Christian Science: The Science of Spiritual Understanding

 

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

 

All men desire peace of mind. The world has been searching for it for thousands of years. In their endeavor to solve the problem of being and to establish happiness on an enduring basis, mortals have formulated many creeds, rules of conduct, and organized numerous conflicting sects and denominations, but these various attempts to establish happiness have not stood the test of time nor have they rendered mankind immune from the ravages of fear, sin, disease and death. These creeds and sects have, in a large measure, been predicated on the teachings of the Bible, but they have failed to demonstrate the promises of the Bible in saving men from the myriad ills that beset them. Failing to find the relief from human ills so desperately longed for, mortals have turned from the Bible and sought relief in systems of healing frankly based on the opposite of God, that is, matter; and because these likewise have failed them, they have to a degree accepted a theory that since human ills cannot be overcome, they are inevitable, a part of the divine order of things, and must be submitted to.

 

The Mission of Christian Science

Christian Science is a demonstrable religion. That is its reason for existence. Christian Science has come to the world and it says: here is a religion that proves itself by its works, that heals the sick and sinning, and offers the world a full salvation from all mortal ills through a right understanding of God. The adherents of Christian Science have adopted no propaganda, formulated no system or proselytism. No lure of self interest or personal aggrandizement has actuated them. They have not been interested in gaining converts. Christian Scientists have no war with other denominations, nor do they feel the slightest jealousy of them. Their warfare is to pull down the strongholds of evil, heal the sick, free the sinner, bring men to a right knowledge of God. The business of Christian Scientists is to demonstrate the ever-presence of God, overcoming the ills of mortality. How has Christian Science fared upon this program? It has prospered amazingly. In the brief space of fifty years it has spread over the civilized world, and everywhere the results have been the same. The needs of mortals in sickness and health have been met and no where in the world's history has any similar religious movement met with such remarkable progress, except the unparalleled progress of Christianity over the ancient world in the first century after the ascension.

Here it may be asked, will Christian Science continue to progress? Unquestionably it will. Its Discoverer and Founder, and the author of its text book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, has foretold that "Christian Science is destined to become the one and the only religion and therapeutics on this planet." Miscellany, pages 266, 267. Mrs. Eddy's prophecy will be fulfilled, because Christian Science presents to mortals the exact Science of God and man, the infallible law of Spirit by which they can here and now understand the divine nature and repudiate and destroy all that is evil and wrong. The needs of men are very great and Christian Science has come to supply those needs. One has only to look about him to see that mankind is the victim of fear, disaster, hate, malice, disease and death, and that there is need in the world of a mighty redemptive power.

 

Christian Science and Current Religious Teachings

Let it not be assumed that Christian Science has nothing in common with current religious teachings. When we examine the teachings of Christian Science, we find that it has much in common with the best religious thought outside of the Christian Science movement. Mrs. Eddy was for many years a member of the Congregational Church, and while a member of that church, and while under the instruction of some of the noted divines of that church, she began that profound study of the Bible, and that tireless search for a spiritual cause of all things which culminated in the revelation and discovery of Christian Science. There is, therefore, no gulf fixed between Christian Science and what is known as orthodox Christianity. Christian Science is the revelation and discovery of the allness of Spirit and the application of that fact to human affairs resulting in the annulment of human beliefs in sin, disease and death. It teaches a spiritual concept of God which orthodox Christianity has not attained. When we examine the doctrines and creeds of different denominations, we find much that is conflicting but we also find that practically all Christian denominations agree on certain great fundamental concepts regarding the Supreme Being.

People agree that God is Spirit and that Spirit is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. They agree on these three great fundamentals because they are taught in the Bible, and because on no other basis can we conceive of a Supreme Being. We cannot divide God's power and still have Him supreme, and if His power is divided, to whom will we assign the power taken away from God? If we assign it to another agency called evil, we divide the universe; the one God, the great I AM would no longer be supreme, and there would be two powers arrayed against each other, the powers of good and evil with the result a universe of conflicting forces, of chaos and disorder. Christian Science accepts and teaches these three great verities of Spirit, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, not theoretically nor abstractedly, but as living realities, and it teaches that in the understanding of these fundamentals lies the solution of all human problems. Thus if a Christian Scientist faces sickness, he relies on the omnipotence of God to heal it; if he faces a condition where ignorance prevails, he turns to God and relies on the omniscience the infinite all-knowledge of God to supply him the wisdom and light to meet the situation. If evil seems to hold sway, he knows that God is omnipresent, universal good, and that the divine presence is at hand to destroy evil.

On the other hand. the adherents of current religious teachings do not as a rule rely wholly upon the all-power, all-presence and all-knowledge of God. If sick, they will usually rely upon drugs or other material means and turn to God only as a last resort when hope of relief from other sources has utterly vanished. And so, likewise, the materially minded are prone to rely on human means for help when disaster appears instead of turning unreservedly to God. They rely on others, trust to human will and human ingenuity to aid them, although experience has proved time and again that these material agencies afford no sure and genuine relief.

 

Reliance on God Taught in the Bible

The teachings of the Bible are perfectly clear on this point. Over and over again, the Scriptures call men to rely wholly on God for every need. "Put not your trust in princes:" "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help;" "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" are some of the admonitions of the Bible. The greet difficulty mortals have experienced in the past is that they have not seen clearly the difference between relying on Spirit and on human agencies. The adherents of scholastic theology and the materially minded have failed to grasp the real meaning of the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." They have not made a clear distinction between matter and Spirit. Christian Science draws a clear and unmistakable line of demarcation between the eternal things of Spirit and the false evidences of the physical senses. "God is Spirit," as Jesus declared, and man and the universe are mental and spiritual. But the five corporeal senses do not see spiritual things; to them, Spirit and spiritual things do not exist; they cognize the opposite of spirituality, the false belief of a matter world and a matter creation. Seeing only material things, the objectification of his own corporeal senses, the materially minded man relies on these instead of turning his gaze Spiritward and depending wholly on God. A man has made a great discovery when he learns to rely on spiritual sense instead of physical. Through spiritual sense, man learns that he is immortal and perfect. Spiritual sense gives man a correct view of the universe and of God. The physical senses give him a distorted view of all things. They tell him that man is mortal, physical, subject to sin, disease and death. This is temporary and must yield to the eternal fact that God, man and the real universe are imperishable.

 

Christian Science Primitive Christianity

By teaching reliance on the omnipotent power and goodness of God, Christian Science has reinstated primitive Christianity. The great Bible characters from Genesis to Revelation did not rely on drugs, human strength, human will, nor human intellect to guide or save them. Through spiritual understanding, they rose superior to the testimony of the physical senses and overcame them. Time and time again incidents are recorded in the Bible where the spiritually minded met and mastered condition which the physical senses said could not be overcome. Storms, droughts, famine, assaults of enmities, hate, malice, sin, disease and death; all the myriad manifestations of evil were met and mastered by those great spiritual thinkers, those patriarchs, prophets, seers, disciples, apostles and early Christians. It is at once evident that when a man sees spiritually he sees differently, thinks differently and acts differently than when he accepted physical sense evidence. A study of the Bible shows that under given conditions the spiritually minded acted differently from those who accepted corporeal sense evidence.

For instance, note the incidents of the attempted capture of the prophet Elisha by the Syrian army as it is recorded in the sixth chapter of II Kings. The Syrian army had encompassed the city by night. The next morning the servant of the man of God looked out from the walls of the city and saw the great host that encompassed the city. The servant accepted the evidences of his material sense of sight and as the psychologists say, he reacted to that sense stimulus. He became fearful. He said to his master, "Alas, my master: how shall we do?" But the man of God saw spiritually instead of materially. He knew that in reality there was nothing to fear. He saw what the human eye hath not seen and the human ear hath not heard. Instead of being controlled by fear, he was inspired with strength and, courage. His reply indicated his state of mind. He answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Then the prophet prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened. The servant undoubtedly believed he was actually seeing, but he was not. The narrative states: "And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." No need of the man of God to fear the might of mortals, when close at hand were the angels of His presence to succor and protect him. The narrative later shows that that great army in the hands of Elisha was as clay in the hands of the potter.

Note also the Shunammite woman who held steadfastly to the fact that man never dies, that death is an illusion. Her son, to human sense, had died. She went to the prophet Elisha for help. In answer to his inquiry, "is it well with the child?" she answered, "it is well." Brave mother! brave reply! That answer in the face of the supposed finality of sense evidence has cheered the wavering faith of unnumbered thousands down through the centuries. Her vision had pierced the veil of materialism and she saw that man is deathless. Her steadfast reliance on God, despite the opposing evidences of the senses, was rewarded and her son was restored to life through the illumined prayer of the fearless prophet.

 

Corporeal Sense Evidence Misleading

Christian Scientists, therefore, do not accept the conclusions of the physical senses as they formerly did. They truly have, to a degree at least, made the discovery that spiritual sense alone guides them and that the physical senses cognize a world which has no real existence. Like the great spiritual thinkers of the Bible, they see differently, think differently, and act differently than they did when they accepted the evidences of the corporal senses. Let us notice their attitude toward disease. Before they became Christian Scientists, they associated fear with disease. They felt themselves more or less hopeless in contending with it. They thought of disease as a condition of the physical body, whereas they now know that it is a wrong state of mind. And then, in the background of thought always lurked the spectre that sooner or later death would be the inevitable outcome. Of many things mortals are uncertain, but of one thing they believe that they are certain, namely that death is unescapable. How differently Christian Scientists view these things. They know that God never created disease, and that right understanding of Him completely destroys disease. They see that all there is of disease is fear and the acceptance by the sufferer of a false mental picture. When a mental picture of disease gains a lodgment in thought, either consciously or unconsciously, it may sooner or later apparently be manifested on the body as a so-called disease. How does a Christian Scientist handle this situation? By prayer, scientific righteous prayer, in which he declares the purity and perfection of God and His creation, man and the universe. He denies that man, as the perfect child of God, can manifest anything less than the purity and perfection of his Creator. He reduces the disease to a false concept of the human mind, denies the power of that concept to control the man, and when the mesmerism of the false belief has been broken through the application of the Truth as revealed through Christian Science, and the mental picture eradicated from thought, the patient is healed. This spiritual healing illumines the patient. He sees that the healing is of God and he gives to God the glory, You remember that when Jesus healed the sick, they glorified God. When Peter healed the lame man at the gate of the temple, we are told that he "entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." Joy, gratitude, and praise of God, always follow spiritual healing. The healed one enters into the temple, the consciousness of divine Truth, and beholds the glory and perfection of God and man, and the nothingness of the mortal dream.

In a like manner, Christian Scientists do not accept the teachings of physiology and medical works. Physiology and medical works are deductions regarding man gained from the physical senses. These deductions are that man is physical, lives in the flesh, and is subject to birth, maturity, decay and death Christian Science accepts the statement about man given in the first chapter of Genesis: "And God said Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Since God is Spirit, man, God's image and likeness, is spiritual, and this fact is eternally true despite all the medical theories and human conclusions to the contrary. What then, is wrong about accepting the conclusion that man lives in the flesh? Much. If a man accepts that belief, his consciousness of things divine is darkened. He is unable through prayer to prove his divine sonship with God. He is shut out from the kingdom of heaven until that false conclusion is destroyed.

 

The Fallacy of Drugs

On the same basis that they refuse to accept physiology and medical works, Christian Scientists do not use drugs. They have no occasion to do so, for the simple reason that they have found in Christian Science a vastly superior system of healing. Furthermore, they have found that reliance on drugs obscures spiritual understanding and alienates men from God. We cannot rely on drugs and God at the same time. Drugs do not really heal sickness. The only power of a drug is the false human faith in its efficacy. When that faith fails, as it surely will, the drug no longer has any effect on the body. Our great Master, Christ Jesus, knew that there was no innate value in drugs, never recommended them, never used them. He knew they had no power over the spiritually minded. He declared of those who believed and understood the Christ Truth that "if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them."

Now let use examine briefly the results of the drugging system. It is of pagan origin. Historians tell us that the system has been in operation some four thousand years. What results have accrued to the race from this expenditure of talent and effort over forty centuries? Several things stand out prominently. Diseases have multiplied, and today there is not a single drug upon the market that is an infallible panacea for any human ill. The drugging system is purely tentative, experimental. A drug is used to cure a diseases; it fails. Another is substituted, and so an endless round of drugs is paraded before the public, each claiming virtue but each destined to the same failure. With this record of failure after four thousand years of effort, is it not proved that there is something fundamentally wrong with the drugging system? The Psalmist tells its that it is God "who healeth all thy diseases," and since God is the healer, there cannot possibly be any other healer. Suppose you should pick up your morning paper and read that a drug had been discovered which was claimed to be an infallible panacea for disease. What would that mean? It would mean that a power was claimed which was based on matter and which assumed the prerogatives of the divine power. Since God has all power, then evil, drugs, and disease have no power. Omnipotence includes all and there is no power left for any other agency to use, and this fact is eternally true.

 

Material Knowledge Leads to Disease and Death

Christian Scientists have learned from the study of the Bible, and the writings of Mrs. Eddy, and from their own experiences, that there is a vast amount of knowledge floating around in human thought which is ephemeral, illusive, unnecessary. It is knowledge based entirely on the evidences of the physical senses, and the more we know of this knowledge, the more deeply our thought is impregnated with it, the more darkness, pain, and disease we manifest. Why is it that specialists frequently become the victims of the diseases they study so assiduously? and why is it that the study of medical works tends to bring on ill health? He who imbibes material sense testimony and relies on it is like a man working his way into the depths of a bog. He is in danger at any moment of being swallowed up in its dark depths. Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health, page 299, "Knowledge gained from material sense is figuratively represented in Scripture as a tree, bearing the fruits of sin, sickness, and death. Ought we not then to judge the knowledge thus obtained to be untrue and dangerous, since 'the tree is known by his fruit'?".

Christian Scientists rejoice that they have accepted the great discovery of the difference between false human testimony and that genuine knowledge of God which heals and saves. The apples of the tree of knowledge of good and evil no longer allure them. They know that they must "worship the Father in spirit and in truth," as the Master declared, and in their demonstration of Christian Science they clearly hold to these fundamentals: that God is not man and man is not God, but man is the creation, the reflection of God. They know that God is not in matter nor matter a part of God. Matter is a part of mortal mind, the fictitious opposite of God. Only as we recognize the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of mortal men and a material world can we prove the supremacy Spirit.

 

Man's Oneness with God the Ultimate of Christian Science

Christian Science heals the sick; there is no doubt about that. He would be a reckless critic indeed, who, at the present time, would deny that Christian Science does heal the sick. But the healing of physical ills is not the ultimate of Christian Science. Christian Science goes to the bottom of the human mentality, uncovers the latent errors of the human mind and destroys them, and arouses men to claim their divine heritage as sons of God. Christian Science arouses men to see that man lives because God lives for man's life is derived from God. A Christian Scientist sees that his real business is to know and to glorify God. The healing of sickness and sin is only the preliminary step by which a man sees that his real duty, his ideal, is to understand God and to live according to His eternal laws. The writer of Ecclesiastes summed up the matter when he said, "Fear God, and keep his commandment; for this is the whole duty of man." A man's regeneration has merely commenced when he is healed of physical ills by Christian Science. Perhaps dimly at first, but nevertheless surely, he begins to see a perfect model a vision of God who is Spirit, Life, Love, and man and the universe spiritual and eternal. He begins to see a perfect idea of manhood based upon man's eternal sonship with God. He notes how lamentably inadequate were his former habits and ideals and he finds that a transformation of thought must take place if he is ever to attain this perfect model. This perfection of God is the model all great spiritual thinkers have seen. Moses saw it on Sinai, Christ Jesus on the mountain of transfiguration, the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos. And so the man begins to undergo that change of thought described in the Bible by various terms: "conversion", "regeneration", "renewing of the mind", "born of the Spirit", "reconciliation with God." He begins to measure himself by the model of a perfect God and perfect man and to grow to that perfection of thought which the Psalmist saw when he said, "I shall be satisified, when I awake with thy likeness."

This process of regeneration requires work. We do not jump from matter to Spirit at a single bound, but when a man begins work on the basis of the allness and perfection of Spirit, he is on the right road. As he works and prays, striving to be led of the divine Mind which knows all things, the path of spiritual light sooner or later shines straight and clear before him. When his thought is illumined by spirituality, it will externalize in improved surroundings. If he has been under bondage of sickness, he will begin to express health; if he has been limited by poverty, he will begin to prove that with the divine Mind supply and demand are always equal; if he has been filled with fear, he will begin to lay hold of peace and confidence, and in place of the constant fear that death is inevitable, he will grasp the fact that Life is eternal. These are the results of working rightly, of exalting Spirit and refusing the claims of the physical senses. A man has made a notable advance when he has learned to work rightly. "Blessed is he who has found his work," said Carlyle, "let him ask no other blessedness." Christ Jesus was a worker. He glorified Spirit and repudiated the false conceptions of the material senses. He said, "I must work the words of him that sent me."

 

The Work of Christ Jesus

Down through the centuries of Bible history, patriarch and prophet gave to the world the truth about God and man as revealed to them. But they did not receive the full revelation of truth. They had the spirit if not the fullness of the letter. They foretold a future revelation of truth which should come with the Messiah, Shiloh, Christ. Jesus of Nazareth brought to men the revelation of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He taught and demonstrated the gospel of love. He taught that the whole duty of man is to love God supremely, and his neighbor as himself. The consciousness of Christ Jesus so perfectly reflected God that no suggestions of sin or mortality could enter. In the presence of his unparalleled knowledge of God, sin, disease and death fled as darkness flees before the light. He knew that the men and women who hung upon his words, the words of him who spake as never man spake, were not sick, sinning and dying mortals; he saw them to be the children of Love, the perfect handiwork of God, and because he saw them as they really were, he loved them with a divine compassion, and because he loved them he healed them. We are told in Matthew that he healed all manner of disease. Christ Jesus never conceded that there was any such thing as an incurable disease. He knew that disease was a part of the sum total of human error and that the irresistible power of divine Love was able to destroy it. Diseases of whatsoever nature were all contrary to the divine purpose and he destroyed them all equally. The modern classification of diseases as functional, nervous and organic he disregarded entirely. He proved this for others by healing the sick and raising the dead. And then he proved it by the supreme test of destroying death for himself. He allowed his enemies to attempt to destroy his body in order to prove that man is deathless. In the garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, in the sepulchre, he overcame pain, he destroyed human hatred arrayed against divine Love; he arose the victor over death and he robbed the grave of its victory. He proved for all time that the physical senses cannot bind man. He rose superior to those senses because he thought God's thoughts. These ideas, these thoughts, these angels, came to him clothed with omniscience and omnipotence, and because these angels ministered unto him, he was endued with power to destroy sin, death, and the grave. He had an unparalleled victory over the physical senses, and because of that victory his career stands out in history a beacon light immeasurably transcending all other human experiences.

 

His Healing the Sick

Now what is the explanation of his healing works? Were they supernatural? Did they set aside natural law which ordinarily governs? No, they were not supernatural. They set aside no law of God, but they were accomplished in obedience to His law. They annulled mortal human beliefs which are based on physical sense evidence. Jesus utterly refused to accept as final or conclusive the evidence of the five physical senses. Spiritual sense was his only guide, his only basis of thought and action.

Now what is spiritual sense? "Spiritual sense," says Mrs. Eddy on page 209 of Science and Health, "is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God." "It is the spirit that quickeneth," Jesus declared, and then he added, "the flesh profiteth nothing." To illustrate, let us note the manner in which he handled the case of a man sick of the palsy as recorded in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel. The materialist, the man who accepted physical sense evidence as a fact, would doubtless have argued that palsy was an incurable disease, and also that the man was a sinner reaping the just reward of his sins. That is the argument of the human carnal mind which assumes that man is a physical organism, subject to sin, disease and death. The great Teacher, the master metaphysician, was never deceived by shallow sophistry. He knew that sin and disease were both results of wrong thinking and that both are healed by the same method through divine understanding. He knew that despite all the piled up evidences of the physical senses to the contrary, man is perfect, even as his Father in heaven is perfect; that he is upright, free, strong, that he is not weak nor the victim of any hereditary disease. We read, "they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

 

His Demonstration of Supply

Probably more people worry over the problem of supply than over any other problem. If a thousand people taken at random were asked "What problem gives you most concern?" probably a great many of them would answer, "The problem of supply." What is back of the great strikes that have convulsed the nation? Why are commerce and trade sometimes cruel and unscrupulous? Why so much rivalry between nations for trade? The answer is the question of supply. The human mind believes that supply is limited, that there is not enough of clothing, food and money to go around. How did Jesus handle this problem? He knew that all good comes from God, and he taught that when men rely on God, their needs will be supplied. The human mind assumes that the question of supply is one of things. The Christian Scientist knows that it is a question of thoughts. The Master's thoughts were uplifted to God, and the gifts of God flowed to him freely and spontaneously. When pressed to pay tribute to Caesar, he met the demand with coin from a fish's mouth. When the five thousand in a desert place were hungry, their needs were supplied from five loaves and two small fishes, and abundance remained. To human sense, demand and supply fluctuate with the varying changes of human belief, but divine Love remains, forever the same, eternally gracious, eternally kind, eternally loving, filling to overflowing our cup of joy and supplying our every need even before we ask Him. He who holds fellowship with God need not be in fear over salary or dividends.

 

The Real Versus the Unreal

Christ Jesus kept clearly in mind the distinction between what is real and what is unreal. What is real? God is real. God's creation is real. God's man is real. Life, Love, health, holiness and justice are real. What is unreal? Matter, mortality, sin, greed, fear, hate, disease and death are unreal. They are unreal because they are not God-created. They are opposed to the divine nature: they are the fleeting misconceptions of the human mind, which will inevitably disappear when the "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" dawn upon human thought. Christ Jesus destroyed the unreal and exalted the real. And today the Christian Scientist is faced with the necessity of keeping clearly in thought this same vital distinction between the real and the unreal.

At times misinformed critics seek to convey the impression that Christian Science makes a mistake in teaching that sin, disease and death are unreal, claiming that they are "terrible realities." These errors may seem real to the uninstructed thought; but they are not real in the sense that they are not God-created. No man throughout the ages has ever been healed of disease by declaring its reality. Only through spiritual perception that disease is illusion because it is not of God can it be healed.

 

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, grasped the eternal truth of existence which the great spiritual thinkers of the Bible saw. She climbed the mountain of holiness, that mountain "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth," and from that exalted summit there burst upon her spiritual vision the absoluteness and perfection of God and the unreality of things mortal and mundane. Because she saw the same truth, the same pattern, the same model of thought, which prophet, seer and Christ Jesus saw, her writings coincide with the spiritual sense of the Scriptures; they give the same spiritual illumination as do the Bible texts when understood. The result is that the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is indeed a Key to the Scriptures, and Christian Scientists are healing the sick and freeing the sinning as did the disciples of old when they finally understood the import of the words and works of the blessed Master.

In 1866, Mrs. Eddy was healed of the results of a serious accident through the understanding of a passage in Matthew's gospel. The spiritual understanding of one passage of Scripture lifted her out of "the shadow of the death valley," so omnipotent is Truth. The light that burst upon her consciousness in that hour of need was the result of many years' prayer, meditation and study of the Scriptures. Mrs. Eddy grasped the mighty fact that God is the only Mind and cause, and that there is no other mind and cause. She saw that there is but one cause, God, one effect, man and the universe. Mrs. Eddy saw also that the exactness, logic, order, co-ordination, continuity and law of God were the only real Science, which she named Divine Science or Christian Science. True Science is wholly spiritual, and destroys the human counterfeit science so far as the latter is based on matter and mortality. Mrs. Eddy loved God, and because she loved God, she loved his creation, man. She saw that it was her duty to present this Science of God and man to the world so clearly that human thought could grasp it and prove it, and for this purpose she labored and loved for almost a half century.

She began her work by testing her discovery. She tested it by healing the sick many of them instantaneously by breaking the bondage of sin; she tested it by the light and freedom her followers experienced who honestly and earnestly sought to know the truth that maketh free. In 1875, nine years after her healing, she gave to the world the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book that 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 book teaches the Science of Christianity. Its pages are not adulterated by the teachings of pantheism or dualism; it teaches pure Christian metaphysics and its students rise to that spiritual altitude of thought in which the sick are instantaneously healed. In speaking of her experience at this time, Mrs. Eddy wrote on page 107 of the textbook. "In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science. God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing. This apodictical Principle points to the revelation of Immanuel, 'God with us,' the sovereign ever-presence, delivering the children of men from every ill 'that flesh is heir to.' Through Christian Science, religion and medicine are inspired with a diviner nature and essence; fresh pinions are given to faith and understanding, and thoughts acquaint themselves intelligently with God."

 

The Mother Church and Its Manual

Sometimes we are asked, "Why did Mrs. Eddy form a distinct church organization when there were so many denominations already established, dedicated to the extension of the religion of Christ Jesus?" The answer to that question is simple. Her message was refused by the established churches, and she was impelled to organize a church of her own. The Mother Church was organized in Boston in April 1870, re-organized in September 1892 as The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., and has been followed by a host of branch churches now scattered throughout the civilized world. Mrs. Eddy knew the nature of evil; she knew that the early Christian church had lost its healing power because the teachings of pure Christianity had become adulterated by paganism and human theories. To guide and protect the Christian Science church and to provide that never again down through the centuries should the healing power of the Christ, Truth, be lost to this world, she evolved from time to time the Rules and By-laws set forth in the Manual of The Mother Church, the wisdom of which has been amply demonstrated in the prosperity of The Mother Church and its branches. Perhaps no stronger evidence of Mrs. Eddy's profound understanding of God and her knowledge of the workings of evil can be presented than this same Manual, and Christian Scientists cherish and obey it, because it unswervingly guides them and their churches in the straight and narrow way of demonstrable truth. They know that so long as they obey the Manual, their churches will continue their healing work and their unprecedented prosperity, and they have no notion whatsoever of departing from either the letter or spirit of its requirements. On page 104 of the Manual, Mrs. Eddy speaks of it as follows: "It stands alone, uniquely adapted to form the budding thought and hedge it about with divine Love." The exalted purpose of The Mother Church is definitely set forth in the Manual on page 19 as follows: "THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, IN BOSTON, MASS., is designed to be built on the Rock, Christ; even the understanding and demonstration of divine Truth, Life, and Love, healing and saving the world from sin and death; thus to reflect in some degree the Church Universal and Triumphant."

 

Life Eternal An Ever-Present Fact

Christian Science teaches men to have a childlike trust in God. Not the worldly wise, but the simple-minded understood and loved the Master. When Christ Jesus wished to teach his disciples a lesson on true greatness, he set a little child in the midst of them and said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3. To the degree, therefore, that we gain simple straightforward perception of Spirit do we partake here and now of the divine nature. Eternal life is not some "far off, divine event," but is an irrevocable fact to be grasped and lived. Today is the day of salvation. Life is God, and God is ever-present: therefore life is here and now, an ever-present fact to be lived and proved. No barrier is interposed, no door is closed between men and life. Death is not a transitory state between mortality and immortality, but is an enemy to be destroyed through the discernment of immortal life. To the degree that we put off mortality do we put on immortality.

 

True Happiness Based on Spiritual Understanding

Happiness is the universal goal of men and women. But happiness is not possible without peace of mind, and peace of mind can be gained only when thought rests on a spiritual basis. All that the physical senses apprehend is fading, transitory, mutable. If we rest on that basis, the foundation of our structure will sooner or later give way and confusion and loss will be our portion. We must learn to reject the false and hold fast to the true if we would "dwell in the secret place of the most high." If we are wise, we will seek to gain spiritual understanding which is the "pearl of great price." With spiritual understanding we make clear distinction between right thoughts and wrong thoughts, between divine ideas which people the realm of Spirit, and mortal beliefs of sin, disease and death.

What test can we apply to indicate upon which side we are standing? There is a test we can make, a very simple test; and it indicates where our thought is resting as accurately as a weather vane shows which way the wind is blowing. It is this: What are we thinking about? Where does our thought rest? For what are we striving? What are we loving? What is the motive back of our words and actions? Are we continually gazing at a material mental picture? Are we looking to the body for pleasure or pain? Are we thinking about disease and poverty and fearing them? Are we longing for money, land and cattle? Are we thinking about stocks and bonds? Would we be grieved if these things were taken away from us? If we answer these questions in the affirmative, we are relying on the evidences of the physical senses and are not relying on God. On the other hand, let us test our thoughts by answering these questions: Do we love our fellow-man? Would we rather suffer injury ourselves than harm him? Are we ever thinking about God, do we pray continually, and are we striving to grow in His image and likeness? Does His beauty, power and perfection dawn upon our enraptured vision? Are we able to prove the ever-presence of the Christ, Truth, by healing the sick and the sinning through prayer, through conscious communion with God? And then, are we willing to sacrifice ourselves for others? Are we willing to obey the Scriptural injunction, "It is more blessed to give than to receive?" If we can answer these questions in the affirmative, and prove them, happy are we; we have touched the hem of the perfect robe of the everlasting Truth; we are relying upon Spirit instead of sense, and spiritual consciousness is a present fact to us. We will find that if we hold thought steadfastly to these eternal verities, we will have peace that cannot be destroyed. We will rise superior to the ills of mortal existence; we will be the masters of our bodies instead of their servants. We will be "born again," as Jesus declared. We will have "power with God and with men," as did Jacob of old after that memorable battle with the senses at Peniel.

These two states of thought, the material and the spiritual, are opposed to each other. The former wars against the latter. We cannot accept both. To try to do so would be as foolish as to try to darken a room and have it lighted at the same time. Are we living on the wrong basis or on the right basis? That is the vital question each one must answer for himself.

Christian Science is a demonstrable religion. It is a religion of right thinking. No person is so darkened mentally, no person lives in an environment so unfavorable but what he can begin now to think right thoughts and refuse to think wrong thoughts. If we are obsessed with thoughts of sickness, we can look up to God and steadfastly know that man manifests health. If we are thinking thoughts of poverty, we can begin to think thoughts of plenty. Christian Science shows us how to do these things in the right way. Sometimes we may be led to believe that life is not worth living; our fondest hopes lie in ruins at our feet, and there seems no way of escape from the ills which beset us. If that is our situation, let us remember that God loves us. We are His children, and He careth for us. When all earthly hopes have fled, we can still hold to the eternal fact that we are the perfect children of a loving Father, and if we hold to that concept of our real heritage, it will lift us above all our sorrows and disappointments and we shall find that we are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of His house.

 

The World Is Growing Better

The world is growing better. A new day is not merely dawning, but the sunshine of its glory is already enlightening the earth. Through Christian Science, men are being resurrected from the grave of false beliefs; they are rising into newness of life through the understanding that God is the only Life. In ever increasing numbers they are looking to Christian Science for peace and freedom, and they are finding deliverance. They are learning the value of simple trust in God. They are learning to love instead of hate, because they see that hate destroys and love constructs. Every disease healed, every sin overcome, every sorrow comforted by Christian Science adds to the sum total of human happiness and destroys to that degree the bondage of evil. Bigotry, superstition, hypnotism, drugs, occultism, priestcraft are losing their hold upon the thoughts of men. The devotees of these false systems sometimes rage against Christian Science, but they are powerless to stop its triumphant progress in redeeming the world. The liquor traffic, spurned by enlightened public opinion, out-lawed by state and national enactments, still strives to ply its traffic; but surely and persistently the legal enactments are tightening which will blot it out completely. Christian Science gives to woman her rightful place. The great truth that woman is the equal of man is leavening the thought of all nations and this reform is a necessary accompaniment of the progress of the race. The women of America are coming into their own. They have the ballot; they share equal responsibilities with men; the share the responsibilities of the nation, the home and the church. Their faces are set against wrong. They are shattering hypocricies, shams, entrenched evil, with the battle ax of enlightened thought.

 

The Kingdom of God is Come

Christian Scientists do not sigh for the coming of Christ's kingdom. They know that the kingdom of God is already come, is within the spiritualized consciousness; and they know that it is their duty to prove this in the destruction of one ill after another, until all wrongs are righted, all wars abolished, all diseases healed, all sins forgiven, all tears wiped away. Then shall the redeemed of all nations "sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints. Who shall not fear thee O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee: for thy judgments are made manifest." Revelation 15:3, 4.

 

[1922-1923.]

 

 

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