Christian Science: Its Reasonable Appeal
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 by William W. Porter, C.S.B., of New York City, was given at the Murat Theater last night. The speaker was introduced by William B. Wheelock.
The lecture follows:
Thought, rightly related to the divine Mind or God, who is the source of all intelligence, reveals the God-like man. Christian Science emphasizes and demonstrates the fact that because man is God's image and likeness, man must reflect the inexhaustible resources of the divine Mind or God. All that the divine Mind has and knows, therefore, belongs by reflection to God's perfect spiritual man. The just Nazarene Teacher plainly taught the true relation of man to God: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;" and again, "All things that the Father hath are mine." Surely no one may object to this true idea of Godlikeness which Christian Science is bringing anew to mankind; because, until the nature of man's true selfhood is understood, human beings will be in ignorance of their natural rights and privileges, and will continue to suffer as a result of this lack of understanding. There must be a beginning, however; the arrow never flies while asleep in the quiver. To understand and to enjoy man's true selfhood thought must actually begin to reflect the qualities of the divine Mind in the activities of the daily life.† The teachings and the practice of Christian Science are such that they consistently and successfully hold thought in constant relation to the divine nature. In this way the truth and harmony which belong to the divine Mind are related to the needs of human experience.
Christian Science fulfills the command of Jesus to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. It is interesting to consider what the effect would be today it every person were to fulfill to the best of his ability this simple command of the Master. The words were not addressed to a select coterie of persons, nor is their application limited to any particular period of time.† The command is to all mankind and in all ages. It has been said that Jesus preached but one sermon, The Sermon on the Mount. The entire career of Jesus, however, may be said to be a sermon wherein he preached the gospel by healing the sick. One has become accustomed to think of sickness as something related solely to the flesh. Christian Science shows that evil mentality, unless corrected, results in physical disorder; hence the comprehensiveness of the command - "heal the sick." Christian Science not only restores the consciousness of harmony in the event of sickness; it also maintains this consciousness of harmony by removing the erroneous mental conditions which induce sickness.
It is not the purpose of Christian Science rudely to challenge cherished religious beliefs, nor to criticize in an unkind manner the efforts on the part of many good men and women who have devoted their lives to the alleviation of human suffering through systems of material medication. Progress, however, is the law of infinite divine Mind unfolding to mankind. Were this not true we should be surrounded still by the crudities of primitive existence.
We may all agree, therefore, that if a more adequate way exists whereby the sick are healed and the erring are restored to useful lives, it is then the duty of every person who has at heart the best interests of mankind first to understand, and, thereafter, to aid in the establishment or the demonstration of this better way. In our consideration of the subject if some persons, misinformed concerning Christian Science, view its advent with the purpose to deride or to combat, let us hope that any such will find somewhere in the reasonable appeal of this Science that which will transform derision into the spirit of genuine interest, and change combativeness into useful cooperation.
Mary Baker Eddy is the discoverer and founder of Christian Science and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The discovery of Christian Science was made during the year 1866, in that part of the United States known as New England. It is of interest to note that the revelation and discovery of this Science was associated directly with the recovery of Mrs. Eddy from an illness, the result of an accident, which physicians had pronounced incurable. Mrs. Eddy indicates that this is the incident which turned her thought to the discovery of what the world knows today to be Christian Science. It may properly be said that Christian Scientists have a peculiar love and regard for their revered leader. It would be wrong, however, in the extreme to assume that there is anything in this attitude that savors of personal worship or personal adoration. On the contrary, this attitude toward Mrs. Eddy on the part of Christian Scientists is in recognition and in grateful acknowledgment of the broad, universal and unselfish service to all mankind which characterize all of Mrs. Eddy's life work. Indeed, from the date of her healing on that momentous Sunday morning in the year 1866, Mrs. Eddy's life was spent consistently and exclusively in proving the truth which had been revealed to her and in establishing Christian Science in accordance therewith. She also reduced the facts connected with her healing to such terms or language as would be best understood by mankind. It was necessary that this be done. It was necessary that those facts be rightly correlated, and that the Science which governed the appearance of these facts should be accurately stated, as has been scrupulously done in the book Science and Health. It was necessary that this should be done in order that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear might acquire at any and all times, in any and all places, the means to enable them to heal and to help mankind whenever such healing is desired and sought. Christian Scientists ask of the world, in regard to Mrs. Eddy, that the judgment of the world concerning this remarkable woman shall be based upon the character of her life work. Words of praise cannot add luster to a life actuated by love for God and the human race.† Of such a life the scriptural proverb may well be uttered; "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
In the early days of Christian Science the workers, the men and women who, as it were, blazed the way, found it was difficult to convince the public that this Science actually heals the sick and that it regenerates human thought. Many doors were closed upon those earnest workers, whose only desire was to share with others something of the good that had come into their own lives through the ministrations of Christian Science. The discoverer and founder of Christian Science herself was not excepted from this unkind and ungenerous treatment. The situation, however, is today widely different. The demonstration of Christian Science in the healing of sickness and in the regeneration of human thought is now a recognized and accomplished fact. Moreover, and because this science expresses the quality and conviction of final revelation, it is accepted to be a permanent dispensation. Indeed, so well settled is the recognition of the healing and regenerative works of Christian Science that thoughtful men and women are asking with growing interest the question: How has it been possible for Christian Science to attain its present stage of progress and development in scarcely more than fifty years?† This progress has not been due to the attraction of unique social features, nor to the promise of position and rank, fame and glory; nor yet to the fear of ecclesiastical thunderings or canonical laws. None of these things belong to Christian Science. One reaches logically the conclusion that the remarkable development of Christian Science is due entirely to the fact that this science meets the needs of humanity in an adequate and satisfactory manner.
The question may be asked: Does Christian Science never fail?† No true science can ever fail. One may fail to understand the science of numbers, or fail properly to apply this science in working out a mathematical problem. No person will assume, however, for a moment, that because there has been a failure to understand or properly to apply the science of numbers the science of mathematics has failed. Likewise there may be a failure properly to understand Christian Science, or a failure properly to apply this science in the working out of a problem under consideration - but Christian Science never fails.
Systems of religion and of medicine which have appeared and disappeared in the history of the world have finally disappeared because they were founded either upon the personal reputation or the personal sense of their originators, or upon the unworthy and degrading belief that evil is a reality with power exceeding that of good or God; and that matter, non-intelligent and inert, possesses the qualities or properties of life and mind. Any system of religion or healing which is adequate and satisfactory to meet the needs of mankind must be erected upon a foundation broad and deep, a foundation which is at the same time as simple and as universally available to all mankind as divine Love itself is available. Such a system must express the element of intelligence or divine Mind. Matter cannot be the foundation for an adequate system of religion or healing, because matter is not intelligent. This is a simple statement of ultimate fact, the logic of which may not be legitimately avoided.† Christian Science has been criticized frequently because of its statements regarding the unreality of matter, the unreality of sin, sickness, death; and yet, the established systems of religion and medicine have been engaged throughout their respective histories, and that too without criticism, in the attempt to escape the ills associated with evil, and to overcome the limitations associated with matter! Were these systems to be successful in their attempts to save mankind from evil and sickness, is it not clear that such systems would come finally to the recognition with which Christian Science begins, namely, that evil, sickness, death, mortal mind are unreal? God, the divine Mind, who includes all intelligence and reality, is "of purer eyes than to behold evil" - to believe evil to be real. Seeing this to be true, mankind ought not to resist the influence of that educational process which in Christian Science is unfolding to thought the nature of reality. The ordinary systems teach and perpetuate the belief that evil, sickness, death are real; more, that these belong to the natural order of things, and that they are more or less legitimate and to be expected. Then these systems begin immediately to attempt to overthrow and to destroy these things which are held to be real, legitimate and to be expected. If these afflictions are real, why try to escape them either through religion or medicine?† Indeed, in such a circumstance will not the very attempt to escape from these ills be on act contrary to the divine will and contrary to the divine order? On the other hand, if these evils are not real and so not created by God, then let the statements made by Christian Science in regard to the unreality of matter, sin, death, and destruction, be approached and measured honestly and fairly, and above all with the desire to be consistent, not only with respect to the conclusions at which we may arrive, but what is far more important, with respect to the premises from which we make our beginning. Christian Science declares primarily, secondarily, and always that God, the divine Mind, is the only creator; that real creation must reflect the character of the divine Mind or God; and that true creation consists, therefore, of spiritual or true ideas. Evil is not a spiritual or a true idea; therefore evil is not a creation of the divine Mind or God.† The Christian Scientist proceeds to prove the truth of this position. This is done by healing the sick and by restoring thought to lines of right activity through the understanding - not that there are two supreme powers, a supreme good and a supreme evil warring forever one against the other, but that there is one only supreme power, the eternal God or good who is the one and only Mind. Because God, who is the eternal Principle of man and the universe, creates all that is created, and because this Principle or Mind cannot create anything unlike itself, it follows that evil and matter are not creations of God, hence they have no legitimate existence and no legitimate power.
The only seeming power of evil and matter is that which mortal consciousness gives to them. Evil and matter seem to have the effect of power because mortal consciousness believes and accepts them to be real.
Because of the lack of proper education in true Christianity, mankind, actuated by mortal thought, has accepted as real its own misconceptions of God, their own misinterpretations of man, and its own misstatements of Spirit or substance; and out of these abysmal depths there has arisen a "mist from the earth" - a cloud of false knowledge - that stands between mankind and God influencing thought adversely to the highest good.
It is the mission and province of Christian Science to clear away and to destroy the basic error of mortal thought that evil is real and that matter is intelligent. In accomplishing this work it is the mission of Christian Science furthermore to restore to mankind the true idea concerning God; the idea which reveals Him to be the eternal Principle of all that exists; to restore to mankind the understanding of what constitutes the "image and likeness" of God, or the understanding of man's true selfhood. Christian Science naturally lays strong emphasis upon the necessity for gaining a true understanding of God. On page 1 of the preface to Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes these significant words: "Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is life eternal." Because God is primal cause, the understanding of the nature and character of the divine Mind or God is fundamental to all true knowledge; therefore all that is worthy and to be desired in social, religious, domestic, political, industrial life must be founded upon and express the basic and true understanding concerning God who is the divine Principle of all. Christian Science reveals in this connection certain simple truths which are profitable for consideration. It is clear that the creations of God must be Godlike; and that because God is infinite Mind, the creations of God must be Mindlike or like the Mind from which they proceed. Creation, then, must he the true or spiritual idea which reflects, with infinite fidelity, the nature and character of the divine Mind.
Because there is no place conceivable where God is not. It follows naturally and inevitably that God, who is infinite Mind, is everywhere present and is everywhere intelligently active for Good. How can one conceive of the omnipresence of God otherwise than as infinite Mind? One cannot conceive of the omnipresence of a material or human personality. One cannot conceive of the omnipresence of a materially outlined figure. The Scriptures declare that God is Love, Spirit, Truth, Life, Mind. How is it possible for a materially outlined figure, or a graven image, or a mental image, to convey the adequate idea of the nature and character of infinite Mind and of divine Love - of the omnipresence of God?
It is the understanding of this fact of God's omnipresence that makes possible the remarkable effectiveness of what is called absent treatment in Christian Science. The divine Mind, God, is everywhere present. Hence no necessity exists for the attempt to project thought to some distant place to heal the sick; the divine Principle, Love is already there and everywhere. The effectiveness of a spiritual idea cannot be said to be limited by or to a personal presence or material environment.† A divine idea should be recognized to be always present and active because it reflects all pervasive divine Mind. To understand this is to understand, in a degree, the harmony of being.
The so-called human or mortal mind claims evil to be greater in power than good. This is not surprising, however, when we recognize that mortal mind holds the unworthy and degrading belief that evil is real and that matter is intelligent.† One may not grasp the significance of the statement immediately, nevertheless it is true, that all of the sin, sickness and destruction that has come into the world of human experience has come as the result of the operation in thought of this degrading belief.† Unfortunately for the human race, uninstructed by Christian Science, human consciousness has lost sight of what is wrong. Owing to this erroneous mental procedure which accepts evil as real and matter as intelligent, human beings have found themselves confronted with a seemingly inexplicable and mysterious state of existence, which expresses itself in sin, sickness, and death, - a state or existence wholly without foundation or support in Truth and Love, and wholly at variance with the nature of divine Principle.† Christian Science comes to the consciousness which believes evil to be real and matter to be intelligent and begins immediately to remove from experience the baneful effects which spring from the error to which we have referred.† This is done by restoring to the individual the understanding of what constitutes the nature and character of God, and by unfolding the understanding of what constitutes true selfhood or the divine "image and likeness." Upon the basis of the understanding of what constitutes man's true selfhood as revealed in Christian Science the individual begins straightway, consciously and intelligently, to deny, to cast out, to repudiate and to refuse to be governed by the suggestions which grow out of the wholly illegitimate belief involving the reality of evil and the intelligence of matter. Principle is always Principle, and embraces within itself the eternal qualities of God, the qualities of Life, of Love and of Mind, which constitute all being and reality. Hence, that which makes evil seem to be real and matter seem to be intelligent is the waywardness of mortal thought which sees as real whatever it believes.
The statement is sometimes made that Christian Scientists ignore disease. The fact is, however, that Christian Scientists do not ignore either the disease or the germ. The Christian Scientist knows that the only germ of disease is a mental germ.† Some persons may not accept this statement.† They will insist upon having a germ that they can hunt and capture, and punish. One cannot, however, get entirely away from the suspicion that the reason such persons reject the statement regarding the mental germ is because it demands a personal and a permanent mental housecleaning; and because, also, it seems to be altogether too simple, and to be devoid of heroics.† The statement, notwithstanding, is true; and evidence is not lacking even in material lines for its support. Dr. G. A. Jordan, secretary of the St. Louis, Mo., board of health, a few years ago supplied the newspapers of that city with a statement giving his opinion regarding an epidemic which then threatened that city. Said Dr. Jordan: "The epidemic is more psychological than actual."† What does that mean?† It means that "the epidemic is more mental than actual."† This is what Christian Science has been reiterating and reiterating for the past fifty years and more. The voice is that of one crying in the wilderness:† "The epidemic is more psychological than actual."† There is the mental germ! Dr. S. Weir Mitchell is reported to have stated: "that back of every disease is a cause, and that cause no medicine can reach." Why cannot medicine reach the cause?† Christian Science shows the reason for this to be that disease is mental, and it is perfectly obvious, even to a layman, that a material medicine cannot reach a mental cause. Dr. Wilfred H. Kellogg, secretary of the California State board of health, compiled a pamphlet concerning the epidemic of the year 1918, summing up the entire situation, after an exhaustive study of the subject, Dr. Kellogg uses these frank words: "We are just as much in the dark as ever regarding the microbial cause of influenza." Why, one is forced to ask, after 5,000 years and more of material medication, "just as much in the dark as ever?" The interests of humanity and progress compel the question. Must not the answer be, because the search for the cause of disease has been always in matter?† Can any one believe for a moment that if the cause of disease is in matter, the patient efforts of scientific thought for 5,000 years could result only in darkness?
It should be apparent, that only as disease is seen to be mental, a belief of the mortal mind, is it possible to heal disease through the operation of divine Truth and Love which reverses and removes the belief of the mortal mind and neutralizes its discordant effects?† Christian Science declares disease to be mental, a belief of the mortal mind which is dissipated and healed by the unfolding idea of Truth and Love. A gentleman who was graduated from a medical school in this country twenty-four years ago was healed in Christian Science of a painful ailment which his former methods had failed to relieve. Since that time this man has devoted his activities to the field of Christian Science. This gentleman had occasion recently to revisit the medical school from which he was graduated. Upon entering the hall of biology, he found a roomful of students, each engaged with his own microscope carrying out bacteriological tests and examinations. After being introduced to the professor in charge, the visitor said, "Professor, how far have you gotten with this sort of work?" Said the professor, "What do you mean?" "Well," said my friend, "I will tell you. Twenty-four years ago I was here, in this very room doing exactly the same things that you are doing here now.† I wondered as I came in how far you have gone with the work in the last twenty-four years; and if you are able to say, yet, what is the exact nature or form of the germ."† "Oh," answered the professor, looking at him curiously for a moment, "you came around again in twenty-four years!" All there is to a germ is a diseased thought, and all there is to a disease thought-germ is in and of that carnal mind which Jesus said is a "murderer from the beginning," and concerning which he further said, "There is no truth in him." Now, if there is no truth in this mortal mind, this "murderer from the beginning," this belief that evil is real and that matter is intelligent - according to the words of the wise Nazarene Prophet - then there certainly is no reality in it to be either feared or honored.† The Christian Scientist knows this. He is not fooling himself. He is not permitting his imagination to run riot. He is proving, in his everyday experience, that this mortal mind cannot produce in its own beliefs, superstitions, germs, or whatever else they may be called tomorrow, anything to interfere with or to overthrow one of the least of these little ones - one of the least of these ideas of the divine Mind or God which unfolds the nature and character of man's true selfhood. Each successive conclusion reached by physical science regarding the nature of the germ is a step nearer to the ultimate recognition that the inception of disease is in mortal belief and not in what appears to be matter. This being true, why follow devious and painful steps through matter? Why not accept the scientific, definite, clear and simple statements of fact demonstrated by Christian Science?
The present vogue in systems of material medication seems to be what is called the serum treatment. It is not necessary to go into an exhaustive description of this form of treatment, because after all has been said upon the subject that can be said, after the subject has been stripped of all of it technical verbiage, it amounts simply to this; the injection of one form of matter called "serum" into another form of matter called "body."† The theory is that the matter-serum will make the matter-body well. In systems of material medication it is the matter-body that is to be treated.† Under this seemingly plausible theory of the application of matter to matter for the purpose of correcting discord and of establishing harmony one might, consistently with this theory, gather up a lot of chalk which had been used in carrying out erroneous mathematical calculations in the public schools. From the chalk thus collected a serum might be evolved. This serum might be injected into other clean, fresh pieces of chalk under the theory that the use of the chalk, thus inoculated, will do away with errors of mathematics in our public schools. Some one may argue that the two situations are not similar - the piece of chalk and the human body. He will tell you that the piece of chalk is simply a piece of inorganic inanimate matter, which has neither human sense nor human intelligence as has the body. Now we are making rapid strides. It is the human mind, then, associated with the body, which must be taken into consideration and treated. Let us assume a blackboard to be filled with erroneous, discordant, sick mathematical calculations. What is wrong here? The blackboard cannot be said to be sick, nor the chalk, nor the hand which made the figures, nor the muscles which guided the hands. The so-called human mind which produced the erroneous results is sick and at fault. This human mind, it should be clearly understood, is not the divine Mind, nor is it related to the divine, immortal Mind. The human mind is comprised in the belief that evil is real and that matter is intelligent; this so-called mind is the producer of sickness and cannot be the healer of disease. Only the truth embraced in the infinite, divine Mind can correct the errors of mortal belief.
In order to correct erroneous mathematical results no one will argue for a moment that it is necessary to improve the structure of the blackboard, or of the chalk; nor that it is necessary to strengthen the hand or the muscles which have been used in putting down the erroneous figures. What is it that differentiates the human body from the piece of chalk? Obviously the human mind. Take away entirely the human mind from the human body and there remains - matter, just as inanimate as the piece of chalk. It is, then, the human mind that must be taken into consideration and treated.
Apart from the evidence which has been reviewed in this connection, who is willing to admit that a material medicine has the intelligence, when taken into the system, to go to the exact part of the human system, and there do the exact thing necessary to be done to establish harmony and to relieve suffering? Does any one believe that inert matter possesses within itself the intelligence necessary to do this? The answer can only be no. Then why continue longer subject to the idolatrous practice involved in matter medicine? Any seeming good which follows the use of material medicine is the result of hypnotic suggestion and human faith in matter. It is worthy to be noted that Christian Science healing follows a strictly legitimate line of thinking: Christian Science, recognizing sickness to be mental, a discordant sense of the mortal mind, demonstrates that only the truth or harmony of the divine Mind or God can destroy this discordant sense of the mortal mind.
Human beings are struggling in every conceivable manner to find a way out of the wilderness of belief and discord into which mortal thinking has plunged them. It is a sad commentary, however, upon these efforts, that many of the methods which are followed produced conditions more painful than those from which humanity would escape.† Never before has the need been so great as now for a definite and a final statement of being - a statement of being at once Christian and scientific - which will lead the individual into the true understanding of being and selfhood. Evidence of this need accumulates upon every side.
Announcements recently made in the newspapers indicate that the British Medical Association has approved and adopted a system of mental therapeutics to be used in medical practice. The system adopted is said to be that of suggestion. Mental suggestion represents the action of one human mind upon another. Is it not clear then, that human thought can make use of suggestion just as readily for evil purposes as for good? A movement recently inaugurated to establish Christian healing in the churches adopted the method of hypnotic or mental suggestion, and this method was said by the author of the movement to be the same as that used by all other systems of mental healing, including Christian Science, as well.† One will not criticize the purpose to establish Christian healing in the churches. Indeed, if the church is to fulfill its true functioning, it must inevitably demonstrate the ability to hear and to obey the command of Jesus not only to "preach the gospel," but also to "heal the sick." Because, however, the statement has been made in this connection that Christian Science uses hypnotic or mental suggestion, it is proper to correct this erroneous assumption. It would be difficult to make a more erroneous statement than to say that Christian Science makes use of mental suggestion or hypnotism in any manner. The use of hypnotism or suggestion contemplates the action of one human mind upon another. Sufficient has been said upon this subject to show that it is the human or mortal mind that is sick. How, then, is it possible for the mind that is sick and that produces sickness to be at the same time the healer of sickness? The same fountain does not send forth both sweet waters and bitter. The theory that the human or mortal mind heals sickness involves hypnotism or suggestion. Moreover, when an operator who uses hypnotic suggestion endeavors to suggest to the patient that the latter is not sick, that he is all right, and that there is nothing wrong with him, this operator is stating something which, from his own viewpoint, is a plain lie. This sort of an operator believes the patient to be sick; he has no means by which he can know and justify the statement that the patient is not sick. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that when this operator endeavors to suggest to a patient that the patient is not sick, a process is thus introduced which involves a lie at the very outset. No words are necessary to show that this process is not Christian and that it is not scientific. It is needless to say that it is not Christian Science.
A brief statement at this point indicating the procedure of Christian Science will be of interest. It has been seen that because the mortal mind produces sickness it can not at the same time be the healer of sickness. We come, at this point to one of the most important points in the entire theology of Christian Science.† It is this: Because the human or mortal mind cannot be its own healer, it follows naturally and inevitably that the divine Mind, or God, is the only healer and the only medicine which can be used in the line of strict scientific legitimacy to heal the sick. The action of the divine Mind upon the human mind disabuses and deprives the human mind of the error that evil is real and that matter is intelligent. The action of the divine Mind, in this way, disabuses and deprives the human mind of its false consciousness; and the human mind, being deprived of its false consciousness, - or its consciousness of falsity, - is healed.† In this way, briefly stated, the sick are healed and the erring are restored to useful lives through the ministrations of Christian Science. A very different way, all will agree, from that involved in the unholy practice of hypnotic suggestion. The use of hypnotism or suggestion, in any form, is to be condemned; it is an evil which cannot be too strongly guarded against.
One hears occasionally of some person who makes use of the erroneous method of hypnotism in the conduct of business. One such person endeavored to justify the use of this method by the method of the illustration of a four-horse stage-coach saying that "with a four-horse stage-coach it is necessary for some one person to hold the reins." This person overlooked the true point of this illustration, which is that sometimes during a dark and stormy night on a dangerous mountain trail when the driver is unable to see the road he is compelled to let the reins lie loosely upon the backs of the horses, while they pick their way to safety. The great danger in the use of hypnotic suggestion is that it deprives the person who uses it, as well as the one who is acted upon, of the inalienable right to think and to act under the influence of the divine Mind, or God.
Erroneous and harmful methods are sometimes set before the public, and said to be the same as Christian Science. A man representing himself to be a Christian Scientist announced that he would teach metaphysics or Christian Science; he was not, however, authorized in any way to teach Christian Science, and therefore the teaching involved was not Christian Science. A lady who knew just a little concerning Christian Science went to this man to be taught. During the first lesson she was taught to say: "I am God." She replied: "But I am not God." She was then told to say; "I am Spirit."† To this the lady replied: "No, I am not God! I am not Spirit! I am spiritual, and you do not know what you are talking about." The lady was right, became the declarations referred to do not coincide in any way with the teaching of Christian Science.
The evidences of confusion and the indications of wrong procedure multiply. Sufficient, however, has been said in this connection to indicate that there is basic need of a divine Principle, of an influence in human thought which will move mankind in the direction of their highest good.
Some one will doubtless say that safeguards should be established to protect the public against misrepresentations which are made in the name of Christian Science. The answer to this is, that such safeguards already have been provided. Mrs. Eddy long ago foresaw this need and provided in the Manual of The Mother Church the necessary measure to protect and to preserve Christian Science, its teaching, and its extension; as well as to protect the public from misrepresentations and adulterations.† Without this wisely conceived protection, for which Christian Scientists are profoundly grateful, the teaching and extension of Christian Science might soon be filled with misrepresentations, adulterations and human philosophy; and thus the effectiveness of Christian Science be lost.† The teachings of Jesus were lost for a time because these teachings were adulterated with philosophies and religious dogma. Had spiritual and right unity with respect to Jesus' teachings been maintained, those teachings never would have been contaminated by erroneous dogma and by a multiplicity of personal opinions. In the Manual of the Mother Church the means are divinely provided which will maintain the integrity of Christian Science, the purity of its teachings, and the permanence of its extension.
During a long and active career devoted to the demonstrations of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy learned that certain rules or methods of procedure were necessary, desirable, and might well be used in the successful carrying forward of any Christian Science demonstration.† Mrs. Eddy says in speaking of the Manual that these rules "were written at different dates, and as the occasion required." They were finally brought together by Mrs. Eddy herself; and they are recognized today to be the Manual of the Mother Church.
Speaking of these Manual rules, Mrs. Eddy says further that they "will do for the race what absolute doctrines destined for future generations might not accomplish."† (Manual)† One who has even named upon himself the name or nature of Christian Science knows that, in the degree his thought is held in obedience to these simple rules, his demonstration is correspondingly successful and happy. Far from limiting thought and demonstration, proof is always present that obedience to these methods of procedure enlarges and perfects thought, and insures the attainment of harmonious experience, a state which reflects divine Principle - government by God. Because Mrs. Eddy's life reflects in so remarkable a degree the nature of pure and unselfish thought, Christian Scientists acknowledge and accept the Manual of The Mother Church to be the expression of divine Principle, uninfluenced by mortal or personal sense. This conviction is sustained by continual proof in individual experience; hence the willing and devoted acquiescence on the part of Christian Scientists to the government of the Manual.
Christian Science has uplifted the thought of mankind immeasurably with respect to the Science of pure religion.
This Science has also uplifted the thought of mankind beyond their happiest expectations with respect to the science of healing.
These statements of fact are not only unquestioned, they are concurred in today by a large part of the thinking world. As the thought of mankind has been lifted up with respect to pure religion and to the science of healing, so the thought of mankind must be lifted up with respect to all things, including church, and church government.
The Christian Science Church is demonstrating the "proof of its utility" (Science and Health), Christian Scientists are demonstrating, in their obedience to the requirements of the Manual, that willing consent of the governed which is the foundation of true government. This willing consent to be governed by God's perfect government to the Christian Scientist is not a fanciful theory; it is the great fact in the process of demonstration which insures individual and collective agreement. It is the mission and province of Christian Science to do with respect to church and to church government what this Science has already done with respect to religion and healing - to lift up thought and to prove that church and church government to be right must stand in constant relation to the divine Mind or God. Back of this process of lifting up the true idea of church and government, the Manual of The Mother Church stands a shining light which reveals the way of obedience and cooperation. To remove these way-marks of the Manual would be like removing the markings from the wayside which guide the traveler on his journey. Moreover, and forgetting gratitude, should one feel that he is familiar with the way and believe in his egotism that he does not require these Manual way-marks for himself, let him remember that Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, there are yet "Millions of unprejudiced minds - simple seekers for truth, weary wanderers athirst in the desert waiting and watching for rest and drink," to whom these way-marks of the Manual will give proper direction in the demonstration of health and joy, hope and happiness.
Christian Science has proved its effectiveness to lead mankind into health and into better lives. It should be evident therefore that the Manual of The Mother Church which preserves the integrity of Christian Science must stand in human experience to be the type of government which is necessary to guide mankind through the mist and out of the wilderness of belief where material consciousness has placed them. All thought, all religious and healing activity, all development, must, sooner or later, express this type of government.
The remark is sometimes heard that Christian Science treatment is all very well for the adult, but when it comes to the question of treating the children, some "tangible" and "substantial" form of treatment is necessary.† Christian Scientists agree decidedly with this latter statement that children should have tangible and substantial treatment: they desire it also for the adult. Opinions, however, differ with respect to what constitutes substantial treatment. With the object of clarifying thought upon this subject the following interesting facts are related: During the latter half of the year 1918, and in the northern half of the State of California, 12,500 cases of "Spanish" influenza were treated by Christian Science. The rate of mortality under Christian Science treatment was three out of every 1.000 persons treated; while the rate of mortality under systems of material medication was sixty-eight out of every 1,000 persons treated. In the city of New York the rate of mortality under Christian Science treatment was four out of every 1,000 persons treated, while the rate of mortality under systems of material medication was something over 100 out of every 1,000 persons treated.
These facts are gathered from reports of boards of health, hospitals and Christian Science practitioners located in the districts named.† Were one interested to follow up this statement he would find that what has been here stated with reference to the two localities mentioned, is true in every part of the civilized globe where Christian Science is known and practiced.† Convincing evidence is by no means lacking to prove that Christian Science treatment is tangible, substantial and real. Children yield readily to the loving, compassionate influence of Christian Science treatment. In Christian Science the thought of the child is turned away from the contemplation of evil and sickness. The pertinent question may be asked here: has the volume of evil and sickness in the world been reduced at all where the children have been taught to regard evil and sickness to be real? If evil and sickness have not been reduced by reason of such teaching, then can it be said that evil and sickness have not been augmented and built up in human experience by reason of these teachings? Freedom from sin and sickness constitutes harmony. How can the child be conscious of harmony while he is being taught that evil and sickness are real? One cannot be conscious of harmony and peace while the educational systems impress upon his thought the reality of evil and sickness.† The children naturally protect themselves from the infliction of these teachings concerning evil and sickness.
An illustration of this is found in the experience of a young girl who had been educated in the understanding of Christian Science.† Owing to some disturbance in the neighborhood where she lived, her grandparents, who were not Christian Scientists at the time, felt that it was necessary to call in a physician to examine the child. This was done, and she was kept in the house for a few days. The attitude of this girl toward sickness was indicated by some lines she wrote in her diary at the time. She had written: "The doctor came today, and they put it up to me - to be sick." There you have the entire situation; it was something that was being put upon her; and it may be added that she refused to accept it. Contrast the attitude of this child with that of the official who explained in public print the reason for his absence from his office in these words: "I did not realize how tired I was, until my doctor told me. Now, I know that I am a very tired man!"† Which of these two attitudes will do most to advance the good of the human race?
Thousands upon thousands of Christian Science parents are glad to have their children under Christian Science treatment when the necessity for such treatment exists. It is not to be assumed that there Christian Science parents, who are quite like other parents, would be happy to have their children under Christian Science treatment unless they were perfectly confident of the results to be expected from such treatment. It must be recognized also that these Christian Science parents love their children just as devotedly as do these parents who elect to give drugs and operations to their children. The situation would at least be an unusual one were the degree of parental affection to be measured by the quantity of drugs administered!
Mortal existence from any point of view involves mystery. Its beginning, its transit, its passing is a mystery; its heaven and its hell an inexplicable mystery. Mortal consciousness includes within itself no solution of this mystery. Christian Science†† demonstrates that the divine Mind alone contains the remedy for mortal consciousness and its mystification. The understanding of the nature and character of the divine Mind or God unfolds in individual human consciousness the Christlike thought, the understanding of what constitutes manís true selfhood. In this true consciousness the remedy for mortal mind and its mystifications is found. It is safe to say that there is not a person in the entire world who is not confronted with some phase of mortal existence which amounts to a problem; and every person would be happy if he could know that a way is available whereby the problem may be solved. Without doubt there are those who listen to or who read these words, in whose thought there is the desire strengthened by hope that a way may be found somewhere and somehow, which will lead them out of the mystery and wilderness into which mortal mind has plunged them. To any such it may be said that it is not necessary to make a far cry to be heard by that divine Love, which has been so beautifully described by Mrs. Eddy to be the "Love which guards the nestling's faltering flight!" It is not necessary for one to make a far journey to find this way, because the "kingdom of Heaven is at hand," "the kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom of heaven is not a place or a location far removed from present experience into which one may enter only after he has passed the portals of human existence through the transition called death. The kingdom of heaven is a state of consciousness. Is it not true, then, that heaven, a state of consciousness, may be entered here and now? We shall know heaven only as we become conscious of heaven.† We are conscious now; then why not be conscious of heaven? This kingdom of heaven may be entered at any time; nothing but one's own consent to think wrongly, to think evil to be real and matter to be intelligent, will shut him out of the kingdom. It is not difficult to attain this kingdom.† One may begin straightway to know that God is the only Mind. Because there is but one God, there is but one Mind. Learning therefore, through the teachings of Christian Science, to have only that Mind which is God, one can think and know the thoughts which belong to the divine Mind or God and can have those things which the divine Mind knows and which the divine Mind bestows. One may say that the process seems too simple to be effective. Let us remember that truth's way is always simple. Mortal consciousness alone involves mystery. Let us remember that salvation, freedom from sin and sickness, must be a simple process. All mankind is crying out against the inhumanity of sin, sickness, death and destruction; and they are seeking freedom therefrom. This freedom is demonstrated through the understanding of man's true selfhood, of man's true being as revealed in Christian Science. Hold yourself, your thought, in true relation to the divine Mind of God. One will find, as a result of thus relating thought constantly to man's divine Principle, Love, that he will come into a realization of peace, of health, hope and joy, such as he never before had dreamed could enter his experience.
Looking and striving toward this understanding one may hold these beautiful and appropriate words to be a pattern and an incentive - to thought:
"Be true and list the voice within,
Be true unto thy high ideals,
Thy perfect self, that knows no sin,
That self that is the only real.
God is the only perfect one,
My perfect self, one must it be
With God, then, - and that thought begun,
it solveth all the mystery."
Christian Science Hymnal
[Published in The Indiana Times of Indianapolis, Indiana, May 2, 1922 under the headline "Man Must Copy God".]