nature of mortal mind, the counterfeit of divine Mind. Christian Science further teaches that the human experiences which constitute this mortal, so-called existence, are mortal mind objectifying itself in human belief.
The consciousness of divine Mind is the only true consciousness and recognizes only good. Solomon wrote in Proverbs, "For as he [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he." Thus he points out the significance of thought in relation to human happiness and health. False beliefs, false reasoning, are objectified in abnormal bodily conditions. Likewise discordant business affairs, unhappy human relationships, failure, and frustration are all the result of wrong thinking. When we begin to look away from matter to divine Mind to find happiness, health, peace, and harmony, our improved thinking is expressed in our human experience.
We can recognize man in God's likeness only by first understanding the nature of God. Mrs. Eddy gives the definition of "man" in Science and Health (p. 591) as follows: "The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind."
The image of the perfect God is perfect. If we acknowledge God as divine Mind, we see that man in His image and likeness is wholly intelligent, and that he reflects at all times the divine wisdom. Man is both the idea and expression of God. Christian Science makes clear the distinction between man as God's likeness and the sinful race of Adam, or mortal man, by teaching us how to distinguish the real from the unreal.
As thought surrenders the limited personal sense of self, and recognizes the true status of man, forever one with divine Mind, it discovers man's indestructible unity with all things spiritual and harmonious.
Jesus and the Christ
Jesus patiently taught each one's individual relation to God. Christianity, as he presented it, applies to every individual. Through his healing work, Jesus showed those who were teachable how to find their unity with God. Likewise through Christian Science one discovers his spiritual selfhood as the manifestation of divine Mind.
Jesus explained the Christ and proved himself to be the Son of God. According to Christ Jesus' own statement, "Before Abraham was, I am," this Christ was far anterior to his day. He knew that the Christ is divine and incorporeal – the idea of Truth, the Principle of which is redemptive Christ, Truth, that we too today are finding our true spiritual being as revealed in Christian Science.
When the coming of the Messiah was
prophesied through the centuries most of the people looked for a king. So the
Jews could not see the incorporeal Christ manifested by the human Jesus. The
second coming of Christ was prophesied for this age, yet many are still looking
for a human mediator between God and man. Christ, as we read in the Scriptures,
is "the way, the truth, and the life." Christ reveals the fundamental
oneness of God and spiritual man, in which is no "middle wall of
Christian Science Healing
Knowledge of the allness of God is a law of elimination to everything unlike good. Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24), "This knowledge is practical, for it wrought my immediate recovery from an injury caused by an accident, and pronounced fatal by the physicians." Religion is Christlike only when it repeats the works, as well as the words, of the Way-shower, Christ Jesus, and this is what Christian Science is teaching us to do.
I think it would be helpful right here to read what Mrs. Eddy has written about health in "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 11) "Health is the consciousness of the unreality of pain and disease; or, rather, the absolute consciousness of harmony and of nothing else. In a moment you may awake from a night-dream; just so you can awake from the dream of sickness; but the demonstration of the Science of Mind-healing by no means rests on the strength of human belief. This demonstration is based on a true understanding of God and divine Science, which takes away every human belief, and, through the illumination of spiritual understanding, reveals the all-power and ever-presence of good, whence emanate health, harmony, and Life eternal."
Whether it appears as a sick body, a sick business, or a bad disposition, inharmony is a belief in the absence of good. Destroy the false belief with Truth, and the effect disappears, for the belief and its effect are one. Awaken a dreamer, and the dream vanishes, together with complications and distressing situations.
In the medical world today it is frequently admitted that disease is primarily mental, that sick thoughts are expressed as a sick body or some other inharmonious condition. Christian Science teaches that all discord is mental, and the product of mortal mind, and can be healed only by divine Mind. Sick thoughts are not necessarily thoughts about disease. They may be thoughts of hatred, resentment, self-pity, discouragement, and the like. Mrs. Eddy reminds us in Science and Health (p. 400). "By lifting thought above error, or disease, and contending persistently for truth, you destroy error."
There is always an inevitable conflict when good and evil elements seem to mingle. The discordant conditions of today are the result of believing in both good and evil, but the scientific fact, as brought out in the Scriptures, stands, that "power belongeth unto God." On this basis Christian Science declares that the power of omnipotent Truth is sufficient to eliminate every vestige of materiality and destruction. Genuine might is never material – it is always spiritual.
Never in the history of mankind has the true sense of Church played such an important part as it does in the world's great need today. That Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science is the complete revelation of Truth, and that she was divinely guided and protected, are evidenced by the wisdom she manifested in writing her textbook and establishing her church. The truth that she discovered is a redemptive power, available to all mankind. What is this truth? It is that good is the only power and, therefore, that sin, sickness, and death are wholly unreal. Recognizing the universality of good, Mrs. Eddy founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, to bless all mankind. Its Rules and By-Laws are designed to awaken not only faith in Christianity, but to establish in thought and practice a demonstrable understanding of Christ, Truth, in human experience.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science places upon Christians the responsibility for restoring the healing ministry inaugurated by Jesus, that is, the power of Christ, Truth to heal sin, sickness, and death by spiritual means alone. In Science and Health we find the definition of "Church" as follows (p. 583): "The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle." Further, it reads, "The Church is that institution which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick."
Through the activities of the church, Christian Science marches forward in the uprooting of paganism, prejudice, and every phase of superstition. This it accomplishes by the restoration of pure Christianity as taught and practiced by Christ Jesus and the early Christians.
The spiritual concept of Church lifts thought to the comprehension of the real and only universe of Spirit and the man of God's creating. The institution points to the utilization of spiritual understanding, whereby mankind is freed from the erroneous sense of life as mutable and destructible. The Church of Christ, Scientist, enfolds and sustains all who support its teachings. It also draws those who may not be satisfied with the concept of God hitherto presented to them.
The real Church is not a material structure confined to a certain locality. It is wholly spiritual – the Church of which Christ Jesus said. "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The Christian Science church stands
for divine power made practical in human experience under all conditions. It is
founded upon the spiritual truths enumerated on page 497 of Science and Health.
They form the Tenets of the church, and a careful study of these Tenets reveals
the spiritually mental nature of Church and how to uphold the institution whose
mission is to heal and save mankind. The
Wherever the truths of Christian Science are demonstrated in spiritual healing, there we find Church divinely operating.
Heaven – Peace on Earth
If one believed that the testimony of the physical senses is reliable and conclusive, he would say that today is a period of unprecedented anxiety, unrest, and turmoil between men and nations. The present need is for faith, confidence, and trust. Jesus spoke to his disciples of troublous times to come, when there would be "upon the earth distress of nations . . . men's hearts failing them for fear," but that "when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads."
So now is the time to lift our own thought above sense testimony to spiritual reality. When we do this, we help not only ourselves, but others, to find a measure of peace even in the present turmoil. Discord, limitation, and lack are not the truth about God's creation. Human beliefs are the direct antipode of spiritual facts. Since God is all-inclusive Love, filling all space, there is no room in which evil beliefs can operate, no opportunity for them to simulate or possibility to destroy eternal Life.
Sometimes we may be tempted to
think we can do little to help humanity through this present-day
The student of Christian Science who is learning to think and act from this basis of the one Mind begins to perceive everything real in terms of that which is spiritual and substantial.
The understanding of Christian Science helps one to take an impersonal view of world conditions as they appear today. He learns the first step in clearing his thinking is to separate evil from persons and nations; evil thus impersonalized can be condemned. This scientific method of unmasking evil brings to light better conditions and relationships wherever one may find himself, even though it be on the battle front.
This impersonalizing of evil is not always easy to do, but it is necessary in order to bring about better human conditions. Whether it be an angry argument between individuals or a global conflict, war is due to humanity's belief in the opposite factors of good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong, constantly warring against each other. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 143), "Mind is the grand creator, and there can be no power except that which is derived from Mind."
What, then, is the scientifically
correct and comforting attitude in regard to the present world conflict? Is it
one of dismay and despair? Obviously no. Must we
submit to the apparently destructive power of evil? Should we not rather acknowledge
the indestructible nature of Life – God – and the immortality of man in His
image and likeness? Comfort and courage are found in these words of
World reformation and salvation can come only through the scientific power of right thinking. How often do we long to bring comfort to others in great need. In Christian Science one learns "to speak a word in season to him that is weary." The real work of every one of us is to hold steadfastly to the fact that "man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468).
Christian Scientists are doing what they can to help establish "on earth peace, good will toward men." The extent and scope of the war relief activities of the Christian Science organization are sufficient proof that its members are mindful of the needs of their fellow men, in other words, that they are humanitarians.
The love that is healing in its touch is not love only for our own country, and hatred for another – love of our own people, and resentment towards the people of other nations. Redemption for all humanity is found in the Love that is God, Love that is universal and impartial, Love which knows nothing of racial hostility or material conflicts. Pure Christianity teaches that heaven is not a place, but a divine state of consciousness where harmony and peace reign eternally.
The medicine Jesus used to heal the sick was divine Mind. In speaking of raising Lazarus from the dead, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 75), "Had Jesus believed that Lazarus had lived or died in his body, the Master would have stood on the same plane of belief as those who buried the body, and he could not have resuscitated it."
On this occasion Jesus gave thanks for the all-power and presence of divine Life before the human evidence had changed. His prayer was not a petition that an edict of divine Mind be revoked or a spiritual law set aside. The raising of Lazarus was both a declaration and demonstration of eternal Life, for had he not given this promise, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive"? Are we not safe in assuming that Jesus declared this, well knowing that man can receive only that which God can give, and all that He gave is spiritual, and is good?
Prayers in Christian Science follow the pattern of the Master. They are paeans of praise, not mere supplications, for since God is Mind, infinite good, perfection already is, always has been, and ever will be. Nothing can be added to perfection or taken from it. Christianity teaches us to pray in such a way as to bless all humanity. Jesus never disregarded either the small or the vital rules of unselfish love. Take, for instance, the rule he gave us which we call the Golden Rule. It is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. To follow this rule is a living, practical prayer that never fails to bring an answer and a blessing.
In writing to an association of Christian Science students, Mrs. Eddy once said (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 135), "If you falter, or fail to fulfill this Golden Rule, though you should build to the heavens, you would build on sand." This rule bases Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and covers every human activity. It is a prayer of acknowledgment of the oneness of God, from whom man inherits all good.
Someone may feel it necessary to retire to a secluded place in order to pray aright. Well, it is fitting and right that one should retire to a secret place in order to commune with God, and this place is right within one's individual spiritual consciousness. In this secret place man is alone with his Maker. It was Emerson who said, "The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." It is the understanding of man's oneness with God which enables one to maintain a quietness of thought in the midst of the crowd of human events or in silent aloneness.
A little boy in the Christian Science Sunday School was asked if he would be afraid if he were alone in the middle of the desert. He replied promptly, "No." To the further question as to why he wouldn't be afraid, he replied, "Because God would be there." "But how do you know God would be there?" the teacher persisted, and with equal assurance he answered, "Because I would be there."
A friend of mine, an officer in the armed forces, proved this a short time ago, not in a desert, but ten thousand feet up in the air. This officer was a passenger on a military mission. The plane started out with a favorable weather report of only a slight mist. Some distance out, however, while flying over a mountainous region, it plunged suddenly into what is called a monsoon head, comparable to a hundred-mile gale coming together from opposite directions. It reached higher into the air than this type of plane had ever climbed. Immediately the plane was hurled headlong two thousand feet down. There was dense darkness. It was beaten down with no more power to resist or control than a feather in a cyclone. They couldn't see how it could withstand this onslaught. The wings flapped ominously. Almost everyone aboard was sure the plane would disintegrate at any moment. I say almost everyone. There was one Christian Scientist among the twenty passengers. When the impending tragedy seemed imminent he felt the calm, confident assurance of God's loving care and protection, present at that moment right where they were. The words of one of our Leader's poems came to him (Poems, p. 4):
"Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
"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."
He held to the comfort of these promises and with quietness was able to help the other passengers, some of whom had been through harrowing experiences in war, they said, but nothing to compare with this. In about twenty minutes the plane suddenly came out into the clear tranquil atmosphere. Instead of being over mountains, they were flying over the ocean and continued on their journey in safety. Had they been forced to land in the country over which they had just passed, they would have been interned there "for the duration." Only the Christian Scientist expected they would come out of this experience safely. To the others it was indeed a miracle they could not explain. It is heartening to note that the protection which this student of Christian Science claimed as his divine heritage included those upon whom his thoughts rested, "His arm encircles me, and mine, and all."
Love, the Liberator
He who reads and studies the
Christian Science textbook early discovers that the great purpose of Christian
Science is to show the "superiority of spiritual power over material
resistance" (Science and Health, p. 130). Christian Science saves men and
nations from the devastating beliefs of materiality by revealing this spiritual
power. This Science also teaches us to form right models of thought and keep
them ever before us. It reveals to us that the
In her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 2) our Leader has written, "The highest spiritual Christianity in individual lives is indispensable to the acquiring of greater power in the perfected Science of healing all manner of diseases." These words substantiate the statement in the Bible, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life." This way is not arduous and joyless, for in it we walk with God. Salvation in Christian Science is individual. There is no duality in God's kingdom.
One may ask how he may begin to walk that path and be sure he is on the right one. All through the Scriptures God has taught us we should live to Him alone; and as Christian Science enlarges our concept of God's love, we begin to assimilate more of the quality of the divine nature.
What are some of these qualities that the world needs so sorely today? Let us consider four in particular – love, joy, grace, and kindness. Someone may say, "Why these are the gentler types of God's nature, why not mention power, influence, and such?" Because it takes strength to manifest these qualities of divine Love. One quality of God is no less important than another. Infinity is one continuous whole, and this infinity is indivisible.
Do we sometimes look for the return of our love – watch to see if we are getting our just rewards? Since Love is impartial and universal, then our love, as a child of God, must pattern the divine, and seek to include all mankind in selfless affection, thus realizing our own good in that of others. We are never asked to love the unlovely, but to separate evil from both ourselves and others, and love only that which is divinely true.
It is Love, reflected in impartial and universal tenderness, that heals. Do we feel the absence of love and feel instead the burden of war? Then we can look up and out to God and learn that the remedy for all discord is the reflection of the Love that is God. Mind and Love are synonymous, therefore Love is intelligent, and we need never fear that the wisdom of Love will fail to guide and govern us aright.
An attribute of Love is joy, not joy that fluctuates, but the joy that is permanent, ever-present, fadeless, and real. Such joy results from a fuller understanding of manhood and womanhood. It sustains itself and grows as it is shared.
Then what of grace, that rare quality which warms the heart when one comes into the presence of one who reflects it? Grace is the result of understanding God, and all the loveliness of Love is embodied in the beauty of it. He who is truly gracious loves and obeys God alone, discards self-will, and finds joy and happiness before unknown. Divine grace feeds the sick and spiritually hungry, destroys fear, and lets the light of Truth shine on all with healing warmth.
And let us not forget the tenderness of kindness. One has but to look about him today to see how this quality has been awakened. True, it may be human kindness, but looking deeper into realism we find the kindness that is of God. This gentle quality exposes and uproots an outer show of kindness which may harbor inner grossness. No quality unlike good can remain in the kindness that is of God.
Each spiritual truth that is revealed is a foretaste of eternity, a glimpse of reality. Each truth we discover and utilize, each quality of good we reflect, replaces some false belief or practice, and we are finding our true selfhood, as perfect and eternal as God, the only creator. Each time we distinguish between the real and the unreal, accepting the true and rejecting the untrue, that truth is our consciousness, our real self, and can lead to the full recognition of the allness, completeness, and eternality of God's spiritual creation.
As a summary, and in conclusion, let me quote again from our Leader's writings (Science and Health, pp. 470,471), "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history."
[From a Lakeland (Florida) newspaper clipping, date unknown.]