Christian Science: The Way of Salvation and Healing

 

Florence Middaugh, C.S., of Los Angeles, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Miss Florence Middaugh, C.S., of Los Angeles, Calif., spoke on "Christian Science: The Way of Salvation and Healing" at Cadle Tabernacle Monday evening under auspices of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, Broad Ripple.  Mrs. James H. Hornstein introduced the speaker, who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.  Miss Middaugh's lecture follows, substantially as it was given;

 

Christian Science is satisfactorily answering questions and solving problems which have baffled and perplexed mankind for centuries.  Perhaps the correct answer to these questions and the solution to the problems have not been found before because they have not been approached from the right standpoint.

Christian Science is teaching mankind how to think correctly.

Many of you here may have questions, which you hope Christian Science can answer for you.  This very hope, which brings most of you here, places you, to a certain degree, in an attitude of receptivity to Truth.  In the case of some of you, this hopeful receptivity has reached a state of joyful expectancy.  This, I believe you will readily admit, indicates qualities of thought.  If so, then you will agree with me before we start that whatever your need may appear to be, it must be dealt with through your thinking.  Whatever change in your present experiences you would like to take place, you desire, primarily, peace of mind.

Since we have gathered here to ascertain how Christian Science answers your questions, we shall examine its teachings in regard to them.  The word "science" comes from the Latin word "scire," to know.  Then Christian Science is a knowledge of Christianity, the Science of Life, the facts that govern being, the truth about God and man, and the universe, and their relationship.  Christian Science is based upon the teachings of the Bible, the inspired word of the Scriptures.  It does not deviate from the Christianity which Jesus taught, demonstrated, and lived.

 

Discovery of Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was specifically prepared for this spiritual revelation during many years before it came to her.  From early childhood she was an earnest student of the Bible, and it was to this Bible that she turned for comfort, guidance, and enlightenment in times of stress.  Was it extraordinary or unnatural, then, that in the hour of greatest need, when all human aid had failed, when she was pronounced fatally injured from a fall, following many years of invalidism, she should ask to be left alone with her Bible?  She turned to the book of Matthew, and in following Jesus' healing ministry, so familiar and dear to her, for the first time she perceived the spiritual import behind those healings, and glimpsed something of the power of divine Mind, God, which operated in what we have believed to be miracles.  So positive and vital was this illumination that she arose from her bed, where she had been left to die, revived and vigorous, dressed, and went in to the astounded and incredulous assemblage of friends and relatives.

To some this might have been satisfaction enough; she was restored, whole; but the desire to place this healing truth within reach of all mankind became a sacred responsibility to her.  So she separated herself from all other activity, and in seclusion for three years probed and pondered the truths within the Scriptures, subjected them to the broadest possible tests, and on page 406 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook which was the result of this search, she states unreservedly, "The Bible contains the recipe for all healing."

It is not strange, then, that you should turn to this Science to still the anxiety and unravel the perplexities that trouble you.

 

Jesus

Centuries ago, we are told in the Gospel of John, Nicodemus, a great scholar, went to Jesus under cover of the night, perhaps lest anyone might wonder that he, with his store of material knowledge, should be seeking information from the humble Nazarene, who was not looked upon as a man of letters.

Jesus at once saw that the reason for the bewilderment and confusion concerning his ministry which prompted Nicodemus to come to him seeking explanation and enlightenment, was a false concept of God, man, and the universe.  From his puzzled inquiry, "How can these things be?"  Jesus perceived that Nicodemus could not understand his teachings from a material standpoint and that he must exchange his false concept for the right one, and he answered simply, "Ye must be born again."

We can well imagine the even greater consternation which followed this pronouncement.  In one brief moment Nicodemus probably reviewed the history of his human birth, growth, development, and maturity, and it, no doubt, seemed to him a most preposterous thing that this should be done all over again.  But Jesus was not speaking of his human origin and birth.  He knew that the only true growth and lasting development is the unfoldment of spiritual ideas.  He spoke of the renewing of the mind, a change in the basis of thinking, which was difficult for Nicodemus to comprehend.  Jesus saw and recognized but one God, and one man, the man of God's creating, not struggling and working out of materiality, harassed and disturbed by its problems, but existing at the standpoint of wholeness and completeness.  It was this true view of man as the son of God that enabled him to heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead.

It was to God that Jesus always turned for wisdom and strength, for it was his mission to prove God's allness and man's oneness with Him.  Christian Science teaches this same God.  In giving the platform upon which the teachings of Christian Science stand, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 330 of the textbook: "God is what the Scriptures declare Him to be - Life, Truth, Love." It is the spiritual import of the Scriptures, and practical application to daily life that Christian Science is teaching us - how to make these truths live and move in us.

 

Creation

There are two divergent accounts of creation in the Bible.  There is a record of both a spiritual and a material birth of man with two different creators.  We cannot consistently believe or accept both of them, for each denies the validity of the other, and both, therefore, cannot be real and true.  The account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis is the one which Christian Science reveals to be the true record.

Following the record of the spiritual creation in which God pronounces everything He has made to be perfect and intact, and very good, is a second record beginning with the statement, "But there went up a mist from the earth," after which appeared a material sense of creation, with the Lord God as the creator of it.  Through this suppositional mist one is led to believe there arises a counterfeit creation, a counterfeit man and universe, and in it he sees sin, sickness, and death.  Not one of these conditions is any more real than the mist itself.  They are not included in God's creation, and He made everything that was made.  In God's perfect universe there is light, and there was no mention of the possibility of a mist that might arise and obscure or dim that light.  But so long as mortals believe in the mist of materiality, which obscures the true creation, they will argue and suffer accordingly.

Christian Science assures us that we have the power to refuse to accept this counterfeit creation.  It supplies us with the spiritual enlightenment which dispels the mist of materiality and reveals God's universe and man as perfect as they were created.  It answers the question, What am I to God? as well as What is God to me? In other words, What is man's relationship to God? It reminds us, as Jesus did Nicodemus, that in order to gain this enlightenment we must be born again, and further teaches us how this can be done.  Nicodemus, no doubt, knew these two records the same as Jesus did, but we find Jesus serene, confident, undisturbed in the strength of spiritual understanding.  We find Nicodemus doubtful, limited, and uncertain.

 

Finding God

It is safe to say that practically everyone believes in a supreme being, a power greater than himself.  Because the individual concepts of the creator may differ, some may say, There is no God, but by this they generally mean that they do not believe the concept of God which has been presented to them, or which they have formed in their own consciousness.  Of course, the widely diverging theories concerning God could not change His nature or being, nor would it be possible for Him to coincide with all the differing concepts.  Then we must rightfully conclude that only one concept can be true, and it is necessary for us to find out which one is true and conform our lives in accordance with it.

When you ask the question, How can I find God from where I am? the question follows, Where are you? Simply and directly answered, you are just where and what you are thinking about God.  One of the first and most important things to understand about God, is that He made everything, but He did not make part of His creation good and part evil.  Then the puzzled inquirer may ask, Well, if this is true, how do you account for evil, and how does man find himself in this material universe?  A complete answer to these questions can be found only through growth in spiritual understanding.  The Scriptures declare that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil."  Therefore man, made in His image and likeness, could not behold aught that God does not know.  Spiritual man could never find his true selfhood in materiality.  The allness of God destroys the seeming actuality of evil and it is only as one gains a comprehension of God's allness that the unreality of evil becomes apparent.  The suggestion that spiritual man can dwell in a material universe is only part of the deceptive belief and is destroyed by the true concept of man and the universe.  This true concept, however, is not gained by keeping the eyes on the level of materiality.  There must be lifting up - a looking up and away from sense testimony, which defrauds, cheats, and lies.  We must climb to the highest where the view is unobstructed.  Those who have climbed to the top of the mount of revelation, even to behold the new heaven and the new earth, have told us of the vision, that we, too, may have courage and hope, and enlarged perception to rise above the mist.

Surely you will be glad to know that God never made a sick or sinful man.  He who believes there can be any man besides the one made in God's image and likeness should be willing to let go of it when he remembers that this false belief has brought nothing but discord and dismay.

If I were to tell you that by dividing a sum you would get an added amount instead of less, you would not believe me because your understanding of the law of mathematics denies it.  If you ever did believe it, it brought wrong results, and when you found you were mistaken, you gave up the erroneous conception gladly, because when you applied the truth of that mathematical rule you got the right answers to your problems.  A mistake is brought about through a wrong process of reasoning, and the discordant results disappear when the mistake is corrected.  It is thus when we exchange a false concept of God for the real one, and when we put off the "old man" and put on the "new man" we have no regrets.

 

Man

This "new man," Christian Science teaches, is the real man, and Mrs. Eddy describes him in Science and Health (p. 475) as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness."  So man, made in God's image, reflects, expresses God, and could not express anything unlike Him.  But this is not the man the five physical senses tell us about.  They present a man whose consciousness is more or less filled with thoughts of God's unlikeness.

The world has long battled over the question, What is man?  The Scriptures plainly tell us that man was made in God's image and likeness.  Then as God is Life, Truth, and Love, the real man is the reflection of Life, Truth, and Love.  He is inseparable from his creator.  He is not mortal; he is immortal.  He is not material; he is spiritual.

The student of Christian Science demonstrates the truths of its teachings only in proportion to his understanding and correct application of its rules.  But it is true that since Christian Science was discovered, and the art of divine healing again given to the world, through the application of its teachings thousands have demonstrated the healing of all manner of diseases, and the successful overcoming of countless inharmonious conditions, thus proving its efficacy, and that nothing of good is impossible of accomplishment to those who seek God with all their hearts.  And one does not need to be satisfied with half a blessing.  Jesus declared, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."  Only formerly we may have inverted the interpretation of this, trying to make God manlike in a consciousness of human needs.  Might it not more logically mean that our need is for the things our Father knoweth, such as wisdom, intelligence, understanding, love?  If we have these things, no good could be lacking.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven

God, the universe, and man coexist and are coeternal.  They are inseparable. Therefore man could never fall from his high estate; he could never be out of the kingdom of heaven, nor from under God's loving care and protection, or fall into a universe of uncertainty and imperfection.  He always has been and always will be at one with God.

In the Glossary of Science and Health we find the definition of the kingdom of heaven as follows (p. 590): "The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme."

Jesus taught many spiritual truths, especially concerning the kingdom of heaven, by parables.  Through these simple stories of things familiar to the people they were often better able to comprehend his meaning.  One of his best known parables is woven around a young man who believed that he could be separated from his father and his rightful heritage, a son who gathered together his portion of the inheritance and traveled far away, and indulged in an orgy of careless waste, even until he suffered in the very depths of degradation and want.  When he realized his mistake, however, he did not let a false sense of pride further delude him into refusing to acknowledge it.  On the contrary, he determined to return to his father's estate in humility and repentance, willing to serve and prove himself worthy.  When the other son protested that he should be allowed to share the same blessings with the others, the father's answer is what God is continually saying to each one of His beloved children, regardless of how far away they may think they can stray, "Son, thou Art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."

Do we read this solely as an interesting story, appropriate only for that time, or do we see that it is applicable to our lives today?  Dr. Edward S. Woods, in a book called "Everyday Religion," tells the story of a Korean who went to a missionary one day and said, "I have been memorizing some verses in the Bible, and I have come to recite them to you."  The missionary was surprised that he could repeat the entire Sermon on the Mount, without verbal error.  He complimented him, and said: "You have a marvelous memory to be able to repeat this long passage without a mistake.  However, if you simply memorize it, it will do you no good; you must practice it."  The Korean Christian smiled and replied, "That's the way I learned it."  When asked what he meant, he said: "I am only a stupid farmer, and when I tried to memorize it the verses wouldn’t stick.  So I hit upon this plan.  I memorized one verse and then went out and practiced that verse on my neighbors until I had it; then I took the next verse and repeated the process, until I had learned it all."

Mrs. Eddy says (Message for 1901, p. 11), "To my sense the Sermon on the Mount, read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week would be enough for Christian practice." Obeyed throughout the week, not just read on a Sunday and forgotten throughout the week.

Jesus made it possible for all to follow his example, by giving us the perfect pattern. His teachings are simple and direct.  He depicted the attributes of his own character in the Beatitudes, and his Sermon on the Mount does not ask us to do anything that he did not live and practice himself.

You will notice in your study of the Beatitudes, which preface the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus exalted those traits of character which the world does not generally look upon as  important or worthy of acclaim.  But he declares that the very highest awards of heaven and earth are given to the meek, the poor in spirit - those who recognize their need of spirituality - the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and so on.  To those he promises the richest of rewards - the kingdom of heaven, that they may inherit the earth, and even see God.  Full recompense is promised for those who patiently and uncomplainingly journey onward in spite of persecution, criticism, and misunderstanding. We do not need to translate the Beatitudes into terms of modern living, but we do need to translate our everyday lives into the terms of the Beatitudes.

While in the Beatitudes Jesus enumerated the blessings which are received by those who follow his example in deed and in truth, in the Sermon on the Mount he explained more fully just what one must do in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, a harmonious state of existence.  It reminds us that if we want to be well or happy, contented or successful, we need first to start mending and building character, purifying and unselfing motives and aims, that we must bring love, mercy, justice, et cetera, into our dealings with our fellow men.  Then, soon we shall find that the good things for which we pray to our heavenly Father are ours; we have always had them.  Sometimes we fail to receive answers to prayer because we have let selfishness, greed, hatred, impurity, injustice, and hardness of heart build a stone wall around us through which little of the sunshine of God's love can penetrate and get to us.

One of the most impressive truths ever given to the world is that "God is love."  The Apostle John declared it and the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science reminds her students over and over again that without an understanding and consciousness of this Love they cannot hope to accomplish anything - that it is the very core of their religion. What is this Love which is God?  Is it like unto human love, which may turn to hate, which selects a choice few for its favor, which possesses, and loves its own better than another's?  The Love which is God is never absent, never cold or unyielding.  It is universal, impartial, changeless, infinite.  It is the most effectual and lasting remedy for any evil.

Suppose you just try for one day and see what this Love will do for you.  There is no difficulty that can confront you that will not respond to the healing influence of Love, divine Love, if you will express it.  If you do not know how, you can learn how.  There is not one of us but needs to express more love.  There is nothing that Love cannot heal, or

reach.  But it is divine Love within you, expressed by you, that meets your need, and the needs of all who come in contact with you.

 

Healing

Religious creeds and doctrines for centuries have extended to the sinner a hope for forgiveness and salvation, but to the sick and suffering they have offered no such promise.  In the Christian Science textbook Mrs. Eddy states (p. 166): "To ignore God as of little use in sickness is a mistake.  Instead of thrusting Him aside in times of bodily trouble, and waiting for the hour of strength in which to acknowledge Him, we should learn that He can do all things for us in sickness as in health."

Christian Science teaches that when God says to His children, "All that I have is thine," He means just that, and that this means Life, which includes health, Love, which includes happiness, and Truth, which includes wisdom and understanding.

Mortals ask God to forgive their sins, but turn to physiology or anatomy to tell them how to take care of their bodies, and give them health.  They would place life in a material body, and look to matter to instruct them how to care for their bodies in order that life might be preserved.  Contrary to this view, Jesus emphatically said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

One may say, Would you have me neglect my body and live in defiance of the laws of nature?  Christian Science makes it clear that the human body is harmoniously governed when controlled by right thinking, and that it responds at once to an improved condition of thought.  Within the last few years there have been many indications, evidenced by articles in the newspapers and magazines, that the doctors are taking more and more account of the state of their patients' thinking.

The source of all physical discord is the mistaken belief that Mind is in matter, that life is in the material body.  The material body is mindless, sensationless, inert, and can of itself offer no complaints.  Its only claim to existence is your belief in it, and you give it all the activity it seems to have, whether you think harmoniously or inharmoniously about it.  Any belief that man is subject to laws which deny the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, good, is an illusion - a false supposition, whether it appears to come from within your own thinking or as a suggestion from without.

 

Mind

God is Mind, and since there is but one God, there is but one Mind.  Let this divine Mind govern your thinking and it will control all that your thoughts rest upon.

Students of Christian Science, when they become members of The Mother Church, subscribe to the Tenets of that church, among which is the promise to pray and strive earnestly and continually for that Mind to be in them which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus was the human concept, but the Christ, with which he was endowed, is the spirit of God, the divine manifestation of God which is as present today with us as it was with him centuries ago.  It was the Christ spirit which was in Jesus that made him one with God, giving him power to do many mighty works in his Father's name.  Some may think that Jesus was especially endowed with spiritual power, not intended for anyone else; but Jesus himself has assured us repeatedly that if we believe on him, and understand his teachings, we can do the very things he has done.

That which sins, suffers, and dies, Mrs. Eddy names mortal mind, and among other things she designates it as a myth, unreality, because it is the opposite of divine Mind. Mortal mind has not one quality of substance, life, intelligence, or truth.  It can in no way enable man to behold himself as God's reflection.  Matter can take no cognizance of Spirit, for matter is the supposed creation of mortal mind.

It is through reason, that most active of human faculties, and through spiritual sense, that one learns to distinguish between divine Mind and mortal mind, and when one recognizes that man is governed and controlled by God, good, divine Mind, he sees that he need no longer be subject to the vagaries of mortal mind.

Inharmonious conditions are not always the result of sinful thinking, but they are the result of erroneous thinking, wrong reasoning, and the place where one needs to start, continue, and finish working for correction, reformation, and adjustment is right within himself - within his own thinking.  In that domain he reigns supreme. He may censor what comes in and what goes out, and as he does this he need not be surprised if he finds thing's brightening up around him.

Do not be reluctant to look within.  Do not be too sure that all the wrong conditions are on the outside, or that if you had a different environment, a better atmosphere, or more opportunities, more congenial associates, everything would be all right.  The change for better must first take place within you, within your consciousness; for wherever you go, and whatever you do, you take this consciousness with you which determines your outward experiences.

There was a young woman who, when she began the study of Christian Science, was suffering from physical ailments, culminating in what was pronounced by the family physician to be a nervous breakdown, followed by the declaration that she probably would never be strong enough to lead a normal or active life.  Very soon after she began to study Christian Science she realized that what she really was suffering from was a bad temper, believed to have been inherited.  This she had often regretted, but not knowing how to correct it, as she grew to womanhood she had allowed many unlovely traits of character to develop and fasten themselves upon her, together with the attending physical discords.  She saw that her part in the healing was to strive to eliminate this ugly disposition, which she set about earnestly to do.  For her it seemed a long process, but through the striving she grew in spiritual understanding, and when the demon of evil temper had been cast out, her health was restored and she became a useful and active citizen.  This woman told me that those years of struggle had taught her what it really means to strive, and that the growth in spiritual understanding was much more precious to her than physical harmony which had resulted.

 

Prayer

Christians rightfully believe that man approaches God through prayer.  But in that hour of trial when one seeks to pray he may cry as Job did, "Oh that I knew where I might find him!"  If one does not understand what God is, he does not know when he has found Him.

As long as there have been religious creeds and doctrines they have included prayer, but the concept of prayer has been as varying and divergent as the creeds themselves.

Since Christian Science accepts Christ Jesus as the Way-shower, we believe that we can have no better example than he has given us in this respect.  When the need arose, Jesus withdrew from the world to commune with his heavenly Father, to draw closer to Him.  His prayers were an acknowledgment of God's goodness and power, and he never doubted God's willingness and ability to provide all good for His children.  In teaching his followers how to pray, Jesus said, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."  From this we may reasonably assume that Jesus' prayer was not one of petition only.  He usually prefaced his prayers with thanks to God; he prayed the prayer of gratitude.

Gratitude plays such an important part in our experiences that it is well to stop often in our busy lives and take time to give thanks to God for just being God.  Working, watching, searching, and endeavoring to understand God, expressing gratitude for His goodness, is prayer.  This is not an arduous task, but, on the contrary, it is joyous, refreshing.  Jesus promised that those who really hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled.

Have you ever known the pangs of hunger?  Perhaps some of you have.  But have you ever been hungry with no immediate prospect of relief?  When you reach that stage you make a more determined effort to remedy it.  And so he who hungers and thirsts for righteousness - to know God and His thoughts - will make a definite effort to find Him. When men understand the true nature of prayer they will realize how it is not only possible, but necessary, to pray without ceasing, as Paul admonishes us.

Prayer, as understood in Christian Science, establishes receptivity to right thinking, and opens the way for the fulfillment of God's promises.  It makes us realize that we can always pray to God, for He is omnipresent, and always right where we are. True prayer is the beginning of right activity, for it is the beginning of right thinking.  It lifts human thought above the mist of materiality into the atmosphere of spiritual reality.  Every honest desire to be bettor, to reflect more of Love, more of good, is a prayer that will never go unanswered.  Every effort for reform, to leave off sinful habits and thinking, is a prayer that is answered.

True prayer obviously does not seek to change that which is real, nor entreat God to change his perfect creation.  It does not ask for more blessings, new life, greater power, but that the eyes may be opened and the vision cleared, that the ever-presence of God and His great power and abundance may be recognized here and now.  Christian Science teaches us not only how to pray, but how not to pray amiss.

 

Christian Science Treatment

Some of you here may perhaps have sought healing through many material means or physical methods before coming, in your extremity, to Christian Science, to find out whether or not it really does heal, and, if so, if it can heal you.  While you were doctoring and examining the body for cause and effect, did you take time to consider and analyze your thoughts to see if there was any resentment, fear, grief, remorse, criticism, et cetera, rankling therein?

All the medicine that you could pour into your body would not counteract the bad effects of these destructive thoughts.  I know a person who was instantaneously healed of a discordant condition of the skin when she realized that fear was all there was to it - that the intense fear in her thought was manifesting itself on her body.  That which had developed in severity and intensity for many weeks disappeared almost overnight, and within a few days left without the slightest scar.  She said that she knew the exact moment when the fear left her thought, and that the irritation of the skin ceased at that moment.

Truth heals instantaneously.  God spake and it was done.  It doesn't take time to know the truth about anything, but it does take receptivity of thought.  When one came to him seeking healing, Jesus' spiritual perception enabled him readily to recognize whether or not the seeker was sincere, receptive, or had faith, humility, and willingness to be obedient to the law of God.  When his disciples failed to heal a case brought to them, and asked Jesus the reason for their failure, he told them it was because of their unbelief -because they didn't have faith enough.

The healing of disease is of itself only a sign.  Spiritual growth is the ultimate of all healing.  One may acquire added spirituality in the process of a slow healing, but this does not imply that an equal amount of spiritual growth could not have been attained otherwise.  God supplies all good continuously, so we may make use of it at once.  If a lack of good seems to be apparent, it is because God's law has been misapplied or misunderstood.

A person may fall into the habit of accepting the argument that certain errors take longer to conquer than others.  God, Truth, knows nothing of error of any kind, and thus knows nothing of the mortal measurements called time, so this element of mortal mind could not possibly govern the operation of divine Mind.  God knows nothing of the degrees which mortal mind would seek to establish.  Whether one difficulty is more trying than another, more lasting, or more severe, is all the mesmerism of mortal mind, of which divine Mind takes no cognizance.

The absent treatment was practiced by Jesus, for instance, when the nobleman came to him in Galilee and asked him to heal his son who was sick at Capernaum.  Jesus told him to go back home and he would find that his son was healed.  When he inquired of his servants at what time his son recovered, he knew that it was at the same hour when Jesus spoke to him.  This proved that neither time nor space was a factor in the healing.

The absent treatment has been thousands of times successfully given in Christian Science practice.  Its students have proved beyond dispute that divine Mind is just as present with the patient as with the practitioner, and that the proximity of the two is not a necessary factor in healing.  The seeming obstacles of time and space, whether they be small or great, are only part of the many arguments of limitation promulgated by mortal mind.

 

Salvation

How much of this Science one understands and makes practical in his daily life depends upon his receptivity, willingness, obedience, and perseverance.  What he proves and makes his own is based upon the consecrated effort he puts forth in the right direction.

The Science of Life can be applied and proved only through living.  A God of love can be comprehended only through expressing love, giving love, and being loving.  Truth can be understood only when demonstrated and practiced.  And he who knows the truth and yet does not practice or prove it is building his own prison walls, not helping to tear them down.

Mankind has too long accepted the theory that salvation is a future state to be acquired - a promise for hereafter, to be attained after death.  Since now is the only time of which we can ever be conscious, is it not reasonable to conclude that that which can come only at a future time will never arrive?  It is always just beyond reach.

And there is only one road to salvation, which we are told is straight and narrow.  But, one may say, that sounds rather limited and restricted.  It is straight in that there are no byways nor detours.  It is direct and without digression.  Its singleness of purpose has no room for suppositions, conjectures, theories, or human opinions.  It travels straight ahead, and in one direction - on and up, and out of all the evil that flesh is heir to.  There is no place for any excess baggage.  On this road it is truly said that he travels fast who travels light.

I sometimes think it is referred to as narrow because it must be traveled singly, individually.  There is no one who can do the traveling for any one of us; we must do it ourselves.  Even Jesus could not do our work for us, but only show us how.  Others may point the way, give us the benefit of their experiences, and assure us they have proved definitely that it is the right way, but we travel singly.  Salvation is individual.  It is for each one to recognize his oneness with God.  

When Moses trembled on the brink of a tremendous undertaking he gained strength and courage from the assurance that the presence of God was always with him.  So, on this straight and narrow way, we are not actually alone.  We may walk with God all along the way; we can be just as sure as the patriarchs of old that His angels are given charge over us to keep us from falling or stumbling, and plant our feet firmly on the right path.  These angels Mrs. Eddy defines in Science and Health (p. 581) as "God's thoughts passing to man."  Step by step we learn to trust God, and we find He gives us strength for each day, and is ever at our side.

In this brief hour I have only touched upon the truths contained in the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."  But you have two textbooks of Christian Science for study, and all that you need to know about God, man, reality, the kingdom of heaven, is contained therein.  Do not be discouraged if you do not understand it all at first.  Take anything that you do understand, however small it may seem to be, and apply it, prove it, make it your own, and the next step will be clearer to you.

In the back of Science and Health you will find a chapter called "Fruitage," which gives you authenticated cases of healing brought about solely through reading the textbook.

And as you travel upon this straight and narrow way to heaven, harmony, remember these few things.  There is one God, one universe, and one man, made in God's image and likeness. Your only work is to recognize your true self as that likeness.  Your only business is to find God, your only activity is expressing Godlike qualities, your only duty is to be Godlike.  You are at one with God and can never be separated from Him, or fall from this high estate.

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, in June, 1939.]

 

 

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