Christian Science: its Religion, Healing, and Philosophy

 

Carol Norton, C.S.D.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

We publish in this issue of the Journal the lecture which Mr. Carol Norton, C.S.D., delivered in Concord, N. H., January 2,1899.

We have heretofore published the first two lectures delivered by members of the Board of Lectureship, under the auspices of the Mother Church. This lecture and its attendant circumstances mark an important epoch in the history of Christian Science in Concord.

We republish from the Christian Science Sentinel of January 12, 1899, the following introductory: —

One of the finest audiences ever gathered in Concord assembled in Phoenix Hall, Monday evening, January 2, 1899, to listen to a lecture by Mr. Carol Norton, C.S.D., of New York City, on "Christian Science: its Religion, Healing, and Philosophy." The audience was large and thoroughly representative, comprising several representative physicians, clergymen, and lawyers of the city, and many of the best people of the community. There were also present a number of prominent Christian Scientists from out of the city, delegations of considerable size being in attendance from Manchester and Boston. On the platform were seated Mr. and Mrs. Ezra M. Buswell, Readers in the local Christian Science Church, and several distinguished teachers and Readers of the faith, among them being representatives of the official Board of Lectureship of the Mother Church in Boston, of which Mr. Norton is an effective member.

The lecture was received with warm manifestations of appreciation. Mr. Norton came here with an enviable reputation as a vigorous, yet graceful speaker, and his efforts Monday evening largely enhanced his reputation in that regard.

The speaker was introduced by Mr. George H. Moses, editor of the Concord Evening Monitor and the Independent Statesman, and secretary of the New Hampshire State Board of Forestry Commissioners. In presenting Mr. Norton, the presiding officer said, —

Ladies and Gentleman — The duties ordinarily assigned to a presiding officer upon an occasion like this are, by custom and with propriety, as short and simple as the traditional annals of the poor; and I shall not transcend my functions. Nevertheless, it would be doing violence to those sentiments of personal pleasure which this moment brings to me, if I failed to make allusion to the close and tender and helpful friendship which has for so long a time existed between the speaker of the evening and me. For more than twenty-five years — and I venture to name the period of time without fear that I shall reveal anything detrimental concerning the age of either — for more than twenty-five years we have been friends, and I record now my conviction that throughout all that time I have never found him to be actuated by other than the purest of motives; that I have never known him to be allured by less than the highest of ideals; and that I have never known him to fall short of following the loftiest of purposes. In this spirit, therefore, and animated by these distinguished characteristics, he comes to you to-night as a member of the official Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, the Mother Church of Christian Science, to present to you an authoritative summary of a great topic — a topic which daily invites a closer and deeper scrutiny, a topic to the fundamental truth of which, within the brief span of less than a generation of human life, more than a million individuals have subscribed their support; and it is a topic, I may venture to add, which should commend itself to the candid consideration of this community because, if for no other reason, here is fixed the home of the revered and beloved and illustrious Founder of the Faith. Christian Science, I doubt not, in common with every other radical departure from the recognized boundaries of mental and psychic research, has met with misinterpretation and misconstruction. To correct, or obviate, and to eliminate these discordant elements, is, I take it, the stimulating purpose of this lecture, and in order that the speaker of the evening and you also may be no longer detained from a consideration of his inspiring theme, I pass directly to the main duty imposed upon me, and with great pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you my life-long friend Mr. Carol Norton C.S.D., of New York City.

Mr. Norton's lecture in full was as follows: —

We stand within the doorway of a New Year of time. In the vast forever of Truth time hath no part, yet as we look out upon the world of consciousness we recognize the evidences of a new era of experience and a period of great mental enlargement. The Old World has its Holy Land, its pastoral Palestine, fragrant with holy traditions and the perpetual inspiration of the divinely human life of its greatest citizen and Teacher, the Founder of the Christian religion. His ideals are destined to become the universal rulers of nations, his life the spiritual ideal of every career. It is a privilege to speak of Christian Science to the people of Concord, the capital city of the Granite State, The New World has its Holy Land. The sacred memories that surge through thought as I stand within the borders of New England speak with the divine inspiration of Truth, of individual liberty, freedom, and spiritual progress. Thought naturally recalls the work for freedom of Garrison and Phillips, Mrs. Howe, Mrs. Livermore, and Dorothea Dix. The names of Alcott and Thoreau, Emerson, Channing, Longfellow, Whittier, Bryant, Holmes, Lowell, and Brooks speak to us of liberty, of righteousness, and of spiritual inspiration. Because of New England's love of liberty, Christian Science is to-day a vital part of New England's life, for Christian Science came to the world from within her borders. The New World's proclamation of spiritual freedom, granting to the mind divinity, and to the body health, was given to the world through the inspirational discovery of Mary Baker G. Eddy, in the state of Massachusetts, in the year 1866. In order that the divinity and practicability of our Faith may be more clearly understood by the people of her city of residence, this lecture has been provided for its people by the Christian Scientists of Concord. Speaking for the Christian Science denomination, we offer to you for prayerful and sober contemplation a gospel of peace on earth and good will to men, a religion at one with the Christianity of Christ, and a life aglow with works of spiritual regeneration, the healing of the sick, and the uplifting of the down-trodden, the oppressed, and the sufferer.

 

Era of Progress and Expansion.

Christian Science is to-day a well-established fact. We live in an era of progress, scientific development, and mental expansion. In the universe of Mind new worlds are being constantly discovered. The psychological unfolding of mentality is world-wide. Universal consciousness is throwing aside its swaddling clothes. The ghostly shapes of religious superstition, medical vagaries, and absurd and materialistic scientific speculations are fast being relegated to the realm of oblivion. Divine rationality, demonstrable religion, and scientific mental therapeutics are assuming their rightful place as the righteous rulers of this world. These forces are to-day the harbingers of that divine and spiritual understanding which is destined to become the rightful possession of every man and woman who believes in the supremacy of Good as opposed to that of evil. Millions of deep thinkers in this era believe in the eternal power of Mind as Deity, in contradistinction to the now almost outgrown theory of theistic dualism; alias, the pantheistic doctrine of real mind, and real matter as an actual but secondary force. As one waking from a dream, the materialist asks, Is there any proof of spiritual life and a spiritual First Cause? The scholastic, turning with dazed thought from the countless theories of the school, asks, Can the idea of God be reduced to a science? Can man look for actual and positive proofs of the life spiritual here and now, asks the sceptic. The conservative thinker fears that progress and spiritual development involve the ignoring, or rejection, of the truths enunciated by the prophets, seers, religious teachers, and holy fathers of past ages. The believer in drugs and material methods for the restoration of the sick and the healing of organic disease, is startled at the thought of giving up all material methods, and being called to rely wholly and without reservation upon the divine Mind. The Christian Scientist answers these unfounded, though perhaps natural, fears of our religious, social, and medical workers with assurance born of facts, not fancy, and with decision born of physical and spiritual demonstration. Truth is always the "Ancient of Days." The central facts of life remain unchanged; but man, the idea of the infinite Mind, advances and ascends.

 

New occasions teach new duties: Time makes ancient good uncouth;

They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;

Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be.

Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,

Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

 

Mind Real, Matter Unreal.

Christian Science is founded on the scientific statement that "All Causation is Mind and every effort is a mental phenomenon." It affirms that Mind is first or primary; therefore, is sole Causation, and that what we know as matter is but a subjective state of human consciousness. This idea is lucidly set forth in the following deductions of eminent natural scientists. J. F. W. Herschel writes, "All that has been predicated of atoms, their attractions and repulsions, according to the primary laws of their being, only becomes intelligible when we assume the presence of Mind."

Lord Kelvin writes, "Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us, and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing it was the influence of a free Will, free Nature, and teaching us that, all living things depend on one everlasting Creator and Ruler."

Mr. Huxley writes, "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 Prof. Oswald, of Leipsic, Germany, states that "matter is a thing of thought which we have constructed for ourselves rather imperfectly to represent what is permanent in the change of phenomena." Christian Science affirms that God is the divine Principle of the universe, including man; that He is, therefore. Omniscience, alias all-Science; hence, can be known only through divine or mental Science. The Science of Christ, or Christian Science, which Jesus more than any other religious teacher of history taught, is a demonstrable and eternal philosophy, capable of destroying the germs of depravity in the human mind, and its expressions of evil thinking, namely, organic, functional, and inherited disease.

 

One Universal and Incorporeal God.

Pythagoras, writing about 700 B. C, thus clearly states the idea of Deific Omniscience: "There is one Universal Soul diffused through all things, eternal, invisible, intelligible; in essence like truth; in substance resembling Light, not to be represented by any image, to be comprehended only by the mind, not as some conjecture exterior to the world, but in himself, entire, pervading the universal sphere." Justin Martyr wrote thus of One God: "There is a Lord of the Lord Jesus, being his father and God, and the Cause of his existence." In later Christian history, Sir Isaac Newton thus states the same essential idea. "We know God only by His properties or attributes and by final causes; we admire Him for His perfections; we reverence and adore Him on account of His dominion. All things are contained and move in Him: He must be all intelligence and action; but after a manner not at all human; not at all corporeal. He is destitute of all body and bodily shape, and, therefore, cannot be seen, heard, or touched, nor ought to be worshiped under the representation of anything corporeal."

These statements of deists living in centuries separated by great distances are in essential agreement with that, illuminated statement of the founder of the Christian religion: "God is Spirit [Mind], and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit [Mind] and in Truth." The founder of Christian Science, Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy, not in any sense claiming that she states any new Truth, renewedly proclaims this divine idea of an omniscient God in her statement, "There is no life, truth, intelligence, or substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All in all." Christian Scientists believe that logically, their premise possesses stability, and from the point of view of actual demonstration to-day nearly a million thinking people accept it as both Christian and scientific.

 

Christian Science Scriptural.

Christian Science is Scriptural for four reasons.

First. Because it teaches the eternal reality of Good as God, and the consequent unreality of evil, or that element which opposes the divine character in human affairs.

Second, Because it teaches the reality of Mind or Spirit as supreme Cause and the unreality of matter or flesh. i.e., materialism.

Third, Because it proclaims the inspiring Biblical fact that sin. sickness, and death are no part of the divine plan, but errors of human belief and material existence.

Fourth, Because it looks forward to the time, Utopian though it may seem, when all that wars against harmony and individual perfection in man will be swallowed up in the all-pervading presence of spiritual harmony and divine control.

The Founder of Christian Science states that in the unfolding of Christian Science to her mind, the Bible was her only text-book. Of this holy book it has been beautifully written, —

 

A glory gilds the sacred page,

Majestic, like the sun;

It gives a light to every age,

It gives, but borrows none.

 

And again, —

 

Slowly the Bible of the race is writ,

And not on paper leaves nor leaves of stone;

Each age, each kindred, adds a verse to it,

Texts of despair or hope, of joy or moan.

 

As Scriptural confirmations of these cardinal tenets, the following passages are quoted: "Thou [God] art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Habakkuk, 1:13). "God is Light [Intelligence, Good], and in Him is no darkness [wickedness, death] at all" (1 John, 1:5). "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (John, 4:24). "Spirit hath not flesh [matter] and bones, as ye see me have." (Words of Jesus. Luke, 24:39) "When lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James,1:15). "Thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John, 5: 14). "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil [evil, error] and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation, 12:9). "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John, 8:14).

Prayer without ceasing, silent, aspiring, deep-hearted, is especially the custom of Christian Scientists. Such prayer removes mountains, heals disease, binds up the broken torn hearts of earth, and widens the mind's horizon. Prayer of this sort brings the thoughts of man into oneness with the divine Mind, and the worship of God becomes the daily reflection of the Mind which moves only in Love's grooves, and thus governs all in harmony.

 

Christian Science Monotheistic, Not Pantheistic.

Christian Science is monotheistic and opposed to pantheism, dualism, ditheism, and "miracleism." It teaches the eternal reality of the one divine Mind and the absolute nothingness of everything else. Christian Science is Christian because it teaches the existence of one God, one ascending Christ, ideal, impersonal, divine, and immortal, which shone in the fulness of spiritual resplendency in the divinely human career of Christ Jesus. He it was who fulfilled Hebrew prophecy, dated the Christian era, and founded what is destined to be the universal religion of mankind. Jesus, through divine consciousness, proved that sin, disease, and physical death were errors, and no part of God's creation. Christian Science is Christian because it teaches the supremacy of Spirit over the flesh, the power of Good over evil, and the perpetual ability of pure men and chaste women to act as the triumphant masters of depravity, materialism, and worldliness. Christian Science is evangelical because it teaches the equality of the sexes, the brotherhood of man, the supremacy of divine Love, the final salvation of all men from "all that worketh abomination and maketh a lie." It is Catholic because it proclaims the gospel of the good new days of righteous, individual, civil, and national government. It is regenerative inasmuch as it teaches that this world, like the human body, is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.

 

Christian Science Scientific.

Christian Science is scientific because it destroys the appetite for liquor in the inebriate; because it restores to health and vigor the sentenced sufferer in the last stages of consumption or some other equally distressing so-called incurable disease; and because it cures insanity and vicious temperamental characteristics. Christian Science is scientific because it is daily proving itself applicable to all the affairs of social life. In the ranks of Christian Scientists are found scores of trained nurses, medical students, allopathic and homoeopathic physicians and surgeons, teachers, authors, musicians, dramatists, reformers, business men, lawyers, judges, and statesmen. Perhaps more telling than all else is the presence within its ranks of that great multitude of the common people, Who of old heard the Master gladly, and throughout all ages, in all climes, have been the first to discern the messages of the Most High, that have been given into the keeping of each age.

Love is the basic Principle of Christian Science. It places essential stress upon tolerance, moderation, compassion, and mercy as motive powers in religious thinking. Beautifully has Whittier sounded the keynote of its general trend in his lines: —

 

Not with hatred's undertow

Doth the Love Eternal flow;

Every chain that spirits wear

Crumbles in the breath of prayer,

And the penitent's desire

Opens every gate of fire.

 

What It Is Not.

Christian Science is frequently confounded with faith cure, mind cure, or mental healing, suggestion, and hypnotism. This confusion is neither correct nor just to the adherents of these systems. Ours is an age of clear distinction and simple facts. Let the vital difference between Christian Science and these systems be candidly considered. Let the spirit of honest distinction prevail and supersede that of ignorance and unjust criticism.

Christian Science is often classed with faith cure. The systems represent polar extremes. Christian Science teaches that God is the divine Principle of physical health, as well as of moral or physical perfection; hence is the impersonal divine Principle of bodily wholeness; personal to each man and woman, but as an infinite Being, infinitely personal, alias impersonal. The Christian Scientist demonstrates the divine Principle as a curative force. The very premise of Christian Science assumes that this divine curative Principle is the destroyer of disease and never wills that any of His creatures should suffer. Faith cure teaches that if the petitional prayer for the recovery of the sick represents a sufficient degree of faith in the power of God to restore to health the sufferer, this faith will be rewarded in the healing of the person prayed for. If the person does not recover it is usually said that it is the will of God that he or she should leave this world and go to Heaven. This system blends material remedies and drugs with the prayers of its devotees. Christian Science is an exact system of mental therapeutics and elevates the Truth, that the germs of all disease, like those of depravity, exist in the human mind. It teaches that a pure mind means a pure body, and the world is beginning to learn that the word health is synonymous with holiness. Christian Science does not base its operations upon the fundamental assumptions of mind cure, suggestive therapeutics, so-called mental healing, auto-suggestion, or hypnotism. These systems represent with but slight variations what can be well termed educated will-power. The theory that the human will or mind can be so educated, trained, and intensified that it can be made to operate upon the mind and body in such a way as to remove disease through suggestion or mental control is erroneous. In these systems the actor or practitioner is the principal seat of power. The patient becomes obedient to the force of his or her will; hence yields up the sacred right of individual self-government. He thus becomes, voluntarily or involuntarily, controlled by the human mind of a person. Temporary relief from suffering often follows the operation of these systems. But no genuine eradication of the germs of disease can be looked for through the ordinary psychical methods of cure so in vogue in this era of mental eclecticism. One vital fact bases this statement, viz.: the one and only Power, alias, God, capable of destroying the germs of disease and depravity is not brought, into scientific action in these systems because of the opacity of the human mind of the operator, and the assumption of resident healing power in the human mind. In a word, the fundamental deference between these systems and Christian Science is as follows: In Christian Science the healing power is at all times the reflected and radiated power of the divine Mind, alias infinite Purity, Love, and Good, through the instrumentality or agency of the healer, whose thoughts and life, in order to possess healing power, must each day reflect, not originate, more and more of the Deific character.

Hypnotism the action of the educated mortal or human mind, is the antithesis of the stately healing power of the Christ Mind. The first is born of animality and magnetism; the latter of chastity, purity, and Christlikeness. Hypnotism, which is being so generally used in these latter days as a criminal power, is the human antipode of divine Mind which heals disease and destroys evil. The principles of Christian Science have nothing in common with spiritualism or theosophy.

 

One Catholic Church.

Christian Science exalts the idea of triumphant Christian democracy in religion, in contradistinction to the ecclesiastical, dogmatic, and military spirit. As a system it is opposed to all that makes religion materialistic, anthropomorphic superstitious, speculative, vague, or merely sentimental. Christian Science is not a return to certain heretical teachings of the early Church, as affirmed by some well-meaning, though incorrect critics. It teaches that the holy Catholic Church, apostolic succession, and the historic episcopate exist in a united body in the Church Triumphant. To the Christian Scientist the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church is the Church which to-day bases its operations upon the religion of Jesus and fulfils literally, spiritually, and physically his great commission to his true followers in all ages, "Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, raise the dead." The restored Church of Christ on earth is rising in our midst. Her majestic proportions make glad those whose eyes see the glory of His presence, and whose hearts and healed bodies feel the touch of the Christ within their midst.

 

The old world waits the time to be renewed

Towards which now hearts in individual growth

Must quicken, and increase to multitude

In new dynasties of the race of men,

Develop whence, shall grow spontaneously

New churches, new economies, new laws

Admitting freedom, new societies

Excluding falsehood.

 

Sociologic Aspects.

Christian Science stands in every community for pure government, social purity, honest popular elections, business integrity, the purification of literature and journalism, and the elevation of the stage. Of the stage the eminent dramatic critic, William Winter, truly says, "Acting is a learned profession. The stage should be devoted to good plays, well acted, and to nothing else. The profession of acting is a learned profession and the utility of the stage as an intellectual force is not fully appreciated... As the ideals of intellectual effort rise in the community, the able and sincere actors will be encouraged and strengthened, and the stage will be ennobled."

Christian Science is of practical value to the architect, inasmuch as it intensifies what is known as the artistic temperament, enables him to rapidly, surely, and correctly attain the ability to reproduce the great classical orders of the past, and acquire the religion, as well as the science and originality of art and architecture. It is of great value to the artist, painter, and sculptor. It brings the mind into harmonious relationship with the divine Mind — the Principle of all beauty, symmetry, order, law, proportion, and design. It reveals to the musician a higher order of music, making technique, tone, and execution unlabored, individual, idealic. It is of great value to teachers in the kindergarten, and in all schools where instruction is given to the mind of youth during its formative periods. Dealing at all times with mental causation, pre-natal tendencies, traditional and temperamental bias, it makes easy many coveted results which have heretofore baffled our consecrated teachers and mothers.

 

Not Hero Worshipers.

Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy. They worship one God. Religious and reformatory history owns no character which has shown more clearly than has Mary Baker Eddy her honest opposition to and disdain for all forms of hero-worship. Critics should not expect the upwards of one million people in Christendom to-day, who trace their present spiritual happiness, humanitarian progress, and bodily health, directly or indirectly, to her patient years of toil and research, to be other than grateful to her as Reformer, Teacher, and Friend. The wisdom of her leadership in the great spiritual and metaphysical awakening of this century is self-evident and above question. Hence, she has earned not only gratitude from all who have accepted Christian Science, but a degree of respect and intelligent, not blind, following, which is but normal, rational, and thoroughly in line with the history of the establishment and development of all demonstrable Sciences and the natural authority of their founders. The doctrine of the allness of God, or divine Mind, was taught many years before the Christian era. But since the days of the Palestine Healer and Reformer nobody in Christendom or in any other religious world, has gone to the supreme end of pure Monotheism except Mrs. Eddy. Her discovery consists not in the possession of any new primary truth, but in the definite presentation of the modus operandi, or method, taught and utilized by Jesus and his apostles, which to-day is renewedly made manifest in the same power in the healing of sin and disease. Inspiration belongs not alone to past years. Revelation is not sealed. Progress knows no cessation in its infinite unfolding. God reveals Himself to each age in a larger degree. The light which illuminates the era in which we live comes not because God has in any wise changed His methods of self-revelation and regeneration. The men and women of this hour are rising to heights of sinlessness, purity, chastity, and righteousness of thought that are in themselves the mountain peaks of holiness, from which the grandeur of the city of God is seen in its fulness. To the original deductions of Mary Baker Eddy, and to her writings as a whole, are directly traceable the healing power which thousands are daily recognizing as the embodiment of restored, primitive Christian healing.

The work of Mrs. Eddy has opened to women in the ministry of Christian Science the two noblest of all avocations, philanthropy and medicine. Through the understanding of Christian Science men and women, by one and the same method, can reform the sinner and heal the sick. In her reconstruction of the order of public services in the Churches of Christ. Scientist, throughout the world, she has placed woman by the side of man in the pulpit as co-worker and co-equal. What Christian thinkers have for years said should be done, she has done. She has revealed simultaneously with "the new man" in God's own image "the new woman," and in her own words she states, their equality thus: "Man is the generic term for God's children, made in His own image and likeness, and because they are thus made, reflected, the male and female of His creating are equipoised in the balances of God."

 

Physicians and Christian Science.

Do physicians believe Christian Science heals? Do doctors admit that the teachings of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, are correct and of demonstrable value to the art of healing? Dr. George D. Cochran of New York City, during the month of August, 1898, made the following statement from the platform in Saratoga, N.Y.: —

"One of the salient features of the present century has been the growth of materialism. Indeed, the scientific men of the day have turned their attention so fixedly towards physical cause and effect that matter in their eyes has assumed most of the prerogatives of Deity. Against this gross subversion of fact Mary Baker Eddy raised a voice of protest over thirty years ago, and announced to the world her discovery, which she named Christian Science. At first, little attention was paid to her metaphysical system. Then opposition of the most violent character was aroused. But she persevered, and to-day Christian Science has received such unqualified support as to justify the assertion that it will ultimately be universally accepted."

Dr. Cochran was graduated from two of the leading American medical colleges — one allopathic, the other a homœopathic school. He also had several years' experience in the hospitals of Paris, France.

In March, 1898, a Christian Scientist had the following interview with Dr. William A. Brooks, a Christian Science practitioner in the state of Texas. Dr. Brooks graduated from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa., and practised allopathy for over forty-three years. The interview, given in the form of questions propounded to Dr. Brooks, is as follows: —

Question — At the end of your practice of allopathy what were your conclusions about the practice of medicine in general?

Answer — I was convinced that it was experimental.

Question — Do you think Christian Science Mind-healing, properly demonstrated, is destined to supersede all other systems of healing?

Answer — Yes.

Question — What are your views about the actual rights of Christian Scientists, as healers, and do you think its practice lawful?

Answer — First. Christian Scientists in healing are not violating any law.

Second. Their healing is through God, and above any material law.

Third. Any effort to prevent Christian Science healing would be a violation of individual rights.

Fourth. Results prove their work is effective, and more so than even the homoeopathic or allopathic schools of medicine.

Fifth. They have the same rights to heal the sick through divine Power alone as they have to heal the sinner.

Question — What do you consider to be the supreme good of Christian Science?

Answer — Spiritual reformation, making healing and religion one.

 

Other Instances of Healing.

Instances of healing reported by Alfred E. Baker, M.D., C.S.B., of Concord, Massachusetts. Dr. Baker writes, —

"I should have been baffled in the practice of materia medica with cases like the following, and should have rendered the same verdict as the specialists who were consulted.

"Mrs. I. came to me for treatment for what two well-known specialists had pronounced incurable cancer of the nose. She came to Christian Science for treatment. I had her case about three months, and she left me entirely healed. At the request of one of these specialists she permitted an examination, He said, 'We must be very frank with each other, and I will say that I do not understand this case at all.' This was two years ago, and a letter from her daughter recently says she brought her to me, 'not expecting her to be healed, but to divert her attention. Much to my delight. she was healed, and is now as well as ever.'

"The case of a little girl was put into my care who almost from birth had suffered from epilepsy. At the time she applied for treatment she was having forty spasms a day. I had the case about five months and word came that she was healed."

 

Attitude of Judges and Reformers.

Do any of our leading thinkers, clergymen, reformers, judges, and physicians oppose the efforts that are made from time to time to make Christian Science Mind-healing illegal? Let the following quotations speak for themselves. These utterances of professional men and thinkers of national repute answer these queries in a pertinent way. The occasion of the remarks of Mr. Mills quoted was the hearing held in Boston, during the month of March, 1898, before the joint committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on public health. Legislation antagonistic to Christian Science. Mind-healing, and monopolistic in character, was attempted, and these remarks constitute an important part of the successful protest made against the proposed legislation.

Rev. B. Fay Mills made the following statement before the joint committee: —

"I am opposed to any law that will affect masseurs, Christian Scientists, etc., so long as they advertise themselves as such. I do not see how we are to make any real progress in any direction if we confine ourselves to those who have passed only through a certain course. Some things that have benefited the human race to a great extent came from people who did not belong to any particular society. The progress that will be made over present conditions in the medical profession to-day will he as great as the progress of to-day is over the magicians. The people of the future will laugh at us just as we laugh at the ancients."

Ex-Judge J. E. McKeighan of St. Louis writes, in answer to the questions: —

What are your views on the legal rights and aspects of Christian Science Mind-healing, alias mental therapeutics, as a system of healing disease? and,

Do you consider the practice of healing the sick through mental, psychical, or spiritual means without drugs a vital part of the Christian religion as founded by Jesus Christ?

"First — Article I. of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States restrains Congress from passing any law 'prohibiting the free exercise of religion.' Article XIV. of Amendments prohibits the States from 'depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law," and from denying any person the equal protection of the laws. Provisions of a similar nature are found in most of the state constitutions of the Union.

"The healing of physical disease, as well as salvation from sin, in Christian Science is founded on a distinct and definite religious basis, arising from the true relation, as taught in the Bible and Science and Health (the text-book of Christian Science) between God and man. According to Christian Science, man, the child and idea of God, must necessarily be as free from sin, disease, and sickness as God, his Creator, is, It is the application of this principle which, according to Christian Science, rescues the sinner from sin and heals the physically sick, I therefore maintain that any law, federal or state, which would undertake to punish Christian Scientists for healing the physically sick by the application and use of their religious principles, would be unconstitutional and in violation of the foregoing provisions of the federal and similar provisions of the different state constitutions.

"Second — In answer to your second question. I would say that I do consider the practice of healing the sick through mental, psychical, and spiritual means, without drugs, a vital part of the Christian religion as founded by Jesus Christ. I make this answer because Jesus Christ himself regarded healing as a vital part of his religion, and he did not use drugs. The record of his ministry was as much a record of healing as of preaching or teaching, and they always went together; and when he sent out his disciples, and afterwards the seventy, they were instructed in both cases not only to preach the Gospel but to heal the sick. The record with respect to his disciples stated (Luke, 9:6) that they went through the towns 'preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.' So, after the resurrection, his disciples were instructed to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark, 16: 14-20), and they were assured that the recovery of the sick should follow and attend the believers as a sign, or, as we would say, evidence that they had not only received but understood the Truth.

"Christian Scientists fail to find anything either in reason or in any part of the Bible, to justify the abandonment of the practice of healing as a necessary and natural accompaniment and witness of understanding the truth of the true relation between God and man, although the whole religious world for centuries has ignored the most practical part of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, viz.: healing, which, as before stated, he practised constantly and continuously and instructed his disciples and followers to practise."

 

Legal Aspects and Responsibility.

The rights of a particular school of medicine are legitimately based, first, last, and always upon the good accruing to humanity from the practice and operations of this school. Egotistical and monopolistic claims have no weight with either righteous law or human reason. Law is designed to protect the good from the lawlessness of the bad, and to give the ignorant and unsuspecting protection from the unscrupulous, malicious, and ignorant. Charlatanism has no place in therapeutical practice, and religious fanaticism should in no wise be allowed to interfere with the rights of individuals or the public health. If Christian Science were what the majority of our partisan critics aver it to be, I would most heartily join them in their supposedly righteous crusade against it. At the present time the widespread criticism of Christian Science represents a state of mind most interesting as a mental phenomenon, for its opposers are invariably opposing their own misconceptions of the subject, and if Christian Science were either religiously or therapeutically what these well-meaning though misguided critics affirm it to be every member of the Christian Science body would help them in their fervent labors for its suppression.

 

Justice to Christian Science.

The following incident aptly illustrates the one-sided and intolerant attitude taken by many people toward the occasional loss of a case under Christian Science treatment. A certain gentleman took a special delight in handing from time to time to his son-in-law, who is a believer in Christian Science treatment, newspaper clippings recording the occasional loss of a case under Christian Science practice. One day on handing one of these cuttings to him he was given the daily city paper and asked to note the fact that that day's paper alone recorded over seventy-five people who had passed out under the treatment of materia medica. As each case represented a given failure on the part of materia medica to master a definite case of disease, why were not these failures also telegraphed from north to south and from east to west? There were no comments made on either side and the custom in vogue on the part of our critic ceased.

There are two sides to this whole question. If the intolerant and partisan portion of our community possesses one side, the Christian Scientists certainly possess the other The Christian Scientists' side of this vexed question will now be stated candidly and respectfully. The work of the Christian Scientists throughout the world can well be likened to that of a single hospital in one of our great cities, that has been forced to receive all the hopeless and incurable cases and all the instances that have proven failures in the other hospitals of that city. Yet what does "the quick to condemn" temperament demand? Nothing more or less than that the average of successful healing through Christian Science should be as high, if not higher, than the average of all other healing methods combined. When it is remembered that few people ever seek aid from Christian Science until after the best curative skill of Europe and America has failed, it must be frankly admitted that the percentage of successful healing is extraordinarily large when it is stated on good authority that the average result is in the neighborhood of seventy-five per cent; and this percentage is being daily increased through a greater mastery and understanding of the therapeutical possibilities of the system. Many people known to eminent physicians who have diagnosed their cases and pronounced them incurable have been wholly healed by Christian Science. In these instances the death sentence pronounced by materia medica was made null and void by the practical healing of Christian Science. Therefore, if our critics continue to affirm that the loss of a case represents criminal negligence or "a melancholy tragedy," the Scientist can put forth the statement that all who die without having first tried Christian Science have been allowed to pass away without having the benefit of what is proving itself in thousands of cases a higher and more successful curative element than either allopathy or homœopathy. Many of us in Christian Science have received devoted and kind attention through a long period of years from consecrated physicians and surgeons. Many in our ranks have left the beaten track of materia medica and joined hands with us. These things do not show antagonism to our friends, the physicians and surgeons; but are positive proof that we have accepted the more efficacious method. No less an authority than Benjamin Franklin, in 1780, wrote to Dr. Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, "The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the heights to which may be carried in a thousand years the power of mind over matter. All diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured."

The heterodoxy of to-day is the orthodoxy of to-morrow. Let tolerance, sound judgment, and poised humanitarianism be our guiding thoughts in dealing with these questions which relate to the public health and to the progress of the race. Pertinently writes Feuerbach, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?"

"The new comes from exactly that quarter whence it is not looked for, and is always something different from what is expected. Everything new is received with contempt, for it begins in obscurity and becomes a power observed."

 

National Expansion and Anglo-Saxon Ascendency.

The hour is one of mental expansion. Old things are passing away and all is becoming new. We hear of the universal spread of Christianity and of the gradual acceptance of the English tongue as the language of the nations of earth. The atmosphere of thought teems with noble ideals of universal peace, brotherhood, democratic equality, the dignity of the individual, and the establishment of ideal society. We hear much of Anglo-Saxon unity and ascendency. This can only mean one thing — the unity of common ideals, principles, and aspirations. The expansion that we are called upon to embrace is not so much an expansion of territory as of humanitarian labor and achievement. The stability of the republic is established. It will face its new duties among the nations of the earth with calm courage, compassion, and poise, born of fruitful experience. In a little over a hundred years the American Commonwealth, the home of liberty, free government, and triumphant democracy, has assimilated and made worthy representatives and citizens, residents of many foreign countries who came to us with traditions and ideas largely alien to those of our own blessed land and life, as embodied in our Declaration of Independence and our National Constitution. This successful demonstration of political and social assimilation prefigures the greater destiny of our ideas. The re-established Christianity of Jesus in America is destined to permeate the world of thought. The leaven of the new world's ideas and its governmental ideals are by sure degrees becoming world-absorbed. Such ideas are congenial to the human mind longing for freedom and the divine dignity of individuality. What shall this leaven be? Commercial supremacy, political ascendency, naval power, and military force alone? Undoubtedly for some years to come these factors will play an important part in the influence that the great Western Republic will exert in the affairs of the world. But towering high above the mists of mere personal gain and selfish desire will shine forth in all the glory of moral rectitude, freedom and righteousness, the ideals of the religion of Jesus. His ideals of peace and equality, which represent the incarnation of the life of the Prince of Peace, will embody the only imperialism that we can afford to contemplate. The humanitarian, ethical, and social influence of America will tower high above all other influences. The Christian socialism of the Palestine Reformer is destined to become the law of nations. Of this great code James Freeman Clarke wrote, "How beautiful this world would be if we always saw God in it as our Friend and Father; if we saw immortal Love in all things how joyful would work become, how easy all our duty grow; how simplified the problems of life. That would be the coming of the Kingdom of God. The reign of the Prince of Peace."

 

Conclusion.

To all humanitarian physicians, surgeons, and trained nurses, yea, to all who up to their highest light are ministering to human suffering, the Christian Scientist bears cordial good will and respect for motives, if not for all means employed. Tenderly and with hearts of gratitude for their brave endeavor, do all Christian Scientists thank God for holy lives in all history, for their noble effort and their righteous attainments. Christian Scientists thank the Eternal for the known and unknown martyrs and reformers of this and every age. They offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for the righteous and prayerful and aspiring in all religious communions and in all walks of life, religious and secular.

 

Honor we still their faith and brave endeavor,

But dwell not always in the walls they reared;

We build not on the ancient ways forever;

Yet trust no less the God whom they revered.

 

In broader day, with clearer light beholding,

Changing their creed but keeping fast their faith,

Freely the ancient forms of thought remoulding,

Asking what word to-day the spirit saith.

 

We from the time-worn piers our ship unmooring,

Afloat, but not adrift upon the tide,

Dare Truth's broad seas, in faith our hearts assuring

He must be safe who sails where God doth guide.

 

[Delivered Jan. 2, 1899 at Phoenix Hall, Concord, N.H. and published in The Christian Science Journal, May, 1899.]

 

 

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