Christian Science: It is Christian, It is Scientific
Carol Norton, C.S.D., of New York, New York
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A large audience listened most attentively to the lecture given in Willard Hall Thursday of last week on the above important topic. Many of Mount Vernon's representative citizens were present, and a number from Brooklyn and Manhattan Boroughs, and surrounding county towns.
The lecture was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city, and its first reader, Mr. Charles Rockwell, introduced the speaker, in the following thoughtful words: —
Friends, we have invited you here this evening to listen to a lecture on the subject of "Christian Science; it is Christian; it is Scientific."
Many of you may already know much of Christian Science; a few may know nothing of it; and some of you may have a very wrong opinion of this subject.
For the purpose of giving you all a higher idea of the truth of Christian Science; correcting erroneous impressions, and refuting false statements, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Mt. Vernon, have arranged to have Mr. Carol Norton, C. S D., of New York, member of the International Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church of Christian Science, of Boston, Mass., speak to you this evening.
Last week while glancing over the "Christian Science Sentinel," a newspaper published weekly by The Christian Science Publishing Society, of Boston, Mass., I noticed an article by Waldo Pondray Warren, from which I will read one paragraph as a preface to our lecture.
"Brother man, would you learn what is your birthright as an heir of our Father which art in Heaven? Would you come into possession of your heritage? Then study Christian Science, and search for its infinite meaning. View it, not through the dim glass of prejudice and intellectual pride, but view it through the crystal lens of a pure life. It rolls away the stone from the sepulchre where hope is buried; it severs the chains that would hold the world in bondage to stupid conservatism; it is the one thing that humanity has to look forward to; the Eureka, the great I-have-found-it of human destiny."
In order that you may gain at least a faint conception of this subject, I request you to give attention to the remarks of Mr. Norton, whom I have the pleasure of presenting to you.
Mr. Norton's address was as follows:
The Divine Drama
The divine drama of atonement — at-one-ment with Good as the eternal God, has held the stage of human existence for centuries. The character of this divine drama through the authorship of Spirit is transcendental and spiritual. Divinely directed actors have in their day and generation played in turn such parts as Patriarch, Spiritual Leader, King, Judge, Lawmaker, Psalmist, Prophet, Wise man, Seer, Poet, Friend, Priest, Mother, Father, Reformer, Saviour. Beginning with Abraham as the great teacher of faith in one Supreme Being, and following the line of Apostolic Hebrew succession down through the ages, remembering the careers, teachings and spiritual labor of Moses, Isaiah, David and Deborah, Ruth, and Elizabeth, Samuel, Zacharias and John the Baptist, we are at once brought face to face with the grandeur and dignity of the divine drama of spiritual atonement, at-one-ment with God. Into each age and era have come His messengers and interpreters. Each period has been one of advancement, each new message fresh light on the eternal truths of existence. The progress of thought has been the unfolding within the heart of man of the actualities of the Holy Spirit. Each period in the history of human affairs has evolved a great leader. This is as true of secular history as of spiritual unfoldment. The divine climax in the great drama of atonement was the appearance and triumphant demonstration over the world, all flesh and materialism, made by that career which began in a humble manger and to earthly vision ended in a crucifixion between two public criminals. From out the darkness of Paganism, from within the borders of a downtrodden Roman colony, shone a great light. As the first suggestive beams of daylight dawn upon the sleeping earth, so this light was at first known to the world as the pure child of a virgin mother. The light grows brighter to earthly vision, it rises above the horizon, and with certain and stately movement ascends the great dome of the Heavens. Everywhere new life is seen. The birds begin to sing; the valley-fogs are dissipated as light takes the place of darkness, and the warmth of the rising orb of day removes from all life and vegetation the damps of the darkness now so fast disappearing. The flowers joyously open their eyes and the dew-drops which have nestled close to their hearts shine as diamonds, for a while sparkle and play in the sunlight, and then disappear from view, as if recognizing that their part had been played and the time for the full protection and warmth of the sun had come to gladden the whole earth. A few of earth's creatures see the first faint beams of the rising sun, and glorify the Eternal for the light which so steadily and surely dissipates the darkness and piercing earth's dark places and damps transforms everything into a Garden of Eden. As the sun rises higher a larger number feel its warmth and brightness and offer up their thanks for its presence, and in later hours as it steadily mounts to Heaven and makes earth luminous with its effulgent rays countless millions offer prayers of thanksgiving to God, for the light which, though first shining in darkness was seen not by them because of their deep sleep, is to them now a living reality, an all-abiding presence. So it was with the light to which Jesus bore witness. "He came into the world and the world received him not." At first he expressed the light of innocent babyhood, and then the chastity of guileless boyhood, later the majesty and dignity of pure youth, and then with all the beauty and symmetry of spiritual development and poise the sinless humanhood of white manhood, and finally the divine glory of triumphant divinity.
The Career of Jesus Christ
The career of Jesus Christ is a white light. It embodies the meekness of the lily-of the-valley, the fragrance of the opening rose, the divine dignity of Lebanon's cedars, and the immortality of the Resurrection lily. The life of Christ is to the masses what the sweet white clover is to the country child — lowly and sweet, generous, and virtually omnipresent. Christianity is the outgrowth of the divinely human life of Jesus Christ. Christian Science is the demonstration through Divine Science of the teachings and tenets of the great discourse of Jesus Christ, which according to the best records that we have began with, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business;" and ended according to St. Luke with that divine and perpetual promise, "these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." According to the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as they record the utterances and acts of Christ Jesus, the Founder of the Christian religion taught the naturalness of goodness and purity, of health or bodily harmony, and finally man's dominion over all sin, sickness, and death. The early Christian Church was more a society than an organization. A few of the psalmist's hymns, the Lord's Prayer, the law and the prophets, and after the sanctified earth life of the Master had been finished, the simple communion meal followed by what was known as the Nazarene's love feast (Agape) constituted the congregationalism of the early church. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, to make clear the meaning of the Hebrew prophecies and the spiritual import of Moses' teachings. He was received by all who perceived the spiritual import of the Hebrew religion; he was rejected by the purely ecclesiastical type of thought, and crucified by a union of ecclesiasticism with political and materialistic opposition.
Paganism Rebuked by Jesus' Life
The life of Jesus in all the grandeur of its honesty, simplicity, chastity, and loving kindness was an awful rebuke to the practices of the Paganism of the era in which he lived, and a rebuke to the externalism and literalism of ancient Hebrew scholasticism. The teachings of Christ are the logical outcome of monotheistic Hebrew teaching. Jesus Christ according to Christian Science presented the great and closing act of the divine drama of atonement. He demonstrated the way out of the flesh through overcoming it. He lived all that he taught, fulfilled his own prophesies and promises and made the divine the natural and the spiritual the real. He reformed the sinner and healed the sick by one and the same method. Jesus Christ never intended that his words and precepts should crystalize into dogma, creed, form, ceremonial, ritual, speculation, or metaphysical vagaries. Christianity according to Christ is essentially a movement, a great onsweeping tide of spirituality, a transforming love, a purifying mental force, a quickener of the mind's faculties, a reformer of the depraved and vicious, and a transformer of all conditions of human error, be they moral, ethical, physical, sociologic, or psychical. The ideals of the man Jesus have since his advent inspired the greatest musicians and reformers, his teaching has been the power behind all righteous thrones, and the impetus to the noblest lives of Christendom. Christian Science recognizes the good in all religions and the impersonal power of the Christ idea in all ages, climes, and periods.
A White Life
Christian Science is Christian because as taught by its Founder it affirms that the cornerstone of all spiritual building is purity. The luminous life of our common Saviour and Teacher, the Healer and man of Galilee, radiated at all times the spiritual fragrance of manly chastity, innocent guilelessness, and the integrity of pure manhood. He taught us that the kingdom of Heaven, the rule of harmony, came not by material observation, and that it was neither on the right hand nor on the left, but already within us and then forthwith taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in Heaven." Jesus thus presented the great truth that man lives, moves, and has his being in God, in the ratio that he lives in the spiritual consciousness of divine Mind. Out of this ever-present Heaven which Jesus said was within the spiritual consciousness of man, out of this Heaven, which is alone the abiding place of God, the eternal Good, John writes in the book of Revelation, "I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. * * * He shall dwell with them and they shall be his peoples and God himself shall be with them and be their God (their only Life and Mind), and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more. The first things are passed away." And again we read from John's great glimpse of the spiritual estate of man possessed through spiritual consciousness, "these which are arrayed in the white robes who are they and whence came they, and He (the Christ, the Holy Spirit), said to me, "these are they which came out of the great tribulation and they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. * * * They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun strike upon them nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall guide them into fountains of water of Life, and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Christian Science is Christian because it is already giving men and women glorious glimpses of the divine and actual presence of the gospel of purity. It makes the law of purity equally binding upon man and woman and sanctifies, glorifies, and dignifies the virtues of innocence, meekness, childlikeness, guilelessness and divine love.
Christian Science is Christian because it issues the following emancipation proclamation not only to Christendom but to religionists in all lands living under the teachings of all the world's religious teachers, "Be thou free!" Freedom from sin, suffering, sickness and death is the divine heritage of all men. Christianity as an ethical and spiritual system is capable of universal application, and in its very trend and character is impersonal and scientifically demonstrable. Christianity according to Christ reforms the depraved and heals the sick by the same spiritual or mental method. Therefore, accept the religion of primitive Christianity in all its simplicity and beauty and that the eternal God is thy refuge, and that "man's extremity is still God's opportunity," that the promises of Jesus are perpetual, and as the errors of character and thought called sin are curable by the right application of the positive Principle of Good, alias God, so the diseases and pains of the body, which are but physical errors, can and should be destroyed by a right application of the mental laws of divine Mind. The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man are the central truths of the religion of Jesus. "God is Love and whosoever dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God and God in him." The supreme test of discipleship made by Jesus was invariably, "If ye love me keep my commandments." Christian Science is Christian because it affirms that the religion of Jesus is a healing religion, a great, practical demonstrable system of mental therapeutics, scientific, exact, divinely ordered, and of permanent value to the race. The healing element has been as much a lost art in Christendom for fifteen centuries as the making of Damascus sword blades has been a lost art in the world of manufacture. When materiality, human prestige, and intellectual discussion took the place of "the faith once delivered to the saints" by the Founder of the Christian religion, the healing power disappeared and remained under the debris of scholastic philosophy until its reappearance in Christendom in the year 1866, through the spiritual discovery, or recovery, made by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. Her recovery through spiritual healing from an accident supposed to be fatal led her to perceive the divine modus operandi of the healing of the Apostolic Church.
Christian Science is Christian
Christian Science is Christian because it has come to the world through the virgin purity of a pure woman's mind; through the agency of pure womanhood came the greatest leaders of monotheistic spiritual history. Can we think of the career of Moses and forget the courageous womanhood and the maternal affection and womanly interest that saved him to Israel? Can modern Christians or Hebrews for a moment forget the work of Esther, the example of Ruth, or Elizabeth? To the pure nature of Mary we turn in gratitude for the example of sinlessness made manifest through the manhood of Jesus. Was not Jesus reared in the midst of influences largely augmented in spirituality by the examples of Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, and Sarah? Can we turn in memory to the career of Christ and shut from the mind's view the home and presence of Mary and Martha and the grandeur of the new birth and loyal affection of the Magdalen? Down through the ages, though their history remains largely unwritten except as it is recorded on the tablets of human heart breakings, martyrdom, and silent woe, we have the ever-present ministry of pure, righteous, and spiritually minded women in all walks of life, in all religions, and specially as disciples in successive ages of the man of Nazareth. Therefore Christian Science re-affirms that it is Christian because given to the world through the prayers and sufferings, overcoming and aspiration of pure womanhood. Christian Science is Christian because it is seeking to re-establish the whole of Christianity. It affirms that Christians need in this age the undivided garment of Christ, the physical healing of His religion as well as its power for moral re-generation. Christian Science accepts the truth of the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ, his divine incarnation, Messiahship, the genuineness of the recorded, but miscalled miracles, his resurrection and ascension, but at all times and under all circumstances antagonizes the idea that the works and demonstrations of Jesus Christ's miraculous power were suspensions of law. Jesus promised that the works which he performed should be repeated by his followers in all ages. The teachings of Jesus accompanied with signs following established early Christianity, and steadily displaced Paganism and converted the most illustrious Pagan thinkers and philosophers of that period. The restoration of this lost element of Christianity has established Christian Science so firmly in less than thirty-four years that to-day it has nearly two million believers in Christendom, some five hundred church congregations, a vast literature, and at a recent Parliament of Religions it was stated that over a million cases of hopeless disease had been healed through its system of mental therapeutics during the last decade. Christian Science not only repeats in this hour the works of the early Christians, but reveals the spiritual significance of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It claims a gospel of good cheer, freedom, progress, liberty, literalism, optimism, courage, hope, faith. It elevates the great cardinal virtues of character, honesty, purity, unselfishness, love, patience, philanthropy, and selfless service to a suffering world. Christian Science is Christian because it makes the imitation of Christ practical to every sincere religionist, and in all parts of the world is converting to its standards of rational religion, sociologic reform, and spiritual healing thousands of former Hebrews, materialists, agnostics, and the unsatisfied members of the great creedal systems of Christendom. As Christianity was a spiritual enlargement of the divine truths of Hebrew monotheism, as metaphysical healing is the next logical step beyond the high attenuations of homeopathy, so Christian Science with its great and universal gospel of healing is the logical sequence to the worldwide, but temporary acceptance of the atomic or or germ theory so persistently set forth during the last quarter of a century to account for the origin of man. Practical idealism, metaphysical reformation and healing, and the common sense transcendentalism of the Sermon on the Mount represent a worldwide reaction against the gross materialism that has so humanized popular ideas of Deity and has inadvertently evolved a manlike God rather than a Godlike man.
Basis of Christian Ministry
Christian Science is Christian because it teaches that men should understand the Scriptures. The Christian ministry, Greek and Roman, Trinitarian and Unitarian, is based upon the first sentence of the great commission of the Founder of Christianity, "Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel." With rightful confidence Christian ministers point to this command as orders issued directly by the great Captain of their faith to his followers in all ages. This command of Christ is considered the authority for all missionary labor, and bases the great organization of the Christian churches. Christian Scientists accept the perpetual significance of this command, but take one further step and affirm that the very next sentence in the same commission reads, "heal the sick." Therefore their pertinent and Christian conclusion that the command to relieve, through spiritual processes alone, the pains of the body, yea the divine necessity of imitating the physical healing of Christ, as well as the moral reform, is incumbent upon his followers to-day as much as ever before, and therefore the union of physical and spiritual healing in Christian Science, which makes Christian Science both Christian and Scientific. Jesus did not teach that sickness was divinely sent as discipline. To the paralyzed woman he said, "lo Satan hath bound thee these eighteen years;" and to the man at the pool so quickly healed by his spiritual method, "go sin no more least a worse thing come upon thee." And to show that the healing of disease, casting out of devils, reformation of sinners were practically one and the same thing, he said, "Whether it is easier to say unto thee rise, take up thy bed and walk, or thy sins be forgiven thee." Christian Science is Christian because it teaches that Christianity has lost none of its healing power, and that God hath in no wise withdrawn himself from the needs of suffering humanity. Christian Science is of Christian origin and character because it elevates the profound efficacy of righteous prayer to God. The revered and loved Founder of the movement, Mary Baker Eddy, at all times and under all conditions asks loyal Christian Scientists to imitate in detail the career of Jesus, and to follow the apostolic injunction, "pray without ceasing," to forgive enemies, and be patient with persecution.
It is Scientific
Christian Science is Scientific for two simple reasons. First, because it is rational understanding of the mental laws through which the divine Omniscience, alias God, governs the universe including man. Second, because it gives ocular or physical evidences of certain well-developed spiritual laws heretofore considered unprovable and purely speculative. Christian Science is scientific because it starts with a reasonable premise, rears a consistent superstructure, and proves the actuality of its conclusions. Because good is positive evil is negative, and because Mind is causation what is called matter must be effect. If God is Omniscience then Deity is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is not only a Christian or religious truth, but a philosophical truism accepted by acute thinkers in all ages of past history. Christian Science is scientific because it sets forth with great vividness the now worldwide idea of the divine Immanence, or the ever presence of God, alias infinite Life, Truth, and Love in His world or universe. Science is defined as demonstrable knowledge, or as that which can be proven. If Christianity is true it must be scientifically exact and must operate on the higher nature through exact laws of divinity.
The New Testament records some thirty-six events in the career of Jesus, which have for centuries been denominated miracles. Of these some twenty-six represent instances of physical healing without drugs or material methods. Christian Science teaches that these so-called miracles or supernatural events were natural manifestations of the power of divine Mind over physicality understood by Jesus. And because the early Church continued these same works for three centuries the scientific deductions made by Christian Science is pertinent. Why should these same works not be a vital part of twentieth century Christianity? The present age stands greatly in need of health. Men readily accept the new discoveries of science. Without comment we believe that a cake of ice will now make liquified air boil, and readily accept the practicability of wireless telegraphy, and yet a perfect tidal wave of scepticism and opposition is aroused when Christian Science proclaims the inspiring and oft-repeated statement that that which is impossible with man is still possible with God, and that the diseases denominated incurable by materia medica are not necessarily fatal if attacked through the practical metaphysics of mental therapeutics. Christian Science is scientific because it studies mental anatomy and structure instead of physical or organic formation in its search for the causes of disease. It accepts Mrs. Eddy's primary deduction without reservation, "All Causation is Mind and every effect is a mental phenomenon." Christian Science represents a scientific protest against either moral or physical Pantheism; and as God is Mind or Spirit then all that is real is God-like, spiritual, and mental. The New Testament clearly teaches that God is All in all, yet the New Testament writers are not accused of Pantheism. The scientific basis of Christian Science removes it from the realm of dogmatic and speculative religion and brings it at once into the arena of public discussion as an exact Science capable of positive proof. It teaches that all atomic action is spiritual not physical; that there is no life, truth, intelligence, or substance in matter as matter. Critics ridicule the Monotheism of Christian Science and declare that matter has life independent of Mind, when Mind is the only Life.
Mr. Huxley in one of his expositions of the philosophy of life readily assents to the most extreme statement of Christian Science in his suggestive exclamation, "After all, what do we know of this terrible matter except as the name for the unknown hypothetical cause of states of our own consciousness?" And Professor Oswald, of Leipsic, Germany, writes: "Matter is a thing of thought which we have constructed for ourselves rather imperfectly to represent what is permanent in the age of phenomena." Christian Science is scientific because it declares what every physicist and natural scientist knows to be true, that the original germ, molecule, or atom has never been seen nor never will be, that it is purely a metaphysical assumption, to be compared with the Algebraic statement, "X is equal to the unknown quantity."
Contagion of Health
Christian Science teaches the radical idea of universal mental causation and contends for the contagion of health and righteousness rather than the continued spread of disease and depravity as the only contagious elements of existence. By reducing what we call matter to its lowest denominator, especially through the operation of the x-rays, we find that it is but an externalization of the human mind and can be governed by Mind. By resolving what we call matter and structural life into its primary mortal mind elements, then by bringing the human mind under the spiritualizing control of the divine Mind, Christian Science scientifically dissolves a cancer and restores the lost substance of diseased lungs. Scores of allopathic and homeopathic physicians of long practice are adopting Christian Science. Facts are stubborn things. The following instances of healing are offered as scientific confirmations of the genuineness of the claims herein set forth. These cases are open to investigation and medical confirmation from the physicians who have presented the cases will be gladly furnished any honest sceptic. These former practitioners of materia medica, one a homeopath and the other an allopath of forty years practice, have now become Christian Scientists because continued demonstration has proven to them that it is both Christian and scientific.
An instance of what had been pronounced an incurable cancer of the nose, pronounced such by a medical expert, treated by Christian Science and healed in three months; afterward examined by the same specialist, who admitted the complete cure, but affirmed his complete failure to master the modus operandi of the demonstration.
A little girl suffering from epileptic fits, having had the same from birth, at the time she began treatment was having forty spasms a day, entirely healed in less than six months.
A case of consumption of the lungs in the second stage of that disease, accompanied with great pain, lassitude and other attendant symptoms of that disorder, healed in less than seven months.
A case of a lady about forty years of age who had since her fifth year been under medical treatment for organic valvular disease of the heart. A number of physicians had pronounced the case incurable. At the time she consented to try Christian Science she was confined to her room and taking sixty drops of digitalis daily, with a liberal allowance of stimulants. In less than three months she was entirely cured and able to go anywhere and do any reasonable thing without any unnatural physical effect whatever.
The loving kindness and large-heartedness of medical practitioners is most deeply appreciated by all true Christian Scientists. But the majority of the followers of this faith have been healed by Christian Science after everything else failed. Therefore it is but natural and reasonable that they should reject medical practice and adopt Christian Science Mind-healing.
The Common Sense Embedded in Christian Science
Christian Science and common sense are synonymous terms. Can the human mind accept the astronomical fact that the sun does not rise if it relies upon the evidence of the personal senses? No. Can the uneducated Indian believing only in ocular evidence accept the statement that the Mirage is not really a city? No. Can the child be easily made to believe that the stick which looks crooked beneath the surface of the water is straight, and that the laws of reflection create the optical illusion? No. The existence of the evidence of the senses in these simple but well-known instances taken as absolute would end in ignorance not knowledge. And so in Christian Science, according to the evidence of the personal senses, matter is not only real but has within itself life and causation. Truth shows this to be erroneous. Going above the senses through processes of spiritual thought here and now in a practical way is gained the central fact of life.
Christian Science is both Christian and scientific. It is Christian because it imitates the life of Christ, obeys all his commandments and demonstrates his precepts on an ascending scale day by day, with signs following. Christian Science is scientific because it is provable, demonstrable, exact, and, according to the teachings of "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures," by Mrs Eddy, is capable of infinite application according to the spirituality of the demonstrator. To Mary Baker Eddy as the torch bearer of these good new days in which we live, to her as a scriptural teacher, reformer and religious founder, not only the world of Christian Science, but universal Christendom is deeply, yea profoundly indebted. Thirty-three years ago as a religious devotee, as an aspiring woman and a studious and humanitarian medical practitioner, the higher aspects of the religion of Jesus dawned upon her consciousness and she has generously shared this great gift with her fellow-beings. Thirty-three years ago she found apostolic spiritual healing, in a sealed sepulcher, and the Christian world and the followers of Christ suffering from more physical disease than the followers of any other religious teacher of history; yet the primitive Christianity of our Master had power over both disease and sin. To-day millions of Christian religionists thank God from the depths of their hearts for her selfless career and through spiritual experience, through the sweetness of spiritual and moral regeneration call her career one of divine ordination and millions of former invalids and sufferers can truthfully proclaim the integrity of the title of this lecture, "Christian Science Is Both Christian and Scientific."
My hearers, let the undivided garment of primitive Christianity, be again shared with humanity. If human experience, loss and the continuation of earthly strife has made distant the simplicity of the religion of our Saviour, let the truths of Christian Science lead to a sober investigation of its tenets and with the Christian Bible in one hand and the text-book of Christian Science, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mrs Eddy, in the other, let the Holy Spirit interpret and confirm the title of this lecture. "Christian Science is both Christian and Scientific."
[Delivered April 20, 1899, at Willard Hall under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mount Vernon, New York, and published in The Mount Vernon Daily Argus, April 29, 1899.]