Christian Science: The Continuing Fulfillment of Prophecy
Charles Louis Reilly of Los Angeles, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
We shall open our lecture by discussing an exciting and inspiring event. The fact that this event took place some 2700 years ago is only of relative importance because the vital spiritual point of the occasion is as true and practical today as it was then. Every spiritual truth is always practical — it always does something good for us.
But let us go on with our story. It concerns a deeply religious man whose spiritual and invigorating love of God brought about radical changes for good wherever he went. For instance, through prayer alone he instantly healed the leper Naaman. On another occasion a child who had died was restored to life through the prayers of this man.
Those of you who have read this account in the Bible know that this man was the prophet Elisha. Elisha was a farmer before he was called to his holy work as a prophet. This man of simple origin became the religious guide to his people and served them for sixty years. This spiritually transformed farmer dared, in the practice of his religion, to advise and rebuke kings. Elisha's spiritual leadership gave the kingdom of Israel a strength which was respected by the enemies of Israel. The Bible records that the king of Syria believed that if he could capture Elisha, he could then destroy the king of Israel and invade the land.
We find the Syrian king sending a large band of raiding troops to the city of Dothan where Elisha lived with the intent of capturing him. Early one morning Elisha's servant found the city surrounded by the Syrian troops and ran in fear to his master. Elisha's reaction to the startling news is equally startling in its calmness! "Fear not" were his first words, and it is obvious from his later actions that Elisha had no fear. Then in further comfort to his servant he added (II Kings 6:16), "For they that be with us are more than they that be with them."
Then, after a moment of prayer, Elisha took charge of the situation. Through the demonstrated power [of God he used the occasion] to teach his servant, the king of Israel — and, interestingly enough, the Syrians themselves — some character-building lessons. He led the men who had come to capture him to the city where the king of Israel lived and where the strength of his armed forces was quartered. He ordered the king of Israel to feed the enemies and send them home. Elisha was untouched and unhindered; Israel was safe and quiet; no lives were lost, and the lesson was so well given through Elisha's spiritual strength and love that the Bible records (II Kings 6:23), "So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel."
An interesting question comes to thought at this point. Who proved to have been surrounded? Was it Elisha and the city of Dothan, or was it the troops, that appeared to encircle the city? It was the enemies of spirituality who were surrounded by the irresistible force of Love — and were transformed by it into good neighbors.
Saving Truth Always Present
We may seem surrounded by difficult human problems. But the logical fact is that if God is infinite, we are within God's infinitude. Therefore, the problems that apparently encircle us have no legitimate place, no God-given reality. No matter how real these problems seem, the fact remains that the infinite goodness of God is all around us. In proportion as we recognize and acknowledge this divine fact — and act on it — the problem disappears.
In fact, the God-given truth we most need is always present to heal, redeem, and protect us, and to give us God's goodness. And this ever-present truth will overcome and destroy the evils that beset us. In case this might sound strange to some people, let us discuss the nature of God and man as Christian Science teaches — for Science reveals the truth of God and man, and this underlies all of its healing works.
God is understood in Christian Science as infinite, All-in-all. As a matter of fact, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, calls this truth the starting point of Christian Science. In her book. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she writes (ibid. 275:6): "The starting point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind — that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle."
Starting Point of Prayer
Thus we come to the starting point of prayer in Christian Science in which the understanding that God, Spirit, is All-in-all is the basis and governing force of our thinking. When we start with the fact that God is All-in-all we have the fundamental truth from which to proceed to challenge the belief that there can be a might, or mind, or power apart from God.
The dominant characteristic of the words and works of the prophets throughout religious history was that they overcame evil and spiritualized character through their understanding of God's nature. Therefore the fulfilling of prophecy demands an understanding of what the fundamental truths of God are.
The word Principle as a synonym for God is very precious, very important in Christian Science, because it means fundamental truth. It also includes meanings such as source, origin, beginning, original state, ultimate basis or cause. What a vast meaning lies in the word "principle"! I have mentioned some of the defining meanings given in the dictionary. People often criticize the use of the word Principle as a synonym for God, and yet think of God as possessing all of the qualities expressed by this word.
Could anyone think of God as less than the source or origin, the beginning or original cause of all that really exists? Could anyone think of God as lacking in fundamental truth? Would it be reasonable to think of God — who is from everlasting to everlasting — as being without laws with which to govern action? These laws must constitute true Science. This is the Christ Science proceeding from the infinitely loving Principle, God.
There is nothing cold or abstract about the divine Principle that is Love. Rather the word Principle expresses the fundamental reality of God, and therefore unfolds the tender presence of God's love as the very law of true being.
Mind is another synonym for God not perhaps well understood by people generally in the pure form in which Christian Science uses it. Used in describing God in Christian Science, the word Mind indicates the all-knowing source of all real thought — pure consciousness and its infinite unfoldment of spiritual ideas. Because God, Mind, is infinite, we are forever in the conscious presence of the spiritual ideas God is so richly giving us. Mind is the intelligence governing the universe. As Job expresses it in the Bible (Job 23:13): God "is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth."
Soul, in Christian Science, is a synonym expressing the identifying force of God's loveliness and grace, unfolding all of God's individual ideas as expressions of the distinctive beauty and glory of divine Love. Soul is not in man, but rather man reflects Soul, for God is Soul. Therefore man is forever in the pure being of God. This fact understood enables us to overcome sin through our God-given purity.
Spirit is a synonym for God which expresses the pure being of the infinite, the animating and inspiring force of being. Spirit evidences the life-giving quality of God manifested individually through the infinite diversity of God's creation. There is no ghostly element in Spirit. Spirit is the substance of true being. The material sense of substance must give way to the spiritual realities of being. Spirit and Soul are closely associated in essence and are often used to express fine shades of meaning in explaining the one God and His infinitude of expression.
Life is well understood as a synonym for God revealing the infinite action and function of good, the vitality and vigor of the divine might and its immortality — its unending continuity.
Truth is the synonym which declares the reality of God, Spirit. Truth defines that which is real. Reality always has the connotation of power, because reality is self-evidently irresistible. It is axiomatic that what is true must be real and what is real must be true.
Love is the climax of all the synonyms of God, and expresses the boundless nature of God, always pouring forth the radiant wonder of pure divinity in infinite measure. As the sun pours forth its light and substance in all directions, so divine Love pours goodness. If the world could grasp the infinite bounty of divine Love, all lack, discord, inharmony, crime, violence, war, would cease at that instant.
Specific Help from Synonyms
All of the synonyms for God, or good, point to one all-inclusive God. But each synonym aids in bringing out qualities that lead us to a larger understanding of God. For instance, take the encounter Jesus had with Nicodemus the Pharisee, who could not seem to grasp the spiritual import of his teachings. Jesus had a divinely logical reason to speak to him of God as Spirit. Nothing could have been more adapted to break the corporeal sense of existence which was indicated by Nicodemus in his questioning of Jesus.
John had need of aiding the early Christians to see God as Love. In those days the Christian church was subjected to terrible persecutions and the Christians needed especially to be filled with the courage, power, and saving grace of God's love. Is there anyone on the face of this earth today who would not benefit himself and the world — the whole world — if he would guide his daily actions with these words of John (I John 4:7): "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God"?
The use of the seven synonyms for God aids in increasing the breadth and scope of our understanding of God. As the scope of our spiritual understanding increases, our lives become more honest, kind, just, joyous and prayerful. The nature of God in Christian Science is set forth in this formal definition from the chapter "Glossary" in Science and Health (ibid., 587:5): "GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence."
Creator Manifests Creation
If God is All-in-all, what about His creation? Well, if God is All-in-all, then His creation must be in Him and be like Him in quality. The nature of cause is to have effect, isn't it? And effect must express the nature of cause, mustn't it? But effect never becomes cause; it manifests cause. Creator must have creation or manifestation as necessary consequence of being creator. Then what is man? The Bible tells us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. The prophet Isaiah records the voice of God as saying (Isaiah 43:10): "Ye are my witnesses." And again (v. 21), "This people have I formed for myself: they shall shew forth my praise." In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy defines the man of God's creating as (p. 591:5): "The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind."
What effect does the understanding of man as the spiritual image and likeness of God have upon what Job calls in the Bible "mortal man"? It has the same effect as the understanding of the laws of mathematics has upon the outward symbols which express mathematics. The mathematical laws are as humanly invisible as God's laws, but they work! When applied they bring the solution to the problem, they bring about the necessary changes, they establish harmony. Should we trust God's laws less than we do mathematical laws? should we not work for an understanding of God's laws?
The Bible tells us of a man (Proverbs 23:7), "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Jesus said (John 8:32), "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." In the same line of thought Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (425:24-26): "Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew." Isn't this what the Psalmist means when he says (Psalms 103:2-4): "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases: who redeemeth thy life from destruction."
Prayer Is Practical
To ignore the challenges presented by the woes, problems, and frailties of what is called human life is not Christianly scientific. Life's problems are the proving ground of prayer in Christian Science. Every mistake in the application of the science of numbers is correctable. Could the science of numbers in mathematics be more scientific than God's divine Science? Could God's perfection be powerless to operate as a law of correction to sin, sickness, and death? The nature of scientific truth is to function always in a way that corrects and changes what has been formerly, and mistakenly, believed.
The application of spiritual law through understanding prayer tends to correct the whole problem of the moment, and not just some phase of it. For instance, the Bible tells of the rebellion against Moses by Miriam and Aaron, two of his closest helpers. Soon after, Miriam was stricken with leprosy. Moses was asked to pray for her, and she was healed. But Moses' prayer did more than merely heal Miriam. It brought to light the operation of the law of divine Principle in such a way as to not only destroy the leprosy but heal the rebellion of Miriam and Aaron as well. This is a clear example of the advantage of the spiritually scientific method of approach.
This prayerful spiritual method is the way Christian Science approaches all things in life. Prayer includes redemption, regeneration, salvation — as well as physical healing. In the textbook Mrs. Eddy says of prayer in Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 1): "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."
Spiritual healing, sudden regeneration of character, transformation of human nature from a material to a spiritual basis — these are not mysterious miracles limited to a bygone age. What are they then? They are the evidence of divine law in operation! They are examples of the continuing fulfillment of prophecy down the long road of religious history, past and present. They have been taking place since the days of Abraham. They are taking place today in the way of prophecy fulfilled known as Christian Science. To us healing through prayer is clear evidence of the ever-present Christ, as practiced so perfectly in the life of the Master, Christ Jesus.
Christ and Christ Jesus
In Christian Science we think of the Christ as the wonderful and practical way God reveals Himself to man. For example, Mrs. Eddy declares in the textbook (Science and Health, 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 illusion of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death."
Christ Jesus perfectly manifested the Christ. Our blessed Master was beyond comparison. It would be impious, and indeed blasphemous to attempt to rob Christ Jesus of his place in history. In Christian Science we do not worship the personality of Christ Jesus: we worship his Father — the Father he taught us to worship. Jesus declared (John 14:24), "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." Christ Jesus prophesied the coming of the Comforter. He said (John 14: 25, 28): "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Comforter and Discipleship
Christian Science is fulfilling the prophecy of the Comforter, the incorporeal and universal Saviour of mankind. It is healing and teaching according to the method and practice of the great Master. When one finds himself privileged to live in accord with the rules set forth by the Master, it makes his appreciation and love for Christ Jesus grow day by day. It takes away the mysticism of a ghostly physical presence and unfolds the joy of discipleship in daily life. The Christian who would follow the commands of Christ Jesus (Matt. 10:8), "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils," must put his whole trust in God, and give up the abstract hope of vicarious salvation.
In the high road of prophecy fulfilled, each prophet — each disciple — has gone forward to the extent that he has made the teaching he has received his own, and has lived under the healthy discipline of that teaching. Christ Jesus backed up his teachings with this admonition (John 13:17): "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Elisha did the works which proved the validity of his own demonstration as a student of Elijah. The Apostle Paul proved by his daily life his validity as a follower of the Master.
Mary Baker Eddy
It was no mystical phenomenon which brought to Mary Baker Eddy her inspiring and instantaneous healing, which has been so often described, to this age. It was the culmination of her years of study of the Bible, searching out its deep spiritual meanings. It brought her from the edge of death to health and boundless energy. The significance of her healing lay in the footsteps of practical fulfillment of prophecy which followed it. For Mrs. Eddy had revealed to her consciousness — a consciousnes hungering and thirsting for righteousness in the true spirit of the fourth Beatitude — the scientific laws and rules which would reinstate primitive Christianity and restore the lost element of Christian healing.
To trace the course of events which followed would not be possible in the time available. There were hopes, disappointments, misrepresentations, betrayals. She thought the churches would take hold of the spiritual revelation which had come to her and which she named "Christian Science." But the churches instead turned toward her a stubborn opposition, and often severe attack. The press followed the same course.
During this early period she wrote the Christian Science textbook "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." A few years after the textbook was published, while seemingly surrounded by medical and theological opposition, hostility of the press, and personal failings and disloyalties among some of her students, she took the first steps toward founding a church of her own.
She also began publishing The Christian Science Journal, now in its seventy-eighth year of continuous publication. She established The Christian Science Publishing Society. She founded the Christian Science Sentinel, which has been published weekly for over sixty years, and The Herald of Christian Science. The Herald, originally published in German only, is now published in a number of different languages and in Braille. Mrs. Eddy established during the same period The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. She perfected the organization of this Church — including its branches throughout the world — in the form in which we know it today.
During those years she wrote extensively — books, articles, poems. And in 1908 Mrs. Eddy established The Christian Science Monitor, our daily newspaper which for over half a century has been known and respected throughout the world. What a series of remarkable achievements, and all of these through the same divine force that inspired the prophets of old!
The Christian Science Pastor
Mrs. Eddy eliminated personal preaching in her Church and ordained instead the Bible and Science and Health as Pastor. The Lesson Sermons used in Churches of Christ, Scientist, each Sunday are published in the Christian Science Quarterly, which she founded, and are studied daily by all earnest Christian Scientists. Mrs. Eddy established the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, whose members tell all who wish to hear something of the vast subject of Christian Science. She also established the Christian Science Committee on Publication which functions to correct impositions on the public regarding Christian Science, and to aid all who wish to rely upon Christian Science to exercise their rights under the laws protecting freedom of religious worship.
Mrs. Eddy established the Christian Science Reading Rooms as adjuncts of each church, where a spiritual refuge for study and prayer in the practice of this religion is maintained. The Reading Rooms also provide an atmosphere free from confusing elements where the Bible, Mrs. Eddy's writings, and the publications of The Christian Science Publishing Society may be obtained.
She wrote the Church Manual which provides for the organization, the functions, and the present and future development of her Church. The Church Manual is the practical implementation of divinely inspired leadership free from personal control. This true leadership was Mrs. Eddy's vision from the beginning. In 1899 she addressed the members assembled in Boston. Her message included this wise advice (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany 129:28-32): "Trust God to direct your steps. Accept my counsel and teachings only as they include the spirit and the letter of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the teachings and example of Christ Jesus!"
In the perpetual government of this Church under its Manual each By-law is a law to each Christian Scientist — an individual obligation. Thus the Manual is to a large extent self-enforcing. Formal discipline seldom is necessary because the church members love the Church Manual and find healing and progress in obeying its provisions. This often confounds people who do not perceive this simple fact.
I have named some of the accomplishments of this great religious leader. These are not by any means all of them, but even a few of those I have named would be monumental achievements for an individual. Like Elisha at Dothan, Mrs. Eddy and her Church emerged from encircling opposition and won the respect and dignified recognition of the world.
Why was she given this respect and recognition? Because, to this humble and obedient follower of Christ, there had been revealed the Science of Christ, the healing truth which Jesus taught and practiced. This Science holds the solution to all the problems of mankind. It opens up the spiritual meaning of the Bible and makes it a vital daily textbook.
Mrs. Eddy accomplished great healing work as she tested the revelation of the Christ Science which had come to her. The dying were restored to life; the hopelessly ill were quickly healed; many lost in sin were regenerated and transformed. Her writings contain numerous accounts of her healing work. Her teachings enable students of Christian Science to do the same healing works. Indeed, the light thrown upon the Bible by Mrs. Eddy's writings has led hosts of people to health, happiness, freedom and prosperity.
I should like to quote a few words from an editorial about Mrs. Eddy printed in a leading California newspaper about fifty years ago (Los Angeles, California, Express, Editorial Comments on the Life and Work of Mary Baker Eddy; Christian Science Publishing Society, 1911, page 37, excerpts from 1st and 2nd pp.): "The way she pioneered, the path she found, now runs broad and smooth . . ." "She gave vitality to belief, direction to aimless purpose, ideality to life, new sanctity to truth, supremacy to Mind, healing to the body, and did her part in bruising the serpent's head." . . . "The work she did endures and will endure."
How prophetical those last words are! That church which sprang from the first formal beginnings in 1879, has been fulfilling for the better part of a century the words of the motion made and carried at the organizing meeting. At that time it was voted (Church Manual 17:10-13): ["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."
Primitive Christianity Restored
What a cause for rejoicing! Primitive Christianity with its lost element of healing is here again today. It has come in the Science of Christianity which lifts us from earth-bound belief and blind faith, to faith resting upon the sure ground of spiritual understanding. People have lived long and fruitful lives relying entirely on Christian Science for their health and well-being. Others have had long extensions of life after turning to Christian Science when the systems they relied upon proved ineffective. Christian Science is truly a holy way of life and a complete one: but no one is too deeply immersed in worldly ways to find its help if he seeks the truth with all his heart. The Scriptural truth is always applicable (II Chron. 15:2) "The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him he will be found of you."
As people turn to spiritual healing in this age, they are sometime surprised by the resistance they find to it. Even as spiritual healing is old as well as new, so resistance to it is old as well as new. It has always been the tendency of materiality to oppose spirituality. It was Elisha's spiritual mindedness and its tangible outward effect which the Syrian king lashed out against. Remember how the Pharisees persecuted the man who was born blind, after Jesus healed him so that he saw perfectly. Wouldn't you think inspired healings would have melted the hearts of those who persecuted him and opened their eyes to behold what the Christ could have done for them?
Healing of Blindness
I know a woman who, though not born blind, was totally blind for four years. She was told by experts in the schools of treatment to which she turned that her condition was hopeless; that tissue deterioration had taken place, making a cure physically impossible. She never gave up hope, and she prayed earnestly for guidance. Her prayers led her to Christian Science. She began to learn of her God-given freedom as a child of divine Love. She began to see something of her true selfhood as man made in God's likeness, governed by God.
She was read to by faithful loved ones from Christian Science periodicals and from Science and Health. The healing truths of man's nature as God's expression became her constant thought. She reasoned deeply with these spiritual truths and little by little she began to see. She told no one at first, but later she told her husband. Gradually her sight returned until she had full vision. She reads, sews, drives a car, does handicraft work, and in every way manifests the fact that vision is a God-given faculty. She understands now that in her true being as God's idea, she expresses her God-endowed faculty of vision in spiritual ways, and this is humanly expressed in what we know as eyesight. A great transformation of character accompanied this healing.
Like Elisha at Dothan, this woman learned to see beyond the evidence of the physical senses, and in the continuing fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in our times she found Isaiah 29:18: "The eyes of the blind shall see."
Business Problem Overcome
I knew a businessman, who built some dried food recipes his wife had devised into a fine business. This business sustained this man and his wife and met their financial needs. The second world war came on, and the product of this business suddenly proved to be an answer to a need for feeding troops. It was light, compact, and easy to transport.
Bids were called for on a contract for a large amount of this type of product. Our friend bid on the contract and won it. He then found himself in an almost impossible situation. His bankers who had been so encouraging when he made his bid now turned him down because the contract called for a great deal more money than they were willing to loan. He finally found one source of money, but the proposition offered him would have given the financing group possession of the recipes and sole ownership of the contract. This would have meant that our friend would, in business parlance, have been "frozen out" or "squeezed out" of business.
At this point he turned to Christian Science and sought the help of a Christian Science practitioner. He did not take this step willingly at first, but with his wife tenderly persuading him on one hand, and disaster facing him on the other, he asked for help. Isn't our necessity sometimes our best friend, forcing us to reverse our headlong ways and seek the waymarks that point the heavenly way? The practitioner commenced praying daily for the spiritual idea that would solve the problem. Also the practitioner selected references from the Bible and from Science and Health and set the businessman to work reading them. The references were carefully chosen, passages which stressed the scientific laws of God and their human expression in honesty, integrity, fruitage, fulfillment, and triumph over the grasping elements of the carnal mind.
The practitioner pointed out that successful business requires diligence, and that the businessman must value spiritual ideas if he expected them to be valuable to him. One of the points our business friend needed to develop in his own thinking was the fact that the laws of God meet the needs of all of His children, not just some of them. He had to overcome his sense of resentment and injustice, and to value the right of the financier to have his money protected, just as our businessman wished to protect his food recipes.
The businessman was reminded of the much loved statement of Mrs. Eddy from page 494 of Science and Health, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." He needed to see that it wasn't just his need but the financier's need, the needs of our soldiers in the war area, and the need of our nation that would be met. It is every human need that divine Love is always prepared to meet. Our business friend manfully did his part.
The big showdown meeting was arranged. The Christian Science practitioner prayed earnestly for his patient. As he prayed, there came to him a powerful glimpse of the scientific, spiritual fact that, while each one at the meeting was free to do as he saw fit to do, all there could be of them all, so far is the practitioner was concerned, was what God knew about them. There was no effort on the part of the practitioner to outline or try to influence humanly the outcome of the meeting or of any individual concerned. Suggestion, hypnotism, visualizing desired things into being, obtrusive mental practice, have no place in Christian Science and are not related to it in any way. The practitioner understood that every one of God's ideas lives always in the presence of the divine Principle, Love, as the loved, lovely and loving expression of the Love that is God.
At the meeting itself, what had started in as a very discordant conference suddenly changed into an atmosphere in which the kindest consideration for the rights of each one began to be expressed. Soon an honorable and fair agreement was reached, a contract was drawn up, and plans for going into quick production were decided upon. In a few days a factory was rented, equipment production commenced. The contract was completed and further contracts were won. After the war was over the same group of men gathered to arrange for division of the final profits. The corporation was dissolved, and each received his agreed share of the assets.
Tribute to Prayer
But the real "pay off" to the businessman was when, during a recess in the meeting, one of the men who had been most difficult in the beginning stages of the corporation, asked our friend to step out into the hallway. There he said something like this: "We may never see each other again, and there is something I have been wanting to tell you for a long time. Remember when we had that rough meeting at the beginning of our business, and it looked as if the whole thing would fall through, and then suddenly we all came to terms? Well," he said. "I don't know why I am telling you this, but I feel that you had something to do with it. I felt as if God's arms were around all of us at that meeting, and it is something I shall never forget."
What a tribute to prayer in the Science of divine Love! Was not this experience an almost literal fulfilling, in its own way, of Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 45: 24, 25): "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; . . . In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory"?
Can everyone learn to pray in this same effective way? Of course he can! In the Glossary of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy sets forth a scientific rule of prayer in giving the spiritual definition of one of the great prophets. I should like to quote the pertinent part of the definition. It reads (Science and Health 585:10-11): "Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold."
Does not this definition illustrate what took place in Elisha's experience at Dothan? All the material senses could see was the Syrian troops surrounding the city. The materialist could have estimated the average weight, height, and type of offensive and defensive armament of these troops and then have given up all hope. But Elisha saw and understood the spiritual facts which comforted his servant, triumphed over the enemy, and blessed all concerned. It was the spiritual facts about her case which triumphed over the evidence of the senses and caused the blind woman we told about to see. It was this same law which so effectively met the problem of the businessman.
Today, the spiritual facts of whatever the material senses behold are here to deliver you from the problems that falsely appear to encircle you. Just as the encircling law of divine Love delivered Elisha, his king, and his nation, so in this day will it deliver the nations and peoples of this earth from the beastly elements of the carnal mind that threaten world destruction or world dictatorship. Social compulsion and destruction of individual rights are often called the only hope of safety from malicious atomic destruction. These false methods are the latter-day resistance to the Christ. But it is the laws of God that surround humanity and not the boastful claims of destructive materialism.
Atomic Power vs. Spiritual Power
Atomic action, fission and fusion are counterfeits of the power of God and His Christ. In place of what appears to be destructive atomic action there is the great spiritual fact that the smallest spiritual idea has back of it all the power of Mind, God. There is no fissioning element of hate, revenge, or ferocity to disintegrate divine Love. There is no fusioning element of human hate or human will to melt away divine Love in destructive fire. Man and the universe belong to divine Love, and evil would have to destroy God, to destroy His creation!
Well before the turn of this century Mrs. Eddy published this helpful and healing statement (Miscellaneous Writings 190): "Atomic action is Mind, not matter. It is neither the energy of matter, the result of organization, nor the outcome of life infused into matter: it is infinite Spirit, Truth, Life, defiant of error or matter."
Key to Progress
Learn to look beyond what the eyes see to the spiritual evidence, — "the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold." Seek out in your Bible, and in Mrs. Eddy's writings if you will, the spiritual fact of whatever your senses behold. Truly the Christ, Truth, is here, and the chaos that threatens the world is only the modern counterpart of the Syrian host that, in its effort to surround Elisha, betrayed itself into the hands of spiritual demonstration.
Try the pathway of filling your thoughts with spiritual facts, spiritual ideas, the true sense of things that need healing in your experience. Try it diligently. Your spiritual discipleship and your spiritual discipline will hold you in the pathway of prophecy fulfilled. Science and Health illumines the Bible and reveals the path. It is a glorious road, beautiful, healthy, redeeming, inspiring, rewarding. And the rewards come in proportion to our faithful footsteps.
Fill your moments with spiritual ideas, spiritual facts, defiant of the things that resist your success in the Christian life. Then, like all who have faithfully walked the highroad of prophecy fulfilled, you will silence the helpless cry, "Alas, what can I do," and will step forward in the joy and the power of spiritual understanding demonstrated.
And in the sure way of the prophets of old, glorified by the shining example of Christ Jesus and illuminated by the revelation of Christian Science, you will go forward in the pathway of prophecy fulfilled.
[Delivered in the auditorium of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Peekskill, New York, and published in The Putnam County Courier of Carmel, New York, Nov. 10, 1960. A few words inadvertently omitted by the typesetter early in the lecture were supplied from another copy and set off in brackets.]