Christian Science: Its Revelation of God's Liberating Law
Claire Rauthe, C.S. of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Mrs. Rauthe delivered a lecture on
"Christian Science: Its Revelation of God's Liberating Law," last
evening at First Church of Christ, Scientist,
The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Adalyn M. Timmins who said: Friends: First Church of Christ Scientist, Berkeley, welcomes you to hear a Christian Science lecture given by a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.
The Psalmist sang, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalms 119:165).
Our lecturer, Claire Rauthe of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Christian Science embraces both the teachings of Christianity and Science. Many of you who are here today have been taught the Bible. Some may have read the Bible merely as history − which may seem of little use to those who are dealing with the problems of daily life or with world problems.
The first tenet of Christian Science reads as follows: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, p. 497). In these words Mrs. Eddy has made it crystal clear what the attitude of a Christian Scientist is towards the Bible. To the earnest student of Christian Science the Bible is not just a record of problems, wars, defeats, and conquests, acts of a God of wrath and revenge. It tells of the struggle between good and evil in the human consciousness, ending with the book of Revelation, which contains the prophecy of the final victory of good. There it is written (), "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Although the evil suggestions expressed by the serpent in the allegory in the book of Genesis are depicted in the book of Revelation as having grown into an aggressive red dragon, nevertheless, you will observe, all evil is finally overcome and destroyed by an understanding of the allness of God, good.
According to Bible scholars the Bible has both a literal and a spiritual meaning and, when interpreted from the standpoint of spiritual understanding, is full of statements about spiritual law and the presence of God, divine Love. These statements, when understood, can be applied by you and me in working out our individual problems, and the power of God indicated therein will lift us out of sorrow, despair, poverty, and free us from the bondage of sin and disease.
In her work "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1) Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science "as the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." What is this law of God, this law of good? One of the definitions of law given by Webster reads, "A divine commandment or a revelation of the will of God; collectively, the whole body of God's commandments." This divine law of God in its completeness has been revealed to us in Christian Science, and this unchanging law can be demonstrated by all who accept and obey it.
In order to avail oneself of the operation of the law of mathematics or of music, a knowledge of the rules in connection with such law is needed. Likewise, in order to understand "a divine commandment or . . . the will of God," it is essential to have a correct understanding of God.
On page 465 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy defines God thus: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." In this definition we have a complete statement of the nature of the one God, omnipresent, wholly good, unchanging, perfect, spiritual, and eternal. God includes all wisdom, substance, law, and intelligence. He is conscious only of His own selfhood, power, and presence. The spiritual universe, including man, is the creation or manifestation of God, and there is never a moment when God's creation is separated from Him. This God is the only God there is.
The manifestation, or self-expression, of this wholly good God must express or reflect Him in substance and quality. As light cannot produce darkness so God cannot produce evil or the capacity to do evil. God is the divine Principle of all true and spiritual ideas, eternally coexistent and unchanging. Only to the extent that we understand God aright can we know what man, the reflection or emanation of God, is.
God, as Mind, must be infinite divine consciousness. Man, the image and likeness of God, is the expression of God's being.
Perfect consciousness cannot entertain a false belief. Consciousness of health, abundance, and holiness cannot entertain a sense of sickness, limitation, or sin. Fear and spiritual love cannot be present in the same consciousness. Where love is, fear cannot be. In the first epistle of John we read (I John ), "Perfect love casteth out fear." Perfect love is spiritual love, for only that which is spiritual can be perfect. Spiritual love is expressed in the continuous, unchanging desire to bless, to save, to give, and to heal.
Throughout eternity God is the same. He has always been, and will ever be, all the Life and Mind there is; and His universe, including spiritual man, must therefore be His eternal self-expression, perfect and spiritual. The Psalmist sang (104:1): "Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty."
An individual has to gain this right concept of God through prayer and self-immolation and by cultivating, or accepting, the unfoldment of Truth in his consciousness.
The prophet Isaiah's clear and certain sense of the comforting love of God and of the nearness of divine Love, ready to help and comfort each of us, is indicated in his reference to God (66:13), "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you."
Christian Science: the Law of God, the Law of Good
In the short space of an hour it is impossible to present fully to you so vast a subject as Christian Science, but I hope that what I say will cause you to investigate for yourself this "law of God" and trace its beneficent influence in the lives of at least a few of the outstanding characters of the Bible. Such an investigation will show you how, in each case, some knowledge of the law of God, good, came to their aid.
But you may ask, Of what possible use is it to me to read the story of Adam and Eve? The story of Adam and Eve is an allegory. The question whether such people as Adam and Eve ever existed is of little importance, but it is important to understand that the narrative, when explained in Christian Science and spiritually understood, indicates the dawn of a great truth in human consciousness, namely, that God has no knowledge of evil.
In the Christian Science textbook we find a chapter entitled' "Glossary." There Mrs. Eddy gives the metaphysical interpretation of some Bible terms, which are helpful to students. For instance, the serpent, which, in the allegory of Adam and Eve, tempted Eve, is defined in part as "subtlety; a lie; the opposite of Truth, named error" (Science and Health, p. 594). Therefore, the suggestion that wisdom and satisfaction can result from the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is a fable, a falsity, an illusion. Surely here the exposť of evil as wholly false begins to unfold in human consciousness.
Throughout the Bible we can trace the revelation of God, as good, growing and developing in human consciousness. For example, in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elias, and the prophets we see the revelation and continuous unfoldment of God's liberating law.
Through his knowledge of God as good and as a protecting and saving presence, Noah was guided to build an ark, thereby saving himself and his family from destruction through the flood. Mrs. Eddy has given us a spiritual interpretation of this well-known story, which has enabled thousands of people to derive helpful lessons from it. As they have gained a clear sense of the saving and protecting presence of God, they, like Noah, have been saved from harm in times of danger. Let me read to you part of the definition of ark which Mrs. Eddy has given in the Glossary to the Christian Science textbook. It is as follows (p. 581); "Ark. Safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter." In the Glossary to which I have referred, we also find the following illuminating definition of Noah (p. 592): "A corporeal mortal; knowledge of the nothingness of material things and of the immortality of all that is spiritual." When we, as Noah, enter the ark and learn how to discern "the nothingness of material things" and "the immortality of all that is spiritual," we shall not be afraid of the trials and troubles which may beset us, but we shall be their masters. Christian Science enables us to gain freedom from danger and harm by finding safety in the spiritual understanding of the immortality and indestructibility of God's creation and the consequent nothingness of matter and evil. Many of you are familiar with the verse in Mrs. Eddy's beautiful hymn, "The Mother's Evening Prayer" (Poems, P. 4):
"Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all."
No spiritual idea which comes to us from God can remain an abstract ideal in our thought. It must find expression in a form which will always meet our need, whatever it may be. A scientific right thought has behind it the power of the law of God. In Noah's case the right idea of the protecting presence of God led him to build an ark.
Abraham was the first to proclaim God as "the Almighty"; and in the book of Genesis, God is represented as saying to him (12:2,3), "I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Was this blessing bestowed on the personal Abraham, or did it refer to that state of consciousness which Abraham expressed? Obedient to what he believed to be the will of God, Abraham left his country, home, and people. What he did is so beautifully expressed in the eighth verse of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that I should like to read it to you: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."
Through their fidelity to what they have known of God, and their trust in good, thousands of people have had the courage, like Abraham, to leave positions outgrown and go forward into a new way of living and, like him, they have been abundantly blessed.
Acting in accordance with their highest understanding of God, the divine Principle, expressed in such qualities as faithfulness, honesty, integrity, purity, and joy, uncounted numbers of Christian Scientists are today reaping the far-reaching rewards of a life of righteousness, making progress through greater spiritual understanding.
Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, to whom he gave the coat of many colors, is a lovable character in the Old Testament. The love and generosity of his father towards him aroused the envy and hatred of his brothers, and in order to get rid of him, they sold him to a band of Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt, not knowing that it would be to him, their own brother Joseph, they would owe the saving of themselves, their families, and their country from starvation. Joseph bore no resentment toward his brothers. A few years ago I met a man who, through the fault of others, had lost almost all his material possessions. He was thrown into the pit of loneliness and despair and driven by circumstances to leave his country. Through the earnest study and practice of Christian Science he gained such a clear sense of God as omnipresent Love that, like Joseph, he accepted the opportunity, which later came to him, to do a great deal of good to those who had for many years misunderstood and criticized him.
One of the most outstanding
characters in the Old Testament is Moses, and the story of his leading the
From what I have said, I trust you have gained some understanding of the present-day value of the Bible when one gets even a glimpse of its spiritual meaning and the lessons which may be learned from studying its pages in the light which Christian Science throws upon them.
Turning from the Old Testament to the New, let us consider Christ Jesus, the divinely royal man, who dated the Christian era and is the ensample in Christian Science.
Jesus was the son of a virgin. His purity endowed him with a greater measure of understanding of God and His divine laws than anyone else. From early childhood he was conscious of his real selfhood. His real selfhood was spiritual and immortal, antedating his appearance in the flesh. He made this clear in such statements as "Before Abraham was, I am" (John ), and "I and my Father are one" (John ). Understanding his divine origin and persistently claiming his true identity as the Son of God, he was able to demonstrate his control over any suggestions emanating from what St. Paul has defined as "the carnal mind which is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). Jesus of Nazareth, living among his contemporaries as a bodily existence, understood, taught, and demonstrated the Christ, God's spiritual, ideal man, coexisting with his divine Principle, God. In her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 Mrs. Eddy writes of Christ Jesus (p. 10): "The Christ was not human. Jesus was human, but the Christ Jesus represented both the divine and the human, God and man." Throughout his whole life Jesus claimed his oneness with God, and he proved it by demonstration in healing the sick, saving the sinner, and in overcoming so-called material, man-made laws.
Let us imagine ourselves for a
moment back in
Christ Jesus demonstrated God's spiritual law. He knew that an understanding of that law, and complete certainty that it is ever operative, would always destroy any physical or material so-called law.
Let me recall to you the story of Jesus in the wilderness, surrounded by a large crowd of hungry people, who had followed him. Did Jesus accept the testimony of the material senses as did the disciples who were with him? On the contrary, according to the narrative in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, "he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude." On that occasion Christ Jesus demonstrated God's law of infinite and ever-present supply. In her "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 307); "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for tomorrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment." A young girl once went to a Christian Science practitioner for help. She was living under very discordant home conditions and was out of employment. The practitioner explained to her that man as the image and likeness of God is the full and perfect expression of God, or Mind. In other words, she must be in reality the expression of spiritual ideas, which in their human manifestation are love, joy, happiness, purity, honesty, gratitude, and so forth. As the young girl followed this advice, her whole life was changed. She was lifted out of the discordant home conditions and found interesting and remunerative work and ever since has made continuous progress.
Christian Science shows how God's law of supply can be demonstrated in meeting human needs. It is doubt and fear, greed, and faith in matter rather than in infinite omnipresent Love, that underlie lack and limitation and all the economic problems of the world. As we understandingly trust in the ever-presence of God's spiritual ideas, we can fearlessly and gratefully apply God's law of abundant good.
Jesus realized that his own spiritual comprehension was beyond the present understanding of his contemporaries, and therefore he could not tell them all he knew, for the simple reason that they would not understand him. However, he knew equally well that the time would come when mankind would be ready to receive a further unfoldment of Truth through a messenger from God. He said that this messenger would remind us of all that he had taught, the spiritual meaning of which would remain with us forever.
The revelation which fully explains and demonstrates the operation of the divine law of God, good, has come to this age through Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy was born in
Mrs. Eddy loved her mother deeply.
It has been written of her mother that she was a gentle, capable, conscientious
Mrs. Eddy received a good academic education. A well-known clergyman of her time, the Rev. Enoch Corser, was enthusiastic in praising her. He spoke of her as "bright, good, and pure, aye brilliant! . . . She has some great future, mark that. She is an intellectual and spiritual genius" (The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Sibyl Wilbur, p. 33). From her brother Albert, Mrs. Eddy had lessons in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He also taught her moral science and natural philosophy.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science was the culmination of her deep spirituality and her longing for and seeking after Truth through all her life. Her discovery of Christian Science in 1866 came about when she was instantly healed from the effects of a supposedly fatal accident. She was healed by reading in the Bible the account of the healing by Christ Jesus of the man sick of the palsy. She writes of this experience in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 26), "The miracles recorded in the Bible, which had before seemed to me supernatural, grew divinely natural and apprehensible." That experience and the results which followed from it, as seen in the life of Mary Baker Eddy, as well as all she afterwards accomplished for the benefit of mankind, prove, without a shadow of doubt, that she was the one chosen of God to receive the further revelation of Truth, prophesied by Christ Jesus. After Mrs. Eddy's healing, the revelation of Christian Science gradually unfolded to her, as given in the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
Now let me tell you briefly something of her work as Founder of Christian Science. In addition to writing the Christian Science textbook, healing people who came to her for help, teaching students, and preparing them to go out into the world to heal and teach, she founded The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, which has today branch churches and societies in most parts of the world. She also founded The Christian Science Publishing Society and for some time was the sole editor of The Christian Science Journal.
Today there issues from the large and imposing Christian Science Publishing House, adjacent to The Mother Church in Boston, all the authorized literature of the movement, including The Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science in German, French, Dutch, Spanish, and the Scandinavian languages, all containing editorials, articles, and carefully verified testimonies of healing.
In 1908 Mrs. Eddy founded The
Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper, which has today a
great and well-deserved reputation, not only in the
One of the most important periodicals established by Mrs. Eddy is the Christian Science Quarterly, containing Bible Lessons on stated subjects, consisting of correlative passages from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." In the Christian Science church there is no sermon by a personal preacher, as is customary in the churches of many other denominations. In place of such a sermon the same Lesson is read in all Christian Science churches, thus establishing uniformity throughout the world. Each of these Lessons constitutes a sermon, which is free from any personal interpretation. During the week prior to the Sunday for which it has been prepared, the Lesson for the week is studied by Christian Scientists. Great importance is attached to this individual study, which is regarded as contributing greatly to the success of the Sunday services. In fact, so much importance is attached to the study of the Lesson-Sermons that Mrs. Eddy has described them in the Manual of The Mother Church (p 31) as "a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."
To ensure that her work as Founder of Christian Science would not only continue to bear fruit but would also be secure from adulteration for all time, Mrs. Eddy wrote the Manual of The Mother Church. The Christian Science Manual will eventually be recognized as one of the greatest instruments for government the world has ever known. On page 230 of her work "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" Mrs. Eddy writes, "Notwithstanding the sacrilegious moth of time, eternity awaits our Church Manual, which will maintain its rank as in the past, amid ministries aggressive and active, and will stand when those have passed to rest."
Healing In Christian Science
The law of God, good, of which Christ Jesus was the greatest exponent, always operates. Before his time its operation was seen in the lives of the patriarchs and prophets, in the healing (for example) of Naaman's leprosy, in the raising from the dead of the widow's son by Elijah, the multiplication of the oil, the causing of the iron ax head to swim, and in numerous other instances. Christ Jesus, however, left no scientific rule for the guidance of his followers in healing, but through the discovery of Christian Science this rule is now available to each of us. The healing in Christian Science rests on the spiritual understanding of the allness and omnipotence of God, Life that knows no death, Truth that knows no error, and Love that knows no fear.
What God does not know He cannot cause or support, and that which is not caused or supported by God can have no existence, power, substance, or presence in reality. It exists only as darkness appears to exist; namely, as the absence of light, which the appearance of light immediately destroys.
Fear, error, sin, sickness, poverty, unemployment, are destroyed by the acceptance of the right spiritual idea, which acts in the same way as the light. Christ Jesus once said to the people standing around, '"If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John ,32). What is this truth which we are to know? Can it be knowledge based on the testimony of the physical senses, when such knowledge is ever changing, unreliable, and contradictory − accepted in one age as truth and discarded in another through progress and enlightenment? The truth which Christ Jesus urged us to know must be the eternal fact of being − the absolute, unchanging, immutable, eternal, harmonious facts of God and His spiritual universe, including man.
Christian Science, as set forth in the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, reveals the law of God, good. It interprets God and the nature of His spiritual creation and reveals to each of us his true identity.
Christian Science teaches how this understanding of God and His spiritual universe, including man, when established in individual consciousness and applied to any human problem, does solve that problem, however seemingly difficult in appearance it may be.
One evening a Christian Science practitioner was called to a woman who was suffering from consumption of the bowels and who had been given up by the doctors. When the practitioner arrived, the woman was unconscious, and those around her felt that she was passing on. The practitioner asked to be left alone with the patient. She went to the patient's bedside and told her that God was Love, and that Love was Life, and that that Life was her eternal life; she roused her and made the woman repeat with her positive statements of truth from the Christian Science textbook.
The next morning there was a remarkable improvement in the woman's condition, and when told that she was having Christian Science treatment, she immediately showed great interest, and as soon as she was physically able; she began to read the textbook. Christian Science treatment was continued for some time, and soon the woman was able to take up her duties in her own home. Among her friends and relatives she is now a living witness to the healing power of Christian Science.
As revealed in Christian Science, God is infinite Spirit, or Mind. The Science of Mind is therefore a divine Science. Healing in Christian Science is an entirely spiritually mental process, based on the understanding of man's oneness with God. The application of that understanding is through prayer and heavenly inspiration.
Prayer in Christian Science
What is prayer in Christian Science? How does a Christian Scientist pray? In Christian Science all healing is the result of spiritual understanding. Through Christian Science we learn that discord, sickness, and suffering are unreal and are the result of wrong mental conditions, or wrong thinking, which must be corrected by the truth of being, the truth about God and man, including the universe. With faith and confidence in the supreme, infinite God, the Christian Scientist turns away from the discordant testimony of the physical senses and realizes the ever-presence of God, good. The prayer which heals sickness is the knowledge that man does not live in matter, that he is wholly spiritual, and that he lives as idea in the divine Mind. The Christian Scientist knows that man as the reflection of God must express health and completeness and therefore is at peace. He knows that since God is ever-active, all-powerful Love, no material, physical, or man-made law has power to operate to harm him. As he becomes conscious of the ever-presence of divine Love and such spiritual ideas as health, perfection, purity, and holiness, he loses the consciousness of evil, pain, sickness, and fear. Because God, good, is ever present, evil, sickness, pain, and suffering must ever be false and unreal.
A woman one day went to see a student of Christian Science with whom she previously had had a helpful talk. When they parted, the Christian Scientist told the woman that if ever she was in trouble, she could always come to her. Months passed, and one day this woman came to the student's home in tears, saying, "Now I am in great trouble and very unhappy, and you promised that I could come to you." She said that she had just come from the doctor, who had diagnosed a case of cancer and advised an immediate operation, and that her husband was very anxious that the operation be performed. The woman added that, instead of going to the hospital, she had come to see this student. While the woman was talking, the student wondered why this case had come to her, as she felt she was too inexperienced and wondered if she should not send her to some established Christian Science practitioner. But remembering her promise to help the woman, she said that Christian Science could certainly heal her, and that she would do her part. The woman went away, and the student turned to God with all her heart, declaring that man, as the image and likeness of God, must be perfect and spiritual and could not express anything that God had not made. She declared that if God is Spirit, then all substance must be spiritual and perfect, incapable of any discord. She denied the story of grief and resentment that the woman had presented, knowing that the all-hearing, all-seeing God knew nothing of this discord. She declared that what her eyes had seen and her ears had heard was never a fact in Truth, and that therefore there was nothing to fear. She saw that the whole picture was nothing but a temptation of the carnal mind and that there was in reality no life, truth, or substance in it. As the student prayed in this manner, she lost all sense of responsibility and fear and felt quite happy and free. The following morning the woman telephoned and told her that every symptom of the illness had disappeared and that she felt happier than she ever had before in her whole life, and that her husband did not wish her to go to the hospital, as there was no need for it.
In conclusion let me quote you a few lines from Mrs. Eddy's book, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 5): "Wholly apart from this mortal dream, this illusion and delusion of sense, Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him − God giving all and man having all that God gives."
[Published in The Berkeley (California) Daily Gazette, March 20, 1951.]