The Coincidence of Pure Science and Pure Religion
George Nay, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Sickness can be healed and discord
dispelled through spiritual understanding of the one basic Cause of all that
exists said George Nay, C.S., of
The apparent conflict between science and religion arises from errors or mistakes regarding the origin of existence and the nature of the universe, the lecturer said.
Mr. Nay, who is on extended tour as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, spoke under the auspices of The Mother Church. His subject was "Christian Science: The Coincidence of Pure Science and Pure Religion."
The lecturer was introduced by Theodore Wallach, C.S., First Reader of The Mother Church, who said that people today are demanding much of religion and of the natural sciences and that "the demands and aims of religion and science are more and more being found to coincide."
Search for Better Understanding
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
During the next hour we are going to consider scientific and religious research, Truth, matter, and it may be helpful to those who are attending a Christian Science lecture for the first time to say a few words, about these terms.
By scientific research we mean, of course, the endeavor of the physical sciences to find the explanation of the physical universe, its origin, laws, and phenomena. By religious research we mean the search for a better understanding of God, His law, and His relation to man and the universe.
Another term we shall use is Truth. Truth is that which is, that which has real or eternal existence. When written with a capital T, Truth means to Christian Scientists the source or creator of all that really exists. God is called Truth in the Bible. "A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he," we read in Deuteronomy (32:4), and John writes, "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (I John 5:6). Christian Science accepts these Scriptural definitions of God as Truth or Spirit, having just and right power and infinite intelligence, "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James ). Since the power of Truth is spiritual and moral, and not material, Truth should be understood as the opposite of matter, and matter, of course, as the supposititious opposite of Truth, for Truth can have no real opposite.
Not so very long ago a title like ours for tonight would have caused quite a little flurry among both scientists and religionists, for they have maintained, and to a lesser extent they still maintain, that their respective fields are distinct from each other. But are they?
What is pure science? Science without error or the science of pure truth. Since Truth is God, pure science is divine Science. It is not man-made; it is from God and so must be spiritual. Pure religion is religion without error, or the religion of Truth called God. It is therefore not man-made, but is from God, and is not a matter for unthinking acceptance but for liberating spiritual understanding. Since matter no longer appears in either, both are metaphysical. It is at this point that science and religion, having attained purity through complete freedom from human supposition, coincide. This point of coincidence is Christian Science, for it shows the primal cause to be God, and is a complete exposition of the Christ, the truth about God and man. It is therefore the answer to all scientific and religious search and so brings to its followers the blessings promised by both, for Christian Science is that pure religion - that is, religion undefiled by mere human hypotheses - which demonstrates the God who is Truth and Love and shows forth in a practical manner the perfectibility of man, and this certainly includes all the good a mortal can think of and more than he has been taught to expect.
Mrs. Eddy Relied on God Alone
Christian Science is not an accumulation of human knowledge, but Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual discovery, her revelation; and revelation, according to Webster, is "that which is revealed by God to man." What is it that God, Truth, reveals to man? His own knowledge of Himself and of His creation, the origin and nature of all true being. This revelation could only come to the one whose deeply spiritual nature enabled her to perceive it. Such was the character of Mary Baker Eddy. She possessed, to an extraordinary degree, the qualities of both the inspired religionist and the genuine scientist: the faith, humility, and love which are the elements of true greatness, and the keen intellect, faultless logic, inspired purposefulness, and intrepidity of the research scientist.
In founding and organizing her Church, as well as the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, The Christian Science Publishing Society with all its publications, and providing for and protecting all the activities of the Christian Science movement through her Church Manual, Mrs. Eddy had no precedents to follow; she had to rely on God alone for guidance. It was her constant turning to God, with her innate spiritual capacity to hear His voice, that enabled her to take each step forward, avoid the pitfalls in her way, cope with opposition from established modes of thought, and teach her followers by her own example the great benefits of obedience to God's demands. In her "Miscellaneous Writings" she voiced the rule she herself always followed: "Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance" (p. 117).
Years of prayer and searching of the Bible, years of inspiration and persistent effort, led Mrs. Eddy from that sacred moment of her first discovery through the gradual unfoldment of Christian Science to the point of its exact presentation by her in her marvelous work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Science and Health was not the result of intellectual outlining but of divine inspiration and unfoldment. This book and the King James Version of the Bible are the only textbooks of Christian Science and the only pastor of the Christian Science church. Whoever has understood rightly anything of Christian Science has learned it from these two books.
The Bible has a special place in the affections of Christian Scientists, for Science and Health is teaching them, and they are able to prove practically, that in the pages of the Bible pure Science and pure religion indeed coincide. Mrs. Eddy wrote, as the first tenet of Christian Science, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497).
Christian Science Available to All
Especially important in her search for the Science of being were the teaching and works of that first Scientist, Christ Jesus, who, by virtue of his natural understanding of God, became the Founder of pure religion. Christian Science is the religion of Christ Jesus, for its theology includes healing the sick and the sinner in accord with his rules for moral and spiritual living, which constitute pure Christianity and which alone can lead to the scientific understanding of God as primal cause.
Christian Science, like mathematics, is available at all times to all people without regard to background, race, color, heredity, education, or occupation. No one is excluded. Because it is true, its appeal is universal. Everyone has the right to reach out for it and avail himself of it, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, the evil and the good, the just and the unjust, the godless and the God-fearing. Did not Paul say of God that He "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth"? (I Tim. 2:4.)
One day a friend of mine, a Christian Science practitioner, answering his telephone, heard the troubled voice of a woman, ask, "Do you give Christian Science treatment?" He assured her that he did and asked her, "What seems to be your problem?" She said, "Oh, it isn't I; it's my husband!" "Well," said my friend, "are you a Christian Scientist?" "No." "Is your husband?" "Oh, no," she said, "he is a physicist!" How splendid, thought my friend. He immediately felt sympathy and a sense of kinship with the man, for he realized that the aim of a physicist is to relieve the burden on humanity, and the purpose of the religionist is to bring salvation. The husband then came to the telephone and introduced himself by saying, "My wife told you, I believe, that I am a physicist." "Yes," the practitioner replied, "and I am so glad to talk with you, for you and I have the same ideal!" "What might that be?" he asked. "Truth," said my friend, "for are you not searching for the ultimate explanation of reality, of the cause and laws of the universe?" "Yes," he replied thoughtfully, "that is our ultimate purpose. But see here," he continued, "I am a very sick man; I am suffering from a serious glandular infection, and I have been told that there is no help for me. My wife has assured me that Christian Science can heal me, but I don't see how I can turn to it when I am not a religious man; I have no faith in the existence of God." "Oh, yes, you have," my friend said, "you have faith in Truth; you have faith in the existence of a primal cause; that is God!" "Oh," he said, "oh!" My friends, beginning with that moment, the path of that physicist took a definite turn toward the true highway of Christian Science, for he became a student of this great Science and found his healing. Truth is irresistible!
Let me also tell you of a Christian Science practitioner who received a call from a man who said he had tried everything materia medica and psychiatry had to offer but without avail, and he was on the point of giving up his work, as he was no longer able to attend to it. He was suffering from a disease of the nervous system for which there was no known remedy. He said quite frankly that his education and work were along medical lines, and he wondered if Christian Science could help him. Unlike the physicist, this caller was a man of deep religious feeling with a genuine reverence toward God. He listened with close attention to the explanations of Christian Science, asked for absent treatment, and was subsequently healed. And he acknowledged his healing, expressed his gratitude for it, and has continued his study of Christian Science. "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matt. 7:8). Indeed, we see many signs around us of the illumination spiritual truth is bringing to human thought, leading it ever closer to the recognition that in their true sense, Science, religion, and medicine coincide in Christian Science.
But now, just to be objective, let us remember that while physics has already come near to agreeing with the first sentence of "the scientific statement of being" in Science and Health (p. 468), "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter," it is still very far from recognizing the truth of the second sentence, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all," ending with the definition of matter as nothing by establishing God as the only substance. As long as matter is measured, taken apart, put together, exploded, transmuted, it still appears as a form of reality, although one that has become dangerously unstable and strangely elusive. Even when the physical scientist has discovered, in his own way, the unreality of matter, he will not be able to heal through that knowledge until he recognizes and makes his own the absolute Science of the Bible declaration, "The Lord he is God: there is none else beside him" (Deut. 4:35), which is the statement of pure religion. Then he will have become a Christian Scientist.
Physicists Reach Out Beyond Matter
While as yet there has been no such radical change in the means and methods of general research as from the material to the spiritual, from retort to revelation, some of the most advanced thinkers among physicists are already reaching out for something beyond matter, for an explanation of Spirit, God. But they will not find that explanation in the realm of matter but of spiritual sense. That explanation has been before the world for over seventy-five years in the Christian Science textbook, which states that God is all, and that therefore matter is but an image in mortal mind.
And how far has medicine come toward the recognition of divine Mind and the spiritual nature of man? Just as far as this: that no doubt largely under the accumulated effect of spiritual healing in Christian Science, the medical search for causation has begun to reach out beyond the realm of bacteria and glands into the realm of the human mind. One of its branches, psychosomatics or mindbody medicine, starts from the premise that it is just as important to know what kind of patient has the disease as what kind of disease the patient has. But it would be wrong to say that psychosomatics is like Christian Science. Actually, it is not. For while psychosomatics no longer blames the body exclusively for starting the disease, it still believes in the reality of both the mortally mental cause and its physical effect and leaves the patient with the sense of disease as a dire reality. One who believes in the reality of matter - no matter how good a Christian he may be - cannot help you with the problems which are the outcome of that belief. Religion must be combined with pure Science for that. Psychosomatics depends upon the human mind for the remedying of the mental cause and upon material medicine for the correction of the physical condition. It is therefore not spiritual but materially mental. The divinely mental method of Christian Science healing is summed up in Science and Health in these words (p. 145): "Scientific healing has this advantage over other methods, - that in it Truth [with a capital T, meaning God] controls error. From this fact arise its ethical as well as its physical effects. Indeed, its ethical and physical effects are indissolubly connected;" and it also teaches that both the human mind and the human body are myths. If they are, then you may well be asking, What, then, is real?
A purely physical approach to this question would identify reality with what is merely physical and materially tangible. A truly scientific approach must take into account the spiritual and moral, and begins with the observation that real permanency and spirituality are yoked together; that absolute permanency - which is reality - is predicated upon perfection, absolute faultlessness, absolute harmony. Mrs. Eddy has written: "All the real is eternal. Perfection underlies reality. Without perfection, nothing is wholly real" (Science and Health, p. 353).
Spiritual Ideas Express Reality
Since matter is never perfect and certainly not eternal, there is no material reality. The forms of reality are God's infinite spiritual ideas expressing truthfulness, activity, and intelligence. Although these ideas are invisible to the material senses, they are absolutely real because they are, like their source, absolutely harmonious, and not subject to change, deterioration, or loss. Therefore God and His pure ideas constitute reality. All that is real is visible and tangible to spiritual sense, the sense of intelligence.
Now that we understand the nature of reality as spiritual, we should hold to the fact that it is good. There is no such thing as an "awful reality," or a "sad reality."
What then of sin, disease, sorrow, poverty, unhappiness? Ask yourself: Since these are opposites of God, can they be God-made? Can they exist in or of God? The answer of course is no. God could not create or include any element or condition which is opposed to His own nature. Therefore any manifestation of evil lacks the divine cause that could give it reality; it is illusion, without real presence, past or future, and is entirely powerless. The material senses alone testify of its existence. And what are the material senses? Can matter have sense at all? Sense or awareness is a function of consciousness which is in reality spiritual and cannot be found in matter. Matter cannot really be aware of anything, and material sense must therefore be an illusion and not a true sense; material sense is but another name for what Mrs. Eddy has called mortal mind, meaning by that the false, material, discordant sense, or counterfeit, of reality. This false sense includes all that is evil and material, all that makes up the dream of mortal existence, and it includes nothing else. Therefore the realm of mortal mind is the realm of the unreal. Mrs. Eddy has written, "The material senses originate and support all that is material, untrue, selfish, or debased" (Science and Health, p. 318). It is evident, then, that the support disease, pain, lack, and so forth, receive from the material senses, or mortal mind, is merely the fictitious support the lie receives from the liar; an insistence without intelligence, an argument without truth. Mrs. Eddy describes mortal mind as "nothing claiming to be something, for Mind is immortal" (ibid., p. 591), and she teaches that all the beliefs of mortal mind which mankind manifests as disease, sin, fear, and so forth, are likewise nothing claiming to be something, illusions of the physical senses appearing to mortal mind as realities.
But, so the argument goes, disease, pain, seem so very real, so fear-inspiring. Well, is a thing real just because we seem to suffer from it? Hardly, for we often seem to suffer from misunderstandings, baseless fears, mere fearful anticipations, which we later find to be quite unwarranted.
Disease Proved to Be Only Illusion
When I was a very young student of Christian Science, I had an experience that taught me this point in a very simple way. To prove to a friend the healing power of Christian Science, I told him the story of the healing of a knee injury from which I had suffered for several years and from which I was healed during the first few weeks of my study. In order to impress him with the wonder of this healing, I related the injury in lively detail: how it had come about and how I had suffered from it day and night for over two years until my healing came in Christian Science. He was duly impressed with my story - and so was I, for almost within the hour the knee, which had been well and out of my thought for six or eight months, began to pain again so that I could not walk without a limp. Then I realized what had taken place: I had recalled the pain too vividly - too much as though it had been a real thing. But then I reminded myself that it was only mental in the first place and never really physical, an illusion which had been totally unreal all the time. This true view, appearing so clearly, was like an awakening, and I was able to handle the sense of pain as a false claim. In another hour or two it was gone, never to return, and I had learned a lesson. Doesn't this experience prove the teaching of Christian Science that disease is a thing of thought that is merely expressed on the body? Like disease, so sorrow, sin, false appetites, all fearsome things, are also but illusions or dreams of the physical sense of existence, totally unreal and therefore subject to destruction through spiritual understanding. So we see how important it is to cultivate the scientific understanding of reality, the ability to distinguish between that which seems real to the material senses and that which is real in God's sight. This discernment of reality, of spiritual good, is the function of spiritual sense.
Because God is the only source of reality, knowing God is the basic need of every human being. Science and Health defines God as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (p. 465). These terms are synonyms, that is, they have the same essential meaning, and are therefore seven terms for the one God, and they express His nature, His essence or true being, and His wholeness or infinite self-containment. Principle is derived from the Latin "principium," a term used in English literature for at least 275 years in the somewhat larger sense of beginning, fountainhead, that from which something is derived. Mrs. Eddy discerned God as the fountainhead of all reality and so was led to call Him divine Principle. Principle is an all-embracing term which, in the light of the other synonyms, fully explains the one God as the primal, eternal, and only cause of man and the universe.
Synonyms of Deity Are Explained
Because Mind, as a term for God, is by nature creating and giving, not withholding, with infinite power to sustain and protect its ideas, it follows that Mind is Love, whose eternal, unfailing functioning indicates supreme, omniactive intelligence as its primal and eternal quality. One of the mistakes in human thinking has been the notion that Mind and Love are different, that there can be real intelligence without love, or love without intelligence. The truth is that Mind to be intelligent must be loving, and Love to be good must be intelligent. Yet this synonymity of Mind and Love is clearly implied in the Bible where the wisdom of God is coupled with His mercy and kindness. It is also significant that the Anglo-Saxon form of mind, '"gemynd," is akin to the old Germanic word "minna" which means both memory and love.
The term Life leads human thought to the recognition of God as the source of true existence, as the guarantee of man's eternal, perfect continuity as God's reflection. Finally, the term Soul for God illumines the liberating truth that Soul or Spirit is not a personal possession, an unknown something hidden in an unknown spot somewhere in the material body, in constant danger of loss through disease or contamination through sin, but that Soul or Spirit is God, the Life, the intelligence, and the substance or essence of man and the universe.
Christian Science teaches that each of these synonyms possesses the nature of all. Because of the limitations of the human sense of these terms, they at first appear to differ from each other in meaning and in function, and our aim should be to identify each with all the others completely, until the meaning of any one embodies for us the combined meaning of all seven. In order to achieve this, it is not necessary to identify certain fixed qualities with one of the synonyms, as for instance by speaking habitually - and perhaps a bit mechanically - of the beauty of Soul, the intelligence of Mind, the permanence of Truth, the goodness of Love, and so forth. All these expressions are true, but why not interchange these qualities and round out the understanding of Love, for instance, by thinking of the intelligence, power, and vitality of Love, the beauty and goodness of Truth, the infinite wholeness and health of Soul, and so forth, always bearing in mind that we are describing to ourselves the nature of the one infinite God. God is infinite, and we must go on and on in our understanding of Him and in the demonstration of His nature as our own.
Man Found Inseparable From God
Now what, really, is man? Is he what he appears to be to the five senses?
Mrs. Eddy uses a number of terms to describe the real or perfect man, among them, God's image and likeness, His idea, representation, or expression, His reflection. The perfect child of a perfect Father; a spiritual idea in divine Mind showing forth the nature and character of God; Truth's unerring representative without a single element of error; the reflection of Love, living, loving, truthful - that is man! He is controlled and directed in the ways of God, for in reflection there is control - and yet perfect freedom! The corporeal mortal who may appear either sick or as a sinner, a backward, wayward, unloving, or unhappy being, is not the real, spiritual man but merely a false, human concept of him, a deflection of mortal mind. This is not the spiritual actuality of man.
We find an illustration of the real man's relationship to God in the series of numbers. All numbers are necessary for a full expression of the principle of numbers. Each is an individual entity, complete and completely effective in fulfilling its function and purpose. One number cannot take the place of another, and each is equally indispensable. Six is not twice as important as three is, and three receives just as much of the care and support of the principle as six does. There can be no strife or competition between them, for one cannot possibly take from another, and all are governed and kept completely successful by what may be regarded as the unerring principle of mathematics. Such an illustration helps us to understand how each of us receives the full measure of the Father's care.
Man is inseparable from God, as effect is inseparable from its cause. He coexists with God. Man is the reflection, the work or outcome of God. He does not become absorbed or lost in God any more than numbers are absorbed by the law of numbers; the law is expressed by the numbers; it establishes and maintains their harmonious relationships. Man's individuality is never lost; it is as eternal as the Mind which it reflects. The demonstration of our true nature as God's children is bound up with our understanding of our coexistence with God.
Jesus Demonstrated Truth of Being
That is what Jesus came to teach. He demonstrated Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship. Because of his spiritual origin, the Master's understanding of the truth of being was natural to him and came to him directly from God. The effect of such understanding upon the human character and human experience is called salvation. Jesus knew his oneness with the Father - a oneness which is not sameness, but the unity of Mind and its idea - and this deep inborn awareness of his sonship gave him his divine nature, "the godliness which animated him," to use Mrs. Eddy's words (Science and Health, p. 26). We see the coincidence of pure Science and pure religion in his understanding of the Christ. This coincidence was expressed in his character, dedicated to the service of his Father for the salvation of the human family. Jesus taught mortals the possibility of their immediate salvation from every form of evil by destroying disease, sin, poverty, and even death before their very eyes and replacing them with the natural manifestations of harmony and Life. This was dominion over error. Through his perfect knowledge of the allness of Spirit, Jesus was always in complete control of material circumstances, unafraid of their threats, unmindful of their promises. He received his understanding - his power - from the Father. Can we get it there? What did he say about that? "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John ). "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). His words speak to us today from the sacred pages of the Bible, animating us to rise to our true stature of sonship with God until, purified of all impulses not in harmony with God, we are blessed with the spiritual power to heal and enjoy a happy, healthy, useful, and successful life.
Christ Jesus was completely successful in his lifework because he had a complete understanding of God. Each one of us, in reflecting the same Mind - the same understanding - as did Christ Jesus, may also be successful in the fulfilling of our individual purposes. The guarantee of man's success is in reality his coexistence with God.
Expressing the reality of Life, Truth, and Love results in Christian healing. Our understanding of spiritual healing stems from Christ Jesus, and for its rediscovery we owe eternal gratitude to Mary Baker Eddy. Unlike the Christian Science textbook, which devotes an entire chapter of some eighty pages to the explanation of the method of spiritual healing, the Bible does not explicitly instruct us in the modus operandi of healing. Yet Jesus certainly taught his disciples to do healing work. How did he do this? Without himself using the phrase, he talked about "the mind of Christ," the Christ-consciousness that was his. He spoke also, and continually, about the manner of attaining this consciousness; and he continually exemplified the practical effect of this consciousness. Wherever he turned, there the sole reality of good became outwardly manifested. When his pure thought embraced an individual, one who was receptive to spiritual truth, healing at once followed, for the darkness of error could not endure in the light of the Mind that was in Christ Jesus. To help others to reach his spiritual discernment was his purpose, and he taught them how they could reach it. He was the Way-shower. The true way he summed up for us in the Sermon on the Mount, which our Leader calls the essence of Christian Science. In that Sermon is his own elucidation of the Mind of Christ, with its rules for everyday living. It represents in its own manner the nature of Christ Jesus. What that nature did for him, our own demonstration of true being as inculcated in the Sermon on the Mount has the power to do for us. Understanding can spiritualize our thinking to the point where the sense of evil will be as unreal to us as it was to him. Then the perfect man, the man whom Jesus consistently beheld, will be demonstrated for us as spontaneously as it always was for him.
Health is part of the salvation Jesus brought to mankind. The Oxford Dictionary defines health, in part, as salvation, and this agrees with Mrs. Eddy's definition of salvation as "sin, sickness, and death destroyed" (Science and Health, p. 593). Materia medica believes that matter causes its own disease and holds the power of its own functioning. It therefore regards matter as its antagonist, and its remedy as well. As a natural consequence materia medica is baffled by many conditions and diseases, and finds many which it considers well-nigh incurable. But Christian Science, recognizing man as spiritual, formed and maintained in accord with the law of God, does not accept any so-called law of incurability, and proves that neither age, human descent, environment, nor any material circumstance can place an individual beyond the reach of omnipresent Principle, divine, all-sustaining Love. Christian Science heals such cases.
Human thought is kept busy today with the consideration of the so-called deteriorative diseases. How can we believe in their reality and power when we understand that the substance of the man God made is spiritual and good, imperishable, never worn out by use, never losing its original vitality and self-sustaining power? Man is a whole entity, a complete idea, and no part of him can separate itself from that whole and start out on a lawless orbit of its own.
Christian Science heals organic and functional diseases. An individual who understands his spiritual nature and knows that God is his creator and animating divine Principle lives in the assurance of a harmoniously functioning bodily economy. He knows that the erroneous dream-sense about God's man, whether it seems to appear as organic or functional disease, yields to the understanding of the spiritual, invulnerable selfhood of man, whose builder and maker is God.
Conquering of Fear Essential
Heredity is not a law. Our inheritance, in the light of Christian Science, is really the continuous process of receiving, through reflection, perfect intelligence, health, strength, harmony of function, and beauty of thought, character, and individuality, which are the gifts of our Father-Mother God, in whose presence we forever live. On this truly scientific basis we are able to resist and to nullify all the lies that are the outgrowths of a totally godless and materialistic and therefore totally false sense of creation.
Inherent in every claim of evil is its attempted intimidation of the person, suggesting a sense of helplessness and confusion to him. Therefore Christian Science treatment always begins with the removal of fear. When we conquer fear we have conquered disease.
I know a Christian Scientist who proved this. He was stricken with the symptoms of an ugly disease which refused to yield to his own treatment. At first he tried to ignore his anxiety, but as the months went by and the symptoms became more pronounced, he became fairly possessed with fear. Then one day a sudden spirit of rebellion came over him against the unrighteous nature of fear. He was a good man, and he was tired, of being afraid. He went on a long walk during which he faced up to fear, but first he faced God with a deep-down honesty within himself, as a man feels when he knows that he is in the presence of God. He asked himself: Do I really believe in God? Do I know that He is infinite good and that I am His child, the very expression of His perfection? What am I afraid of? Of God? No. Is there someone else or something else? No. Is matter anything but an image in mortal mind? Can it have substance and power that I need to fear? No. What is fear? Is it a thought or an impulse from God? Is it a part of infinite Mind? No. Is it a part of me? No. It has no power to deprive me of my spiritual freedom, of my peace and happiness. I am always in the very presence of divine Love, the eternal Giver of unchanging health and perfect soundness, and I know it. Fear is nothing, and I cannot have it and, it can't hold on to me. It is a lie about the allness of God, an attempted infringement of my integrity as a child of God. God knows me, He loves me and keeps me as the very image of His own unopposed glory. I know that God is Love, and in that presence there is nothing to fear. I am not afraid because I know that God is my Father-Mother, He is my All; and I am fully conscious of my immortality and the divine perfection which underlies it.
Scientific Prayer Brings Healing
When he arrived home, he felt uplifted and, for the first time in months, relieved and assured. Within twenty-four hours the condition began to abate, and within a few days it completely disappeared. The healing has since proved permanent. Note this, that the man did not treat himself specifically against the belief of the disease, but against fear. When he succeeded in lifting the cloud of fear, he found himself healed.
What was it this man did? He prayed. Out of his reverent sense for God he realized -made real for himself - the sole presence and goodness of God, and with this realization he effectively denied the validity, presence, and power of fear and disease. In whatever manner we do it, in one way or another, these are the elements that enter into scientific prayer, which is Christian Science treatment.
Treatment in Christian Science is not a looking down to matter, but a lifting of thought to God to behold the perfection and harmonious wholeness of man as God's reflection. The antidote for any specific argument of error is a spiritual understanding of truth whose power, acting on human belief, corrects it. Mrs. Eddy writes, "The author never knew a patient who did not recover when the belief of the disease had gone" (Science and Health, p. 377).
But to heal in Christian Science requires more than intellectual discernment; it demands a preparation of the heart, for goodness alone can attain the spiritual conviction of the nearness and dearness of divine Love. This conviction comes through one's own experience with the comforting, transforming, redeeming power of the Christ, active in human consciousness, uplifting and purifying it. Out of her own deep experience Mrs. Eddy wrote: "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good" (No and Yes; p. 39). True prayer is in the heart, and not on the lips.
Is prayer necessarily but a short experience? How about a life of prayer? Think of Mrs. Eddy's life, of her unceasing, selfless work to bring the great blessings of her discovery to the entire human family!
"My prayer, some daily good to do
To Thine, for Thee;
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me."
(Poems, p. 13.)
These words of hers describe her life of prayer.
Communing with God, then, is the only true prayer, and this is Christian Science treatment. It has the power of pure Science and the sanctity of pure religion. This coincidence of Science and religion is epitomized in "the scientific statement of being," for it is a statement of absolute Science on a religious basis. It reads: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468).
Spiritually understood, this statement opens the thought of both scientist and religionist to the truth of spiritual being and so leads the mathematician, the physicist, the philosopher, the doctor, and the religionist to sit at the feet of Jesus, for Christian Science is the end of their search for the Science of being, the Science of good, which is also the religion of Truth, and which in its demonstration establishes in us the precious conviction of our sonship with God. No freedom is sweeter, no assurance greater, no joy purer than that; no health more dependable, no life more satisfying than that which appears for us in this way. This is the gift of our Father-Mother God; it is our birthright, waiting to be claimed. Christian Science makes it possible for us to lay hold of this birthright - today.
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 25, 1955.]