Christian Science: The Revelation of Divine Principle
Margaret Morrison, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Margaret Morrison, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Revelation of Divine Principle," this noon, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Colonial Theatre.
The lecturer was introduced by Gordon V. Comer, C.S.B., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
On behalf of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in this city, under whose auspices this lecture is given, I welcome you. Our speaker, who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of this church, will address you on the subject, "Christian Science: The Revelation of Divine Principle."
Although I have had many physical healings in Christian Science, and have seen Christian Science successfully applied in my own experience to the harmonious solution of difficult and complicated business problems, and although there is deep appreciation in my heart for all of these blessings, there is a far deeper sense of gratitude present with me for the truth which Christian Science reveals that divine Principle is Life.
In these days of tenseness, pressure, and great anxiety in the world, it is of utmost importance that we have a standard by which to gauge our thinking. Christian Science supplies the exact standard. If we all will but open our thoughts to the message which the lecturer has for us today, a great blessing should follow.
This lecture will be printed in full in today's issue of The Christian Science Monitor.
It is now my pleasure to introduce
to you our lecturer, Miss Margaret Morrison of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
My friends, what would you think of a man who tried to build a railroad bridge over a river without any knowledge of the physical laws of engineering or the principle of mathematics? You would not, knowingly, trust yourself on a bridge constructed by such a one, would you? Or what would you think of one who undertook to conduct a symphony orchestra without any knowledge of music, or the principle of harmony? You would not listen very long, I am sure, to the noise that would ensue in the name of music. Considering the disaster and discord that would allow this kind of bridge-building, this kind of music production, can you not glimpse more clearly the reason for the discord and the disaster that attend material human experiences which come in the name of living? Do not human beings attempt to live their lives with little if any knowledge of the Principle that is Life? Indeed, are not the majority of them unaware that there is such a Principle?
Some years ago there appeared in The Christian Science Monitor an item that was most reassuring. It showed that thinking men are awakening to the necessity and the possibility of what they have named "systematic thinking." The item referred to was a letter calling attention to the existence of the British Institute of Philosophy and its recognition of what it called the "need of a cultivation of systematic thought." This letter was signed by names of world-wide recognition and fame in the fields of physical science and letters. It was, indeed, a most comforting and encouraging sign to find men of such distinction and intellectual integrity admitting the need of right thinking to meet what they referred to as the "existing disorganization of belief in every department of life."
While this is a step in the right direction, the question naturally arises, how can one have effectual systematic thinking without a fixed standard or Principle by which to think, to which to yield obedience. The answer is, he cannot. The effort to find such a standard from a material basis never has been and never can be successful, because matter cannot provide any such standard. To the physicist, matter is a thing of speculation, ever changing speculation, experimentation, therefore, never affording any fixed standard or Principle by which to live.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, through her consecrated and intelligent study of the Scriptures was able to discern their spiritual import and thus to discover God, the one creator, as Principle. Right here it might be well to consider Webster's dictionary definition of Principle, which is, in part, as follows: "origin; fundamental substance or energy; that from which anything proceeds." It will surely be conceded that matter, which in itself is nonintelligent, cannot be the origin of intelligence; matter, which in itself is Mindless, cannot be the source from which proceeds the "beauty, grandeur, and order of the universe," therefore Principle, fundamental substance or energy, must be Spirit, Mind, divine intelligence. This Principle, fundamental spiritual substance and energy, was demonstrated by Jesus the Christ in his unparalleled dominion over the carnal mind, that false energy, named matter. This dominion, he said, all might have who believed his teachings. Mrs. Eddy, his obedient follower, has given us the Science of this divine Principle in its completeness, exactness, simplicity, power, loveliness, and beneficence. The revelation of this Principle came to her not through intellectual attainments, philosophical reasoning, or scholastic learning, although Mrs. Eddy possessed these attainments in large measure, but through spiritual vision, Christ-like humility and compassion, divine intelligence, and that purity of heart which sees God.
Higher Meaning of Principle
The thought of God as Principle may seem to make of God a cold abstraction, distant and relentless in its exactness; but Principle is synonymous with other more familiar and better loved terms for God. It is synonymous with Love and Truth and Life. Thus it is lifted into a higher, nobler meaning, which satisfies and encompasses us about with safety and assurance. The fact that this Principle which is God is Love was demonstrated by Christ Jesus and is iterated and reiterated throughout the writings of Mrs. Eddy, so that we may no longer regard Principle as cold and abstract, but as the loving, vitalizing, governing power of all being, which is to be loved, understood, and demonstrated. Its very exactness assures us of inescapable well-being. When we see Principle as Love we begin to realize that the rules of divine Principle, while undeviating in their exactness, are truly simple, instinct with tenderness and provoked by Love. We learn to know Principle as altogether good, changeless, immutable, tenderly loving, ever present and ever available – just as ever present and available, just as understandable and exact as the multiplication table. As the true nature of this divine Principle is recognized, all fear of its exactness, its undeviating law, is eliminated. We can learn to say with the Psalmist, "Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
That this idea of Principle is readily grasped even by small children was evidenced in a Christian Science Sunday School class. The teacher of that class was very much interested in the fact that every time the synonyms for God, given on page 465 of the Christian Science textbook, were discussed, a small boy in the class, nine years old, chose the synonym "Principle" as his favorite. The teacher was greatly interested to know why he always chose that particular synonym from the others which seemed more familiar and easily understood, and if the child knew what the word meant. She waited until it seemed wise to do so, then one Sunday asked him if he understood what the word "Principle" meant. Unhesitatingly he answered: "Sure. It is the rule to do things by." Simple, isn't it! Love is the rule to do things by.
In this Principle which is God – or good – it will be seen that there is no necessity for evil; not only is there no necessity for evil, but no possibility of evil. Evil is never supported by Principle, therefore it is never real. It is never an instrument of good, never a part of God's plan. Evil can no more be a part of the Principle that is Life than a mistake in figures can be a part of the principle of mathematics. The demand, then, of Principle is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." That is, thou shalt acknowledge, know, and experience only good. It demands that in the midst of seeming hatred or fear thou shalt love, because Love is the only power and necessity of being. In the midst of seeming sickness thou shalt acknowledge only health, because health is the immutable and exact law of Principle. In the midst of seeming poverty thou shalt acknowledge only substance and supply, because the inevitable law of Principle is the expression of infinite goodness and bounty. We thus see that all good and only good is enfolded in Life and unfolds as our life through the energy of that divine Principle which is Love. Here is the standard by which to measure every thought or idea that comes to us: "Is it in accord with Principle, divine Love? Will it bless ourselves and others?" If not, it is to be rejected as unreal.
Obedience to Principle
Christ Jesus, who was the greatest metaphysician and, therefore, the most successful physician who ever lived, gave unwavering and unreserved obedience to divine Principle. And he said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." The nature of the works of him who went about doing good proves the Principle of those works to be Love – Love which never faileth.
In order to apprehend Love as Principle it is imperative to separate it from the false, personal sense, which the carnal mind calls love, which is based on personal sentiment and is, too often, sensual, partial, changeable, fear-full and unwise. One of our great poets has said: "I report as a man may of God's work – all's love yet all's law." So we must learn to exchange the personal, material, fear-full, sense of love for the divine law of Love, if we would understand divine Principle, whose power creates the universe and whose intelligence maintains the universe in perpetual perfection. This Love is entirely apart from the vagaries of a personal sense of love, which loves one moment and hates or fears the next. True Love loves because it is Love and can do no other, just as the sun gives light uninterruptedly – not light one hour and darkness the next – because it is light, and can do no other. Have you ever stopped to think what a queer, chaotic world it would be if the sun shone intermittently, giving light one moment and darkness the next? Is not this the reason for the seeming confusion and warfare in the world today – because mankind loves one moment and fears or hates the next? Divine Love is unerring in its intelligence, unfailing in its tenderness, impartial in its judgment, constant in its compassion, irresistible in its healing power. Because it knows only and maintains eternally its own infinite goodness, its own undimmed radiance, it uncovers the myriad illusions of the senses, sin, sickness, and death – outshines and dispels them. "Love is the royal way."
Because Mrs. Eddy discovered God as Principle, she could give to the world the Science of God and man. She could reveal to the world the true nature of man as the expression of this immaculate and invincible Principle, Love. Let us consider for a brief space this "Science of man" and what may be the nature of "scientific man." We read in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 262): "The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man's origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly." And so scientifically and rightly to know man we must begin with God – divine Principle – as his origin. In truth man as idea is the activity of Principle or Life, and never for the fraction of a second separated from the divine Principle of his being. That which seems to be a mortal experiencing the vicissitudes of material sense, good and evil, sickness and health, is not man, but an utterly false sense of man, a counterfeit of reality. Man is found only in the graces and nobilities of true character – in the expression of love, intelligence, integrity, purity, wisdom, peace, joy, generosity, every quality which has its source in divinity. There is no evil in man and no man in evil, no disease in man and no man in disease, no war in man and no man in war.
There is nothing between God and man. Man derives his life directly as reflection from God, who is infinite Life; his intelligence from Mind, whose wisdom is unerring. God does not give man a limited portion of intelligence separated from Himself, which man may use or not use, as he sees fit or as he wills. Man is the reflection of infinite intelligence – never separated from God and His unerring direction. Man derives his strength directly, without mediumship of matter, from Spirit, whose strength is inexhaustible. He derives his love and capacity to love from that Principle which is Love, which is impersonal and unchanging, and whose law is irresistible. He derives his joy from Soul, whose joy is sinless; and his peace from Principle, whose peace is inviolate. Life itself, then, and all that pertains to true life come to man directly from Principle, Mind, as Mind, never as or through matter. These desirable and necessary qualities of Mind never come from or through a physical body, neither can a physical body take them away.
As we look to see the one Mind in its purity of divine qualities shining through the debris of the belief of minds many, so we see as alone real the one pure man shining through the beliefs of men many, sick and sinful men and women, discouraged, lonely, fearful, sorrowful, and poverty-stricken men and women. What are these? Not man the expression of God and His divine ideas governed by Principle. They are simply false beliefs, without reality, power, or identity.
Increased understanding of true identity or embodiment gives dominion over the false material concepts of body. We read in Science and Health (p. 369), "In proportion as matter loses to human sense all entity as man, in that proportion does man become its master." As one is individually redeemed from the erring, sick, and sinful beliefs of mortal mind, his mortal body is saved from discord, disease, and inharmony of all kinds. Christian Science teaches that "Mortal mind and body are one" (Science and Health, p. 177).
True Idea of Man
"Take possession of your body," is a demand of the
Christian Science textbook (p. 393). Take possession of the true concept of
body as the embodiment of infinite divine ideas – the ideas that liberate – love,
joy, peace, generosity, courage, etc. Thus the false human concept of body will
be freed from the carnal beliefs that seem to enslave – fear, anxiety, envy,
animosity, lust, etc. It must be remembered that in taking possession of this
true body of divine ideas (
One of the greatest problems involved in the complexities of human living is that which is called "support." Every honest, self-respecting human being desires to be self-supporting, and adequately to support those dependent upon him; and too often this proves to be a burdensome, fear-begetting, and out-wearing task. Now comes the Christ, Truth, to free one from the burden of this task and to replace it with the joyous reflection of divine Principle, whose supporting power never fails. As one is truly self-governed only when governed by the divine Principle of his being, so is one self-supported only when supported by the divine Principle of his being. When this invisible spiritual support is understood and demonstrated, the outward, visible support becomes proportionately secure, unburdened, affluent, and rightly enjoyed, proving that saying of the Bible, God "giveth us richly all things to enjoy." A well-known modern writer has said, "An atheist is a man who has no invisible support." The effectual nature of this invisible support was illustrated by the observation of a young student of Christian Science who had watched with great interest the building of a Christian Science church edifice. When in the course of its construction the very lovely dome was finished, he wrote to a friend describing the dome and said that what interested him most was the fact that when the dome was finished, that which supported it was invisible. So it is, as the invisible steel girders support the lovely material structure visible to our senses, so the divine Principle, Love, invisible to the material senses, supports His divine idea, man, in fullness and completeness.
Supported by Divine Facts
This demands of us that we stop supporting false beliefs, beliefs contrary to divine Principle, and that we allow ourselves to be supported by divine facts. Supporting false beliefs is a burdensome thing, seeming to make one weary and heavy-laden. Many are the false beliefs that come to us begging for support. One of the heaviest of these is the belief in lack – lack of money, lack of ability, lack of activity, lack of courage. Sometimes in our thinking we support a false belief, a lie, and at the same time expect to experience the support, the freedom, and blessing of Truth. Do we, for example, support the belief in lack and yet expect to be supported by Love's infinite law of abundance? Do we not look to something less than the infinite for our supply? Anything less than the infinite is matter, and matter in no way supplies or supports man or his activities. Principle never supports a lie, its unlikeness, and lack is unlike Principle, divine Love; therefore we must abandon the lie of lack in order to experience the law, the support, and abundance of Truth. When we refuse to support a lie through belief in it, it falls of its own weight, and we find Love supporting and supplying us with all that is needful and happifying. How necessary, then, to watch what we are mentally supporting.
To obey Principle is to worship God. To be ever faithful to Principle is to pray without ceasing. To demonstrate Principle is to pray aright and experience answered prayer. This is the prayer spoken of by the Apostle James as the "effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man" which "availeth much" – the prayer which heals the sick. Through an understanding of Christian Science, mystery and miracle are removed from the spiritual healing of physical disease. It is seen as the scientific activity of a divine Principle, understood in its exactness, its irresistibly tender law of Love. It is the revelation of the Christ, true spiritual being, correcting, dispelling the false concepts of a supposititious material state of being.
In her book "No and Yes" (p. 31), Mrs. Eddy says, "Disease and sin are unreal, unknown to Truth, and never actual persons or real facts." This is the basis of all Christian Science healing – the unreality of that which seems to need healing. Mrs. Eddy gives us another very comforting and reassuring statement in the textbook. There she says (p. 377), "The author never knew a patient who did not recover when the belief of the disease had gone." This helps us to see that what needs to be healed is always and only a belief. This false belief could not possibly be known to or exist in divine Principle, ever-loving Love. Nor can a false belief ever really create what it believes any more than the belief in a flat earth created a flat earth. It was always and only a belief. No false belief constitutes law. No matter how seemingly solidified, fixed, or entrenched in custom or precedent, it remains only a belief, an illusion of the physical senses. A lie is never a law, and we are always free to reject it. Principle, Love, alone is law, the only law-giver and law-enforcer. This spiritual fact known in its divine authority and activity annuls every so-called law promulgated by belief of life in matter and what is known as materia medica.
One of the privileges bestowed on
Adam in the allegorical record of creation given in the second chapter of
Genesis was that of naming things. He is still naming them, and his names are sometimes
very learned, mysterious, and fearsome, particularly the names of his diseases.
A woman of whom I know had an interesting and healing experience relating to
this matter of names. She was a student of Christian Science, who had apparently
come under the claim of a physical disease, which had a very fearsome name
attached to it. In meeting this trouble she was led to study the thought of
names in the Bible and the Christian Science textbook. In the Bible she found
There is refuge in Principle from every danger that may seem to threaten the harmony or life of man. Mrs. Eddy in the Christian Science textbook indicates that man's divine Principle is equal to every emergency, offering full salvation from sin, sickness, and death (see p. 406). A steadfast abiding in the consciousness of Love saves from the seeming effects of hate and fear. Abiding steadfastly in the consciousness of the reality of spiritual health one cannot experience physical disease. Abiding steadfastly in the consciousness of Love's law of spiritual abundance one cannot experience material poverty. A consciousness of the truth that the spiritual life of man is indestructible saves from death.
The Christian Science periodicals – the weekly Sentinel and monthly Journal – contain many testimonies to this truth. In The Christian Science Journal for the month of November, 1941, was a remarkable testimony of the experience of a young student of Christian Science saved from the threatened fatal revenge of law-breakers whose illegal activities he was disclosing and bringing to justice. It is told in that testimony how his clear knowledge of and peaceful rest in the divine fact that nothing could destroy his spiritual life and being, changed the thought and purpose of his jailers towards him and brought his release. It is not struggling against error, but rejoicing and resting in Truth that saves and heals.
'Take Up Arms Against Error'
Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 29): "Christians must take up arms against error at home and abroad. They must grapple with sin in themselves and in others, and continue this warfare until they have finished their course." This is the demand of Principle, that we "take up arms against error" – in ourselves and others – "at home and abroad." This does not mean material armaments, though in its ignorance of Principle, those weapons may be the seeming necessity of the human mind today. But the efficient, effectual, and only triumphant weapons of this warfare against error are the weapons of Principle, of the Christ, Truth; for, as St. Paul so well knew and said, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world [mesmerism and occultism], against spiritual wickedness in high places." It is a warfare against the false beliefs of the carnal mind, its materialism, lust of power, greed, and corruption, "at home and abroad." It is above all, a warfare against selfishness, would-be self-preservation: the attempt to preserve one's material well-being at the expense of spiritual attributes and qualities. Is it not being proved that there is no safety in selfishness for either an individual or a nation? This is no time for the sleep of selfishness, for apathy or careless thinking, no time for either the strife of self-preservation or indifference to universal needs. Never before has there been such an imperative demand for unity in the cause of righteousness and mental freedom; never before such a demand on each one of us to awake, to shake off apathy, to rule out of consciousness the things that make for dissension and darkness, things contrary to Principle.
Christian Science reveals God as Principle, and the Bible tells us that God is light, therefore Principle is light. This light of divine Principle and its eternal, indestructible verities can never be extinguished. Intelligence and integrity shine forever in the consciousness of man; justice and faith-keeping, mercy and peace and joy shine uninterruptedly in the consciousness of man; Love is reflected eternally in the heart of man; freedom reigns forever as God's law for man. Therefore, let us put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Then will our warfare cease to be warfare. It will become the irresistible shining of the light of Truth. "Thus," as Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 191), "the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light, chasing away the darkness of error."
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 19, 1943.]