The Religion of Comfort and True Friendship
Oscar Graham Peeke, C.S.B.,
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Oscar Graham Peeke,
A great many people today are convinced that it is most unwise to become so obsessed with worldly affairs that only passing thought is given to the things of Spirit. It cannot be denied that the realm of matter is in a constant state of fluctuation. Itís restless, changing conditions result from the restlessness and instability of mortal, material thought. This accounts for the occurrence and recurrence of various disturbing conditions. Governmental upheavals, labor unrest, wars, pestilences, disasters are among these recurring conditions. In this so-called material realm discontent and disorder appear to be interminable, and death inevitable. Also the belief is general that God knows all about these things, and many are convinced that it is His will that they should be.† How strange that in this lamentable medley of materialism the constant but futile search for peace and happiness should go on and on!
True Existence Is Spiritual
The teachings of Christian Science, which are identical with those of Christ Jesus, show the incongruity of all beliefs about life in a material realm. Our great Master came to teach about life in the kingdom of heaven, which is here, at hand. He taught about the orderliness, grandeur, and beauty of true living. He taught that God is Life, and that therefore man's real existence is forever harmonious. In his parable of the good shepherd he indicated that all earnest followers of his teachings should realize this truth and enjoy Life's abundant blessings. "I am come," he said, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Christian Scientists regard the Bible as their guide to that true state of existence about which Jesus so loved to teach. The opening chapter in that sacred volume records God's spiritual and only creation; also it is there indicated that God intended that man's existence should be inestimably grand and idealistic, for the statement is made that God created man in His own image and likeness, and that He gave man dominion over all the earth.† The teachings of Christ Jesus and of Christian Science amplify that statement, and unfold its infinite meanings. These teachings are humanity's beacon lights; they need to be understood. They show us how to live healthfully, happily, peacefully; how to establish true and lasting friendships, how to live in the comfort of God's abundant goodness.
In the light of Christian Science it is seen that mortal, material existence is a dream of life, substance, and intelligence in matter, and that it is therefore separate from, and unknown to God. The textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, makes this quite clear to those who study it in connection with the Bible. We learn from these books how to awaken from the mesmeric belief of material living. Those who follow closely their teachings are enabled to attain to a demonstrable understanding of Life; also it becomes quite clear to them that there is nothing so ennobling as the constant endeavor to progress beyond the limiting belief of material living to higher and higher concepts of that which Mrs. Eddy terms "the Life divine." In this textbook she states (p. 14), "Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth.† This understanding casts out error and heals the sick, and with it you can speak 'as one having authority.' "
Does it not, then, seem reasonable that everyone should desire to awaken from the discomforting, false sense of existence, and gain the realization of what Life really is? It is our privilege to enjoy here and now the blessings which "Life divine" confers - happiness, peace, harmony, well-being, an enlightened consciousness. Many are doing so, but the majority of people still consider that the attainment of such blessings here on this planet is something that is too good to be true. Christian Science shows by its demonstrations that nothing can be too good to be true, and that joyous and harmonious existence is the rightful heritage of all God's children.
True Thinking and Its Benefits
The way to banish the belief and dream of material living and claim our rightful heritage is made clear in the Christian Science textbook. Briefly stated, the important thing is to change one's thinking from a material to a spiritual basis, to learn to think in terms of Spirit instead of matter. In other words, we should endeavor to entertain in our consciousness only -what is good and true. For our own sakes, as well as for the sake of others, we should be alert to keep out of our consciousness whatever is not good. Jealous, envious, resentful, critical, selfish, and impure thoughts have bad physical effects; they do much harm. Contrariwise, thoughts that are "true," "honest," "just," "pure," "lovely," and "of good report," to quote the Apostle Paul, are most salutary.
All good thoughts emanate from God. "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" questions Malachi. Our answer, of course, is "Yes." Then it is natural that we should always be striving to think the thoughts which come from God, and shun all false material concepts concerning ourselves and our fellow man. Do you desire to be happy? Of course you do. Do you desire to keep well? Certainly. Do you desire to help the world? Naturally. Then resolve to think from the basis of Spirit or God, instead of matter. That is the only practical way. There should always be vigorous mental protest against every suggestion of the carnal mind that man is mortal and material. Paul states, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." We know that the Spirit of God does dwell in us - in the consciousness of everyone.† If it did not, there would be no existence whatever. Everyone therefore should cultivate spiritual thinking and experience its joys. It is the one way which leads to a demonstrable understanding of God and of our true spiritual identity as children of God. The more of this understanding we attain, the more beautiful, harmonious, and useful becomes our experience.
The Bible recounts outstanding
examples of the potency of true spiritual thinking. For example, how conscious
Elisha was of it when he proved its superiority over a Syrian army, which had
surrounded the city of
A scientific right thought, at the right time, will invariably accomplish results that are most beneficial. Sometimes it will accomplish unlooked-for results. Relative to this, I recall the following incident. A man came to see me at my office. He said that about two years previously he had come with his wife, who was seeking some information which she thought I might be able to give her. He stated that he was not a student of Christian Science at that time, therefore he knew no better than to keep in his hand a lighted cigar which he had been smoking. He went on to say that I glanced at the cigar in a quizzical sort of way, and smiled, but that he attached no significance to that. However, as soon as he was back on the street he was impelled to throw the cigar away, and had not smoked since. He said he tried to at one time, but that the taste was very obnoxious. "What did you do to me?" he asked.
I told him I certainly did not treat him, but that quite naturally in such an event I would do as any other Christian Scientist would - immediately realize that man, who is the image and likeness of God, could no more have a liking for tobacco than could his creator, but that he naturally enjoys only what is good and pure.
Such incidents frequently occur in Christian Science. You do not know how much good any of you may have done in the past or may do in the future by having a scientific, right thought about a wrong condition. Mrs. Eddy tells us in her book "Rudimental Divine Science" (p: 9), "The spiritual power of a scientific right thought, without a direct effort, an audible or even a mental argument, has oftentimes healed inveterate diseases."
God's Nature, Essence, and Wholeness
Instruction from the basis of Spirit is destined to be fundamental in the education of the future. This earth will be a marvelously beautiful place in which to live when education is based on the Science of true being. Think for instance what it would mean right now if the great majority of people in the world understood God aright, and men were ruling their lives by the following fundamental truths about God, and man as His image and likeness: that God is infinite Mind, therefore man expresses true intelligence, spontaneity, divine activity; that God is Spirit, therefore man is always rightly governed, guided, and directed; that God is Truth, therefore man is strong, upright, free; that God is Life, therefore man lives in harmony and immortality; that God is Love, therefore man is loving, patient, pure, fearless; that God is Soul, therefore man expresses the beauty of holiness, orderliness, the joy of spiritual dominion; that God is Principle, therefore man coexists with and demonstrates the eternal law of universal harmony.
These seven terms, "infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love," are given by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 465) in answer to the question, "What is God?"† They are synonymous terms, which are either directly stated or clearly indicated in the Bible as terms for God - and be it understood that the Bible is the only authority for all Christian Science teaching. Mrs. Eddy states on the same page, concerning these terms, that they are "intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity." The student of Christian Science finds that they enable him to have a clearer comprehension of God and His all-good creation, and the completeness of Christian Science, than if God were not so defined.
God's Creation Is Spiritual
The revelations of Christian Science bring to light momentous truths about creation. That God is the creator of the universe, including man, most Christians will agree. But it is not so well understood that His creation has always existed, that it is wholly spiritual because God is Spirit, and like produces like. It is also a question if Christians generally understand that the allegorical record presented in the second and third chapters of Genesis is to show the unreality of matter, evil, and mortality in contradistinction to the grand reality of God's true spiritual creation. The man formed from dust, the woman fashioned from the man's rib. the talking serpent, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden - these are symbolic figures around which the author of the allegory painted a word picture which vividly portrays the falsity of mortal mind, or personal sense, and the self-imposed punishment that invariably ensues from yielding to its mesmeric suggestions.
As has already been indicated, God could not create matter, sentient or otherwise.† He could not create mortals. That is all a part of the Adam-dream. Since God is the only creator, matter, evil, and mortality are false concepts, or offshoots of the carnal or mortal mind - a suppositious mind opposed to God. In God's creation all is good, very good, as the Scripture states.
Man Is God's Highest Idea
We learn through the study of Christian Science that the real man and the real universe have always existed as spiritual ideas of the one infinite, divine Mind or God, and that creation, in its true sense, is the unfolding of these spiritual ideas in the human consciousness. Because God is the Mind of man (by "man" is meant all men and women collectively), and because man is created in God's image and likeness, it follows that man is God's highest idea.† He reflects the highest qualities of the divine Mind, but not in a mortal body.
To illustrate: using the sun as a symbol for Mind, or God, we can say that all the rays of the sun, collectively, stand for man, Mind's highest idea; and all the rays, taken separately, stand for men and women as individual ideas of that Mind. As the sun's rays reflect the sun, so each one of us, in our real being, is an individual idea of the one infinite Mind, possessing by reflection this Mind's eternal, fadeless, health-giving, life-giving qualities. These qualities are true substance.† Matter could not be real substance, for matter is ephemeral, transitory, illusory. It is interesting to know that the insubstantiality of matter is being acknowledged today by some physical scientists.
The mortal, material body with its five physical senses is only a counterfeit of the real man. Our true being is spiritually mental. God knows each one of us as a perfect reflection of Himself.† But that counterfeit mind, the so-called mortal mind, the fabulous talking serpent spoken of in Genesis, endeavors to keep us from knowing ourselves as God knows us.† It seems to have made a very great many people believe that they are part mortal and part spiritual, that their mortal bodies are real, and that somewhere within them God has put a soul which, when the body dies, will escape from it and be either saved or lost. If it is saved it is supposed to go to mortal mind's concept of heaven.
The incongruity of this is being realized, more and more through the teachings of Christian Science, and the truth about man as God's perfect idea is becoming ever more clear. Mortal mind, claiming to operate through personal sense, cannot tell us anything about our real selfhood; only God and Christian Science can do that. Our need is to increase our understanding of God and His perfect creation, and to demonstrate more and more man's true and perfect selfhood until, as Paul says, "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
Falsity of Personal Sense
Of course no one can jump directly from matter into Spirit. While we still seem to have these mortal bodies we should control them through spiritual thinking. We should not allow the material senses to get the upper hand. Jesus showed us the way out of the belief of having a mortal body. He utterly repudiated material sense as a factor in controlling his
own body. His body never manifested sickness, because he kept it out of his thought, and kept in thought the truth about God and the real man. He allowed men to crucify his body, and by his spiritual understanding brought it back from the tomb unharmed. At length his thought rose to such spiritual heights that to material sense his body disappeared.
We have dominion over our bodies just to the extent that we, through our understanding of spiritual reality, refuse to allow the personal senses to deceive us. These senses cannot tell us the truth about anything. All they can testify to are matter and evil, and Christian Science demonstrates the nothingness of these. The personal senses may appear to have a great capacity for material knowledge and worldly wisdom, they may make much ado about all that they claim to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell, but they are wholly ignorant of God, and of man's true being as God's image and likeness.
These deceitful senses claim that man is subject to the law of sin and death; but the man of God's creating, the only man that really exists, the man that you are, that we all are, is subject only to the law of eternal Life. Paul said of himself, "I die daily," meaning, of course, that each day more and more of the errors of personal sense were passing away from him. This is as it should be with all of us. It is by such "dying" that we gain the realization that God knows no law of sin and death, and that therefore there is no such law. Man does not die, for man is immortal. The body as matter does not die, for matter has no life of which to be deprived. All that ever dies is the unreality called evil.
Evil Is Unreal
There is no doubt that in human experience evil appears to be real and powerful. But is it? Pontius Pilate boasted to Jesus that he had power to crucify him; and we know that Jesus did pass through that exalting ordeal. But let us consider the answer Jesus made to Pilate, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." He knew and had been continually demonstrating in his healing and regenerating works that God's power is the only power and that His power can be exercised only for good. The nothingness of Pilateís so-called power was demonstrated in the resurrection and ascension. The Scriptural statement that "the wrath of man shall praise thee" is always true.
The so-called forces of evil so rampant in the world today - forces of aggression and oppression - God knows nothing about, therefore their existence is unreal, something that seems to be but is not. It is only because of the general belief in the reality and power of evil that it seems to have its day. The allness of God and the nothingness of evil are being demonstrated more and more each day, however, in Christian Science; and when the Christ-method of handling evil is more generally adopted, it will be readily seen that, as Christian Science proves, it exists only as a false belief, and that it must necessarily destroy itself. Its self-destruction is even now going on, material sense testimony to the contrary notwithstanding. It becomes less and less in the proportion that good is being demonstrated as the only reality. No one should ignore the claims of evil, however, but all Christians should learn to work mentally each day to realize its nothingness and the allness of good.
It is very erroneous to attach evil to persons. To do so only makes it appear more real. Take the case, for instance, of a certain man whom Jesus and his disciples came upon one day, a man who had been blind from his birth. Jesus' disciples voiced the very material suggestion that his condition was due to sin in him or his parents.
It is recorded that in healing the man, Jesus spat, on the ground, made clay of the spittle, and anointed the blind eyes. It is unthinkable that the great Metaphysician who, solely by his understanding of God and man's relation to Him, was able to feed a multitude, walk on the water, and raise the dead, should dignify matter in this instance by conceding to it either virtue or power. It is quite evident that the loving Master, who was always so eager to help suffering humanity, discerned, in place of a sinful blind man, only the sinless man of God's creating, and literally spat on the ground - this being a Jewish custom of showing contempt - in his vigorous protest against the material belief in the reality of sin or of a blind mortal. The healing was due to his clear understanding of true creation. He realized the nothingness of matter and evil, and the allness of God, good.
Do you not see that this true method of handling evil opens wide the gates of heaven and reveals the glory of eternal spiritual manhood in Christ? Let us not never believe that evil is real. Let us never attach it to a person, for those who appear to be evil persons are victims of evil. We all should have the assurance of evil's nothingness that a little girl had when a skeptical parent said to her, "Why do you always insist that evil is not real?" The reply came quickly and spontaneously, "Because God made everything good."
It is a simple matter for little children to understand that only good is real, because their thought is so free from its opposite. And, oh, how greatly the world needs the pure, childlike, trustful thought that Christian Science inculcates in its true adherents! Truly of such is the kingdom of heaven.
In a Christian Science Sunday School class a teacher was asked by a new pupil, one who had come from an orthodox church, "What kept the lions from eating Daniel?" Instantly, before the teacher could reply, a little girl who had been brought up in Christian Science spoke up, "Because he had no wicked thoughts, his thoughts were always good."
How truly that little one spoke! She knew that scientific right thinking confers immeasurable power, and she also knew that constant right thinking is unceasing prayer.
True prayer must necessarily be
scientific, for in order to receive the reward of prayer our thought must be in
conformity with divine Principle. From this you may see that Christian Science
practice is prayer. It is useless to ask God for material benefits; for God,
who is Spirit, knows nothing about such benefits. Human needs are supplied
through prayer, but only in the way that Jesus taught and demonstrated, the
spiritually scientific way. He said, "Seek ye first the
It is not words that reach the throne of grace, but the humble, contrite, selfless thought that is reaching out to know God better, in order the better to do His will. Wordy prayers composed of sentences pleasing to the ear do little toward elevating thought Spirit-ward. God hears only the language of Spirit, which is inaudible to human sense. We should know that the eternal Giver is every moment bestowing on every one of us His blessings, impartially and bountifully. God could no more cease from doing this than the sun could cease from giving its light. God's blessings of love, harmony, joy, peace, etc., are ours; just for the accepting. Accepting and distributing God's blessings, we find that they are truly substantial; for by doing so all our human needs are supplied.
Speaking through the prophet Malachi, God asks us to prove how great is His bounty, in these words: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." This invitation holds a promise of such magnitude that many so-called practically-minded people consider it too good to be true. Think of it - a blessing so great that there shall not be room enough to receive it!† Christian Science gives assurance to all that the promise is not a mere figure of speech but a demonstrable fact.
The condition involved is that all the tithes be brought to the storehouse. The word "tithe," as most everyone knows, means a tenth part. In giving its spiritual meaning in Science and Health (p. 695), Mrs. Eddy uses these two words, "homage; gratitude." There are many people who religiously give a tenth part, or more, of their income to the church and for various charitable purposes, which is quite commendable. But that is not all that is required. Unless the giving is accompanied by homage and gratitude, the windows of heaven will not appear to be opened very wide for us. Money is not substance, nor is what may be purchased with it; these can be no more than symbols of substance. The kind, loving, trustful, grateful, and worshipful thought back of the giving is where true value lies. He who brings all the tithes to the storehouse forgets self in doing-good; he knows how to pray, for he is fulfilling God's law of love. He who prays the prayer of selfless desire expresses his true individuality and identity as a son of God, and his prayer gives him the comforting- assurance that his heavenly Father is also man's truest and most loyal friend.
Friendship with God
An incident that stands out rather sharply with me is a conversation I had with a man who, until he experienced the exalting influence of Christian Science healing, had considered himself to be of very little use in the world from any point of view. One day, while in a hospital very sick and impoverished, he, in some manner, came across a copy of Science and Health. He read it, not because he wanted to, but because he had nothing else to read. He became thoroughly interested as he got into the book, and before he had finished it, he was perfectly healed, both physically and morally. His entire outlook on life was changed. He secured a position at a small salary, and worked his way upward, endeavoring to use his understanding of Christian Science in all that he did. Later he went into business for himself and prospered. About three years after his healing I met him again. I said to him, "Your general appearance indicates that all is going well with you."
"Indeed, yes," he replied with great animation. "I am having such wonderful opportunities to do good. You know at one time I thought I had not a friend in the world. Now I have so many fine friends. However, Christian Science has shown me that God is my best friend; in fact, He is the best friend a man could ever have."
"The best friend a man could ever have"! Indeed He is, for this divine, all-loving Parent, our Father-Mother God, is closer to us in thought, kinder, more loving, infinitely more compassionate than any human parent could be. We all can demonstrate this truth just by having the right understanding of Him. Even with a little understanding, we cannot help loving both Him and our fellow man very deeply.
Our friendship with God should be something quite real in our lives, nothing theoretical, nor transcendental, but something eminently practical. We can claim that divine friendship only through deep reverence, humility, and unselfed love. It is not patterned after the human sense of friendship, even though many human friendships are regarded as being idealistic. Christian Science shows that only as the human concept is relinquished, and thought accepts only the divine as real, can true and lasting friendship be established, and God's friendship made practical.
Then should we not cultivate the true divine concept of friendship? We do this by thinking rightly, living rightly, and loving rightly. This is what is clearly indicated in Jesus' teachings and in the writings of Mrs. Eddy. Those two great characters loved their fellow man with a love that was far above the ordinary human concept of either friendship or love. Their love was divinely compassionate, patient, selfless, and kind; also it was courageous and fearless in rebuking error. That is why they healed so readily.
Christian Science Healing
In Christian Science healing the basis of thought must always be perfect God and perfect man. Having this basis of perfection, the purpose of Christian Science extends far beyond the healing of physical disorders. The principal part of its work is to lead humanity out of the darkness of sinning sense, into the light and joy of God's kingdom, here on earth. Naturally, healing sickness, restoring the so-called incurably diseased and dying to lives of usefulness, is a great and necessary step in this direction, for much bodily discord is brought on by sinful living; and healing is accomplished by overcoming the errors in the human consciousness which cause such discord. All discordant conditions, of whatever nature, are due to wrong thinking of some sort. Even many of the medical doctors are admitting that today.
Christian Science has nothing in common with any curative system in which the human mind is a factor. The human mind cannot heal. Its use, either as will power or suggestion, can only effect a temporary cure; and the last state of the patient is worse than the first. Such so-called healing was spoken of in Jesus' day as casting out devils by Beelzebub.
The method in Christian Science is the same as that made use of by the Master. The Christian Science practitioner must always discern, in place of a sick mortal, the perfect man, spiritual and immortal. If his thought is clear enough to do this, he will readily heal the patient. The spiritualized consciousness which discerns and mentally declares the spiritual reality of man's being acts powerfully on the sick mentality, uncovers and drives out the mental error and restores harmony to the body.
Christian Science shows that the body can do nothing for itself. It is not self-acting; it is but the substratum of mortal mind. This so-called mind claims to govern the body mostly through fear. Ignorance and sin also are its aides. It thus shows itself to be the body's worst enemy.† Christian Science, however, reverses mortal mind's claims, uncovers their falsity, and proves itself to be the body's best friend.
There are some moral errors which oftentimes are not regarded as such - for instance, the use of tobacco and what is termed a mild indulgence in intoxicants. The inaudible suggestion of mortal mind that one should avoid being thought old-fashioned too often causes accidence to these errors. Moral courage is required in such cases. Moral courage, as Mrs. Eddy states (Science and Health, p. 514), is "king of the mental realm." Using this grand mental quality, and saying "No" when "No" should be said, closes the door against a good deal of physical discord. Christian Science declares that even what is regarded as the temperate use of anything that undermines or leads to the undermining of health or morals is most erroneous. Such use oftentimes is the cause of sickness; it invariably obstructs healing.
Unwavering faith in God is essential in demonstrating the truths of Christian Science. Healing comes readily to those whose faith is strong and unwavering. It comes readily even when such faith is manifested by someone who is asking treatment for another - as witness the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant, and of whom the Master said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
As a modern-day example of the efficacy of such faith, I quote the following:
A sweet-faced, elderly woman called on a Christian Science practitioner to ask for treatment for her brother, who, she said, was according to medical pronouncement, at the point of death from a malignant abdominal growth. She stated that she was a Christian Scientist, but her brother was not. He had been ordered by his doctor to a hospital that morning for an immediate operation if his life was to be spared.
On arriving there he was unconscious. It was decided, after an examination in which seven physicians took part, that it was useless to operate, as the case was too far along and the patient could not possibly survive it. The woman then insisted that her brother be taken back to her home, although the doctors argued against it, and stated that he probably would not last overnight.
She told the practitioner that she had been trying for a long time to get her brother, to have Christian Science treatment, but that he would not do so because he had no faith in it. "But I have," she said, "and now this is our chance. I am absolutely certain that Christian Science will heal him. Will you not please take his case?"
The practitioner answered, "Of course I will take it; for with such faith as yours there can be no doubt that he will be healed."
The man awoke the next morning and asked if he had been operated on. "All the pain is gone," he said. "I feel like a new man."
His sister told him what she had done. Five days later he was back at his work as a plumber. I understand that he is now an earnest Christian Scientist.
The stately operations of Christian Science can never be harnessed to anything material; therefore the Christian Science practitioner does not treat a patient who is also under medical treatment, or who is also using some material remedy. Radical reliance on God is the demand of this Science. With such reliance, and through strict adherence to the divine rules given in Science and Health, healing follows with mathematical certainty.
Man's Capabilities Unlimited
As a reflection of divine Mind, each individual should know that he expresses spiritual inspiration, divine intelligence, and spontaneity of thought. God's idea can know no fear, can experience no failure in any right undertaking. God's idea always speaks the right words and does the right thing at the right time, also it is given him to know just what he needs to know, and at the time he needs to know it.
Daniel found it necessary to know King Nebuchadnezzar's forgotten dream and to interpret it, or suffer dire consequences. Daniel understood man's true selfhood to be spiritual. He kept his consciousness so imbued with the spirit of the Messiah or Christ that through spiritual inspiration and divine intelligence he was able at the required time to comply with the king's demand. The point is that Daniel had no misgivings as to his God-bestowed ability.† He knew his true being to be spiritual, and that therefore he reflected the intelligence and omniaction of creative Mind.† His accomplishment was not miraculous: it was divinely natural.
God does not limit our capabilities. Each individual has within himself - within his consciousness - the power to demonstrate in continually increasing measure the intelligence, inspiration, and spontaneity of the Christ.
Salvation Through Christ
Christian Science has removed the veil of mystery that has been cast over Jesus' teachings about the Christ. Jesus did not teach that salvation is attained through believing that his personal selfhood was the Christ. The man Jesus was born of a human mother, but he manifested the Christ so fully that he is rightly called Christ Jesus or Jesus the Christ. "Christ" is defined in Science and Health (p. 583) as "the divine manifestation of
God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." This divine manifestation has always been at hand to save from sin, sickness, and death.
Jesus was fully conscious of his true selfhood, inseparable from God. He greatly desired that he should be understood in this respect by others so that his countrymen might realize that his demonstration and manifestation of the Christ fulfilled Scriptural prophecy, and thus give impetus to his Messianic mission. It is quite evident that he greatly desired that his accomplishments of spiritual power should be understood as demonstrations of the Christ, and not go down in history as phenomenal exhibitions of personal power, as undoubtedly would have been the case if his Pharisaical opponents had had their way. They did their best to convince the populace that he derived his power from Beelzebub, or the carnal mind. Also Jesus knew that his Christ-mission would not be fulfilled if the thought became general that he was a reincarnation of one of the prophets. "Whom say ye that I am?" he questioned his disciples. Peter discerned a momentous truth when he exclaimed. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Because, however, his understanding was not sufficient to hold to that true concept of the Christ, over-shadowing the personality of the Master, it required Jesus' reappearance in human form for Peter and the other disciples to fully understand that the incorporeal Christ was the power that overcame sin, sickness, and death. His resurrection aroused them to their great responsibilities, and it should arouse us all to ours - to keep ourselves free from worldliness, and become imbued with that same deathless Christ which had directed every thought and act of the immaculate Jesus, and so carry on his work. This surely is the responsibility of all who claim to be his followers.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
And what of her who was chosen of God to discover and to restore to humanity the true demonstrable concept of the Christ, which, because materialism was allowed to stifle the pure essence of spiritual healing, was lost to the Christian religion about the third century, A.D.?
From childhood Mrs. Eddy had been a devout student of the Bible. Her study led her to the conviction that none of the theories advanced to account for the miracles recorded in the Bible were correct. She earnestly sought and prayed for enlightenment on this absorbing question. Always listening for the voice of Truth, her pure consciousness became more and more imbued with the Christ-spirit. She passed through deep waters in her patient and persistent search for that which she knew would, when discovered, immeasurably bless humanity; but she kept on searching, waiting, and watching, as did the wise virgins in Jesus' well-known parable. And at length the door was opened, and she beheld the healing Christ. Speaking of this, she states in her autobiography which is contained in her work "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 23): "When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came! . . . My heart knew its Redeemer. He whom my affection had diligently sought was as the One 'altogether lovely.' . . . Soulless famine had fled. Agnosticism, pantheism, and theosophy were void. Being was beautiful, its substance, cause, and currents were God and His idea. I had touched the hem of Christian Science."
In the great work which was before her, Mrs. Eddy never took a step until she had sought divine guidance from her heavenly Father. Everything she accomplished was at His direction; therefore she always did the right thing. Those who considered themselves inimical to her went to great lengths to thwart her God-ordained purpose. But the hatred that was directed at her only served to strengthen her love; for she was a true follower of the Christ, and God was at all times her guide, counselor, and friend. In those trying times she lost the human friendship of so many who had professed their love for her; but all such disappointments only caused her to realize more clearly her oneness with God, and in Him she found All.
Today, through its sufferings, the world is groping for spiritual enlightenment, and the mental processes of Christian Science are having a most salutary effect. Fear, sin, and ignorance of God's true nature must eventually yield to the mighty power of spiritual thinking. Christian Science, which is the promised Comforter, lovingly, patiently, here a little and there a little, is ministering to the world's needs, healing the sick and sinning, lifting the burdens of sorrow, fear, and lack, overcoming false material beliefs, pointing the way to harmony and peace among nations.† Those who discern the signs of the times are not dismayed as the world ferments under the power of Christianly scientific thinking; rather do they press forward, eagerly anticipating the glorious day when all sorrow shall be turned into joy through the healing ministrations of the Comforter which is to lead "into all truth."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 24, 1941.]