Christian Science: The Pathway of Light

 

Margaret Morrison, C.S.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

My friends, have you ever followed the unfolding pathway of light in our material world, watching it grow in brightness, from the cave man groping in the darkness to the amazing brilliance of today? Has it ever occurred to you that the facilities for lighting have increased with increased spiritual enlightenment? Since the advent of Christian Science over three quarters of a century ago, when shackles began to be stricken from the human mind, that so-called mind has found within its own realm undreamed-of ways and means of bringing light to its world in an increasing measure of beauty and usefulness. Following the teachings of the Bible, Christian Science is proving light to be, in reality, not a vitalizing property of matter, but a quality of Spirit; in other words, spiritual understanding. When the human mind is governed by hatred, greed, selfishness, lust for power, all the things that make for war, the people sit in darkness. This darkness of fear and hate makes for material darkness and results in what has recently been called a "black-out." Does this not indicate that light in its true nature and origin does not depend on matter, but Spirit?

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 God saw as 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 as good, in which all creation is seen as 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 Way shower 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. 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.

Light is law, and, just as so-called material light dispels darkness, so the light of spiritual understanding dispels the darkness and ignorance of materialism, that which is called matter and its falsities of sin, sickness, and death.

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. Verily, God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

 

Christian Science A Revelation

"First he wrought, and afterward he taught." These words of the poet Chaucer most aptly describe the work of 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.

Great indeed is 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 mortal mind, the established claims of theology, medicine, and science, preaching, teaching, and practicing directly contrary to their cherished theories and practices.

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.

Are not the physical scientists of today finding true Mrs. Eddy's statement that knowledge cannot save from the dire effects of knowledge? 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 ideas 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.

 

Life Revealed

As we thus correct 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, light or darkness, 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" ('01, 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 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.

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 light, 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.

 

Man Revealed

The supreme expression of this Life which is God is man in His image and likeness. 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. Mrs. Eddy has spoken of man as a "stupendous, Godlike agency." (My., p.14)

A dictionary definition of "agency" is "action; instrumentality," and "agent" is defined as "a moving force." In the above quotation, then, we have man indicated as an instrumentality, a moving force, and the nature of that action defined as stupendous and Godlike, as well as individual. Is not this the action, the moving force, so much needed in the world today to bring order out of seeming chaos, peace to the aftermath of war, and the equality or right and privileges of men?

Man reflecting divine Principle, whose expression is unerring intelligence, infallible wisdom, is indeed a stupendous agency for good, operating in the affairs of men to reveal the course of right action, to uphold justice, and to reward equitably the service of men one to another! How absurd in the light of this intelligence must be seen the efforts of mankind to destroy evil with more evil; to spend skill, effort, and time in the vicious and utterly stupid circle of manufacturing destructive weapons, which are made ineffective by weapons of still more destructive power! In the light of the intelligence reflected by man this non-intelligent activity is seen as leading inevitably to the annihilation of its own mythical creation. Divine intelligence bids men awaken to the illusory nature of evil and all that claims to act outside the infinitude of good. It makes perfectly clear the fact that only good can dispel the murk and mist of evil; that good, spiritual good alone, can satisfy and govern in love and harmony the lives of men. Surely the intelligence inherent in man is a stupendous agency for good throughout the world.

What is more needed in the world than justice? Man, the expression of divine law, must reflect justice in its perfection. This justice operating in the affairs of men is impartial in meting out both responsibility and reward. It asks no undeserved or unearned favors, and withholds no justly full recompense. It holds open opportunity for all to serve according to ability, with equal opportunity to increase that ability, and so to earn greater reward. Justice never loses sight of mercy, and goes hand-in-hand with brotherly love and freedom. Assurance of justice brings joy to service and willing hands to labor. Justice is akin to wisdom: "the wisdom that is from above . . . first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Justice and wisdom! Here indeed is found a stupendous agency for good, one that will promote harmony between employer and employee, what is called capital and labor, unify all interests, and maintain in full the well-being of mankind.

On page 495 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "God will heal the sick through man, whenever man is governed by God." When in human consciousness the truth about man, God-governed and God-expressed, harmonious and immortal, displaces the false concept of man as a mortal being, sick and suffering, this right concept of man heals the sick. This is the greatest healing agency in the world, because it is metaphysical and scientific. This alone is true healing, because it alone deals with cause rather than with effect and eliminates that which in its own suppositional realm produces sin, sickness, and disease.

If material remedies were always successful in healing disease regardless of the mental aspects of the case, they would aid in perpetuating evil. This would leave the world worse rather than better because of the remedy. If wicked, lustful, cruel thinking could through material remedies maintain a healthy embodiment, what a monstrous power the material remedy would possess! This is unthinkable, and must turn the logical thinker to Mind as the true and unfailing Physician for mankind.

Divine Principle, whose expression is man, is Love, divine Love, whose law is imperative and omnipotent, irresistible in beneficence. If in the midst of seeming hatred, greed, and misunderstanding there is one who understands man as governed by omnipotent Mind, what a mighty power for good that one is by his reflection of Truth, divine Love! This Love divine is not the love that is content merely to supply the cripple with a crutch to aid his inability. It is the Love which enables one to say effectively, as did the Master and his immediate followers, "Rise up and walk." This Love divine is not satisfied merely to provide material loaves and fishes and feel satisfied that thus all duty is fulfilled. It is the Love that warms the heart, feeds the affections, and wakens men from the dream of poverty and lack to the ever present abundance of good. Stupendous and Godlike indeed is this agency of man as the reflection of almighty Love, expressing the perfection of Mind.

It is to be remembered that this agency for good is individual as well as stupendous; so wherever thought is imbued with Truth and Love, instructed in the Science of the Christ, Truth, it becomes a stupendous remedial agency in the world. It acts to heal the sick, purify morals, stabilize governments, equalize the privileges of men, and maintain peace on the earth.

Let us then turn from the darkness of materialism and know ourselves as children of light, of Spirit, coexistent with God. The poet George MacDonald has given a word picture of what we may expect as we thus realize and dwell in the consciousness of true being:

 

"When I am with Thee as Thou art with me,

Life will be self-forgetting power;

Love, ever conscious, buoyant, clear, and free,

Will flame in darkest hour."

 

A child of light is a child of joy, of love and peace, of "self-forgetting power," of dominion, and immortality.

Each individual as he comes into the pathway of light and 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, despair.

And how greatly the world is in need of this stabilizing right thinking today, when to the material senses nothing seems to be stable.

Stability cannot be thought of in terms of matter, material substance, knowledge, or so-called scientific research. Stability can be thought of only in terms of changeless spiritual verities. Because true stability is found only in spiritual values, it remains rooted and grounded in divine Principle, as eternal as Spirit, God, Himself. This stability is unmoved by the mockeries of materialism, unshaken by Hiroshima or Bikini. Outside the realm of almighty Mind, whose immutable law is omnipotent, there is no stability.

How can this almighty power which is the stability of all times be seen and made practical for our times? Isaiah stated it very simply when he said, "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation." This wisdom and knowledge is not found through research into so-called matter and its mythical laws, but through an understanding of God, whom Jesus declared to be Spirit, and whom Mrs. Eddy on page 587 of Science and Health declares to be "the great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance and intelligence." Here is a God to be understood, declared, and demonstrated as All; all-power, all-law, all-action.

When evil presents its pictures of subtlety, trickery, greed, lust, and destruction, the student of Christian Science will resist the temptation to struggle against it with human sense or human means. In the light of spiritual understanding he will have the comfort of realizing that God is good, and he will rise above the claim of evil into a realm of serenity and quietness, and in quietness and confidence he will find strength. He will take his ground firmly on the position that nothing acts except intelligence, nothing is creative except divine Mind, nothing is true but that which is based upon Christ, Truth, nothing is real except that which God supports and Mind manifests.

Each individual is responsible for the stability of his own living and therefore his contribution to the stability of his time. This is not a complicated or difficult matter, but is found in the simplicity of the Christ, the acknowledgment of the allness of good, the appropriation and incorporation into his daily living of the stable and potent, intelligent and gracious ideas and qualities of Spirit.

Christian Science is today as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Make straight in the desert a highway for our God," and he who heeds this voice, and makes his own life stable by joyous, progressive obedience to its teachings, is a man of the hour, a woman of the hour, girt with possibilities and power. He demonstrates to the world that the stability of our times is solid and immovable, rooted and grounded in Principle, in the indestructible peace, power, permanence, loveliness, and light of Spirit.

 

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, late professor of astronomy in Cambridge University of England, speaking of the research work of material scientists and its constantly changing aspect has said 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."

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 was 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 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.

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 in Spirit. The only riches are spiritual qualities; therefore, true wealth is found in the abundance and 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.

 

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 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.

The qualities of the Christ-Mind are not far off, mysterious, or difficult to understand. They are what Paul refers to as the simplicity of the Christ; such simple things as love, joy, peace, intelligence, kindness, faith, alertness, enthusiasm, energy, charity, tenderness, and so forth. We look for them in the wrong place, that is all. They are not to be found in matter or material conditions. They do not come from our daily living, family, friends, possessions, or profession. They are the attributes of God, and so by reflection the attributes of man your true being. When, instead of trying to get love and joy and peace out of our daily living, we bring those qualities to our daily living, we shall find that living transformed. To be joyous does not mean to be thoughtless. Some of the most profound thinkers have touched the deepest springs of joy. Someone may say, "I have nothing to be joyful about," but, oh, my friend, you have more much more than something to be joyful about you have joy itself; the pure, ever-fresh, and fadeless joy which is one of the indestructible qualities of Spirit.

This perfect light in which there is no darkness at all is simply the perfect love which casteth out fear. The prayer which most completely and absolutely acknowledges the allness, supremacy, and omnipotence of this perfect Love is the most perfect prayer. In the light of that prayer we see that man and the universe have not changed since "in the beginning" or in the only "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."

We are living in that same universe today now. In reality the song has never ceased, the joy never been clouded or mystified. The spiritual creation has remained intact, man and the universe unfallen, still under the government of supreme intelligence, manifesting the "beauty, grandeur, order" of divine Love, the immortality of Truth, the joyous activity of Life.

The loving Father-Mother Mind, which constitutes and expresses this universe, in the words of St. Paul, is "not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being: . . . ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."

 

 

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