Christian Science: The Reality of Good Revealed

 

William Wallace Porter, C.S.B., of New York, New York

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Evanston, Illinois, in the church edifice, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, Thursday evening, February 9, by William W. Porter, C.S.B., of New York, New York, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The lecturer was introduced by John J. Finn, C.S.B., as follows:

"Ladies and Gentlemen: In behalf of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Evanston, Illinois, I bid you a most cordial welcome.

"Nothing can bear more eloquent testimony to the prosperity of the faith founded and established by our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, than the constantly increasing interest manifested in its doctrines and its teachings by thinking people in every land to which it has been carried.

"Knowledge of Christian Science is now sought and is rapidly spreading over practically the entire globe, and, thanks very largely to the faithful and intelligent work of our lecturers, this knowledge is everywhere rising to the plane of understanding. Over three thousand Christian Science lectures were delivered last year before audiences in all parts of the world, estimated to number in the aggregate approximately two and three-quarter millions of people. In his report to the Annual Meeting, of The Mother Church last June, Mr. John Randall Dunn, incumbent Chairman of the Board of Lectureship, after giving these figures and other important facts, added the significant words; 'In some places church edifices and halls, never before filled, were overtaxed by eager throngs, who, rather than miss the lectures, were willing to stand outside open windows and even to listen from vantage points in adjacent buildings.'

"More gratifying to earnest Christian Scientists, however, than increasing numbers, is the assurance that the marvelous extension and expansion of their faith in all parts of the globe is due primarily to the healing of the sick, the sorrowing, and the sinning, wherever the gospel of Christian Science is preached. Without this healing the work of our lecturers would be worse than futile; with it, their work is blest and beneficent.

"Our honored guest of this evening is an authorized and able representative of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, - a gentleman who has served our Cause long and loyally and in many ways. I esteem it a great privilege that I have been granted the opportunity of presenting him to this splendid audience, in which, I am sure, are many who regard him as I do, not only as a distinguished visitor, but as a good friend. Ladies and gentlemen, William W. Porter, C.S.B. of New York City."

The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Reality of Good Revealed." Mr. Porter spoke substantially as follows:

 

The Discoverer and Founder

It was in the year 1866 that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was restored from what her physicians had told her was an incurable illness, caused by an injury, to complete health as a result of her uplifted faith, understanding, and desire. This experience, together with conclusions reached after long investigation of material, spiritual, and mental healing methods, led Mrs. Eddy to the discovery that there is a definite law of divine Mind, or God, which is ever present and operative, and that the recognition and acknowledgment of this law of God have a healing and corrective effect upon the human mind and body. Mrs. Eddy did not put forth her conclusions concerning this important finding until she had thoroughly tested the exactness and effectiveness of this simple though remarkable discovery of the action of the divine Mind upon the human consciousness.

Then followed long years of consistent labor and patient waiting upon a world which was loath to come so near to God as was made possible by this discovery. The name given by Mrs. Eddy to her discovery is Christian Science: and this name will forever distinguish the discovery and always identify it with the Discoverer.

Today the world quite generally acknowledges the healing and regenerative power of Christian Science; whilst its acceptance and demonstration by ever-increasing numbers of men, women, and children continue to justify the hope and expectancy of the illustrious woman who was the faithful witness and pioneer of this unfoldment of God's power during the lone arduous days of discovery and demonstration.

As other outstanding thought-leaders of the past - Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, John, Luther, Lincoln - were the instruments of a divine influence leading mankind out of a

wilderness of idolatry and unreal conditions, so Mary Baker Eddy was the instrument of divine Mind to lead the thought of mankind out of restrictive religious and healing systems into a more adequate, a more practical understanding of man's true being.           

Without justification for so doing, human thought seems to have formed the habit of attributing to the masculine nature exclusively, whatever accomplishments of good may have been consummated by the human race. Hence, among the questions relating to Christian Science which present themselves to the thought of the inquirer is this: Why should this great religious and healing movement appear through Mary Baker Eddy, a woman?

In the appearance of Christian Science may be found the evidence of Christ, Truth, guiding the thought of mankind in the direction of its highest good. This manifestation of Christ comes always through that channel of human thought which is best prepared to receive and transmit its pure, inspiring influence. The Prophet Isaiah pointed to a virgin desire which should conceive and bring forth purity and goodness so radiant as to reflect the glory of true being, - Immanuel, or God with us.

John, the Revelator, in the vision of the Apocalypse, recounts the appearance of the spiritual idea of being as the man child born of the woman in travail. He also tells of the red dragon, material sense, pursuing the woman to destroy her, together with the idea of purity which she had brought forth.  Here this Scripture tells us that "the earth helped the woman" - that the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon, or material sense, sent forth to destroy the woman.

Throughout the ages spiritual discernment has found noble and notable expression through the pure idealism of womanhood. The Revelator saw the spiritual nature of generic man as womanhood, and he perceived also the good in human consciousness eagerly turning toward spirituality as the true basis of thought.

The English poet, Milton, in his Masque, "Comus," depicts the beauty and power of spirituality in the triumph of purity and chastity over the subtleties of material sense. In the meeting between the Lady, who had become lost in the woods, and Comus, the god of matter, Milton portrays the subtle and insidious attempts of Comus to deceive and mislead the Lady by the illusions of the senses. Here, the righteous indignation of the Lady breaks forth, and she tells the wicked Comus that did she but try to convince him of the beauty of purity and goodness,

 

". . . dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize.

And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and shake,

Till all thy magic structures rear'd so high,

Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head."

 

The American poet, Longfellow, in "Santa Filomena," extols the memory of the heroic English nurse, Florence Nightingale. Here, too, but in a larger way, he prefigures a higher unfoldment of good in the history of the race:

 

"A Lady with a Lamp shall stand

In the great history of the land

A noble type of good,

Heroic womanhood."

 

By capitalizing two words in the lines just quoted, the words Lady and Lamp, the poet has lifted them far above a sense of person or of object and they stand forth as grand, exalted symbols of thought - the word Lady symbolizing the spiritual nature or spiritual thought of generic man, whilst the word Lamp symbolizes light, or understanding.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 570), appearing as though in confirmation of these prophecies of the ages, Mrs. Eddy writes: "In this age the earth will help the woman;" and then she explains how this will he done - "the spiritual idea will be understood." This spiritual idea of being, or true idea of God, understood, is the vision which was seen by the Prophet Isaiah. This is the climax of unfoldment toward which Jesus looked so confidently and to which he referred when he declared that the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, shall "guide you into all truth." To those who understand the nature of Christian Science it is unmistakably apparent that the spiritual idea of being, declared by Jesus, is finally and completely manifested in this Science. The nature of God and of Christ, is no longer merely believed but is understood and demonstrated by men in healing the sick and uplifting human thought. Devout men and women throughout the ages have caught brief glimpses of the beauty, majesty, and power of spiritual good. It remained for Mary Baker Eddy to understand and demonstrate spirituality to be the healing law of God: and to do this so conclusively, as well as to translate its meanings into human language so clearly, that today the world has in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" a Christian and scientific treatise, or textbook, which makes this spiritual power, or healing law of God, available in every hour and in every circumstance of human need. One may find here the answer to the question, Why did Christian Science come to the world through Mary Baker Eddy? because had not the thought of this patient New England woman been ready to receive the revelation of true being, the revelation would not have come through this channel.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to see such a glorious vision. It is better to be able to retain the vision thus seen. But it is still better to be able to retell this experience, and to portray "The solemn hush of being, newly born" (Christian Science Hymnal, page. 200) in language which will enable those who come after to see in turn the same vision, to feel its irresistible urge and inspiration, and to demonstrate in daily life the healing truth which is thus revealed.

 

Emergence

Objection to Christian Science is made because it is said to be a departure from so-called orthodox theology and established medical systems. Whether or not this may be justly deemed an objection is open to a possible difference of opinion; it is boldly apparent, however, that Christian Science methods are a radical departure from all other religious and healing systems, excepting only the methods employed by the Nazarene Healer and his followers. It may be said here, too, that any religious or healing system which is capable of producing the outstanding results maintained by Christian Science, must necessarily involve and include radical and distinct departures from the methods employed by those established systems, the operation of which has caused sin, sickness, and failure and dissolution to be looked upon as necessary and unavoidable experiences incidental to human existence.

One may find no little encouragement in the fact that the world today is experiencing the throes of a momentous thought-change.  Many will view this change in dismay and with uncertainty respecting the outcome. The Christian Scientist sees in the experience an inevitable process - the emergence of human thought out of the wilderness of matter-worship into a clearer, more comprehensive understanding of ultimate reality as it is revealed in Christian Science. Many years ago, and with a vision which early foresaw the thought-change of the present day, Mrs. Eddy recorded on page 96 of her textbook this most original proposition: "Mortal error will vanish in a moral chemicalization. This mental fermentation has begun, and will continue until all errors of belief yield to understanding. Belief is changeable, but spiritual understanding is changeless."

 

Denominationalism

Whilst Christian Science is humanly expressed as a religious denomination, yet in a much larger way it is seen to transcend the ordinary concepts of denominationalism. It is the Science of Christ demonstrating God to be the all-inclusive, all-pervasive, all-powerful Creator, or upholding Cause of man and the universe. Christian Science precludes any sense of offensive or defensive denominational propaganda. Indeed, the desire to enjoy health, righteousness, peace, success, being inherent in every person, the ability to know and to enjoy these desirable states of consciousness is not gained through human propaganda; it is an inheritance which is found in the true understanding of God and His creation. Christian Science shows that this inheritance is not a personal possession which can be selfishly hoarded to the detriment of others; it is the nature of irresistible divinity unfolding in the real man and the real universe reflecting God.

Christian Science does not lead men to seek for aggrandizement of world position or for material power; nor does it cause men to try to combine or to build up these things with spiritual things. To uninstructed thought spiritual ideas and material beliefs seem to unite, but they never really combine. The spiritual idea in Christian Science touches physical phenomena of any sort only to demonstrate that health, success, harmony, courage, confidence, are states of consciousness which reflect the nature of divinity as taught by Jesus.

The simple purpose of Christian Science with respect to church or denomination is to preserve undiminished and undiminishing the Science of Christianity as it has been given to the world by Mary Baker Eddy. It is apparent to those who understand the nature of Christian Science that only as this Science, which demonstrates the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, is understood and practiced by men, will the church, the home, the school, the courts, the government, become channels through which Divinity speaks to men.

 

Religion

Borne in on the consciousness of men during the rapidly changing scenes of mortal experience is the recognition that humanity cannot, because of a transitory wish, "go back" to a mere official or formal religion which depends upon the authority of dogma to build up faith and reliance in divine power. Whether we like to admit it or not the progress of events has caused men to measure dogmatic beliefs with respect to the efficacy of such beliefs to sustain thought in the direction of good and in times of need. The aim of religion should not be to control men through fear of punishment, but to exclude the lust of power and hypocrisy from the mentality of the race, so that integrity, virtue, and humanity will be safe from violation and find their happy manifestations in all relationships between men and nations. If religion is not doing this it must be agreed that the true nature of religion is not finding adequate expression through men.

It is said frequently that had the qualifications of honesty, justice, charity, uprightness, controlled the thought of men, world devastations could not have been conceived and carried out. This is perfectly true. But to say this is to try to say something and to leave it only half said. Honesty, justice, charity, uprightness, are qualities above the possibility of evaluation; but it should be recognized that these properties of thought are themselves the effects of something deeper. They represent the irresistible flow of an unmeasured and immeasurable primal source which can only be defined as God. Obviously, then, to look upon health and unity as being caused by honesty, justice, charity, and uprightness, qualities of the human mind, is to exclude the recognition and acknowledgment of God from the consciousness of men. This is not the way of wisdom.  According to the Scriptures, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Reason and uplifted thought unite in pointing to the existence of a supreme primal Cause, or God; and as demonstrated in Christian Science the recognition and acknowledgment of God must precede the manifestation of true wisdom and power in the realm of humanity.

May there not be a Science of being by which the thought of men can reach the understanding of fundamental Truth or God, and may not this understanding of God impel and compel the manifestation of Truth and good in the affairs of men? May there not be a Science of being by which health, success, and harmony can be attained in the lives and affairs of men with the same certainty, at least, which men feel when they turn to the science of music or the science of numbers? Can it be said that the harmony of music and of numbers may be attained to a certainty by the simple process of knowing, whilst in the adjustment of human ills mankind must forever fall back upon the idolatry and witchcraft involved in matter-medicines only to find uncertain relief for the body? Christian Science answers these questions by showing, that as the true understanding of God is attained, the evils of sin, sickness, failure, and dissolution disappear.

It may be said that human thought cannot know the primal Cause, or God. The answer of Christian Science to this is that spiritual thought can comprehend here and now anything that Mind, which is God, can know.

 

Genealogy

The first chapter of Genesis contains the scientific or true record of creation, where man is created in the image and likeness of God. In that part of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" which gives consideration to the book of Genesis, Mrs. Eddy shows that in the second chapter of Genesis, beginning with the sixth verse, there appears another record of creation. But since the first record announces creation in its completeness - "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" - it is obvious that nothing can be added by the second record to the completeness of the creation which is already complete. This second record, therefore, must have to do with belief in another sort of man, since it brings into view a man made from the dust of the ground. This portion of Genesis emphasizes by contrast the truth of creation as recorded in the first chapter, because it shows the utter hopelessness of gaining the true idea of being, or God, by way of matter or through a man made from the dust of the ground. Indeed, one may learn here that the so-called material creation is either just a mere speck of dust, or a great cloud of dust or mist, accordingly as he appraises this man who appears in the second chapter of Genesis. The Hebrew designation for this man made from the dust of the ground is Awdawn, which may be translated into the English term, "another sort," "low degree," "hypocrite,"  "red sandstone." It might seem that there is no particular connection between the second chapter of Genesis man and the designation, "red sandstone," but if one will make inquiry of any well-informed worker in stone, he will learn that red sandstone is looked upon as very poor building material.

It is apparent that the man who is spoken of here and who is said to be made from the dust of the ground is not the real or true man, because man thus created is not the image and likeness of God; matter is not the likeness of Spirit; and nothing can alter this conclusion with respect to the nature of man. Chemical analysis shows that this sort of man is made up of iron, lime, magnesia, moisture, and salts - mostly moisture - and that its drug store value is ninety-eight cents. It bathes all over in water and feels refreshed;

it gets its feet wet and takes cold. What is it that takes cold? Not the iron, lime, and magnesia, of course. It should be apparent that that which causes colds and other evil manifestations is a destructive state of consciousness which controls the body, that this destructive consciousness is totally unworthy, that it does not represent man, and that it should be uprooted and dispossessed.

According to Strong's Concordance the Hebrew and Greek terms in the Bible which are translated, into the English word "name" may also be translated into the English words "nature," "character," and "authority." The Scriptural record of the so-called material creation, found in the book of Genesis, places upon mortal thought the task of naming all things; and it is said that whatever name or "nature" was thus bestowed on any creature, that was its name. This holds as true today. Whatever name or nature mortal thought bestows on any thing or any person, that must represent the nature of the person or thing. And this will continue until, in the Science of Christ, the new name or the nature of true being appears.

Being called upon to give names, natures, or identifying characteristics to all things that exist, it is obvious that this man made from the dust of the ground - mortal man - cannot impart the nature of true being; he can impart only his own limited and imperfect nature. Seeing this is true, how long will mankind continue to be satisfied to accept the names and identifying characteristics which are bestowed on all things by this dust-man. In other words, how long will mankind be willing passively to accept as real and true the knowledge and testimony gained from the material senses?  Concerning this renegade man - this man of low degree - and the knowledge gained from this so-called man, one may well ponder the homely but pointed philosophy of Josh Billings, who writes, "It's better not to know so many things than to know so many things that ain't so."

There is neither Principle, reality, nor Truth in any of the natures or concepts gained from material sense. Sin, sickness, failure, dissolution, the sweat of the brow, the sorrow of bringing forth, will disappear from the experience of men and women in the degree that the understanding is gained in Christian Science that man is not found in a material concept called cell or organism. Man is the idea of God, the reflection of Spirit, Life, or Mind.  Whatever speaks a sweet or noble inspiration, whether it be found in animal or bird, in brook or tree, in smile or song, in kindly word, in loving, unselfed deed, or friendly hand, hints a spiritual idea, as the "still small voice" silently whispering, Behold creation as spiritual, not material.

So long as man, the image and likeness of God, is supposed to be found in cell or organism, just so long will there seem to be a deity divided against itself; just so long will there seem to be a god of matter as well as a god of spirit; a god of sickness as well as a god of health; a god of failure as well as a god of success; a god of death as well as a god of life; a god of war as well as a god of peace. Suppose one were asked the question today, Whom do you obey as God ? Would not the answer very likely be in many cases: I am controlled by and serve a god of fear; I am controlled by and serve a god of failure; I am controlled by and serve a god of discouragement; I am controlled by and serve a god of sickness? In short, would not the answer mean, I am controlled more by the expectancy of evil conditions than by the certainty of good?

What does Christian Science do with these evil conditions and adverse control? The study and practice of Christian Science strengthens thought with the true idea of being or God; it reveals man's true inheritance to be the nature of divinity, and it thus releases men, women, and children from bondage to subtle fear, doubt, and uncertainty; it liberates thought from the control of mad ambition, discouragement, failure, sickness; and it gives to mankind a substantial and true basis upon which to demonstrate the health and happiness, peace and prosperity, which belong to and identify man's eternal   selfhood. These results are certain and true, not because of the exercise of the human ingenuity of men, but because Christian Science and its effects are the inevitable manifestations of that divine Principle, Love, which we know as God working out the eternal plans of unchanging good.

Material sense imparts a heritage of discord and limitation. From the names thus bestowed spring sickness, sin, failure - all disintegration - as well as the tendency to perpetuate the belief that these evils are necessary and inescapable. The nature of the dust-man binds mankind in slavery so long as men seek to find deliverance or escape by delving into dust, or matter. The harmony of intelligent being cannot be found where the divine Mind is not. Jesus defined mortal mind, or material sense, as "a murderer from the beginning." Since this false sense bestows material names and natures on all things, it is not surprising that there seem to be in human experience sinning, sick, and dying men, failing business, warring nations. That there are not more of these evil manifestations - that, indeed, these evils do not fill the whole of human experience - is solely due to what Mrs. Eddy has so well described in Science and Health (p. 445) as "the unlabored motion of the divine energy in healing the sick."

According to Christian Science the only fall of man there ever has been is the error of belief that there is existence apart from God, or good. One may be conscious of and controlled either by a belief about existence or by the true idea of existence; and he will experience sickness or health, sorrow or joy, hell or heaven, proportionably as he is thus controlled.

But how do we know that the material sense of existence is unreliable, untrue, and unreal? By the testimonies and admissions of matter itself. Having successively tested and abandoned numerous hypotheses relating to the ultimate form of matter, the physical scientist is today compelled to admit that he knows nothing definitely with respect to matter. His material hypotheses have been found by himself to be unreliable and untrue, hence unreal. The most recent and notable of these changing theories is the abandonment of the atomic theory of matter for the electronic theory. More advanced physical scientists have gone even beyond this. Professor Larkin in his reasoning went far beyond the ordinary realms of material phenomena. He writes substantially concerning matter: You ask me what is matter. I say it is composed of atoms. You inquire, What is the atom, and I reply that the atom is composed of electrons. You ask, What is the electron, and I say I believe - but do not know - that the electron either is mind or that it is the creation of mind. You inquire, What is mind, and I reply that I do not know; but because in the atom a certain exact number of negative electrons always revolves around a certain exact number of positive ions, the electron, in order always to maintain this exact arrangement, must be able to count, or must be actuated by something that is able to count, and this involves mind - but I do not know what mind is. Here physical science leaves human thought standing helplessly before a totally unknown quantity, frankly admitting that it does not know what matter is.

Since it is clear that a reliable and true sense of material existence can be reached, if reached at all, only through exact knowledge of matter, and since physical science has come to the point where it does not know what matter is, it is obvious that any concept or sense of material existence is a mere supposition which, in the nature of things, is ephemeral, unreliable, and misleading.

Traveling an altogether different mental route, Mrs. Eddy years ago abandoned matter, but instead of leaving thought in the darkness of the unknown, she gave to the world in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 468), "The scientific statement of being," in which is found the basis of true consciousness, and upon which men may build structures of enduring substance. This scientific statement deliberately sweeps away the false and restores the basis of true consciousness in the words: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all."

Not knowing what matter really is, the position of the physical scientist regarding disease is not an easy one. In material or so-called "regular" systems of healing, matter is regarded as the basis of disease.  Believing matter to be the cause of disease, but not knowing what matter is, it is clear that in his treatment of disease the physical scientist is treating always an effect rather than the cause. To heal disease the cause must be removed. Obviously, then, he must either understand what matter is so that he can treat it as the cause of disease, or he must abandon the premise that matter is the cause of disease.

Christian Science has already blazed the way in this healing renaissance by recognizing the nothingness of matter.

 

God Is Good

Anyone who has felt the clinging tentacles of lingering disease, in the unyielding clasp of an evil habit, anyone who has tasted the bitter waters of grief, disappointment, failure, will recognize, sooner or later that there are tendencies or influences in human experience which, operating entirely apart from the will or volition of the individual, move human beings in the direction of weakness, sickness, failure, dissolution. Until the advent of Christian Science these evil influences have generally been looked upon and disposed of on the theory that they are brought over by heredity from previous generations, or that they are mysterious and inescapable inflictions which may be attributed to the "will of God." Indeed, in times past it has been quite a fixed and convenient habit for mankind to attribute any unusual catastrophic, or enormous human digression, to the will of God. Christian Science shows how utterly impossible it is that the will of God should be concerned with evil in any way; it accepts the Scriptural definition of the nature of God as expressed in the declaration, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." One of the fundamental ideas disclosed by Christian Science is that the nature of God - the nature of divinity - makes it impossible for evil to be either created or permitted by God.

The true understanding of God's nature gained in Christian Science causes the words "error" and "evil" to be seen as terms which define unreality and powerlessness. Indeed, in Christian Science it is necessary to know that until evil is brought into view as powerlessness and nothingness, evil is not rightly seen.

Christian Science does not say that evil does not seem to be very real to the so-called mortal mind - that consciousness which, except for the highest moral teachings, governs the thought and activity of the race. What Christian Science does say in this connection is, that the belief in the power of both good and evil contradicts the Science and reality of truth, and that therefore neither the so-called mortal mind nor its testimony is entitled to be accepted as real.

It will be seen from the foregoing that Christian Science does not ignore evil. On the contrary, it shows that the seeming reality of evil - the belief in the power of nothing - must cease to influence the thought of men as the nature of true being unfolds through the impartations of divine Science.

 

Christ Jesus

The critical statement is sometimes heard that Christian Science is not orthodox.  This, of course, brings up the question of what Jesus really did teach. There can be no doubt that the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are intended so to instruct thought that the signs which witnessed to his divine origin should likewise witness to the divinity governing all who followed him in demonstration.

Christian Science brings the life of Jesus in its exalted nature to human thought as it has never appeared before. It shows how the human life of the gentle Nazarene reflected so clearly the divine nature. It was the human Jesus speaking when he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." It was Christ, the divine nature of Jesus, which declared: "I and my Father are one." Mrs. Eddy writes  (Science and Health, p. 25). "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus." The term "divinity" does not signify the supernatural and unknowable. Thus to define divinity is to misconstrue its meaning and lose its sweet appeal and power. Divinity expresses the nature of God - of Life and Truth.

Christian Science shows that the spiritual nature of Jesus the man is bound up in Christ, the image, or true idea of God; and it does this in such a way as to show that man's unity with Life is indestructible as expressed by Jesus, "Glorify thou me . . . with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.'' Building upon this rock of spiritual unity, Christian Science shows that the reality, the identity, the true selfhood of every manifestation of God is found perfect and forever intact in Christ, the true idea of Life or God. "Your life," says the Apostle Paul, "is hid with Christ in God." Thus Christian Science is taking away the bitterness of separation; it is anti-doting the sting of dissolution and triumphing over the victory of the tomb.  Men, women, and children wayfaring heavenward may be not a little comforted and refreshed by this larger, clearer, and more tangible outlook upon immortality.

 

The Way

That all men should, and may, know the truth is a proposition to which all must agree. It is perfectly clear, moreover, that in proportion as one knows the truth with respect to his problem he is freed from the penalties which are inflicted by untruths or ignorance.

But how is one to know the truth? Certainly this cannot be done by or through matter.   That which makes free must possess intelligence. Intelligence belongs to Mind - not to matter. Hence one cannot come to the truth that makes free by way of that philosophy of matter, which, Comus-like, entices mankind uninstructed by Christian Science into a tragic wilderness of fear, hopelessness, and helplessness. Jesus declared: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" and again, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God." In the first instance the gaining of freedom is attained by a process of knowing - "ye shall know the truth;" and in the second reference the gaining of life eternal is likewise attained by a process of knowing. In short, and as taught by Christian Science, both of these desirable realizations, freedom and life eternal, are gained through the divine Mind, not matter.

In this way Christian Science is enabling all mankind to have one God, one infinite Mind, in accordance with the Scripture, "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord;" and, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." It is also thus enabling mankind to have one Christ. By reason of these teachings human thought is actually giving up its beliefs in gods many; it is giving up its beliefs in a god of sickness, a god of failure, a god of fear, a god of death, and, in Christian Science, the place in human thought which has been filled with these many gods of evil influence is overflowed with the Christ ideals of health, happiness, and good will.

Jesus said to his followers, "No man can serve two masters." Christian Science shows how entirely impossible it is to serve or to fear a god of sickness, a god of failure, a god of death, and at the same time to serve or to love one infinite God - the eternal good. If one tries to follow spiritual aspirations, or true ideas, and at the same time to obey the suggestions of material sense, he will find himself vacillating continually between good and evil, and gaining no understanding by which to demonstrate man's dominion.

 

The New Name

So long as the belief persists that man is found in dust or cells - so long as the imperfect concepts bestowed on all things by mortal mind control the thought of men will there continue to be failing business, sick men, and warring nations. But all of these will disappear as the new name, the true identity of man, is found in Christian Science.

Daniel was not influenced by a fearful, raging sense of lion when he stood in the lions' den. Numerous instances have been related in Christian Science testimonial meetings showing how the painful effects of poisonous plants have been neutralized by the understanding that God, good, never created poisonous foliage, and that therefore such a thing does not exist in the reality of eternal being - in the creation which reflects Truth and Life. Paul was not controlled by a false concept of God's creation when he shook off the viper from his hand and felt no hurt. Mary Baker Eddy was not impelled by a false sense of man when she caught the inspiration to see and the courage to declare the fundamentals of true being in Christian Science.

The false names, or natures, are falling away, and the new name, the spiritual idea of being, is beginning to be understood as never before. There is definite and large progress being made in this world and in this age. The unfoldment of ideas in the thought of men was anciently opposed by edicts and by the force of tyrannical power. Today the subtleties of false education and deceitful argument are substituted for physical violence. But - and how futile it were to think otherwise – neither the fine deceit of the one nor the blind force of the other can stifle the inspiration or put out the light of Truth's unfolding idea.

 

Seeming Reality

It is sometimes asked: If the dustman be not real and true whence comes the material sense of existence? The question is out at last! Christian Science shows that error has no identity or existence in the constant reality of Truth, and that its seeming identity has no more reality or force than anything else which only seems to be.

A little boy one day asked a Christian Science practitioner, "Where did error come from?" And then the boy answered his own question, as they so often do: "It is as though I believed that a snake is in that dark corner when there isn't anything there at all."

Considering this subject in Science and Health (p. 472) Mrs. Eddy writes: "All reality is in God and His creation. . . . Therefore the only reality of sin, sickness, or death, is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise." This being so, the Christian Scientist does not waste time trying to find out where something came from which he knows does not exist, and the seeming existence of which he knows to be an illusion - the effect of false knowledge. His position is like that of the Apostle Paul: "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark."

Christian Science denies the legitimacy of the material sense of man, and points to the nature of God, Spirit, whose likeness man is, as sufficient justification for this denial!

 

Denial of False Names

One may say concerning the "names" bestowed by the dust-man, "Oh, well, I am not particularly concerned about these 'names,' or natures, which mortal mind puts on people; I am doing fairly well without troubling myself about these things. What bearing have they anyway upon the everyday affairs of life?" Because mortal mind is mortal mind and nothing more, the names or natures it confers can express only its own limitations and imperfections. Therefore it behooves a man individually to be careful how he accepts the names or qualities which mortal mind tries to fasten on him. It will try to label you with a sense of failure; it will try to inflict upon you a sense of discouragement, a sense of grief, a sense of liver complaint, a sense of poverty, a sense of stomach trouble, and the whatnot other errors which are bestowed by mortal mind.  And the name or nature thus given by mortal mind may become the name or sense by which one knows himself, and by which he is known to others.

Several years ago while traveling through Alaska I met along the trail an Indian woman with several children. As we tried to talk with her she managed to tell us, in halting dialect that her husband's name was - as it sounded to us - Chickamin Charlie. One of those romantic Indian names, we mentally commented at the time. Traveling a little farther along the trail we encountered a white settler and told him of our meeting with the wife and children of Chickamin Charlie. The settler looked puzzled for a moment, then his face brightened and he said, "Oh, that isn't his name, - his name is Sick Man Charlie!" The Indian had at some time previously been sick, had been sent to a hospital, and then the dust-man bestowed on him the name of "Sick Man Charlie," which he carried thereafter.  When the dust-man of Genesis calls out through the corridors of human existence, "fear," "failure, "discouragement," "stomach trouble," "poverty," "heredity," how often do human beings, uninstructed by Christian Science, respond mentally and forthwith, saying, "Here I am!" thus passively admitting their identity to be bound up in a sense which implies and suggests limitation and imperfection.

When Christian Science enters into the experiences of men, women, and children they stop thinking of themselves by the names or natures which mortal mind bestows upon them; that is, they stop thinking of themselves as discouraged, as failures, as stomach trouble, as objects of pity, or as examples of poverty. They find themselves thinking in a new way; they begin to think of health, courage, confidence, success, peace, as belonging to man, and they lay hold of these as a part of man's legitimate existence. Thus they find themselves responding, not to the old names with which mortal mind labels mankind, but to the New Name, or nature, which Christ in divine Science bestows upon them.

 

Prayer

Prayer is the basis of all healing and redemptive action in Christian Science; and without prayer or pure desire thought cannot reflect Godlikeness or the power to heal. On page 1 of the chapter on Prayer in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy writes: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love. . . . Desire is prayer." Back of every prayer or petition ever offered exists a desire for something. Without desire or prayer there can be no demonstration of good. Remove the desire and you remove the incentive for prayer - yes, you remove the very prayer itself.

The desire to know God aright - the desire to know aright the Source of all intelligence and supply, of all power and good, - is a prayer which comprehends every human need. As this desire becomes supreme it silences the noise of selfish and wordy petitions. It is obvious that as desire becomes unselfish in its nature the more nearly it partakes of the true nature of prayer. As this takes place prayer itself is seen to be the unfoldment of divinity leading thought into the way of understanding, - the way of eternal good.

Beneath the surface of human endeavors stirs the continual urge of this upward desire. Let us not be misled by the arguments and suggestions that the world is traveling on a downward course toward destruction. The end of the world is not a violent plunging of everything into darkness and destruction; it is not something which is to be contemplated with fear and trembling, as of one awaiting an awful doom. Not so in Christian Science is the end of the world observed. In Christian Science the end of the world is the end of the false, misleading beliefs about God and man and the universe. Thus it may be seen that the end of the world is going on continually in the individual consciousness of men, women and children as the darkness of belief is dispelled by the light of spiritual understanding.

This marvelous readjustment of thought is now under way.  The world is making splendid progress in shedding its tatters of superstition, false prayer, and personal worship. The counterfeit is coming rapidly to the surface and it is being driven off as inconsequential dross. Let us not mistake this overturning for disaster, but let us rather see that in this the reality of good is being revealed, and that through the Science of Christianity men are truly finding God!

 

"Is it not much that I may worship Him,

With naught my spirit’s breathings to control,

And feel His presence in the vast and dim

And whispering woods, where dying thunders roll

From the far cataracts? Shall I not rejoice

That I have learned at last to know His voice

From man’s? - I will rejoice! My soaring (sense)

Now hath redeemed her birthright of the day,

And won, through clouds, to Him,

Her own unfettered way!”

         Mrs. Hemans

 

[Published in The Chicago Leader, Feb. 10, 1928.]

 

 

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