Christian Science: The Knowledge of Salvation
Charles I. Ohrenstein C.S.B. of Syracuse, New York
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecture in full is as follows:
Salvation is a subject that to a great extent has occupied religious thought. Indeed it may be said that salvation is the chief concern not only of the religionist, but of every individual and of every activity of mankind; for all want to be saved, and every right human activity is intended to save mankind from something.
In a certain sense, however, the religionist, more than others perhaps, has pondered the subject of salvation. He also may be said to be more concerned about it than others are. This is not strange. The Scriptures, of which he has been a student, dwell upon it. Indeed, according to prediction, he whom we call Master was to save his people, to bring salvation. For this reason his name was to be Jesus — which is identical with Joshua, meaning Saviour — and the Master not only repeatedly proclaimed salvation to be his mission, but his whole activity was intended to and did show the way in which salvation is to be attained.
The question, then, which very naturally occurs, is, What constitutes salvation? In other words, since the teachings of the Bible concern themselves with this question, and since Jesus certainly came to do that which is most important, most needful for all, what is it that needs to be saved, and from what is salvation needed?
Were this question asked of most of the religious denominations, the answer would undoubtedly be that, so far as religion is concerned, salvation pertains to the soul. In other words, it would be said that it is the soul which needs to be saved, and that it needs to be saved from eternal punishment, from hell, from destruction.
This is, of course, contradictory; for to be eternally punished, the soul would have to be, as it is commonly believed to be, immortal, eternal; and this, it must be evident, would mean that it could not be destroyed. Shakespeare saw this, as the following words which he put in Hamlet's mouth, plainly show:
"And as for my soul, what can it (the ghost) do to that, being a thing immortal as itself?"
To discuss this subject intelligently, all of us, I am sure, will agree that the first thing needful is to ascertain just what we mean when we use the word soul.
Beliefs About Soul
Recognizing, as I do, that most of us are better able to approach a new idea upon any subject as we become less sure of the correctness of the view we may be entertaining about it, I shall, with your permission, attempt to tell in a brief way what the soul means to the average thinker in order that we may find it easier to consider the Christian Science view of it.
It will not, I trust, be unwarranted nor presumptuous to say that to most people the soul is something mysterious, situated somewhere inside the body into which it entered in an altogether unknown way, and out of which it is supposed to go just as mysteriously. It is also believed that some souls are good and others bad, and that they exercise an influence over people in accordance with their natures. Most people also may be said to believe the soul to be capable of suffering, of being disturbed, troubled, or of being happy, blissful; but notwithstanding all this they do not believe the soul to be in any way the cause of sickness or of health, conditions which by the average mortal are supposed to be altogether physical and to have material causes. It will not be unsafe to say also that it is quite generally believed that the soul is something which upon eviction by death from the body, remains some kind of a shadowy self, which, according to its merits or demerits while still a tenant of the body, enters into a state of bliss or happiness called heaven, or into a state of torment called hell, where it may be forever lost or destroyed, and from which it must be saved.
To make us good here, then, because of the reward or punishment of our souls hereafter, may be said to constitute one of the beliefs or schemes of salvation which is generally accepted; and this, notwithstanding the way of salvation shown by him who is called the Wayshower. With such mysterious, unsatisfying beliefs about the chief purposes of religion, is it any wonder that religion is looked upon as impractical, and that it is not looked to for the solution of the problems of every-day existence? Is it any wonder that so much of the world has turned from religion and tried to blaze its own ways through the wilderness of material beliefs that make up human existence, — ways that have led and do lead all that walk in them to "dusty death"? I am sure all will agree that it is not strange that those, surfeited with this kind of theorizing should look askance at religious teaching, — yes, even at Christian Science, although this Science has for fifty years demonstrated a practical salvation through spiritual means: a salvation not of any conjectural, mistaken sense of soul, but a salvation by divine Soul, Spirit, God; a salvation taught in the Bible, and particularly by Jesus; a salvation which must be known in order that we may be Christians, in order that we may be saved, here, now, always, and in all ways.
Mrs. Eddy's Discovery
No religion except the Christianity of Christ Jesus has, like Christian Science, been recruited by the demonstration or proof of its truth: the demonstration of a very present, every hour, every day salvation based in every instance upon an understanding which alone is capable of such demonstration or proof, and this understanding is the understanding that Soul is but another term for Spirit, God.
It was her own healing which led Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, to the consecrated study of the Scriptures that resulted in the discover of the Principle of spiritual healing and salvation so many instances of which are recorded in the Sacred Writings, and particularly in the works of Jesus. Like some others, both before and after her discovery, Mrs. Eddy, when at the point of death, — by the trust aroused in her by the reading of the Bible, — was healed. Unlike the others, however, Mrs. Eddy did not accept this healing to be miraculous — to be an infraction of law. She recognized that the only way it could have occurred at all was by the operation of the law of Spirit and in conformity with it. She recognized that all the deliverances, healings, restorations, recorded in the Bible, wrought by the prophets, by Jesus, and the apostles, were but illustrations and demonstrations of this ever-operative law of God. She did not rest selfishly content, therefore, but studied, searched the Holy Writ, until her search was rewarded by the discovery of the divine Principle and rules which brought about the Bible healings: healings which for ages had been looked upon and which are still looked upon by those uninstructed in Christian Science to be miraculous. She subjected her discovery, as she herself puts it in her great book, the Christian Science text book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (p. 147) "to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied, under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science (her discovery) showed that Truth had lost none of its divine healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practiced these rules on the hills of Judea and in the valleys of Galilee."
Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." To be made free surely means to be saved, or salvation in the fullest and the highest sense. Jesus' statement most certainly implied, therefore, that people who are not free from ills of every kind are not saved nor safe. It will not be straining the point to say that Jesus' statement also means that, since people are not free, they do not know the truth, and I am sure that the experience of all attests this. Mrs. Eddy, then, rightly may be classed to be a great discoverer, — the discoverer of the truth that Soul, God, does not need saving, but is He who alone is able to save, He who always does save, whether He is credited with doing so or not, a truth not recognized since the time that Christianity was understood and practiced by Jesus and his immediate followers.
Founded on the Bible
It should he remembered that Christian Science is founded altogether on the Bible. Its teachings are simply the true teachings of that sacred book, particularly the teachings of Jesus, made plain and practical for us. In referring to this fact Mrs. Eddy said, "the Bible was my only text book" (Science and Health, p. 110). This fact is important, not only because it proves Christian Science to be true, — for all kinds of teachings may find something that seemingly corroborates them in that library of books called the Bible, — but because it proves the Bible true; and this, not by mere explanation, but by demonstration of the explanation, a demonstration which is also the salvation of the Bible for mankind: a demonstration which is saving the Bible from becoming discredited and relegated to the realm of myth, not only by materialism, but through the mysticism of scholastic theology; a demonstration which will ultimately save mankind through the teachings of the Bible.
Turning to the Bible, we find the word "soul" used with widely divergent meanings. According to the first chapter of Genesis we are told that "God" (Elohim) — whom Jesus, in speaking to the Samaritan woman, defined as Spirit, thus Soul — "created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them." This is but another way of saying what Mrs. Eddy has made so very plain, that man is the reflection, the thought or idea of God, of Spirit, Soul, or Mind, and is therefore spiritual, Soul-like, and not, as he is believed to be, material; that he is the expression of the divine existence or Life; of the intelligence and power of God, incapable of change, impairment, disease, or decease — death; incapable of being lost or destroyed.
In the second chapter of Genesis, however, we find that that "the Lord God (Yawah) formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul." It will probably not be necessary to remind you how that, according to this chapter, woman was formed from a rib taken out of Adam.
In this, the second narrative of creation, which is self evidently intended to account for material or apparent creation, man is an image or figure of dust with a mere breath of Yawah, — meaning "the existing one," or existence, — blown into his nostrils, — a thing so ephemeral, so evanescent, that nothing short of mere fancy could have described it. Yet the first mention of soul which occurs in the Scriptures is in this narrative, a narrative in which Yawah, existence, breathed into the nostrils of Adam, the dust man, and by this process made him "a living soul". This soul is designated in the original as "nephesh", literally meaning breath, and figuratively the bodily and mental senses, a thing, as has been said, so shortlived that the inspiration of it only means its very speedy expiration. It may be both interesting and significant, in this connection, to call attention to the fact that this word "nephesh" is still used by the Hebrews, and that it is used to signify what is worthless, not to be taken account of, — that which is nothing.
We further read in the Bible of a great variety of souls — souls that lie, that eat blood, thus murderous souls: souls that grieve, and those that rejoice; souls that are converted by the law of God; souls that long for and love God, good. We also read of a soul of the people — thus a collective soul. or what is now called "public conscience"; of a soul which God restores, as, "He restoreth my soul"; and so on until we come to that great, that inspired, Christian, and scientific statement to which reference has already been made, in which the great Master, himself, gives us the only true idea of what soul really is, — "God is Spirit", thus God is Soul, Mind.
What has here been presented will probably suffice to indicate that it is not strange that human belief has been confused with regard to the soul; that widely different beliefs have been entertained about it, and that nearly all of them have included some scheme of damnation as well as of salvation for the soul. In her statement of Christian Science, which is nothing less than the Science of God or Soul, Mrs. Eddy has, in a single paragraph, both clarified and reconciled all Bible teaching upon this subject. "Human thought", she says, (p. 482 of Science and Health) "has adulterated the meaning of the word soul through the hypothesis that soul is both an evil and a good intelligence, resident in matter. The proper use of the word soul can always be gained by substituting the word God, where the deific meaning is required. In other cases, use the word sense, and you will have the scientific signification."
Soul the Saviour
With Christian Science to guide us, it becomes clear that the wrong sense of life which is typified by Adam, — a sense of life breathed into matter, a thing that is inspired only to be expired, — must cease to be entertained for our sense of life, in order that the right, the spiritual sense may obtain in us. God, that is the one infinite Soul, constantly restores this spiritual sense of life, and for this reason it is immortal. Not only does Christian Science make this clear to us, but it makes it practical, — capable of being practiced and demonstrated. This practice is both healing and reformatory; for through it the right or spiritual sense of being uncovers for us every sinful sense or false belief about Soul to be a mistaken sense, — a sense accepted as true and able to confer pleasure, satisfaction, gain, existence, or as able to deprive us of them. For this reason it is a mistaken sense, because all right ideas are resident and obtainable only in Soul, Spirit, Mind, God, in whom they are abundant and indestructible.
If what has been said so far is plain, it must be evident that Soul never needs to be saved, but always saves, and that it does so through the right or spiritual sense which it constantly imparts and restores. In other words it means that Soul, God, being Mind, operates and saves through His right sense or idea of being, and that there is no other way to be saved, no other means of salvation.
And what is this right sense or idea? It is what has already been indicated, the idea that man is not a detached, material bit of existence, an image of dust or clay with a soul or sense of life equally detached, mere material inbreathing, — a nephesh, nothing, constituting man's corporeal consciousness. The right sense or idea which Christian Science reveals to us is that man is the constantly inspired image and likeness or expression of God, and thus the expression of the one true Soul, Spirit, Mind, "created in all holiness," which only means wholeness, completeness, that in which nothing is lacking — health. Is not this the true salvation, the salvation through Christ, the God-anointed, God-approved man who must be and is the reflection or idea of God, and who, indeed, was before Abraham, as Jesus said. It must be perfectly plain that it is, and that it is a salvation that does not attempt to save a false, sinful sense by either forgiving it or by converting it, but that it saves all from each and every mistaken or sinful sense by destroying such sense; for every mistaken, and thus lying, destructive or murderous sense must be destroyed in order that no one may be victimized by it; in order that even the one entertaining it may not be victimized by it into indulging it. There is no other way to be forgiven or saved.
Every right sense is not only always safe, but it always insures the safety or salvation of every one who entertains it, and blesses every one who comes in contact with it. All this, I am sure, is plain. But there is an everyday and every hour salvation which religionist and non-religionist alike desire; a salvation from the ills to which flesh is believed to be heir, — the fears, troubles, strifes, wars, wants, woes, sicknesses, disasters, deaths, to which mankind has been subject; from which mankind has suffered. It is for freedom or salvation from such ills as these ills are that mankind has hoped against hope; that mankind has struggled against almost ceaselessly, but in vain and without expectancy of success. Can Soul save from these things, and how?
Spirit and Matter
Here it may be asked, Why is the material sense mistaken, false, sinful, and why does it or should it, because of sowing to the flesh, reap corruption? Is not that which is material all that is tangible to us, are not we to care for our bodies and the bodies of those near and dear to us, provide for them, cherish them, love them?
The answer to all such questions is a very simple one. In the first place, Christian Science does not deny that what is called matter is all that we see with our eyes, all that we hear with our ears, all that we smell, taste, and all that we feel with the touch. But Christian Science does deny that what is thus sensed is essentially what it is sensed to be, — matter; that it is caused or produced in the way in which it is believed to be caused or produced; that it is subject to and governed by such laws as it is believed to be governed by, and that it is best cared for, treated, and conserved, in the ways which have been evolved for doing so because of a mistaken sense of it.
Nor are the teachings of Christian Science with regard to matter now opposed by natural scientists as they formerly were. Many of the natural scientists no longer teach that what is called matter really is or can be substantial. They recognize that to so teach means one of three things, all three of which are impossible to rational thinking. These three things are, — (1.) that matter exists without having been created — is self existent; (2.) that, since nothing but matter could constitute or cause matter, it is self-created; and (3.) that matter is created by some external immaterial agency, and out of something that originally was not matter. As has been said, none of these theories can in any possible way be rationally thought or accepted.
The unreality of matter, taught by Christian Science, used to be a favorite point of attack and ridicule upon this Science. Since some of the most advanced natural scientists have commenced to express similar views, however, the attacks upon this ground are made now only by those who are as yet unacquainted with the more recent scientific conclusions upon this subject and occasionally by the clergy, who, as students of, and believers in the Scriptures, should rejoice to see the teachings of the Bible vindicated. For in the Scriptures it is plainly stated that "In the beginning God" — the God whom Jesus defined as Spirit or Soul — "created the heaven and the earth." And if this means anything, it certainly means that Spirit must have created them out of itself, and that anything thus created cannot be material. But the narrative leaves no doubt as to this fundamental and important fact; for in the very next verse, the second verse of the same chapter, it is stated, "And the earth" — meaning the apparent or matter earth — "was without form," that is, without entity, "and void" — without existence. Thus, too, throughout the whole chapter of the first and true narrative of creation, a creation summed up as complete, it is plainly stated that by the Word of God — the utterances or expression of Spirit — were all things created that are in the heavens and in the earth; and this must certainly mean that only the spiritual is the real. But in teaching the unreality of matter, Christian Science does not teach that earth, air, sea, and the things that are therein, flowers, trees, birds, and so on, do not exist; that you and I do not exist. Like the Bible, Christian Science teaches that "the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." And simply because "we now see," as Paul puts it, "though a glass darkly," students and believers of the Scriptures should not continue to deny the truth of Mrs. Eddy's teachings and to assert as true what is contrary to both revelation and reason.
But what has this to do with saving us from the ills which constantly confront and assail us, with preventing them and curing them? How can it be applied to improve our conditions, mental, moral, physical? How can it make us more efficient and successful in meeting our human needs? For whether we believe ourselves to be spiritual or material, it is these needs that constantly confront us; it is from the every-day ills that we all want to be saved.
It is just these questions that the prophets and Jesus came to answer and did answer by their works. It is just these questions that Christian Science came to answer and has been answering by its practical results for half a century. Like the prophets, like Jesus and his immediate followers, Christian Science has done this on the basis which has been presented, — the basis of the spiritual or true sense of being; the sense that Spirit, Mind, is All-in-all, the only cause or creator; that Mind's creation including man, Mind's reflection, is therefore spiritual, mental, and consists of right ideas and their perfect manifestation. This truth uncovers as illusions the myriad misconceptions of the physical senses to which everything is matter, caused by matter, limited by matter, and ultimately destroyed by it.
There are those who, misunderstanding Christian Science, assail it and from time to time undertake to "expose" its methods, calling them suggestion, hypnotism, and so on, just as those who misunderstood Jesus and his works took it upon themselves to expose him, saying that he did his works "through Beelzebub," meaning the devil, whom Jesus defined as a falsity and thus as a false sense of being, suggestion, hypnotism. But the contemporaries of Jesus forgot that he constantly revealed the real nature of his own works through his own teachings of the truth, and that his elucidation of them was so convincing, so beneficent, that "the common people heard him gladly," and were healed. In the same way the detractors of Christian Science also forget that Christian Science has for fifty years been turning the clear light of day upon its own teachings; that it has done so and is doing so at its every church service, in all of its literature, and through its every lecture; that this presentation, like that of Jesus, is attended by and results in great good, in many healings and reformations, and that consequently, the people, just the people, "the common people," again hear it gladly. Only the uncommon people find Christian Science, as they did the teachings of Jesus, "an hard saying." and speak of its followers as they spoke of him, when they said to him. "Now we know that thou hast a devil."
That Christian Science and its methods, — the application of the right, the spiritual idea of being which has here been somewhat explained, — may also be "exposed" here as plainly as possible, may I not, with your permission, illustrate the working of the spiritual or right idea of being in Christian Science, that is, the application of it, and may I not do so by citing some actual cases of healing? In doing this, it is not my purpose to urge you to believe the particular cases which I shall present. Indeed, you are perfectly free to believe or disbelieve them. My sole desire is to show the effect which is bound to result from the correction of the wrong sense which people have about themselves, about others, and about existence, and to do this so simply that all may be able to apply what is said to their own needs and so to prove it in their own experience, thus precluding the necessity of believing anything whatever upon the subject, because of the definite knowledge that will come to them through their demonstration of it.
A case in point is that of a little boy who was brought by his mother for treatment. He was about ten years old, very delicate, and what is called nervous. His face twitched constantly, so that according to his mother, he at times said. "Mother, my face is so tired it hurts." He had been thus from infancy. The belief that it was a case of weak nerves inherited from his mother was entertained by all concerned. Everything had been done in a medical way to cure him, but he constantly grew worse. The mother, who knew nothing about Christian Science, but had heard of it, thus described the case. The practitioner asked the little fellow if he went to Sunday school. He said he did. The practitioner then asked him if he had learned there that God made man, and that He made man "after His (God's) image and likeness." The little boy said that he had. He was then asked whether he knew what was meant by "image and likeness," and he answered that he did not. The practitioner lifted him up so that he could see his reflection in a mirror which was in the room, and told him that what he saw there was his image and likeness, and asked him whether it ever did anything that he did not do, or whether it ever obeyed anything but him. He answered that it couldn't. The little boy was then silently treated, which means that the truth of man's God-likeness was prayerfully known about him. The mother paid for the treatment and they went away. As they went the little boy's face twitched just as it had when he came, and, if any one of you had seen him, you would probably have felt that nothing had been done. The practitioner judged, however, "not according to the appearance," but in accordance with the spiritual or true sense of being, and also with the understanding that God's "word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes that whereunto it is sent."
After about a week, a letter came from the mother of the little boy saying that there was no change in his physical condition, but that he was certainly a better boy. Another letter to about the same effect came about a week later, and, although the boy never had more than the one treatment, a letter came in about two weeks more saying that the trouble for which he had been treated had entirely disappeared. This boy is now grown, is a big and strong man, and his face is in perfect condition.
God's Healing Word
Here the critic or the skeptic may say that the healing of functional disease, such as that of the boy, is conceded as possible through Christian Science, but that the healing of organic or malignant diseases cannot he conceded to it.
In the Old Testament we are told, "He" — meaning God — "sent his word and healed them". In speaking of the word of God, Jesus said, "Thy word is truth", and of the truth, as already quoted, he said, "the truth shall make you free''. No limitation of any kind is placed upon the power of God's word or truth to heal or make free, either by the Old Testament writer or by Jesus, and both the Old and New Testament records show that God's word or truth, when rightly applied, accomplished its divine purpose, — healed all manner of diseases. Not only does Christian Science prove that it is the Word or Truth of God of which the foregoing was predicated, but it does this in a way that leaves no room for doubt upon this question by frequently accomplishing the healing and emancipation without any personal instrumentality or intermediary. A case of this kind, of which I would like to tell you, is that of a man who attended a Wednesday evening meeting of the church in my home city. His trouble was a disease of the mouth and lower lip, which had progressed so far as to leave no question as to its nature. Very much impressed with the testimonies given at the meeting, he inquired of an usher for some one who could tell him something more about Christian Science, and was referred to a practitioner. Without any preliminaries, he said, "You can see what is the matter with me; but this is not all. I have been and am an immoral man, and a hard drinker. I am a traveling man, only a day or two in a place, and have never been religiously inclined. Can I be cured, and what must I do to be cured?"
"From what you say," replied the practitioner, "I take it that you know nothing of Christian Science; so the first thing which I should advise you to do would be to procure a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mrs. Eddy, which you have heard mentioned in the testimonies here tonight and read it. In this way, you will not only learn what Christian Science teaches and be able to decide whether you want to turn to it for your healing, but since it is the Word or Truth of God which, as you have heard in some of the testimonies, does the healing, there is no reason why you should not be healed by it without treatment from a practitioner. At any rate, you will be able to decide whether you want Christian Science, and, if you then desire treatment you will be able to find and consult a practitioner in almost any town you visit". Without a word, he turned to the table where the literature was sold, and bought a copy of the book. He did not visit the church again until quite a number of months afterwards, when, at another Wednesday evening meeting he got up, and, recalling his previous visit to the church, his trouble, his inquiry about Christian Science, and the directions given him, he told, with tears of gratitude streaming down his face, that he was healed of the malignant disease, of the drink habit and other bad habits, through the reading of the Christian Science text book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and that he had found it to be the Word or Truth of God with us.
The cases cited will, I am sure, sufficiently illustrate the great truth that is the understanding of Soul or Mind, God, that is the true Saviour from all the ills to which flesh, or human belief, has claimed to be heir. Such cures most certainly fulfill the mission of the Christ. But Christian Science, the Science of Soul or Mind, to the degree that it is understood and practiced, saves from all bondage, from all limitations, and proves that it is indeed the truth that makes free.
To the human thought altogether dependent upon the five physical senses for its information, everything is of necessity limited. This applies to things subjective as well as objective, intelligence, strength, ability, capacity, and the success dependent upon them; happiness, health, life, love. — the things most longed for by mankind, — all of these, to the human senses, are subject to limitations — limitations which are the source of all uncertainty, weakness. disability, incapacity, misery, poverty, failure, sickness, death.
Limitation, to the human sense, is the one besetting sin, the one inevitable evil. According to this sense, nothing can escape limitation nor rise above it. Yet, it is against this supposedly inevitable evil that mankind has always struggled and continues to struggle. Each successive individual, generation, age, civilization, has pushed against the doom of this niggard, limitation, only to be apparently swallowed up by it. The battle has been long. Daily, hourly, has this Goliath vaunted himself, threatened all mankind, until he stands acknowledged by the many as unconquerable, invulnerable; and this, notwithstanding the great fact that, like his prototype, the Philistine of old, he has been slain, — slain also as was his prototype, by a Shepherd of Israel. This Shepherd of Israel is Christ Jesus, the wayshower, who shows us the way because each and every one of us is confronted by the same life problems that confronted him. "He was tempted in all parts like as unto sinful flesh, but without sin,'' — without mistaking the temptation for that which is able to truly satisfy. The human sense made the same demands upon him as it does upon us, he had the same needs that we have, but he met them with right ideas, with the true Christ sense of the one Mind or Soul, the only sense that can truly meet all human needs.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit," that is, blessed are those who are not high-minded nor self-assertive, but not necessarily those who lack mere things. The teachings of Jesus and of Christian Science not only emphasize the Bible promises and teachings, but they elucidate them and make them practical. They show that the "poor in spirit" may not only be "poor and content" but "rich and rich enough" without transgression of any kind. To be under a sense of limitation or of lack, or to be embittered in any way, is a sure indication that one is not yet sufficiently poor in spirit; a sure indication of not letting "that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"; of not being obedient to the Christ Spirit, and so of not being Israel; and it should be remembered that God's promises are to Israel — to the God-governed.
Perhaps no saying of Jesus is more familiar nor quoted more frequently than one that deals directly with the subject under consideration. This saying is, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," meaning, seek ye first to be governed by God's commandments, "and all things," the things which are needed, "shall be added unto you." This should be particularly significant to all of us who are Christian Scientists; for in the Church Manual, as in the Christian Science text book, Mrs. Eddy left for our guidance and our government only the rules with which God inspired her.
No Israelite, no Christian, no one who is "poor in spirit," obedient to God's commands, and thus the reflection of God, can lack anything. Malice, envy, rivalry, dishonesty, and their opposition, persecution, vilification, cannot rob him of divine Mind's guidance, protection, providence; cannot stop his demonstration of abundant good which is his by right of obedience to God, Spirit, Soul, — omnipotence; by his right as Israel, "not after the flesh, but after the spirit"; by his right as a follower of Christ and, therefore, a Christian Scientist.
Jesus' teachings were always those of the Bible. He made plain those teachings, and demonstrated them. His words, "aflame with divine Love" (Science and Health, p. 367), lifted, enlightened, and kindled the thought of his hearers so that their hearts burned within them to follow his example; and their words and works, in turn, perpetuated this right desire. But the love of ease, "the lust of the eyes and the pride of life," the desire for mere loaves, not for the obedience which worked the miracle of multiplying them, gave to the world mere words instead of works, the mere embers and ashes which remained such until again one poor enough in spirit fanned them into flame with her devotion, was warmed back to life by them, a life abundant with all good for herself and all mankind.
Just as Jesus had to make plain the teaching of the Scriptures to the Jews, so the teaching of those Scriptures and of Jesus had to be made plain to us. Mrs. Eddy did this. Just as he brought no new doctrine, so did she bring no new doctrine. Just as the Scriptures and Jesus taught that the abundance of all that is good to the result of obedience to the commandments of the one Spirit, Soul, God, — the result of that humility, that meekness, which is "poor in spirit" not high-minded, so has Mrs. Eddy taught that the abundance of good is for all who are willing to leave all mistaken beliefs and follow Christ, God's truth, which blesses and benefits all. For her devotion to the task of making Christian Science, the knowledge of salvation, clear to all mankind, Christian Scientists love, honor, and revere their leader, Mary Baker Eddy, and they gratefully greet the signs which indicate that the world is beginning to do likewise.
[Delivered Jan. 6, 1922, "at the auditorium" under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Mount Vernon, New York, and published in The Daily Argus of Mount Vernon, Jan. 7, 1922. The title and errors and omissions by the typographer scattered throughout the lecture were corrected in the one case and supplied in the other from another copy of the lecture.]