Christian Science: The Science of Omnipotent Mind (1)
Ezra W. Palmer, C.S.B., of Denver, Colorado
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science lectures in Cambridge have always attracted wide attention, but it is doubtful if there was ever a larger or more attentive audience than that which sat (and stood) in Scenic Temple on Sunday afternoon to hear Ezra W. Palmer, C.S.B., of Denver, Colo. The lecture was advertised for 3.30, but nearly half an hour before that time practically every seat was taken and before the speaker began his discourse the audience had also filled about all the standing room which is allowed by law. It was estimated by one in authority that probably 400 persons were unable to gain seats. This, added to the number which the theatre seats (practically 1,200), means that the lecture was heard by something like 1,600 persons.
And it was a very attentive audience, who listened carefully to the Truth as it was expounded to them, and then went away feeling that it had been indeed good for them to be there. The speaker was introduced by Robert E. Buffum, Esq., the first reader of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city, who said:
Friends: The assembling of a large number of people for the profitable purpose of listening to a lecture on Christian Science is always a cause for gratitude. When any honest seeker of Truth attends a lecture on this subject (delivered by a competent and loyal Christian Scientist) it means that such a one is enlightened to some degree in regard to this new-old religion which today is exerting a tremendous influence in the affairs of humanity. To be enlightened as to Christian Science is to be blessed and benefited.
Some of those who have already recognized something of the good that Christian Science is doing in the world may fail to recognize the fact that they have the privilege of sharing, indeed the right to share, its munificent blessings.
Christian Science does not confine its appeal to the intellectual nor does it deny to such its blessings. It does not deny its blessings to the uneducated. Its door is not closed to those burdened with worldly riches nor to those afflicted by poverty, to the young nor to the old, to the laborer with his hands nor to the one engaged in intellectual pursuits. Its compassionate appeal is universal. Its blessings are for all mankind. It says in the language of the Master: "Come unto me all ye that are weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
The one who is to address you is a competent and loyal Christian Scientist and is well qualified to speak on the subject of Christian Science, being a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. I take pleasure in presenting Ezra W. Palmer, C.S.B., of Denver, Colorado.
Upon being introduced, Mr. Palmer spoke as follows:
A discussion of Christian Science necessarily includes a grasp of what Christian Science means by the term God, since all its premises and conclusions are postulated on God as the fundamental basis. Christian Science accepts the revelation of God to Moses, "I am that I am"; the revelation to Jesus, when he declared "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth"; the revelation to Paul, when he said "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all." Christian Science also defines God, as infinite Spirit, divine Principle, Mind, Life, Truth, Love. Christian Science teaches that omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence are inseparable attributes of the one God, the Creator of all that exists.
It is highly important to gain a clear definition of God in order to avoid confusion of thought. Much of the confusion of critics of Christian Science and much of their criticism has arisen from their failure to grasp the meaning of the allness of infinite Spirit; and to follow that fundamental premise to its logical conclusion. Most people will agree that God is all powerful; that He is ever-present; that He "doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" It is one thing, however, to agree academically to the proposition that God is omnipotent; it is quite another thing to follow that proposition to its logical conclusion. If, in addition to agreeing to the omnipotence of God, a person should believe that there is a being called Satan who wields power equal to, and in some instances exceeding that of God, or that there is a power called disease which God is unable to overcome, I am sure you will agree with me that that person does not actually believe in the omnipotence of God.
Christian Science is inflexibly logical. It accepts the omnipotence of God and all the conclusions which follow from that premise. It is self-evident that if God has all power there cannot exist another power to divide His kingdom with Him. The omnipotence of God is eternal. God is the one Supreme Ruler, "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
The great exponent of the omnipotence of God was Christ Jesus. By reason of his sinless birth and sonship with the Father, he knew and expressed the will of God. The religious systems of his day claimed to teach the true worship of God. But these systems produced no results to prove their unity with the Father. Jesus not only knew the power of God he proved it by results. He proved that what claimed to be real on the evidence of the corporeal senses was not real but illusion. He reversed the false claim that matter has life, intelligence, or power, either to injure or bless mankind. The false, carnal mentality which St. Paul declared was "enmity against God," Jesus stripped of all pretense and characterized it as "a liar and the father of it." He never taught that God created matter, or that God was in any way responsible for sin, sickness, or death. On the contrary, he exposed the unreal basis of these errors and destroyed them through the might of Mind.
The analogy of the study of mathematics gives an insight into the way in which Christ Jesus proved the Science of Mind. That five and five are eleven is manifestly impossible. The science of numbers rejects erroneous conceptions. In like manner Jesus differentiated between sickness and health, between evil and righteousness, between impurity and purity, between mortality and immortality. These opposites cannot both be true. Since righteousness is a spiritual quality an emanation from God its opposite evil can have no more enduring basis than the proposition that five and five are eleven.
Christ Jesus knew the Science of Mind. He grasped the tremendous fact that God creates and governs all that is real, and that His creation partakes of His qualities and is like Him, perfect and eternal. "God is love," St. John declared. Love cannot be the creator of its opposite, evil. By no logical process of reasoning can we make God the creator of evil and at the same time know Him as infinite Spirit, a God who is Love. Because, if God created evil, then evil inheres in the divine Mind, and therefore must be eternal. If this conclusion should be accepted, a man could not overcome evil, because he would then oppose the divine will, and would attempt to overcome the indestructible and immortal. To assume that God created evil would bring chaos into the universe, and men in their hopeless struggle against mortal ills would become the victims of grim despair. But this cannot be true. God and His ideas alone exist. Light and darkness cannot dwell together.
Christ Jesus was never deceived by appearances. He recognized only one source of power, the divine Father, and he declared that he did what he saw the Father do. He saw that evil, sin, and disease were contrary to the nature of God were false, mortal concepts which prevented men from living in harmony with the divine Mind. With the light of spiritual understanding he cast them out. The three years of his public ministry are full of accounts of his healing works. It may be asked, How did he do it? Suppose this building were in darkness; an electric button is pressed and the room is flooded with light. What became of the darkness? It vanished before the flood of light. Did it ever have existence? No. Can that which fades into nothingness ever have had reality? Darkness has no reality; it is merely the supposed absence of light. No student ever studies darkness because there is nothing to study. It is merely a negation. In like manner Christ Jesus, the greatest demonstrator of God's wisdom and might the world has ever known, turned the light of divine understanding upon human beliefs of want and woe, disease and death, and exposed their nothingness. They vanished, and the place that knew them, knew them no more. Truly Jesus knew the import of his marvelous words when he said; "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12.)
Christ Jesus Not God
Christ Jesus was not God but the Son of God, as he himself said. As a man born of a woman, he was the Son of Man. In his human relations he was tempted by the carnal mind as we are tempted; he suffered for us, and overcame the sins of the world to show us that such a consummation was possible for all men. As a man he trod the winepress of human hate, mastered human hatred of truth, and destroyed every ill that besets men. Jesus was the Christ, the anointed of God. As the Christ he manifested the qualities of his divine Father, hence his saying "I and my Father are one." In the teachings of Mrs. Eddy the Scriptural teachings regarding Christ Jesus are correctly presented. It may be asked, How do I know this? I will tell you. When the student begins to understand the nature of the divine unity between Christ Jesus and the ever-present God, as taught by Christian Science, he can heal the sick by the power of prayer; and the more clearly he understands this unity the more quickly and effectively he can do this holy work. Correct knowledge of the great fundamentals of Jesus' teachings is essential in order to follow the Master-Teacher and to repeat his marvelous demonstrations. Commenting on Jesus the Christ in Science and Health, p. 332, Mrs. Eddy said: "Jesus demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ is the divine idea of God the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth."
The Lesson of the Prophets
The healing power demonstrated by Jesus was not confined to himself on account of his sonship with God. It was the divine knowledge of the Father available for all men. Jesus taught his immediate followers the power of God to heal the sick and free the sinner. But the saving gospel of the Christ, the Messiah, was not confined nor could it be confined to a chosen few, to one age, or to one people. It was a universal gift of God to all His children. The Master Physician said "Go ye" note that he said "ye," thus making his message of universal application "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ****And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:16-17.)
Referring to the universality of divine grace Jesus said: "Before Abraham was I am." In other words, the Christ is the ever-present manifestation of God, forever ready to heal and save. The patriarchs and prophets proved the ever-presence of the Christ, the Messiah, the Redeemer. Moses smote the rock in the wilderness and a fountain gushed forth. Elijah restored to life the widow's son; Elisha healed Naaman, the Syrian captain; the Hebrew captives were preserved in the fiery furnace; Daniel was safe in the lions' den. The Old Testament is full of accounts of the saving power of God, thus proving the truth of the psalmist's tribute, "The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."
The Apostles and Early Christians
When we turn to the New Testament we find that the twelve disciples went forth and healed; the seventy did likewise. Paul, who was not at first a disciple, healed the sick and raised the dead. And for a long period of time as great as that from the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth Rook till the present day early Christians healed as a part of the work of the church. Contemporary writers and historians corroborate the healing work of the early Christians. Irenaeus assures us that all Christians possessed the power of healing; that they prophesied, cast out devils, healed the sick, and sometimes raised the dead. Practically every one of the early Christian writers from the time of Justin Martyr, for two hundred years, mentioned healing by prayer. The early Christians are described as a people living apart from the pagan observances and corruptions of the period. They lived pure, simple lives. Their meetings were simple, and their fellowship untainted by the discords of conflicting dogmas and man-made creeds. Their pure lives and loving fellowship were a source of astonishment to their pagan neighbors, and because their religion through its healing works proved not only its own inherent vitality, but the utter weakness of the pagan systems about them, they were subjected to slander and bitter persecution.
Despite opposition, the pure and healing gospel of Christ spread with amazing rapidity throughout the then civilized world, overwhelming the intrenched systems of paganism. So long as the early Christians held to the spiritual teachings of Christ Jesus, to that degree their religion had the vital force to regenerate the human mind. The most inspiring page in history is the story of the redemptive work of the primitive gospel of Christ, transforming and regenerating men despite the depths of depravity and sensuality into which the race had fallen. When Constantine embraced Christianity the church became a political machine; materialism blighted the freshness of spiritual understanding, and the precious gift of spiritual healing, "the pearl of great price," was lost to the darkened vision of mortals. The primitive church lost its spiritual healing commission because of worldly prosperity; observance of dogma more than spiritual understanding; participation in secular politics, and the admission of many nominal Christians into the church unprepared to live and prove the life of Christ. Thus it came about that the human mind could no longer reflect the divine healing power, which disappeared and did not reappear except in few instances for fifteen centuries, when the Science of Christ's Christianity was again given to the world by Mary Baker Eddy.
Christian Healing Not a Special Dispensation
When Christians no longer obeyed the Founder of Christianity to do the works that he did, theologians invented a convenient theory to excuse this failure. Because healing had ceased the demonstrations of Jesus and his disciples were explained as a miraculous intervention of Providence, a setting aside of law, merely for the purpose of convincing the unbelieving world that the divine favor attended the Master and his immediate followers; and when that had been shown this miraculous intervention of God in the affairs of men was withdrawn.
This theory utterly failed to comprehend that God's law is unchanging. It did not take into account that the so-called material laws, which the spiritual law annulled, were not God's laws but the man-made laws of human belief cruel and relentless which produced all the sorrow, disease and death men have suffered throughout the centuries. This theory failed to comprehend that "God is no respecter of persons," that His divine saving grace is for all His children no matter what their condition or environment. It failed to account for the spiritual power of the prophets and patriarchs as recorded in the Old Testament, and of men throughout the ages whenever they have been spiritually minded enough to know and apply divine law. Now that Christian Science again follows the Master in doing his mighty works, this theory of the miraculous intervention of Providence has failed to account for its success in healing every disease known to materia medica and in overcoming every wrong condition, no matter how desperate to human sense that condition may be.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Christian Science was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in the year 1866. Recovery from an injury the result of an accident through the spiritual understanding of a passage in Matthew's gospel was the falling apple which gave her the clue to the unfoldment of divine, scientific Christianity. The time was propitious for a new spiritual advance of the race. A great war had just terminated which destroyed in this nation the bondage of human servitude. Great reformations in religion had taken place; the grip of hard and dogmatic creeds was loosening, and the heart of humanity was being stirred by a clearer sense of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. A more liberal spirit was permeating politics, literature, and religion. Ideas of social service were taking form, and education of the masses had become firmly established in the more advanced civilized nations.
But men's thoughts, while uplifted, still followed in the line of matter and mortality. The veil of matter, the pall of the carnal mind, darkened the vision of humanity. Men were more prone to compare material things with material things than to compare spiritual things with spiritual things. The mission of Mary Baker Eddy was to pierce with spiritual vision the darkness of mortal belief, and give again to the world the spiritual Christianity of Christ Jesus. Her work was to reinstate in human consciousness the science of all sciences, the Science of Mind, exact and logical, based on the supremacy of Spirit, which, when grasped by the individual, would free him from the penalties of mental belief and lead him into conscious unity with his God.
Mrs. Eddy was well fitted for her great work. Of Puritan ancestry she was reared in the atmosphere of a Christian home. From childhood she had been deeply religious. She was a profound student of the Bible and meditated upon its truths. She had a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. She had sounded the depths of scholastic theology and found it inadequate to give the bread of life. She had tested the various systems of medicine and healing and found them wanting. She investigated spiritualism and hypnotism and cast them aside, because they failed to enlighten the thought. She had been tried in the crucible of affliction, knew the poverty of mortal existence its pains, its false pleasures, its illusions and she knew the hunger of the human heart to know its God.
After her healing she withdrew from society for three years, studied the Scriptures and searched for the scientific basis of Christianity. In 1875 she gave to the world the text-book of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a book which has done more to revolutionize the thoughts of men regarding the truths of the Bible than any other book that has ever been written. Referring to the Biblical basis of her work, Mrs. Eddy said in Science and Health, p. 126, which I will read
"I have set forth Christian Science and its application to the treatment of disease just as I have discovered them. I have demonstrated through Mind the effects of Truth on the health, longevity, and morals of men; and I have found nothing in ancient or in modern systems on which to found my own, except the teachings and demonstrations of our great Master and the lives of prophets and apostles. The Bible has been my only authority. I have had no other guide in 'the straight and narrow way' of Truth."
History has proved that persecution awaited the reformer who "allured to brighter worlds and led the way." "The carnal mind," said St. Paul, "is enmity against God." Jesus experienced the full force of the world's hatred of truth. That was the cup whose dregs he drank, and he said that his followers should all drink of it. It is not surprising, therefore, that opposition, persecution, and hate should arise against the great reform which Mrs. Eddy inaugurated. For more than a quarter of a century she stood alone, and, sustained only by her unfaltering trust in God and the unswerving conviction of the righteousness of her cause, met the full force of the world's opposition. But truth, when understood, is invincible, and the waves of prejudice and persecution dashed in vain against the rock upon which her work was founded. The sick were healed through her ministrations, the bondage of sin was broken for the sinner, and darkened minds were filled with spiritual illumination through her teachings and writings. Guided by her wisdom, the movement grew apace until firmly established. Today all the world knows of her work. It has not yet grasped the full meaning of her achievements, but is beginning to discern the value of her teachings for the redemption of the race.
The Science of Mind
The Science of Mind which Mrs. Eddy taught in Science and Health is the science of knowing Truth. It is the Science Jesus meant when he said: "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." How can we know the truth except through thought? If we can know truth only through thought then truth itself must have its source in Mind. The Scriptures teach us to know God, to love Him, and to obey Him. How can we follow these commands except through consciousness? The Scriptures teach that man was born of God, that all the marvels of the universe were created by Him. How are these marvels possible except we grant that God is Supreme Mind? Mind is the source, the origin of all intelligence, all law, all order. Mind is Life, the creator of all the manifestations of life, and these manifestations are the ideas of God. Therefore, God and His creation dwell in the heaven of Mind.
When we remember that science, even as humanly defined, is the orderly and systematic classification of ideas "made available in life or the search for truth," we can at once see the fitness of applying the term science to Christianity. "Order," said Pope, "is Heaven's first law." God manifests Himself to men through order, through law, through science. We would belittle our conceptions of Deity should we attempt to imagine that He who, through all eternity, upholds the universe by His wisdom would do less than reveal Himself to men in an orderly, scientific, perfect way. This God does, and this Mrs. Eddy discovered, and this, the Science of Mind, she gave to the world in her great textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
Scientific Knowledge Essential
Why, one may ask, is it necessary to gain this science of knowing Truth? Isn't one religious belief as good as another so long as the individual is honest and sincere in holding it? Beyond question some religious beliefs are better than others, and a genuine test of any religious belief is, How much of the spirit of Christ does it inculcate? Are its believers better, purer, healthier, holier for it? The final and supreme test of any religious belief is: Does it crown its work by destroying sin, disease, want, and mortality? If not, then that belief must of necessity give place to a better knowledge of God which does accomplish this result. "So fight I," said Paul, "not as one that beateth the air," and this is the distinguishing characteristic of Christian Science. It doesn't beat the empty air, but teaches its adherents how to fight and win the prize of spiritual mastery "against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Isn't exact knowledge necessary to gain success in every walk of life? Why then this haziness about religion and this current comment that one religious belief is as good as another? How long would the captain of yon noble ship hold her to her course and finally come to port, unless he knew exactly where he was going and had the nautical science to hold the course until the voyage was ended? His honest belief that he was guiding the ship in the right direction would avail him nothing if his ship struck a reef and went to the bottom.
The Science of Mind must be gained to attain spiritual dominion over the flesh and all carnality, and the prize is worth the effort. To prove, for instance, that health is not something that can be lost but is a spiritual quality, imperishable and perfect, synonymous with purity, holiness, and harmony isn't that truly worth while? Many thousands have given their earthly all for health and have not found it, because they have not looked to God for it. And yet, health is the gift of God, free as the air of heaven, within the reach of every honest man who will strive, as St. Paul declared, to "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
Creation Spiritual and Perfect
Since God is infinite and perfect Spirit, the logical deduction is that His creation is like Him, partakes of His qualities and manifests His perfection. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." We are further told in this wonderful chapter descriptive of the spiritual creation, that "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Man, therefore, is spiritual and perfect; he is the highest expression of the divine nature; he expresses the glory of God, His intelligence, His holiness, His healthfulness, His immortality, His time-transcending wisdom. But when we read the second chapter of Genesis, we find the creation of another man described the Adam-man, "formed of the dust of the ground." Preceding this creation of the Adam-man "there went up a mist from the earth " In other words, this material creation was the result of darkness or mystification. A material creation assumes that man can be created both materially and spiritually, that he can know both good and evil, that he has beginning and end and is subject to birth and death. The penalty for this dual knowledge is given by the writer of Genesis, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
When we look at the material world about us we find that the evidence furnished by the corporeal senses would tend to strengthen the belief that man was created materially as described in the second chapter of Genesis, instead of spiritually as described in the first chapter. We are confronted on every side with the material concept of creation and its dire results. We note the present assumed limitations of human life, the seeming aggressiveness of evil, the evidences of discord, factions, wars, pestilence, the multiplicity of diseases. This false knowledge of good and evil, this belief that man and the universe are both material and spiritual, this assumption that evil is real, the Bible was written to disprove. The great prophets labored to prove that man's happiness consists in knowing good and good only. Christ Jesus came into the world to prove by his mighty works the perfectness of creation, and to show men that they had been cruelly duped and deceived by a distorted view of God and His universe. To this end Mrs. Eddy labored and loved, again proving that men and women are the children of God, and that all the paraphernalia of a material world and man created from dust is an unsubstantial dream, as illusive as the mirage that tempts the weary traveler.
False Testimony of Corporeal Senses
Upon what evidence is based the proposition of material creation, the theory that man is material as well as spiritual, subject to sin, disease, and annihilation? The only evidence is the testimony of the corporeal senses testimony which we find to be erroneous and misleading. To the sense of vision, objects at a distance appear smaller than they really are; the ventriloquist misleads the sense of hearing; the sense of feeling is easily deceived. The sun apparently rises in the east and revolves about the earth. The earth seems to be the center of the stellar universe, and this error known as the Ptolemaic theory of the universe darkened the minds of men for centuries. Men were persecuted and imprisoned because they denied it.
Now, no matter how much corporeal sense-evidence piles up to prove an erroneous proposition, one demonstration of the true proposition destroys the whole mass of false evidence. A few illustrations will prove the truth of this statement. Suppose thousands of instances were cited which corroborated the proposition that all crows were black. This would be true if no white crow existed. But the discovery of one white crow would immediately disprove the proposition that all crows were black, no matter how many thousands of black crows could be discovered. For centuries men believed the earth to be flat. One voyage of Columbus exploded that fallacy, and all the geographies and all the literature written on that basis were of necessity consigned to the junk heap. Great inventions have in like manner overthrown previous sense conclusions and won for the race higher and clearer concepts. That a wire could transmit a message was believed to be impossible. Yet Morse disproved that notion when he sent the first telegraph message, "What hath God wrought," between Baltimore and Washington. That a message could be sent without a wire was another advance which startled the world a few years ago. This fact disproved all previous false sense conclusions that such a feat was impossible.
Sin, Disease and Death Not Necessary
Throughout the ages men, with but few exceptions, have believed in the supposed necessity for sin, disease, and death. They have reasoned that, since in their experience and observation these evils have operated without hindrance, they are, therefore, inevitable and incontrovertible. No greater fallacy, no more cruel deception, was ever perpetrated upon the human race. Study the words and acts of the great Master, Christ Jesus. Did he accept the verdict that men are mortal, the victims of disease and sin? Did he submit to the fiat that death is inevitable? By no means. He thrust aside these human illusions and proved for all time the divine status of men as the perfect sons of God, forever free from mortal ills. One demonstration of the power of Mind to heal disease is sufficient to prove its possibility for all men. One demonstration over the illusion of death is sufficient to prove the fallacy of the last enemy and to show the nothingness of the greatest fear that besets men. Jesus destroyed disease, raised the dead, burst for himself the bonds of the tomb, and thus blazed the way of spiritual freedom for all men. What a world of woe and despair he lifted from the hearts of men by his glorious career, and what encouragement and inspiration he gave us when he said:
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
With the record of centuries of suffering behind us, isn't it time that we ceased to listen to the siren voices of the material senses, which argue continually for the reality of evil, and give earnest heed to Christian Science which teaches us the way Christ Jesus destroyed sin, disease and death?
Evil Has No Origin
But one may ask: How did the belief of evil and of material creation originate if God is not its author? Let us revert to the exploded doctrine that the sun revolves around the earth. Where did that illusion originate? Upon reflection, you doubtless will grant that its acceptance by mankind must have been due to the limitations of mortal belief which accepted a seeming for the actual. When thought rose higher and grasped the vastness and grandeur of the stellar universe, the science of astronomy was seen then that former misconception vanished. That false belief about the sun never affected the real facts in the slightest degree. That error had lodgement only in the minds of those who were deceived by it. It was merely an illusion that deceived them. Christian Science is proving with logical exactness that evil is a seeming, not the actual; that it is the result of wrong thinking, which a right understanding of God first uncovers, and then destroys. God is the only cause but He is not the cause of evil. Evil has no cause, never had any, and never will have any. To attempt to discover the origin of evil is like chasing the will-o'-the-wisp, it leads nowhere and profits nothing.
Existence is Consciousness
Christian Science deals with mentality alone. What we know and are conscious that we know, is the fundamental fact of our existence. The Christian Scientist, therefore, is concerned primarily with the state of his own mind. Heaven to him is to know and manifest the ideas of the divine Mind, the angels of His presence, which supply all harmony, joy, peace and happiness. This is what Jesus meant when he said "the kingdom of God is within you." The Christian Scientist has discovered through the study of Christian Science that his environment, his financial condition, his relation to his God and to his fellow-men, his health and the control of his body, are determined by the state of his own thought. Before the discovery of Christian Science the body was generally considered to be an independent mechanism over which the individual had little or no control. It largely dictated to him his state of feeling and action, and men had been taught to believe that it could sometimes be coaxed into fairly good behavior by the use of drugs, massage, electricity, change of climate, or kindred devices. Such methods have always finally failed and then the individual was left in a worse state than he was before.
Christian Science demonstrates that the body is not the master but the servant of the man; that the individual can, through knowing God aright, control his mental states and thus control his body and determine that it shall manifest health instead of disease. As a matter of fact, the natural function of the body is to be a servant, not a master. We will to move the hand to the face and it obeys. When thought grasps the laws and harmonies of music we train the body to express this harmonious action and the result is an artistic musician.
Since the body is a servant, why have we permitted this body, which is but the objective expression of mortal thought, to become a dictator and tell us we are diseased, sick, melancholy? The only rational reply is that a false, perverted sense that man is a physical, material machine, that his life is in fibers, nerves, and brain cells, has usurped the place of the perception that man is spiritual, the idea of God, the image and likeness of God.
If we believe in and fear disease or contagion, if we believe that food, air, water, heat or cold, will injuriously affect the body, we may have these false conclusions manifested on the body thus proving the words of the writer of Proverbs "as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Paul said: "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection," and he was able to do this, as he said on another occasion, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Our rightful heritage as sons and daughters of God is to express health, peace, and happiness; and to have dominion over fear, worry, lack, and all the modes of evil; and we manifest this dominion in the degree that we obey the admonition of the Apostle Paul: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." To the extent that we entertain the Mind of Christ, to that extent we can rebuke, reverse, and cast out the false thoughts of sickness, fear, and sin, which are the fruits of the carnal or fleshly mind. On no other basis can Christian healing be attained and in no other way can sickness, fear, and sin be overcome and shown to be what they are, false modes of thought.
Ceasing to think falsely will end sickness and sin. If every person in the world would acknowledge the divine power of God and thereby cease to think sickness, to talk sickness, to fear it, or to picture mentally its details, but instead of thoughts of sickness would fill his mind with thoughts of God, His ever-presence, His love for His children, His grace and mercy, the result would be most gratifying. Sickness would be abolished and the race would rise to a state of health, harmony and happiness, never before attained. Christian Science gives the cheering assurance that God never created sickness or any other evil. This assurance gives us courage to resist these errors, and in so doing we are working in harmony with the divine will.
The Fallacy of Drug Healing
The question then arises, Do drugs heal the sick? The Scriptural teaching is incontrovertible that spiritual healing practiced by Jesus, taught by him, and commanded by him to his followers, is the only true healing. There cannot be two systems of healing, one spiritual and the other material. Spirit does not operate through its opposite, matter; therefore drugs do not derive their potency from God. God is sufficient to supply all the needs of His children, so that there is no occasion for any other healing agency. "Drugs, cataplasms, and whiskey," said Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health, p. 158, "are stupid substitutes for the dignity and potency of divine Mind and its efficacy to heal." A prominent medical authority, Dr. W. C. Rucker, Assistant Surgeon General United States Public Health Service, was reported in the press to have stated that the drug remedies listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia, a book almost as large as an unabridged dictionary, are for the most part worthless, and that all the remedies now recognized by the regular medical fraternity are contained in a book so small that it can be slipped into the vest pocket. The difference in size of the two volumes represents the prescriptions which have been cast aside within the last few years by the medical profession.
What became of the supposed curative value of these drugs cast aside as useless? For a long period they were supposed to heal disease. If their curative potency was God-given, would it be possible that it could be lost? The supposed action of these drugs was a deception based upon human credulity. Human faith in these drugs was lost because of their failure to heal, and that was the reason they were discarded. Drugs backed by blind belief can produce no lasting benefit, and since Christian Science has become more generally known, decrease in the use of drugs has been most striking. The long list of diseases pronounced incurable by materia medica points unmistakably to the fact that drug healing is a hopeless failure. Jesus told his disciples that if they drank any deadly thing it would not hurt them. He knew the false basis of the drugging system, and he also knew the power of scientific understanding which annulled the false action of the drug. If the divine power annuls the poisonous action of drugs, is that not positive proof that drugs are not of God? The word of God destroys evil only, not the manifestations of good.
Reliance on drugs is reliance on mammon. "It is the spirit that quickeneth;" said Jesus, "the flesh profiteth nothing." (John 6:63.)
If Mrs. Eddy had done nothing more for humanity than to show the line of demarcation between so-called drug-healing and the divine mode of healing, she would have merited the lasting gratitude of the race. The time is rapidly approaching when faith in the efficacy of drugs, toxins, and animal serums will disappear, just as that other delusion that the earth is flat has been discarded.
Operations Remove Effects Not Causes
With the gradual recession of the drugging system has come an influx of surgical operations. But surgical operations can only reach effects, not causes. The cause is hidden, beyond the reach of the knife! Fear, worry, hate, sin, and other wrong mental conditions poison the body and produce disease. How can an operation reach wrong mental states? Jesus warned his followers to cleanse the thought, not merely the outside of the platter. Macbeth's inquiry
"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd;
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous matter.
Which weighs upon the heart?"
opens a question that should cause every man to stop and ponder. Christian Science proves that diseases are the result of "a mind dlseas'd", and that when thought is corrected and the offending mental errors manifested on the body as disease are cast out, the body then resumes its normal, healthful activity. The many disastrous results which follow surgical operations should sternly warn the public that there is something fundamentally wrong in the practice. So true is this that it has been remarked that it is sometimes difficult to determine whether the appendix has been removed from the body or the body from the appendix.
The Unreality of Matter
When Mrs. Eddy made the famous declaration on p. 468 of Science and Health that "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter," she bearded the lion of materialism in its den because she, for all time, made for human thought the separation between matter and Spirit and thereby reduced matter to its own non-intelligence. In the next sentence, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all," she defined the true universe and opened the way for reason to gain a right conception of God.
Physical scientists have not agreed upon what matter is. They have advanced many theories to explain matter but have never reached an agreement. For a time the atomic theory seemed to offer a solution to physical scientists but it presented difficulties and has never become more than a theory. More recently the electron hypothesis came into vogue. The electron hypothesis seeks to explain matter by reducing it to a form of energy. Arthur J. Balfour, former Prime Minister of England, is reported to have said: "The material sciences are now explaining matter by explaining it away." "Matter," said Huxley, "is a name for the unknown hypothetical cause of states of our own consciousness." And Professor Oswald, of Leipsic University, said: "Matter is only a thing imagined." The physical scientist has become aware that all the evidence he has of matter is obtained through the physical senses. Take away thought, and the form, color, hardness, and other characteristics of a chair for instance entirely disappear. Without mortal thought to cognize it there can be no matter.
The greatest metaphysician the world has ever known, Christ Jesus, went far beyond the conceptions of the physical scientists, who reduce matter to energy or who perceive that without the cognizing mind matter is impossible. Christ Jesus proved himself the master of matter. He knew that in the false concept of life in matter inhered all the ills that have befallen the human race. Jesus healed the palsied arm made a change in the form of matter; calmed the storm, controlled a movement of matter; transported a boat instantly across a lake, passed through walls instantly, rolled back the stone from the tomb, and finally, in his ascension, rose above matter and the material universe. How did Christ Jesus control matter? He controlled matter through the might of Mind overcoming error; through the consciousness of the one God, the infinite Spirit, who created only His own ideas and from whose presence the earth (matter) fled away.
Christian Science makes clear that matter is merely the expression of the mortal, carnal consciousness, the counterfeit of divine reality. Through understanding the divine Mind we, as children of God and followers of Christ Jesus, can overcome this false mentally called matter, which manifests itself in storms, droughts, diseases, wars, and death. "For," said St. Paul, "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." He who has grasped even to a slight degree the Science of Mind is no longer troubled about the nature of matter. He knows that Spirit rules the universe and through this knowledge of Spirit he begins to assert his dominion over matter and over all its so-called laws. If you are not clear upon this subject, I would urge you to study Science and Health which will solve the problem for you. When thought grasps reality Spirit its negation matter no longer stirs fear or commands interest.
Belief Versus Understanding
The student of Christian Science learns to know and rely upon spiritual law, the law of good. By repeated tests he proves this law and makes it applicable to all the affairs of his daily life. He discovers that back of spiritual law is the omnipotence of God which renders this law irresistible in operation. One of his first discoveries is to distinguish between the operation of spiritual law and the false action of human beliefs. Following the leadings of spiritual law, he continually rises in conscious knowledge of God and His ways, and constantly adds to his enduring riches of gladness, peace, meekness, and love. Human beliefs have no enduring basis. They are merely the merchandise of unstable human opinions. Mortals assent to them because they have been taught to accept appearance for reality. Their number is legion, but through knowing spiritual law they can be detected and their erroneous conclusions reversed. When Paul raised Eutychus from the dead he proved that the human belief called "accident" cannot deprive a man of life. When Mrs. Eddy healed the man of hip disease, as described on pp. 192 and 193 of Science and Health, she proved that the man had been suffering from a false belief which spiritual law destroyed.
The Joy of Spiritual Living
The normal state of a Christian is to be happy and harmonious. "God is love," and His government is merciful, loving, and beneficent; hence, Christians are merely exercising their rightful birthright when they are glad, loving, merciful, and compassionate. Religion has, in large measure, been divorced from genuine happiness, but that has been because Christians have been unable to overcome fear, discouragement, and disease.
If God is a never failing refuge from the ills of mortal existence it would not be a difficult matter to love God and our fellow-men, and to "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad," as the Master taught us to do. An analysis of our thought will show us that the reason we have failed to attain this joyousness described in the Bible is because we have not distinguished between right thoughts and wrong thoughts, and consequently we have often become the victims of the latter even when striving to gain the good. Christian Science furnishes the key to the truths of the Bible. When thought is uplifted and purified through the study of the Bible and Science and Health, the student detects the difference between spiritual ideas and sensuous concepts just as readily as the musician discerns the difference between tones that are false and tones that are true. When our thought is conscious of its oneness with divine Love it is impregnable to every assault of discord or fear. Then can the Christian say with the psalmist "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright."
Christian Scientists are a happy people. They are happy because they have found "the secret place of the Most High," a state of consciousness serene and lofty free from the aggressions of evil; a state of consciousness to which the realities of infinite Truth and Love unfold. This exalted state of consciousness is not a special gift to a favored person nor to a privileged denomination. A loving God has provided it free for all men. Christian Scientists are not concerned that they should add adherents to the Christian Science church, but they are concerned that all men should learn to know God aright, for only by this means can evil and sorrow be destroyed, and men behold "the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven." We would ask you, therefore, to study "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. Study it in connection with your Bible, carefully, sincerely, prayerfully. It will illumine the pages of that great Book and it will reveal to you its truths which had been hidden from men by centuries of dogma, creed, and superstition. You will find that Science and Health will give you a vital, living understanding of divine Love, an understanding which is available here and now meet your daily needs.
The Christian Science movement has gone beyond the stage of experiment. Today it encircles the globe, and men and women in every corner of the earth bear living witness to its regenerative power. Many hundreds of thousands have won their freedom through Christian Science. The message of Christian Science is universal; it is for all men, and all men can and will learn to apply it. If your burden seems heavy and the conditions about you forbidding, take courage. Divine Love is ever ready and ever willing to lead you out of the darkness of Egypt into the promised land of spiritual freedom. You have but to follow faithfully the way blazed for you by Christ Jesus and made available through Christian Science.
[Delivered Dec. 3, 1916, at Scenic Temple in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Tribune, December 9, 1916. The title has been supplied from other copies of the lecture.]