Christian Science: The Gospel of Salvation
Nelvia Ritchie of Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Mrs. Nelvia K. Ritchie of Sewickley, Pa., a member of the Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Boston, Mass., delivered a lecture on Christian Science last night at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Meridian and Twentieth streets. She was introduced by Mrs. Miriam Dillon.
Mrs. Ritchie said in part:
In the brief time allotted for this lecture it will be possible only to touch upon the vast subject of Christian Science.
I am not here to try to convert you to this religion or to plead with you to become Christian Scientists. The purpose of this lecture is to tell you briefly and in a simple way something of the teachings of this great religion and how it may become the gospel salvation for you and for all mankind.
There are no doubt, some here who are attending their first Christian Science lecture, seeking salvation and freedom from sorrow, sickness, heartaches, discouragement and sin, yearning to know who and what God is, and how to understand and apply the many rich promises of the Bible to the problems of everyday living. To all such earnest seekers, let me say, I know from my own experience that in Christian Science you will find answer to your quest and your longings for relief from the ills of the flesh. And let me say to those who long for spiritual enlightenment that you need never go away empty handed.
Over nineteen years ago my husband turned to Christian Science for healing, having been pronounced hopelessly ill with tuberculosis by physicians of different medical schools. Many material remedies, us well as exercise, out-of-door living, diet and change of climate were tried, but every one of them failed. Both specialists and our family physician told us that no more could be done, that the condition was hopeless, and the end near and inevitable.
At this time a friend who had been wonderfully healed in Christian Science invited me to attend a Wednesday evening service in a Christian Science church. I heard many convincing testimonies of healing, the overcoming of both sickness and sin, and it was evident to me that those who testified were sincere and were experiencing an abundance of health and happiness, a regeneration both physical and spiritual. The encouragement I received from the testimonies given caused new hope to spring up in my heart. and it was not a great time afterward that my husband was completely and permanently healed through Christian Science.
Should any one present have the slightest doubt as to the permanency of this healing, please let me add that years later, during the world war, my husband passed the rigid army medical examination and was pronounced by the examining physician to be in perfect physical condition. When we first sought the aid of a Christian Science practitioner, the necessity of our studying the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, was clearly shown to us. And I can assure you that those who will carefully and earnestly follow the advice there given to us will receive the help they seek.
During the foregoing experience, I attended my first Christian Science lecture and the occasion is still a vivid memory. I felt the lecturer was talking directly to me. He explained so clearly that God is Love, that God is Principle, an ever-present help in all trouble. For the first time the possibility of working out my own salvation according to exact law, and making practical use of the rich promises contained in the Scriptures, dawned upon me.
In the Bible we are taught to work, watch, and pray, and Jesus said, "The works that I do shall ye do also." To work out a problem in mathematics correctly, one must understand something of the rule or law governing that problem, just as one must understand something of the laws of music in order to express its harmony and beauty. To work out the problems of life according to divine law and to be able to prove our way step by step, we must understand not only the law, but the divine Principle from which all real law emanates. Christian Science teaches that the fundamental Principle, the first and only Cause, is God. In the Bible we read, in Genesis, "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Does it not therefore follow that the law governing God's perfect creation must of necessity, be exact, unfailing good?
Christian people whose religion is based upon the Scriptures concede that God is Life, Truth, Love, Spirit. In the Christian Science textbook on page 465 to the question "What is God?" Mrs. Eddy answers, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." Words can not define God more clearly, for as we take each term, analyze its meaning, examine it prayerfully, we find that we have a knowable, provable God, a first Cause from which must proceed all that is real and eternal.
Christian Science makes clear to us that God is "the same yesterday, and today and forever." It also makes clear to us the availability of this changeless God who is infinite Good, this first Cause who is the maker, sustainer and ruler of the universe, forever the same, bestowing all good upon His perfect, spiritual creation,
Surely you will agree with me that if this first Cause or God is changeless, always the same as the Bible states, He could not be corporeal or material in the slightest degree. An intelligent creative Cause could not proceed from or include non-intelligent matter. Does it not follow then, without question, that God is incorporeal, that is, without body, form or outline?
God is infinite, that is, entirely complete within Himself. And Christian Science teaches that since He is within Himself divine, then He includes only that which is divine, divine strength, wisdom, health, happiness: and that is good and harmonious. He is the source of all and this all is divine. He is self-existent and the only true Being. The Bible tells us of the infinite wisdom and goodness of God. Christian Science teaches that God is supreme, highest in place, power and authority; that He is supreme in glory, supreme in love and that because of this He is incorporeal, divinely infinite, supreme and cannot be limited in power, capacity or knowledge. God is ever available to you and to me and all mankind.
Paul said in Philippians, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." In the gospel of John we read that Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." Does it not follow, therefore, that this oneness can only be expressed spiritually by reflecting the Mind which is Spirit? The light thrown upon the Scriptures through the study of Christian Science reveals and makes clear to human perception the unity of God and Christ, the oneness or divine sonship, that the mind which was in Christ Jesus is God, the only intelligence of the universe.
In the Scriptures we have overwhelming evidence that Jesus gave full proof of his sonship by doing the works of his Father, by letting divine Mind govern his life and affections. It was this Mind which endowed him with the ability to heal the sick and raise the dead. This showed by example that the truth he taught was provable and sufficient at all times and under all circumstances. Today, through the revelation of Christian Science, this same truth is made available for all mankind in meeting every human need. Jesus said, "God is a spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
No doubt many in this audience can testify with me, and to our testimonies it would be possible to add the testimonies of thousands upon thousands, that Christian Science has taught them, just as it can teach all humanity, how to worship God aright, how to love and adore Him as a God of truth, unfailing in every hour of need, supplying all good to His children. God is Spirit, the only animating, vitalizing power of the universe.
Christian Science also tells us that spiritual man, the image and likeness of Spirit, God, forever reflects all the qualities of Spirit. These qualities cannot be lost or impaired, because being spiritual and God-given, they will remain perfect, and indestructible throughout all time.
Must it not be true if God is infinite, immutable, forever complete within Himself, that God is Soul, the divine substance and actuating Cause of all being? Is it not clear, if He is the only Cause, that matter has neither substance, power, nor intelligence to create, accomplish, or to destroy?
Does it not follow, therefore, that the source, cause, and basis of all that really exists is God, the all-inclusive, infinite, divine Mind or Principle from which all good proceeds? Moses, the great lawgiver, said. "He is thy life." Let us analyze this statement. The Bible tells us that God created all things. Therefore it must be that He is the only Life or source of our existence, is our Father, Mother, our All-in-all, the sole Creator of man and the universe. Christian Science has come to teach all mankind how to understand this great truth, and how to lay hold of the life eternal.
Moses also said, He is "a God of truth . . . just and right is He." As Truth may be exact, unchangeable, always the same, we see that God is all-inclusive wisdom, eternal Truth.
"God is love. " This is told us in the gospel of John. Perhaps no other word in the English language defines God so clearly or brings Him so near to each one of us, for love has touched all of our lives in some way at sometime. When we consider the devotion, the unselfed love of a good human mother, we realize how much greater must be the love of our Father Mother, God, tenderly caring for all His children, uncounted millions, feeding, nourishing and clothing them in all the beauty of holiness.
To gain the faintest understanding of God as Father, Mother, Life, Truth and Love, and man as His perfect reflection, will give to all hope and assurance. It will fill empty hearts with unspeakable joy and courage, and make them glow with tender love and gratitude.
Now the question is, how may we understand man? We need only turn to the Bible to learn the truth about man. In the first chapter of Genesis we read, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him;" and that God gave man dominion over all things. Reasoning from this true basis will disclose to you, and to all who seek salvation, that everything proceeding from God must be God-like, good, complete, and perfect. The real man, the man of God's creating, must forever manifest all the eternal, spiritual qualities of his Maker, and can never be deprived of this rich inheritance.
In the Christian Science textbook on Page 476 Mrs. Eddy writes: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Savior saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." Let us see what is the correct view of man. First of all, the Bible declares that God created man in the image of Himself. Then if man is created in the image and likeness of God, he reflects all of God's qualities. Man must reflect incorporeality, for God is incorporeal. God has not one material quality, therefore, man cannot reflect matter or mortality. God is Mind. Man, then, as God's idea or reflection, expresses always, for God is infinite, this one Mind. Therefore, man reflects all intelligence, has all wisdom, and is only capable of judging wisely, for Mind, God, is supreme.
God is Soul, Spirit, or substance. Man has, as his rightful heritage, substance. Man is spiritual, because he reflects Spirit, and is incapable of sin, sickness and death, because these are not substance. They have no reality in the spiritual universe and hence are unreal.
Then the natural conclusion from the correct view of man is that he is spiritual, because he is the reflection of his Father, Mother, Spirit. Man is intelligent, because the one Mind, God, is supreme and eternal. Man reflects health, happiness and harmony, because he is the infinite expression of Soul or substance, which does not sin, suffer or cause discord of any kind.
I saw the truth of this statement proved several times years ago in the case of a man who had a marvelous healing of insanity through Christian Science treatment. This man, who was suffering from a complication of diseases, was placed in a hospital in a large Eastern city. He had the best care that love and money could provide. He had the constant attention of eminent physicians and specialists, who, after many months of treatment, pronounced him insane, incurable and beyond the aid of medicine or surgery. Finally, the physicians recommended that he be placed in an asylum and a trustee was appointed by the court to take charge of his business. In less than one month after he entered the asylum he was healed through Christian Science treatment, and he was permitted to return to his home.
A short time after this healing, he again appeared in the court that had pronounced him insane. He was declared to be mentally sound and normal, after a thorough examination by physicians, and regained complete control of his business. He is, today, an active, keen and successful business man. This healing was accomplished through the realization of the truth about man; that man is spiritual, the image and likeness of God, that he reflects health, happiness and freedom here and now.
How could any earnest seeker for truth think for a moment that a sick, sinning, dying mortal, the man of flesh, blood and bones, could be the real man made in the image and likeness of God? Mankind, however, meaning the mortal material concept of man, needs to awaken from the Adam-dream, the cause of all human woe; from the belief of life in matter, the belief that man is formed from the dust of the ground, to the contemplation and realization of man's true birthright, his God-given dominion over all things. The study of Christian Science corrects this mistaken view of man and disperses the mist of materiality with the sunlight of spiritual understanding and reveals the true man.
I am sure that all who have had the experience of being enveloped in a dense fog will agree with me that, according to sense testimony, one is very helpless, indeed. In fact, it seems impossible to make progress in any direction. But as soon as the fog or mist is dispersed, one is free again to go about his duties and express normal activity. This revelation of truth, that man is spiritual and perfect, when understood, will rend the veil of matter, clear the befogged thinking that has caused all human misery and will set man free to enjoy the good things prepared for him by his heavenly Father.
That Jesus never lost sight of the rea1 man, or the correct view of man, we have abundant proof in the records of his healing all who sought him, no matter whether the condition to be healed was mental, moral, or physical. Does this not make plain to each one of us that in seeking salvation we should humbly pray without ceasing for spiritual perception, for spiritual light that will reveal our true being, thus freeing ourselves, as it will free all mankind, from the bondage of materiality?
Christ Jesus came showing us the way of salvation, as the Scriptures tell us, that he came to seek and "save that which was lost." He came teaching mortals, by example and precept, how to work out the problems of life aright, how to escape from the bondage of sin, sickness, and death. Mankind is really searching with a hungry heart for salvation, desiring peace, happiness, health, success and freedom. To experience the salvation taught by Jesus one must follow his teaching and example, and do the necessary works. One must willingly give up sin as well as sickness, for full salvation means complete regeneration.
The erroneous belief that one has to pass through the experience called death in order to find salvation has kept countless numbers from desiring or seeking salvation. This way of obtaining salvation has not appealed to many.
Christian Science as introduced by Mrs. Eddy makes the teachings of Jesus so clear and simple that they may be used effectually by you and by all mankind in working out the problems of everyday living. Christian Science proclaims with Paul, "Now is the day of salvation." Now is the time and place to be saved from all the torment of human suffering, which is the result of wrong thinking.
All the progress that has ever been made, all the good that has ever been accomplished in the world is the result of right thinking. We can not do the simplest task without first having it in thought. All work is primarily mental. For example, who is not awed by the humanness expressed in the operation of a modern printing press, as one watches a newspaper pass through the different stages - printing, folding, wrapping, addressing, sorting, and placing in the bags, ready for mailing? While one is impressed by the mechanical perfection, the speed, the accuracy, yet one realizes that without the direction of thought not one wheel can turn. To further illustrate the point, all great religious and educational movements, music, art, literature, the marvelous inventions of the age, the wonderful industrial, financial and agricultural achievements of the world are but externalized thought. Just so, all crime, distress, misery, adversity, all the unhappy conditions of the world that mortal mind tries to lay at the door of circumstance are but the results of wrong thinking.
The question naturally arises. How, oh, how can one escape from the bondage of wrong thinking? It is impossible to be separated from one's thoughts. How can one be saved by right thinking and learn to do the works of Jesus? Christian Science is the way. It is the same truth or savior that Jesus proclaimed to the world when He said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This freedom from all wrong thinking that results in human misery is not accomplished through human intellect or willpower, but through the spiritual understanding of Truth.
The study of Christian Science shows clearly that, the Mind which was in Christ Jesus is God, and that man reflects this Mind, which is infinite intelligence. He is thereby endowed with the ability to think correctly and to know and understand the truth taught by Jesus. This understanding or right thinking corrects and destroys the false material concept of man and the universe. Thus it frees mankind from the dire effects of wrong thinking, which always results in wrongdoing. In seeking to be saved from all such evil and its effects, it is necessary to work very hard indeed, striving continually to manifest the same faith and humility expressed by those who sought Jesus for healing.
If we will but stop and ponder as we read in the Bible of all his wonderful healings, how the lepers were cleansed, the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the lame walked and the dead were raised, we realize that many sought this healing or salvation with humbleness of heart. Some said if they could but touch the hem of his garment, or if he would but speak the word, they would be healed. Surely this would awaken mankind to the necessity of expressing the same spirit of humility and trustfulness when turning to the truth today, to Christian Science, for spiritual healing.
So in working out one's salvation, one should seek to strive, in all humility, to understand the inexorable law of God, which, when rightly understood and applied, will supply all good. Should the progress, however, seem slow, or the path rough and steep, one should pray with greater humility and meekness for spiritual light that one may discern more clearly God's spiritual law, God's spiritual creation, to see the man of God's creating. Then, in seeking salvation one's greatest need is for spiritual perception. For this one should pray constantly.
In the Scriptures we are admonished to seek God through prayer. And Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing." Surely you will all agree with me, since constant prayer is essential, it is absolutely necessary that we understand the true nature of prayer.
In the Christian Science textbook we read. "Desire is prayer" (Science and Health, p. 1). Could there be a clearer, more simple definition of prayer? Does this not make prayer a vital, living, and practical help in working out our salvation? We can all of us, every waking moment, desire to know good, be good, and do good. Let us see what the desire to know good only means. The desire to know good is really the desire to know God, the true and only source of existence. This knowing, then, brings to us the understanding that man, God's reflection, must of necessity express good or be God-like: that the only desire spiritual man can have is to do God's will.
We read in Genesis that God's work was finished, that it was good, that is, complete and perfect; that God made man in His "image and likeness," and that He gave man dominion over all things. Surely, it is clear to all that no form of prayer could add or alter God's perfect spiritual creation. Neither should there be any reason or desire to bring about any change.
Thus we see that it is not necessary to plead with God on bended knee for health, success, happiness and freedom. But rather is true prayer the affirmation and realization that God has already given all good, success, health and happiness to His children. It must follow then, that man's true birthright is freedom, and that this perfection and dominion is made manifest in our lives in the degree that we desire holiness, to live in obedience to God.
It must be clear to all, then, that we should not stop with desiring good. But we should willingly strive, with our whole heart, to express this activity that will bring our right desires into fulfillment. We should strive constantly to express love, mercy, justice, purity, and make practical use of our right desires as we go about our daily tasks. This practical application of prayer is clearly illustrated by the experience of two little girls who found they were going to be late for school. One said, "Oh, let us stop and pray." The other said, "No, let us run, and pray as we go;" which they did, and reached school in time. This clearly shows the necessity of not only praying, but putting that right desire into action. It shows that both thinking and doing are absolutely essential to bring desired results. It proves that God "helps those who help themselves."
But one may say, "I am unhappy, sick, wicked, discouraged and a complete failure in life. How can desire get me out of my misery?" Just know that the misery does not belong to you, and as God's honest child you have no right to hold on to something, or nothing, that is not your own. Know that such conditions are not true because they are not God given. They are but the result of wrong thinking or the belief of a power, mind, or creation apart from God.
How could one think for a moment that God, who knows only good, could send sickness, sin, sorrow and death? These conditions have not one iota of good in them, and could not proceed from God, who is infinite good. Is it not clear, then, that the way to escape from all sick, miserable thoughts, that produce all human suffering and woe, is to know that because they are not of God they are not real, that they have neither power nor dominion over man, God's reflection? Man has the God-given ability to think pure, holy thoughts.
To bring about healing, our prayers must be pure and unselfish. We must express patience, love, kindness, forgiveness and purity in our thinking. If we desire success and happiness in our homes, professions and business, we must pray, affirm and know that it is our divine right to express dominion over all things. Christian Science, is not only awakening mankind to desire better health, morals, ideals and standards of living, but it is showing, in the most practical way, how these ideals may be realized and expressed in better human conditions.
Christian Science has revealed to the world that the way of full salvation, as taught by Christ Jesus, is to know God aright, and this true knowledge brings to all peace, joy, health, happiness and success. However, we know this awakening can only come through pure, holy desires. These pure, unselfish desires will enable us to strive without ceasing, with our whole heart, for inspiration, for enlightenment, that we may radiate and express God’s spiritual creation. We shall willingly, and with great joy, leave the old for the new, leave the old landmark of sin, sickness, sorrow, and failure, that we may reflect His glory. We shall willingly pray for spiritual discernment and ability to impart and share this glory with others, to know that God does reveal to us here and now His infinite holy purpose.
Jesus, our great way-shower, taught His disciples one prayer known as the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is loved and revered by all Christian people, and, when rightly understood and applied, will meet, in the most practical way, every human need.
All Christian Scientists are taught to love and study the Bible. The teachings of Christian Science, as given in "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, will unlock to all earnest seekers, when rightly understood, the treasures of the Bible and make their rich promises usable to all, here and now. On page 497 of Science and Health the first religious tenet of this great teaching is found. It reads, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." The teaching of Christian Science in its entirety is founded on the Bible. Mrs. Eddy tells us in her writings that the Bible was her only textbook, her only teacher, her sole authority, that she had no other guide in her search for spiritual light.
In the Christian Science Sunday school the children are taught the Scriptures, the truth about God and man. They are taught to understand the life purpose of our Way-shower, Christ Jesus. They become familiar with life and works of the early prophets and the apostles. They become familiar with the glorious promises of the Bible and how the wonderful healings were accomplished through the right understanding of God and man. The children in the Sunday school are early taught the commandments and beatitudes and how to make them usable in their lives. Often the very first sentence formed by their baby lips is "God is love."
It is not uncommon in a Christian Science home for each member of the family to own a copy of the Bible and to study daily and discuss with others its great truths. Surely no one present will ever let any one say to you again that Christian Scientists do not revere and study the Bible. It is indeed their daily companion, for through its sacred pages the great spiritual light, the Christ, is made known.
Christian Science teaches that Christ is the complete expression of God's nature, the light of spiritual understanding that reveals God and destroys the darkness of materiality. Christ is the great spiritual light of truth that touched the lives of the early Christians of Abraham, Jacob and the prophets. Christ is the light that revealed to Moses the Ten Commandments, the light that guided the children of Israel through the Red sea, that saved the Hebrew lads in the fiery furnace, that protected Daniel in the lions' den. Christ is the great light that has touched and purified the lives of the Christian men and women throughout all time, giving them rest and peace. This light of truth and spiritual understanding was expressed in fullest measure by the great master Christian, Jesus the Christ.
Once in a class of small boys in a Christian Science Sunday school the question was asked. "What Is Christ?" A small boy 10 years old gave this answer, "Christ is light." Then he explained it in this simple way. "Before we know about God it is as if we were in a perfectly dark room, sick, unhappy and afraid. A tiny light is then turned on by someone explaining about God. Then to have more and more light, one must go on learning about God, and to have all the light turned on, one must know all about God." This child's explanation of Christ has always been helpful to me. Surely we all agree that the way to destroy the darkness in a room is to turn on the light. Does it matter how long the darkness has existed? The immediate and unfailing remedy is light.
Christian Science teaches that God is All-in-all, and that this correct understanding of God reveals the spiritual light that is destroying the darkness of materiality.
This provable understanding of God, this great redemptive saving power of Christ, is available to all mankind, and is today healing all manner of sickness and sin. It is wiping all tears from the eyes, binding up the broken hearted, giving rest and strength to the weary and heavy laden, thus enabling each one of us to face the problems of life with courage and joy.
In the words of a favorite hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, Page 251):
"Faint not nor fear, His arms are near.
He changeth not, and thou art dear:
Rely on Him and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee."
The light thrown upon the Scriptures through the revelation and study of Christian Science makes clear to one the life mission of our way-shower, Christ Jesus, whose immaculate conception enabled him to be the mediator between spirit and flesh, to discern between the false and the true. This spiritual conception and origin of Jesus enabled him to see his oneness with the Father. Being born of a human mother, he was able to know the needs of humanity. He knew the remedy for all ills of the flesh. He knew how to rend the veil of matter and behold the perfect man. He came teaching mortals the way of full salvation.
Mortal man is prone to rely upon his own efforts, his own belief of ability in seeking safety, protection and preservation. In Christian Science he learns to rely upon God for his protection and help; and this reliance on God makes his own efforts for salvation effective.
Through the study of Christian Science one may understand how to make the most practical use of the teachings of Jesus. Countless numbers are ready to testify that through this understanding they have been healed. They have been able to drop their burdens of human woe and have found peace, health, happiness and rest beside the "still waters" of spiritual understanding.
Jesus rebuked sin of every name and nature as well as sickness, yet with the greatest love and compassion. Perhaps no more touching example of his tender compassion could be given than when he said to the adulterous woman, "Go and sin no more."
He healed all manner of diseases, fed the multitudes, walked on the waves, raised the dead, and finally made his own demonstration over death and the grave. All this he did because of his great unselfed love for humanity, that we might know how to work out our own life problems aright, that we might experience freedom and salvation from all materiality and prove our oneness with the Father.
In the gospel of John, Jesus promised that God would send us another Comforter, which would bring into remembrance all his sayings, that this Comforter would remain with us forever and teach us all things. This Comforter or truth of being was again revealed to the world in 1866, by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy was a New England gentlewoman, whose Scotch-English ancestors crossed the ocean to America seeking religious freedom. Although Mrs. Eddy was a delicate child, she received the most careful and thorough education. From early childhood she was deeply religious, ever seeking to know God, earnestly praying for divine guidance. At the age of 12 she united with the Congregational Church and remained a member of that religious body until she founded the Christian Science Church in 1879.
It is difficult to express, in words, one's appreciation of the great leader of the Christian Science movement, whose thought was always reaching out and up to God. Through years of seeking, years of sorrow and suffering, her thought was forced higher and higher. At last in an hour of great extremity, after suffering three days from an injury caused by an accident, an injury from which her physician said she could not recover, she asked to be left alone with the Bible and received the revelation which healed her immediately. The physician and her family, not being able to understand what had taken place, felt a miracle had been wrought. With this healing came the great desire to share this discovery with others.
Mrs. Eddy’s Activities
On page 109 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind healing, searched the scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule." As a result of Mrs. Eddy's prayer and searching, the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was published in 1875. Mrs. Eddy revised this textbook from time to time as her thought and manner of presentation grew. The last general revision, which contains a complete exposition of the teachings of Christian Science, was made in 1907.
On page 318 of "Miscellaneous Writings," in speaking of the spiritual equipment one should have before entering upon the gospel work of teaching Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy says, "Before entering this sacred field of labor, the student must have studied faithfully the latest editions of my works, and be a good Bible scholar and a devout, consecrated Christian." It follows, therefore, that those who would study Mrs. Eddy's writings in conformity with her request, and who desire to gain the greatest possible good, will use the present editions of her writings in all their work.
After organizing the Mother Church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., Mrs. Eddy's great love for God and humanity led her to write the "Manual of the Mother Church," whose tenets, rules and by-laws are lovingly subscribed to by its members.
As a part of this great movement Mrs. Eddy established the Christian Science periodicals. These are designed to carry the message of salvation to waiting hungry hearts throughout the world.
Maintain Reading Rooms
In 1908, the Christian Science Monitor was founded, an international daily newspaper. Its object the founder stated was "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (Miscellany, p. 353). This paper disseminates only good news of an international character, and is circulated in all parts of the globe. With its able editorial staff, its unexcelled news gathering method, its many feature pages and dependable advertising, the paper provides a veritable storehouse of helpfulness to all thinking people, and it is invaluable for the home.
The Christian Science Monitor has an especial appeal for children of all ages. It may be given to them with the full assurance that they will not come in contact with unwholesome reading matter. I was once told of a young lad who had been an inveterate reader of daily newspapers, who, after reading the Christian Science Monitor exclusively for one week, exclaimed: "Mother, the world is growing better. There has not been a murder in the whole world for a week."
If you are not familiar with this paper, it will be to your interest to become a reader of it. You will find it on sale at Christian Science reading rooms and on many newsstands.
The Mother Church and its branch churches, throughout the world, maintain free Christian Science reading rooms. Here the Bible, all of Mrs. Eddy's writings, all authorized Christian Science literature may be read, borrowed, or purchased.
Is it any wonder that the Christian Scientists revere this divinely inspired woman, Mrs. Eddy? Her pure love for God and humanity enabled her to scale the celestial peaks and reveal to this age the way of full salvation, which is but another name for practical Christianity daily lived and demonstrated.
Christian Science, the way of full salvation, has come to bring peace, joy, happiness, and success to the whole world. It is the truth that reveals and makes clear to human comprehension the all-mightiness of God, that he is infinite, all-inclusive good, the sole Creator of the universe. Also, it makes clear that man, made in His image and likeness, must and does reflect God's perfection. Therefore it is impossible to add to or take from the perfect likeness of God, because reflection can never be changed without changing its source. Reflection is effect, not cause.
For example, if a beautiful, perfect rose is placed in a room lined with mirrors, the reflections will be countless. Yet, each reflection maintains its individuality, beauty, and perfection. Can these reflections be altered or changed? No, not without changing or destroying the source from which they emanate. Surely, then, the only conclusion to be reached in regard to man is that since God is changeless and will forever remain the Source, Cause, and Creator of His perfect spiritual creation, man, His reflection, cannot be touched, changed, or destroyed by any belief of mortality. Neither can man lose his perfect, spiritual identity and individuality.
As mortals cling steadfastly to this truth about God and man, the light of spiritual understanding will dawn upon human consciousness and penetrate and destroy the mist of materiality, thus revealing to human apprehension the man of God's creating. However, there must first be a desire for holiness before mortals are willing to do the necessary work to bring it into human experience. The time required before mortals will perceive, receive, and maintain in thought the perfect likeness of God, will depend upon the amount of darkness, wrong thinking, to be overcome, and their faithfulness in trying to overcome it. It will require constant prayer, work, and watchfulness to overcome, eliminate, and obliterate from human consciousness all that is unlike good.
In eliminating from thought all materiality, one may learn a valuable lesson from the refiners of silver in the olden times. A refiner knew his work of separating the dross from the silver was not complete until he could see his reflection perfectly in the molten mass. Therefore, to experience full salvation it will be necessary for each one of us to continue our work of separating the dross of material wrong thinking from the gold of pure right thinking until the last particle of materiality has been consumed in the furnace of spiritual understanding, thereby gaining the clear spiritual perception that will reveal to us God's perfect creation.
Christian Science teaches that salvation means transformation of thought. Paul explained clearly that this process of regeneration is mental when he said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." He also said, "To be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." When a new thought, then, knocks at the mental door, it should be analyzed. If it is not good it is not of God, and should not be admitted.
Fear is one of the greatest enemies encountered in our mental journey. Perhaps no one belief in evil causes more suffering or unhappiness. And surely every one in this audience would rejoice to be saved from fear and its dire effects. Fear is the source of many ills of the flesh, of all hate, jealousy and desire for revenge. Humanity, down through the ages, has been struggling to be free from the bondage of fear.
Christian Science declares that in order to master fear, prove its nothingness and cast it out, we must see that it is wholly mental, that it has its seeming origin in the darkness of ignorance and mortality. Therefore, it should be brought to the light of spiritual understanding to be destroyed. The Bible gives us an exact and unfailing remedy for fear. John said, "Perfect love casteth out fear."
What is perfect love? Christian Science teaches that God is Love. Therefore fear, which is the fruit of the carnal mind, does not and cannot originate in Love, Spirit. Fear is entirely unlike good, God, and brings forth sorrow and unhappiness to all its victims. Should fear present itself to one's thought in the nature of hate, malice, revenge, sin, sickness, limitation, accident, insanity or death, the remedy is Love. One must know that God gives purity and health to His children, that God supplies all good, that He upholds and protects, that man reflects divine Mind, and that no faculty of Mind can be lost or impaired, and last, to know that man reflects God, who is everlasting Life. If we should meet, master, and destroy every garment of fear as it presents itself to our thought, forbidding it to enter our mental home, we would immediately enjoy greater abundance of health, peace, freedom and immortality.
Fear is also a great foe to the business man. It prevents him from thinking clearly. It clogs the wheels of progress, it interferes with and delays success, for it argues, always, limitation.
For example, I know of a businessman who, until he was healed through Christian Science, always started the day burdened with fear. He was afraid of the food he ate, of sickness, germs, of the very air he breathed. He became unhappy and ill worrying about things that never happened. He was fearful he might not reach his office safely, and on time. During the day, he was beset and tormented by many fears. He was afraid to trust his fellowman, he was afraid of loss, failure and competition, and that he might not have the judgment to make right decisions about business matters. All these fears lessened his ability to think, and to act wisely and quickly. They also brought about mental and physical suffering. This handicap of fear continued and increased until each year he was becoming more and more incapacitated for business. Then Christian Science entered his life and he was healed. Through the study of Christian Science he learned how to trust God at all times, and to know that divine intelligence is continually caring for and supplying all good. This understanding freed him from fear and brought to him health, peace, freedom and success in business.
To succeed in business with a thought filled with fear is like trying to drive an automobile with the brake on. It gets along fairly well on the level, but let one try to make a hill or surmount some difficult business problem with the brake set, or the thought filled with fear, and failure and defeat are almost certain. Unless the brake is released entirely, one finds climbing the hill of success a very arduous task. The Psalmist said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
Another way in which the carnal mind tries to delay progress and interfere with our human endeavors is to create mental apathy, to make one passive, neutral and indifferent when keenness, alertness and activity are needed. Again let us use the automobile for an illustration. We know in operating a car, to be in a neutral position means to be detached from power. In this position the car either remains stationary or coasts down grade until it reaches the lowest level. To assume a neutral position means to be inactive, lending neither assistance nor resistance. Therefore, one desiring health, happiness and success cannot afford for a moment to remain passive or neutral in the presence or evil of any kind. One should destroy it mentally at once by knowing that because it is not of God's creating, it has no real life, entity or power.
One must express alertness and activity to experience and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon him by his heavenly Father, for these cannot be received while manifesting indifference or neutrality, because God is omniaction, that is, all action. Therefore, man, to be God's reflection and fulfill His holy purpose, must express divine energy and must actively manifest the glory of infinite, divine Love.
Carnal Mind Weak
However, should apathy, sin, disease, fear or unhappiness present itself in our thought in any one of its myriad forms, we should know at once that since discord is not good, it is but externalized wrong thinking, originating in the carnal mind.
Christian Science declares, since God is the only Mind, the only intelligence of man, the carnal mind, being wholly material, is the opposite or counterfeit of the divine Mind. The carnal mind has neither intelligence nor power to think for or govern man. Man reflects good and is governed by God, by His eternal all-inclusive law of good. Christian Science teaches how to turn to this eternal invisible law of good in every hour of need. This law of God is saving and regenerating the lives of thousands throughout the world today. There is, therefore, no room for evil or sickness in a thought filled with good.
The mental home must be cleansed of all debris of the carnal mind, renewed and restored to perfection through spiritual understanding. As an illustration, suppose we have before us a tract of land we wish to use for agricultural purposes. A glance will show it is not yet tillable because upon it we find a growth of large trees, saplings, undergrowth and brambles. It will be necessary to clear the ground before it is ready for planting. As we set about this task we find it quite easy to uproot the smaller growth, thus preparing at once this part of the soil for seed. With the young saplings, it will require harder work, for their roots are deeper in the earth. But with patience, those too may be cleared away.
Finally we come to the larger trees. Temptation may say, "Let us cut these off at the ground, it is really too hard to uproot them." Or better still, "Let us leave them standing, for they have been there so long and are just pleasing to the sight." The good tiller will not listen to such arguments. He knows, too well, the time lost in cultivating around these old stumps and trees, the land wasted, the delay occasioned by running into the hidden roots. So we must start to clear the ground completely and dig down deep into the earth to destroy every particle of root, in order to prevent a second growth from springing up to interfere with cultivation. Some of the old stumps and roots may be so unyielding that it will take dynamite to remove them. But it must be done.
At last the laborer is rewarded, for every particle of growth or obstruction has been cleared away. The field lies ready to yield a hundred fold. So when we turn to Christian Science for healing, we are taught how obvious and highly important it is that one examine carefully each thought, and the accumulation of wrong thinking be cleared away, before one can experience health, joy, peace and salvation.
As the clearing of our mental field progresses, we may find that some of the more stubborn and subtle thoughts of mortal mind are not as easily uprooted. Error may even insist that some of the trees of human pride, power and intellect be left standing; they give us such personal pleasure. Or some lurking sin may try to hide by burying itself down deep into the grossness of materiality. It will take the pure, tender love, spiritual discernment, and understanding manifested by our blessed Master to blast, uproot and destroy the last vestige of human resistance, no matter what its type or form may be. Thus the thought is prepared for the seeds of truth that they may germinate, grow, blossom and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.
Truly Christian Science is the gospel of full and complete salvation for the whole world. It is proclaiming to all mankind the universality of good. It is the great spiritual light that is penetrating and clearing away the mist of materiality, thus revealing the glory of God's perfect spiritual creation.
In the words of our hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, p. 136):
Breaking through the clouds of darkness,
Black with error, doubt, and fear:
Lighting up each somber shadow,
With a radiance soft and clear;
Filling every heart with gladness.
That its holy power feels.
Comes the Christian Science gospel,
Sin It kills and grief it heals.