Christian Science: The Science of Omnipotent Mind (2)
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
There is one great and all inclusive fact that should be engraved upon the minds and hearts of all peoples and that fact is that God is omnipotent, that God has all power, is infinite good, is ever present, and therefore ever available; a God of love who sends only good gifts to His children; a God who does not afflict and who is not the author of evil. When God is understood aright, human thought is lifted into a consciousness of peace that is unmoved by the vicissitudes of time and mortality. When our feet are planted on the eternal rock of the abiding presence of God, we can survey with a serene mind the varied experiences of mortal existence because we know that all power resides in God, and that evil is a mere seeming which avails nothing against them who "abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
Most Christians agree that God is omnipotent good, that He is omniscient and omnipresent, but while men and women have accepted theoretically these eternal attributes of Deity, they have not actually understood them nor ordered their lives according to them. To accept God as omnipotent good and then to worry about poverty, fear disease, be avaricious, or hate one's neighbor, is inconsistent and furnishes evidence that the person who does these things denies in practice what he accepts in theory, namely, — the omnipotence of God.
When we turn to Christian Science, however, we find that it is inflexibly logical. It accepts the Scriptural teachings of one omnipotent God and is, throughout, in harmony with the Bible. Christian Science not only admits the omnipotence of God but it likewise accepts the demonstrable fact that the omnipotence of good is available to meet our every need. It is self-evident that if God has all power there cannot possibly be another power with which to divide His kingdom. The omnipotence of God is eternal. God is also the one Supreme Ruler, "the same yesterday, and today, and forever," for, as the Scripture declares, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
Is The Power of God Available?
What evidence have we that the power of God is available? When we turn to the Bible we find that throughout the whole range of Bible history, patriarchs, prophets and disciples, men and women inspired of God were enabled to overcome all forms of discord, hate, sin, disease, and even death itself. In this century a great volume of similar evidence has been presented by the Christian Science movement. Since Mrs. Eddy gave her teaching to the world, emphasizing the truth that God is the only power, hundreds and thousands of men and women have repeated the experiences of the great Bible characters, have attained similar spiritual vision and inspiration, have risen above the evidence of the corporeal senses and reached the consciousness that God is the only power, that man — His image and likeness — is perfect and immortal, and that God's children are not and cannot be the victims of sin, disease and death.
Old Testament Evidence
In the Old Testament narratives Joseph proved the power of God to protect His own in prisons and in kings' palaces. Through the power of God Moses freed a nation from the grip of autocracy. David, through reliance on "the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel," overthrew Goliath, and later escaped all the snares that envy, malice, and hate could invent to destroy him. Elijah raised from the dead the widow's son, and Elisha healed of leprosy Naaman, the captain of the armies of Syria. The Hebrew captives, cast into the fiery furnace, proved that flames and heat were powerless to harm the men who held steadfastly to the might and majesty of all-inclusive Spirit. Daniel, who retired three times each day to pray with his windows open toward Jerusalem, likewise escaped all the artifices of human hate and was so uplifted through faith in the all-power of God that he could read human thought, interpret dreams, and foresee the final destruction of all evil. To him also was revealed the glorious vision of the coming of the Son of man who shall execute judgment and whose "dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14.) And so the accounts of God's tender care and protection of His own, as recorded in the Old Testament, could be indefinitely extended, hence the exulting words of David, the sweet singer of Israel: "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be moved." (Ps. 62:3-6)
The Testimony of Christ Jesus
When we turn to the New Testament we find that 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 that they were of divine authority. Jesus not only knew the power of God — he proved it by results. He proved that what the evidence of the corporeal senses claimed to be real was not real, but illusion. Knowing that God is our Life and that "in him we live, and move, and have our being," he reversed the false claim that matter has life, intelligence, or power, either to injure or to bless mankind. Jesus 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 nature of these errors and destroyed them through the might of the Christ-Mind.
Christ Jesus the Son of 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 through divine knowledge of the power of God, to show us that such a consummation is possible for all who strive to know the truth as he knew it. As a man he trod the winepress of human hate, mastered the carnal opposition to truth and destroyed every ill that besets mankind.
Jesus knew God aright and through knowledge of God he was enabled to penetrate and to destroy the so-called mystery of evil in all its subtleties and disguises. Evil fights its destroyer, and as a result this most righteous man was the target for all the malice, hate, and vengeance, the human, carnal mind could devise. Mesmerized by these evils, his enemies sought to destroy his life. But when mortal mind had done its utmost he proved that so-called death was powerless either to destroy his life or to destroy or hinder the influence of his teachings. Finding that it could not attain its purpose through the attempted destruction of his person, this same carnal mind, in later centuries, sought to corrupt the doctrines he lived and taught, and portrayed him not as the Son of God — as he himself taught — but as God, a deity to be worshipped. It is a striking fact that coincident with this perversion and corruption was the loss of healing in the Christian church.
Now while Jesus was not God he expressed the Christ, the anointed of God, and as the Christ he manifested the qualities of his divine Father — hence, his saying: "I and my Father are one." The true Scriptural teachings regarding Christ Jesus and his relation to God are clearly and correctly presented in the teachings of Mrs. Eddy. It may be asked, "How can this be known?" The answer is, "By practical proof." When the student begins to understand the nature of the divine unity existing between Jesus the Christ and the ever-present God as taught by Christian Science and by the Bible, he can heal the sick by the power of prayer; and the more clearly he understands this divine unity, the more quickly and the more effectively he can do this holy, healing work. Correct understanding of the great fundamentals of his teachings is essential in order to follow the Master-Teacher and to repeat in this age his marvelous demonstrations. Commenting on Jesus the Christ and his unity with God, in Science and Health (p. 332), Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Jesus demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ is the divine idea of God — the Holy Ghost, revealing the divine Principle, or Comforter Love, and leading into all truth."
Salvation for All Men
The healing power demonstrated by Jesus was not confined to himself as evidence of his special 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 the universal gift of God to all His children. The Master-Physician said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," thus making his message of universal application. He further said: "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 16:15-17).
Commenting on the universality of divine grace, Jesus said: "Before Abraham was I am." In other words, the Christ is the divine, ever-present manifestation of God forever ready to heal and save, and so it has been proved throughout the whole history of Christianity.
The Testimony of Apostles and Early Christians
In the New Testament we find also that the twelve disciples went forth and healed; the seventy did likewise. Paul, who was not at first a disciple of Jesus, also healed the sick and raised the dead, and for three centuries the early Christians recognized and practiced healing as a part of the work of the church. Irenaeus, the Greek bishop of Lyons who lived at the close of the second century, assures us that all Christians of his time possessed the power of healing; that they prophesied, cast out devils, healed the sick, and sometimes raised the dead. So long as the early Christians were strictly loyal to the spiritual teachings of Christ Jesus, to that degree did their religion possess the vital force which regenerated the human mind. The most inspiring page in history is the story of the redemptive power of the primitive gospel of Christ, transforming and regenerating men, physically as well as spiritually, despite the depths of depravity and sensuality into which the race had fallen.
But after a time the early Christians became lax in their loyalty to the teachings of their great spiritual Teacher. They began to modify his teachings, conforming them to the pagan and materialistic notions of the prevalent systems of thought about them. What was the result? The freshness and power of spiritual understanding was blighted, and spiritual healing, "the pearl of great price," was lost to the darkened vision of mortals. The human mind — darkened and mystified — could no longer yield to the healing power of God; hence spiritual healing disappeared and did not again appear for more than fifteen centuries when the Science of Christ's Christianity was again given to the world by a New England woman, Mary Baker Eddy.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Christian Science was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in the year 1866. Her instant recovery from the results of a serious accident, through the spiritual understanding of a passage in Matthew's gospel, was the falling apple which led to the unfoldment of scientific Christianity. The time was ripe for a new spiritual advance of the race. Great reformations had taken place in religions during the preceding three centuries. The grip of hard and dogmatic creeds was loosening, and the heart of humanity was being stirred by a clearer understanding of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The great civil war had just been terminated which liberated the thought of this nation from the error of human slavery. Ever since the Puritan forefathers had set foot on Plymouth Rock, bringing with them the great desires for democracy, religious freedom, and reverence for the Bible as the sacred word of God, the leaven of truth had been at work in the thought of the expanding nation, purging it of some errors of superstition, personal domination, dogmatism and slavery. To be sure slavery was to be destroyed by a great upheaval accompanied by much human suffering and agony. But the work was done, the purification of the nation from that error was accomplished, and almost immediately came the birth of a new spiritual freedom for humanity which its Discoverer and Founder named Christian Science. Speaking of this momentous birth, both of human and spiritual freedom, Mrs. Eddy wrote, in Science and Health (p. 266): "The voice of God in behalf of the African slave was still echoing in our land, when the voice of the herald of this new crusade sounded the keynote of universal freedom, asking a fuller acknowledgment of the rights of man as a Son of God, demanding that the fetters of sin, sickness, and death be stricken from the human mind and that its freedom be won, not through human warfare, not with bayonet and blood, but through Christ's divine Science." When she grasped the mighty fact so fruitful with blessings for the whole human race, that God is the only Mind and Cause, the mission of Mary Baker Eddy was to pierce with spiritual vision the dark clouds of human beliefs, to disperse these clouds through the reflected light of spiritual understanding, and to reinstate in human consciousness the science of Christianity. This Science of divine Mind, exact and logical, based upon the supremacy of Spirit, could, when grasped by the individual, free him from the penalties of mortal illusions and bring him into conscious and eternal unity with his God.
How can it be known that there is but one Mind? Since God is the divine creator, the source of all intelligence and wisdom, He knows all things and nothing can be thought or conceived outside the range of His all-inclusive wisdom. The conclusion is logical, therefore, that there is and can be only one Mind, God. Mankind, for centuries, has believed in the existence of many minds, but the Bible and Christian Science make clear the omniscient oneness of the divine Mind and the impossibility of many minds. Man has no mind of his own separate from his Maker. He reflects the Mind of his creator. When this great fact is grasped by the individual he begins to express the holiness, healthfulness, purity and wisdom of the divine Mind and to be healed of the sickness, sin, sorrow, and pain which come from believing in many minds or that mind or power can exist separate from God.
Her Search for the Principle of Mind Healing
Mrs. Eddy was well fitted for her great work of making clear to the world the all-might of the one Mind. 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 daily and hourly upon its truths. Her knowledge of Greek and Hebrew gave her some acquaintance with the original texts. As her thought went forth in longing desire to know God, she inevitably came in contact, and later into collision, with human systems which purported to interpret God or sought to usurp His power as the healer of all our diseases. Her first struggles were evidently with scholastic theology, a theology which she had sounded to its depths and found inadequate to supply the great human need, for the reason that it attempted to explain God from a corporeal standpoint and was, therefore, bereft of healing power. In harmony with the Scriptural injunction "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," she had investigated the systems of medicine, the seeming action of drugs, the allopathic and homeopathic methods of treatment, as well as spiritualism, hypnotism, and various other mental theories. She found that all lacked the divine unction of Spirit and failed to bring healing or mental enlightenment. Finally, she turned unreservedly to the word of God, the Bible, and through study and prayer the light of spiritual understanding dawned upon her enlightened vision, like rays of morning sunlight upon an awakened world. Speaking of this remarkable experience, Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health (p. 109), "For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule. The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing. I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration."
As a result in 1875 — nine years after her healing — she gave to the world the text-book of Christian Science, Science and Health, 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. This text-book is based wholly on the Bible, and all its premises and conclusions are founded on God as the only power, cause, and creator.
Opposition to Her Discovery
But Mrs. Eddy was not to give her great discovery to the world without opposition. History has proved that persecution awaited the reformer who "allured to brighter worlds and led the way." "The carnal mind," said Paul, "is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Jesus experienced the full force of the carnal mind'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, hate, and persecution 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, her absolute reliance on His all-power, and the unswerving conviction of the righteousness of her cause, met the full force of the world's opposition. But the power of Truth when understood is invincible and the waves of prejudice and hate dashed in vain against the rock of the omnipotence of divine Mind upon which her work was founded.
"O Liberty! can men resign thee,
Once having felt thy generous flame?
Can dungeon, bolts and bars confine thee,
Or whips the noble spirit tame?"
Thus rings the national anthem of France, and neither could scorn, ridicule, nor hate tame the noble spirit of this woman, nor dim her vision of the ever-presence of Spirit to save the nations from their myriad woes.
Fruits of Her Discovery
After a time the results of her clarified vision and of her grasp of the deep things of God began to be manifested. The sick were healed through her ministrations; the bondage of sin was broken for the sinner; darkened minds were filled with spiritual illumination through her teachings and writings, and she exemplified in her life the words of Jesus, "by their fruits ye shall know them." Guided by her wisdom the movement of Christian Science which she had begun grew apace. Her message refused by established churches, she was impelled to organize a church of her own. The Mother Church was founded in Boston in April, 1879, and has since been followed by a host of branch churches now scattered throughout the civilized world. The Christian Science Journal appeared in 1883, then the Christian Science Sentinel; next Der Herold der Christian Science, the German publication, and Mrs. Eddy's last gift to humanity was The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper — a newspaper whose business is to tell the truth fearlessly no matter how gigantic may seem the evil to be exposed and destroyed. Reading rooms and lending libraries were started and maintained by churches and societies; Christian Science practitioners established themselves in cities and villages, healing the sick and reclaiming the sinner through the prayer which understands the all-power of God. Today the whole world knows of Mrs. Eddy's work. It has not yet grasped the full measure of her achievements but it is beginning to understand the value of her teachings for the redemption of the race.
The Truth That Frees
The Science of omnipotent Mind which Mrs. Eddy taught in Science and Health is the Science Jesus meant when he said "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." What is the truth that is to be known? Manifestly, the truth which makes free is the truth about God and man. Christian Science teaches as does the Bible, that God is Spirit; that Mind, His universe, is a spiritual, mental universe; and that man is a spiritual being reflecting his divine creator. Christian Science makes a clear and absolute distinction between the universe of God or perfect Mind, and the world of sense phenomena, the mortal, carnal sense of existence which mortals cognize through the physical senses, carrying in its train sin, disease, and death. Since spiritual existence is the only real existence, Christian Science classifies the world of sense phenomena as unreal, false, and therefore, in fact, nothing but illusion.
How do we know the spiritual is true and the sensuous false? We know by the test of demonstration. As the perfection of God, His holiness, beauty, wisdom and power, dawn upon the illumined thought we are divinely assured of their reality. On the other hand the evanescent and illusive character of the world of sense phenomena becomes more and more clearly exposed and gradually fades from consciousness. Furthermore, the more clearly we comprehend the things of Spirit, the more surely and completely we can heal sickness, overcome sin, and break the bonds of evil. "God is love," said the beloved disciple. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear," and Love likewise casts out all that is unlike Love and enthrones peace and harmony in undisputed control.
Truth Known Through Consciousness
Since truth alone frees men, the question arises, How is truth attained? Jesus said it was gained through knowing — that is, through consciousness. If we can know truth only through thought then truth itself must have its source in omniscient Mind. The Scriptures teach us to know God, to love Him, and obey Him. How can we follow these commands except through mind, consciousness? The Scriptures teach that man was born of God, and that the entire universe was created by God. How could man and the universe exist except as the emanation of supreme, infinite Mind?
From the one omnipotent Mind emanate all law, order, continuity, all science, and the nature of God is revealed through spiritual law. Science is defined by Webster's International Dictionary as the orderly and systematic classification of ideas "made available in work, life, or the search for truth." We can at once see, therefore, the fitness of applying Science to Christianity, as Mrs. Eddy has done in the term "Christian Science." "Order," said Pope, "is heaven's first law." God manifest Himself to men through order, through law, through science. We would belittle our conception of Deity should we attempt to imagine that He, who throughout all eternity upholds the universe by His wisdom, could do less than manifest Himself in an orderly, scientific, perfect way. This God does, and this Mrs. Eddy discovered, and this — the Science of omnipotent Mind — she gave to the world in her great textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Scientific Knowledge Essential
The Science of omnipotent, divine Mind must be gained if we are ever to attain spiritual dominion over the flesh and all carnality, but the prize is worth the effort. "So fight I," said Paul, "not as one that beateth the air." Neither do Christian Scientists beat the air but are enabled through their understanding to fight for and win the prize of spiritual mastery over the evil beliefs of the carnal mind, the source of all sorrow and suffering. Is it not worth while, for instance, to prove that health is not something that can be lost but is a spiritual quality, imperishable and perfect, synonymous with purity, holiness, and harmony? Many thousands have given their earthly all for health, have searched to the ends of the earth for it and have not found it, simply 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 Paul declared, to "Let his mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
Christian Scientists rejoice in this science of knowing truth which maketh free. They have felt the touch of the healing hand of Omnipotence. Their diseases are being healed, their fears, passions, and discouragements are being dissipated, and they are laying hold of the "peace of God which passeth all understanding."
How Does Christian Science Heal
Suppose a patient suffering with illness comes to Christian Science for help. What does the Christian Science practitioner do? He knows that disease is a false, mental state to be healed by true thinking as revealed in the Science of omnipotent Mind. He lifts his thought to God in prayer and destroys the fear of the patient, knowing that "perfect Love casteth out fear"; he refuses to accept the false, physical evidence that the man is sick; he denies the human belief of heredity, knowing that God's child inherits nothing but the good things of God. He sees clearly that man, the expression of his Maker, cannot consume away because man is indestructible and immortal. He denies all unfavorable symptoms, knowing that they are not God-created, but are false, mental pictures imaged forth on the body, and if the practitioner's thought is inspired of God, is aflame with the love which comes from God, the patient is healed. There may be instances when the healing may seem slow because time may be required to change the thought of the patient from its material basis to the spiritual basis of living and thinking. Should this be the case the patient should still trust God and not yield to discouragement. The true practitioner will continue to point the way of life to such a one and encourage him to persevere until his thought is awakened and the light appears.
Creation Spiritual and Perfect
In the Science of omnipotent Mind or Christian Science, man is taught to reason from the basis of infinite perfect Spirit. Perfect Spirit can create only perfect, spiritual beings, and these beings manifest the qualities and partake of the nature of Spirit. In the first chapter of Genesis which so fully describes the spiritual creation, we read, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." And in the last verse of the same chapter it says that "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Man, therefore, is spiritual and perfect. He manifests the holiness, perfection, immortality, and goodness of God. The second chapter of this same book describes the creation of another man, the Adam-man, formed from the dust of the ground. Manifestly, both these accounts cannot be true, because if man is spiritually created he cannot be dust-created.
Now, Christian Science, the Science of omnipotent Mind, makes clear that there is a vast difference between man, the image and likeness of God, and the mortal, human concept called man. Christian Science accepts the fact that only the spiritual man can be the real man and that we have no more evidence that man is a creature of dust, the victim of old age, decay, and death, than we have that the sun rises in the east. The whole fabric of material reasoning regarding mortal man is based entirely on the evidence of the physical senses — evidence we know to be misleading and erroneous. Knowing that all human ills originate in the Adam-dream that man is mortal, a creature of the dust, the Christian Scientist rises above sense evidence and recognizes that God is Love, as the apostle declared; that He is omnipotent good; that His universe is harmonious, perfect, eternal, and that man can not be enchained by false conditions, but is forever free, upright, strong, forever conscious of his liberty as a son of God.
Control of the Body
But it may be asked, "Is it possible that my body can be controlled and its diseases healed through the power of omnipotent Mind?" My friends, it is not only possible but it is the only genuine healing of the body that was ever accomplished. All diseases are the result of diseased thoughts. How absurd to attempt to heal the body by drugs, which are inert, mindless, as if mindless matter could bridge the gulf between matter and Spirit and usurp the prerogative of God to heal man of his diseases. The body is merely the expression of mortal thought and is a servant not a master, and it manifests whatever state of thought the individual may entertain. If we believe in and fear sickness, old age, heat or cold, we may have these wrong conditions manifested on the body, thus proving the words of Solomon — "As he thinketh in his heart so is he." The remedy is to look away from the body, refuse to accept its false evidences of pain and disease and to hold the gaze steadfastly to the perfect realm of divine Mind, where man possesses unchanging health based upon the eternal truths of God. Then, and then only, can the Christian prove the words of Jesus, "The kingdom of God is within you." Prophesying of the period when men should see God through spiritualized consciousness, Isaiah said, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
False Evidence of Corporeal Senses
Everyone is familiar with the deceptive nature of the testimony of the five physical senses. The whole trend of true education is to teach the child to correct by higher intelligence the false impressions of physical sense evidence. A monkey and a child both see a figure five — for instance; the child, by higher intelligence, grasps the idea back of the symbol, the monkey sees the symbol, accepts the sense evidence and is as definitely shut off from the idea five as though it never existed. Paul warns us against accepting the limitations of the physical senses, and calls us to rise to the understanding of spiritual things which renew the inward man day by day. He declared that in our true individuality, "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Cor. 4:18)
Sin, Disease and Death Not Necessary
Throughout the ages men have believed in the supposed necessity for sin, disease, and death. Accepting the deceptive evidence of the corporeal senses they have reasoned that, since in their experience and observation these evils have operated without hindrance, they are therefore inevitable. No greater fallacy, no more cruel deception ever imposed itself upon the human race. We must have the courage of our convictions and deny these evils, knowing the scientific basis upon which we deny them if we ever expect to overcome them. Perhaps these statements may seem to be somewhat visionary to some but they are not, because Christian Scientists in hundreds of thousands of instances have proved them by healing all manner of diseases on the spiritual basis that man is perfect, even as his Father in heaven is perfect, that man cannot, therefore, be mortal and material, and that since sickness, sin, and disease are destroyed through spiritual understanding the inevitable conclusion follows that they have no actual reality.
In this connection I wish to call to your attention the life of the great Master, Christ Jesus. Did he accept the verdict that men are mortal, the victims of sin and disease? 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 divine Mind to heal men of disease is sufficient to prove that it is possible for all men to destroy disease through spiritual understanding. One demonstration of overcoming death through the power of divine Mind is sufficient to show the fallacy of the last enemy and 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 pointed 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: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." (John 11:25)
With the record of centuries of suffering behind us, is it not time that we cease to listen to the siren voices of the material senses which argue continually for the permanence and reality of evil, and give earnest heed to Christian Science which teaches us the way Christ Jesus destroyed sin, disease, and death, and how we, too, can destroy them if we follow faithfully the path Jesus blazed for us.
The Unreality of Matter
But how can the Science of omnipotent Mind, Christian Science, make clear the unreality of matter, one may ask. For centuries men have tried to bridge the gulf between matter and divine Mind and, in some way, to make God responsible for matter. Matter is the opposite of divine Mind, therefore, God is not its creator, because God creates nothing unlike Himself. Whence then comes matter? Christian Science makes clear that matter is the expression of the mortal, carnal concept — the opposite of Spirit, divine Mind. When Mrs. Eddy made that famous declaration in Science and Health (p. 468), — "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter," she bearded the lion of materialism in its den and separated matter from Spirit, reducing matter to its own dead level of 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 been agreed as to what matter is. They have found its definition difficult and its nature has, in large measure, eluded them. Physical science now teaches that matter is an expression of energy and this has been given to the world in the theory known as the electron hypothesis. Now the carnal mind, or human mind, being itself carnal and material, cannot of itself see beyond material phenomena. The mortal mind cannot see spiritual things, because, as Paul says, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Therefore, while physical scientists are pushing their researches regarding matter back from one hypothesis to another, they are still battling in the mists of mortal thought and are not certain what matter is. They are still confined to a material basis. We can see the unreality of matter only as we rise to see the light of infinite Mind, and see Mind, Spirit, as the only cause; then the riddle is solved, the mystery vanishes, and matter is seen to be merely the expression of the false, carnal, mortal thought.
Physical scientists have also become aware that the only evidence they have of matter is the testimony of the physical senses. Without the human mind to cognize them, the physical characteristics of matter — such as hardness, ductility, adhesion, cohesion, form, color — would disappear. Take away human thought and the form, color, hardness, of a chair — for instance — would entirely vanish. Therefore, without the human mind to cognize it matter is impossible.
The greatest metaphysician the world has ever known, Christ Jesus, went far beyond the conceptions of the physical scientists, who reduce matter to a form of energy or who perceive that without the cognizing mind matter is impossible. Christ Jesus proved himself the master of matter — he fed the multitudes, walked on the water, healed the palsied arm, raised the dead, rolled back the stone from the tomb, and finally, in his ascension, rose above matter and the material universe. The question then is how did Jesus prove himself the master of matter? Christ Jesus 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. In the words of the Psalmist, "He uttered his voice, the earth melted." Discerning the necessity of rising above the material concept of things, Jesus said: "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (John 6:27).
When we understand the divine Mind, we, as "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ," can overcome this false mentality called matter, which manifests itself in earthquakes, 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 strong holds."
Belief Versus Understanding
The student of Christian Science learns to know and rely upon the Science of omnipotent Mind which manifests itself to men through 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 the law of good is the omnipotence of God which renders this law irresistible in operation. One of his first discoveries is the necessity of distinguishing between the operation of spiritual law and the false action of human beliefs. Following the leadings of spiritual law, he continually rises in the 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 foundation. They are merely the merchandise of unstable human opinions. Mortals assent to them because they have been taught to accept appearances for reality. Their number is legion, but through knowing the law of omnipotent Mind they can be detected and their erroneous conclusions reversed. When Paul raised the young man Eutychus from the dead, as recorded in the book of Acts, he proved that the human belief called "accident" can not deprive man, the image and likeness of God, of his life. When Mrs. Eddy healed the man of hip disease, as she described on pages 192 and 193 of Science and Health, she proved that the man was suffering from a false belief, which her understanding of spiritual law destroyed and the man was healed.
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. But religion has in large measure been divorced from genuine happiness because of the inability of the believers therein to overcome fear, discouragement and disease.
If we find in God, the omnipotent, all-knowing Mind, a never failing refuge from the ills of mortal existence, it will 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 former. "For," said St. Paul, "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." When thought is uplifted and purified through the study of the Bible and Science and Health, which is truly a "Key to the Scriptures," the student can detect the difference between right thoughts and wrong thoughts, between spiritual ideas and sensuous concepts, just as readily as the musician, through his grasp of the laws of harmony, can discern the difference between tones that are true and those that are false. When we shut out from our thought the false suggestions of the carnal mind and accept only the heavenly concepts, then our thought is conscious only of its oneness with divine Love and is impregnable to every assault of discord, fear or disease. Then, and then only, 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 omnipotent Mind, Truth and Love unfold. This exalted state of thought 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 about the increase of adherents to the Christian Science church, but they are desirous 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. You will find that it will illumine the pages of that great Book and it will reveal to you the truths of the Bible which have been hidden from men by centuries of dogma, creed and superstition. You will find that Science and Health and the Bible will give you a vital, living understanding of the power of God, an understanding which is available here and now to meet your daily needs. And should you feel the need of the peace and healing of the Christian Science churches you will find that their doors are open to welcome you. You will find that their reading rooms and lending libraries will readily provide reading and literature to all sincere seekers for spiritual freedom.
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 the regenerating power of the Science of omnipotent Mind. Hundreds of thousands have won their freedom through Christian Science. The message of Christian Science is universal. Spiritual freedom, the freedom which comes through proving the power of divine Mind, is for all men, and all men can and will realize their possession of this freedom. If your burden seems heavy and the conditions about you forbidding, take courage. Remember the words of Jesus, the Way-shower, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." "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." Divine Mind, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, 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 as shown by Christ Jesus and made available to this age through Christian Science.