Christian Science:

The Divine Law Which Fulfills God’s Promises

 

Wilson M. Riley, C.S.B., of Kansas City, Missouri

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Currently on an extended tour of the country, Mr. Riley spoke in the auditorium of Plant High School, on Sunday afternoon March 24.

Mr. Riley was introduced by Mrs. Kathryn Hogg, First Reader of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Tampa.

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

Everyone knows that the affairs of the world – in business, politics, and in all human relationships – are carried on by means of agreement and understanding among men and nations. Such understanding and agreement may be for a short duration, as in the case of a thirty-day note, or for a longer time, as in the purchase of a home. Again, implied agreements between friendly nations may last for generations. We can be grateful for stability and integrity in such matters wherever we find them, in government, business organizations, and individuals.             

But regrettably, throughout all history, and frequently in the world today, we learn of treaties being breached, solemnly signed agreements being broken, contracts unfulfilled, and various vows not honored. This indicates that the world is desperately in need of that upon which it can depend, something substantial, permanently unchangeable.

 

God's Law Dependable

Would it not be wonderful for mankind if there were some means available to reach out for and take hold of such permanence in relation to all things good? Yes! and such means are at hand! This was recognized and voiced recently by a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States during an address to a group of federal judges in the Midwest.  (Justice Charles E. Whittaker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 12, 1961) He said: "If we want to bring about a system of ordered liberty, and if we want to live not by the sword but the song of law, then we must go back to the teachings of Holy Writ. The world is aware of these truths, but it must be reminded of them. The two tablets of stone delivered into the hands of Moses 1100 years before the earthly days of Jesus of Nazareth have never been improved upon as a moral code or code of government. They remain the basis of all law, and hope of the world."

Now concerning the availability and permanence of God's law, we have the prophet's words in the 55th Chapter of Isaiah: "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David" (Isa. 55:3). Surely all mankind would be eager to participate in the great blessings which would flow from this everlasting covenant. And each one of us has the opportunity now to take advantage of it.

What is this opportunity? What does it consist of? The opportunity is to get an understanding of God, of the nature of God's promises to man, of the permanency of their establishment, and how we can achieve their fulfillment:

First, by knowing God.

Second, understanding His law.

Third, demonstrating His law.

We can get this understanding, and the ability to demonstrate God's law through Christian Science.

What is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive and understandable definitions of God ever given is to be found in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. In answer to the question, "What is God?" Mrs. Eddy states (p. 465), "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." To begin to understand something of the spiritual meaning of these synonymous terms, is to get some understanding of His unchanging spiritual law. For instance, the law of Mind is always an intelligent law, never unwise. The law of Spirit is spiritual and supersedes so-called material law. The law of Soul is a law of harmony to all things. The law of Principle evidences causation and the unchangeable foundation of God's creation. The law of Life is a law of joyous being, of continuous right activity. Truth's law shows forth reality, destroying belief in the unreal. Love's law brings boundless blessings; it is never harsh or indifferent.

 

God's Promises

Now we need to understand that all God's promises which abound in the Bible, promises of health, protection, peace, abundance and good, including eternal life, are capable of fulfillment. His law, understood and demonstrated, fulfills them. How can we make this fulfillment part of our daily experience? The reference from Isaiah says, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live." We must listen for God's voice, hear it, and grow in the understanding of His law, the law of good, not evil – and obey it.

Why then does not everyone rush to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity? Probably for only one reason – not knowing how. Christian Science comes to show how, and to give us the requisite understanding.

Much of mankind is unaware that there is an unchangeable spiritual law and that it is perpetually in operation. By reason of its oneness and goodness and its constancy of force, it constitutes a law of destruction to all evil. This divine energy extends to the farthest reaches of space and governs all things forever. Mrs. Eddy says (No and Yes, p. 30), "God's law is in three words, 'I am All.' " Christian Science reveals that God's law is the only law, wholly good, like Himself, and that only good unfolds from it; that seeming material law is not law at all, having no moral or spiritual impulsion. God's creation, man and the universe, is an entirely good creation, a spiritual creation, not material; and therefore not subject to matter or supposed material force. Does not the first chapter of Genesis say (1:27), "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them"? So God knows us only as His likeness, not as material human beings subject to both good and evil, but as we really are, reflecting His qualities, as individual spiritual ideas forever perfect and complete.

 

Evil a Mistaken Sense

But now, what about evil, and the ills and inharmonies that seem to be prevalent in the world? How can they exist in a universe created and governed by one omnipotent God, wholly good? Logically, they cannot and do not really exist or have being. Their only existence is in a mistaken sense concerning their reality. For instance, anyone can see with the human senses that the moon rises in the east and proceeds through the sky to the west. But the science of astronomy teaches us that this is not the case; it is our motion that causes the illusion. Similarly, the Science of Christ, Christian Science, reveals the actual nonentity of anything evil, discordant, or destructive, because it is contrary to the one, omnipotent God.

In view of the teaching of Christian Science concerning the absolute perfection of God's spiritual creation, in what category then do we place so-called mortals that do seem to be evil as well as good, and sometimes sick, sorrowing or dying? They are misconceptions of God's creation, our present wrong concepts of man. They are the counterfeits of God's creation, appearing to be very real and substantial and subject to material law. But the real spiritual man has complete dominion, and is tributary only to God and His divine law. What indication do we have that this teaching is correct? Proof is found in the many thousands of cases healed in Christian Science through the realization that man is spiritual, as God made him, and has a perfect spiritual state of being now.

 

Demonstrating God's Law

Here is an example showing how the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science proved in her daily affairs that God's continuing promise is fulfilled for humanity through Science and that the spiritual law governs. When Mrs. Eddy in 1892 organized the Church of Christ, Scientist, in its present form, she was trying to find a law by which she could found her church on a permanent basis. When, after a time, a distinguished law firm in Boston had failed to unearth such a law, she sought the services of another prominent attorney. When Mrs. Eddy asked him to find a law to fit the case, he said he knew of no such law upon the statute books of Massachusetts. The Founder of Christian Science then inquired of him what human law was based upon. After reflection the attorney replied, "Upon the divine law." Mrs. Eddy then answered, "God has somewhere provided such a law and I know you can find it." (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, p. 115)

After three days of searching, the attorney did find the law. It was a statute which had been enacted to suit the needs of the Methodist Church and met Mrs. Eddy's requirements completely. So once more was Mrs. Eddy's steadfast conviction fully justified that God's government reaches into the heart of all our affairs. This incident shows that the profound statement in Science and Health, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (p. 494), came forth not only from the highest inspiration, but from realistic demonstration.

Who would ever want to rely on less than the all power of God if he understood that power? At what particular point in any circumstance could the situation become so bad that it would be good to seek help from something less than the Almighty? Further, we have this counsel from Jesus: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). So if we would avail ourselves of the law of Love and utilize its operation for ourselves, we must learn to love God supremely through understanding Him and our true relationship to Him. Christian Science enables us to increase our understanding of this true relationship and to learn to pray scientifically.

 

Scientific Prayer

This scientific prayer consists fundamentally of two parts: First, the realization of God's allness and His goodness, that His perfect government extends to every avenue of existence. Second, the realization that all error, including sin, disease and death, must therefore be null and void, nonexistent, nothing – impossible because of God's ever-presence and allness. In other words, wrong thinking, belief in the supposed power of evil, must be cast out of consciousness so that the true and the real, the spiritual and eternal, may occupy thought.

My mother used to tell a story that illustrates this. It is about me as a small boy breaking in a new pair of shoes. She related how she had bought new shoes for me and that I didn't want to wear them – that I complained to her that the shoes hurt me. Of course, she explained that the shoes were new and stiff – but that if I would go ahead and wear them, pretty soon they would feel all right. But after this went on a while I came to her and said: "Mother, I just don't think I'm ever going to get used to this nail that's sticking up in the heel of this shoe."

How many of us are walking around with "nails" in our shoes, perhaps permitting   various "nails" of error to remain in thought unchallenged, and that should be dealt with, and removed? The power of scientific prayer can remove these "nails" of sorrow, discontent, lack, illness or other discord, by replacing them with spiritual ideas which restore harmony. Let us not get used to error, let us get rid of it. To the degree we realize through scientific prayer the all-power and all-presence of God, we have evidence of the healing Christ – the Christ-idea which is God's divine message to mankind, bringing healing and redemption, and manifesting the present operation of the Father's divine law.

 

Practical Promises

Someone may ask, How can I begin to make this promise practical in my experience? Christian Science shows with scientific certainty just how to proceed. We must begin to understand God by studying the rich sources we have to tell us about Him – the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. The extent of our understanding can be shown in only one way – through the ability to overcome sickness and sin, which lead to death, and to surmount them through spiritual prayer.

In Science and Health (p. 12) Mrs. Eddy quotes the Scripture, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick." And she asks the question, "What is this healing prayer?" In her answer, she points out that Jesus' prayers were based on a deep comprehensive understanding of man's relationship to God. Today all may avail themselves of such prayer. Its effectiveness is in exact proportion to the clarity of one's spiritual understanding of God and His kingdom. For instance, to understand God as Life is to understand that health is an absolute actuality. Of course, eternal Life never could include sickness or disease which might lead to death. Therefore, we increase our ability to overcome disease, sin, and death as we understand better that God has actually given us eternal life.

We increase our spiritual understanding through study and daily practice. When you have shoes to shine, you first put on the polish. This might be likened to the study. Then you begin to shine the shoes through rubbing and polishing. This is the practice. The more polishing, the better the shine, providing there was enough polish. The light of spiritual understanding shines out from the consciousness of the one who strives for it.

 

A Boy's Faith

Not long ago a young boy proved the value of understanding and practicing God's law, – of knowing that it is complete and continuous in its operation. One day his dog came home without his collar which held the license tag. This boy had received teaching about God in the Christian Science Sunday School. He had learned that, in reality, nothing can be lost, because God, Mind, is omnipotent and omnipresent, and that all things are known to Him and consequently to man through reflection. The boy inquired diligently at every home nearby to see if anyone had found the collar and he searched the various grounds and hedges extensively. Each day for several days he widened his search.

Continuing to be confident of the all-inclusiveness of God's government and His protection of all things, the boy affirmed to his parents that he was sure the collar would be returned. He had complete assurance of the operation of God's law. Days went by, but the boy's certainty never wavered. He went on realizing the present perfection and harmony of God's government of all things – and he still made inquiry of his neighbors. Then one day the collar was returned. The dog came home wearing it. When the boy reached home from school that day, and learned that the collar was found, he said, "I just knew the collar couldn't be lost and I knew God would help me get it back, but I didn't know He'd even put it on my dog." Although the exact circumstances concerning the return of the collar were never determined, the boy remained sure of one thing, the certainty of the operation of God's law.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy from childhood had confidence in the fulfillment of God's promises. The promise of her own life was early apparent. When she was about fifteen, the pastor of the church at Tilton, New Hampshire, where she attended, a man of culture sufficient to tutor his son privately and send him to college prepared to eliminate the first two years of Greek, Latin, and mathematics, regarded Mary as his special pupil in religion, and he said of her: "Bright, good, and pure, aye brilliant! I never before had a pupil with such depth and independence of thought. 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) Indeed, Mary Baker did have a great future. As Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the Leader of its movement, Mrs. Eddy has more than fulfilled the prophecy.

During many years of what amounted to invalidism, Mrs. Eddy sought for a method of healing, and especially healing through spiritual means or the power of God. The culmination of her search came when, after turning to her Bible, she was instantaneously healed, through prayer alone, of what had been described by her doctor as a critical injury. Following this healing, Mrs. Eddy strove to determine exactly how it was accomplished so that the method of her healing could be placed before the world.

As a result of the absolute conclusions Mrs. Eddy reached, she discovered that God's divine law which governs man is still in full force and effect today, and she was able to prove this in her own behalf and for others. This is the Science that she has set forth in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health. A science is constituted of laws which are provable. Some evidence that Christian Science is provable, even by the beginner, is shown by the last one hundred pages of Science and Health. These are given over to testimonies of healing by individuals who were healed, many of them of incurable diseases, so-called, merely through reading the book. Jesus said: "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). The healings which have followed the application of Christian Science as taught by Mrs. Eddy certainly mark her, not only as the revelator of God to this age, but as one of the great revelators of God of all time. The revelation of the absolute truth of being which she gave to the world in Science and Health is most aptly described in the words from Ecclesiastes (3:14): "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it."

 

Meeting the World's Need

Never has the world been in such need of the spiritual message Christian Science contains as it is today. Many problems are at hand which must be dealt with – automation with its threat of temporary unemployment and dislocation of some, the rapidly expanding population creating need for readjustment, problems of the space age requiring new concepts and new approaches, political unrest and turmoil in many quarters of the world, and, of course, the threat of war.

Now how can Christian Science help bring the solution to these problems at the individual level and at the world level? Christian Science brings peace and comfort to the individual affected, and thus to the world, by bringing reassurance concerning God's loving promises by revealing that His love for His creation, man, is in full force and effect, undiminished, governing every condition and offering a harmonious solution to every problem.

The Bible declares that God is no respecter of persons. That is, God will not bless one of His children and leave others unblessed. In conformity with this Biblical statement, Christian Science teaches that what blesses one blesses all. Now consider automation in the light of this. Suppose a machine comes along that will do the work formerly done by twenty, fifty, or even a hundred men. Immediately there is concern in the thought of those whose work the machine takes over. A number of jobs in that particular activity are gone. How will the workman obtain his livelihood? In such a situation, only the understanding of God's law can bring calm and immediate reassurance. Isaiah says: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (26:3).  Under God's government, progress in one direction cannot bring loss or retrogression in another direction. As this spiritual fact becomes understood, mankind can face the future with calm assurance that every need will be abundantly met and continuous right activity maintained.

I'm thinking of the experience not long ago of a businessman who was suddenly confronted with unexpected dismissal from his job. It was very unexpected as this man had recently been instrumental in substantially enlarging his company's business.

Now while this instance was not due to automation or technological change, yet it is comparable, as no one new was to be brought into the company to take over this man's work. People already within the company were going to handle it.

Being a Christian Scientist, the businessman began immediately to solve his problem in Science through scientific prayer, applying to one situation what he knew concerning God's law. He worked to realize that God's law of good is ceaseless in its operation of providing continuous good for man, that there was no starting or stopping of the good that God had in store for him, that under God's eternal law, forever in action, there was right, productive activity for him, and that in reality, this right activity was available without delay or interruption. He held to this scientific position, praying continually, refusing to be disturbed by the material evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, he took the human footsteps to establish a similar business connection elsewhere. But it seemed companies engaged in like business had no openings at that time.

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, the way opened up for him to go into business for himself, through forming a partnership in an undertaking allied to his former work. The new business has proved to be much more desirable than the former connection. Thus it was shown in some degree that business conditions cannot limit the blessing God's law is constantly providing for man.

When Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes on the shores of Galilee, it is conceivable that he could have been accused of having done something detrimental when he demonstrated spiritual power in producing food for the multitudes. It could have been said that Jesus deprived the bakers and the fishermen of their jobs when the multitudes were fed without baking and fishing activity. But it is the spiritual law in Science that what brings good to one, cannot deprive another of good. As automation progresses, more jobs are required to support the expanded activities which result, so that ultimately there will be even more jobs than before. For example, how many people are employed today because of the growth of the automotive industry.

 

End of Wars

Political unrest in various portions of the globe has increased the threat of war. But in the midst of such continuing threats, which have seemed to persist even from the time of the great Master, who spoke of "wars and rumours of wars," we can maintain a sense of peace through the understanding of the ever-presence of God's orderly divine government. As this understanding grows in the human consciousness, peace ensues for the individual, and ultimately for the world. When Paul and Silas were spiritually uplifted through the singing of hymns, the loving care of God's government was made manifest to them. Their chains fell off and the prison gates opened before them. They walked out of the prison without interference. On more than one occasion the exalted thought of Jesus enabled him to pass through apparently hostile crowds unseen. Perfect peace characterizes God's government, and God's government is really in full force and effect under all conditions. The Bible prophesies (Ps. 46:9), "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth." As the world grows in the comprehension of God's continuing promise of peace, it can experience a complete deliverance from war and the lesser errors which threaten war. We read in Job (22:21), "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace."

 

Divine Promise of Health

Another promise which Christian Science fulfills is that of health. It does this by providing the understanding that God's all-pervading divine law insures peace and harmony and deliverance from evil, including disease. Listen to these promises of health from the Psalms: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases" (Ps. 103:2,3). And Jeremiah gives God's glorious statement: "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord" (30:17). Christian Science shows how to make practical use of these promises in everyday existence. It shows that all disease is mental and that spiritualization of human thought heals disease.

Healings come about, healings of practically every known disease, when the power of God, the healing Christ or divine Truth, acts on the human consciousness and corrects it, removing the error by replacing it with the truth of being. The process of replacing error with the truth is not the same thing as an ordinary change in human thinking, such as one might make in deciding whether he will go downtown or not on a certain day. It's far from that. The change of thought required must come through the light of heavenly inspiration. It comes through spiritual growth in the understanding of God – the understanding that life is spiritual, not material – that man lives, not in a suffering material body, but in Spirit, God, divine Life, Truth, and Love. This understanding may come quickly in a specific instance, or it may come slowly, but it must come. Such unfolding understanding constitutes the coming of the Christ to the human consciousness, the healing power of God Himself, which saves humanity, not only from sin, but from disease and ultimately from death.

Here's a wonderful example of how the truth of being acts in the human consciousness and brings about the healing of physical disease: A man was planning to undergo a surgical operation for the removal of kidney stones which had been indicated by X-rays. His wife, a Christian Scientist, endeavored to interest him in having Christian Science treatment during the few days remaining before a scheduled operation. Knowing that Christian Science had benefited his wife in the healing of disease and physical disorders, the man consented.

A Christian Science practitioner was called. The practitioner proceeded to deal with the case through spiritual means, through scientific prayer. Now some not familiar with Christian Science healing might wonder how a foreign substance could possibly be removed through such prayer, when medical practice would indicate a need for making a surgical incision for the removal. But the action of divine Truth, reversing the human mode of thought, replacing material thoughts with spiritual ideas, can dissolve and remove that which is alien to good.

And so, realizing that God's creation, including man, is spiritual, not material, the practitioner recognized that man is not tributary to matter and cannot be made subject to it. Because man is created in the image and likeness of God as the Bible states, he dwells in a spiritual atmosphere above all materiality and its threats.

Through prayer, it became clear to the practitioner that man, the reflection of God, could not, as the absolute image of God, include anything that was not in the original; that there could be nothing alien or foreign in his being.

The result of this scientific prayer was that before the time set for the operation, the foreign matter passed naturally from the man's body. He was free – and still is today, twenty years later. Such is the positive effect of the Christ, Truth, when it touches the human consciousness and removes its false beliefs.

 

Conclusion

When Jesus was standing before Pilate to be tried, Pilate asked the momentous question "What is truth?" (John 18:38). Christian Science says, Truth is God. Those who study the Bible in connection with the Christian Science textbook and begin to understand the Bible in the light, the spiritual light which Christian Science throws on it, are daily gaining some understanding of Truth and its divine government. The proof? The proof is found in the disappearance of sin, disease, and other inharmonies from their lives. They are discovering that Truth's law is a present continuing force in their daily existence, that it dominates their lives and removes error. Through their understanding that God's divine law relates not only to the past, but also to the present, they find themselves being lifted out of sin, sickness, and above the various fears that torment mortal existence. They find the blessing reaching to every avenue of their existence. The fruitage from such spiritual understanding is available to all and constitutes proof that the Christ, the divine manifestation of God which heals and saves, has touched the human consciousness.

Through his perception and understanding that God's perpetual promises to His creation, man, are fulfilled by divine law, John, the beloved disciple, was able to see the new heaven and the new earth spoken of in Revelation. This new heaven and new earth, perfect in every respect, must have been the same ones written of in the first chapter of Genesis where it is recorded, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). And so Christian Science makes it possible here and now for us to view this new heaven and new earth which are wholly good, and contain only harmony and righteousness, evidences of the divine government. This view must be had spiritually, not materially. We shall perfect our view of God's creation as we get a better understanding of His loving law which governs us – His all-embracing law promised in Jeremiah's prophecy (31:33): "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

As we better understand this law and accept its loving provisions for us in this present time, we can begin to experience the wonder of the new heaven and the new earth now. This state of being in which divine law is constantly fulfilling all God's promises, is beautifully described by Mrs. Eddy in her sermon at the dedication of The Mother Church: "Who lives in good, lives also in God, – lives in all Life, through all space. His is an individual kingdom, his diadem a crown of crowns. His existence is deathless, forever unfolding its eternal Principle. Wait patiently on illimitable Love, the lord and giver of Life. Reflect this Life, and with it cometh the full power of being" (Pulpit and Press, p. 4).

 

[Published in The Palma Ceia-MacDill (Florida) News, March 28, 1963.

 

 

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