Christian Science Brings Enlightenment for Mankind

 

Margaret Morrison, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Miss Margaret Morrison, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois, lectured Monday night at Cadle Tabernacle on "Christian Science Brings Enlightenment for Mankind" under auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. The lecturer is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. She was introduced by W. T. McCulIough and her lecture was given substantially as follows:

 

The first command from God given in the Bible is, "Let there be light," and the record reads, "There was light." It further states that "God saw the light, that it was good." In this light that was good the entire creation of God was seen to be good and very good. But in the second chapter of Genesis we are told that there went up a "mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." Thus the light pronounced by God - good - in which all creation is seen as good, and very good, became obscured, and men began to walk in darkness instead of in light. They began to have obscured and perverted beliefs about God and His creation, instead of true ideas and right concepts.

However, there are to be found throughout the Bible records of inspiring experiences when the light of the true knowledge of God shone through the mist and delivered the children of men from their idolatry, dangers, and difficulties. These experiences are traced in the history of the people of that time, their leaders, and their prophets, even unto the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, who so exemplified that light that he became Jesus the Christ, the Wayshower of salvation to mankind. He said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life," and again, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."

For several hundred years after the ascension of Jesus his followers walked in that light of Truth and were enabled to carry on his work, healing the sick and sinning and raising the dead. But again the mist of materialism obscured the light, and only glimpses of it were caught by those who sought for Truth in the way pointed out by Christ Jesus. But, however much the light may be obscured for individuals or for nations, for moments or for centuries, the light of Truth and Love is never for one instant extinguished. It shines everlastingly and uninterruptedly. So in time there came into the world one so pure in her desire truly to know and love God, so filled with compassion and unselfed love for humanity, that the command, "Let there be light," was fulfilled in her in such clarity that it could be given to the world in its scientific application to human needs. And today Christian Science has come, a light into the world, and whosoever follows, understands, and obeys its teachings shall not walk in darkness, in trouble and fear, but shall have the light of Life, of Love and harmony.

This is true because Christian Science is simply the Science which based all the words of Jesus, the Christ, and which logically and scientifically explains his mighty works; works which, until the coming of Christian Science, were looked upon as miraculous or supernatural, dependent upon a personal power belonging only to Jesus. Jesus himself never so regarded them. On the contrary, the so-called miracles were to him supremely natural demonstrations of divine law to be made by all who believed on him; that is, all who understood and obeyed his teachings. One of his familiar sayings to that effect is found in the Gospel of St. John, which says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." John, the beloved disciple, in his first epistle says, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." This is the message that Christian Science is declaring to the world today; a message of light and love, of joy and peace, of healing and salvation.

It may be asked, "What is the nature of this light, which comes at the command of God? A study of the message of light as given in the Bible will show that this light of which we speak is not material but purely spiritual. It is that "Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, says (p. 504), "Spirit is light, and the contradiction of Spirit is matter, darkness, and darkness obscures light." It also says,

" 'Let there be light,' is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres" (ibid., p. 255). The Psalmist says, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." As in the realm of the physical senses light only can dispel darkness so in the mental realm spiritual understanding only can dispel the darkness of materiality, or that mental ignorance which is called matter. We may find a simple illustration in the child starting out to school. He is in mental darkness as to the subjects he is to study - mathematics, for instance. As the child learns the truth about mathematics, beginning simply with the multiplication table, and going on through higher problems, he comes into the light on that subject; he sees, or understands, how to work out his problems. So Christian Science is bringing us into the higher light of spiritual understanding as to the true nature of God, man, and the universe.

All the mistakes the child makes in his problems are entirely due to his ignorance of mathematics. There is nothing wrong with the principle of mathematics, nothing wrong with the multiplication table. Just so all the mistakes of humankind, all the fears, tragedies, crime, disease, and so forth, are due to their ignorance of God, the Principle of being. There is nothing wrong with God or man, nothing wrong with Life or the universe.

As the child's knowledge of mathematics must be exact so the knowledge of God must be exact. In acknowledging the rules of the multiplication table exact obedience is required. The smallest fraction less than four is never near enough when multiplying two and two. So in acknowledging the supremacy and goodness of God the smallest fraction less than all is never near enough.

 

Christian Science - A Revelation

It has been said of Jesus that "first he wrought and then he taught" (Chaucer). This may also be said about the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. For some years after her healing, which came about through the light of understanding thrown on a record of healing in the Bible, she studied consecratedly the words and works of Jesus, of the prophets and apostles, and proved, by many works of healing, the truth of her discovery before she gave it to the world in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Mary Baker Eddy was the most daring and intrepid thinker the world has seen since Christ Jesus. She is the world's most courageous explorer. When the light of spiritual understanding dawned upon her she dared to follow where it led through fiery trials, through all the persecution, scorn, and ridicule of that carnal mind which is enmity against God. She dared to follow the line of light in the footsteps of Christ Jesus. She dared to climb above physics to pure metaphysics and to prove that the vision which she gained, in that spiritual light, is practical, its laws scientific and available. She dared to proclaim her vision after winning her way "to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration" (Science and Health, p. 109), and prove to an unbelieving world that God is not mysterious but knowable and his laws demonstrable. She dared to take up the command of her Master, Jesus Christ, to heal the sick and prove her discipleship by the required signs following. She says on page 226 of Science and Health: "The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs who today, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged." It is well for us all, Christian Scientists as well as those who may be approaching the study of Christian Science, to consider deeply what this means, that we may catch a glimpse of the debt of gratitude and honor due her who discovered and gave to the world the Science of Christianity, - one loving, gentle woman, standing alone against the sensual and intellectual hatred of materialism, the established claims of theology, medicine, and science; preaching, teaching, and practicing directly contrary to their cherished theories and practices. Think you she could have done it had not God Himself been with her? Must she not have been maintained by Truth itself, protected by Love, sustained by Life, guided by infinite divine wisdom and intelligence? Without this divine protection and guidance could she possibly have accomplished what she did?

Her works proclaim her discipleship, her right to be known as the revelator of Truth to this age, and establish forever her place in the world as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the Leader of the Christian Science movement. Her discovery shines, a light in the world, to lead the thought of mankind out of the darkness of materiality, though the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Do we not today find many of our physical scientists standing baffled before their investigations in the realm of matter, their infinitesimal measurements and stupendous astronomical calculations, finding in them no solution to the problems of the universe? Lord Balfour, one of their number, has been credited with saying, "We know too much about matter to be materialists." Jesus said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" So it is being proved that no matter how brilliant the intellect or intellectual attainments, if these are based on the belief in the reality of matter, that brilliance is darkness because it proceeds from falsity. As the investigations of physical scientists prove in their own realm the mythical nature of material existence, the futility of research in matter, thought will turn to Christian Science as discovered by Mrs. Eddy years ago, and find therein that which has been sought - the solution of the riddle of the universe, satisfaction and salvation.

 

 

 

God Revealed

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This is the first statement concerning causation found in the Scriptures.

Reasoning logically it is inconceivable - nay absurd - to think of cause as having been at one time nonexistent, and so as having to have something to start it, or a beginning. What should we call that which might cause causation? Causation, then, that which we are pleased reverently to designate as God, must have always existed without beginning and without end, therefore without time - without a past tense. May we not therefore say: Principle, which is causation or God, creates the heaven and the earth? God as Principle must be infinite and so incorporeal, Spirit or Mind, and His creation must be spiritual, expressed, not in material objects, separated from Him and left to their own devices; flung into space, as it were, and left to take care of themselves. Rather is His creation coexistent with Him, the expression of His own nature, consisting of infinite, conscious, divine ideals or spiritual objects of the divine Principle, Love - inseparable from Love's tender care and provision, held in perpetual harmony by the indissoluble bonds of Science. God is thus truly seen as immutable Truth, supreme intelligence, the living Father-Mother Mind, all-inclusive Love.

In this light of spiritual understanding we are enabled to give up our former false idolatrous concepts of God as a mixture of Principle and person, good and evil, Spirit and matter, and to come into an understanding of Him as Principle unlimited by personality, as Spirit unmixed with matter, good unshadowed by evil.

 

Life Revealed

Thus correcting our concept of God we must necessarily correct our concept of the life which expresses God - infinite divine Life. The human mind in its concept of life as existing in and of matter is always balancing good and evil, thus remaining in a perpetual state of uncertainty, never knowing which will triumph, good or evil, health or sickness, life or death. Christian Science comes to this vacillating, uncertain state, and reveals the certainty of Principle, the omnipotence and infallibility of good.

In one of her messages to The Mother Church Mrs. Eddy has said: "Absolute certainty in the practice of divine metaphysics constitutes its utility, since it has a divine and demonstrable Principle and rule" (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 2). Spirit is positive in its qualities and activity - never negative or passive. So in working out the rules of this divine Principle it is never enough to say: "I won't worry. I know everything will be taken care of." We must not only not worry, we must rejoice in our knowledge of the omnipotence of good. It is not enough to say, "I am not afraid." We must attain to peace, - that peace that passeth understanding, - because we know the availability and power of Truth. It is not enough to say, "I do not hate anyone." We must love with a reflection of that divine Love which is impersonal and universal. Let me repeat: there is no uncertainty in that divine Life which is the gift of God, and which it is our privilege to accept, enjoy, and reflect in our daily human living.

In the light of spiritual understanding we learn that omnipresence is origin. Life did not begin for any of us "away back when," but here and now is our origin, our continuity, our eternality - in all-inclusive Mind.

Peter said, "God . . . hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." All things, then, that pertain unto Life exist here and now, immediately available in omnipresence, through a knowledge of God. John said, "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life" - has given, not will give. If eternal life has been given unto us by God it must follow that the material processes of birth, growth, maturity, decay, and so forth, are purely illusory. In the old way of reasoning, based on these illusions, we have feared, loved, cherished, sought to support and preserve a false concept - an illusion, a lie. We have thought to perpetuate a false mental concept by material means. We have in that realm of false reasoning the great contradiction of life supported by matter, and finally ending in death. Now, because of Christian Science, "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." Because of Christian Science we know, too, that Life is always Life, birthless, ageless, fearless, deathless, eternal. This life is indestructible by any process, disintegrating belief of time, or sudden terror. None of the methods of mortal so-called mind can be effectual to destroy it; no chemical action, no molecular action, no mesmeric mental manipulation can touch, confuse, impair, disable, or destroy Life, God. There are no elements apart from divine Mind - whose elements are never destructive, but always constructive. No discordant human experience can mar the purity of Life, God, because this Life is self-existent and is in itself all harmony, beauty, strength, and loveliness. Christ Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." So knowing and obeying the Christ idea or fact of Life as Spirit, we find that our human sense of life is lifted into safety. We need to be comforted, my friends, by the knowledge of the utter safety of all that is real, good and true, pure and beautiful. All that is good is guarded by omnipotence. Life cannot be impoverished or in any way made less than it is, the complete expression of the beauty, affluence, and power of infinite Mind. Jesus also said, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Does not this mean just what we have been considering? He that shall lose his false concept of life as material and gain the divine ideal shall find life eternal here and now.

A practical proof of the healing power of thus gaining this true sense of Life as God was shown in a case I know of a woman who had spent several years in great suffering, confusion, and physical weakness. She had tried many remedies for relief - had for some time been under Christian Science treatment - without being helped. Then one day as a Christian Science practitioner lovingly explained to her the true nature of Life as incorporeal, indestructible, changeless, and harmonious divine Principle, expressed individually but not in or of matter, and as that woman came to see that that changeless, indestructible, spiritual Life was hers individually, she was instantaneously healed. Nothing was done to matter. She came into the healing light of Love and Truth and found freedom from a false concept of Life as in and subject to matter.

 

Man Revealed

The supreme expression of this Life which is God must be man and the universe. In no way is the inconsistent reasoning of false theology more clearly shown than in its reasoning about God and man, for, while Christendom has agreed, theoretically, to the fact that God is Spirit, it has declared man, the image and likeness of God, to be matter. Mrs. Eddy has given us a definition of man in the Glossary of the textbook (p. 591) as ". . . the full representation of Mind." Accepting the teachings of Christian Science, then, means coming out from the false concept of man as a corporeal, limited, fleshly being into the fact of man as an incorporeal, spiritual, indestructible expression of Mind, - a state of consciousness, - a divine idea, not a material object. Man coexistent with God can no more have a beginning or an ending than can God.

As this true definition of man begins to be understood in human consciousness we will remain more and more untouched by the untoward phases of mortal existence - because we will be enabled to think rightly about them. We will begin to see that we do not have to work so hard to solve our problems. We do not have to work to make two times two not be five. They are not. We have to let the light of divine intelligence shine clearly enough in our thinking to dissolve the problems, to outshine the mist of false beliefs; to show us that two times two are four, and so to prove that in Truth there is no insolvable problem. No matter how intricate, baffling, or terrifying the problems may seem to be to the senses, the spiritual fact or truth about which the testimony of the senses is lying is always present - to be known, obeyed, and demonstrated.

One of the strongest and most persistent arguments that the so-called forces of evil seek to inject into human thinking today is that men do not know how to think, what to think, or what to expect. The whole world is in such a state of change - experimental governments, fluctuating values, unstable financial and social structures; one is always hearing these words: "I don't know what to think"; "I don't know what to expect."

A very definite statement in regard to that may be found on page 3 of the book "Pulpit and Press." There Mrs. Eddy says, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin or suffer?" To think and act rightly is, of course, to think and act according to divine Principle, according to the facts of divine being; and let us remember that these facts are good. In divine Science there is no such thing as an evil fact. Thinking in accord with Principle is effectual thinking. There has been given by one imbued with great wisdom this simple rule: "Begin with God; begin with Mind." This must be our starting point in approaching any so-called problem - individual, national, or universal. Thus beginning when the argument of corrupt or inefficient or perversive government presents itself, we will quickly, keenly, potently know the Truth. We will be firm in our understanding that divine Mind governs man and the universe, and that no false sense of human government can overthrow the immutable government of Principle. Principle overturns, overturns, and overturns, but it is never overturned. In like manner we will think rightly of financial matters, knowing what true values and securities are, never material but spiritual - always character and the divine qualities of Mind. Money merely as matter is powerless to support an individual, a business, a church, or a nation.

Only the qualities that reflect God can do that - justice, honesty, integrity, intelligence,   alertness, generosity, lovingkindness, service, everything that is embodied in the Golden Rule. In these alone is to be found security for the well-being of humanity. We will think rightly of society, knowing that in Truth it is based on brotherly love and purity, and in the light of spiritual understanding we will see that divine fact established, here and now, rather than the arguments of sense which proclaim sensuality, impurity, hatred, and greed.

As man is not a material object but an idea of divine Mind, everything that relates to him exists in Mind as idea. The idea of home, for example: Mrs. Eddy says in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health, p. 254), "Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; . . ." She further says (p. 291), "Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind." So we find that home is spiritually mental, not a locality but a divine state of consciousness. No material conditions or circumstances can separate man from home. It is an integral part of his being, an established fact in the kingdom of Mind, in which kingdom he lives. As we cling steadfastly to this divine fact of home, seeing it unfold in our thinking in its God qualities of harmony, peace, intelligence, and provision; as we take possession of it mentally, claiming it as a part of our being, nothing can keep the human manifestation of home from appearing.

Speaking of the impossibility of existence outside of or beyond omnipresence, the Psalmist said: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in tile uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

Dwelling thus in the omnipresence of Spirit, we see that no matter what the human surroundings may seem to be, whether, seemingly, they partake of the nature of heaven or hell, man's true environment is Mind, the sanctuary of Spirit, with all its grace, strength, health and loveliness. Nothing sordid, meager, or unlovely can be a part of that environment. It is possible through right thinking, as taught in Christian Science, completely to change one's environment. No matter how bleak, drab, or miserable one's mortal environment may seem to be, one can, through spiritual understanding, come into the vivid interest, joy, and plenitude which is his true environment as the beloved son of God. Truly, God is saying to each one of us, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."

Business, also - that which makes up so large and important a part of humanity's existence - is a mental activity, comprised primarily of ideas rather than things. The concept of business which we entertain is outwardly manifested in our affairs. Our human business reflects our consciousness of it, its status, extent, activity, prosperity. As our business becomes the activity, in consciousness, of ever-present, practical ideas, serving and promoting the welfare of our brotherman, our business will be governed by the never-failing law of God. Fear, failure, lack will be forever excluded from that business, and confidence and abundant success will be assured for it.

In the false belief that man is separated from God, having personal power and identity apart from Principle, human beings have felt that they must do in order to be - that they must achieve worldly honors, important or exalted positions, in order to have power or prestige, influence in world affairs. This leads many times to false ambitions, self-seeking schemes, and, it may be, unscrupulous designs and practices. Mrs. Eddy never speaks of the Science of doing, of having or giving, but she does speak frequently of the Science of being. In the light of this Science we see that no exalted position, no worldly honor, can add to the dignity, power, or prestige of man in the image and likeness of God, but that man is in himself representative of true power and authority. He dignifies and uplifts any position he may be called upon to fill, be it great or small, world-known or obscure, and his scientific right thinking is of paramount influence in world affairs.

Each individual as he becomes a discoverer and obeyer of Truth begins to claim his God-bestowed dominion over his own human affairs. He becomes the master of his environment, not its victim. He comes into a realization of the truth that because of his at-one-ment with God he reflects the power of God - good. He exercises that power and so becomes a potent factor in redeeming the world from darkness, depression, and despair.

No one in this audience tonight is without a purpose in life; no one is without a business. Each individual, no matter what his age or seeming condition, has a business. It is his own business. It is a good business, an ennobling business, a most profitable business. It is the business of bringing to light in his own consciousness the presence of God, thus helping to illumine the universe with the light of good.

That when we attend strictly to this business, "our Father's business," our human sense of business is well cared for is illustrated in the case of a man who turned to Christian Science for help when his business seemed to be going on the rocks. It was a large contracting business, and because of the neglect, carelessness, and dissipation of a partner, had been reduced practically to nothing. Money had been borrowed in large amounts and there seemed no prospect of its being repaid. The one partner, about whom I know, was about to lose his home and other buildings which had been erected for sale. With his family, who had been accustomed to abundance of all things, he was obliged to practice strict economy, the economy which one of our great statesmen recently called "the economy of scarcity, - which is the economy of fear." It came to the point where this family could have barely the necessities of existence. The man in desperation turned to Christian Science for aid. Gradually he came into the light of understanding as to what real business is, the reality of demand and supply was brought to light, and the truth about the real nature of his partner. He gained confidence in God's goodness and law, and became absorbed in the abundant, active reflection of Mind's qualities. When a prospective buyer came to him he genuinely forgot the gain it might mean to himself and became occupied only with the interest of his customer and how he could serve him. He became happy in this service and able to express the true economy of wisdom, generosity, and brotherly love. His thinking and living were transformed and, inevitably, his business was also transformed. His partner sold out to him. Today it is his own business, and it is a bigger and better business than he has ever known.

 

Substance Revealed

One of the most radical of the changes made in thought as the light of spiritual understanding is approached is made in regard to that which has been called substance. That this light is penetrating even the mist of the realm of physical science has been mentioned before. Sir Arthur Eddington, professor of astronomy in Cambridge University of England, speaking of the research work of material scientists and its constantly changing aspect, says: "Scientific discovery is like the fitting together of the pieces of a great jig-saw puzzle. One day you ask the scientist how he is getting on; he replies, 'Finely. I have very nearly finished this piece of blue sky.' Another day you ask how the sky is progressing and are told, 'I have added a lot more, but it was sea, not sky; there's a boat floating on the top of it.' Perhaps next time it will have turned out to be a parasol upside down; but our friend is still enthusiastic about the progress he is making" (The Nature of the Physical World, p. 352). Professor Eddington also says that "the plank of a floor on which you step has no solidity of substance. To step on it is like stepping on a swarm of flies" (ibid., p. 342).

Many years before this was said, and many similar statements made by other natural scientists, Mary Baker Eddy had given to the world that mighty and revolutionary "scientific statement of being," beginning with the declaration: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter" (Science and Health, p. 468). Unlike our friends, the material scientists, she was able to tell us not only what substance is not, but what it is. She says (ibid., p. 468), "Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance. . . . Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance." So then we see that substance is not "lumps of stuff" - solid, inert, non-intelligent.

A right concept of substance is one of the important factors in the healing practice of Christian Science. It is readily seen that if there is no such thing as matter substance, sickness and disease are not existent in matter, not a condition of matter, but entirely a mental state, a false sense of life and identity, a distorted picture seen through the mist of ignorance, fear, or sin; always and only an illusion to be dispelled by the light of Truth and Love. May I tell a story of how this was proved to one student of Christian Science.

There had been brought to her for healing a young child who was suffering from a carious condition of the spine and a poisoned sense of body, which threatened her activity and life. The doctors had said that without what seemed an extremely dangerous operation she would either die or remain always a cripple. In working on this case the practitioner found coming frequently to her thought that verse from the Bible, "Honour the Lord with thy substance," and on pondering its meaning she saw that that was what she was called upon to do in this matter of the sick child. To have sick, suffering matter as a reality was surely not honoring God with her concept of substance, not acknowledging His allness and obeying the first commandment. This was corrected, and a sincere effort made to see as real only the substance which must exist as the expression of Spirit, pure, perfect, harmonious; incapable of poisoning or being poisoned, "incapable of discord and decay." This spiritual fact held steadfastly in thought denied the opposite erroneous argument in all its phases, and excluded the evil belief from consciousness, even as light excludes the mist. In this light of Truth and Love, of true substance which honored God, Life was seen instead of death, perfection of form instead of deformity, the law of Love instead of hate. So the little child whom Satan -or error - had seemed to bind was made free and restored to beauty, to normal and healthy activity. Is not this practical proof that what is called matter is not substance to obstruct the manifestation of Mind, nor intelligence to hinder the activity of Spirit? As there is only one Mind there is only one substance, not two substances, one acting and one acted upon.

 

Supply Revealed

The thought of substance is inevitably linked up with the thought of supply and that brings us to one of the darkest spots in the human mind today; ignorance of what constitutes supply and of God's gracious and loving law of abundance. This joy-obliterating belief of poverty seems to be causing untold suffering, distress, and depression. But even in this dark place the light of spiritual understanding may come and bring release from the suffering that ignorance of God inflicts.

Poverty is always and only a mental argument, a false concept, never a real condition or fact, and therefore must be healed mentally through spiritual enlightenment. Matter never brought enlightenment on any subject, so no amount of money or material wealth of any kind will heal the belief of poverty, because poverty and material wealth are but the opposite phases of a false concept of wealth. It has been abundantly proved in recent years that material wealth can very suddenly and completely disappear, leaving one more enmeshed in the beliefs of poverty than ever.

Christian Science teaches that "unless an ill is rightly met and fairly overcome by Truth, the ill is never conquered" (Science and Health, p. 231). So, rightly to meet and overcome the belief in poverty it is necessary to attain the true and scientific concept of wealth. The right concept of wealth was voiced by wise men of old when they declared the value of wisdom and understanding to be above that of fine gold and choice silver, rubies and topaz, pearls and sapphire. For, they say, wisdom and understanding give durable riches, sound judgment, and righteousness, and cause those that love them to inherit substance. Through a consecrated study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook we learn that as all material existence is mythical in nature, its values are mythical. The only wealth there is is in Spirit. The only riches are spiritual qualities; therefore, true wealth is found in the abundance of omnipresent spiritual qualities and ideas, ever-available, ever-operative under God's law of love. This wealth is not accumulated, it is unfolded in proportion as we give up false beliefs of the limitations, lack, and penury of matter for the facts of the abundance, bounty, and provision of Spirit. True wealth lies not in increased material possessions but in decreased material desires; not in more complicated and luxurious living but in simpler modes and more spiritual aspirations. How often one hears the remark, "I do not want a lot of money; just enough to make me independent.'' This specious argument came to one student of Christian Science when she was struggling with a sense of poverty and the necessity of "earning her living." Much consecrated thought and study were given to the solving of this problem. That study brought to her the revelation that the only thing that could possibly make her independent was, not money, but the established consciousness or reflection of that perfect Love that casteth out fear. The fear that seemed uppermost in her thought was that of being obliged to live as a dependent in the home of a relative. Then it was seen that what was really needed was not money enough to keep her from having to live in that home but love enough to enable her to live in it, if necessary, and bring love and joy and healing to that place. This brought a willing and more peaceful state of mind; a glimpse of that Love in which there dwells no fear, and so a consequent state of independence. It was seen that the best way in which to earn a living was by learning to live, not by taking thought as to what she would eat or drink or wherewithal she would be clothed, but by reflecting the active life-giving qualities of Spirit through which the ways and means of human living are inevitably provided. In doing this, dependence on any person or persons was obviated and her problem was, in time, worked out with joy and freedom. Christ Jesus never made a theoretical, merely philosophical, or sentimental religious statement. His statements are declarations of law, to be understood, obeyed, and demonstrated. He gave the perfect remedy for poverty for all time and all peoples, for nations as well as individuals, in that oft-quoted statement of the law of God; "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." As God is Mind, the kingdom of God is just the kingdom of Mind. In that kingdom of Mind or infinite Love, which is the tender Father and Mother of the universe, there could not be found anything less than infinite abundance - no haunting fear of lack, no possible abatement or depletion or exhaustion of its bounty. Dwelling in that Mind, the object of its tender love and care, the very expression of its own being, could one feel less than utterly secure, bountifully cared for, actively employed? It is only when one believes oneself outside of that Mind, having a separate existence of one's own, dependent on his own or the efforts of other persons, subject to the laws or lawlessness of matter-made business, that care, anxiety, depression, limitation, fear haunt his days and lead him into ways of darkness rather than light. It is God's will that we should be free from care and anxiety - buoyant and joyous in activity. Not that we may indulge our physical senses or gratify merely material desires, but that we should reflect Mind, glorify good, and grow spiritually into freedom from the trammels of materiality.

One may ask, "How can Spirit, which knows nothing of matter supply money or material things?" The answer is that it cannot. Spirit imparts only spirituality, qualities of Mind, never materiality or things. But when we see that there really is no matter, that "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation," we see that that state of mind, which is conscious of abundance because it is acknowledging and reflecting the only one Mind, God, and admitting as law only His omnipresent law of abundance, will express itself in harmonious human conditions. There will be no lack, because there will be no consciousness of lack, and one's experience is born of one's consciousness. There will be only a joyous acknowledgment and acceptance of God's unfailing bounty. This spiritual consciousness is, in itself, the demonstration; anything else is just what is added.

So we learn that we seek and find the kingdom of God or Mind by seeking and reflecting the gracious qualities of the Christ. When faith has advanced from blind trust in God to actual reflection of God or good, we find ourselves dwelling in the kingdom of heaven, and, under God's omnipotent law, the things are added unto us. God's law of love never fails.

Christian Scientists are sometimes charged with ignoring evil, allowing it to develop, at times, into disastrous effects. Contrary to this, a true Christian Scientist ignores evil less than any other kind of thinker in the world. He looks the claims of evil fairly in the face, courageously and clear-eyed, knowing - in the light of spiritual understanding - its powerlessness, its nothingness, yea, its nonexistence. He understands it as an illusion of the senses, a mistake in calculation - what Jesus called a lie. In its place he sees mentally the truth or spiritual fact. He clings steadfastly to that fact, with positive affirmation, calm assurance, and unwavering trust in good. When this is faithfully and persistently done, he sees that evil claim - it may be quickly or slowly - disappear from his consciousness, and so from his experience. If this seems to be ignoring evil, try it yourself and see what happens to the belief in evil. The same thing will happen to it that happened to our belief in a flat earth.

 

Prayer

How can we best come out of the darkness of mistaken beliefs into the light of "the radiant reality of God's creation"? (Science and Health, p. 110). Perhaps the simplest answer is, Through prayer. Not the kind of praying some of us do at times, and which was illustrated by a small boy I know. He was saying his prayers on a Christmas night after a day of excitement and the receiving of many gifts. He began his prayer by asking God to bless his mother and daddy, and continued his request for a blessing on all the relatives and friends he could think of, - quite a long list, - then stopped, and looked up at his mother and said, "Mother, who else gave me a Christmas present?"

The form of prayer is not of so much importance. It is an individual matter. Each one prays from his own standpoint of need or growth. Whether he has grown out of pleading petition into joyous affirmation or not makes no difference, so long as he draws near to

God - near to the light of Truth - with sincere, earnest desire and pure motives.

While in the unreal realm of the darkness of mortal belief sin punishes itself in many direful ways, in our prayer we can approach God who is Love without fear. Divine Love enlightens, purifies, blesses.

We approach God most easily and quickly through the reflection of his divine qualities. When in our thinking and living the light of faith dispels fear, we have prayed. When love and peace take the place of animosity and anxiety, we have prayed. When longsuffering, gentleness, and kindness take the place of intolerance, self-assertion, and unkindness, we have prayed. When humility shines away selfishness, we have prayed.

In this praying we do not attempt to use Christian Science to bring something to pass, to change conditions so they may be as we think they should be. If we have been believing two times two are five and find out our mistake we do not try to make them six or eight or ten as we may think they should be; we learn that they are four, and think and act accordingly. We do not attempt to use spiritual power to manipulate material conditions. Rather do we pray to see what God has already done, what the truth about any situation is in the light of spiritual facts. It was Jesus' understanding of the spiritual truth about every situation in which he found himself that gave him dominion over the situation. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." In this way we are enabled to obey the demand of Christian Science to "meet every adverse circumstance as its master" (Science and Health, p. 419).

What is called a Christian Science treatment does not treat matter, does not heal matter, does not demonstrate matter in any form. It demonstrates or brings to light the Mind of Christ in individual human consciousness, and in that Mind there is found no sin, sickness, sorrow, poverty, disease, or death. As the sun brings light into every crevice into which it is allowed to shine so the Mind of Christ brings harmony into every detail of human living which it is allowed to govern.

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, date unknown.]

 

 

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