Christian Science: The Destiny of Man
Peter V. Ross, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The following lecture, entitled, "Christian Science: The Destiny of Man," was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Dixon, Illinois, Thursday evening, May 6, 1937, by 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. The lecture is reprinted from a previous issue of the Leader.
How often are we all impressed with the mystery of human existence! Whence came we? Whither are we bound? What is the purpose of it all? These questions have challenged the wise and simple alike of all times and races. Out of attempts to solve the riddle and satisfy mortal unrest, to fathom the future and determine man's destiny, have sprung theories and philosophies innumerable.
The fatalism of the Orient, for example, holds that all things which can happen to an individual have been foreordained by fate. By no possibility can a man change or evade the course of events mapped out for him by this inscrutable superhuman power. If fate has decided that his life shall be wretched, or that it shall end in disaster, he is powerless to avert the pitiless decree. The doctrine of predestination, once conspicuous in Occidental theology, is scarcely less merciless than fatalism; for predestination, after appointing a select few to salvation leaves the majority of mankind to drift helplessly into a future without a ray of hope.
These, and other disheartening dogmas, have not been accepted without doubt and protest. Inborn in every individual is a conviction that there exists a power, good and beneficent, which, at some time and in some way, will lift the veil of mystery and reveal justice, happiness, and understanding, enthroned where ignorance, lawlessness, and suffering had stubbornly contended for supremacy. Faith has been a tremendous force in advancing human betterment and enlightenment, but until faith is itself enlightened and based upon understanding, it will fall short of bringing in the millennium.
Faith and Will-Power
While faith steadfastly sustains man's hope for a better order of things than has yet appeared, reason resolutely rebels against any theory which would make man a victim of chance or caprice, or punish him for aught but his own misdeeds, or withhold a just reward for right effort. In so doing reason may, especially if swayed by human will or encouraged by pride of intellect, insist that man can himself, unaided from on high, order the events of his career to advantage. While this attitude of thought may be a step in advance of such doctrines as fatalism and predestination, it nevertheless overlooks the undeniable fact that
"There's a destiny that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will."
And Divinity, we learn in Christian Science, prescribes and predestinates only that which is good, without favoritism or discrimination, for Divinity is good, is just and compassionate.
But the determination on the part of mortals to control events by sheer force of will-power, regardless of what may be the divine purpose, is widely prevalent in these days and much encouraged by superficial mental philosophy. This futile attempt, using the familiar figure of speech, to lift one's self by one's bootstraps, fails at the outset to recognize that genuine power and ability do not inhere in the individual but come from a source outside of him. "I can of mine own self do nothing," confessed he who spake as "never man spake" and who performed the "works which none other man did."
Willing a man to be well, to be successful, or to be happy is not the practice of Christian Science, though it is sometimes mistakenly supposed to be so. The grim determination of mortals, typified by the fixed jaw and the clenched hand, to satisfy personal desires and ambitions, may appear for a time to produce results, but eventually such methods fail, and the last state of the man who resorts to them is worse than the first.
The Christian Science method, on the other hand, consists in calmly realizing the indisputable fact that actually and continually God bestows all needed good on those who walk uprightly. It is for the individual to know this and to act accordingly. This process involves a resort to truth instead of to human will. And truth does not need to be projected or enforced by iron determination. It needs only to be understood, accepted, and utilized.
Thus while will-power strives to force a way out of the perilous perplexities of human existence, and faith assures us that a way exists, Christian Science points out the way and invites humanity to walk therein. It was first pointed out by Christ Jesus. Thereafter, for long centuries, it was at most only dimly discernible, until, within the memory of people still living, it was again made plain by Mary Baker Eddy through her discovery of Christian Science.
Many suppose Christian Science to be merely a health system, a sort of substitute for drugs and other material remedies. But it is vastly more than this. It offers a complete salvation – a salvation not only from sickness but from sin, sorrow, superstition, ignorance, and all the discomforts, difficulties, and limitations which hold mankind in bondage. It awakens men to a realization that God has planned more generously for them than their expectations have conceived possible.
Now what is Christian Science that it should merit these almost extravagant words of commendation? It is Christianity made plain, understandable, and workable in present-day affairs. At the time Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science, the world had largely come to regard the teachings of Christ Jesus as valuable chiefly for gaining future salvation. Their present value and utility were for the most part overlooked. Yet the Master was not only the most scientific but the most practical man that history gives any account of.
He not only spoke as one having authority, but he demonstrated the truth of his wonderful sayings, by releasing people from their diseases and difficulties and arousing them to a sense of their boundless possibilities as the sons and daughters of God. It was revealed to Mrs. Eddy, after years of patient and consecrated study of the Scriptures, that Jesus taught and practiced nothing less than absolute Science, valid not only for his time and his immediate followers but for all people of all times. She, when this revelation came to her, styled it Christian Science, and courageously showed how it could be used to uplift the intellectual, moral, and health standards of mortals.
Christian Science expands the mental powers and faculties of the person who studies and applies it, because it acquaints him with the true source and nature of intelligence. Physiology and psychology locate intelligence in the brain and would equip every man with a mind of his own. Christian Science, however, shows that all genuine intelligence is of God, that God is Mind, the one and only Mind, and that man, as an expression of God, necessarily expresses divine intelligence. Brains, then, do not think, nor do other parts of the body, for they are material and mindless. The notion that they think or possess intelligence is only an educated belief, which belittles and befogs mankind. Man truly thinks only as he reflects or manifests the divine Mind, which, like the invisible law of gravity, is everywhere present, everywhere functioning, everywhere and always available.
When man commences to grasp this great truth that infinite intelligence is available to and actually expressed by him as God's idea, his mental vision broadens and clarifies. He finds his discernment keener, his judgment sounder, and his capacity for achievement enlarged. When confronted by difficult problems, or when fearful and confused, man remembers that he reflects divine, ever-present intelligence. Then comes the acumen, the sagacity, the poise necessary to cope with the situation. It matters not whether he is a statesman at his high post of duty, a business man faced with intricate affairs, a farmer on his ranch, a housewife in her home, a mechanic in the shop, or a school child at his desk. The presence and availability of all-knowing Mind meets every legitimate demand of him who appeals to it as taught by Christian Science.
Communion with God
Human philosophy may assert that God is unknowable, that He is beyond the reach and apprehension of man. Yet the Scriptures, and history generally, cite many instances where man has consciously and coherently communed with his Maker. God speaks to man through what is termed inspiration. Whatever is good, noble, and worth while in the thoughts and lives of men is a direct impartation from Divinity. No one is barred from this inspirational communion, for, as Elihu says in his argument with Job, "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."
This companionship with God, in which man feels the divine impulse and grasps the divine plan and purpose, is seen to be perfectly normal and natural when it is realized that since God is Mind, His creature, man, is idea, for in no way does mind express itself except through thoughts or ideas. God and man, therefore, are intimately associated and inseparable as cause and effect. And man, as an idea in divine Mind, is obviously other than a mere material form as is commonly supposed. He is spiritual or mental – an expression of the goodness, the life, the intelligence which radiate from God as light and warmth radiate from the sun. We recognize man as idea, quite apart from physique, when we admire his manner of thought, his character. These mental qualities, not corporeality, constitute the real man.
Is it not clear, as Christian Science teaches, that God is incorporeal and infinite Mind, Life, Love, Principle? Otherwise how can He be everywhere present, all-powerful, and all-knowing, as the Bible teaches and as we all agree that He is? This is but another way of saying that God is Spirit,
When we concede, as we do, that the Creator is Spirit, logic immediately insists that creation must be spiritual. If human sense, on the contrary, sees a material universe, we have a right to suspect that human sense entertains a wrong concept of things. This mistaken concept is, according to Christian Science, all there is to matter and it is the purpose of Christian Science to change and correct that concept in order, not that things will be destroyed, but seen in their true light.
To change from a material to a spiritual concept of the universe does not destroy the universe or anything in it, but it reveals the universe and all therein as real, permanent, and beautiful. To exchange the physical idea of man for the spiritual does not put man out of existence, but brings into view his real selfhood as perfect and immortal. In all this transformation, or process of correction, nothing is destroyed but the erroneous concept of things.
It may be well to note, before leaving this part of our subject, that intellectual unfoldment as brought about by Christian Science does not cause the individual to become self-centered nor inconsiderate of his fellowmen. Quite the contrary. Though Jesus attained the very acme of true intellectuality, still his career was marked by tender solicitude for the welfare of others. Even on the cross, almost at the last moment, he was mindful of his earthly mother. Seeing her standing among the sorrowing spectators, he commended her to John, who also was present, for care and protection. And from that hour John "took her unto his own home."
When Paul said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," he counseled men to turn to the infallible intelligence, which is always at hand, instead of relying upon their own erring understanding and by force of human will trying to shape and order events. The disposition on the part of some well-meaning individuals, despite Paul's advice, definitely to map out their future and acquire specific things, such as a certain piece of property or a certain business position, and to work mentally to bring the desire to pass, without any thought of what may be the divine intent, is the reverse of Christian Science practice, for it would enlist God in support of selfish mortal aims, when genuine success and happiness come only by falling into line with God's purpose.
This exercise of will-power in vainly trying to get God back of our plans instead of getting ourselves back of God's plans, amounts to a sort of mental elbowing, detrimental to him who practices it and. disquieting to those affected by the unseen mental jostling. Its tangible result, if any, is to obtain for the individual things which are not good for him or to place him in positions which he is not qualified to fill. Whereas he who prepares himself for service and gets ready for whatever God would have him do, without too much concern as to just what the work or the reward will be, finds his lines falling into pleasant places.
Two men – this incident actually happened – were candidates for an important position. One was a Christian Scientist, the other was not. The non-Scientist, in furtherance of his candidacy, vigorously and cunningly resorted to all the schemes and expedients which self-interest suggests in such cases. The Christian Scientist, on the other hand, after filing his application, setting forth his qualifications for the position, contented himself with declaring the truth, that is with thinking as rightly, as intelligently, and as unselfishly as he could about the situation. He did not mentally assert that he wanted the position, that he would have it, or that no one else could secure it. Not at all. He quietly realized that selfishness, dishonesty, and scheming were powerless and ineffective, but that righteousness and Principle prevailed, and that God would establish His purpose in the premises with due regard to the highest good of all concerned.
In the course of a few days, through a radical change in its business system, the corporation which had offered the coveted position abolished it and almost simultaneously therewith created two other positions. The Christian Scientist was at once appointed to one of these posts – the one he was peculiarly qualified to fill – while his would-be rival was appointed to the other. The right thinking of the Scientist had been effective to safeguard his own interests, and this without prejudice to his would-be opponent or to their employer. The Scriptural injunction, "See thou hurt not the oil and the wine," had been obeyed. Let it be noted, however, that the Scientist confined his work to his own thinking. He did not for a moment enter the mental premises of his competitor or of the employer, or mentally attempt to influence them.
Now of course Christian Science does not question our right nor, for that matter, our imperative duty to entertain large expectations and wholesome ambitions. It has nothing but encouragement for active, industrious, intelligent effort. But it insists that in our planning and outlining we ought to consult God, which should not be difficult, when He is the all-knowing Mind so near that "in him we live, and move, and have our being." We can easily and always apply the test of unselfishness to our projects and ambitions. Do they tend toward service to humanity? Do they look toward making the world a better place for others as others have made it a better place for us? If they do, we may be sure that they lie substantially, at least, in the right direction and will prove truly profitable to ourselves and helpful to others; and if we should err, while actuated by this spirit of intelligent altruism, we shall not go far astray before being set right by the infallible Mind which we have invoked. But rational unselfishness, it may be well to remember, does not require us to surrender our all to others. It contemplates that we shall be just to ourselves as well as to our neighbor.
There has been much more of God's guidance and direction in the career of every man than he is likely to appreciate, however headstrong or self-willed he may have been. Not a person among us, who has reached years of maturity, but in looking back over the events of his life, can see that there has been an influence, probably unseen and unrecognized at the time, but wise and beneficent past all human wisdom and solicitude, which has urged him forward on some occasions and held him back on others – which here has led him by "unsought ways" and there has kept him from his "own undoing." As the poet (Hymnal, No. 115) puts it:
"Year by year, Thy hand hath brought us
On through, dangers oft unknown.
When we wandered, Thou hast found us;
When we doubted, sent us light;
Still Thine arm has been around us,
All our paths were in Thy sight."
The destiny which Deity determines for man, then, contemplates for him limitless intellectual and spiritual unfoldment with corresponding capacity for achievement. But mental attainments must be balanced by moral development, otherwise they may be employed to promote unworthy aims. Christian Science, therefore, in awakening latent mental powers, imparts to them the requisite moral tone. This it does by appraising good and evil for what they really are. It insists that since God is good, then all that He creates (and He creates everything that is real) must be good; hence that evil has at most only a fictitious existence, which disappears as truth dawns on the thought. This proposition has not only the support of sound logic but of Holy Writ, for the first chapter of Genesis does not close until it declares, "God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good."
Thus does Christian Science strike at the vary foundation of evil, by exposing and denouncing it as an unreality instead of fearing and dignifying it as an actuality. If critics argue that this doctrine encourages sinful practices, on the theory that there is nothing to them and that they therefore incur no penalty, let it be remembered that he who knowingly indulges in evil makes it, to all intents and purposes, real so far as he is concerned, and is, punished accordingly, while, he which scientifically repudiates evil as unreal, and refuses to indulge in the practice of it, is on the sure and only road to its mastery.
Evil will seem in some degree real to the individual until he reaches the moral heights where evil makes no appeal to him; but he is mightily helped in attaining that altitude, and eventually will be lifted to it, by realizing, however imperfectly at the outset of his course, that evil is actually nonexistent and, hence holds no pleasure or satisfaction for him.
While the Christian Scientist regards evil as unreal, he does not forget that it appears to put forth insidious claims and pretensions. These he is alert to detect and put to flight or reduce to nothingness by filling his thought and life with good. He appreciates that evil can be unreal and harmless to him only as he rejects it and leads a life of righteousness. He denounces evil as vigorously as do other religionists, but with this advantage, that he knows God never made it, and therefore that it has no actual place, power, or attraction.
But whence comes sinful thoughts, desires, and temptations. Not from God, certainly; nor do they originate with the individual, although they would have him so believe. They come from the false or fictitious mentality, the carnal or mortal mind, which Paul declared "is enmity against God" and which Jesus denounced as a lie and the father of lies. When the individual sees that sin, whether in thought or in deed, is a lie, and no part of his true being, he is in a position intelligently and effectively to put it out of his experience. He no longer battles blindly with it "as one that beateth the air," which is the case of the man who mistakenly assumes that evil is real, but he meets evil with the assurance of God-given capacity to overthrow it.
The result of this intelligent handling of evil is a practical demonstration that good is the only power and presence. Does any one doubt this proposition? There is not an individual here tonight who has not, in some measure, proved the unreality of evil, for its grosser types, at least, it is hoped, no longer find response in him. Christ Jesus, who is our example in all things reached the place where he could say, "The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me." The destiny of every individual, guided by scientific Christianity, points to that same perfect state as not only possible of attainment but eventually and inevitably his to enjoy – and this, not in some dim and distant future, but in the world in which we now find ourselves, for the kingdom of heaven is so near, both in time and place, that as Jesus said it is within us.
Along with moral, intellectual,
and spiritual unfoldment comes health development. It is man's responsibility
to be well, just as it is to be normal intellectually and morally. Certainly
there is no virtue in being ill; neither is there any necessity for it.
Sickness and suffering have sometimes been supposed to be a part of man's
destiny, a sort of divine visitation, having mysterious functions to perform in
accordance with God's will. Yet few indeed are they who do not struggle to
escape from disease, even though professing to believe that
A God who is perfect fashions all things in perfection; a creator who is good makes all things good; a Supreme Being who is Love does not send forth suffering and affliction, but joy and peace and happiness. Reason tells us this is true inspiration – the "still small voice" of spiritual consciousness – confirms it; while Christian Science demonstrates the fact by brushing aside the claims of disease and establishing in their place a sense of health and harmony. When we accept disease as real, we combat it with slight success. But when we face it with the conviction that God never made it, and therefore that it is nothing beyond a false belief, we are well on the way to its final overthrow and extinction.
Disease, whatever its name or type, is not what it seems. Both in origin and character it is mental. But how, you ask, can this be true of those ailments which manifest themselves
upon the body? The explanation is not difficult when it is remembered that the human body is the creation - or product – of the human mind. It is simply what that mind believes or makes it. The human mind thinks disease, pictures it, and fears it as a dreadful reality. The externalization of disease upon the body follows as a natural consequence. That which the human mind outlines in thought it necessarily projects into the body which it forms, constructs, and controls.
How important to the individual, then, that he empty his mind of sick, abnormal, hateful, and unwholesome thoughts, and fill it with healthful, normal, kindly, and wholesome thoughts, because as his thoughts are so is he. And remember this, that thinking health amounts to vastly more than contemplating an inanimate, inarticulate truth; it is putting into operation a vital, pulsating element, which "will never sound retreat" until healing is brought home to him who has sent out the appeal. For truth, when thought or declared, becomes dynamic. It goes forth on its corrective mission with irresistible energy and power, sweeping aside beliefs of disease to make room for the facts of health.
Faith in Drugs
But, it may naturally be asked, how is it, if disease is mental, that drugs seem to affect cures? The answer is this. A drug has no virtue or power in itself. The individual sufferer believes, and humanity generally believes, that the drug will do something for him, and this faith and belief, rather than the drug itself, accomplishes the supposed cure when the drug is administered. Physicians themselves agree that the less medicine used the better. In fact, drugs are steadily disappearing from medical practice, because the human faith in them, which invested them with the only power they ever seemed to possess, has been shattered. The same fate is overtaking them in the realm of medicine that already has overtaken idols in the realm of religion.
It is not so long ago that people purchased immunity from contagious disease by wrapping red cloth about the wrist or by hanging a piece of asafedita around the neck or by wearing a gauze mask over the mouth and nose. Obviously, not the device, but the belief in it, afforded the fancied protection. Today human nature, professedly wiser and less unsophisticated than in times gone by, demands something more studied or mysterious, and therefore seizes upon vaccines and serums as preventives. The belief in these things will go out some day, just as it has departed from the red cloth, the asafedita, and the "flu" mask; and when it has, their supposed effects, whether good or bad, will be no more.
To appeal to a drug or to a serum in order to change a belief of sickness to a belief of health is at best an awkward, circuitous method. Materia medica begins to see this and leans toward effecting the change by suggestive therapeutics. In that system the drug or serum is dispensed with, and the sick mind is reached directly by mental manipulation. The would-be healer, by a process of suggestion or hypnotism, handles the thought of his patient, and by force of will-power tries to eject the sick thought and introduce in its place the well thought, all the time assuming that sickness is as real as health. Such a method has no scientific basis, and manifestly is more dangerous than the use of drugs or serums, in that it permits one human mind to dominate another.
Prayer or Treatment
Christian Science has no part in such questionable practices. It expels false beliefs by truth, not by other beliefs nor by will-power. It does not mesmerize the individual who stands in need of help. It enlightens and liberates him normally and spontaneously by awakening him to the fact that Life is God, as the Bible teaches, and therefore is above
and beyond any manifestation or suggestion of disease. With his mentality thus illumined, the erstwhile sufferer relinquishes his thought of pain (and pain is only a thought, it is not a thing) and he accepts the facts of harmonious being. Disease thereby loses its place in consciousness and disappears as naturally and scientifically as any erroneous belief vanishes in the presence of truth.
And what is the truth in relation to health and disease? Simply this, that health is natural, real, and God-given, while disease is unnatural, unreal, and unknown to God and to the true man. Disease is nothing beyond a mortal phenomenon, a false appearance, an illusion. Why is disease unreal or illusory? Because, being wholly bad, it could not have been made by God, who is wholly good and who creates all that is or can be; because God is Love, as the Scriptures affirm, and hence could not and does not visit His children with affliction; because disease claims to impair and even destroy Life, when Life is God and therefore eternally perfect and indestructible.
Now, instead of doubting this wonderful proposition, as you may be tempted to do, silently declare it, hold to it in thought, live up to it as far as possible, and presently you will find yourself demonstrating it as thousands of others are doing. This declaring the truth, abiding in it, and putting it into practice is prayer, the prayer of the righteous man which availeth much in accordance with the Scriptural promise. It is not the prayer of blind faith nor of agonized pleading. It is the prayer of intelligence and understanding, the prayer which silently insists, and at least in some measure realizes, that man is perfect even as God is perfect, whatever the illusions of human sense may say or suppose to the contrary.
"Prayer," says Emerson, "is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view." And presently he adds, "As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg." But prayer has too often been regarded as a petition to move a reluctant God whose purpose may be wrong and whose course can be changed. When it is remembered, however, that God is unchanging Love, and that He confers all that He has upon man, there is no occasion for pleading, but rather occasion for knowing, understanding, appreciating, and accepting Him and His bounty.
The efficacy of prayer consists, then, in changing man's attitude toward God, not God's attitude toward man. Its function is to lift and illumine consciousness to the point where man realizes, to some extent at least, that actually he is at-one with God and therefore is in the possession of all things good and needful, without any necessity for begging or pleading. This scientific prayer literally unsees disease, together with the fear, ignorance, and sin which occasion it, and realizes the goodness of God, the harmony of Life, and the consequent perfection of man. It is in line with that unerring vision which the Master possessed when Mrs. Eddy says of him on pages 476 and 477 of Science and Health, "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."
Who has not observed that his consciousness is a veritable battle ground where wrong thoughts strive to usurp the legitimate place of right thoughts? Yet one right thought, resolutely held to, puts to flight a host of wrong thoughts, as every one knows from experience. This is so because right thoughts come from God, and hence are true and invincible. While the only strength or hope of a wrong thought, whether of fear, hate, sin, or pain, is to deceive the individual into accepting it as his, instead of disowning and spurning it as an emanation of evil and therefore without origin, authority, or power of persuasion.
Discoverer of Christian Science
It will not be inferred, from what has been said, that Christian Science practice is purely an intellectual process devoid of sympathy and compassion, for while the letter of Science is essential, the spirit is indispensable. Stolidity, indifference, and the hard-as-nails quality of thought have no place in the sick-room. But tenderness and patience in dealing with those who appeal for help, accompanied by a clear recognition of the all-presence and all-power of God, and the consequent absence and nothingness of everything unlike Him, confer upon the Christian Scientist the ability to speak to disease and evil with authority. Mrs. Eddy sums up the whole matter when she says on page 113 of Science and Health, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love."
This lofty sentiment furnishes the key to the life and work of that great woman, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. Nothing less than selfless devotion to the cause of humanity could have urged her on and sustained her efforts during the two score years and more through which she labored unremittingly to bring scientific Christianity, with its illimitable possibilities of healing and regeneration, within the reach of every honest seeker for help and light. Ridicule, persecution, and every form of opposition which obstructs the path and defies the purpose of the pioneer of truth, she unflinchingly faced and overcame in order that you and I – in order that every individual to the world's remotest bounds might come into his birthright of freedom. The esteem and reverence in which she is held by her beneficiaries need not, therefore, excite surprise. They love her because she first loved them.
From early childhood Mrs. Eddy was blessed with unusual spiritual insight. Naturally, therefore, she was much given to the study of the Scriptures; and it was between the covers of the Bible, the same Bible that countless thousands had studied before and have studied since without fully sensing its spiritual intent, that she found Christian Science. Often she had wondered why God's assurances of help and healing as set forth in the Scriptures, were not more generally realized. Having suffered much herself and failed to find relief through material means, she turned, as the years glided by, more and more unreservedly to God and to the contemplation of His promises. But not until she was apparently nearing the end of mortal existence as the result of a serious accident did the truth for which she so long had sought flash upon her. The revelation, with immediate restoration to health, came while she was reading one of the New Testament accounts of spiritual healing performed by Jesus.
The Real Man
Resolved to know how her healing, and the healings wrought by Jesus and the early Christians, were accomplished, she continued her search of the Scriptures until she divested the Master's teachings and his so-called miracles of their supposed mystery. She found that Jesus, in healing the sick, raising the dead, stilling the tempest, and finally ascending into the unobstructed sphere of spiritual being where matter and mortality are unknown, was invoking absolute divine law, which he understood and which others can understand and apply with like effect.
For Jesus claimed nothing for himself which he did not claim as the inheritance of every man who would intelligently abide in his words and deeds. When Jesus declared, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," he gave assurance that what he did others can do and what he was others can be. His life was an example of what our lives must be before the perfect state of existence called heaven is attained. He differed from other men in that he had a fuller realization of true selfhood, a clearer discernment of what the real man is, and a complete capacity for demonstrating the ideal. Every man is dimly conscious of a better self and a higher life than he is actually expressing, and every attempt at right thinking or right living is an attempt to express that higher self or the genuine man who knows no sin or suffering or blemish. This real man or true selfhood is the Christ, and the Christ found complete expression in Jesus as it will sometime find expression in every individual.
This is man's destiny, wrought out, it must needs be, in the interior realm of thought. Thinking precedes all action, inspires all conduct, shapes all things visible. Disposition, temperament, character, morals, health – all are creations or externalizations of thought. A man's thinking determines what he is and fashions his future for good or for ill. Indeed, thinking or consciousness is man's very existence or being. That is why we say he is mental, spiritual, incorporeal, measureless, immortal – an aggregation of right thoughts or ideas, rather than a physical form with height, weight, and other material accompaniments. Thinking is constant and continuous. Not for an instant can the individual stay its ceaseless flow, but he can, with divine help intelligently invoked, control thinking and thereby direct the course of his destiny onward and upward until he awakes in God's likeness.
[Published in The Chicago Leader, Aug. 11, 1939.]