Christian Science: Its Conceptions and Its Consistencies
Grace Jane Noee, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science lectures were provided for by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, and their purpose is to bless, to remind us of our atonement with God, to help us understand and in some degree demonstrate the unreality of all that is unlike God and His spiritual creation; to bring into expression something of dominion and prestige our Father has bestowed upon us. This is a holy purpose. There is no reason why it should not be fulfilled. There is every reason why it can be fulfilled. Christian Science rests on the solid foundation of its relation to Scriptural prophecy and promise, and it consistently sustains its interpretations and conceptions with proofs, healings. Christian Science is doing the works that Christ Jesus did, and it is doing them in the way they should be done.
During this hour we are to consider briefly and simply some conceptions of Christian Science, its consistencies and their effects - what they can mean to you and me in the way of improved circumstances and progress in our affairs.
We shall consider the Bible as the inspired Word of God. We shall consider the Christian Science conceptions of God as Father-Mother, the source of the real conditions and laws of our being. We shall consider the Son of God, one Christ. We shall consider the Christian Science conception of Jesus as the Son of man who demonstrated more than any other his spiritual identity as the Son of God. We are to consider man, your and my true identity as the reflection of God. We shall consider the Christian Science concept of prayer and salvation. The Bible promises us salvation. Christian Science shows us what salvation means, how to attain it. Salvation, when viewed from the standpoint of Christian Science, is the awakening to our God-given freedom from all sin, from pain and loneliness, from poverty. This awakening is a wholly mental process and must be worked out individually. No one can do this for another. No one can get another into the kingdom and no one can keep another out of the kingdom. The Bible makes healing a condition of salvation. Christian Science shows us how to fulfill this condition. Salvation as applied to humanity is that perfect state of being we all must show forth. This is in accord with Bible prophecy: It is attained only through the understanding of God and the demonstration of this understanding by healing the sick, by overcoming sin and death.
Many recognize that the inspired Word of God is to be found in the Bible. Christian Scientists agree with the appreciation and reverence with which the Bible is regarded by countless religious and spiritually-minded people, but it remained for Mary Baker Eddy to discover and reveal the practical and broader interpretation of the great Bible truths. Mrs. Eddy states in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 406), "The Bible contains the recipe for all healing." Christian Science, based upon the teachings of the Bible, is bearing this out by healing every known disease and discord, every phase of fear and sin and their effects.
For centuries the Bible has brought comfort to its readers. Christian Science brings comfort, and it does far more than this; it not only brings comfort to the brokenhearted, but it heals the brokenhearted. It not only gives the sinner hope, but it heals and redeems him. It heals the suffering heart, the lonely heart, the hardened heart. Through Mrs. Eddy and her work, great numbers have come to accept the Bible as the book of Life, or God, in its highest and most exact sense.
Referring to God as the only creator, the only cause, Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 207): "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause." There we have the Christian Science concept of God. It is of course based upon the Bible, and all teaching, study, and practice of Christian Science conforms consistently to this concept of God. While affirming the allness of God, the statement just quoted denies reality to every claim of matter or mortal mind; it denies matter's claims to any existence as cause or effect. Here is the great point of difference between Christian Science and all other religions or systems of healing. All through the Bible it is emphasized that God is the only creator. One who accepts and understandingly affirms the allness of God, who understandingly denies reality to any evil purpose or claim to power, to any cause or effect apart from God, will find God's creation becoming increasingly manifest in his experience.
With even a slight understanding that being is spiritual, not material, his concepts will begin to change, to improve. Things he has formerly thought obscure or intangible will begin to have meaning and evidence. He will learn that opportunity is not something that belongs to the past or that can be lost or even withheld. Through Christian Science, better ways and things are revealed, become tangible and substantial. Humanly, these may be seen as a better sense of health, a better position, a more substantial and active business, better morals and habits, a happier and more comfortable home, and other improved conditions in every phase of one's experience.
The Divine Law
The understanding of God and His Christ acts as divine and omnipotent law. This law will not only protect and prosper those who apply it consistently, but it will deliver them from any situation in which they may find themselves as the result of sin, of disease, of dishonesty, or any other mistake operating through themselves or others.
As we use consistently, put into practice, this new-found understanding of God, we begin to realize how wrong have been our concepts of almost everything that seems to make up the human experience, and we begin to weigh more carefully our thoughts and our words, to use more discretion as to what we take into our consciousness. We give up those thoughts or things or habits that would resist and delay our progress, that would interfere with the unfoldment of our high destiny. We discover that God does not cause or use suffering of any kind for any purpose; that all suffering is self-imposed. We discover that when our concept of anything or anyone is material or physical, it may mean confinement and suffering; that only when our concept is spiritual is it not confined but is "then winged to reach the divine glory" (Science and Health, p. 323).
The Ten Commandments, or moral law, begin to take on a much higher sense and importance as their spiritual import unfolds. We begin to see that if the Christ, Truth, heals a headache, it will heal a heartache, a broken spirit, a broken home, a broken bone. We learn that pain does not cause us to be critical and irritable, but that the habit of criticism may have induced the pain. We see that there is no cause for wavering loyalties, for trembling fidelities. We begin to see that self-assertiveness, self-justification, inordinate ambition, sensitiveness, and fear are all a waste of time because we have the divine Mind by which to demonstrate clearer decisions, better place, and firmer security. We contribute less and less to this make-believe world's false concepts. We realize that it takes an effort to be sick. Since becoming Christian Scientists, we do not surrender so easily to beliefs about age, failing faculties, impaired functions, or any encroachment of evil suggestion. We begin to acquire the necessary and sufficient spiritual understanding to minimize unhappy and unnecessary experiences and so to use this understanding that it may bring us safely through experiences we are not able to avoid. We aim to stop living in the past or the future. We minimize grief over evil experiences, the scars and painful adhesions of past mistakes. We seek to correct them through repentance and reformation. We seek to present the transitional qualities such as faith and honesty, compassion and meekness, as we go forward. All this time Mind, Truth, is unfolding to us broader views, safer friendships, and thought is turned into healthier channels. This is the result of our consistent effort to understand God and to use what we understand.
Mrs. Eddy revealed the nature, the eternality, of the Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship, or the Messiah. She frequently refers to the one Christ as the Christ, Truth, indicating not that Christ is God, but an impartation of God. Christ manifests the omnipotent and irresistible truth of God and man, including the universe. She speaks of Christ as the Truth and Life born of God, as the Way. She speaks of the human Jesus, born of a virgin, as the Way-shower who unveiled the Christ and demonstrated God's nature to us. She speaks of Christ Jesus as the individual ideal of Truth.
Mrs. Eddy understood that man has a noble destiny and that this destiny can be fulfilled for us through the Christ, Truth. It was the Christ which enabled Moses to deliver and advance his nation to worship God spiritually. It was the Christ which enabled Jesus to feed the multitudes, to walk on the water, to still the tempest. It was the Christ which raised Jesus and others from the belief in death. It is this same Christ, Truth, which enables us to exercise the power of God, thereby restoring our real selves through the awakening of spiritual sense.
Of Jesus, Mrs. Eddy has written (Pulpit and Press, p. 10), "It was our Master's self-immolation, his life-giving love, healing both mind and body, that raised the deadened conscience, paralyzed by inactive faith, to a quickened sense of mortal's necessities, - and God's power and purpose to supply them."
A testimony given in The Mother Church illustrates Mrs. Eddy's statement just quoted of God's power and purpose to supply mortal's necessities. It brings out clearly the absolute certainty and precision with which divine Mind, or Love, operates in our behalf when we are faithful. I was able to get in touch with the one who gave the testimony and was given the details of the experience. Briefly it is this: A student of Christian Science was arrested for a crime he did not commit. The accused man stated that at the time the crime was committed he was sitting in a public garden talking with a stranger. The accused was asked to produce this stranger as a witness, but he was unable to do so. Advertisements were inserted in the daily newspapers, but without result. This innocent man's case seemed hopeless, and he asked for help in Christian Science. Days went by, but the reports were still of a negative character. No information had been found that could help. The practitioner and the patient both felt that they were doing the very best they knew and that they would continue to do this, but prayed that they might trust more. The second day of the trial they learned that the judge was about to sum up the case. There seemed no hope at all, as the alibi presented was so weak.
Now we turn for a moment to the stranger whose testimony was so important to the prisoner. He was an architect visiting that city and he had left the morning following the crime for his home fifteen hundred miles away. He had been home about a week when he felt a great urge to return to the city he had left. It seemed foolish to his family that he should make this long journey again so soon, but he felt dissatisfied and unsettled, assuming that in his hurried trip he had not taken sufficient time to see enough of the architecture of the city. He left his home and arrived in the city on the second day of the trial. After settling his baggage, he asked the porter to direct him to some buildings of interest in the vicinity, as he had stayed in the other end of the city on his previous visit. The Hall of Justice was close by, so he was directed there first. After spending some time on the outside, he entered the building and soon found himself at the door of a room where a trial was going on. As he stood there the judge was summing up the case and spoke of the accused man and his failure to establish an alibi. The visitor by this time had recognized the defendant and realized that he himself was the much-needed witness. The judge asked the prisoner, "But where is this man?" The prisoner looked up, saw the witness he had been seeking, and replied, "There he is." It was only a matter of moments when the whole case was cleared and dismissed and the prisoner freed.
If one is confronted with a case that seems to be obstinate - and most of us are at some time in our experience - he will find this incident helpful, for although all the evidence was against the accused man, and although nothing appeared to be yielding or working out, the divine law was operating in his behalf all the time. Mind revealed and produced that which was necessary to vindicate and deliver him.
This will always be so when the divine law of Soul is understood, obeyed, utilized. Few of us escape the temptation or suggestion that some condition or circumstance is unique or hopeless; that we do not know enough to overcome it; that it has lasted so long, etc., and it may not be easy to be happy and grateful through the experience. But we can be sure that there never can be any circumstance that cannot be adjusted by divine law - no condition that cannot be healed. It is unthinkable that time or space can keep Truth from unfolding or can delay or prevent healing, for the Christ, Truth, is always present everywhere and always able to dispel any kind of mist. There never was a time, there never will be a time, when Mind is not unfolding; it will always reveal to us what we need to know or do in order to heal. Mind never operates contrary to law, but is perpetually governing through its law all that exists. Not only in heaven but on earth, God's law, His loving will, is done.
Truth includes the scientific fact of our spiritual sonship with God, of you and me as individual ideas, ideas of conscious integrity. God is Spirit, and individual man is spiritual and eternal, reflecting the qualities or nature of God. Then, in our true being, we are "joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. ), forever reflecting God in His wisdom and goodness and power. Then our true self has never entered matter, but actually coexists with God. As reflections of God, our identities are incorporeal, immortal, joyous, immune to mental contagion or infection, safe from any belief of error. Christian Scientists believe this. We believe that all things are possible to God. We believe that God has given each one of us a noble destiny. Like the centurion whose son was healed, we believe the word that has been revealed to us; and through Christian Science we are lifting belief to a deep spiritual faith and then to understanding.
When getting our first glimpse of this wonderful truth of ourselves, most of us feel that we have a long way to go before we can reach or demonstrate this "stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13), and humanly speaking we may have a very long way to go. Christian Science does not ignore mortal man and his needs. It is to redeem him that Christian Science has come to us. Nor does Mrs. Eddy make light of the effort necessary to translate the human or material back into Spirit, into reality. She says in Science and Health (p. 322), "It is highly important - in view of the immense work to be accomplished before this recognition of divine Science can come - to turn our thoughts towards divine principle, that finite belief may be prepared to relinquish its error." She also says, " . . . Jesus spares us not one individual experience if we follow his commands faithfully" (ibid., p. 26).
It has been said that a ruler's son once tried to buy mathematics from Euclid, who replied, "There is no royal road to mathematics." Neither is there a royal road to metaphysics. There is no easy road to anything that is worth having. Christian Science is indeed the royal road, but nowhere in the Bible or in Mrs. Eddy's writings is this road presented as an easy one to travel, but it has been demonstrated that through Christian Science this road becomes the safe road, a progressively happy one, and the one sure way to salvation. No one is tempted to turn out of this road who consistently keeps active his understanding of God, however slight, who sticks all the way to his text, that God is the only power, that evil is powerless.
Consistency in its broadest sense is essential to the successful practice of Christian Science. Most of us have at some time had the experience of a delayed healing - delayed solution of a problem. In working toward this solution we probably thought that we were faithful and that we were working correctly, but suddenly it was revealed to us that somewhere along the line we had failed to be consistent in our study or in our practice of Christian Science. When the inconsistency was seen, repented of, and correction made, the problem was soon solved. This is the way of progress. Our Father always waits to welcome and heal the contrite heart.
Failures and inconsistencies are caused by error, the suggestion or belief that man is conceived by both God and man, that he is conceived both spiritually and materially. That is not true, and it is comforting to remember that suggestions based on this false concept do not originate in or as our thought; that they are always imposed beliefs - sometimes aggressive, sometimes sympathetically induced. Some have listened to suggestion and have learned that dependence upon a narcotic or a stimulant or a weed, or matter of any kind, was a costly substitute for the satisfaction and comfort and dominion Christian Science offers.
Christian Science does not take away our home or our business, but enhances their value and utility. Through Christian Science we see things that can be done to improve all our affairs, and we gain the energy and the time and the know-how with which to do them. We find that the man of God's creating has no inadequacies, no depressive effects of disability to be silenced, no neuroses; that there is nothing to jeopardize self-control in one who understands that God governs.
Mrs. Eddy discovered that the organization and action of the mortal body are produced not by the divine Mind, God, but by its counterfeit, the so-called mortal or carnal mind. Over-action, or any diseased or abnormal action of the bodily organs, can never be associated with the divine ideas of God's creating. Evil can never be identified with man.
Mrs. Eddy discovered that the belief in disease, in failure, in unhappiness, obtains in the human mind before it can be manifested in human experience, and that it is in the human mind that the belief must be corrected before healing can come. Mrs. Eddy points out that it is thought, not matter, which needs to be divested of false trusts and material evidences, and that when this is accomplished spiritual facts will appear.
There is no room for atrophy in the Christ-consciousness, no wasting-away process in the man of God's creating, no manifestation of inactive faith, no deadened conscience. There is no place in the Christ-consciousness for an unhealthy secretion, or accumulation, or growth, or for anything abnormal. There is no manifestation of apathy or indifference in the Christ-consciousness - no periodicity of any kind. God has made no provision for any of those mistakes. Disease, corruption, deterioration are unknown to God because they are unreal. Let us daily claim this Christ-consciousness and the freedom which accompanies the understanding that God, or Mind, is the only Mind.
Consistently turning to God, the one infinite source of all wisdom, there is nothing to cloud our spiritual perception, nothing that can delay unfoldment of good, nothing that can cloud or infect spiritual intuition, for apathy and indifference can never take the place of inspiration. The spiritual food prepared for us by Christian Science cannot become tainted, unpalatable, or indigestible.
Personal Sense the Offender
Personal sense, the consciousness of man as a mortal personality, is the offender in every case of discord, whether it assumes the proportion of a headache or a world war. The belief of personal sense obtains in the human or miasmal mind, and it has no basis in Truth, divine Mind. Personal sense would urge through every avenue the belief or suggestion that we are material - subject to domination, to accidents, grief, disappointment, all sorts of afflictions. Personal sense would even suggest that God punishes us. There is no truth in such suggestions. Personal sense dwells in its own matter world. It is made up of the morbid, material, or wishful thinking which reacts and punishes itself. It measures success, intelligence, health, and power by that which is temporal - not by the substantial or eternal. Personal sense has no measuring rod for spiritual qualities. It has no awareness of integrity.
Personal sense is in and of so-called mortal mind, the only place where corruption in business, in the body, or in government, is conceived. It has its beginning in the realm of illusion. Its existence is a state of self-deception, delusion. Its end is in disillusion. And when Christian Science uncovers for us the petty and unreal nature of personal sense and we turn to the exercise of spiritual sense, we at once begin to evaluate and bring into expression true substance and aims, and disillusion becomes good soil for spiritual sowing and reaping. Personal sense is always the accuser, the aggressor. An illustrated definition of an aggressor used in a dictionary is this: "The insolence of the aggressor is proportioned to the tameness of the sufferer." Christian Science gives us courage and strength so that we are no longer tame sufferers, but valiant soldiers of Christ. Man is idea. He is spiritual. Because he expresses Mind, or God, he is not affected nor attracted by personal or material sense. He possesses and manifests by reflection the freedom and harmony of Soul, spiritual sense.
The moment human consciousness awakens to the presence of the Christ, a new idea is born to earth, and it is truly wonderful. The war between Spirit and matter begins, but in that consciousness where this new idea is cherished belief in and subjection to personal sense is destined to end. Where the incorporeal idea of God is consistently held to, where what is unfolded of God and His Christ is utilized, not just read about, but is exercised, something very wonderful goes on in the way of freedom, of dominion, of resurrection, of salvation. The understanding of the real man is appearing.
The Discoverer and Founder
It was the deep spirituality of Mary Baker Eddy which enabled her to live through her sorrows, disappointments, and ill health to become the Discoverer and Founder of the Science of Christian healing. Through experience and revelation Mrs. Eddy learned the nature of this make-believe world of transient standards. Through her and her work, we are learning its nature, and we are learning, in some degree, to demonstrate what is true of God's universe. One may not know at this time the scope of Mrs. Eddy's vision, but one does know that her position as Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science includes vastly more than that of a great religious leader. And so Christian Scientists accept Mrs. Eddy as all that she saw herself to be, as all that she knew herself to be.
Through her and her work we are learning of our infinite possibilities as children of God. We are learning how near God is to us, how dear, how necessary we are to Him. It is no wonder that we love Mrs. Eddy, no wonder that we thank God for her and her work. Mrs. Eddy adhered to the Bible truths so consistently that her work, her discovery, was completed. It is set forth in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." All students of Christian Science use this textbook and the King James Version of the Bible in their daily study and practice.
The Christian Science Sunday School
Mrs. Eddy founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and for young people up to the age of twenty she established the Christian Science Sunday School. Christian Science is presented to the students in the Christian Science Sunday School in terms that they can understand, that have meaning and reality for them. "The true knowledge and proof of life," Mrs. Eddy says, "is in putting off the limitations and putting on the possibilities and permanence of Life" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 177).
Sunday School students learn that, while salvation is for everyone, it must be worked out individually, never through violence or in groups, but through the individual's knowing God's allness and man's perfection and by his expressing this knowledge in being and doing good. When the truths of Christian Science are established, even in small degree, the young student naturally becomes less vulnerable to immorality, to any mental contagion or infection, and all the morbid, disgruntled error and evil suggestions in the world can never trick that student into association with mass violence, bitterness, or hate.
Students in the Christian Science Sunday School are not sent out believing that what is called the human experience is all there is to life, or that it owes anyone anything. They learn enough about the nature and tricks of evil to recognize its suggestions, to resist them as they appear, and not to let them accumulate. They learn to establish higher standards of conduct, and they acquire the courage to uphold these standards in the face of opposition or temptation.
Our Sunday School students learn what real happiness, satisfaction, is, where it is, and how to get it. The pupils in our Sunday School learn to look to Truth for healing. They learn that Christian Science will heal physical discords, but it also teaches them to know themselves as immortals, as God's children who can have no discords. It teaches them in simple language that they can understand, accept, and use the truth of their individual identity and destiny. We all are learning that being honest will help us to recognize perfection as the only reality and will protect us from dishonesty operating through others. They learn to have wholesome ambition for the future; but through Christian Science they learn that the objective of life is to express God.
In her book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 239), Mrs. Eddy says, "The millennium is a state and stage of mental advancement, going on since ever time was." Students in the Christian Science Sunday School learn that everything we do is a mental experience, and they learn how to take part in the millennium in their everyday work or play. Graduate students who have had the advantage of years in our Sunday School are greatly aided in attaining that state and stage of mental advancement which Mrs. Eddy calls the millennium.
Heredity Not a Law
The belief in heredity is one of the most ignorant and remorseless among the many false beliefs about the creation of God, our Father-Mother, and about our divine sonship, or at-one-ment with Him. Heredity would often take the form of a lie about the purity and unblemished beauty of man's spiritual identity in its spiritual form, outline, and color. There is no truth in the lie, and it is to be rejected, for man inherits only good from his Father-Mother God. But mortal mind is inconsistent in every phase of its claim to existence, to reality. It is inconsistent in its premise, its operations, and of course in its conclusions.
Mortal mind claims to identify us with matter, and then it would subject that belief in matter to all sorts of suffering, deformities, irregular functions and secretions, unnatural growths, abnormal appetites and habits, impaired faculties, and so forth. From the divine standpoint, there is no truth in any of it, and we need to know that not one of these beliefs is the effect of God's idea or reflection. Everyone at sometime must prove the belief of heredity to be false. It is not a law, and the effects of the belief will disappear as the light of understanding is turned upon it, for it is but a thought-shadow or illusion.
No one actually suffers from heredity. We err and we suffer from our belief in heredity. And no one can prosper through it. Though mortal mind claims that we profit because of some material, or physical, or social advantages we may have inherited, we all must at some time demonstrate our real heritage as God's children. We must know and prove what true substance is, what health is, where it is. We must put on the graces of Spirit - all of this through Christ, Truth, and without the aid of matter, or parents, or mortal mind beliefs.
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says (pp. 412, 413), "The Scientist knows that there can be no hereditary disease, since matter is not intelligent and cannot transmit good or evil intelligence to man, and God, the only Mind, does not produce pain in matter." So we can be perfectly sure that no one actually inherits disease. The belief is that we inherit certain tendencies, or propensities, or inclinations. The exercise of indulgence of these tendencies will be objectified in our bodies or in other phases of the human experience as healthy or diseased conditions until we turn to Christian Science and prove that our only heritage is from our heavenly Father. It is a wonderful thing to learn it can be proved that neither disease, corruption, nor deterioration is real or possible or transmissable.
Christian Science affirms and demonstrates that we are now the offspring of Spirit, the children of God, and Mrs. Eddy states (Science and Health, p. 63), "The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry." Then there is no truth in the belief that discord, or disease, or anything unlovely or afflictive is or ever can be imposed upon us. It is not true, and if a thing is not true we need not believe it or act upon it.
God the Only Power
Twice a year for more than fifty years, students of Christian Science have studied a lesson on atomic force, and history must record another evidence of Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual vision in her clear analysis of atomic force to be found in her several references to it in Science and Health and her writings.
Since the appearance of the atomic bombs and atomic weapons, millions of people have become atom conscious. Our age is spoken of as the atomic age, or the scientific age. Our language is impregnated with the atomic language of the physicists and chemists. Great credit is due to anyone for his work in liberating mankind from material limitations, and no one gives this credit more readily or more generously than do Christian Scientists.
It must be recognized that the value of anything to the world's welfare and progress is in the exact proportion that it helps us to understand and love God, to reflect Him, and this is the great contribution Christian Science has made to mankind. Every effort in this direction of spiritual liberation is blessed of our Father-Mother and is more powerful than all the atoms or material energy that can be split or harnessed. Such efforts eventually lead us into the understanding of divine metaphysics. Then we shall see an enlightened humanity emerge out of the belief that matter is basic to mind. The Christian Scientist does not ignore the atomic threat of destruction, nor is he infected by the false belief shared by many that power is in matter. He knows that Truth is equal to any occasion. Christian Science makes the clear distinction between real atomic action and counterfeit atomic action, just as it makes a distinction between the real man and mortal man. They never conjoin.
Eighty years ago, Mrs. Eddy pointed out our sure refuge. In Science and Health (p. 83) she wrote, "Mortals must find refuge in Truth in order to escape the error of these latter days." The Bible teaches us, and Christian Science accepts and explains the fact, that God is Truth. When this spiritual fact is understood, who can gainsay or resist Mrs. Eddy's statement? This refuge is not something that exists in space or as matter. It is heaven, the kingdom already within us, waiting to be demonstrated. It has been said that there is a great disparity between our spiritual development and our materially scientific development. This is not true. There is no page in the world's history so bright as that on which the accomplishments of Christian Science are written.
Referring to the chapter on Prayer in Science and Health, a prominent minister is reported by the press to have said, "I wish for my own life, and my own home that I might have in it the beauty and power and the spirit of prayer that is in that chapter" (Mary Baker Eddy: A Life Size Portrait, by Lyman P. Powell, p. 156 of old edition, p. 151 of new edition). Christian Scientists are a praying people. We have reason to be, and no one can read this chapter on Prayer in Science and Health without being refreshed, encouraged, comforted.
Prayer has to do with human experience. It goes on in that transitional stage of consciousness where the human is seeking the divine. The sick, the sinner, the lonely, the fearful, gain forgiveness or salvation through the prayer or process of repentance and reformation. Understanding prayer is the safest and happiest state of consciousness mankind can express. Through it we become spiritually minded, and her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (p. 6) Mrs. Eddy writes, "In the degree that man becomes spiritually minded he becomes Godlike."
Prayer begets patience - patience that is assurance, the deep conviction that God is All, that His law governs, is operating in our behalf and will deliver us.
Prayer is not asking our Father for more or better matter, but is a search for ideas, spiritual ideas; it is not asking our Father for healing, but for a clearer perception of immortality, reality. Prayer is a bridge between the human and the divine that mortals must cross. Prayer is a door we all must find. It leads us into the secret place of the Most High. Prayer is a lovely room we all must enter. Prayer is the elevator which first takes one down in his own estimation, and then takes one up from the past with its mistakes and sad memories, lifting consciousness above the corporeal to the prestige and harmony of his incorporeal being. It lifts the veil with which evil would obscure the reality and individuality of our being. It shows the poverty of mortal existence and the richness of our true identity as God's idea. It brings into focus the ideas of Spirit which constitute our being. It brings into action the law of Principle, and we recognize something of omnipresence; and the recognition of omnipresence and the evidence of omnipresence are synonymous.
Prayer reveals the voice of Truth saying to evil, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm" (I Chron. ). To us, Truth says, "Thou art mine; be not afraid." Prayer is the practice of what Mrs. Eddy terms "the power which lies concealed in the calm and which storms awaken to vigor and to victory" (Miscellany, p. 204).
Prayer discloses the light of divine Truth, illuming the dark corners of pain and loneliness and fear and dispelling the belief in those illusions. Prayer brings to us the intuition of Soul.
Christian Science has opened a door that no man can shut. It offers salvation to everyone everywhere. It is the way through which we can minimize what Mrs. Eddy terms the "alternative agonies" (Christian Science versus Pantheism,, p. 12), the unhappy and unnecessary experiences of human life. And it shows the way to master these experiences we are not able to avoid. So let us get our perspective, our spiritually mental view right. Let us get a correct concept of Christian Science, of God, of our importance to Him as His offspring. Let us hold to this right concept consistently and all the way, and then we shall gain that deep spiritual faith which blossoms into understanding. Then our atonement, our demonstration of man's unity with God, will be an orderly and progressively happy adventure. It will maintain our already established sure defense against aggressive mental suggestion, and the sum total of error will not keep Truth from unfolding to us.
There is nothing in Truth, God, that can ever be invaded, impaired, or violated. There is in reality nothing to oppose Truth or God, for Truth or God is the only presence and power. There is nothing that can injure or defile or infect or violate God's reflection - man and the spiritual universe. Man is and always will be the perfect, harmonious, active man of God's creating. There is no truth in the belief that man has ever been missing or lost or in danger. It is not true, and false beliefs of every name and nature are dispelled through the consistent study and practice of Christian Science. Our at-one-ment with God must sometime be demonstrated, for it is a spiritual fact that man does actually coexist with God, that we have never entered matter. This is a wonderful fact to remember, for Mrs. Eddy says: "Man, made in His likeness, possesses and reflects God's dominion over all the earth. Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God" (Science and Health, p. 516).
[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, June 9, 1955.]