Christian Science: Its Healing Message of Regeneration
Claire Rauthe, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
True peace, abundance, and freedom
depend upon a correct understanding of God, Claire Rauthe, C.S., of
The healing and restoring power of scientific prayer was proved by Old Testament prophets as well as by Christ Jesus, she said, and it is being demonstrated as immediately available in Christian Science today.
On extensive tour as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mrs. Rauthe spoke on the subject, "Christian Science: Its Healing Message of Regeneration."
In his introduction, Arnold H. Exo, C.S.B., First Reader of The Mother Church, said: “Christian Science teaches that everyone may drop off, here and now, the old limitations of sickness, false appetites, fears, burdens, or whatever the error may be, and put on the new man of God's creating - free, active, healthful, loved, and loving.”
Mrs. Rauthe spoke substantially as follows:
In the year 1866 Mary Baker Eddy
discovered Christian Science, and in 1875 she published her textbook, "Science
and Health with Key to the Scriptures." What does that mean? It means that
at that time a
Today the world is in dire need of
comfort. Mankind stands aghast, confronted with a world distraught with turmoil,
hopelessly looking for a solution of its problems, frightened by the many inventions
of the carnal mind. It is in a state not unlike that in which a sick person
finds himself when all material remedies have failed. Here and there we hear of
someone daring to turn our thoughts to a higher, a spiritual sense of Principle
and power. Some time ago, for example, an American statesman called on the
In the Old Testament of the Bible we find the ancient history of the Hebrew people, and in that history it is recorded that there appeared from time to time men with clear vision of God, Truth. We see how such vision helped these men to lead wonderful lives and to perform wonderful works. We read of the translation of Enoch, who led a life so close to God that the Bible states he "walked with God; and he was not: for God took him" (Gen. 5:24). We read of Abraham, the friend of God (see II Chron. 20:7), who proved that he loved God more than his dearest material possession. We read of Elijah, who did not go through the experience of death, and of Elisha, who did works comparable to those which Christ Jesus performed many hundreds of years later. He multiplied the widow's oil; he restored to life the dead son of the Shunammite woman; he satisfied the hunger of one hundred men with twenty loaves of barley, and through him Naaman was healed of his leprosy.
In the Old Testament we read also of the vision of the great prophets. For example, Isaiah prophesied the birth of the Messiah, which took place many years later in the very way he foretold. Let me quote: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. ). The thirty-fifth chapter of the book of Isaiah contains a most encouraging and inspiring description of Christ's kingdom on earth and his reign of universal love. Another great prophet was Daniel, who foretold many important events in history. Because of his understanding of the power of God and the control which divine Love held over man and the universe, he felt no fear even in the lions' den. This demonstration of the omnipotence of God caused even the heathen King Darius to acknowledge the God of Israel as the "living God" (Dan. ).
At times the clearer concept of God held by the Hebrew people became confused, and they lost their exalted vision; then God became to them a God of wrath and revenge, one who knew evil, sent disaster, even death - a God whom the people feared more than they loved. Bible history shows that when the Hebrew people lost their vision, and ceased to rely on the one true God, almost immediately they encountered trouble and disaster.
Let us now consider for a few moments God as understood in Christian Science and see for ourselves if He is not indeed the one and only God whom we can love with all our hearts and minds, whom we can understand and adore, in whom we can trust, and to whom we can turn in every need. In this correct understanding of God lies the salvation of the world.
In the Christian Science textbook, on page 252, Mrs. Eddy presents God, Spirit, testifying of Himself: “I am Spirit. Man, whose senses are spiritual, is my likeness. He reflects the infinite understanding, for I am Infinity. The beauty of holiness, the perfection of being, imperishable glory, - all are Mine, for I am God. I give immortality to man, for I am Truth. I include and impart all bliss, for I am Love. I give life, without beginning and without end, for I am Life. I am supreme and give all, for I am Mind. I am the substance of all, because I am that I am.”
The infinite I AM, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love, conceives only of His own perfection and glory and is seeing Himself reflected in the perfect spiritual man, His image and likeness. If God declares man's senses to be spiritual, they cannot be material. If God gives life, without beginning and without end, can death be real? If God, who is Love, gives all, can man ever lack anything good?
This God-created man must ever be conscious of his heaven-bestowed gifts of harmony, perfection, understanding, immortality, bliss, and dominion. He lives eternally as idea in the divine Mind and is never for one moment separated from this Mind, his only cause and creator.
The teachings of Christian Science make it now possible for all of us, through the understanding of God, to become conscious of our true identity and inheritance of all good and to learn how to demonstrate man's dominion over all that is unlike God, good, and therefore unreal - that is, unknown to God, Spirit, the only Mind and creator.
In the New Testament we read of Christ Jesus, of whom Mrs. Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook: "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause" (p. 313). Here let me say that Christian Scientists not only accept the virgin birth of that divinely royal man, Christ Jesus, but there is also in the Christian Science textbook a satisfying explanation of this momentous event. Mary's conception of Christ Jesus was the result of her deep spirituality, her true and spiritual understanding of the fatherhood of God. This understanding found expression in the birth of our Lord.
Jesus was the son of a virgin, but the Christ has always existed as the reflection of God. The Christ is spiritual, incorporeal, the divine idea eternally coexistent with God as His spiritual ideal. The human Jesus taught and demonstrated the Christ. He was so imbued with the spiritual understanding of his divine origin or sonship that he embodied the spiritual ideal, Christ, and so became the Way-shower, divinely anointed and appointed to redeem mankind.
As Jesus grew up he persistently claimed his spiritual birthright and refused at all times to recognize himself as a mortal. According to the Bible, suggestions common to us all came to him, and we owe him our deepest gratitude because he consistently refused to accept them. By his obedience to the spiritual conception of being he showed mortals the way out of the false sense of existence in which they still believe. He made the goodness and allness of God known to us. Hence he became the Way-shower and our Saviour.
The birth of Christ Jesus is most beautifully described in the opening chapters of the Gospel of Luke, which contains the story with which we are all so familiar - the lowly manger, the watchful shepherds, and the herald angels. Here let me give you an illustration of the healing effect which results from even a glimpse of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures. Very late one night a Christian Science practitioner was called on the telephone by a Christian Science nurse and told that some serious complication had arisen in connection with a case of childbirth she was attending and that the mother was very fearful. 1t happened that that evening the practitioner had been studying the opening chapters of the Gospel of Luke to which I have just referred, and her thought was so filled with joy and gratitude that she was able to convey to the mother and the nurse some sense of what was in her thought. Two hours later a message came through that all was well.
Christ Jesus healed the sick and
reformed the sinner by spiritual methods only. He never asked what the symptoms
of disease were, never looked for cause in matter, never concerned himself with
hereditary or physical laws. He turned away from the material manifestation of
sickness, sin, lack, and discord of every sort, and filled his consciousness
with the truth of being - the absolute reality of God and man, including the
universe. When confronted with the impotent man at the pool of
This greatest man that ever trod the earth taught and practiced truth among his generation, but the influence of his life has permeated through the ages the thoughts and teachings of all who profess his name, and more so today than ever before.
You will recollect that towards the close of his earthly ministry our Master told his disciples that he would not be with them much longer. However, he promised that he would not leave them comfortless and foretold the coming of the Comforter, the "Spirit of truth," which he said, would guide them into "all truth" and remind them of all that he had said (John 16:13).
A glimpse of the fulfillment of this prophecy of Christ Jesus was gained on the Day of Pentecost, one of the annual solemn festivals of the Jews. When the disciples were all together and of one mind, their consciousness was filled with the Christ-spirit, or Holy Ghost, and they had a perception of the ever-present Comforter, with remarkable signs following. Bible historians regard the Day of Pentecost as the foundation of the Christian church, which prospered through its works of healing and regeneration.
This healing ministry remained with the Christian church for about three hundred years after Jesus' ascension. Then its healing power was gradually lost. Dogmas and creeds adulterated pure Christianity, and God was again believed to be a God who sent evil, disaster, and death, and in His name terrible and cruel deeds were performed. The purpose of Christianity to make men better morally, spiritually, and physically, to cast out fear, envy, and hate, and to heal the sick and broken-hearted through spiritual means, was in large measure lost, notwithstanding that Christ Jesus proved that God is a God of love, whose power is ever present to heal and save and bless mankind. Was it not he who said, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke )?
The Reformation brought some light into the world, and the free use of the Bible during the years following prepared the way for the final revelation of Truth through Christian Science.
Almost two thousand years after
Christ Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, longing for and seeking after truth with all her
heart, was divinely prepared to receive the full and final revelation of the
Christ, or Truth. Her discovery, which
she named Christian Science, is the appearing of the impersonal Christ, or
Truth. There is but one eternal Christ, which has now appeared to the visible
world the second time but without material accompaniment. It is Divine Science,
the Comforter, or spirit of Truth. As
Christian Science is not an invention; it is a discovery, and it has come to this age in fulfillment of prophecy and in the very way its appearance was foretold by John the Revelator. On page 107 of the Christian Science textbook Mrs. Eddy writes of her discovery: "God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing." Christian Science brings to mankind a correct understanding of God, and this correct understanding is awakening mankind to the privilege of knowing man's oneness with God and of bringing forth the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22).
Christian Science reveals the fatherhood and motherhood of God, and through this revelation man is now seen as the spiritual offspring of God, for with Spirit as his origin, or cause, man must of necessity be wholly spiritual. The real man now stands revealed as God's beloved child, pure and perfect, eternally living in Him as His divine, spiritual idea. Man, as revealed in Christian Science, needs no salvation, no change from bad to good; he is complete, and satisfied with his completeness. He is fully conscious of the fact - the spiritual truth - that his life is eternal and harmonious, forever governed by his divine Principle, Love, and step by step, through Christian Science, this great fact is demonstrated.
The spiritual man's senses are spiritual; they can discern only what God knows. These senses cannot be touched by any physical or medical law, or by beliefs of heredity, age, limitation, or accident. They cannot be lost, for they belong to the eternal Mind. Through spiritual sense man understands Truth: he sees, hears, and feels through the senses of Soul. That is, through spiritual understanding he comprehends reality.
But, you may ask who then is this flesh and blood man, the man who appears to be subject to physical laws of sickness and sin and very much in need of salvation? The answer is that he is not the man whose origin is in God, the divine Mind: he is not the man made in the image and likeness of God, but a false sense of this man. He is the manifestation of the carnal mind's belief that there is life, intelligence, and substance in matter and that this supposedly animate matter is a creator. Through Science, this false sense of man yields to the true, and the real selfhood of man, made in God's likeness, proportionally appears.
An article in the New York Herald Tribune to which my attention was drawn stated that at a conference of medical and surgical specialists, when problems of the aged were under discussion, the conclusion was reached that the accumulation of years did not in themselves bring about deterioration, but, if such deterioration were manifested, it was simply because the individual concerned was allowing himself to be influenced by what the conference termed a "time neurosis." In other words, such people would be suffering from the effects of the fear of age, not age itself.
Briefly the conclusions arrived at were: "Time has no effect on human tissues under any conditions," that "vigor does not necessarily vary with age," and that "time is not toxic." Belief in the effect of time by those who subscribe to such a belief is the thing which acts as a poison.
Wherein then lies our remedy? Not in a surgical operation, not in doing exercises or taking tonics and drugs, but in a change of consciousness.
Many earnest physical scientists have, through years of research and experiment, come to the conclusion that matter, with all its accompaniments, is, or may be, entirely mental - a phenomenon of the human mind.
In the seventeenth century a well-known churchman and philosopher of that day, William Law, wrote, “The greatest part of mankind, - nay, of Christians, - may be said to be asleep, and that particular way of life which takes up each man's mind, thoughts and actions, may very well be called his particular dream.”
Throughout his earthly career, Christ Jesus, by his teachings and demonstrations over sin, disease, and even death, showed us the way out of this "dream which takes up each man's mind, thought and actions," and so he became known as the Way-shower. However, as 1 have said, the spiritual meaning of the sayings and lifework of this divinely scientific man was lost. The human Jesus was deified, and other men were regarded as miserable sinners or the fallen children of God. It is through Mary Baker Eddy and her gift to the world that the door has been reopened, and in the light of Christian Science we can see the way out of this dream of mortal, material existence and perceive the real man's "dominion . . . over all the earth" (Gen. 1:26).
The first chapter in the Christian Science textbook is on the subject of prayer. What is this prayer? It is not pleading with an anthropomorphic God to heal us or to work out our problems or to shower material blessings on us. Prayer is the consciousness of the presence of divine Life, Truth, and Love, which comes to us as we silence our selfish desires and fears and allow some sense of the nearness and allness of God to fill our consciousness to the exclusion of all else. Mrs. Eddy puts this very clearly when she writes in her textbook, "This Soul-sense comes to the human mind when the latter yields to the divine Mind" (p. 85). From this you will see that prayer is not asking God to bring to pass any plan of our own making, but is that attitude of mind which has no other desire but to understand God and to do His will, however contrary that may be to our human inclinations or preconceived views. As our personal wishes grow less we shall rejoice in the knowledge that God is guarding, guiding, and directing every step we take. In that state of consciousness we shall have no other desire but to express the divine will of God. Experience shows that to obey the divine command, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10), will result in a wider sense of harmony and peace than in any merely human way we can possibly imagine. Contrast for a moment the state of a person whose mind is filled with fear and anxiety for the future with that of one who remains undisturbed and undismayed in time of stress, conscious that he is God's reflection and therefore can manifest only the nature of God, good - the creative Principle.
Prayer is not seeking to gain inspiration through the exercise of the human mind, but is the discerning between the false and the true and accepting only that which is true and spiritually real; and this brings true inspiration.
From what I have said you will see that prayer is not the building up in our thought of what we conceive the kingdom of heaven to be, but is the attaining of a knowledge of what already exists and identifying ourselves with it.
Reformation and not pardon, is the divine way in Christian Science.
Let me illustrate: The acceptance of truth into one's consciousness may be likened to the pouring of pure water into a bowl filled with ink until the ink in the bowl is entirely displaced by pure water. If you liken the ink to erroneous thought and the pure water to spiritual realities, you will see that erroneous thinking would be entirely replaced by spiritual realities, or the Mind of Christ. Such a final state of consciousness would correspond to what is meant by the kingdom of heaven. It is not impossible of attainment here and now. In that kingdom there is no consciousness of anything which does not emanate from God, the divine Mind. There is no sense of finite personalities with their likes and dislikes, their doubts and fears and struggles for existence. There are only the ideas of the divine Mind, all expressing the nature and the government of divine harmony.
Before his ascension, that is, before he rose above the apprehension of the material senses, Christ Jesus told his disciples to carry his teachings to all nations in these words: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). To do this it is necessary to have an organization, and in no direction was Mrs. Eddy more divinely guided than in her establishment of the Church of Christ, Scientist. This organization is so designed that its aim and purpose is not only to spread the gospel of the kingdom to every creature but to support and protect the individual member in working out his salvation alone with God. In the Church of Christ, Scientist, there is no priesthood, no personal preaching, and each branch church, while subject to compliance with certain By-Laws of The Mother Church, has local self-government and is responsible for its own financial commitments. A branch church is a school of experience, and the lessons learned through membership are productive of much spiritual growth. As an auxiliary to The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy established The Christian Science Publishing Society, which publishes all the authorized literature of the Christian Science movement. Mrs. Eddy also established The Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church and the Christian Science Committee on Publication.
The various activities of the Christian Science organization are designed to waken mankind out of the dream of material existence in which it is believing, and they are doing so by bringing to mankind the original, spiritual meaning of the Bible and the teachings of Christ Jesus through both the spoken and the written word. The truth expressed through these activities is permeating and spiritualizing human consciousness, and so in the present period mankind appears more and more ready to accept and apprehend metaphysical truths. Take, for example, the world-wide demand for the authorized literature of our movement, issuing from The Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston, Massachusetts: The Christian Science Journal, the monthly official organ of The Mother Church; the Christian Science Sentinel, published weekly; and The Herald of Christian Science, with its various editions in French, German, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish, all containing editorials, articles, and testimonies of healing through Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy also established the Christian Science Quarterly, containing Bible Lessons on stated subjects, consisting of correlative passages from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, and ordained them the only pastor over The Mother Church and its branches throughout the world. It is an important point that literature on Christian Science given to the world should come through the authorized channels controlled by the vast experience of The Christian Science Board of Directors, whose authority is based on the Manual of The Mother Church. Think for a moment of the effect of this vast quantity of literature going out into the world with its regenerating message of health, hope, and security.
Let me tell you of a physical healing resulting from the reading of an article in the Christian Science Sentinel. A woman living in a very isolated district was waiting for the return of her husband to take her to a hospital to undergo a second operation for cancer. While waiting she had the desire to do a service for her husband. With great difficulty she dragged herself across the room to the washing machine, but was so exhausted by the effort that she fell over the machine. In this position she found herself reading from a half sheet which lay on the floor torn from a Christian Science Sentinel. As she read, the realization dawned upon her that God was the only healer. This woman's consciousness was so flooded with the beauty and glory of the revelation which had come to her that when her husband arrived to take her to the hospital she was completely healed. An interesting point about this woman’s experience is that for three years after her healing, when she was called upon to visit her sick neighbors, as she often was, they were immediately healed.
When, in the year 1875, Mrs. Eddy published the Christian Science textbook, she was scorned and laughed at. Today the truths in that book are being accepted more and more by highly educated and thinking men and women.
Mrs. Eddy, like our great Master, went direct to God, and in so doing discovered that all logical reasoning, and all true answers, must be based on the omnipotence and allness of God, who is infinite Spirit, Mind, Life, Truth, and Love. She was looking as God looks - from perfection - instead of looking up to Him, and therefore she spiritually beheld the creation of the perfect God, who is of "purer eyes than to behold evil" (Hab. ).
Christian Science teaches the unreality of matter and all evil, admitting that to the physical senses evil, matter, sickness, and suffering seem to present sometimes a frightening and painful experience. It is on the basis of the allness of God, good, and the unreality of matter and its accompaniments that Christian Science demonstrates harmony and happiness.
Christian Science teaches that God, good, is infinite, has all power, is ever present, and includes all true knowledge, and then draws the logical conclusion that anything unlike God, although seemingly real, docs not have its origin in God and therefore must and can be overcome. It is this difference that separates Christian Science from all other religions and philosophies.
Christian Scientists attach the utmost importance to the spiritual interpretation of the Bible and the works and teachings of Christ Jesus. That which to the human mind appears miraculous and supernatural becomes, through spiritual understanding, divinely natural and practical. Let me illustrate. Take the instance of Elisha raising the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead. We read in the Bible in the fourth chapter of II Kings how, when the prophet arrived at the house of the Shunammite, "the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."
Now I ask you, taken literally, would such action raise the dead? No, but spiritually interpreted it is beautiful and inspiring. There is no doubt that Elisha had a clear understanding of God, His divine law of life, and its application. It was his real spiritual concept of many which Elisha utilized on behalf of the child, replacing the material concept or physical evidence of man with his higher, his spiritual view. That is, he measured him in accordance with "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. ). Notice that he "shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord." He shut out material sense evidence, false beliefs, and witnesses, turning wholeheartedly to his understanding of man as the image und likeness of God and his unity with Life, Truth, and Love. One might say that he laid upon the child his spiritual and therefore real, concept of man. Studying this passage in the light of Christian Science you will note especially how the prophet persisted and again "stretched himself upon him," in other words, was willing to accept no other concept of man than as the image and likeness of God, divine Life. Could such understanding and persistence be unfruitful? No, certainly not. "The child opened his eyes."
Centuries later, Christ Jesus again demonstrated to suffering humanity the power of Truth - the truth about man - to heal disease of every name and nature. Mrs. Eddy describes the healings of Christ Jesus as being accomplished by his "humble prayers," which "were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 12).
In accordance with the first chapter of Genesis, Christian
Science reveals the fact that man, made in the image and likeness of God - and
there is no other man - is forever very good, spiritual, and eternal. In the
first chapter of the Gospel of John we read that "all things were made by
him" - God, Spirit (John 1:3). From this it must follow that what the
physical senses define as man - the material and mortal - cannot be the man
created by God, Spirit. He is the counterfeit of the real man, not at all the
likeness of Truth, Life, and substance. He is the Adam-dream and dreamer
mentioned in the second chapter of the Bible, to which
Christ-Spirit Is Always With Us
Christian Science shows us that
only to the extent that we obey
Jesus of Nazareth, imbued with the Christ-spirit, healed the sick, saved the sinner, and raised the dead. This Christ is ever here with us, inspiring and showing us the way out of the Adam-dream into immortal spiritual reality.
In proportion as we accept the Christ, Truth, into our consciousness we shall not only find our own lives transformed and improved, but we shall also be able to help our fellow men - all with whom we come in contact.
The Adam-dream, with all its matter beliefs, has to be overcome by each one of us. It begins with original sin - the delusion that there is life, truth, intelligence, and substance in matter - and ends with the demonstration of our true identity, which is entirely spiritual. Throughout his life, and especially through his resurrection and ascension, Christ Jesus showed us that the material mortal is not the real man, and that as our thought ascends out of matter and mortal mind beliefs, to that extent we become Godlike.
In his epistle to the Ephesians,
In conclusion let me leave with you the following passage from the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 265): "Man understands spiritual existence in proportion as his treasures of Truth and Love are enlarged. Mortals must gravitate Godward, their affections and aims grow spiritual, - they must near the broader interpretations of being, and gain some proper sense of the infinite, - in order that sin and mortality may be put off. This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace."