Christian Science: The Restorer
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 demonstration of Christian Science in the healing of the sick and the reconstruction of human thought on lines of right activity is today an accomplished and acknowledged fact. Thinking men and women are asking with growing interest, Why is it that Christian Science has gained its present stage of demonstration and development during the comparatively short period of fifty-four years? It is evident, in this connection, that if the existing systems of religion and medicine had been adequate to meet the needs and to satisfy the desires of mankind, no other system would ever have been necessary or even possible.
It is recorded in the book of Genesis that at a certain time the people of the world decided that they would perpetuate their material sense or material name by building a tower the top of which would reach the heavens. The purpose of the builders was to commemorate and perpetuate the majesty and stability of matter, or the accomplishments of material man.
According to the Scripture narrative the building of this tower seemed to proceed harmoniously for a time. Then, owing to the great number of people engaged upon the work, and the great diversity of opinions, plans and tongues, serious interference and conflict were encountered. So great was this interference that confusion ensued, and finally, the builders were compelled to leave off the work of building, and they were scattered to the four quarters of the earth.
Some years ago, when the subject of the safe height to which all buildings might be erected was being considered by the city of New York, one constructing engineer voiced wise counsel to the effect that the safe height to which a tower or building may be erected will be determined by the dimensions of the base. This is excellent and timely counsel when considering the construction of any tower whether it be a material tower at Babel, a tower of religion, of healing, or of political government. If the base of such a tower rests upon matter, or upon human reason from the testimony of the physical senses, it will be a question of a short time only before interference, conflict, and confusion will ensue, and the people compelled to leave off their building. The revered Leader and Founder of Christian Science has written wisely upon this point on page 430 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Faith should enlarge its borders and strengthen its base by resting upon Spirit instead of matter." Since the physical senses cannot testify either to accuracy or to enduring permanence, it follows that the reasoning of the human mind which is based upon the uncertain testimony of these physical senses cannot furnish a satisfactory basis upon which to build either religious, political, or healing systems. On the other hand, if religion, healing, and government are laid in Mind, — in Principle, Truth or God, — they will then reflect the unlimited and inexhaustible resources of infinite Mind, provided always that this Mind is scientifically understood and demonstrated.
Unreality of Evil
Christian Science has been criticized for its declaration that evil and matter are not real. Religion and material medicine, however, have throughout their respective histories been engaged in trying to overcome the afflictions of the one and to escape the limitations of the other, and thus prove their unreality. If evil and sickness be real, the effort to escape their ravages, either through religion or science, would be futile.
Christian Science declares definitely that evil and disease are not real, that they do not and cannot belong to God's creation, that they are without basis in Principle or Truth, hence there is neither truth nor reality in them. Christian Science then immediately proceeds to prove their unreality by destroying them in individual consciousness, or through individual healing.
Existing systems of religion and medicine represent and encourage the belief that evil, disease, discord, and death are real; that they belong to the natural order of things. These same systems, then, try to overcome and destroy the evils thus held to be legitimate and natural. If these evils are legitimate, natural, and real, why try to destroy them? On the other hand, if these discordant manifestations are not real, normal, and legitimate, let the facts presented by Christian Science in regard to the unreality of matter — evil, sickness, discord, death, and destruction — be approached and measured honestly and justly; and above all with the desire to be consistent not only in conclusions reached, but in premises as well.
The fact that Christian Science heals the sick and reconstructs human thought is evidence in itself that this Science has appeared in response to the world's needs, and in response likewise to the underlying desires of mankind for the attainment of harmony and good.
Underlying Desire for Good
A fundamental desire for harmony and good exists in the consciousness of every person. This desire may be broad and universal, or it may be narrow and limited. If there be no definite idea, however, of what constitutes good, or no definite idea of how harmony and good may be attained, there will be just as many different methods pursued in the attainment of these desirable and essential qualities, as there are persons engaged in such pursuit. In the majority of instances the methods pursued will be those suggested by the physical senses, or by human reason founded upon the testimony of the physical senses. Since, however, neither the physical senses nor human reason based upon these senses can testify to enduring harmony, it naturally follows that they cannot be the cause or channel through which harmony is to be attained. The fact remains, nonetheless a fact, that there exists in every person a fundamental desire to gain harmony and good.
In the early years of our western land, when there still remained what was known as the prairie country, travelers were, at times treated to an unusual and interesting sight. Frequently one might see acres and acres of fertile land from which sprang a luxuriant growth of golden sunflowers. The traveler accustomed to finding "sermons in stones" might have noticed that these sunflowers stood always with their faces toward the sun. In the morning their faces were upraised to the rising sun; then, turning slowly during the day, evening found them with their faces toward the west still facing the sun. It might have been that heavy, black storm clouds hung over the face of the sun, yet the flowers always stood with their faces turned in the direction of the light.
In after years, when the beneficent teachings of Christian Science began to unfold the eternal realities of being, these flowers were to me an illustration of how mankind have always stood with their faces turned toward God, whether they have known it or not, — thus evincing an underlying, fundamental desire for harmony and goodness. Because of a lack of education or instruction in pure Christianity, the human or mortal mind has accepted its own misconceptions of God, its own misinterpretations of man, and its own misstatements of Spirit or substance as real. Out of the abysmal depths of this unreality has arisen, a mist or a thick black cloud of false knowledge,
Thus mankind have found themselves the innocent victims of a misconceived existence, expressing itself in sin, sickness, sorrow, and death. It is the mission and province of Christian Science to clear away and to destroy these misconceptions relating to man, and these misstatements about substance, together with the sin, sickness, sorrow, death, and destruction which follow in the wake of this misconceived existence. It is the further happy mission and province of Christian Science to restore to mankind the true reflection or image and likeness of God, and the true understanding of the nature and character of causation.
In the marvelous revelation to John on the Island of Patmos, recorded so clearly in the Apocalypse, the Christ, Truth, is presented as saying: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." In view of the continued attitude of mankind with their faces toward God, in view of the continual reaching out toward the light of the Christ-truth, it is not surprising that, in the fulfillment of the purpose of infinite Mind, the dawn of that day should break which had appeared to prophets of old as a possibility of the future. It is not surprising nor strange, then, that there should be found in the Preface of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. vii), which is the textbook of Christian Science, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the voice of a herald crying: "The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone of faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is life eternal." On page 465 of this same textbook the following definition of God appears: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." This definition of God is exact, scientific, Christian, and is in accord with the definitions of God found throughout the Scriptures.
Since God, as the Scripture declares, is Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, an important inquiry presents itself: How will that person who is holding in consciousness a humanly personal or corporeal sense of God be able to recognize and avail himself of the power and presence of God, the one Causation, in any and all emergencies and needs? Is it possible for such a person to enjoy the presence and power of God without being able to recognize and identify the nature or character of true Causation, or God? Since, however, a false sense of God must sooner or later be exchanged for a true idea of God in exactly the same manner that the false sense of all things must be exchanged sooner or later for their true sense, — as in the passing away of "the first heaven and the first earth," — why should not that person who is holding a false concept of God begin immediately here and now to gain a true understanding of the nature or character of Causation, or God? No commandment of God in the Decalogue of Moses says, Thou shalt not know; and no commandment in the decalogue of Mind declares, Thou shalt not understand. On the contrary, the first great commandment enunciated by Moses and later emphasized by Jesus declares specifically: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and surely it is the province of Mind to know. Indeed, it is difficult to see how it would be possible for one to love and to obey God without being able to identify the nature or character of Deity.
It is admitted without any argument that a person who is holding in consciousness a false sense of the relation of numbers — a false sense that two and two make five — will immediately run into difficulty and discord as a result of such false sense. It is also recognized that this discord and distress will continue just so long as the false sense remained with the individual. The only way that such a person can effectually escape the discords in question would be by gaining a true understanding of the relation of numbers, or from the science of numbers. It is not, however, so readily recognized nor admitted outside of Christian Science, that a person who is holding a false sense of God, that is, a false sense of Causation, will likewise run immediately into discords — will run into sin, sickness, death — as the result of such false belief relating to Causation. Neither is it recognized outside of Christian Science that these discordant conditions will continue just as long as a false sense of God is held in consciousness. It must be recognized, however, that both of these false beliefs, being erroneous, can lead only in the direction of discord and distress. False beliefs, or false concepts, relating to God, will necessarily lead into untold misery, since the idea of God which is held in consciousness, being fundamental in its nature, enters into and must necessarily affect and determine every activity of the individual.
Christian Science, in this connection, unfolds certain fundamental and primary ideas. One such primary idea is this: Mankind is conscious at least of existence. This consciousness of existence indicates and implies Mind. In fact, without Mind, there could be no consciousness, hence no consciousness of existence. When speaking of Mind in Christian Science let it be understood that it is not the limited, human sense of mind which is referred to, nor the sense of mind which is supposed to be synonymous with the human brain and supposed to be located within the human skull, but is that Mind which is infinite in its nature and character, infinite in its being, resource, capacity, wisdom, power, identity. This Mind, then, without which, as we have seen, there can be no consciousness of existence and hence no existence, must be the creator of all that exists, — this Mind must be that which we mean, or ought to mean, when we think of or say, "God." In fact, it would be impossible to conceive of God except as all-wise or as infinite Mind. As it likewise would be impossible to think of any place where Mind is not, it follows naturally and inevitably that God, who is infinite Mind, is incorporeal, everywhere present, and intelligently active as Mind. Here we come to the point where Moses stood at the burning bush; and the voice of enlightened consciousness, as the voice of Mind or God, declares today as it declared to Moses of old, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
In this realization of the nature and character of God, one becomes conscious of God, one becomes conscious of a peace which the world, or which a material sense of God, can never give. When one thus has understood in Christian Science the omnipresence of God as infinite Mind, he will not again, at least in the same degree as he may have done in the past, suffer through discouragement, depression, or fear that he may possibly be separated from God.
Graven and Mental Images
In considering the nature or character of God, one may view with commiseration the worshiper of idols who bows down to a graven stone image, and say to such a worshiper: My friend, do you not know that such conduct is blasphemous and unworthy? Suppose the worshiper of idols should say in reply: My brother, what you tell me causes me to fear that I may not be worshiping aright. I will not longer worship this graven stone image, but will worship your God. Tell me what your God is, and where he is to be found, in order that I may worship your God. Suppose he is told in reply that God is in heaven; that heaven is a place far-off, and that after a period of transition called death he may be permitted to enter heaven and there see and know Spirit, God. Might not the worshiper of idols be justified, or at least, might he not be pardoned if he then says, My brother, it seems to me that your God is only the same as my god, except that yours is afar-off where He cannot be seen; that while I am worshiping my graven stone image here, you are holding in thought and worshiping a mental image of your God who is in a far-off heaven. And besides all this, you have shown me in your good Book the place where it is written: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." From this, does it not seem, my brother, that the mental image or likeness of God which you hold in consciousness and to which you pray must be just as erroneous as the graven stone image which I worship, and to which I pray? This man has not received anything that will unfold to him the nature or character of true Causation or God. He is still a worshiper of idols.
Now, suppose as indicating the nature or character of God, you were to say to this worshiper of idols, My friend, do you remember the day you were roaming among the hills and found a stricken deer? You were about to end its existence merely to gratify an impulse to destroy, when something in the circumstance caused you to withhold your hand, and instead you bound up its wounds in such a manner that it was able to go away into the hills. You proceed to tell him that which caused him to withhold his hand and to bind up the wounds of the deer was mercy, tenderness, compassion. These, you explain to him, are qualities of Love. And you tell him that God is Love, and that Love is God.
Again you recall to his memory the day he lay ill in the jungle when he was found by his enemy who, instead of destroying him, carried him into his own hut and nursed him until he was well; and then, instead of holding him in slavery, gave him his freedom. You explain to him that that which withheld his enemy's hand and later gave him his freedom was mercy, compassion, liberty, equality, fraternity. These, you make clear to him, are qualities of Love. And you tell him that God is Love, and that Love is God.
You further cite to him an instance where two men owning jointly a piece of ground much desired by both were about to engage in warfare in order that one might possess, when one said to the other, Why should we fight and kill? Your family has need of you. Let us see if we cannot find some right way out that will be satisfactory to us both. Pondering thus, they turned aside from thoughts of killing. You show him that that which prevented warfare between the two men was compassion, humanity, equity, justice. These, you explain to him again, are qualities of Love, and qualities of intelligence or Mind. And you again tell him that God is Love, and that God is Mind.
The worshiper of idols, a worshiper of idols no longer, his face "aflame with divine Love" (Science and Health, p. 367), may say to you, My brother, this your God is a wonderful, a beautiful God. I now have no need of a graven stone image or of a mental image of God. I see now that God is with the wounded deer on the mountainside, with the sick man in the jungle, with the men who were about to destroy, with the mariner at sea outriding the storm. I see that He is here now, as in fraternal interest and pure desire we consider together His nature, name, or character. I now see that God is always present wherever the qualities of health, unselfishness, compassion, honesty, and peace are reflected to mankind. The man who worshiped idols has now an intelligent idea of the presence and power of God, good. He has an intelligent understanding of Causation or God. He has ceased to worship idols.
The objection is sometimes made that Christian Science is not orthodox. This brings up the question of what is and what is not orthodox. Human opinions combine in a statement of beliefs and then declare that those who differ from beliefs thus stated are unorthodox. The amount of this is: If you believe as we do, then you are orthodox. If you do not believe as we do, then you are decidedly unorthodox and — "do not believe in the divinity of Christ!" Mrs. Eddy has written in this connection of page 25 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus."
Regarding orthodoxy, may it not be said: That alone is orthodox which, proceeding from Principle or Truth, reflects the nature and character of the one Mind or God, in harmony, health, righteousness, and peace. Jesus established the basis of orthodoxy in the most simple and unmistakable language when he said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
On page 497 of the Christian Science textbook will be found the religious tenets of Christian Science. If any person honestly believes that Christian Scientists deny the divinity, goodness, purity, and reality of Christ Jesus, let him read these tenets. Let this person also read the chapter on "Atonement and Eucharist" in the same textbook. Let not this reading be done from a preconceived theological point of view, but honestly, as one would have an important fundamental statement of his own read by others. As a result such a person will find that he has, perhaps unwittingly, been led into the error of hasty and unrighteous judgment.
Evil Suggestion Destroyed
The human mind, uninstructed by divine Science, is controlled by its own suggestive fears of sin, disease and death. Thus controlled, this mind is more or less continually looking for these evils. How this human mind is finding trouble, and frequently where no trouble exists, is illustrated in an interesting manner by the experience of a good lady at a picture exhibition where clouds of heavy dust were rolling up from the hoofs of horses and cattle in the picture on the screen. This lady, whose coughing had disturbed many about her, was impelled finally to apologize for the disturbance, explaining to a lady sitting next to her that she could not help coughing because the dust tickled her throat.
If one will go a little further with the illustration it will serve to indicate one of the evils of mental suggestion to which all mankind, uninstructed by Christian Science, are more or less subject, and often with more or less serious results. If, however, one is inclined to feel that this is a very small matter, insignificant and unworthy of his attention, his opinion in this regard will change quickly when he recognizes the fact that every moment of his life is presenting to him some circumstance or thing which is leaving upon his consciousness a mental impression or mental suggestion, later to be reproduced in his active experience. Since the human mind, uninstructed by Christian Science, is so constituted that it anticipates a preponderance of evil in all things, it will be seen at once that the majority of the impressions or suggestions thus coming to this human mind involve a preponderance of evil, which later will be reproduced in active experience. On the other hand, that person whose thought is fundamentally fortified by Christian Science is able to discriminate intelligently between the impressions and suggestions which present themselves, excluding those which later produce sin, sickness, and death. Such a person, furthermore, through the demonstration of Christian Science, admits into his consciousness only those ideas of truth and good which he desires later to see reproduced in his active experience, in facts of health, strength, righteousness, and peace.
Disease Propaganda Destroyed
If one was seeking a vivid example of mental suggestion it would not be necessary to go any further than to look upon any so-called epidemic of disease which from time to time sweeps over this or any other country. Much of epidemic disease is nothing more nor less than disease propaganda. It is quite generally recognized that a close study, contemplation, or a fear of disease will frequently result in the reproduction of the symptoms of such disease. This is so well recognized among medical students that it is often the subject of a jest when a student is reported ill. Under such circumstances students will inquire in a jesting spirit in regard to the special disease which formed the subject of the day's lesson; the theory being that the symptoms of this particular disease have been developed by the student who is ill. If all the reports and bulletins in regard to so-called epidemics of disease were to be honored, one might feel as though he were surrounded by enemy germs and microbes, each particular germ endowed with the intelligence and cunning necessary to destroy the understanding and health of mankind.
During the course of a recent so-called epidemic of disease, I have encountered numerous interesting experiences, some of which have been quite illuminating. In some of the cities visited schools, churches, theaters, and public gathering places generally were entirely closed. In other cities conditions varied as thought varied. In one very large city the regulations provided that church services might be held if the members of the congregations were seated at intervals of four feet apart. It was not apparent as to just how those who were responsible for the order arrived at this exact placement of four feet. I daresay the theory may have been that an active young germ at its best might not be able to jump so far as four feet.
Coming into my home city of New York it was a wonderful relief to experience freedom from fearful and foreboding restrictions. Here were found churches, schools, theaters, and public gathering places open freely, and business going on in quite a normal healthy fashion. Calling upon the health commissioner of New York to congratulate him upon the conditions which prevailed, I was thanked for the acknowledgment and received the assurance that those in charge did not believe it was a good plan to carry on a campaign of fear that would scare the people out of their existence.
The wisdom of this policy is shown by records which indicate that the mortality and sick rate were much lower in New York city during this particular epidemic than in other cities and localities throughout the country which had been held under foreboding bans and bulletins of fear. This is particularly gratifying, since it is traditional with New York, that if it has an epidemic or anything else, its pride is to "get" it a bit harder than any other locality.
Let it be understood, however, in connection with this subject that the Christian Scientist does not ignore any more than he fears the germ or disease. Too little is really known about the germ, however, to justify taking it as seriously as some would have us do.
Even among those who are supposed to know all about the germ there seems to be a very wide difference of opinion as to whether the germ starts the disease or the disease starts the germ. This point is well illustrated in the experience of a gentleman who graduated from a medical school a quarter of a century ago. This man followed the practice of medicine for a period of years, until he learned that there was another and better way in which the sick were healed and the sinning regenerated, by one and the same process in Christian Science.
Since that time this gentleman has devoted his activities and energies to the field of Christian Science. Some months ago business called this man to the city where the medical school is located from which he was graduated. Coming into the hall of biology, he found the professor in charge and a large class of students each busily engaged with his own microscope in carrying out bacteriological examinations. Upon being introduced to this professor the gentleman said to him, "Well, Professor, how far have you gotten along with this thing?" The professor, somewhat surprised, asked him what he meant by this question. "Well," answered the gentleman, "twenty-four years ago I was here in this very room doing the very things that you are doing here this morning, and I was wondering as I came into the hall how far you have got along with the work in these twenty-four years. Have you found out yet, which is first, the germ or the disease" "Oh," replied the professor, looking at him curiously for a moment, "you come around again in twenty-four years!"
All that there is to a germ is a diseased thought; and all there is to a diseased thought-germ is in, to, and of the mortal mind, that mind which Jesus described as a liar, "a murderer from the beginning," and without truth. Mrs. Eddy refers to this subject on page 164 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" when she says, "Much yet remains to be said and done before all mankind is saved and all the mental microbes of sin and all diseased thought-germs are exterminated." The Christian Scientist knows that an idea of Truth, of Mind or God, will at once destroy diseased thought-germs, whose only existence is in, to, and of the mortal mind. This mortal mind being a liar, and having no truth in itself, cannot produce in its own beliefs either truth or reality with which to oppose God's ideas.
Erroneous Methods Disclosed
In the use of a material medicine or serum, no intelligent person will agree for a moment that the drug or serum has intelligence or wisdom in itself to go to a certain part of the human organization and there do the exact thing necessary to be done in other to establish harmony. Neither will any intelligent person agree that the drug or serum has a supernatural or magical power enabling it to establish harmony. Then it follows that there must be a combination of faith and mental suggestion that operates to produce whatever result is supposed to follow the use of the drug or serum.
None of the noble men and women who have labored unselfishly and patiently for the alleviation of human suffering will consent to the proposition that any comfort they had brought to mankind was the result of the unworthy belief that the medicines used were endowed either with intelligence or a magical power to act.
The comfort and help that have been brought to mankind through the lives of noble men and women devoted to the relief of human suffering have been due to their honest prayers, desires, and unselfish love for mankind, and not to any superstition or makeshift of matter.
It would be considered the height of the ridiculous if some person was to go to a board of education and tell the members of that board that he had, at great expense and pains, made a collection of chalk that had been used in erroneous mathematical calculations. That, from the chalk so collected, a serum had been prepared with which to inoculate fresh pieces of chalk, the theory being that the use of the chalk thus inoculated would lessen the liability to erroneous mathematical calculations. Some one may say, Why, that is nonsense and is ridiculous! That is exactly what it is, — ridiculous and nonsensical! Yet is it not something of this sort that is suggested for the acceptance of mankind, and to which mankind are expected to submit their bodies with the idea of establishing harmony?
One may object to this and say: Why, there is no logic in such an argument. This chalk is simply a piece of inorganic matter: it has no intelligence or mind as has the human body. Ah! It is the mind, then, associated with the material body, which must be taken into consideration and treated! In this event, where in mind will one inject a serum or introduce a drug?
Since it is the human mind that is to be treated, then it must be the human mind that is sick.
It is obvious that that which is sick cannot be its own healer, else it would not be sick.
It follows, then, that the divine or immortal Mind is the only medicine and healer that can be used legitimately to cure the sick mortal mind.
Through this action of the divine Mind the mortal mind is disabused of the belief that it has a sick body. This procedure is scientific and true, and if followed understandingly and consistently will reconstruct and heal the sick and the sinning.
The Christian Scientist, when handling disease, has no fear of the germ enemy despite the testimony of the physical senses, and despite the conclusions advanced by human reason based upon the testimony of the physical senses. He knows something, at least, of what the omnipresence of God means. He knows that it means the omnipresence of divine Mind. Wherever he goes this presence or omnipresence is with him regardless of what the physical senses may testify as to the assumed presence and power of enemy microbe or enemy germ. The universe of the Christian Scientist is filled with God's ideas, — with ideas of Life, Mind, Love, — instead of diseased thought-germs of mortal mind. He knows that this mortal mind, being a liar without truth or reality, cannot produce anything that is true, real, or that has power. Having learned something of the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, the endeavor of the Christian Scientist is to reflect or express this omnipresent Mind or good in healing the sick and in reconstructing human thought. He knows, in a degree, that the omnipotence of God, good, is not a divided omnipotence in which sin, disease, and death also are factors.
With thought thus established the Christian Scientist is not particularly disturbed by so-called climatic changes, or changes of the weather. He has learned that his business is not with climatic or seasonal changes, with colds, coughs, influenza, or whatever else it may be called to-morrow. He knows that his business first, last and always is with God, the divine and immortal Mind whose name, nature, or character is everywhere present and always operative for the good of mankind.
[The main text of this lecture comes from a 1921 newspaper. At this point in a version of the lecture published in 1919, the following sections appeared:
[It has been objected that Christian Scientists do not participate in the work of public charities. This, however, is an erroneous impression which has grown out of the fact that Christian Scientists do not pursue the methods that are generally followed in raising and distributing so-called charity funds. While they are liberal subscribers to funds for the alleviation of human suffering and urgent need, their thought in regard to charity is best expressed by a statement in the first paragraph of the preface to "Miscellaneous Writings" by Mrs. Eddy, reading as follows: "A certain apothegm of a Talmudical philosopher suits my sense of doing good. It reads thus: 'The noblest charity is to prevent a man from accepting charity; and the best alms are to show and to enable a man to dispense with alms.'"
[There are approximately six thousand Christian Science practitioners whose names appear in the Christian Science Journal at this date. It is not an overstatement to say that there is an average of one patient calling upon each of these practitioners daily and receiving treatment for which the patients are not in position to make financial payment. There are, therefore, six thousand persons throughout the world who are daily receiving from Christian Science practitioners the treatment and help which is healing them of physical, moral, mental and spiritual ills. Add to this the number of persons who are being treated by Christian Scientists other than listed practitioners, and it would be safe to say that there are at least ten thousand patients throughout the world receiving daily this necessary help gratuitously. Furthermore, and here is the unusual fact that distinguishes a Christian Science treatment from any other form of treatment, these ten thousand persons who are being treated daily are not only being healed of their ills, but are being put in a position to dispense with charity in the form of alms, and are equipped to occupy positions of respect, responsibility and independence in the communities in which they reside. Christian Scientists do not feel that they are entitled to any especial commendation for the work of this character. Since the criticism has been made, however, that Christian Scientists do not engage in any charitable work, the above facts are stated simply as facts which may not be entirely without interest and significance.
[The World War
[The activities of Christian Scientists during the world war which has recently closed are so well known that it is not necessary to rehearse a history of these activities at this time. In this connection it is only necessary to state that since the outbreak of the world war hostilities, Christian Scientists have been a unit in the policies of our government and its allies. This support on the part of Christian Scientists has been given through every line of right activity established by our government at home and abroad. Christian Scientists recognized quite generally at the outbreak of the war that the battle was not so much a struggle between nations, but, in the language of St. Paul the warfare was "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
[Today, as the atmosphere of peace and justice settles upon the nations of the world, Christian Scientists understand that the victory is not a victory of men over men, or of nations over nations, but is a victory of right over wrong, of good over evil — a victory of the true idea of government by Principle and Truth as distinguished from the autocratic personal control of men over men. It is in this demonstration of the reality and availability of the power and presence of God, Good, to overthrow and destroy the beliefs of evil that Christian Scientists rejoice with unspeakable joy.]
One is beginning to hear the statement made that Christian Scientists have a very efficient method of carrying on religious propaganda. This statement, without doubt, is based upon the steady growth of Christian Science throughout the world. In order that one may avoid unjust criticism it is important that a clear distinction be made at this point. The work of Christian Science is healing and educational. It is not propaganda.
The difference between the healing and educational work of Christian Science and a program of propaganda, ecclesiastical, political, medical or otherwise, is as distinct as day and night. Christian Science places before human thought the fact of healing as self-evident truth. On the other hand what is termed propaganda presents to thought certain statements which do not bear the conviction of self-evident truth within themselves. Such statements require a system of mental suggestion, or mental influence, apart from themselves to bring about their acceptance. The theory of propaganda, therefore, involves the erroneous basis that, if you can succeed in making all of the people believe a thing is so, it will be so.
The subtlety and error of such a theory should be apparent in these days to the most casual observer. The great world war now closing was brought about by this theory of suggestive propaganda. Furthermore, the breaking up of the world war has disclosed the logical result of this distorted theory, — its total and dismal failure as applied to the government of nations.
The Scriptures inform us that Abraham went out from his father's house seeking a "city which hath foundations," a new country. This new country, as it is revealed in Christian Science, is not just a quantity of material earth bounded by geographical lines and designated by the name of the nation. It is not just the green shaded lanes and murmuring brooks, however dearly treasured from childhood days and associated with homeland they may seem to be. The Homeland, Native Country, Fatherland, is that city sought by Abraham. Homeland is that understanding of Principle or God which unfolds true and right ideas leading into constructive reform and good will to men. It is not to be entered by the portals of what mortals believe to be death, but an understanding and demonstration of the qualities of eternal Truth and good, today and here. The Fatherland is that realm of infinite Mind in which ideas of constructive good are continually unfolding. It is that realm of Mind in which the flower never loses its fragrance, in which love never becomes unlovely nor ceases its wholesome and pure incentives. This is the Father-Motherland toward which mankind is looking in Christian Science. This understanding of Homeland builds up the true sense of loyalty and patriotism to God, country, and mankind. Men and women have been mesmerized and turned away from the contemplation of this true Fatherland by the suggestive propaganda of the mortal mind. This suggestive propaganda has built up misleading concepts of religion, government, and healing. Viewing these limited and false boundaries, this Fatherland developed by and through the belief that matter is real, intelligent, and desirable. Jesus said with characteristic alertness, "Arise, let us go hence." Christian Science enables men and nations to cease from the use of suggestive propaganda, and to escape likewise, being used thereby.
Gratitude to Mrs. Eddy
Christian Scientists have a tender regard, love, and gratitude for their revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy. It would not be right to assume that there is anything in the nature of personal worship in this attitude. On the contrary, this feeling of regard and gratitude is in acknowledgment and recognition of the broad, universal service to humanity which characterized Mrs. Eddy's life.
From the time of her healing on that memorable Sunday morning in the year 1866, Mrs. Eddy's life was spent consistently and exclusively in unfolding the facts connected with her healing in such terms and manner as would best be understood by the human mind. It was necessary that these facts should be rightly correlated, and the science which governed them made clear, in order that mankind always shall have at hand the means to alleviate and heal sin, sickness, and sorrow.
It is not unnatural, therefore, that those who have been restored to health, joy, and peace by Christian Science should express gratitude to God for the Science that has made them free. Neither is it strange that these should express gratitude as well to the noble woman whose life work made it possible to experience such healing and peace.
It is recorded of Jesus that, coming to the city of Nazareth, he entered the synagogue, and taking up the Book, opened it to the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." And closing the Book, he said to those who were gathered about: "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Likewise, my friends, the recognition is growing among intelligent people everywhere that the works of Christian Science reflect the existence of a definite law. Furthermore, the recognition is growing that the operation of this law is available in Christian Science to heal and bless all mankind in the degree that the law is rightly understood and put into practice.
The Christian Science Textbook
The statement of this law, or Christian Science, and the method of application are found in all of the writings of Mrs. Eddy, more especially in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is the only textbook on Christian Science healing.
One edition of this work is published in the English language throughout. One edition is printed in the French language, with the English translation on the opposite pages. And one edition is printed in the German language, with the English translation on opposite pages. The language of Spirit is universal. No human tongue can frame the sound of Spirit. No mortal eye can see, no ear hear the presence of Spirit. The witness, however, of Spirit is the same in all languages. This witness is the sign of healing and regeneration.
This book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is unfolding to mankind the true idea of Causation or God. This unfoldment is reflected in a higher idea of life, more adequate health, courage, confidence, ability, strength, uprightness, honesty, and good will. As these fruits of Christian Science come into your experience, you will recognize that they belong to and identify the nature or character of God. Thus, these fruits will be to you the witness or evidence of Immanuel, or "God with us," — God with you, — and my friends, if God, the one eternal Mind or Causation be with you here and now,
"Why search the future and the past?
Why do ye look with tearful eyes
And seek, far off, for Paradise?
Beneath thy feet, Life's pearl is cast."
[Delivered April 22, 1921, at The Glove Theater of Gloversville, New York, and published in The Morning Herald of Gloversville, April 23, 1921.]