Christian Science:

The Unfoldment of Divine Power in Human Life

 

Friedrich Preller, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Gentleness and Love Quell Human Storms

In a familiar fable we are told that once upon a time the north wind and the sun had a dispute about which was the stronger. At length they agreed that whichever of them could first make a traveler, whom they saw approaching, take off his greatcoat would be considered the stronger. The wind at once began to blow and bluster and pelt the traveler with rain and hail. But the man just pulled his coat closer about him and went on his way. Then it was the sun's turn. Mildly and gently it let its warm rays fall on the traveler. Soon he could no longer bear to wear his coat, but threw it from him and sought the refreshing shade of a tree, while the sun rejoiced in its victory.

This story points to the fact that gentleness and love can do more in men's lives than force and will power. Metaphorically speaking, the hail and storm often seem unpleasantly present today in the lives of individuals and peoples. And so mankind longs the more earnestly for a power which will remove the hail and storm forever from human life. The joyous news that this power is already actively at work in Christian Science has been spreading irresistibly for decades. Christian Science brings salvation to all mankind on a spiritual basis, and its healing activity is an essential part in it. It is being spread abroad gratefully by all those who have themselves felt this power. This lecture will make clear how each one of you may avail himself of the power of God. First of all, however, it is necessary not only to believe in God, but also to understand Him.

Common sense has been refusing more and more to associate with Deity such concepts as anger, threat, and punishment. However, reason alone cannot fathom the true nature of Deity. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, through reason and revelation gained the understanding that God is absolute good. This understanding of God naturally excludes evil as reality, hence it also excludes any possibility of the concurrence of good and evil. How much closer the human consciousness feels to God when one understands that He is Life, Truth, Love, for these are a few of the synonyms Mary Baker Eddy has given us to elucidate the nature of God. We are here speaking of that deathless Life which sustains and supplies, of steadfast Truth, which corrects and redeems, and of spiritual Love, whose beneficent and gentle warmth heals and saves. Does not such a concept of God fill one with confidence and courage? Does it not make one happy and free? And how wonderfully thought expands when we learn that Mary Baker Eddy further defines God as Mind, of Soul, Spirit, and Principle. He is the infinite Mind which fills all space, the sinless Soul which satisfies completely, the omnipresent Spirit which permeates all being, the imperative Principle governing all.

With this informative definition of God, as revealed in Christian Science, we turn from the concept of an anthropomorphic God and are able under any condition whatsoever to bring every thought and act into accord with God and thus prove man's Godlikeness.

Through her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy saw not only God but also man in a new light. She perceived in man the reflection of God. Despite the general religious belief that man was made of the dust of the ground, as stated in the second chapter of Genesis, Mrs. Eddy saw, through inspiration, that the account of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis is the only authentic record. Here man is described expressly as the image and likeness of his Creator, the image and likeness of Spirit. So we have to consider man as reflection. On page 516 of her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy writes, "As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God." God is reflected by man! Think what that means!

This reflection is not something which occurs by chance or only occasionally. It is according to divine law. It is not more or less like the original, but exactly like it. It is not something to be enforced, but exists without effort. A reflection does not occur by itself; it is wholly dependent upon the original. It follows then that man as the reflection of God is spiritual, perfect, harmonious, and eternal, dependent upon God alone in his thinking and acting. Does not this concept of man at once remind us of our great Master's words (John 5:19), "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise"? Man moves in accord with God. Have you ever been conscious of the infinite greatness and majesty of your true selfhood and of the availability of God's power to you? Really to understand that man is God's reflection gives humility a home in our heart, frees us from willful planning and striving, and relieves us of a false sense of responsibility. Thus we attain selflessness, work becomes a joy, and God's power is given free play in our lives.

Perhaps someone may ask how the statement that man is the reflection of God can be reconciled with the evident imperfection of human life. We have all at one time or another enjoyed seeing a clear reflection mirrored in a quiet pond. If the surface of the water becomes ruffled, the reflection is distorted. What is inharmonious in human life is nothing more than a distorted picture produced by a false belief regarding God and man. When spiritual facts replace this false belief in the consciousness of the individual, the ungodlike mortal pictures or experiences disappear from human life. Therefore, if we would reflect God right now in greater measure, we must see to it that our thinking is not ruffled by the unrest of the time or the world's views and opinions, and that we acquire mental calmness and poise through an increasing understanding of God.

The following healing, which I myself witnessed, proves clearly how quickly and naturally sickness gives way to health when it is seen that divine power is reflected by man. An elderly woman was stricken with inflammation of the lungs. The doctor had pronounced her condition hopeless, especially in view of her extremely advanced years. Then she asked for Christian Science treatment, which was given her.

The Christian Science practitioner reminded the patient of the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 118:17), "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." He visited her in her home and felt at once that fear filled the atmosphere of the whole house, especially fear of the coming night. He therefore thought it best to stay at that house during the night. About midnight the thought came to him to study word by word the poems of Mrs. Eddy which are given in the Christian Science Hymnal. This study enlightened his consciousness in such a measure that he was able to perceive man as the undimmed reflection of deathless Life. Through this perception he gained the certainty of victory, and he gratefully realized the following words in one of Mrs. Eddy's poems (Poems, p. 29):

 

"Thou gentle beam of living Love,

And deathless Life!

Truth infinite, so far above All mortal strife,

"Or cruel creed, or earthborn taint:

Fill us today

With all thou art be thou our saint,

Our stay, alway."

It was only natural that the patient was included in this healing and enlightening atmosphere. When she woke up a few hours later from a deep sleep, the so-called crisis had been passed. Some days later the healing was complete.

The fact that God, the eternal good, exists, results through the law of reflection in the existence of man. Man is not therefore a self-existent, self-activating, or self-sustaining entity. He is coexistent with God. By the very nature of his being, man exists as reflection and expression. The divine plan designs for man effortless, unlabored activity and a continuous, supply of good.

Our everyday experience shows us that while many people believe in an omnipotent God, few of them are ready to trust their lives to Him for support and supply. In this respect they feel called upon, even duty bound, to take the reins into their own hands if they want to be successful in life. It is no wonder that with such an attitude, which is quite the opposite of the divine plan, they find existence more or less wearisome and problematic. The prophet Jeremiah records God as saying unmistakably (Jer. 2:13): "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters," and (verse 27), "They have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise and save us."

Whether consciously or not, human thought may yield to the untruthful assertions of the Adam-dream (Gen. 3:19): "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." This curse of servitude was never pronounced on spiritual man, who is the reflection of God and there is in reality no other man. The human mind brings this curse upon itself by separating from God, but it is blessed when brought into accord with Him.

My friends, to expect that the hardships of human life will be ironed out with the passing of time is a foolish self-deception, for time is not a factor in overcoming adverse circumstances. We are still hearing the same complaint that life is laborious which the preacher Solomon expressed (Eccl. 1:8), "All things are full of labour; man can not utter it." Even though work is required of us, it is erroneous to suppose that burdensome toil is inevitable, even God-ordained, which so frequently brings the individual to a state of exhaustion. The surest way out of this labyrinth of human errors is spiritually to understand God and His reflection, man. In this way we attain without toilsome effort harmonious and satisfying solutions to our problems, and the words from Proverbs (10:22) are verified, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Effortless activity, therefore, is characteristic of all that is divine.

Nature is full of convincing examples of unlabored activity. Think of the unfoldment of a leaf, the rising of the sun, the blooming of a flower, growth, fruition the dancing snowflakes, and the gentle summer rain, which refreshes the earth and makes it bring forth harvest. Moses must have been thinking of such an illustration when, after many fruitless attempts to induce the children of Israel to adopt a successful course, he began the speech of his final attempt with the words (Deut. 32:2): "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."

He could scarcely have illustrated more impressively than with these poetic words how gently and effortlessly the understanding of God penetrates the receptive human consciousness. Such unlabored action produces results without burdensome toil. To understand God has nothing to do with brooding, daydreaming, or idle speculation. Nor does such understanding involve any exertion or process of the brain. Spiritual understanding is a divine quality reflected by man. Such understanding is restful, harmonious, productive. It finds expression in intelligent speech and action.

The unfoldment of divine power in human lives was without any doubt illustrated most impressively by our great Exemplar, Christ Jesus. His Sermon on the Mount breathes the spirit of unlabored activity in every phrase. He turned the thinking of the weary and heavy-laden from the cares of daily life by calling attention to the birds and flowers. He said (Matt. 6:26,28,29): "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

It would be to misunderstand Jesus' words, should we assume that his reference to the birds and lilies means that we can sit back, fold our hands, and wait for supply to come to us. The true basis for supply is spiritual understanding. Supply is not material abundance, but spiritual unfoldment. The closer we are to God, the less labor will be required to satisfy our human needs. The greater our income of divine ideas, of true substance, the greater the influx of supply in human life. As long as we look to the divine, we need not worry about the human. We should work, not to earn money, but to express, to bring into evidence, the abilities and talents divinely bestowed upon us. Then our reward will be sure and, we shall have security. Selflessness is absolutely essential to the enjoyment of steady supply, for the degree of our selflessness determines how close we are to God.

On another occasion, using the metaphor of the yoke and the burden, Jesus gave us a further very helpful hint regarding unlabored, successful activity. He said (Matt. 11:28-30); "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Jesus did not recommend that we cast aside the burden, but he did recommend that we put on a suitable yoke. It is clear that the "burden" here means the tasks and duties of everyday life, which so often seem unbearable to the human mind. Jesus bore the burden of a sin-filled world on his shoulders, and yet he called his burden light. He explained this in the words, "For my yoke is easy," and with these words he made clear for all time that there is only one practical way to bear burdens or carry out our duties.

Have you ever thought of the yoke to which Jesus refers? Let us pattern our yokes after that of Jesus by acquiring his gentleness and lowliness of heart. Humility and gentleness go hand in hand with spiritual power and strength. The qualities of humility and gentleness, of insight and patience, of gratitude and selflessness, are the yoke which can cope with the heaviest burden any situation in life may bring. With this yoke resting easily on our shoulders, we can bear any burden and bless ourselves and all mankind.

But another kind of yoke, which the Bible says must be broken, the one which brings harm to us and to others, making burdens unbearable, is formed of the rough materials of stubbornness, self-will, waywardness, pride and arrogance. With such a yoke an experience which might result in a blessing ultimately produces disillusionment, disappointment, and despair. We need to remember that a well-fitted spiritual yoke makes the heaviest burden light, while a badly fitted, erroneous yoke makes the lightest burden a heavy one.

The following incident shows the effect of the yoke of unselfishness and kindness in lightening burdens. This story appeared in the column entitled "Signs of the Times" in the Christian Science Sentinel. It was reprinted from the Evening News, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. A small girl was going down the street carrying a little boy on her back. A passer-by who saw her remarked, "That is quite a heavy burden you are carrying." Whereupon the child replied, "Please, sir, that is not a burden; it is my little brother."

"And ye shall find rest unto your souls." Rest for our souls; that is, quietness and harmony in consciousness as the inevitable outcome of our exemplification of gentleness and humility. This peace, as we learn in Christian Science, is not dependent on physical rest; it is found only in Spirit, God. And "God rests in action," as Mrs. Eddy writes in her textbook on page 519. In Christian Science we have divine authority to enjoy a restful sense in thought, speech, and action. An amateur mountain climber wastes a good deal of energy by dashing up the slope, stopping every now and then to look back and lingering here and there unnecessarily. The trained mountaineer, on the other hand goes steadily forward and upward breathing easily at every step, resting as he goes. When he reaches the summit his energy is still unspent. He enjoys the view and is able to continue on his way. So let us rest as we go marching on.

Let us go back for a moment to our reference to the unlabored action in some of the phenomena of nature, when we spoke of tenderness, effortless unfoldment, gentleness, and peacefulness. Perhaps one may ask, How can one reconcile the catastrophes of nature with these qualities? Such catastrophes cannot be identified either with God or with spiritual man, for God is the source only of that which is good and perfect. Whenever we identify ourselves, either through ignorance or fear, with evil instead of with good, we risk the devastating effects of this error. It is fear and erroneous thinking that makes masses of snow roar down the mountainside in an avalanche; it is error that causes dams to go out; that causes the earth to quake and flames to consume. The extent of such catastrophes would make it appear that the elements had conspired against men. But this is not the case. Rightly viewed, in their true nature the elements fire, water, air, earth have their proper place in the eternal order of the spiritual universe. They are perfectly controlled. The abnormality lies in human thinking, which, in its endeavor to counterfeit the divine, unleashes false concepts of the elements.

The first catastrophe of nature recorded in the Bible was the flood, the outcome of sin, of the acceptance of evil as reality. Noah, as a result of his trust in God, was given the wisdom to build an ark which saved him. This incident proves unmistakably that the consciousness which identifies itself with God is not helpless, nor is it at the mercy of seemingly destructive forces, but rises above them and remains at peace.

The real man is at one with the omnipotence, omnipresence, omniaction, omniscience, of God, Spirit. The monstrous force of a catastrophe is the counterfeit of God's omnipotence. The seeming fact that catastrophes occur all over the world is the counterfeit of God's omnipresence. The destructiveness of a catastrophe is the counterfeit of God's omniaction. The horror and inevitability of catastrophes are the counterfeit of God's omniscience.

It is natural to ask how long there will be catastrophes, and there is only one answer to the question. These abnormalities will cease when consciousness claims its identity with perfection, that is, with God. The spiritually enlightened consciousness is aware of God as Principle and knows that this Principle is reflected in the whole universe and by individual man and is expressed continually in precision and order, in whatever is infallible, in unswerving divine control. In this knowledge is confidence that God has ways and means so to govern and control the elements that they serve mankind's best interests. As fear is overcome and man's God-bestowed dominion becomes progressively clearer to mankind, so-called catastrophes will cease to occur. The beneficent effects of Spirit are unlimited, and it is the privilege of every one of us to exercise this dominion of Spirit more and more frequently.

The Bible and Christian Scientists in English-speaking countries use the King James Version contains an overwhelming number of proofs of the unfoldment of divine power in human lives, demonstrations which are repeated today in Christian Science. What was it then, what is it today, that brings this power to unfoldment?

My friends, everything that has been brought about in the way of so-called miracles, in Jesus' time or before or after he was among us, has come through the impersonal, eternal Christ. Jesus was undoubtedly inspired in the highest degree by the Christ, Truth. Christian Science shows clearly that Jesus is not God, but that he is the Way-shower and that the Christ which he demonstrated is the Way. Christian Science enables us to walk in that way. In Science and Health we read (p. 332) "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual, yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death."

Calmly, quietly, Christ Jesus did God's work. Usually but a word was enough to remove any difficulty. Changing water into wine, healing the sick and sinning, walking on the sea, feeding the hungry, indeed raising the dead, were all works which took place without the slightest exercise of human will power on the part of the Master. The word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled in him to the utmost, (Isa. 42:3), "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench." And today as in Jesus' time, even though the health of an individual, his supply, harmony, or well being may hang, as it were, by a thread, or when hope seems almost extinguished in the human heart, the gentleness and power of the Christ can still save.

"Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit," as Science and Health tells us (p. 514). Hence what the human consciousness most needs is more of the Christ-spirit. More of the Christ! That means more overcoming, more consecration, spiritualization, more nobility of thought. The direct result is more health, more strength, peace, security, greater success, more intelligent thinking, talking, and acting, more harmony. Not in the shallows of human life, but in the heights and depths of Spirit do we find the true Christ-consciousness.

Even today the Christ, Truth, is available to command every flood and every storm, every wave of hate and brutality, "Peace, be still," or "Thus far and no farther." That an understanding of the Christ is just as efficacious today, Christian Scientists can testify as a result of countless experiences.

Some years ago a Christian Scientist experienced how the unfoldment of divine power protected him from human power. He was imprisoned because Christian Science was forbidden in his country on political grounds. There was no possibility of vindication from a legal point of view, and he was thus quite defenseless and at the mercy of the despotic tendencies of political officials. It was not so much the primitive, even shameful conditions of the prison that tortured him. It was the mental pressure in connection with his position as a Christian Scientist and the mental agony of never knowing what would happen, the menace and uncertainty of material-mindedness these were the things that made the strongest demands on his spiritual understanding. To him there was but one thing to do, to turn from this desperate situation and take refuge in that spiritual sense of Love which blesses its enemies, in the Truth which destroys the lie, and in that Life which saves and redeems in all circumstances.

Although his proven friends, the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, were not available to him in this situation, the spiritual truths from them entertained in consciousness were to him a heavenly host sustaining his confidence, courage, and joy even in the solitary confinement to which he was condemned. He knew that his name, reputation, calling, and religion were protected by divine law. He saw the Christ as the advocate of his case. To him there was no offense, no accuser or accusation, no penalty. The Bible declares (Prov. 16:7), "When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him," and this was his conviction. He felt the Christ so near, so tangible, so living, that the mild and gentle glow of love carried the victory over mistrust, evil purpose, and enmity. When this Christian Scientist was released after six weeks, the good wishes of his accusers went with him. In his case, the words of Saint Paul about the Christ were proved, "He led captivity captive."

My friends, whatever kind of prison it may be, whether it is surrounded by material walls or whether it is a mental prison built by one's self, the Christ is able to break into pieces every prison house and to deliver every prisoner. The Christ himself brings liberty.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in her textbook. Science and Health (p. 322): "The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love. Then we begin to learn Life in divine Science." And then she adds these significant words:

"Without this process of weaning, 'Canst thou by searching find out God?'" These words give us an insight into Mrs. Eddy's own life. Through this process of weaning, in other words, through her difficult experiences with respect to health, finances, relatives, and religious matters, her consciousness was prepared for the reception of divine Science.

Mrs. Eddy had unmistakable signs of her closeness to God even in early childhood. In her work Retrospection and Introspection, page 13, she relates how she was healed of a fever. Urged by her mother, she turned to God in prayer. She writes: "I prayed; and a soft glow of ineffable joy came over me. The fever was gone, and I rose and dressed myself, in a normal condition of health." During her late childhood she had already made decisions in favor of a spiritual concept of God and of man.

In the years to follow and up to the time of her discovery of Christian Science, the life of this noble, loving, unselfish woman was rich with solemn and profound experiences, which convinced her more and more of the nothingness of material existence and the reality of the spiritual. Her great love and thorough knowledge of the Bible became the foundation of her demonstrations. Of what vital importance the Bible was in Mrs. Eddy's life, as well as to her discovery and founding of Christian Science, can be seen from the following statement in her textbook (p. 497): "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life."

As Moses liberated the children of Israel from the slavery of Pharaoh, as Christ Jesus redeemed burdened mankind through the gospel, so Mary Baker Eddy reveals to mankind today the availability of complete freedom from the enslaving beliefs of fear, sin, and death.

In hallowed stillness and true humility she received the revelation of divine Science. She says in her textbook. Science and Health (p. 109), "The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing." And on the same page, "The revelation of Truth in the understanding came to me gradually and apparently through divine power."

Mrs. Eddy received this revelation in connection with her own physical healing of the effects of an accident. It was a healing which was not possible of human accomplishment, a healing in which the shadow of death gave way to the radiance of Life, a healing on a spiritual basis.

In order to give the world her discovery, Mrs. Eddy wrote the textbook already mentioned, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." It is recorded that the divine ideas flowed into her consciousness so effortlessly and in such rich measure that as she wrote she let the finished sheets fall to the floor of her room, so as not to interrupt the effortless flow of thought.

As effortlessly as she put on paper the things she had apprehended, that she might make them known to mankind, she also practiced metaphysical healing. One of her pupils, who was for twelve years a member of her household wrote about her as follows (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy by Irving C. Tomlinson, p. 51): "The very presence of this God-inspired woman healed the sick, not because of human personality, but because of the truth which she spiritually perceived. As the rays of the sun melt the snow and ice and warm whatever they touch, so did the purity of her consciousness bless and heal." One fruit of the beneficent work of this gifted woman which cannot be valued too highly is the Church of Christ, Scientist. This church makes it possible for us today to carry forward Mrs. Eddy's demonstration. Through it we have the Christian Science church services, the Wednesday evening meetings, the Sunday Schools, the lectures, the Reading Rooms, and other activities.

The Christian Science Reading Rooms cordially welcome every seeker for Truth and all those who need comfort and encouragement or long for quiet and for spiritual refreshment. Each Reading Room is an oasis in the wilderness of material thinking and toilsome activities. Christian Science Reading Rooms are generally to be found in the business center of a city, and for many they have become a quiet refuge in which they can find the nourishment which joy, spiritual strength, and peace give the heart.

In contrast to other libraries, in which all kinds of human knowledge are offered, the visitor to a Christian Science Reading Room finds in the Bible and in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, in the Christian Science periodicals and in other publications of The Christian Science Publishing Society, a rich store of spiritual food. Concordances and reference works are available, and the visitor can inform himself of events around the world through the pages of the international newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.

How often has study in the consecrated atmosphere of a Christian Science Reading Room brought about physical healing, a reformation of character, a revival of interest in spiritual things, and a complete change in one's life.

Christian Science teaches that quietness of thought is of very great importance in the unfoldment of divine power in human life. It is that stillness which like a breath of the Almighty breathes through the pages of the Bible. Moses' encouraging words went with the children of Israel in their passage through the Red Sea (Ex. 14:14), "The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." In the book of Psalms we read (Ps. 46:10), "Be still, and know that I am God." Isaiah tells us (30:15), "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." And Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (I Thess. 4:11), "Study to be quiet."

If we heed this admonition of the Bible to study to be quiet, undreamed-of possibilities for good will reveal themselves to us in our daily lives, opportunities hidden to the material senses with their clamor and their inarticulate cries. In her work Retrospection and Introspection Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 88), "Mind demonstrates omnipresence and omnipotence, but Mind revolves on a spiritual axis, and its power is displayed and its presence felt In eternal stillness and immovable Love." Our quietness and stillness betoken our reverence before the grand spiritual facts of being.

In true stillness we draw near to God. It is the unfolding of thought in God's presence. Without this quietness of heart there is no inspiration, no revelation. Stillness is an indispensable element of true prayer.

And now a word about prayer. Prayer in Christian Science is communion with God, audience with God. Prayer is the purification of human consciousness. It brings about an exchange of the human will for the divine. Prayer is a grateful and joyful realization of spiritual facts.

In prayer we gain spiritual distance. Suppose, for instance, we stood on a wooded mountain height and before us stretched a glorious panorama. If we stood right behind a tree so that the trunk took up our whole field of vision, we would see neither the tree nor the landscape. What would we have to do to enjoy a view of the tree and the panorama? We would have to change our position. That is all we need to do, and we gain a better viewpoint. In prayer we gain this wider view of things, of events and persons, whereas before our mental field of vision was restricted. Prayer brings this freedom.

Prayer frees us from materialism and greed. It makes us humble and strong. It sweeps away the cobwebs of human illusions and lets reason and revelation govern our experience. Revelation as viewed by Christian Science, is not a mystic concept of the life to come. It is possible for everyone today. Revelation is the coming of the spirit of God into human consciousness. Without revelation human lives would be dull, arid, uninteresting, without light and life. Christian Science unfolds revelation as always near, practical, and actual. In Christian Science healing and revelation go hand in hand. Mrs. Eddy says in her textbook (Science and Health, p. 445): "Christian Science silences human will, quiets fear with Truth and Love, and illustrates the unlabored motion of the divine energy in healing the sick."

A fifteen-year-old boy whom I knew well was in a very serious physical condition. He had always been labeled as delicate because of a weak heart, and then he developed severe pleurisy and other internal difficulties. The father, who was not a Christian Scientist, had insisted on calling a doctor, who examined the boy and expressed grave doubt about his recovery. At that, the mother decided to rely on Christian Science treatment entirely, and the father made no further protest. When the Christian Science practitioner arrived, the fever had reached an alarming height. When the practitioner began his treatment, the suggestion came to him that perhaps his spiritual understanding would not be enough and that the mother's trembling faith would not be adequate for a healing in this desperate case. But then came the angel thought that Christian Science demonstration, or healing, does not depend on the bigness either of one's understanding or of one's faith but rather on the completeness of his reliance on God, omnipotent good.

Suddenly, like an illumination, he saw that these two qualities, understanding and faith, rise like pillars heavenward and are crowned from above by divine grace. The Bible says (Ps. 103:4) that God "crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies," or, as another translation puts it, "crowneth thee with grace." He saw that it was grace which would crown their honest prayers with success. Then he remembered that Mrs. Eddy says in her textbook (p. 22) that "through Christ's precious love these efforts are crowned with success." The boy's healing was instantaneous, even the healing of the weak constitution.

A Christian Science treatment is a divinely lawful proceeding. Healing fulfills God's law. Jesus' imperative command (Matt. 10:8), "Heal the sick," has never to this very hour been repealed or countermanded. The Christian Scientist considers it a holy task to give the same heed to this command of Jesus which he gives to other admonitions of the Master. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 450), "The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good."

Problems, my friends, arise solely through conscious or unconscious transgression of the law of God. Law is without problems; problems are without law. Real Life is not problematical; it is harmonious. God is the only lawgiver, and His law applied results in the recovery of health, in redemption and healing.

In the midst of daily living, with all its erroneous claims, proof is being offered that obedience to the law of God, to the law of divine Truth, Life, and Love, erases all that is unlike God from our lives. The result of this obedience is that all so-called tubercles, bacilli, and microbes, physical or mental, disappear in the bright rays of divine Love. This obedience to the law of God quickens our hopes, wings our faith, yes, this obedience makes the power of God effective in our lives.

My friends, through Christian Science the clarion call of joy is sounding through the world. Within this joy every day proves to be God's day. It is the day of the revelation of divine Mind, the day of the realization of God's plan, the day of the fulfillment of divine law, the day of the manifestation of God's will. It is, indeed, the day the Lord has made.

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 2, 1959.]

 

 

HOME PAGE INDEX OF LECTURES