The Love and Logic of Christian Science Healing
Henry Allen Nichols, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
This lecture on Christian Science,
sponsored by the Second Church of Christ, Scientist,
Mrs. Isabell Semple, Second Reader of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, St. Petersburg, said in introducing the speaker of the evening: "Somebody somewhere has said 'A hearty welcome is a glorious feast'.
Some people are instantly healed of sickness when they glimpse the fact that God is Love. Any and all of us become more loving as we more fully comprehend the nature of divine Love, as explained in Christian Science. And when we find that Christian Science stands to reason and that it is true and that we can understand it, we gain a confidence and joy which we had never known before. Some of us are healed of disease at this point. In this natural way we find that our new-found love and understanding are practical. These are the good reports commonly heard about Christian Science: namely, that it teaches that God is Love, that it appeals to reason, and that it is practical.
I should like to talk with you about why and how Christian Science heals. The simplest explanation that I can give of why Christian Science heals is that its motive and incentive is love. And the simplest explanation of how Christian Science heals is that it heals by love coupled with a demonstrable understanding of the divine Principle and rules of health. This Principle is God. A demonstrable understanding of Principle and rule - this is what a science is, according to dictionary definition. And this, we consider, is what Christianity is as Christ Jesus practiced it - the practical understanding and proof that God is Love.
Christ Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John ). This statement clearly implies that if you understood how he healed, then you could heal also. Even though you are just beginning to learn of Christian Science, you already perhaps understand enough of Christianity to put it into practice and in this way to begin fulfilling the promise of Christ Jesus. Love and kindness impel almost anyone with the desire to do away with disease and suffering. Jesus' love for the people who came to him was so great that he healed them. It you could stop pain, if you could heal yourself by prayer just once, how would you feel about it? Would you not feel you had found Christ Jesus' way, God's way, the way of Love? God's way of love - that is it! Would not you think you had glimpsed how Jesus loved and how he healed by love - by knowing and expressing God's love?
If you healed yourself just once by glimpsing the nature of divine Love, your yearning to be able to do it again and again for yourself and for your fellowmen might grow into a feeling of necessity - a necessity to understand fully how it was done. Would you not go to work with sober resolve to gain that understanding?
Healing Is by Love and Spiritual Understanding
This is what Mary Baker Eddy did and instructed us to do also. God has given to everyone the capacity to heal by love and spiritual understanding. In order to aid us in understanding how to heal, let us read Mrs. Eddy's own account of how she gained that understanding. But first let me tell you of her own healing. During the winter of 1866 she slipped and fell on the ice. Kind neighbors carried her home. The physician and her pastor despaired of her life. Asking them to leave her alone with her Bible, she turned to the book of Matthew to Jesus' healing of the paralyzed man. This is what she read in her copy of the King James Version of the Bible: "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. . . . Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house" (Matt. 9:2,6). While she was reading, she perceived that the divine Love by which Jesus healed was still present and all-powerful. She glimpsed the nature of divine Love. Immediately she rose and dressed herself and joined the household - healed.
But Mrs. Eddy did not stop with this remarkable occurrence. On page 109 of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she writes: "For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule. The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing. I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration."
She then devoted her life to the practice of the Science of Christianity - not only to the practice of healing, but, as the Master did, to explaining and teaching mankind how to do this healing work also. Jesus did not come to relieve mankind of the necessity of putting the truth into practice. He taught that everyone has to work out his own salvation, and that we can do it when we learn the way. That is where we stand at this moment at the point of learning how to heal disease and other ills - and at the same time, of working out our own salvation.
All the while we are learning, we will be sustained, impelled, and inspired by divine Love. Some of us are already aware of this. By practice we have learned that fears, hurt feelings, and willfulness yield to love. We have learned something of what love can do for us as well as for others. "Love enriches the nature," writes Mrs. Eddy, "enlarging, purifying, and elevating it" (Science and Health, p. 57). Growth in character and wisdom are indeed rich rewards of learning to love - and health comes also as we discern the healing power of divine Love.
The Science of Healing
"But I must know the Science of this healing," Mrs. Eddy wrote (ibid., p. 109). And how did she win her way to an absolute knowledge of this Science? Through "divine revelation, reason, and demonstration," she assures us.
Now revelation, we know, is the disclosure to human sense of divine truth, which human sense of itself could never originate. God reveals His truth to humanity.
Demonstration as understood in Christian Science is proof, or the effect of the revealed truth in human experience.
But reason or logical thinking - let me speak to you for a few minutes on this subject. We may define reason as the faculty of drawing conclusions from a given premise; of proceeding, in thought, from a premise to its conclusions, or from effects back to their origin. Is not reason that faculty of intelligence which understands the relationship between cause and effect? Without the faculty of reason, cause and effect would appear unrelated and unexplained. Another dictionary definition of reason is explanation, as when you give a reason for something. Christian Science, then, as the explanation and demonstration of divine cause and effect, could never have appeared, and did not appear, without the element of reason.
We are prone to consider that our human ability to reason or to think logically has a merely human origin. But it is borrowed from a higher source than brain or matter. Sound human reason imitates or patterns some divine faculty. What is this divine faculty? On page 72 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy names it. She writes, "God, good, being ever present, it follows in divine logic that evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present." Divine logic, then, is what sound human logic or reasoning patterns and with which it coincides.
What is divine logic? The all-knowing Mind, God, knows Himself, His own being. He knows that He is good, that He is Life, and Truth, and Love. He knows His own omnipresence and eternality. He also knows that He is the source and substance of all true being; that all that exists expresses His nature and that there is therefore nothing unlike Him. This knowing of the inevitable relationship and nature of cause and effect, Mind and its manifestation, is the divine Mind's logic. God has always been expressing His own nature, and we have in the Bible humanity's record that it has heard God declaring Himself and the character of His mighty creation. What does God say in the very first chapter of Genesis? "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). That is: My children are like Myself according to My divine logic that like produces like. In Isaiah 46:9,10, God says, "I am God, . . . declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done." That is: I am the all-knowing Mind; I know perfectly well what my manifestation is, and I have been declaring it always.
Christ Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John ). The day finally came, as Jesus said it would, when one who followed his teaching closely was able to perceive these further things clearly. Mary Baker Eddy perceived this scientific explanation of God not only in the Bible, but directly from the source whence the Bible writers caught their glimpses of it - that is, from God, from divine Mind itself. And that is where we may find it. God is our divine Mind too!
Not long ago a girl who was a high-school graduate asked me in Sunday School, "What is reasoning; how do you reason?" The answer came simply enough: "Every time you say or think 'because' and 'therefore' you are reasoning. Every time you answer the question How? and Why? you are reasoning. God is the how and why of everything, isn't He? Because God is Love, therefore man is loving. Because God is Life, therefore man is alive." Then we found in the Lesson for that Sunday some passages in Science and Health where Mrs. Eddy said "because" and "therefore." We learned to distinguish false reasoning based on matter from scientific reasoning based on God. We learned that the simplest forms of reasoning were establishing the connection between cause and effect. We learned what the law of cause and effect is; namely, that like produces like. We saw how Jesus reasoned. Intelligent reason completely satisfied this young girl. Her happy face showed it. She is teaching Sunday School herself now.
One of the great advantages of God's revelation of divine logic is that it shows us we can do our own thinking and work out our own salvation. Given the divine ability to be logical, every man is able to "prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another," as Paul says in Galatians (6:4). We do not have to ask anyone else whether we are right when we correctly use divine logic, for it is self-proving - so sound and infallible that it not only gives us self-confidence but brings outward proof.
I knew of a case that appeared to be one of long-standing physical inaction, but it was really a case of mental inaction. This woman said to her friend that she couldn't think; Science and Health seemed to her just words and her own declarations of truth meaningless. "Why, of course, you can think! I will help you to prove it for yourself," her friend assured her. A list of written questions was drawn up, simple questions that nevertheless required thoughtful reasoning to answer, such as: Is God Mind? What is the primary function of Mind? Is there anything the matter with the one Mind which is my "knowing capacity"? Is it divine Mind that is saying that I cannot think? If Mind is not saying it, what is? etc. When alone, she read the questions over as if dazed. The answers slowly began to come, and she wrote them down. When her friend came to see her, she gave them to him timidly. A glance showed him they were good answers coinciding with divine logic; so with hearty assurance he read the questions and answers back to her, praising her and praising God. She began to smile through her tears as she recognized the fact that of course she could think! The mesmerism was broken! Mental and physical action became normal.
Every Man Expresses Mind
From this experience we may draw the following conclusions: Man in God's likeness is not an unconscious object, like a helpless wooden pawn on a chessboard, nor a guided missile, controlled by an external intelligence. Man is controlled by the divine Mind, which actually is his Mind. He is an individual consciousness expressing this Mind. He does not think independently of Mind. Neither do men think for each other; they do not depend upon each other - any more than leaves on a tree do, or individual rays of light - but each expresses directly the one source of all being, namely God.
Christian Science is the Science of direct individual expression. Which would seem more wonderful to you - to have a visible apparition appear to you and tell you what to do, or to know within yourself what to do; to have some other human being to ask, or to know for yourself? Whom did Moses have to ask? He came to know that the inward voice was the voice of God. It was the proof or indication that he was one with divine Mind. We too may know that the inward voice is, to each of us, the voice of God. ,
A college girl - the lovely daughter of Christian Scientists - seemed to suffer mental and physical exhaustion. She said, "I just work my head off and never think about God." Right away the practitioner saw what was the trouble. She was thinking of herself as something apart from God. So the practitioner said to her: "You and the Principle of your being are not so far apart and separated as here and there, as though God were up there and you were reflecting Him down here. You are not separated from Him. God is closer than your two hands clasped together! For your two human hands might conceivably exist without each other. But you and the Principle of your being do not and cannot exist without each other. Cause and effect are one. Each exists because the other exists, and neither exists without the other. Tell me: when you multiply 10 x 10, where is the principle of mathematics? Isn't it where the multiplying is going on? The principle of mathematics is expressing itself right there as 10 x 10 = 100. The Principle of your being, God, Mind, is right where you are, expressing itself in you. You are the expression of Mind - that is what man is. Why, you wouldn't be here if the Principle of your being wasn't here! Do you see how close God is to you? God is the Mind you really know with. God is the Love you truly love with. God is the Life you express. The ray of light is the sun's own shining, isn't it? God is doing all, always. God is giving His ideas to you, isn't He? It was only the ignorant suggestion that you are a mortal and that your mind is material that made you believe you had to invent some ideas by yourself and that you had to work so hard to do it." She recovered, of course. And she gave this as a testimony in the Christian Science Organization in the college she was attending.
So you can see how logic, coupled with love - always with love - heals. You can see its great importance. It heals by explaining the truth to us. It heals by correcting those false conclusions that get us into trouble. By correcting our thoughts it heals our bodies. Are we beginning to understand how Jesus healed - with love and logic? These are elements of the Christ, and Jesus brought them to human comprehension - to human affection and human reasoning. Sound Christian reasoning leads to the healing of sin, including moral evil. Listen to Mrs. Eddy's words: "Reason is the most active human faculty. Let that inform the sentiments and awaken the man's dormant sense of moral obligation, and by degrees he will learn the nothingness of the pleasures of human sense and the grandeur and bliss of a spiritual sense, which silences the material or corporeal. Then he not only will be saved, but is saved" (Science and Health, pp. 327, 328). The Christ is the spirit of Truth and Love, the spiritual understanding of God. This spirit and understanding made Jesus the affectionate and wise human being that he was. As we imbibe this spirit and gain this understanding, these will make us more affectionate and wise.
We can never cease to be grateful that Jesus unfolded the spirit of Christianity first, before its Science was revealed. Human sense might have wrecked itself on the rocks of intellectualism if it had not first learned the compassion and tenderness of love. Christ Jesus healed humanity's sufferings; he gave us the Beatitudes. He called little children unto him and exalted the meek and lowly. His Sermon on the Mount was the doctrine of love; he overcame hatred with love. He was truly a Christian Scientist.
The Love and Logic of the Sermon on the Mount
This loving spirit of Christianity has lived through the centuries, and we can understand the connection between divine logic and love. Both of these have been working together as brother and sister, children of the one parent Mind - love, the tender sister, acknowledged to be Christian; and logic, the wise brother, also Christian but not recognized to be so until revealed by Christian Science. These have always been two elements of the one Christianity, elements which human sense had separated, calling love spiritual but science material. Christian Science has reunited them by revealing that they are both divine. Listen to the sweet and simple logic of the Apostle James: "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh" (James ). Can the logic of this statement be separated from its sweet spirit? Is there any discrepancy or conflict between the two? Then, let us not separate Science and Christianity in our own thinking. The logic and the love of the Sermon on the Mount have always been there - the tender love and the flawless Science are ever present. But only now are we becoming conscious of the Science, because only in our time did divine Mind reveal it again through one of Jesus' followers who learned to be both logical and loving enough to perceive it. And Mind revealed it at a time when there was a people reasonable and compassionate enough to be able to accept her statement of it. Why did not Jesus explain it, someone may ask, to the people of his time? Perhaps because he found they had not yet become compassionate enough and had not yet learned to reason clearly; that is, to be exact in their thinking. In short, they were not ready to stand the discipline of exact Science. Are we ready today? Eighty-five years have passed since the revelation of the Science of Christianity was proclaimed to us.
It took humanity nineteen hundred years from the time of Jesus to be ready for this Science. It is as though intelligence said to human thought, "Before you are ready to go into the promised land of Christian Science, you must learn to reason." God led humanity for nineteen hundred years (as He led the children of Israel forty years through the wilderness), saying to them: "If you are not able to reason on spiritual things immediately; I will take you by the hand and patiently and lovingly teach you to reason on the level where you are better able to do so - on the level of astronomy, mathematics, optics, physics, and chemistry. It will be a long journey through the wilderness, but you must learn to reason! Eventually you will discover that I, the God of Truth, am a logical God, the very Mind and Principle of all that is truly scientific; that Science itself is Mine, My own natural way of expressing Myself. I am a scientific God, a logical Mind, and I am your Mind - your logical, loving intelligence!"
Christian Science and Education
What again is the importance to us of divine logic? It enables us to explain the truth to others. Those who come for healing want not only to be healed but also to have a simple explanation of how they are healed. And what about our young people? In school and college they are given highly technical knowledge supported by material theories and material reasoning. Are material sciences more logical than Christianity? Is the explanation of matter more logical than the explanation of divine Mind? "Has God no Science to declare Mind, while matter is governed by unerring intelligence?" asks Mrs. Eddy on page 546 of Science and Health. Shall we abandon the young people to these material theories? Shall we not be as explicit, as specific, as explanatory, and as logical as their school-teachers are? Christian Science is logical. Our textbook is logical. The time for us to be logical thinkers is come!
Our young people need a good education. "Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal." So writes our learned and inspired Leader, Mrs. Eddy, on page 195 of our textbook. On this same page she says, "Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause." We should all understand these subjects to be symbols of the actual spiritual facts. We must learn the relation between human concepts and divine facts or ideas. But there is no relation between human concepts and divine ideas," someone may say. In the absolute sense, of course, this is correct. But in the relative or human sense, all good and worthy human concepts are beliefs about or symbols of spiritual realities. We can read what Mrs. Eddy say on pages 60 and 61 of "Miscellaneous Writings": "Every material belief hints the existence of spiritual reality; and if mortals are instructed in spiritual things, it will be seen that material belief, in all its manifestations, reversed, will be found the type and representative of verities priceless, eternal, and just at hand. The education of the future will be instruction in spiritual Science, against the material symbolic counterfeit sciences." By learning how to reverse or translate these symbolic sciences back into the spiritual verities of the Science of Mind, we shall be instituting today the education of the future. Translating human concepts back into spiritual ideas is one function of inspired reason. Applying spiritual ideas to the improvement or correction of human concepts and conditions is also a function of reason.
On the desert in wartime, when I had the great privilege of being a Christian Science wartime minister, I found many soldier boys who had come from Christian homes and had gone to Sunday School, yet who confessed to drifting away from their churches. The reasons they gave were less questions of morals than of logic; they could not translate what they had been taught in school, college, and in the Army back into the spiritual ideas. So I reasoned with them. Some said they wished they had known how to reason things out before. Some said they got more out of our discussions than out of anything since Sunday School.
Another wartime minister and I
were driving his station wagon very early one morning along a little-traveled
desert road skirting the
I did not see the lieutenant again until the maneuvers were ended several weeks later. This time he had quite a different story to tell. It seems that during the maneuvers he was given orders to take a small detachment into the hills and to try to infiltrate the enemy lines. In telling me about it he said that he kept silently declaring that God was the source of his intelligence and of right ideas. "At daylight," he said, "we found ourselves in a little gully. It was sandy underfoot, and we made no noise as we advanced. We captured an enemy's patrol so suddenly that he could not give any alarm. Quickly and quietly we went ahead - and captured the regimental command post, much to the colonel's disgust. The colonel said: 'You can't do this. You're not supposed to be here.' But you see," the lieutenant went on to tell me, "there we were, and we had him - all because I knew that Mind was telling me what to do."
Before this division moved out of the desert, I went to pay my respects to the commanding general. The general leaned forward with interest as I told him about several of the boys in his command, including this lieutenant, who had used their understanding of Christian Science to good effect. I said to the general, "I'm telling you this because I want you to know that these Christian Science boys make good soldiers." "Yes, I believe it," he replied. "They use good initiative, and if they do it in maneuvers, they will do it in battle."
How important is it not only to heal the sick, but to know how it is done? The method of Christian healing is as much a part of it as are its results. Mary Baker Eddy's understanding of the modus operandi of divine healing, the method, the rule, how it works, enabled her to demonstrate it repeatedly with scientific certainty. And not only that, but it enabled her to tell us how to do it.
What is it that so distinguishes the good soldier from the indifferent one? He knows how to think! Intelligent thinking distinguishes the scientific Christian! It enables us to heal not only once in an inspired moment, but again and again - with scientific certainty. Without an understanding of the method and rules of Christian healing, we would be only occasional healers, or faith healers, or not healers at all.
A case of stiff and painful knees came to a practitioner to be healed. He discerned that the young man, while loving enough, was paying no attention to evil beliefs, and that the knees were innocent victims. So the practitioner wrote to him: "You know better than to believe there is anything the matter with God's likeness. Prove this to yourself by using not only your spiritual discernment of good but also your scientific reasoning. These are both sound, and evil cannot either incapacitate them or withstand them."
The next Saturday night the young man went square dancing! Seeing him afterwards, the practitioner asked him what spiritual ideas and what method of thinking had come to him and given him freedom. He couldn't remember that any had. The practitioner knew better than that, so asked him to think it over. A few days later he said: "Something did unfold to me as I was driving to work one morning. The idea came to me that I actually did have spiritual discernment and could reason scientifically, and I saw then there could be nothing the matter with either of my legs.
The Angels Gabriel and Michael
What is it that analyzes human error and tests its premises and conclusions and so exposes and annihilates it? Sound logic, always working with love. Your love and logic are the upper and nether millstones in the mills of God which grind all with exactness and "grind exceeding small." From them no claim of evil can escape. Both millstones are necessary - one alone could not grind or accomplish anything. For lack of logic, mercy alone was unable to save early Christian healing from the subtleties of paganism. Again, may not your love and logic be the Gabriel and Michael of your healing method? The angels Gabriel and Michael, as you know, are occasionally spoken of in the Bible. Gabriel is the gentleness that comforts and blesses. Gabriel is the pure spiritual discernment that perceives spiritual truths. It was Gabriel who tenderly revealed to the Virgin Mary that God is the Father of man. Michael is the militant one that faces the pretensions of evil and overcomes them with the sheer force of his scientific reasoning and conviction. According to Christian Science, angels are not etherealized persons, but God-given thoughts which inspire and empower us. Mrs. Eddy writes: "Michael's characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and fights the holy wars. Gabriel has the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love. These angels deliver us from the depths. Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God" (Science and Health, pp. 566,567). One who is a lover of mankind asks, "Has not the time come to heal more by the spirit than by argument?" As we advance in spiritual understanding we have need for both Gabriel and Michael. Shall we not exalt our concept of Michael and find him to have a holier character than we had perceived? Like faith that must be raised to spiritual understanding, so human argument or reasoning must be raised to its origin - divine logic. Sound human reasoning which coincides with the divine is humanly indispensable.
This method of convincing humanity that error is unreal is the method of Christian Science as revealed to and practiced by the Discoverer of this Science. We do well to cultivate our own skill in using it, for by this method do we convince ourselves of error's nothingness. No other method known to man has ever accomplished this. The function of logic is not only to test conclusions already arrived at, but to lead thought to new conclusions, to ideas never before apprehended. Was it by sheer logic that Mrs. Eddy arrived at the inescapable and revolutionary conclusion that because God is All, therefore evil is nothing? Can anyone say that that conclusion came as pure inspiration and not by logic? It is as divinely logical as it is inspired. Where does logic begin and inspiration end? Neither begins nor ends. Our genuine spiritual intuitions, our spiritual inspirations, soaring above and beyond the slow plodding of mortal mind, do not leave logic behind. The unfolding of spiritual ideas is logical and orderly in sequence. Genuine divine logic is as spontaneous and unshackled as divine inspiration. They are not mutually exclusive but mutually inclusive; they are distinguishable, but inseparable because they are two aspects of the one divine manifestation. Their union is an element of Christian Science, or the Science of Christ's Christianity.
In his true being man is an original thinker, positive, inspired, and spontaneous. Reflecting divine Mind, he is self-governed. Every man is a law unto himself, but not unto others. This means every man knowing what is right, loving what is right, doing what is right. It means every man loving his neighbor as himself. Every man is a divinely governed individual because he is the individual reflection of his all-governing Principle. This is the kingdom of heaven on earth. In this kingdom are there no pretensions of evil to face and overcome? So long as this kingdom seems material we will have to face error's pretensions in one form or another. In prayer are we conscious of good only? It is in prayer that we face and overcome the claims of mental evil. Whether evil seems to be in our own thought or in the thought of others, it is brought to the surface while we are praying. The prayer of love and logic that brings evil to the surface is able to render it powerless and so prove it to be unreal. Everyone may pray as Christian Scientists do: " 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 4.)
[Published in The Largo (Florida) Sentinel, Nov. 26, 1953. Also published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, May 19, 1955.]