Christian Science: Its Purpose and Method

 

Peter V. Ross, C.S.B., of San Francisco, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 4840 Dorchester Avenue, Monday evening, February 7, by Peter V. Ross, C.S.B., of San Francisco, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: Its Purpose and Method." Mr. Ross spoke substantially as follows:

 

Thoughtful observers, and we are all such at times, are impressed with the apparent imperfection of things as they pass before us in the panorama of life.  Conspicuously imperfect are the works wrought by mankind, but imperfection, though in less degree, seems to abound in the world of nature, even in the higher realm of animate beings.  The plant is twisted, the tree gnarled, the beast vicious, while man, the noblest of earth's inhabitants, seems so deplorably prone to disease and evil that he is described as mortal and fallen.

Not that beauty and goodness and health are absent or unknown.  They are not.  They are here and in profusion, and, in a way, we see and enjoy them.  But always they seem haunted by their opposites, always they seem overshadowed by blight, suffering, age, and decay.  They appear, struggle for a season, and disappear, to mortal sense.

We are confused by this outlook, this, to human sense, lack of perfection and permanence; confused, because we have an indwelling conviction that the Creator is good, that He is wise, that He is perfect.  Therefore we look for a man and a universe that are perfect.  If, then, personal sense or the human mind informs us that man, and creation generally, are faulty and sickly and transient, shall we accept this testimony as true?  Shall we not rather suspect that the human mind, itself confessedly imperfect, fails to see things as they are but forms a distorted picture of that, which, were it seen in its fullness and actuality, would appear without spot or blemish?

May not all the supposed imperfection which lies about us rest in our mistaken sense of being rather than in the things themselves? Unquestionably God has made all things perfect and permanent.  Otherwise the universe could not endure.  Flaws in the universe would soon bring about general disaster.  The source of the difficulty, then, must be sought in personal sense or in the human mind, and the remedy must be applied to this mind and a correction therein wrought to the end that a perception be attained that sees man and the universe as God made them.

Under the influence of ordinary processes of education the human mind gains a higher, a more accurate perception.  Thus the cultured mind sees in the artist's picture touches of emotion and character where the undeveloped mentality sees daubs of paint.  The technical mind envisages the outlines and beauties of a great building from the architect's figures and formulas, which are all but meaningless to the untrained mentality.  So the human mind or consciousness, mellowed and uplifted by that inflow of truth and love which Christian Science brings to mortals, begins to lose its sense of fear, unrest, suffering - imperfection, and to gain a sense of peace, strength, health - perfection, and hence actuality.

 

The Perfection of Creation

If we are to escape the dangers and difficulties which beset the pathway of human existence, our starting point, therefore, must be a perfect God and a perfect man - the starting point which Christian Science has brought to light.  Most of us have recollections of a God manlike in form and in temperament.  But this crude sense of Deity, though more or less prevalent to this day, is steadily giving place to a conception of God as Spirit, Mind, without outline or fixed locality, all-knowing, and all-powerful.  Not everyone realizes, however, that this advance toward an enlightened conception of Deity during the past half-century has been largely due to the discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy.

Mrs. Eddy defines God as divine Mind, Life, Love, Principle.  Happily enough this definition corresponds with the highest Scriptural conception of God, for the Bible speaks of Him as Life, Mind, Love, Spirit.  Moreover, the Christian Science conception of God has the support of sound logic, since only as we conceive of God as divine Mind can we conceive of Him as all-knowing.  And when we think of God as Mind we immediately think of Him as Life, also, for intelligence cannot exist apart from life.  Inanimate things do not think.  And always associated with Mind and Life is Love.  These three, and with them Principle, are inextricably interwoven with one another, for Mind, Life and Love, to be Deity, must be, and they are, in accordance with Principle.  They cannot be on the level of human intelligence, life and love, which are so deplorably deficient.

And Principle, in this sense, is not cold, abstract and mindless, like the law of gravitation, but it is the living, loving, intelligent influence omnipotently forming, sustaining, and directing all things. When we conceive of Principle in this sense, that is, as ever-present, ever-operative Mind, Life and Love, we see that Principle is a perfectly accurate name for God, indeed that Principle is God; and we can understand how God can be all presence, all power, all being, - the life and intelligence of every animate creature.

This conception enabled Paul to declare "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."  In the proportion that any individual gains a realization of this indwelling presence of divine Mind, Life and Love, his sense of fear, pain, and confusion gives way to a sense of peace, confidence, and strength.  This proves that diseases are mental, having their abiding place in human consciousness, and that a change in consciousness, brought about through a right understanding of God, dislodges these painful beliefs or pictures and brings relief.

The realization of the divine presence is the prayer or treatment which in Christian Science destroys sin and sickness.  Have you ever been filled with anxiety or resentment? Yes, more than once.  And when you were in this condition has something occurred to fix your attention on things above?  What then happened to the anger, the discouragement, the alarm?  They have been put out of thought, and away, by the nobler impulse which took possession of you.  The grosser always yields to the finer.  So it is that as one realizes the presence of God as Love, this realization, diffusing itself through consciousness, literally melts away the fear and doubt and hate which are tormenting him.  Then come enlarged freedom and happiness.  Then, too, comes better health, for whatever cures human consciousness cures also the human body, because the body is only the lower layer of consciousness, as we shall presently see.

There is no definite line of demarcation between fear and disease, between hate and pain.  They are only gradations of mortal thought or belief, and they are all cured by the same spiritual process, the flooding of consciousness with Truth and Love.  I well remember a boy who, as boys are wont to do, one day threw a stone aimlessly, but with all the force he could command.  As the stone left his hand his mother unexpectedly came around the corner of a building and crossed the path of the speeding missile.  The stone did not hit her, though it seemed as if it would, but the boy, terror-stricken and conscience-stricken, was racked with pain to his very fingertips.  We speak of fear, malice, and remorse as companions and causes of disease, and in a sense they are, but in a truer sense they are different names for essentially the same thing.  There is no sharp distinction between the grip of rage and the wrench of so-called physical pain.  All these things are mental monstrosities, and hence Mrs. Eddy could truly say that "not partially, but fully, the great healer of mortal mind is the healer of the body" (Science and Health, page 326).

It is not meant to intimate that ill people are necessarily unkindly in temperament, for obviously they are not, though they will often be found to be fearful, unconsciously so many times.  But the human mind believes in sickness, has, in belief, enacted laws of disease, and has grown to fear its own creations and illusions, and you and I become victims, oftentimes without specific fault on our part, to these false beliefs and so-called laws, until we learn in Christian Science how to protect ourselves through a realization of the all-presence and all-power of perfect, eternal Life.

 

The Realm of Mind

The Christian Science conception of God as Mind, Life, Love, and Principle has, as we have seen, the support of reason, and revelation alike.  Reason and revelation likewise insist that man, God's creature, is like God; is, to use the words of the Bible, the image and likeness of God; or, to employ the language of Christian Science, man is the reflection or expression of God. In other words, Life, Mind, Love, Principle are individualized in man.  Thus man becomes the embodiment of God's qualities, a manifestation of perfect Mind and Life.  He must, then, be mental and spiritual, he must be consciousness, rather than corporeality; and, finally, he must be perfect and immortal, whatever the human mind may suppose or mistake him to be.

The human mind, because it is human, catches at most only faint glimpses of what is going on about us.  Even in the physical realm, and according to physical science, the eye and ear, since they respond only to a limited range of the vibrations supposed to be the basis of sight and hearing, taking no cognizance either of the lower or of the higher vibrations, recognize only a section, a fragment, of the phenomena of this world.  Small wonder, then, that personal sense or the human mind is unable to take in the beauty and wonder of spiritual things.  When it tries to do so it forms a grotesque picture, and instead of visualizing them in their glory and perfection it disfigures them and renders them sickly and ugly.

So it is not surprising that the human mind should misinterpret, should belittle man. And this is precisely what the human mind does. Divine Mind creates and sees man spiritual and perfect, above and beyond disease; but the human mind, unable to comprehend man in his fullness and perfection, visualizes him as physical, as a finite form or figure, swayed by evil, tormented by disease, always limited and imperfect.  Thus it is that evil, disease, and imperfection have their source and abiding place in the human mind or consciousness.  Hence their cure must there be brought about.  And it is in the realm of the mental, which after all is the only realm, that Christian Science operates.

Material things, the human body included, seem very real and tangible.  But actually matter is only a mistaken sense of things as dense and heavy, as having weight and ends and sides.  For the human mind is, so to speak, short-sighted.  It gets a blurred sense of things as dimensional and ponderous.  This restricted sense of things constitutes matter. Matter will therefore disappear as mortal sense, under the influence of truth, gives way to a right perception which sees things as they are in spiritual perfection.  The disappearance of matter does not mean that the foundation of things will slip away or that the individual will disappear or lose his identity. It means that our heavy, awkward, cumbered, suffering sense of ourselves, and of things generally, will give place to the buoyant, free, spiritual - the true sense of God and of ourselves.

A person absorbed in his work, a musician or baseball player for example, forgets his hands and limbs.  Then come lightness, precision, and grace of action.  If consciousness were entirely detached from the body the individual would not lose his identity.  He would simply part with his heavy sense of himself, for that is what the physical body is, and he would gain the freedom of movement and locomotion which his thought now enjoys; and thought runs instantly whithersoever it will.  It does not know locality, distance, or obstruction.  We experience something of this freedom in dreams, where we do not lose ourselves but only our heaviness.  And should we as incorporeal beings be able to recognize and communicate with each other?  Certainly, and with more facility than before, because perception is mental, communion is exchange of thoughts, and what mortals call objects are, if they are anything, ideas.

Suppose three persons are together in a room.  The first one, fully awake, and with eyes wide open, sees, as he looks toward the center of the room, a table with people gathered about it eating dinner.  The second, with eyes closed but with attention fixed in the same direction, sees, precisely where the table appears to his companion, a field of waving grain with people hard at work with their harvesting implements.  The third, meanwhile having fallen asleep, visualizes, in the same place, not a field of wheat nor a dining table, but a rugged mountain, and, starting to climb it, loses his footing and tumbles over a precipice.

These things, then, which seem so fixed and rigid, and which we call formations of matter, are really formations of thought.  And different individuals in different states of mortal consciousness formulate different things and different events, all in the same place at the same time, with no collisions nor interferences the one with the other.  And this will continue until we all are awakened and drawn by the truth into the one absolute consciousness, which is God, where we shall not lose our individualities, but where we shall drop our beliefs of accident and strife and distress, and gain a sense of security and continuous life.

We live, then, in a mental realm.  All things are mental, man himself being an aggregation of thoughts, a state of consciousness, instead of an aggregation of cells or a physical body as physiology declares.  And it is toward consciousness rather than corporeality that Christian Science treatment is directed.  Science, by declaring perfection in all things and in all places, operates to eliminate from human consciousness its beliefs that matter is actual, that disease is present, that evil is attractive.  It sweeps from consciousness the heavy, sickly sense of man, and brings out the true sense of man as healthy and holy, as spiritual and perfect.

For there are not two men, one material the other spiritual, one bad the other good, one sick the other well.  There is only one man, the perfect, immortal man of divine Mind's creating.  The supposedly physical, imperfect man is only the human mind's mistaken sense of what man is.  This false sense of man must be displaced by the true sense if health and continuous life are to be realized.  And this is exactly what Christian Science is doing.  It is bringing out in the experience of the individual a sense of his true selfhood - a self which knows and manifests good and health and intelligence, and it is putting aside the erroneous sense of man as sick and sensual and mortal.

Christian Science accomplishes this by presenting the facts to the individual and arousing him to the true situation.  It declares to him that the presence of God who is Love and Life leaves no place or possibility for disease and suffering; that man as the reflection of God is as perfect in a degree as God is; that man is an expression of perfect Life and Mind, and therefore that he is well and knows that he is well.  The effect of these truths, as they are accepted by the individual, is to work a change in consciousness whereby his sense of pain or unrest, which is false, gives place to a sense of health and peace, which is true.

 

The Real Man

When Christian Science insists that man is perfect, without fault or blemish, it does not have in thought the human mind's misconception of man as physical, with finite form and outline, but it has in thought spiritual man, the individual's real selfhood.  Do you not at times get glimpses of another self, a self that is, so to speak, in the background, a self immeasurably finer than you present to the world in ordinary affairs?  Indeed the world has never seen this better self and scarcely suspects its existence.  You do not see it all the time, nor every day, but there are moments when you glimpse it.  This is your real self, the likeness of God, the perfect, the spiritual man.

What is the connection between the spiritual, perfect man and the physical sense of man?  Simply this: As you get even a faint conception of your real selfhood as an expression of divine Life, Mind and Love - a man of Principle - and hold to this conception as best you can from day to day, repudiating as none of yours all sickly and wrongful thoughts, you find that the mistaken, sensuous concept of yourself begins to fade away, and the true sense of yourself as free from disease and evil and limitation comes out more and more in your experience.  You find your intellectual faculties expanding, your capacity for doing things enlarged, your affection for good increasing, your life moving toward the harmonious and ideal.

By this mental or spiritual process you put off the old, the imperfect, the Adam man, and put on the new, the real, the Christ man, as Paul admonishes.  In this way you work out your own salvation, that is, extricate yourself from the difficulties and distresses which seem to enmesh you. You accomplish this by right thinking, followed up by right doing, a process in which every individual can effectively engage, a process wherein everyone becomes his own physician and his own spiritual adviser.

Everyone has observed that right thoughts, when held to, possess a certain energy which puts wrong thoughts to flight.  You have it in your power, by giving audience to healthful and wholesome thoughts and rejecting sickly and sensual thoughts, to attain a consciousness which knows only good and harmony.  In other words, you can, with God's help, have that Mind which was in Christ Jesus, and which will, if you give it opportunity, produce the perfect man in you as truly as it did in him.  The potentiality of right thinking is boundless, for thereby you find your oneness with God.

We have been too much given to regarding God as afar off, whereas God as Mind, Life, and Love is always at hand.  He is so near that, as Paul says, He is in you and through you.  This means that perfect Life is asserting itself precisely where your pain, if you think you have any, seems to be.  As a realization of this truth fills consciousness the belief of distress necessarily melts away.  It is impossible for you to entertain a belief of sickness and at the same time realize the presence of God who is perfect Life.  Such contraries cannot both stand in the same consciousness at the same time.  And as the false concept fades out, you will realize that the true one has always been present awaiting recognition.

Unable, through personal sense, clearly to discern the real man, we sometimes wonder where he is, and whether he now exists or is yet to come into being. Since man is an expression of ever-present God, he must be, and he is now, and here.  He is precisely where (though of course not fixed nor confined to that spot) the troubled mortal man seems to be.  We look right at him, it may be said, and fail to see him because of our human shortsightedness, our clouded mortal vision.  But a right perception, a true vision on our part would reveal him.

This vision and perception Jesus possessed, for, says Mrs. Eddy, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.  In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (Science and Health pp. 476, 477).

 

The True Vision

What we need, then, is to gain that perception which will enable us to see ourselves and others cleansed of the "muddy vesture of decay" with which mortal thought would clothe us.  How shall we cultivate that perception?  By being good.  By setting the affections on things above.  By thinking wholesome thoughts.  By departing from the sensuous and, "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Thus was Paul caught up into Paradise, where he saw indescribable wonders, and John saw the new heaven and the new earth wherein was no corporeal body with appetites and sufferings.  These men were still groping in the dubious twilight of mortal existence, even as you and I, struggling with the same infirmities and temptations with which we struggle, yet at times they attained that consciousness, and we can attain it, wherein men know as they are known.

True vision is realized more or less by people right among us in the hurry and confusion of modern life, but we hear little of what they see because persons of fine sensibilities shrink from voicing their extraordinary experiences.  I know a little girl and her aunt, they are both Christian Scientists, who, when they were down town one day, saw a cripple.  He was attracting the usual morbid attention from passers by.  The child, after observing him and them for a moment said, "They don't see what we do, do they Aunt Emily?"  The girl saw something of the real man, fashioned in grace and symmetry, where the people thought they were seeing deformity, and she naturally supposed that her aunt, as a Scientist, was seeing likewise.

"Know thyself", says the Greek lawgiver.  Matthew Arnold gives the reason for this injunction when he writes:

Resolve to be thyself, and know that he

Who finds himself loses his misery.

Why does he who becomes acquainted with himself lose his misery?  Because he discovers that he is the beloved son in whom the Father is well pleased.  He discovers that, from the beginning, he has been about his Father's business, and that his follies and misfortunes and sufferings have been no more than excursions of mortal thought into a realm apart from the real - a sort of dream experience.  Insist, reverently and intelligently, that you are the only begotten son, that this mortal self is really not you but only a mistaken sense of you, and understand the reason why.  Then, acting and living, as best you can, in accord with this exalted truth, you will grow, consciousness will advance toward, to use the language of St. Paul, "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

True selfhood, or the real man, may be overlooked or ignored for a time, but he will not remain forever unrecognized and unheard.  Eventually he will assert himself despite mortal willfulness and perverseness.  Shortly after the crucifixion two of the disciples, finding Jerusalem a turbulent, dangerous place, departed for Emmaus.  While they were hastening along the road, the Master overtook and journeyed with them; and, as he talked, their hearts burned within them.  They felt the call to duty.  They returned to Jerusalem, with its turbulence and hardships, where their work was and where they were needed.

Since that time, and before, many are they who have sought to escape their problems by fleeing from them.  Their work has been hard, their position intolerable, they have been misunderstood and maligned, they have been in distress, even in danger.  Listening to the siren voice that in some other place or at some other time their difficulties can be avoided or more easily overcome, they have abandoned their posts, but they have not always found peace and satisfaction.  They may have gained a sort of temporary relief and contentment.  They have too often felt the sting of remorse that comes when opportunities have been neglected and tasks have been left unperformed.

Sometimes men have found home so uncongenial and uncomfortable that they have contemplated separation from their dear ones.  They have fancied that liberty lies in that direction.  It does not.  Liberty and happiness come through manly and right conduct.  Their realization is hastened by cheerfully and patiently meeting and mastering the difficulties and irritations which accompany human relationships.  The more closely people are associated the more necessary are tact and kindness, and the less excusable are untimely rebuke and plain speaking and uncovering of error.  If affection seems to wane, it can be revived by the same kindly attention and consideration which kindled it in the beginning.  If mistakes are made, as they are sure to be, they can be overlooked.  No mistake is so serious but, when repented, it can be consigned to the nothingness from which it sprang, and be forgotten as something that never was.  If we cannot forgive others how can we expect forgiveness ourselves, and certainly every mortal stands in need of forgiveness and mercy and this in generous measure.  If we cannot see the perfect man in those close about us, how can we hope to find him in ourselves, and it is only as we find him in ourselves that life will lose its bitterness.

 

The Supreme Demonstration

Human existence, with its strange contrasts of joy and sorrow, health and disease, life and death, is a mystery; and we wonder why we are here and what is the purpose of it all. Years ago, yet not so many after all when we consider how long mortals have trod this planet, a young carpenter in a small town in a remote part of the world pondered these same questions, for they are the common stock of humanity, until the answer to the riddle and the remedy for earthly woes were revealed to him.  But he kept at his work, proving himself a dutiful son and a good carpenter before undertaking the role of the great teacher and leader.

At the age of thirty, however, he felt ready for the larger, universal service and went forth to teach what had been revealed to him and to show people the way of escape from their ills and oppressions.  Crowds came to hear him.  A palsied man induced his friends to carry him.  Finding the place packed by those who had already arrived, they took the helpless man upon the housetop, opened the roof, and lowered him, bed and all, into the midst before Jesus.  Noting their faith, Jesus said to the sick man, "Arise, take up thy bed, and go thy way."  And the man did so, while the audience "marveled and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

At another time a ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was at the point of death besought Jesus to come and heal her.  Before Jesus reached the house the girl had died. Entering the room where she lay and taking her by the hand, he said, "Damsel I say unto thee, arise." And immediately she arose and walked, and the friends and people who had gathered about were filled with astonishment.

After reaching this understanding whereby he could see and demonstrate that disease and death are, in Science, unreal, Jesus one day took three of his disciples up into a high mountain - up into the exalted consciousness which he had attained - and there communed with Moses and Elias, both of whom had passed from mortal sight centuries before.  So vivid was the picture that even the disciples saw these men, because, as the Scriptural narrative runs, "the face of the covering cast over all people" was, for the time being, destroyed, and it was realized that individuals who are supposed to pass away in fact continue to exist and maintain their identity and carry on their work, for as Jesus talked with Moses and Elias they spoke of his decease which he was soon to accomplish at Jerusalem.

For the storm was gathering.  Jesus' teachings could not long pass unchallenged.  His spirituality was a constant, stinging rebuke to the grossness and materialism of the times. His example and his marvelous works enraged the forces of evil beyond all bounds. There could be but one outcome.  His life would be sought.  He could take refuge in flight or he could stand his ground and permit evil to try to destroy him.  He chose the latter.  One night (you all know the story) he was seized by a mob, given a mockery of trial in the morning, and cruelly executed.  Three days later he came from the sepulcher and appeared, not once, but several times to his friends and talked with them during a period of forty days.  Then he ascended, that is, became invisible to the physical senses. He had demonstrated that individual life is indestructible and continuous.

 

The Great Discovery

It might be thought that the significance of such a stupendous accomplishment would never lie forgotten, but, within two or three centuries, it was, very largely, until some sixty years ago, when, here in America, a spiritually minded and deeply religious woman, apparently approaching the end of mortal existence as the result of an accident, turned to her Bible for consolation.  While she was reading one of the gospel accounts of healing performed by Jesus, a sense of strength and freedom stole over her.  She arose, dressed, and presented herself to anxious friends, sound and well, and from that time she was in better health than she had known before.

But she was not content with this.  She must understand the process, the modus operandi of spiritual healing.  To this end she searched the Scriptures and devoted her life.  She found, in the course of three years study and consecration, that Jesus, in overcoming disease, setting aside material laws, and abolishing death itself, invoked absolute Science, which he understood and which, as he declared, others can understand and apply to the solution of their problems and the alleviation of their sufferings.

As she came into the understanding of this Science she put it into practice.  She tested it when sick folk came to her for help, and found that it brought relief to the suffering and sorrowing in her time as certainly as it had done during the early Christian era.  In order that the world at large might profit by her discovery, she set forth the fundamentals of this Science, and the rules for applying it, in her great book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" - a book which today is found in countless homes and libraries and is read and pondered more in Christian lands, perhaps, than any other book except the Bible.

Afterward she established the Christian Science Church with its periodicals and other means for disseminating and guarding the truth.  Thus it was, in brief, that Mary Baker Eddy became the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and earned the right to be called the Leader of the Christian Science movement - a movement which has for its purpose nothing less than the overthrow of sin, disease, and death.  These three enemies Science is now destroying as they have never before been destroyed, because Science has uncovered their vulnerable spot, namely, their unreality.  The time is coming, and let us not needlessly postpone the day by insisting that it is in an inconceivably remote future, when the last enemy shall be destroyed.

 

The Continuity of Life

The conviction is all but universal that man is immortal.  The primitive American Indian, the intellectual Greek, the devout Jew, each in his own time and peculiar way arrived at the same conclusion that life continues beyond the grave.  Intuition, reason, and inspiration unite in declaring that life is eternal, and that death is not the end of individual existence, but an incident or transition not yet fully understood.  The whole tendency of modern thought, tremendously stimulated and strengthened by Mrs. Eddy's writings, is in this direction, with the result that people are losing their fear of the king of terrors and coming to see that Christian Science is entirely reasonable in declaring that death, as well as disease, can be mastered through an understanding of Life.

When we conceive of man as consciousness, instead of corporeality, we place ourselves in a position to appreciate his immortality, for consciousness persists and continues whatever may seem to happen to the physical body.  Thinking is constant and continuous, swifter and freer, if anything, when we are asleep than when awake.  Nothing can check the ceaseless flow of thought.  Accident and disease cannot stop thinking; cannot destroy consciousness; cannot interrupt the eternal course of Life.  Sickness or catastrophe may seem to overtake our friend, and we may say that he is dead and gone, but he knows that he is alive and is here.

Hence arise two opposite states of consciousness something as when one person falls asleep while his companion remains awake and neither recognizes the other for the time being.

Why do we not see our friend?  Because we insist that death has come between us, has even destroyed or carried him to an unknown realm.  This self-imposed stupidity or denseness, this clouded mortal sense of things, which we tenaciously hold to, constitutes the veil of the flesh that shuts us out from the so-called departed.  But as thought is clarified and uplifted, a perception, an understanding will unfold which knows no veil, no death, no separation.  In this mountain of enlightened consciousness God will destroy, so the promise reads in Isaiah, "the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death in victory" and "wipe away tears from off all faces."

Trying by means of physical sense to penetrate the veil or to outline or visualize our friend will end only in confusion and disappointment.  Materiality cannot apprehend spirituality.  The qualities which endear our friend to us and which really constitute our friend and make him undying are not of the flesh.  They never existed in a material body. They are spiritual qualities - integrity, faithfulness, love, and other attributes of Soul. They are not appreciable to material sense; they never have been and never can be.  They are appreciable to spiritual sense only.  Let us cultivate this sense.  Let us think rightly, live rightly.  Let us rise above sin and sensuousness.  This is what our friend is doing. Then with our thoughts and aims in the same direction our pathways will converge.  We shall come out of the different states of consciousness to which mortal sense has consigned us, and which have seemed to separate us, and come together into the one absolute consciousness of Life eternal.

It is humanly natural that we should be concerned about our friend and wonder what and where he is, but if we are wise we shall trust him to God's tender, constant care, thinking of him rationally and helpfully.  Grieving and speculating can do no good and may spread confusion where poise and calm are needed.  When our friend was here we emphasized his good qualities, we admired and dwelt upon them in thought, dismissing erring qualities as not representing him.  In other words, we saw something of the real man as an expression of imperishable life and unchanging good.  We should continue to do so.  Right thinking, comprising thoughts of love and life and peace, is always and universally helpful.  It knows no barrier.  It reaches its destination certainly and instantly.

In Christian Science practice we observe that right thinking, treatment, or prayer heals the absent or sleeping patient as quickly and effectively as though he were awake or present.  Intervening walls, mountains, oceans, and varying states of human consciousness, offer no resistance to the truth liberated by right thinking.  In Science the here and there are merged, and we are neither separated from God nor from one another by walls of matter or walls of consciousness.  These supposed barriers exist only to erring physical sense, and they disappear as physical sense yields to spiritual sense or the true vision.

 

[From a Chicago area newspaper clipping, date unknown, under the headlines "Death Will Give Way to Truth" and "Bible Reveals Understanding Which Will Destroy 'King of Terrors' ".]

 

 

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