Christian Science: The Way of Scientific Progress

 

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

 

The following lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Way of Scientific Progress,'' was given under the auspices of Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 5318 Kenmore Avenue, Thursday evening, September 30, 1937, by Miss Margaret Morrison, C.S., of Chicago, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is reprinted from a previous issue of the Leader.

 

Progress - A Law of God

Progress is a law of God. This is why there is in the heart of every human being a desire for improvement, for progress into better things, better living, greater freedom, joy, and security. This desire may seem to express itself in strange ways, at times in ungodlike ways, for to the unsatisfied mortal mind evil may sometimes appear to be good. This desire for better things may be shown by the planting of a flower in a can at the window of a tenement, in the mistaken ambition of a business man to control world markets, or the urge of a material scientist to understand and master the laws and elements of nature. But, underneath and encompassing all is God's irresistible law of infinite progress drawing us to Him, eternally unfolding to us higher, fairer views of His power and goodness, and revealing to us our relationship to Him, the only creator of the universe. This unfolding of good must continue throughout eternity for each individual; and today, as of old, in that urge for better ways, we may hear His voice saying, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

 

The Basis of True Progress

Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific and progressive man ever known, and he gave the basis of all true progress during that memorable interview with Nicodemus when he said, "Ye must be born again." Nicodemus, an honest though timid investigator of thought, went you remember, by night to question Jesus about those miracles which he said, "no man can do . . . except God be with him." Jesus' reply, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," brought from Nicodemus the astonished query, "How can a man be born, when he is old?" The answer of Jesus is as pertinent today as it was for Nicodemus in that far-off time: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee. Ye must be born again." This statement, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," shows clearly the basis of Jesus' thinking and acting. He never attempted to mix Spirit and matter, never for one instant thought or acted from the premise of two causes or creations, never stooped to the superstition of two powers, one good and one evil. This simplicity of his teaching is based on the first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." He knew this "me" to be Spirit, divine Mind, and he knew this one Mind to be infinite.

No reasoning, no so-called science, which is based on the premise of two first causes, two powers, can be either reasonable or scientific. That kind of reasoning must result in the same confusion and disaster as would follow in the realm of mathematics were one to believe that two times two is both four and six and attempt to calculate from that basis. That only can truly be called Science which is based on and emanates from one changeless, perfect Principle, supreme intelligence; even that one God who made all that was made and saw that it was good. Jesus knew one power only and demonstrated it. He knew one substance only and demonstrated it. He knew one Life only and demonstrated it. He knew that power, that substance, that Life to be Spirit, altogether good, self-existent Truth, Life, and Love.

 

Material Beliefs Must Be Reversed

The way of true scientific progress, as taught by Christ Jesus, is the way of spiritual enlightenment, a way of instruction, the correction of false material beliefs with spiritual facts. To apprehend a divine fact and allow it to govern our thinking and living in place of its opposite false belief, is true progress. The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 129), says that if we wish to know the spiritual fact, we "can discover it by reversing the material fable, be the fable pro or con, - be it in accord with your preconceptions or utterly contrary to them." In this scientific process of reversal we discover that poverty is not a fact, disease is not a fact, sin is not a fact, war is not a fact, death is not a fact, but in spiritual reality abundance is a fact, sinlessness and health are facts, peace is a fact, Life is a fact. "The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things" (Science and Health, p. 207). This is a very comforting thing to remember when we are told, as we so often are, that we "must face the facts." This demand to face the facts usually means something most disagreeable and, at times, most terrifying. One may, for example, be called upon to face what materia medica has pronounced the fact of an incurable disease. What is the spiritual reality in such a case; the scientific fact to which we turn our thinking, and which we face with confidence and trust? Even this: in divine Science the health of man is an established, inviolate fact, a pure state of spiritual being. That fact cannot be disputed, displaced, or destroyed by any opposite belief, no matter how desperate that belief may be pronounced by so-called medical laws. Sickness or disease, of whatever name or nature, can no more disturb, or destroy the health of man in God's image and likeness, than can the belief that two times two is ten alter the fact it is four and though the greater mistake that it is fifty or five hundred might be believed it would still remain unalterably four. The greater, seemingly graver, mistake would not be any more true than the lesser. This truth that man's health is an invincible fact in the reality of Spirit may be proved by anyone willing to acknowledge the allness of the one perfect Mind and his relationship to that Mind; willing to surrender the belief in a self apart from Mind; willing to let drop the thoughts and qualities of character unlike good, which may seem to have found expression in sickness, suffering, pain, or disease. As we "let this mind be in [us], which was also in Christ Jesus," as we allow the gracious qualities of this Mind to outshine the opposite claims of fear, resentment, loneliness, greed, lust, etc., this Mind manifests its own dominion and it will be found that the healing of mortal mind is the healing of the body.

 

Universal Peace a Spiritual Fact

This being true personally of the physical body is true universally of the political body. Truth is for the healing of the nations as well as for persons. And today when nations are in a state of misunderstanding and strife with one another, when rumors of war are so rife, must not we as true scientific thinkers stand firmly in the knowledge that the law of divine Mind, the creator and governor of the universe, must be a law of harmony, and the peace of the universe inviolate? This is true because in that infinite Mind which constitutes reality there are no conflicting interests, no warring elements, no hating or discordant ideas, no limited supply - only divinely intelligent, Love-directed ideas supplied by infinite good, governed by omnipotence, held in the immutable bonds of brotherhood. Even in the midst of seeming war itself, still is peace the spiritual fact of the universe. This fact understood and obeyed will banish war forever from the earth, and mankind will dwell in peace and plenty.

 

The Fact of Eternity Revealed

One of the most stubborn beliefs to be corrected in the human mind is the belief in time; a beginning and an ending, a limitation of life, a past in which to have been born, and a future in which to grow old and die. True progress obliterates this false belief and reveals the spiritual reality, or scientific fact of ever-present eternity, that eternity which is not an endless accumulation of years, not an infinite number of days, but a consciousness of the one day - the ever-presence of Mind and its changeless perfect ideas. In this eternal day of spiritual understanding there is no weary weight of time, no burden of a past, or fear of an uncertain and disintegrating future. In this eternal day of spiritual facts we find the faculties of man held intact, never in nor of matter, incapable of impairment by belief of age. In the light of this day that old phrase "getting on in years" takes on a new meaning. It comes to mean getting on in a knowledge of God, increasing our understanding of good, of the truth of being, and of the way to demonstrate that truth; it means getting on to richer opportunities for greater enlightenment, for greater strength and vitality, for fresher joy, more radiant peace; getting on into a more complete consciousness of at-one-ment with the source of Life. In the presence of eternity we find that every moment of what is called time is safe in the completion of God's love. There is no uncertain future for him who knows and lives in the ever-present eternity of God's goodness. Neither can there be any regretted, wasted, or irreparable past. In her book "No and Yes" (p. 24) Mrs. Eddy says, "There was never a moment in which evil was real;" never, then, a moment into which evil could inject its claims of sin, sickness, sorrow, or death. There never was nor ever is a moment that is not pure, free from evil, safe in God's law of love, shining in the light of His joy and peace. There never was nor ever is a moment when man is not safe in that life-giving Mind we call God. If materiality is not real now (and it is not), it never has been real. Then there never has been an instant when man and the universe had ceased to be the complete and perfect expression of a complete and perfect God or Principle. Because of the revelation of Christian Science this fact can no longer be hidden or obscured by superstition, mesmerism, or occultism, ancient or modern. Said the wise man of old: "I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; . . . That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past."

Eternity is not an everlasting process of perpetuating material beliefs, rather is it an unfolding of that which eternally is. There is no struggle in this unfolding, because it is under the harmonious, irresistible law of love. So we see that we are not struggling to perpetuate life in matter, but awakening to accept the indestructible life of Spirit. And now is the day of acceptance.

 

Accepting Spiritual Facts

Thus awakening to and dwelling decisively in the realm of spiritual facts we will no longer find ourselves living idly, discouraged, or discontented in the land of "If": "If I had enough money," "If I had a job," "If my family would behave," and so on. It is not a happy land, this land of "If"; not a very healthful, useful, or profitable place in which to dwell.

Let us progress out of the wilderness of "If" and go in and possess the land of that which is. For every argument of "If" we may see, understand, and obey that which is the spiritual reality, which is the scientific fact. "If I had enough money!" What is the counterfact of this counterfeit?  Why, even the reality of Mind's law of abundance and of man as the expression of that law. As we become aware of this spiritual fact of abundance, maintaining it as consciousness, we find that abundance being manifested in our human affairs. There will then be no experience of lack because there will be no consciousness of lack. There will be only a joyous acknowledgment and acceptance of God's unfailing bounty. This spiritual consciousness is in itself demonstration; money or any other material thing is just what is added. "If I had a job!" What is the truth that erases this "If" from consciousness? Even the fact that man is the reflected activity of intelligent, useful, satisfying, and God-directed ideas. A true idea cannot be idle. Again this truth held steadfastly as consciousness will manifest itself in outward human conditions of harmonious activity. An idea of Mind cannot be hindered, obstructed, or unemployed. "If my family would only behave!" The truth is that man is related only to the divine ideas of divine Love; his family in the realm of spiritual reality consists of those ideas, and so is well-behaved, harmonious, and kind. Try keeping this fact persistently and steadfastly as your consciousness, and see what happens in the household of your human family.

This is progress because that only can truly be called a step in progress which is a step out of matter into Spirit. In this scientific progress is to be found the satisfying of all true ambition, for it brings with it high attainments in every detail of human living: business, home, profession, and education.

 

Science and Christianity Inseparable

Science and Christianity are inseparable; the two wings of that one Science which is the only exact Science there can be. The history of the human race shows us that an age of great spiritual enlightenment is an age of great human advancement. The greatest achievements in the realm of human belief take place as the great spiritual facts of being become more apparent. This has been proved true in this age. The greatest era of human invention and discovery has been in the last sixty or more years, since the advent of Christian Science with its revelation of divine Mind. So we have Sir James Jeans, one of the most eminent of physical scientists, saying, "Conditions of life have changed more in the past fifty years than in 50,000,000 of the pre-historic years" (as quoted in The Christian Science Monitor).

In his miracles Jesus gave evidence of what must have been an exact and scientific knowledge which he possessed of God, causation, but he did not leave us a scientific explication of that knowledge. (See Science and Health, p 147.)  That, he promised, would come later. He said: "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: . . . When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; . . . He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." That Mary Baker Eddy was able to discover and give to the world this Comforter, or Science of Christianity, proves that to be spiritually minded is to be scientifically minded. It was her pure spirituality that gave her the humility through which she was able to discern God as changeless, immutable Principle, the Lawgiver. It was her Christlike compassion and love for humanity which enabled her to see that Principle as Love, divine Love, impartial and universal. It was her stupendous moral courage which enabled her to brave the opposition and persecution of the carnal mind and give Christian Science to the world. She must be acknowledged as the greatest Scientist of the age, as she has given to the world the exact Science of that knowledge possessed by Jesus, which gave him dominion over all the earth through spiritual law. She has made this knowledge available to all. It comes not through intellectual power, scholastic attainments, abstruse calculations, or technical efficiency, all the complexities of mortal mind. Is it not the part of the Comforter to turn us from these complexities and uncertainties to the simplicity and assurance of the Christ; to the pure divinity, goodness, and power of those qualities of Mind which are a law of annihilation to everything unlike themselves, and which enable us to walk comfortably with our God?

 

Liberation from Limitation

As the light of spiritual understanding pierces more and more the mist of mortal beliefs and superstitions, humanity is finding ways and means in its own realm of belief of overcoming its self-imposed limitations and bondage; the belief of space, for example. And so today we have streamlined trains, high-powered automobiles, and the ever-increasing speed of the aeroplane. Here we see the belief of speed having ascendancy over the belief of space. Does not the belief of space as distance or separation still remain? Must not Jesus have had a different concept of what we call space? Because he understood the three great verities of Spirit - omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience - Spirit or Mind filling all space, space became to him omnipresence, admitting of neither time nor distance. It was this understanding of omnipresence which enabled Jesus immediately, without traversing space, to be where it was needful for him to be. Philip also, one of the followers of Jesus, gave evidence of his understanding of this spiritual law. The story is told in the Bible, in the book of Acts, that after he had baptized the Ethiopian, on his way from Gaza to Jerusalem, "when they were come up out of the water the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: . . . but Philip was found at Azotus." This understanding of omnipresence is the only real annihilator of space. In gaining this understanding there is no danger of accidents or disaster.

The inventor of wireless telegraphy and the radio had first to discard his belief in the necessity of wires for the more refined material belief in waves of ether before he could give this "useful wonder" to the world. Jesus, the Christ, because of his understanding that there is only one substance, Spirit, knew that matter in any form is not necessary for either the expression or maintenance of life; and he fed the multitude, walked on the water, and raised the dead. Because of his at-one-ment with that Mind which is all power, he understood omnipotence, and stilled the tempest with a word of command, - needing no material oil to pour on the troubled waters, - and called forth from the disciples the exclamation, "What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water and they obey him." Because of his at-one-ment with the Mind that is all wisdom, he   understood omniscience and could read the thoughts of men in order to correct and heal them. So he could say to the man whose friends had let him down through the roof, "Thy sins be forgiven thee; . . . take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house," and, immediately the man arose and went into his house.

Mrs. Eddy has said in the Christian Science textbook (p. 95), "We welcome the increase of knowledge and the end of error, because even human invention must have its day, and we want that day to be succeeded by Christian Science, by divine reality." So, we see that Christian Science does not teach us to decry or belittle the "many useful wonders" which "thought has brought to light" (Science and Health, p. 268). It teaches gratitude for the liberation they bring and the proper use of them. At the same time it keeps them in their right secondary place and shows how, through a knowledge of the omnipresence and omnipotence of divine law and Love, one may protect oneself from the dangers and disasters that so often seem to attend material progress. It shows us that, while it is necessary, nay, it is imperative, that we "keep up-to-date," that we keep in touch with the unfolding liberation of mortal mind from its own beliefs, it is still more necessary that, in thus keeping "abreast of the times," we do not get out of step with eternity, with those eternal verities that know no time, that wisdom which is "from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." It teaches us not to stray from that Truth which knows no "variableness, neither shadow of turning," nor from that "[Love] which never faileth." These eternal verities, which change not with changing times, are the safeguards of humanity. We can see that unless spiritual enlightenment keeps pace with human inventions the evil elements in the human mind will use these inventions for their own evil and destructive purposes. So, we may well give heed to that question so often in the thought of mankind today, What have all the discoveries and inventions, the useful wonders, which make for convenience and ease in matter, done for mortal man himself? In gaining dominion over the elements and forces of what he calls nature, has he gained dominion over himself, his own passions and appetites, over his own thinking and body? Someone commenting on this subject in an editorial of one of the leading dailies of New York City has said that the "triumphs of experimental methods and the success of mathematics have blinded us to the price that had to be paid for apparent progress." "Man was sacrificed." "Problems about stars and coal-tar were solved as if he did not exist" (New York Times. September 5, 1934). And Sir Philip Gibbs, an eminent British writer, speaking of the progress of material science says: "I am convinced that we need at least a thousand years to control what knowledge we have and to prevent it from destroying humanity itself. Science has put powers into the hands of men who are still unable to control their own passions though they may wield the thunderbolts of Jove" (England Speaks, p. 130).

 

 

 

Necessity for Spiritual Thinking

Is it not apparent, then, that only through the reflection and cultivation of the qualities of the divine Mind can there be a negation of the evil passions of mortal mind, which seem to find expression in wars, disasters, earthquakes, famine, and so on, all the illusions of the physical senses, to which senses those illusions seem so real? The salvation of the human race from sin, sorrow, poverty, disease, and death will come, not through human inventions, knowledge of so-called physical laws, chemistry, astronomical calculations, or the illusive essence of mortal mind called electricity, nor from mere human goodness. It will come through spiritual enlightenment and intelligent obedience to the laws of Spirit. Dominion is won by the displacing of lust with chastity, greed with generosity, blind force with love, self-will with the divine will, superstition with spiritual understanding. It is goodness outshining evil. Then appears to the clarified vision the great imperative wonder - the spiritual nature of the universe, the infinitude of good, the omnipotence of Mind.

 

Mrs. Eddy Makes Known the "Unknown"

Today we find the greatest physical scientists admitting more and more that they deal only with mental concepts. For example, we find such men as Steinmetz, who has been called a wizard in his knowledge of electricity, saying that the great power of the future will be found in the realm of Spirit. And, to quote Sir James Jeans again, in an address given in Aberdeen, Scotland, he said: "Knowledge follows knowledge. And even this knowledge is only one of probabilities and not of certainties; it is at best a smeared picture of the clear-cut reality, which we believe to lie beneath." . . . "The electron exists only in our minds. What exists beyond, and where, to put the idea of an electron into our minds, we do not know." Shall we not give all honor to her who was spiritually minded and humble enough to see and make known this "unknown" power and creator as divine Mind? Does not her teaching virtually repeat the words of St. Paul on Mars' Hill? "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."

 

Humility the First Step

How can we as individuals seeking freedom, health, and happiness come into and walk in this way of spiritual unfoldment, scientific progress? We can turn with comfort to the simplicity and tenderness of the truth as revealed through Christian Science. The first step in this way of progress is humility, that true humility which was evidenced in the power possessed by Jesus and voiced by the Preacher of old when he said: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Humility is that state of thought which has dethroned self-will and enthroned God's will, which aids in bringing every thought into captivity to Christ, Truth; that is, in conformity with Principle, perfect God and perfect man. It is that complete surrender of all belief in a self apart from God - apart from that divine Mind which is altogether good, intelligent, wise, and lovely.  It is a vigorous, practical, and courageous claiming of at-one-ment with that Mind; not in arrogance or the slightest taint of boasting, but in the serenity of security, in gracious service and unselfed rejoicing in all good.

Humility can have no sense either of fear or inferiority, timidity, inability, or servility. With true humility comes the realization that God alone is Life, the source of health, vitality, activity, and capacity. True humility is not afraid to claim man's birthright as an expression of Principle, a child of God. Humility never feels pride of accomplishment. It maintains its purity even through the greatest victory - the most sublime conquest. Witness Jesus' attitude after his resurrection. While he allowed the magnitude of his demonstration over death and the grave to speak for itself, saying unto his disciples, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have," while he thus taught his disciples and "opened . . . their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures," he never spoke of his great victory with a taint of vainglory or a sense of personal achievement. That attitude never could have attained the victory. He knew the utter unreality, the mythical nature of material existence, and the mighty uninterrupted actuality of spiritual being and identity. So at that meeting with his disciples on the shore of the Galilean sea, with the glory of his ascension before him, we have only his loving solicitation for his disciples: "Children, have ye any meat?" "Come and dine," and his compassionate regard for humanity in that tender command to Peter, "Feed my sheep."

This humility it was which enabled Jesus to say, "I and my Father are one," and, "Of mine own self I can do nothing;" it is "the Father [Mind] that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." It is that humility which claims the promise of Jesus, "Behold I give unto you power . . . over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." It also enables one to prove that statement of Mrs. Eddy (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 183), "Whatsoever is possible to God, is possible to man as God's reflection." This humility never fails to give to God [Mind] the glory, honor, power, and dominion due unto His holy name.

 

Love the Way and the Goal

One of the truest and dearest names for God is Love. The ultimate goal, then, of scientific progress must be to understand and reflect the "living beauty" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 88) and power of that Love which is the Principle of man and eternal Life; that Love which makes of one Mind all the nations that dwell upon the face of the earth; that provides abundantly for all; that ends wars and reveals the omnipresence and omnipotence of its own universal harmony. Perhaps in all the language no word has come to be more misused, misunderstood, or grossly perverted than the word "love." Most frequently is it given the exact opposite of its true meaning. Let us consider it for a few moments and see if we cannot come to know it in the pristine purity and beauty of its true meaning. We can come to see that love is not a thing of the senses, but of Principle; not personal, but universal; not fickle, selfish, and changeable, but selfless, changeless, immutable law. Its primal quality being intelligence true love is always wise.

One of the most familiar and truest definitions of love is found in the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in which the word "charity" is rightly "translated "love."

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not [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 [love], I am nothing.

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not [love], it profiteth me nothing.

"[Love] suffereth long, and is kind;  [love] envieth not;  [love] vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. . . .

"[Love] never faileth."

We read in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health, p. 19), "Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus' teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, - the law of divine Love." An important question, then, is: What is this "truer sense of "Love"? How does it differ from the finite sense of love, which has been so self-sacrificing in its efforts to aid, and yet has proved so futile and unavailing to save? We today find the answer to this by turning to John, the beloved disciple. In the fourth chapter of his first letter he gives us these great statements as to the true nature of divine Love and its reflection: "God is love;" "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." Here, then, is the great difference - "there is no fear in love; . . . perfect love casteth out fear."

The personal sense of love sees man as material, believes him capable of sinning, suffering, dying, and so is filled with fear for the one loved - often harming where it would bless. Divine Love which knows man as spiritual, not material, casts out fear caused by the belief that life is in and dependent on matter. Is a loved one seemingly ill, unhappy, surrounded by lack or distress? Then our refuge is in this "truer sense of Love" which denies these errors, and imperatively forbids giving them identity as person, place, or thing, and demands that they be displaced by the truth that man is the image and likeness of God, possessing and expressing nothing unlike his creator. The nearer and dearer the loved one seems to be, the greater should be the desire and willingness to free him from the falsities that bind and destroy, and through spiritual understanding to see the good that is his because of his inheritance as a child of God.

In order to gain a still clearer view of this "truer sense of Love" one should consider the two great commandments of the Master, on which, he said, "hang all the law and the prophets": "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;'' and, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." What does it mean to love God? This question cannot be answered without some definite, intelligent concept of what God is. We cannot love that of which we are ignorant.

In seeking for a more practical knowledge of God it is helpful for one to think of spiritual qualities. Paul names some of these in his letter to the Galatians: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." To these may be added intelligence, purity, honesty, affluence, and health. To love God, then, is to love these expressions or qualities of good. And what can be so precious, so to be desired, so to be sought after, as are these life-giving qualities? Truly, their price is above rubies, "the merchandise of [them] is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold."

Having learned to perceive these true qualities and love them, one begins to cherish and reflect them, to find them the very substance of his existence. Prayerfully and constantly one learns to protect them from robbers and devastators of personal sense - envy, malice, fear, criticism, sadness, or doubt. So doing, one loves God and his own true selfhood, the reflection of God. Then is one prepared to love his neighbor as himself. This means that one is willing to acknowledge and preserve in his own thinking the unity and oneness of God, by seeing in his neighbor the same reflection of God that he claims for himself. In this way thought becomes not a personal stopping place, but a universal transparency for Truth. Truly to love one's neighbor is to know him as spiritual and not material. Anything less than this is not worthy the name of Love.

Someone may ask, "How can I love that which seems altogether unworthy and unlovable?" That we are not required to do. We are required to see to it that that which seems unworthy and unlovely, and which is, therefore, untrue, does not cloud or interrupt our consciousness and reflection of that which is true and therefore, worthy and lovable. To love God supremely is to acknowledge His supremacy, and so we are called upon to keep our reflection of Him supreme. Would it not be a distracting world if the sun should stop shining every time its beams were directed on an unpleasant or unsavory object? As the Master said, "He maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good." So the sun keeps right on shining no matter what it seems to be shining upon. This it does because it knows only its own nature, its own being. Divine Love, in like manner, knows only its own infinitude, its own loveliness, and its uninterrupted reflection is the consciousness of man. It is this uninterrupted consciousness of divine Love we are called upon to preserve in our daily human living - allowing it to shine upon all whom we meet. This Love does not see a sick, sinful, forlorn mortal, but only His own purity, strength, health, and affluence. Love cannot see or know evil any more than the sun can know darkness.  There is no handicap in divine Love, the Principle of man's being, and so no hindering handicap has been placed on any of His children. Thus knowing and loving man, one is enabled to see him as possessing all the gifts of God: nobility of character, abundance, ability, activity, beauty, health, and harmony.

This may seem an impossible task, but as progress is made in spiritual understanding it will be seen to be as possible, scientific, and necessary to know the truth about God and man, as it is to know the truth about the multiplication table.

Infinitely tender and gentle is this "truer sense of Love," selfless in its devotion, merciful in its rebuke, universal in its blessings, unfailing in its ministry. It is the Love that "thinketh no evil," and, therefore, "never faileth." It is the Love that heals.

The way of scientific progress is an individual way - a way for you and me - the way of humility and love, the way of the Comforter. If we follow it upright of heart, courageous, willing, and obedient, we shall find the words of the Psalmist true, "Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart." In spite of seeming obstacles and difficulties it will be a shinier way, a way of substantial pleasures, of triumphant growth, of spiritual ascension and power, of joy unspeakable. It will be the way of salvation for the world.

Still we may hear the tender voice of Truth, saying, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee;" "This is the way, walk ye in it."

 

[Published in The Chicago Leader, June 17, 1938.]

 

 

HOME PAGE                INDEX OF LECTURES