The Influence of Immanuel, God with Us
Clifford R. Nysewander, C.S.B. of Indianapolis, Indiana
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
The demand for an unlimited, practical understanding of God is clearly evident today. The mist of worldly fears, confusion, and misunderstanding can be dispelled by the truth which is presented in Christian Science.
Christian Science supplies the answer of spiritual regeneration as the solution to conflicting world opinions, erroneous arguments, and selfish interests which are the background of the mesmerism of sin, disease, suffering, and war.
This spiritual regeneration in individual consciousness comes anew as one in true humility acknowledges and accepts the Christ message of God's power, presence, and intelligence. There is one Christ, and it exists forever as the manifestation of divine Mind. The Christ coexists with God and presents the indestructible ideal man, whom God, Spirit, creates, supports, and governs. Man expressing the Christ, at one with divine Principle, God, has dominion over all the earth. Jesus was the representative of the Christ, the true idea of God. His works and demonstrations of the Christ-idea made him the Messiah, the Way-shower.
The teaching of Christian Science presented by Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is perhaps singular to some, but it is that selfsame Christianity which Jesus presented and proved. Christian Science requires obedience to its fundamental truth even as Jesus required his disciples to live by the rule of his teachings. Jesus was the one who more than all others demonstrated the spiritual, divine Truth or Christ. He was a living witness to the allness of God's power and goodness. He discerned God, divine intelligence, to be the only cause and creator of the universe, including man. His example left indelible proof of the power of the Christ to influence and regenerate the lives of men.
One Divine Influence
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy refers to God in the definition of "creator" found in the Glossary of this book. She writes (p. 583); "creator. Spirit; Mind; intelligence; the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good; self-existent Life, Truth, and Love; that which is perfect and eternal; the opposite of matter and evil, which have no Principle; God, who made all that was made and could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself."
The synonymous terms for God, namely Spirit, Soul, Mind, Life, Truth, Love, and Principle, indicate the infinite divine influence of all that is real and eternally good.
Every real atom or element is actually spiritual and is the expression of eternal Life, the manifestation of divine Love, the idea of infinite wisdom, and the evidence of Truth made manifest. These atoms and elements are the reflections of Soul and illustrate divine Love's purpose to create trust in good. Principle and its idea being one, and God being Principle, it is right to reason that the universe, including man, created by God, is upheld in His omnipotence and omnipresence. The harmony of the universe, including man, is supported by the power and goodness of divine Love. The living existence of the Supreme Being is established by His laws of adhesion, cohesion, and attraction, which reveal each idea to be in its right place always for the right reason. In a word, God governs His own universe, including man.
God never put power into mortality to be lost or misused. Mortality is the dream of human sense, a phase of materiality, above which an understanding of God lifts man. God is the only cause, the one intelligence, the divine animating Principle forever unfolding divine law to man. Obedience to the commandments of this divine Principle brings salvation, the manifestation of Life, Truth, and Love, to all true believers in His Word. God is All-in-all. Man abides in God's allness.
The student of history finds that popular and false concepts concerning God, the divine creator, and His creation have as their source and origin the human mind. Inasmuch as there is only one God, one divine intelligence, these false opinions about divinity have had their beginning in human superstition and conjecture and now are gradually changing and disappearing. In the light of Truth the darkness of error cannot stand. Truth and error have no present or eternal relationship. Truth destroys error. Spirit, God, has no partnership with flesh. God could never produce sin, sickness, or death, for they are totally apart from His nature. How could God produce that which He could never experience? Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is not made subject to that which was never God-made.
The divine creator never made man to be less than spiritually perfect. The prophet Habakkuk spoke of God thus: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil" (Hab. 1:13). Truth is expressed in our daily experience in proportion to our receptiveness to it. God never made the lie or the liar. God, divine Love, never created sin, disease, or death, and in reality He never made His image and likeness, man, subject to these lies. They are untrue if God never made them, for God is Truth. The fear and sin of human limitations are false beliefs, which, when entertained, would appear to limit one's views of the allness of God's goodness. The individual who, consciously or unconsciously, fears failure in home, business, or church may experience it. The person who believes in weakness and lack opens the gate of his experience to it.
Job so stated, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me" (Job 3:25). The Psalmist, recognizing the need of placing his faith in God, turned away from the flesh and gave us an indication of how the beliefs of the carnal mind may be met and mastered. He sang his praise to God (Ps. 56:4), "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."
Many may remember the stories of Joel Chandler Harris for children and young people at heart, about "Bre'r Rabbit," who got all stuck up playing around with the tar baby, which had been set as a trap for him. The tar of gross human thinking and limitation may ensnare temporarily those who fear it, but never can it hold the God-inspired and God-directed man. This man, divinely directed, goes about his business of reflecting God as God made him in His own image and likeness. This man, reflecting God, dwells in the divine influence of Love.
Man, God's Reflection
A captain was able to navigate a safe course at sea for his ship through a fog as he beheld the bright lights of a lighthouse. He was so grateful for this light, kept by its faithful keeper, that he wrote the man a letter of gratitude for work well done. The keeper of the lighthouse, a man of many years' experience, accepted the letter of gratitude with modesty. He explained to the ship's officer that the brightness and usefulness of the light to guide, direct, and lead the ship's navigators into a path of safety depended upon the condition of the light reflectors. With good polished light reflectors, the brightest light penetrated more of the fog. Light does not absorb darkness; it destroys it. Material beliefs are destroyed by the light of Truth. The Christian Scientist recognizes man's true relationship to God as one of reflection.
As each individual endeavors to understand God and man's relationship to Him, he needs to stand guard at the doorway of his thinking. As one reflects God, the divine Mind, man's thoughts express the light of Truth. Keep your consciousness filled with spiritual reasoning and inspiration.
That which speaks of God's infinite intelligence is the manifestation of beauty, grandeur, order, and purpose. Man is the reflection of good. He is the compound idea and spiritual image and likeness of God. He is the complete and perfect expression of Mind's ideas. It is the inherent nature of man to express Life eternal and to manifest the order and intelligence of God, the divine creator.
The law of divine Love is ever available to meet the needs of those who seek this ever-present help. God is ever with us, caring for His own. His is the eye that watches the sparrow's fall. God governs and controls the universe, including man. Is it not His law, to quote the Psalmist, that "maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still"? (Ps. 107:29.) His ever-available influence of life-giving love and divine law brings healing, intelligence, and supply to those who adhere to Him obediently as the divine Principle of being. God's ever-presence is without change; as man bears faithful witness to this eternal Truth, he reflects God.
The lives of many have been changed for the better by the example of the life of Christ Jesus. Jesus, the human man, demonstrated dominion over the flesh through the Christ. He healed sin and disease and raised the dead. Jesus was the witness to the power of Christ to cure the sins and ills of this world. By his demonstration he proved the Christ to be the divine idea of God. God's spiritual, eternal nature is revealed through the Christ. The Christ-idea, the reflection of God, is available for all who are ready to receive Christ, Truth. We understand the Christ, Truth, to be the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, interpreting the divine Principle, Love, as the one influence of omnipotent good guiding all Godward. This Comforter is Divine Science.
Understanding spiritual law, Jesus knew the unreality of material so-called law. He said (Mark 16:17, 18), "These signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
In the Gospel of John, fourth chapter, we read of the Samaritan woman at the well who openly acknowledged Jesus as the Christ. It was by Jacob's well in a town of Sychar that the Master rested. A woman drew nigh, a Samaritan woman. Jesus asked her for water. She wondered why this man, a Jew, should ask her, a woman of Samaria, for water, for she knew the Jews and the Samaritans had little to do with each other. Jesus answered her query (John 4:10), "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
This woman discovered that Jesus knew her inward intent and thoughts. She recognized him as the Christ, whose coming was prophesied of old. She listened with receptive thought as the Master told her: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24). The woman went into the town giving testimony of her experience with Christ Jesus. The townspeople believing her testimony asked him to stay with them. He did for two days, "And many more believed because of his own word" (John 4:41).
As one sincerely desires to know God, he is called to recognize and accept the influence and power of Truth, or Christ. Truth is demonstrable.
Mrs. Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, "Christian Science, as demonstrated by Jesus, alone reveals the natural, divine Principle of Science" (p. 272). Jesus by healing the sick, cleansing the sinner, and raising the dead proved that this triad of errors had not emanated from God. He demonstrated that truth is the revelation of divine intelligence. Spiritual truth is not discerned through the physical senses. Human invention and its contrivances have never given mankind a solution to the problem of true being. This can only be accomplished through an understanding of God. Christian Science supplies authoritative truth concerning God and man's relationship to Him. Its teachings are understandable and practical.
The King James Version of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" are studied conjointly by all students of Christian Science. An understanding of God brings Christian healing into one's experience. Christian Science reveals the influence and ever-present power of the Christ message. This is the Comforter to humanity promised by Jesus to his followers. The ever-presence of God becomes a demonstrable fact as the individual knows the truth that makes free.
Influenced by Love of the Bible
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was deeply religious from early childhood. At this early age she found interest in the moral and spiritual sentiments written in the substantially serious Lindley Murray Reader. At this same period the Bible was the Book of books to her. She would mark and number her favorite citations of the Scriptures. It is not surprising that this same love of God's written word later brought healing, of accident and invalidism, into her experience. This continued love of the Holy Scriptures and the spiritual meaning of them inspired her to write "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Mrs. Eddy is the messenger to all ages of the same Truth exemplified by the healing work and teaching of Christ Jesus.
Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of the Science of primitive Christianity, explaining it in a form that will always be available to all mankind.
In the year 1866 Mary Baker Eddy discovered this Science of divine metaphysical healing. She later named her discovery Christian Science. In her autobiography Mrs. Eddy wrote (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 28): "I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science."
Mrs. Eddy has also written (ibid., p. 25): "I named it Christian, because it is compassionate, helpful, and spiritual. God I called immortal Mind. That which sins, suffers, and dies, I named mortal mind. The physical senses, or sensuous nature, I called error and shadow. Soul I denominated substance, because Soul alone is truly substantial. God I characterized as individual entity, but His corporeality I denied. The real I claimed as eternal; and its antipodes, or the temporal, I described as unreal. Spirit I called the reality; and matter, the unreality."
Students of Christian Science pour out gratitude without measure for these divinely inspired truths of Mary Baker Eddy's discovery. They are not only grateful for her gift of practical healing Christianity, but even more for this revealed Truth that enables one to know and understand God.
Mrs. Eddy is not only the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of Christian Science, but was its first practitioner. After Mrs. Eddy had received an instantaneous healing of what was regarded as a fatal injury, through reading an account of healing in the Gospel of Matthew, she proved her discovery by many practical tests. She healed many kinds of disease and human ailments, both organic and functional. Then she taught others this healing Truth so that they also could heal by its means.
In her desire to understand Christ Jesus' teachings she was divinely led to the very heart of the work and practice of his healing ministry.
The practicality of Christian Science and its spirituality are found in the writings of Mrs. Eddy. She is with us in her writings, giving us the word, thought, and deed needed in our practical demonstrations of individual and collective progress. Christian Science never ignores evil. Mrs. Eddy taught her adherents to give up and overcome every form of evil on the basis of its unreality. This is accomplished by our demonstration of the true idea and its reality. The individual who knows God as the one divine creator knows that His creation is perfect and spiritual.
With this fundamental truth understood, the individual is learning to pray aright and is ready to help his brother man.
Prayer and Treatment are the Same
Healing in Christian Science comes as man understands God and obeys His laws. This healing comes with the realization of the fundamental fact that God is Spirit and man is spiritual. Man is the reflection of Life, Truth, and Love. The laws of Life, Truth, and Love eliminate the beliefs of mortality, revealing man as the image and likeness of God, complete and perfect.
There may be those in the audience who wish to know something about Christian Science treatment and how one may receive help as the result of the righteous prayer of another.
A treatment in Christian Science is the recognition of the ever-presence of God's goodness and love perfectly expressed. The Christian Science treatment starts with perfect God and perfect man. Mortality is beheld as the dream of material sense. A treatment destroys error, awakens mortals from the dream of mortal sense, and leaves man in God's perfection. The treatment may be given silently or audibly. A Christian Science treatment is true Christian prayer. It acknowledges the God of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience expressed in His spiritual creation as the reflection of perfect Life, intelligence, and Love. Truly in this manner, as one prays for another, he is his brother's keeper. He is loving his neighbor as himself.
A statement of the truth concerning God and man destroys fear. Thus Truth eliminates error, and healing comes with an understanding of God's love for man.
True prayer acknowledges silently or audibly the immortal truth of God's power and man's true identity as His image and likeness. The power of a healing prayer begins with the thought, "Be not afraid," for God loves you as His child. Answered prayer is demonstration, the proof of God's presence with us. It is the manifestation of Immanuel, God with us.
Christian healing comes as the result of one's conscious understanding of God's ever-present and ever-available influence for good. It is the sign of a living God. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (Pref., p. xi): "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,' ‒ a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised."
A student of Christian Science, a young mother living in a strange city, found her only child of preschool age ill with high temperature, having difficulty with breathing normally, apparently suffering with influenza. Certain members of the household felt sure the child would not survive the night, and they expressed their fears openly. The young woman, being an expectant mother of a second child, turned prayerfully to God for guidance. By means of a copy of The Christian Science Journal, in which is a list of Christian Science practitioners, she found such a worker and requested help for the child. Help was given. The young mother was encouraged to behold the child as a living representative of Life, Truth, and Love, and pour out gratitude for God's ever-presence. She rejoiced in the practitioner's assurance that man lives in the atmosphere of God's perfect creation. He is never the victim of perilous times, abiding in the atmosphere of contagion, nor is he subject to the influence of fear. She persistently refused to consent to such a lie. God, divine Mind, governs and regulates His children and maintains their harmony. These children are His representatives, created for His purpose and forever expressing the inspiration of Life and the influence of His all-power. The child awakened in the morning completely well. Healing in Christian Science is truly supremely natural.
Christian Science Is Christianly Scientific
The purpose of Christian Science is to eliminate wrong human thinking by an understanding of God. In Christian Science, without material means, the sick are healed by prayer. We are told in the fourth chapter of James, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss." As Christian Scientists heal the sick by prayer, its works and fruits evidence its truths.
One, by his own investigation, can find that Christian Science is based on divine law which heals the sick, and this divine law is to be found in the Bible. Through reading Science and Health with an open mind, one learns of God's inspired Word revealed to Mary Baker Eddy, which makes the Bible an open book to those who study it.
The miracles which Jesus performed were proofs of his understanding of God. Jesus knew that others could know the same Truth. He said (John 14:12), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
Christian Scientists believe in the divinity of Christ. We understand Jesus was the son of Mary, and Christ is the son of God. We recognize that Christ Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and that his way of life is the way of salvation. The Christian Scientist acknowledges the allness of God and the ever-availability of the Christ.
A naval officer, in the Philippines during the war, well remembers the ever-available influence of God's presence and power. This officer had a leg injury with an expected amputation. He had lost his Bible and Science and Health and felt quite helpless. He wondered if he should make a stand for the truth, because he had such fear that he might aggravate someone who had diagnosed his case previously, but he sincerely asked the Protestant Chaplain of his Army Hospital if he knew the location of a Christian Scientist in his theater of operation.
This Protestant Chaplain graciously arranged a meeting of a Christian Scientist representing The Mother Church and this naval officer. The naval officer was reminded of his first obligation and duty to God. As one stands for God there is no opposition to His laws. The officer started studying the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson-Sermon daily and reading articles from the Christian Science Sentinel. With the help of the worker the beliefs of accident were reversed with a knowledge of the truth of God, of man as God's reflection. The arguments of infection became less evident as it was known that nothing unlike God could be any part of man, the image and likeness of God. This true view of man as forever perfect lifted the officer above fear of moral degeneration and weakness.
When one of the medical officers visited the officer one day, he remarked, "His leg looks better." The attending nurse said, "What do you think it was that turned the trick?" The medical officer answered, "I don't know; I guess he prayed." Yes, they were both told that there had been much praying about the case. The man is completely healed and has been so for some years.
The Mother Church
The naval officer received his help through an activity of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. Many others have had their lives spiritually enriched in this way.
There are approximately three thousand authorized branches of The Mother Church established throughout the world. "At a meeting of the Christian Scientist Association, April 19, 1879, on motion of Mrs. Eddy, it was voted, ‒ To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy, P. 17).
Events and topics may change with time, but the members of The Mother Church are charged with the commemoration of the Master's works and with the reinstating of primitive, healing Christianity. With such an unselfish motive, Love is the structure of this Church. With such brotherly love expressed by all its members, we find that the mission of Christian Science now, as in its earlier demonstration, is not primarily for physical healing. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 150), "Now, as then, signs and wonders are wrought in the metaphysical healing of physical disease; but these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin, ‒ to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world."
One of the activities of The Mother Church, The Christian Science Publishing Society, aids in fulfilling the purpose of the church by publishing The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine; the Christian Science Sentinel; The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper; The Herald of Christian Science, published in nine languages; and the Christian Science Quarterly.
Students of Christian Science, who subscribe for and read these authorized periodicals, are recipients of their healing messages.
Recognition of Truth Brings Healing
In an accident involving a railroad train and an automobile, the sole occupant of the car was seriously injured. This individual, suffering cuts, broken bones including the jaw, pelvis, ribs, and a severe concussion, was not expected to recover when taken from the scene of the accident. Help, however, was given in Christian Science by a Christian Science practitioner.
The true selfhood of this individual was recognized as the perfect expression of God, divine Life. It was understood that man was forever surrounded and supported by divine intelligence, in which no accident ever occurred. Man was recognized as the expression of divine Love, always manifesting law and order. When it was stated that this individual would never return to his job as a mechanic, doing heavy work, it was affirmed as a divine fact that the man of God's creating could not be an invalid. This man's family recognized the occasion as an opportunity to unite in giving more power and glory to their Father-Mother God. Unity and harmony prevailed in the home as the individual, assisted by a Christian Science nurse, realized his complete healing. He was ready to return to work in three months' time and passed all physical examinations required. He continued in his work for a number of years, until retirement, expressing more of the divine influence of Christlikeness.
Ever-present Influence: God with Us
John the Baptist wondered if Jesus was the promised Messiah. When in prison, he sent his followers to ask Jesus if he were the Christ. Jesus answered him through these followers by reminding them of the works which the power of the healing Christ had accomplished. Jesus showed the difference between the offspring of Soul and the offspring of material sense or error. He preached the gospel to those of receptive heart. Those receptive to Truth experience the healing power of Truth and Love. It is the understanding of the practical, living Christ that reveals man as a son of God. As men are honest, loving, meek, and unselfish they truly are ready to express spirituality, for God is expressed through spiritual ideas. God's man is not subject to the beliefs of the flesh, nor does he lust after material power. He is the reflection of divine intelligence. This man has joy in beholding the activity of Truth and Love in the lives of those serving their country and their churches. The evidence of their high moral standard is the first fruits of Immanuel, "God with us."
The enlightened realization of God's allness brings an influx of Truth's spiritual ideas, individually and collectively. These spiritual ideas enable one to discern between the fables of mortality and limitation and the facts of the divine Mind, the forever source of the supply of infinite good. One finds that he experiences enlightenment as he persistently sides with God, divine intelligence, and thus he wins a victory.
As the student of Christian Science acknowledges that God, divine Principle, is the creator of the universe, including man, it naturally follows that we should have great expectations of seeing God's love enrich the affections of all men. This should manifest itself in better government, a balanced economy, fruitful employment in service for God and to man, harmony in all relationships, individual or national, and a higher level of wisdom expressed everywhere. The cold, stubborn resistance of human will is dissolved by the inspiration of divine Love, the Love which enabled Jesus to demonstrate the completeness of the Christ-idea that brought about his resurrection. This Christ-idea forever unfolds man's true spiritual identity as the image and likeness of God. Thus one discerns that the harmony of creation is maintained and produced by the Principle that originally created the universe, including man.
One learns how to pray aright and how to deny and destroy the argument of evil through the study of Christian Science. Likewise this study supplies the understanding of the Christ, or Truth, which penetrates the mist of human opinion, leaving one in the atmosphere of divine Mind's infinite resources, the one true influence. Healing comes through the recognition of God's ever-available power.
Dear friends, this influence of God's ever-present love is at hand and supporting us. Mrs. Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook on page 264, "The crude creations of mortal thought must finally give place to the glorious forms which we sometimes behold in the camera of divine Mind, when the mental picture is spiritual and eternal."