Christian Science: The Science of Godís Oneness
Margaret Morrison, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship
Margaret Morrison, C. S., of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
My friends, in considering the subject of Christian Science let us not be afraid of the word "Science" or shy away from it as something mysterious, requiring extraordinary intellectual capacity, technical education, and scholastic attainments, something reserved for only the chosen few. This may be true of so-called material sciences, but the one and only true Science, the Science of Life, of God and His oneness, is simple, with the simplicity of pure goodness. It can be demonstrated by little children, yet satisfy the most profound thinker. And let no one believe this Science of goodness is dull and uninteresting. It is fresh and sparkling, continually revealing new and original views of life, intelligent and practical ideas, and satisfying qualities.
This is the Science of Christianity or Christian Science, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, who said to his followers: "Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven," that is, into the exact Science of Life or eternal harmony. Jesus was no doubt familiar from his childhood with that ringing proclamation, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." He learned to understand this profound fact, the most profound truth possible of being known. God is one God. God is good and God is all; therefore, good is all. His demonstration of this truth enabled Jesus with authority to classify evil as a liar and the father of lies.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (meaning love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing."
The textbooks of Christian Science are the Bible - the King James Version - and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. In these two books may be found the exact knowledge or Science of Life, of God and His creation. This latter book is sometimes ignorantly referred to as the Christian Science Bible. No Christian Scientist in any way regards Science and Health as a Bible, nor does it ever take the place of the Bible. As its title indicates, it is a key to the Bible. As this key opens the door of understanding, a light is thrown upon the Scriptures which reveals their glory and the infinite practical possibilities of good. The simplicity of this one great and only Science is stated by its Discoverer and Founder in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 101), where she says, "If God is All, and God is good, it follows that all must be good; and no other power, law, or intelligence can exist."
Oneness of God
have no other gods before me." This command of God is as imperative today
as it was when first given to Moses in the thunder of
Let it be said that there is nothing mysterious about God, nothing supernatural about His laws, nothing unknowable or unprovable, nothing afar off or unapproachable. The master Christian declared Him to be Spirit and altogether good. In fact, he declared Him to be the only good. God then is Spirit, without a taint of what is called matter, or evil, unrestricted in action, unlimited in manifestation, unopposed in power and government. Good alone is power. It is a creative necessity that the creator be good and intelligent. Only that which is good and intelligent can create. What seems to be the creation of evil is but the illusory effect of a distorted view or false concept of that which in reality is, and is good - a mist-taken view of life.
God's creation does not consist in the making of objects separated from Himself, but in the unfolding of spiritual ideas inseparable from their source, the revealing of that which eternally exists in His infinite divine oneness. Creation, then, is in reality revelation or unfoldment. On page 502 of Science and Health we read: "There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected." And on page 356 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," Mrs. Eddy says, "The infinite is one, and this one is Spirit; Spirit is God, and this God is infinite good. This simple statement of oneness is the only possible correct version of Christian Science."
God has been called the great Giver, the Giver of all good. In the book of Acts we read, "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." As God is Spirit, His giving is always spiritual, never separated from Himself. This giving is constant and instant. God is always giving, never withholding. He never takes away what He gives, but eternally maintains it. His giving is in reality His expression of His own nature and being. Then just what does God give to or express through man? As the Bible states, He gives All. All that man is or has is derived from God. But let us consider a few of the simpler things. God gives health to man and never takes it away. Health simply means wholeness, or holiness, and is inherent in creation. This state of health or wholeness is eternally maintained and uninterruptedly made manifest by Spirit. God alone gives joy and peace to man as the expression of His own serene and joyous being. Spirit alone is indestructible substance, and so God gives to or expresses through man the spiritual abundance which meets every human need. All that really exists is in and of God. In Him is all Science, all activity, all power, all presence.
A full understanding of His presence and power heals the sick mind and body, wakens the dreamer tired of his dreaming, and opens his matter-closed eyes to the ever-present kingdom of heaven, the radiant realm of spiritual reality.
The Scriptures declare that God is Life, and in Christian Science Life is known as a synonym for God. Life, then, is one Life. It is Spirit, and its manifestation spiritual. Life is not in what is called matter; it is never born in and never dies out of material forms. Life is never restricted by matter beliefs, frustrated by them, or destroyed by them. Matter in all of its suppositional manifestations is proved in Science to be but a false mental concept of Life and its activities, mythical in nature and action. Life is, in its purity, matterless, timeless, sinless, deathless, uninterrupted by a suppositional material birth and its suppositional experiences.
What does this mean for us practically, here and now? It means that each one can find his individual life, at first hand, at its divine source. He does not have to have a second-hand life handed down to him from generation to generation, often pretty well shopworn by the time it reaches him. At its best, its abilities, pleasures, and achievements prove transitory and unsatisfactory unless in some measure they pattern the divine.
The great demonstrator of Life eternal said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt. 23), and Mrs. Eddy has said, "Science sets aside man as a creator, and unfolds the eternal harmonies of the only living and true origin, God" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 72). What does one set aside when he "sets aside man as a creator"? All the claims of human birth, a second-hand life transmitted to him by false laws of material generation, heredity, and tradition. He finds that he does not have to accept as his own the kind of life handed down to him by his forebears, his disposition, his abilities or disabilities, his environment, his health or lack of health, his religion. He learns to accept his true spiritual life, which reflects its origin in every quality. This life has nobility and power. It is fresh, original, joyous, pure, complete, and eternal. It is your life and mine - now.
A story is told of a maid who had endeared herself to the family she served by her constant cheer and happy state of mind. There came a time when she seemed unhappy and gloomy in her outlook. To the many inquiries of her mistress as to what the trouble was, she invariably replied, "Nothing, Missy, nothing." One day on the insistence of her friend to know what caused the change, she exclaimed, "Everything is so daily." How this thought tempts us all at times - the daily dusting and cooking, typing and bookkeeping, daily business demands, daily trains to be caught, daily responsibility of world affairs! What can be done to make them less daily, less monotonous, less burdensome? Prayer and watching - that we accept life only as the expression of Life divine, acknowledging Principle as its origin and government, and Love as essence and law.
There is no task so menial, so seemingly mechanical, that it cannot be transformed by the reflection of Life that is Love. It is always possible to be "absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (with transforming Love), not to the neglect of the human task, but to the performance of it in a manner more nearly approaching perfection. As one brings to his task, however humble, this transforming consciousness of Life and its activity, he will assuredly be lifted into higher and more satisfying service. He becomes bigger than his task; and you cannot keep two quarts of water in a one-quart pail.
There is no task so weighted with responsibility that it cannot be lightened by the understanding of Life as the expression of God's wisdom, intelligence, and unerring direction. Thus the task, however heavy, can be eased onto the shoulders of omnipotence, divine Principle, of whose government there shall be no end, and with whose judgments there is no interference. Principle, a synonym for Life, is ever present to direct, intelligence to inform, and Soul to beautify our daily living.
In Science, Mind and God are synonymous terms, and Science recognizes only one Mind as it recognizes only one God. From Mind emanate all divine qualities: justice, wisdom, equity, love, joy, peace. This Mind is the Mind of man, your Mind by reflection, and governs man and the universe in perfect order and harmony. Then, one may reasonably ask, why does the world seem to be in such a mess? Why the fret and fume, fear and famine, disease, unrest, weariness, and war? The answer is - idolatry, the idolatrous belief that there are many minds. Each one born of the Adam-dream believes he has a mind of his own separate from God, divine Principle.
Now, to believe that one can have a mind of his own separate from God is exactly as absurd as to believe that he can have a multiplication table of his own separate from the principle of mathematics Have you ever tried having a multiplication table of your own? No - you would not be so foolish. Yet under the illusion of a material creation apart from Spirit one believes that he has a mind of his own, that his neighbor, his business associate, members of his family, each has a mind of his or her own that can be unlike God, the one Mind. He believes that this separate mind can be hateful, greedy, lustful, worried, can bless or curse. Then he believes that these many minds make up a world divided against itself - a mixture of Spirit and matter, of good and evil. My friends, this concept of the world is just as unreal and foundationless as would be a realm of mathematics with each one computing his problems with a suppositional multiplication table of his own. Let us cease believing in this false, suppositional Mind and honor and accept the one Father-Mother Mind, whose reflection or creation in very truth we are.
We need always to remember that this Mind is equally the Mind of all, and we may not claim for ourselves something we deny to our brother. This point was illustrated by the experience of a friend of mine. He was a businessman who had just become interested in Christian Science and who was also just starting in a new business of his own. He had not any too much capital to finance this venture, and so was anxious to collect a sum of money due him from a man who repudiated the debt and refused to pay it. This friend, with his as yet slight understanding of Christian Science, went one day to see his debtor in high hopes of collecting the money due him, but was met with a blunt refusal. He went to see the practitioner who was helping him and reported his failure. The practitioner asked him what he thought while he was interviewing the man, and he said: "I was knowing that I was God's child and could not be deprived of my right. Whatever was due me was rightfully mine, and God would not let me be deprived of it." He was then asked what he was thinking about the other fellow. Well, his thoughts were not very pleasant about him. He was pretty much of a liar, he was dishonest, and so forth. This attitude was corrected and the spiritual fact pointed out that the same Mind that was his and governing him was also the Mind of his neighbor and governing him. When this truth was established in my friend's consciousness he returned to his debtor and found the divine oneness of Mind governing. The debt was acknowledged and the money collected in good will and fellowship.
In acknowledging one universal Mind, do not be afraid of monotony. There is no monotony in infinite Mind, but infinite variety of expression, originality, and individuality. Who would not be willing to give up a suppositional multiplication table of his own or an equally suppositional mind of his own - a mind of fears, limitations, falsities, of pain and pleasure, success and failure in matter? Who would not accept and put in its place his true, individual being, the reflection of the one Mind and its divine qualities - intelligence, ability, nobility, competence, completeness, joy, and satisfaction?
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" - the Mind of power, peace, and dominion.
To many the dearest and holiest name for God is Love. This word is so vast in its significance that one can barely touch upon it as a part of an hour's lecture. No other word in all the language has been so grossly perverted and misused as the word "love." One sometimes stands aghast at the shameless use of this word to designate its exact opposite - lust. There is comfort in the words found in Science and Health (p. 563): "Why should we stand aghast at nothingness?" Why stand aghast or helpless before the impertinent claims of the carnal mind, which is, indeed, "enmity against God"?
At every Sunday service in any
Church of Christ, Scientist, one hears read from the desk this verse from one
of the epistles of
Let us note well the words of the beloved Apostle John, the close friend of Christ Jesus: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." Can there be anything of greater benefit to mankind than that which casteth out fear? Would not a Love-governed, fearless home be a happy home? Would not a fearless business be a successful business? Would not a fearless world be a warless world? And can there be a higher mission on earth than to make life for ourselves and others Love-lit and fearless? And how can this be done except by acknowledging and accepting the divine oneness of Love as God, the omnipotent governing power of the universe. This ever-present Love reflected by man purifies the human affections, makes tenderly understanding the human heart, ennobles one's aims and purposes, and makes serene and happy one's daily living. We read in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," "Love lived in a court or cot is God exemplified, governing governments, industries, human rights, liberty, life."
Many little children who have been taught the ever-presence of divine Love turn instinctively to this presence when in trouble. This was illustrated by a small child of three whom I know. She was playing on the floor with a piece of bent wire and thrust it into the electric outlet in the wall. This caused a burn which left a deep impression of the wire on the tiny hand. This little one, having been taught from infancy the truth of divine Love, uttered no cry of pain, but looked at the hand and lisped, "Precious God! Precious God!" Then she turned confidently for comfort to her mother, who knew well the presence and power of the great Mother Love which is God. In a very short time comfort was realized and the hand healed.
My friends, fear is a lie. Love is a law, the omnipotent law of God. This Love in its simple directness and practicality, its grandeur and magnitude, its irresistible power, is ever-present. It is to be understood, loved, and lived. It guides unerringly, protects omnipotently, and ultimately triumphs over all evil.
On page 17 of her book "No and Yes," Mrs. Eddy writes: "Man is the climax of creation; and God is not without an ever-present witness, testifying of Himself. Matter, or any mode of mortal mind, is neither part nor parcel of divine consciousness and God's verity." This is in strict accord with the record of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis, where man is, indeed, found to be the climax of God's creation, made in God's own image and likeness, reflecting exactly His nature, even His power and dominion.
Now, in this true record of creation we find that "matter, or any mode of mortal, mind" - evil in any formó"is neither part nor parcel" of it. God saw every thing that he, had made, and, behold, it was . . . good" - even very good. Man, then, in his real being is not in any way conscious of or associated with evil, but has at his command all the forces of good, and by reflection all the power of God.
Think of what a knowledge of this means to us when we seem to be confronted by the claims of the mythical creation as given in the second chapter of Genesis. There we are told of a man created of the dust of the ground, non-intelligent matter! A man separated from God and His allness! This suppositional man becomes the victim of the suggestions of the serpent (which represents what is now called animal magnetism, hypnotism, or mesmerism) - the suggestions that he can know and be both good and evil, that he can have a dual nature continually fighting against itself. In truth, there never was such a man created. This so-called man is merely a mental misconception, and is to be "put off" or displaced by the spiritual man of Mind's pure and perfect creation.
Man is not found in transient mortal beliefs and their formations, but in eternal spiritual facts and their eternal being. The ideas of Mind are the substance of man and comprise his indestructible life. Of every Christlike quality and idea, the Father-Mother Mind, Almighty God, declares, "This is my beloved Son: hear him."
As we thus find all in God, we find good in all and evil nowhere. The effect of refusing to give evil identity is illustrated by the following experience which was related to me recently by a friend, a practical worker in Christian Science. She had for a long period of time seemed to be the object of hatred manifested toward her by a neighbor. The situation came to a climax one night when this sense of hatred seemed most keenly felt. The student of Christian Science knew that this ugly thing had in the last analysis to be met within her own consciousness, and she began scientifically to meet it there. She spent many hours that night clarifying her thinking until she could see and freely acknowledge that hatred has no identity. She could not give it a point of power by identifying it with a certain person. Hatred was an illusion, neither person, place, nor thing. This work was complete, and she found rest in the truth of man's being. In the morning this erstwhile hating one called her and told her of having been very ill through the night, suffering greatly until towards morning. Then she said the sense of bitterness and hatred fell away from her and she found peace, and she could truly say she loved her neighbor and was well. This illustrates the method by which any claim of evil may be nullified and the harmony of reality found in its place.
Strictly obeying the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," each one may claim his birthright and declare with conviction: "I am inseparable from God and His oneness, and by reflection have at my command all the power of God, the forces of good, to meet any dream of evil which may tempt me. This is the natural, everyday truth of my being." The great Master of Christianity said, "I and my Father are one," and the Discoverer of its Science said, "Verily I say unto you, God is All-in-all; and you can never be outside of His oneness" (Unity of Good, p. 24).
There is but one Christ. The Christian Science textbook defines Christ as follows: "Christ is the divine idea of God - the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth" (Science and Health, p. 332). It also says, "Christ expresses God's spiritual, eternal nature" (p. 333). This impersonal, never-absent Christ, when scientifically understood, is found to be the tender, powerful, and complete redeemer from all evil, individually and universally.
The man Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin, best understood the Christ, Truth. He best illustrated the nature of the Christ in his healing works and his manifest authority and dominion over the elements and forces of the carnal mind, which we call matter. It was his understanding of the Christ which enabled Jesus to heal all manner of sickness and disease, to raise the dead, walk on the water, and still the tempest.
Of Jesus of Nazareth, Mrs. Eddy says: "All Christian Scientists deeply recognize the oneness of Jesus - that he stands alone in word and deed, the visible discoverer, founder, demonstrator, and great Teacher of Christianity, whose sandals none may unloose" (Miscellany, p. 338). And in "No and Yes" (p. 1) we read, "The theology and medicine of Jesus were one, - in the divine oneness of the trinity, Life, Truth, and Love, which healed the sick and cleansed the sinful."
But the Christ did not first come to earth with the coming of Jesus nor leave the earth with his leaving. The Christ, Truth, is as eternally present as God, Principle, from which it emanates. Jesus knew this well and could say, "Before Abraham was, I am," and, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The claims of evil may seem very real to us - more real than good, than God Himself. The waves of error, material sense, sin, sickness, grief, failure, incompetence, injustice, may seem to be dashing us against the rocks, threatening our health, our happiness, our success, life itself, yet the Christ, Truth, is never absent from any one of us, but ever present to heal, to redeem and glorify, and Christian Science is enabling us to say with its Discoverer (Poems, p. 12):
"And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly, Divinely talk.
"Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock,
Upon Life's shore,
'Gainst which the winds and waves can shock,
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Fitting perfectly in the design of divine oneness is the life and work of the one Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. Anyone wishing to know the truth of her life and work may find it in her autobiography contained in her book "Retrospection and Introspection" or in any one of the several biographies which may be read or obtained in any Christian Science Reading Room. In one of those late biographies the writer has said of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: "The atmosphere of divine purpose embraced this noble woman in harmony of thought and forgetfulness of body" (Mary Baker Eddy: Her Mission and Triumph, by Julia M. Johnston, p. 58). "Her thinking was adventurously inspired" (p. 58). "Hers was the sweetness of bitter disappointments overcome, the vision that sees beyond horizons, humility pulsating with greatness" (p. 57). "She declared the Science of Life, the Science of Christ, without doubt or timidity" (p. 83). "Thus was launched the most momentous revolution in the history of the world's thinking since the time of the Nazarene" (p. 65).
While Mrs. Eddy had a keen and cultivated intellect and always kept herself informed and what is called "abreast of the times," she was not so much concerned with the unreal material history of the human race as with the unfoldment of the spiritual idea, which she recognized as reality brought to light.
Mary Baker Eddy is the forever Leader of the Christian Science movement, and the adherents of her teachings recognize her as such. They know her as the revelator to this age of the final truth about God, man, and the universe. They know that she has made known to the world the Comforter promised by Christ Jesus, even the "Spirit of truth." They follow her leadership even as she herself admonished them, "only so far as she follows Christ" (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 34). They do not follow her merely as a person, but are true followers as they heed her precepts, emulate her purity of purpose and living, obey her doctrine of God's oneness, and demonstrate the divine Science she discovered, healing the sick, enlightening and blessing the world with their purified lives. In the degree that her followers are thus following her, in deed and in truth, her true place is being established in history, her God-ordained mission recognized, and her name enshrined in the hearts of humanity.
What is prayer? How does one pray? Is prayer effectual? These questions find many answers according to doctrine, creed, or race. In its ultimate, prayer is scientific and therefore simple. One learns to pray aright only as he learns to understand God aright. Each one must begin where he finds himself. That beginning may be with the faith of a little child petitioning to have his need or desire met. From such a beginning one progresses in spiritual understanding and will find his petitionary faith merging into scientific affirmation of the spiritual fact as the ever-present reality of any situation that confronts him.
In any case, whether it be the prayer of faith or understanding, the element of doubt has no place in prayer. The writer to the Hebrews declares that "he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," and that without faith it is impossible to please God.
The English poet William Blake writes:
"If the Sun and Moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out."
Do not hesitate to pray the prayer of faith, continuing to strive for the perfect understanding where petition is superseded by acceptance.
The first chapter in the Christian Science textbook is devoted to the subject of prayer, and ever since the book was printed the reading of this chapter has been healing sin and sickness in all parts of the world. A most testing definition of prayer is found on page 39 of "No and Yes" as follows: "Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good. It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is."
True prayer, then, advances out of a comforted human sense of God's presence and power meeting the human need into the absolute spiritual understanding of God's oneness, within whose grace and perfection there is no need - only the joyous completion of true being, here and now made manifest.
I should like to tell you of an instance of the healing power of true prayer of which I know.
It was that of a young woman suffering from an acute attack of appendicitis. This trouble had bothered her on several previous occasions, and this time the physicians had said that an immediate operation was necessary to save her life. She, however, was seemingly in a state of great lack and felt she could not afford to be away from her profession nor possibly find money for an operation. She had heard of Christian Science and sent for a practitioner. As the practitioner sat by her bed in the gloomy, meager back bedroom, two words came to the practitioner's thought with a flood of light and sacred meaning she had never known before. These words were, "Our Father." In contemplating the love and compassion with which those words are fraught, she lost all sense of the opposite claim of an evil power to oppose the might of that great and loving Father. The result was an immediate, complete, and permanent healing not only of appendicitis but of several other physical ailments of which the practitioner was not aware.
This demonstration of the healing power of prayer is, of course, only one of many thousands of similar experiences. Do not these prove the practicality of truth? No matter how transcendental it may appear to the physical senses, spiritual understanding proves spiritual truth to be concrete, substantial, all-satisfying, all-loving, all-powerful.
As one realizes the truth of his individual at-one-ment with divine oneness, he will find nothing in his daily living either too small or too large to be brought under Truth's beneficent government - be it the illusion of a baby's hurt hand or the cataclysm of a world war. Both are equally unknown to God and are to be prevented or dispelled by true knowledge of His presence and power.
On page 264 of "Miscellaneous 'Writings" we read: "Unity is the essential nature of Christian Science. Its Principle is One, and to demonstrate the divine One, demands oneness of thought and action." As one meets this demand he will find the ills and false pleasures of the flesh diminishing and the freedom, harmony, and radiance of reality appearing in practical, truthful living.
I shall leave with you a message from that marvelous prayer of our Master as given in the seventeenth chapter of St. John: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: . . .
"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; . . . that they may be made perfect in one; . . . that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them."
My friends, in the oneness of Love divine lies the health of the world, your health and mine, the Science of the world, the power and peace of the world, the salvation of the world.
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 1948.]