Christian Science: The Voice of Truth
Grace Jane Noee, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois
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 they have just one purpose — this is to bless. While we all approach the lectures from our own standpoint of belief, of faith, of understanding, because of the universal nature of our Father's impartial divine love, we have a right to expect that which will meet and help and heal each one of us on our own ground.
During this hour, we are to consider the simple fundamentals of Christian Science — its premise, its promise, and its practice — and we are to consider some of the ways in which we can bring into expression something more of God's presence and providence.
Let us first consider the premise of Christian Science, for upon it rests our subsequent reasoning. It includes the promise and the practice. This premise is based wholly upon the inspired Word of the Bible, in which Christian Science has its roots. Christian Science recognizes, acknowledges, and worships God as the only cause, the only creator, the only presence, the only power. Authority for this concept of God is found in the Bible. It is demonstrated throughout the Bible. While most of us have accepted God as the only cause, until the advent of Christian Science many of us have also accepted sickness and death as having a reason or purpose or cause back of them. Christian Science takes exactly the opposite view. It is on this premise that healing in Christian Science is brought to pass, for Christian Science sticks to its text that God is the only cause, the only real presence and power, and it rejects all other theories of creation, of cause or effect. Christian Science maintains its cardinal point that because God is the only cause, matter and evil, including all inharmony, are and must be unreal. In her book "Unity of Good" Mrs. Eddy asks, "What is the cardinal point of the difference in my metaphysical system?" and then she states, "This: that by knowing the unreality of disease, sin, and death, you demonstrate the allness of God. . . . The reality of these so-called existences I deny, because they are not to be found in God, and this system is built on Him as the sole cause" (pp. 9, 10). And in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" she says (p. 27): "Mortals accept natural Science, wherein no species ever produces its opposite. Then why not accept divine Science on this ground?" There we have the premise of Christian Science. This is what we stand on, and this is what we work from. It is through the Christ, Truth, that we are enabled to prove this premise to be the one firm foundation of all true being. In the proportion that we accept this premise and abide by it, we come to know its promise, and it will become increasingly more natural for us to practice it — to multiply or manifest progressively our Father's presence and providence as improved beliefs in all our affairs.
The allness and supremacy of God is the foundation, or premise, on which Jesus built. And Christian Science recognizes and acknowledges the Son of God, one Christ, and Jesus, our great Master, as the Way-shower, as revealing God to men through the Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship. It was the Christ which did the healing and which raised Jesus and others from the belief in death. It is the same Christ, Truth, which does all the healing in Christian Science. Jesus' teaching and example have turned our feet from the path which leads to affliction, desolation, and remorse into the path which leads to health and happiness, to recognition, to security, to salvation. This path is open, free, and safe. It must be traveled eventually by all of us.
Christian Science teaching and practice are based upon the recognition and worship of God as the only Life. God is everyone's God, whether one knows it yet or not. God, or Life, is everyone's Life. No one can ever lose his Life or change it. No one can throw away his Life. No one can waste his true life, for man's only life is God. In this Being, God, our Life, there is no individual who is forgotten, unworthy, overworked, or unrewarded; no one who is lonely, in pain, in danger, or afraid; no one who is unlovely or unloved; no one who is unbalanced, maladjusted, or hateful; no one who is involved in unethical business dealings or immoral escapades; no one who believes that war or any conflict between individuals or nations can be helpful, necessary, or inevitable. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and there was no cause, no reason, no excuse, for any of these discords. There is no cause for them now. In Science and Health (p. 502), Mrs. Eddy says: "The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only, — that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe." In the beginning, there was no cause for pain or disease or deterioration, and there is no cause for them now. In the beginning, there was no cause for envy or jealousy, and there is no cause, no reason, for them now. In the beginning, there was no cause for war or greed or hate, and there is no cause, no reason, no excuse for any of this now.
Our Important and Necessary Place
You and I, as individual expressions, or manifestations, of God, have an important and necessary place in the premise of Christian Science. The premise, or acknowledgment of God as supreme and omnipresent, of His Son, one Christ, includes the recognition and acknowledgment of our spiritual sonship with God, of individual man as the reflection of God, as one of the original and royal multifarious manifestations of our Father-Mother God. That each one of us, as an individual idea of God, reflects or manifests Life or Mind in a specifically distinct manner is one of the fundamental facts in the Christian Science concept of God and man.
Mrs. Eddy frequently uses the sun and the sunbeam to illustrate man's oneness with God. The sun pours out upon the earth light and heat, and we know this as the sun. In her book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 344) Mrs. Eddy says, "If we say that the sun stands for God, then all his rays collectively stand for Christ, and each separate ray for men and women." One seeing the sunbeam may say, "There is the sun." But it is not the sun — it is the sunbeam, the sunshine, the reflection of the sun. It identifies the sun; it is identified by the sun. Through it we know the sun. The sunbeam has all the qualities of the sun, nothing can be taken from any one of them; they cannot be changed into something else. No one can deform or impair the function of a sunbeam. A sunbeam cannot be made to manifest darkness or cold.
So it is with individual man. He is not God, but manifests by reflection all the qualities or nature of God. From God comes the light of understanding — the warmth and tenderness and power of omnipotent divine Love, the assurance of Soul, spiritual sense, the reliability of Principle, the integrity and stateliness of Truth, the intelligence of Mind. These qualities are reflected by man, the highest idea of God. A line in the Christian Science Hymnal reads, "Be thou a steadfast ray."
We know the sun through the sunbeam, and we can know God through each other. As it becomes an established thought that we can thus know God — through gaining the true sense of each other, it will become a joyous habit to see how much of God, how much good, we can discern in each other — and this will be a wonderful habit to indulge and cultivate. Too often we are prone to misjudge and misunderstand each other, and therefore misunderstand God, by thinking of human personality — the human body and its frailties — as being identified with God.
Jesus said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
This statement of Jesus' is familiar to all Bible students. Through Christian Science we are learning what it means to abide in Christ, Truth — that it is through humble, understanding prayer that we enter and abide in the Christ; that we cannot take pride, envy, jealousy, and complaint into the Christ-consciousness. A Christian Science hymn says, "Complaint is poverty." We are learning that it is the tyranny of one's own selfish desires and indulgences that exhaust one; that it is the undisciplined thought which is the sin and the sinner, the disease and the victim. A testimony from a woman in Wisconsin appears in the Christian Science textbook in the chapter on Fruitage. She says (pp. 682, 683): "From the darkness of physical pain and weariness into the light of wholeness and joyousness in work and living, — from the darkness of a clouded sight into the light of clearer vision, — from the darkness of doubt and discord into the marvellous light of the reality of good, — this is what a reading of the Christian Science textbook has done for me. . . . For five weeks I had been under the care of a specialist for an organic trouble, and he said I would have to come as many more months before a cure could be effected. At this time, Science and Health was brought to my notice. I never thought of such a thing as being healed by the reading of the book, but my thought was so changed that I was healed, not only of the organic trouble, but of blurred eyesight, fatigue, and a train of other discordant manifestations. . . .
"Through reading the textbook I learned that God has given us strength to do all we have to do, and that it is the things we do not have to do (the envying, strife, emulating, vainglorying, and so on) that leave in their wake fatigue and discord." Through Christian Science we are learning that to abide in Christ means discipline, practice, exercise, not of matter, but of what we understand of God and His Christ. This practice will bring into expression something of our real being, our spiritual sonship. This, of course, requires disciplining thought to the entertainment of right ideas; of that which is true. This sort of entertainment bears a rich, happy, and healthy harvest, for we know that one who disciplines thought thus, holds this time world in dominion.
In her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 81) Mrs. Eddy has written: "In the desolation of human understanding, divine Love hears and answers the human call for help; and the voice of Truth utters the divine verities of being which deliver mortals out of the depths of ignorance and vice. This is the Father's benediction."
This statement has comfort and great assurance for the student of Christian Science, for the important fact about the statement is that we shall be delivered. Through the practice of Christian Science we shall have the supporting evidence of spiritual power which always accompanies each degree of understanding.
A great faith in God, even a great love for God, must be accompanied by understanding and demonstration, and these require activity, desire, and practice. A great love for music, even memorizing the notes of a concerto, without practice, will not make a musician. Memorizing the multiplication table, without practice, will not make a mathematician. That student, whether of music, mathematics, or Christian Science, will soonest succeed who practices most. And he who practices most will demonstrate the most, for practice and demonstration are one.
The Christian Science Monitor
Mary Baker Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper, and it is fulfilling the purpose for which she founded it. From its considerate view, correct reporting of human events, and its balanced appraisal, we gain perspective. It helps us to be considerate, and it helps to reconcile us to our fellow men in mutual esteem, in mutual support of our efforts to understand and meet human needs.
The Christian Science Monitor editorials and reportings are characterized by integrity and knowledge and understanding and balance and detachment. Added to this, reading the Monitor is a very rich and pleasant adventure in good journalism, good entertainment, education, and good taste.
The Discoverer and Founder
Mary Baker Eddy is recognized as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and its Leader. Mrs. Eddy discovered that the truths in the Bible have always existed and that they constitute a divinely scientific rule or law. She discovered the nature and eternality of the Christ as the spiritual idea of sonship.
Mrs. Eddy was a well-educated and experienced writer, and she was well acquainted with the Bible. When through divine inspiration she discovered the absolute Science of the Bible truths, she realized that one cannot stop with belief in God's presence and power, but that His presence and power must sometime be understood and demonstrated in every phase of one's experience. The great Bible truths of God point to the fact that matter or mortal mind and all it claims must be unreal, that only the divinely spiritual is real and has presence. Mrs. Eddy did not question this divine idea, but went to work to understand and demonstrate it.
This final and complete revelation of the Christ, Truth, is set forth in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The orderly study of this book together with the King James Version of the Bible is important and necessary to our welfare and progress, and all students of Christian Science use both of them in their daily study and practice.
The Christian Science Sunday School
Mrs. Eddy established the Church of Christ, Scientist; and for the young people up to the age of twenty, she established the Christian Science Sunday School. A judge in a mid-western state has this motto in his courtroom: "Children brought up in Sunday School are not brought up in court." The Christian Science Sunday School is a well of refreshment and true education, for there the pupils are taught scientific truths that they can understand and which they can prove for themselves.
Students of Christian Science are not encouraged to assume any position they have not grown into through demonstration or understanding and which they may not be able to maintain when a testing time comes — and testing times come to all of us. They are not encouraged glibly to roll off their tongues profound metaphysical statements, while simple fundamentals go unheeded, untested, unproved. They learn to recognize and guard against the invasion of carnality, immorality, materiality. They learn to detect the dishonesty that would parade as expediency or policy. They learn to avoid the crafty and undisciplined thinking that would parade as wisdom or moral courage. They learn to avoid the vulgarity that would parade as wit or humor. They learn to pray — to use the Lord's Prayer understandingly, and with signs following. And in Christian Science, prayer and Christian Science treatment are synonymous. Prayer brings into expression the promise of Christian Science.
It is through prayer as taught in Christian Science that the Christ, Truth, unfolds to us. Prayer underlies all revelation or progress. One is touched with a deep sense of reverence by the beauty, simplicity, and spiritual power of prayer as taught by Christian Science. Through it one can realize and bring into expression his at-one-ment with God. This is why prayer is given a very important place in the daily experience of the Christian Scientist. It fits perfectly into everything we do — into all of our affairs. It never delays nor interferes with anything that is right for us to do, but it prospers our endeavors. It makes time a servant instead of master. Understanding prayer strengthens us with what Mrs. Eddy terms "the stimulus of courage and conscious power" (Science and Health, p. 423), it unselfs our motives and brings our endeavors to harmonious and fruitful conclusions.
Our Real Business
To men and women in business, each day presents a challenge. Suggestions of uncertainty, restriction, lack of necessary materials, inflation, deflation, imposed controls — these suggestions give the Christian Scientist a good practice. But when business is viewed from the standpoint of Christian Science, it is seen that the biggest, best, and most successful business in all the world is the translation of man and the universe back into Spirit — into reality. This business is the activity of right ideas, and it is our real business. There are no strikes, no walkouts, no lockouts, no employment problems to contend with in this business of expressing right or true ideas, no czars, no dictators, no victims. This business goes right on unfolding and producing without stoppage, controls, restrictions, or interruptions. The profit of this business is the continuous unfoldment of Christ, Truth, and it is never subject to limiting economic theories, to inflation or deflation.
There is unlimited opportunity for everyone in this business, and everyone is always in his right place and position. This business provides not only social security, but complete security that covers everything we do or need for all eternity. And this security is substantial; and it is tangible. This is good business; it is our Father's business. It is the business everyone will get into eventually.
There isn't anything the matter with real business, nothing wrong with it, nothing about it that needs to be changed or improved. Some of us may need to change our concept of business, but that is all that ever needs to be changed or improved. What you know about this business will improve your concept; it will protect and prosper what is called your business, your position, your assignment, your environment.
In Science and Health (p. 264) we read, "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible." So let us learn more of God and of man, let us accept and use all we understand of the multitudinous ideas our Father has made available. We all have access to this one infinite divine source.
Business is not, however, an accumulation of ideas. No one can accumulate ideas; no one needs to do that, for spiritual ideas are always available, always at hand. No one accumulates sevens. No one needs to. No one can ever run out of sevens. And no one need run out of ideas.
Business is the harmonious association and activity of right ideas. It is a state of consciousness. This is your real business or activity, and it is not subject to chance or change. It does not fluctuate because of the weather or the fashion. It is not affected by the inaccuracy or frivolity of material sense. There are no personal demands, no emergencies, no hazards to be contended with in your real business. There is no element there of grossness, ignorance, or competition. What if suggestions come — suggestions of competition, of insufficiency, or incompetency, or fear about the future? You need not be surprised, nor disturbed, nor afraid. No one escapes these things. Suggestions come to everyone. It is what we do with them that is important.
Since we are looking to God, the one infinite source of all wisdom or substance, there can be no basis for discouragement, uncertainty, or failure. So learn what is true about your real business. Practice this truth. Exercise it, and it will dispel the shadows. Improvidence, pride, dishonesty, stagnation, injustice — these will be ruled out of your affairs.
Christ, Truth, comes to us in just these ways — operating as divine law. It is the law that will heal and protect and prosper us through every situation; it will vindicate and justify; it will restore and adjust, recognize and reward in the exact measure that it is understood and utilized.
A New Path
Some of us were walking in the path that leads to disease, to poverty and remorse — to desolation. Through Christian Science we are led to find the path which leads us to health, spiritual wholeness, to fruitful activity, enlarged usefulness. Let us not be diverted by selfish desires and longings; let us not dissipate our abilities and energies in criticism and resentment. Let us not turn our attention away from our divinely bestowed health and vitality by exercising or resting matter. Let us not discolor or impair our vision through jealousy and envy. By such methods and processes we belittle Deity and deny for ourselves the presence and providence of God.
Through false indulgences we foster doubts of His impartial and available divine love; when we substitute indulgence for the wholly satisfying fullness of His love, we delay our progress toward the kingdom — and when we become disturbed over the weaknesses or frailties of others, we are wasting time.
To let go of standards and convictions that have become established in one's thinking through custom and false education may not be easy, but it can be done; for we cannot hold to them and at the same time fulfill the promise of Christian Science, which is complete salvation. Christian Science is teaching us how to uphold the faultless standard given us by Jesus. He unfolded man's unity with God through the Christ, and it is through Christ, Truth, that we overcome inharmonies and attain salvation. Salvation is gained only through the understanding of God and the demonstration of this understanding by healing the sick and overcoming sin and death. Christian Science promises to bring into our daily affairs the expression of wisdom and beauty and substance — the law that is in and of our Father. But Christian Science also stands on the divine law that only the work of righteousness can bring peace, and that quietness and assurance are the effects of righteousness.
A prominent physician has asserted that modern people have lost the power of quiet, sustained thought and are afraid of nothing so much as to be alone. This is the result of abandoned, indefinite, undisciplined thought. Do not let mortal mind or personal sense accuse you of this error or lack. In her book "Pulpit and Press" Mrs. Eddy says, "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love" (p. 3). It has been indicated that it is this loss of the power of quiet, sustained thought that accounts for the shocking increase of mental patients — thousands suffering from varying degrees of inability to cope with their daily problems.
Some are turning to stimulants. America's liquor bill of nine billion dollars a year — which is three times our national school bill — tells part of the story. Another chapter is read in the growing use of sedatives in one form or another. This habit has put Americans at the top of drug-using people of the world.
Many are turning to Christian Science and are finding complete and permanent release from dependence upon those indulgences and things that lead to the surrender of hope, of integrity, of usefulness. They are learning something of the joy in their restored ability to think and act intelligently, coherently, unselfishly. Students of Christian Science are learning to recognize and to bring into expression something of the grandeur and immortality and prestige Mrs. Eddy tells us our Father has bestowed upon each one. We are learning how to be "fruitful and multiply," or manifest the affluence of our Father-Mother God. And we turn gratefully to the Christian Science concept of man, which affirms that as a child of God, not one of us is or can be burdened with any dispositional quality through which we can be made to suffer or through which we can cause another to suffer.
The Practice of Christian Science
St. Paul wrote to the Galatians (6:8), "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." The flesh, or matter body, is mortal mind; and when one sows to mortal mind, he is cultivating the only place where corruption, infection, or pain can be, and is making himself at one with it.
Mortal mind claims to have created a material body out of its beliefs, and then it proceeds to worship and condemn this belief of body. It says that this body can sin, that it can suffer, that it can be destroyed, that on its way to destruction it will suffer personality deterioration, functional deterioration, impaired faculties. It claims that blood is a vital fluid and that it is necessary to this body. Mortal mind claims that the life and action of this body is dependent upon the heart. Christian Science proves this to be a wrong concept of body and heart. Christian Science affirms and demonstrates that all there is to man's being is in reality Mind's idea of it, and that we must make a change from the sense of a defective material organ called heart to the understanding that God is man's life. And Christian Science is teaching us how to understand and demonstrate the truth about body. Man is idea. His real being will never suffer nor experience pain, deterioration, or impairment of any kind. This being will never be involved in unethical, dishonest, or sinful experiences, nor suffer the belief of death.
No Situation Hopeless
It is a spiritual fact that we are not called upon to meet more than we can meet if we will use what we know. So do not believe or accept the suggestion that any situation or condition is ever hopeless. No situation can be hopeless. No one can be helpless. No one walks alone. One may be confronted by that which seems to be a hopeless situation, and it may not always be easy to declare and maintain the spiritual fact about that situation, but it can be done; it must be done if we would reap the rich dividends in adjustment, restoration, and healing.
A well-known and spiritually-minded educator once remarked that "education is that which means the unfolding of individual capabilities along all right lines, physical, mental, moral, and spiritual" (Mary Kimball Morgan). Christian Science promises us this education. It gives us our master's degree through the study of the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and the Bible. In the book of Proverbs, thirtieth chapter, the writer tells his friends that he is unlearned, untaught; he speaks humbly of his lack of education; and yet he writes, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." This indicates that he was well aware of God's nature, His presence and power. No one can be considered ignorant or unlearned who discerns this great spiritual fact. He was aware of the error and frailties of mortal mind, was distressed about those who did not honor or obey their parents. He saw the hypocrisy in others, of whom he wrote, they "are pure in their own eyes, and yet [are] not washed from their filthiness." He saw pride operating in others and wrote of them, "O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up." He was repulsed by the greed and cruelty of others, but there was humility in his perception — no self-righteousness, no criticism, no condemnation of others who allowed these evils to infect their consciousness. However, he was aware of the penalty attached to such indulgence. He had an awareness and great appreciation of beauty and goodness — of industry, efficiency, and order wherever he saw it. He knew the remedy for foolish, fruitless, evil thinking. Yet all this, so he said, was without education! But he was well educated because he was a thinker. He was rich in his recognition of the wisdom and power of God, and naturally truth was revealed to him.
The Still Small Voice
There is no phase of human experience that the practice or use of Christian Science does not touch and heal and happify. The still small voice of Truth is always audible to one who is listening, and one who truly listens uses what he knows To the one who believes that home or environment can be unhealthy or unhappy or in danger, or who believes he could be happier or learn more of God in some other place, this still small voice says, "Your home, your real estate, is the kingdom, and it is your Father's good pleasure to give it to you." It hasn't anything to do with stone, or brick, or wood. Your home is a state of consciousness, and it is within you. One need not go outside his own consciousness to find the reason for a deficient sense of home, of health, of substance, or of government. One need not go outside one's consciousness for a home that is happy and safe, or unhappy. It is in consciousness, not in matter or places, that our home is happy or unhappy. In reality, home is one of the multitudinous ideas in divine Mind. It expresses beauty and utility, chastity, service, usefulness, security; it is a divine idea which man includes and over which he has complete dominion.
To that one burdened with believing in lack of substance, looking to matter for safety, security, and happiness, the same still small voice says, "You and your Father are one; you do not need to depend on matter; all that the Father hath is thine." And does not the Father in effect promise always, "Son, thou art ever with me"? Mrs. Eddy says of passions and appetites, "Their narrow limits belittle their gratifications, and hedge about their achievements with thorns" (Science and Health, p. 536). To those in bondage to false appetites, depending on a stimulant or a sedative or a weed for comfort or satisfaction, to "steady the nerves," to be at peace, or to think clearly — and these are mortal mind's popular and dangerous suggestions — it says, "You and your Father are one, you are not in bondage to anything; you have dominion over all the earth and its hosts, you are an infinite manifestation of infinite Mind."
The divine beneficent law or Christ, Truth, patiently waits and leads thought on to realize that whether the belief be lack of time, or breath, strength, opportunity, home, wisdom, substance, joy, companionship, or just recognition — whatever phase the belief in lack assumes — it is only and always a lie about our at-one-ment with the omnipresence of infinite good, the presence of God, or Love, and there is no truth in any of it. We do not need to believe it; we do not need to submit to it. The understanding of our at-one-ment with God, if utilized, will heal and will always be our savior in every situation.
Through it we can replace a false sense of dependence or responsibility with serenity and assurance. As we listen to and heed this still small voice, the Christ, Truth, our thought will be lifted above the petty indulgence of personal sense, into the altitude of spiritual sense, spiritual perception, and it will mean freedom from that which would bind or restrict or limit. Christian Science promises to free us from fear of evil, from faith in evil, from the practice of evil, from every phase of sin and fear, and their effects.
Christian Science is true; it is demonstrable. Standing on Principle, we shall find it a happy thing to discipline thought to this premise — to intelligently repudiate unhealthy suggestions. We shall hear the still small voice which guards and guides. Thus will our ability to demonstrate the Christ, Truth, be increased and our atonement will be an orderly and progressively happy experience. Our at-one-ment with God, with Mind, is, however, a spiritual, divine fact. There is nothing to keep this Mind, Truth, from unfolding, nothing to keep from us the spiritual experience of unfoldment or revelation, for God has given to each one of us dominion, spiritual wisdom, spiritual power, spiritual love.
Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellany, p. 186), "Rest assured that He in whom dwelleth all life, health, and holiness, will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory."
[Delivered Feb. 28, 1952, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Detroit, Michigan, and published in The Grosse Pointe News, March 6, 1952.]