Naomi Price, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Spiritual power can be applied
effectively to every form of discord, Naomi Price, C.S., of
Addressing a noontime audience in John Hancock Hall, Mrs. Price said, "Sin, insecurity, poverty, loneliness, sorrow, slavery to any form of human tyranny, even world unrest, can be overcome through the utilization of spiritual power."
A member of The Christian Science
Board of Lectureship, Mrs. Price spoke under the auspices of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Spiritual Power Meets All Human Needs
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Today's growing interest in spiritual healing has caused many to wonder what Christian Science is and how it heals. Let me begin by quoting to you the definition which Mary Baker Eddy, its Discoverer and Founder, herself gives in answer to the question "How would you define Christian Science?" She writes (Rudimental Divine Science 1:2): "As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."
Healing in Christian Science takes place through the utilization of this law of God, this law of good. When the divine law of harmony is understood, accepted into thought, acknowledged as the only law, and lived in daily life, the inevitable consequence is healing.
Christ Jesus told his disciples (Luke ), "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy." Christian Science demonstrates that this great power "over all the power of the enemy" is within reach of us all. We may all have it right now through the scientific understanding of God's universal law of harmony and the regeneration which accompanies this understanding.
Spiritual power meets all human needs. It is "over all the power of the enemy." It applies to every form of discord. Sin, insecurity, poverty, loneliness, sorrow, slavery to any form of human tyranny, even world unrest can be overcome through the utilization of spiritual power.
Christ Jesus gave his disciples power. How may we also have this healing power? Christian Science shows us how and explains its operation. The power that the Master gave his disciples was derived through understanding - the understanding of God's nature as omnipotent Love, the Father of all. He taught them that man is the beloved child of God, inheritor of all the divine qualities, and he demonstrated how the expression of these qualities endows one with divine power to cast out evil.
Christian Science further explains that because all mortal discord is produced by the negative, false beliefs, fears and errors of the carnal or mortal mind, it is effectively destroyed by the expression of the Christly qualities derived from God, such as wisdom, love, integrity, joy, steadfastness, humility, purity. This expression of good restores the normal condition of man in God's likeness, thereby healing both sin and sickness.
Action of Divine Mind Alone Heals
From the first glimpse of Christian Science, the eternal Truth has been accompanied by signs of healing. The revelation came in 1866 to Mary Baker Eddy as she lay dangerously ill after a fall. Accustomed as she was throughout her life to pray to God and to turn to her Bible for comfort and help, she called for it now and in her extremity opened it at the passage which relates the healing by Christ Jesus of the man sick of the palsy.
While pondering this account Mrs. Eddy suddenly gained a glimpse of the Principle underlying the healing power of God which was manifested by Christ Jesus. She saw that God, divine Mind, is the first and only cause and that adherence to the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," casts out the evils of mortal mind, thus healing the sick.
As immediately as the palsied man was restored to health, she herself rose up and walked. Thereafter, her life was devoted to the discovery and elucidation of the Christly method of divine healing and the utilization of it for the benefit of all mankind.
For twenty years prior to this experience. Mrs. Eddy had investigated the methods of medicine and homeopathy. Her experience in these fields of therapeutics had convinced her that the cause of disease is mental and that the divine Mind alone can produce a cure. Now it was revealed to her that while all real being is the manifestation of God, the divine Mind, and is therefore perfect, the discords of human existence - even material existence itself - are images of erring, mortal thought. They are the opposites of Truth, evolved by mortal mind. This erring, mortal, so-called mind, falsely believing in a power, presence, and law apart from God, good, produces its own phenomena in the material body and the woes of the flesh. These are never more than the subjective state of mortal mind which seem real to the senses but which, in fact, have no more substance and permanence than shadows in a dream.
Consequently, because material inharmony is produced mentally through fear, ignorance or sin, it can be removed only through the action of the divine Mind. When one denies these errors and replaces them with love, understanding, and other qualities of God, spiritual regeneration takes place, and this finds its outward manifestation in the healing of material inharmony.
Mrs. Eddy Revealed Truths of Bible
In order that the understanding of God's law might never again be lost, Mrs. Eddy then recorded her discovery in detail. Her main work, the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," contains a full explanation of the Science of divine healing and, as its name implies, is intended to be read in conjunction with the Bible.
The Bible foretells the appearing of the Comforter, the divine message of Truth which -would lead mankind into all truth. Thousands whose lives have been transformed through Christian Science bear witness that this divine Science is that promised Comforter. Recognizing that it is through her discovery that they have gained a true understanding of God and of man's unity with Him, Christian Scientists love and are grateful to Mary Baker Eddy. They acknowledge her to be the revelator of Christ, Truth, to this age; they revere her because she discovered the Science which Christ Jesus demonstrated; they trust her as their Leader and daily strive to practice more effectively the divine Truth which she revealed.
Accounts of Mrs. Eddy's early childhood show the budding of the qualities of God, divine Principle, of Truth and Love, which were later to come to fruition in her great achievements. One of the governing impulses of her life had always been an intense love for mankind, a deep compassion for human suffering, and a desire to annul it. From this love grew the selfless, hard-working, dedicated life which brought forth the Church of Christ, Scientist, which in its turn is dedicated to the salvation of the world from sin and suffering.
This church, whose branches now encircle the globe, was originally conceived in 1879 on this simple and profound basis (Church Manual, p. 17); "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing."
Physical Disease Healed at Lecture
The element of Christian healing permeates every activity of the Christian Science Church, indeed its many branches in all parts of the world are formed and established by grateful people who have themselves already experienced healing. The several thousand practitioners listed in The Christian Science Journal, the weekly Lesson-Sermons, the Church services and Sunday School exercises, the Reading Rooms, periodicals and lectures have all this same purpose of healing. We can always expect healing to take place in our church work. The members of this church are daily striving to express more of the Christ, or true idea of God, in their daily life and contacts with others, and where the Christ is, there is always healing. For example, a friend of mine was healed of a severe condition of eczema when she attended her very first lecture on Christian Science.
One Sunday morning a newspaper advertisement for this lecture caught the eye of this young woman. She was an active member of an orthodox Christian church, but when she saw the notice she felt drawn to attend the lecture and find out more about Christian Science. At the time she had been under medical care for several months for the condition of eczema which covered both her hands, and was using various remedies for its relief, but, knowing very little about Christian Science, it did not occur to her that her physical condition could in any way be improved by it. Her one thought was to learn about Christian Science as a religion and to see if it could answer her many questions concerning God.
Leaving her household tasks, she put on her hat and hastened to the lecture. Throughout the hour she listened intently, enjoyed what she heard and felt she would attend another lecture as the opportunity occurred.
On her arrival home she went to the medicine cupboard to treat her hands with their usual lotion when suddenly she realized that the rash had almost disappeared. One hour of learning about the Science of God, Spirit, had achieved more for her than months of reliance upon matter. Without further material treatment the condition entirely vanished within two days, never to return. That was the end of the trouble.
Now, perhaps you may be surprised that a healing of physical disease can take place while listening to a lecture, without any direct mental effort - even without expectation or conscious hope of healing. This is by no means an isolated case. In fact, it happens quite frequently, and I hope there will be many such healings today.
Healings such as this are normal and scientific, they are not supernatural. They come about through the operation of divine law, for, when spiritual understanding takes the place of false mortal belief; when kindness, compassion and forgiveness replace criticism, animosity and resentment; when the light of love outshines the shadows of fear and hate, and spiritual satisfaction and peace replace discontent and rebellion, then the real nature of man in God's likeness is revealed in all the beauty and grandeur and harmony with which he was endowed from the beginning by his heavenly Father.
The method of Christian Science healing involves the transformation of human, erring thought through the understanding that the divine Mind is the only Mind.
Man Is Forever Godlike - Perfect
Christ Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:7): "Ye must be born again." In order to gain the health, happiness and harmony which constitute the kingdom of heaven, our thinking must be transformed. We must forsake mortal error and material theories, and by reversing the testimony of the physical senses, learn anew what God, Spirit, is.
Christian Science assists in this rebirth by defining God in seven synonymous terms, and I quote from Science and Health (p. 115); "GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind." Reasoning from the basis that God is the creator of the true, spiritual universe, including man, Christian Science deduces that the real man is, in fact, Godlike - he is God's expression, governed by divine Principle. He is spiritual, altogether lovely, forever perfect and good. He is not, as the material senses would claim him to be, material, changeable, discordant, mortal.
When we grasp this true understanding of man's being and let it take possession of our thinking, we are transformed. Our whole outlook and behavior are changed. Our experience in daily affairs becomes grander, nobler, sweeter. We are at peace with ourselves and one another. Disorder, disease, discord, dissatisfaction vanish in this spiritual transformation, and we come into an enjoyment of life never before imagined.
This transformation comes gradually as the result of a deep desire to know and do the will of God. It comes through prayer. Christian Scientists pray daily in the words of the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come." This prayer acknowledges the presence and power of God and expresses the longing to live in accord with the pattern of true, Godlike being shown in the life of Christ Jesus. This involves daily watchful care to eliminate from our thinking all that is unlike God and to express only the divine qualities implied in the seven names for God which I have just quoted.
Neighbor Seen as Child of God
Then, we are faced with the need to love our neighbor as ourselves - to see him likewise as God's beloved child, made in His likeness, loving, lovable, eternally expressing the wisdom, purity and perfection of divine Mind. Sometimes this does not seem so easy. Jesus said (John ): "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Loving involves the giving up of all mortal belief concerning others. It demands that we abandon our false sense of life in which our neighbor appears as a physical, erring, finite human being. It calls upon us to exercise spiritual sense and thus to see him as the perfect man made by God.
Christian Scientists pray daily to have this love in their hearts. They strive to bring it into every aspect of their lives - their homes, business affairs and their churches - and in proportion to their success in bearing witness to the presence of God and His perfect universe are they rewarded in seeing the healing influence of the Christ manifested around them.
This healing Christ which the Bible refers to as "Wonderful" is fully explained in Science and Health. Here "Christ" is shown to be the spiritual expression of God - the divine image and likeness which comes to human thought and dispels the illusions of the senses. It manifests the divine Mind in perfect consciousness and demonstrates true, sinless being in the expression of the qualities of eternal Life and Love.
Jesus expressed the incorporeal, spiritual, Christ, the divine qualities of his Father, God, to such a degree that the fleshly elements derived from his human mother were entirely in subjugation to them. Humanly he manifested no evil because he was spiritually at one with good. His sinless nature, the pure expression of the Christ in his every thought and deed, endowed him with divine power. It enabled him to exercise dominion over the errors of matter; to overcome the limitations of time and space, and to cast out the demons of sickness and sin which claimed to hold others in bondage. By expressing the qualities of God, the Master bore witness to the true nature of man in God's image - the true nature of us all.
One of the religious tenets of Christian Science as laid down by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health reads as follows (p. 497): "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure." What higher goal could anyone have than to think as Jesus thought and to express the divine nature as he did?
Man Unfettered by Mortal Beliefs
This mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" imbues everyone who seeks it not only with mercy, justice, and purity but with such an all-embracing, impartial, compassionate love for mankind that it becomes an overwhelming urge to help all who are in need. Christ Jesus yearned to lift the burdens of discord and sickness from the world. In the Bible we read (Matt. ): "When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
Every student who in some measure puts the teachings of Christian Science into practice is a practitioner, but there are those who are so "moved with compassion" that they give up all other occupations to devote their full time to the healing work. This work is a sacred ministry. The method of healing employed - Christian Science treatment - is wholly spiritual. Any compromise with matter, a desire to examine the forms it assumes and the use of material remedies, renders its efficacy null and void. It is prayer in which thought turns wholly away from matter, the physical body and discordant mortal conditions, and rests in the consciousness of the presence of God's perfect universe, the spiritual man of His creating, and His law of harmony which governs all.
The practice of Christian Science does not involve the alteration of a belief of discord by a mere belief of harmony. It is the recognition and demonstration of man's true being as described in the First chapter of Genesis where it is recorded that God made man in His image. This man of God's creating is purely spiritual because he is the expression of God, Spirit; he is intelligent because he is the manifestation of God, divine Mind; he is upright, symmetrical, governed by the law of harmony because he is the image of God, Principle; he manifests the unimpaired, spiritual senses of Soul, God; he shows forth the indestructibility of eternal Life, the absolute perfection of immutable Truth, the grace and attraction of divine Love - all the beauty, grandeur and glory of God belong to him because man is made in the image of God and is maintained in His likeness. He is unfettered by human theories of material limitation. His capacity to express the substance of spiritual qualities is infinite.
This is the true nature of man, the spiritual manifestation of God, the only man there really is. This is the truth of each one of us, yesterday, today and forever - the true nature which we learn in Christian Science to claim and to demonstrate.
Perhaps some may say: "But
what about the mortal, material body? How do you reconcile the Biblical record
of spiritual man with the apparent fact that mortal man exists as a material
body? Where did this come from?" Mrs. Eddy was conversant with current
theories of evolution and discusses in her writings the theories of
Spiritual Growth Reflects Eternal Life
But is man primarily dust? If so, what is the explanation of one's spiritual nature? How can one have, as he plainly has, the capacity to think, to love, to be happy, to express the qualities of honesty, joy, patience, serenity and the like? Can dust express the qualities derived from Spirit? Why, no. What, then, is this material, body? Christian Science shows it to be only a human concept, the subjective state of mortal thought which changes according to the mental condition of the individual. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 199): "Mortals develop their own bodies or make them sick, according as they influence† them through mortal mind." The responsibility for mankind's unfolding health and happiness - indeed its survival - therefore rests upon spiritual development, upon the ever-increasing expression of the characteristics of God, Spirit, the one and only creator of the immortal universe.
Thinkers of today are seriously considering whether sufficient emphasis has been placed upon the importance of spiritual growth and evolution, for without this development in grace there is small hope of mankind's survival.
Christian Scientists are dedicated to the activity of spiritual growth and to obedience to the laws of Spirit. They look for and pray daily for the development in their own lives of divine Science. This development they recognize to be the Holy Ghost which now, as in the days of Christ Jesus and his disciples, is accompanied by signs of great spiritual power and works of healing. Mrs. Eddy defines "Holy Ghost" in Science and Health as (p. 588): "Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love." Is not this the solution to all our problems? The development of man's true spiritual selfhood which has existed in God's likeness throughout eternity, but which the belief that man is materially evolved has seemed to obscure? As the qualities of God, eternal Life, Truth, and Love, develop in our experience we inevitably enjoy increasing health and happiness. What this spiritual growth does for us individually it will likewise do for the world.
Godís Government Proved Supreme
My friends, let us not delay in doing our part to restore a balance on the side of spiritual growth in the world today. Let us bear witness in thought and deed to the presence of eternal Life and its manifestation, spiritual and perfect man; to the truth of all God's creation in His image and likeness, and to the omniaction of divine Love through the expression of Love's qualities. Above all, let us strive to realize the supremacy of God's government. Let us have faith in His disposal of events and gratefully acknowledge each sign of healing which points to His rule of universal harmony appearing in present-day experience. Then we shall bring forth the fruits of Spirit which the Apostle Paul enumerates in his epistle (Gal. ,23) as "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" against which, he says, "there is no law."
Who can estimate the far-reaching effects of such prayer on our part? Addressing a class of 65 students Mrs. Eddy once said (Miscellaneous† Writings† 279:27); "We, to-day, in this class-room, are enough to convert the world if we are of one Mind; for then the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind."
As we pray for that Mind to be in us "which was also in Christ Jesus" we discover that the quality of gratitude becomes increasingly active in our thinking. Gratitude has an important place in the lives of Christian Scientists. Each Wednesday, meetings are held in their churches at which testimonies of healing are given. These testimonies are varied and bear witness to the power of God and of His Christ, over all the power of the enemy. They are frequently of great practical help to others who are battling with problems and in need of encouragement. Let me tell you of just one of the benefits I have witnessed resulting from testimonies given during a Wednesday evening meeting.
A friend of mine gained her first ray of light on a serious business problem while attending a testimony meeting. At the time her thought was overcast and stormy with resentment, for, that very week, she had received an alarming report of the failure of a business from which she and her family derived their income. This business had prospered over a long period on a solid foundation of service to the public, but subsequent to the passing of the management to other hands had seriously deteriorated. Dividends ceased and final liquidation at a total loss seemed inevitable. Reports from accountants and lawyers showed the utter hopelessness of the position, and in spite of the many healings she had experienced in Christian Science my friend felt helpless to tackle a problem which had proved beyond the power of competent business advisers to solve.
At this Wednesday evening meeting she heard the account of a physical healing from the effects of a fall which had been brought about by the individual's reversing the testimony of the material senses and maintaining the true facts of spiritual being. A second speaker gave thanks for the solution of a problem concerning the selling of a house through the application of divine metaphysics.
These two testimonies awakened my friend to realize that she, also, could solve this business problem through Christian Science. She wrote out on a piece of paper all the references she could find in Mrs. Eddy's writings to the reversal of the evidence of the senses, such as (Science and Health 120:7): "Science reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being."
Gratitude Is Powerful Healing Agent
For several months she studied these passages daily and faithfully corrected her concept of the business and those responsible for its direction. She now saw it as representing an idea of Soul which could not be curtailed or be insecure or impeded in any way. She reversed her thinking about the directors of whom she had thought so bitterly, and she saw them as expressions of God, manifesting intelligence and alertness. Moreover, she gained a great sense of spiritual peace on the whole question, realizing that, as Christian Science teaches, she could never be separated from what was really hers as the manifestation of divine Love. In fact her whole thinking on the matter was transformed.
Then, one morning, to her joy she received a letter saying an offer had been received to take over the business at a sum running into six figures, and not only that, but dividends were to be paid up for the past three years. The problem was solved.
A crowning happiness to my friend was the spontaneous comment of her bank manager who had been in touch with the situation all along. He said: "I cannot thank you enough for coming to see me today. As a bank manager I have not allowed anything but facts and figures to influence the decisions I make, but by the evidence you have placed before me, you have given visible proof that there is a higher power than mere facts and figures."
Now all this good flowed to my friend through the gratitude expressed at a testimony meeting. Gratitude is a powerful healing agent; it is a joyous affirmation.
When faced with a multitude to feed in a desert place Christ Jesus prayed, he lifted up his eyes, away from the material evidence of lack, and gave thanks to God. Reversing the evidence of the senses, he expressed gratitude for the abundant supply which he knew God is always pouring forth to His beloved children. The result was immediate. The mortal picture of lack was reversed. All were fed and satisfied and there was plenty over.
Christ Jesus is the Way, and his method is the pattern for us all to follow in our need. Christian Science has revealed to us the divine law of universal harmony underlying the Master's great words. It has restored primitive Christian healing to the world. It has shown us the way to be well and happy and fearless. Let us go home today with hearts full of gratitude for all God's spiritual gifts - gifts which perhaps we have not yet seen but which we know must be flowing from the infinite source of all good. Let us live in accord with the perfect law of Love, having that Mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus.† Then the prophet's words will be fulfilled (Hab. ): "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 16, 1962.]