Christian Science: What It Is and How It Works

 

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

 

"Christian Science: What It Is and How It Works" was the title of the lecture given Tuesday evening by Peter V. Ross, C.S.B., of San Francisco, Cal., at the Murat Theatre under the auspices of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis. The lecturer was introduced by Frank C. Ayres. Mr. Ross is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. His lecture follows in full:

 

Not long ago, after delivering a lecture somewhat like this one, I stood watching the people leave the auditorium. Presently a woman in middle life came along. She was rather more than walking. She was so full of vigor that she was striding. As she passed me she said, "This is the first time I have walked out of the church." She had been helped into the place, she had been helped out of it, I do not know how many times, but on this occasion she walked out on her own power.

What had happened? Some of the fear which had been bearing her down into helplessness had been lifted and dissipated. Her thought had been clarified and uplifted. All a result of the truth she had heard. And with the transforming of her mind came the renewing of her body. For the human body is what the human mind makes it. When the human mind is depressed or confused with fear, it can scarcely be expected to construct a normal body. But when this mind is clear, buoyant, and confident, it constructs a better, a healthier, a stronger body. You may recall the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in this connection. She says: "Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered. Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew" (Science and Health, page 425).

 

Responsibility for Disease

What, then, stands between us and better health, more freedom? Our material beliefs, our belief in matter. This apparently hard, heavy stuff we call matter scholars in these days explain away. But long years ago Mary Baker Eddy, then comparatively unknown, now a woman of world wide reputation through the discovery of Christian Science, saw the unreality of matter. And she, set forth her conclusion in words now familiar to millions: ''There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all" (Science and Health, page 468).

Why all this concern about matter? Because belief in matter is responsible for our diseases and difficulties. Matter is not the entity it appears. If it were it could not be explained away. Matter is a belief that things, and even living creatures, have weight, solidity, location; and therefore that there can be accidents, diseases, destruction. Whereas in a universe of Mind all things are mental and incorporeal, abiding in peace and safety.

We have to believe that things are dense and localized in order that they may collide with one another. You have to believe that you are a bulky physical mass in order that you may have collisions and accidents and diseases. And yet in a realm of Mind, which is the realm we live in, actually you cannot be otherwise than spiritual and incorporeal, out of reach of disease and disaster.

 

Matter Dissipated

Whence comes this belief in matter, this mistaken belief that things are ponderous and dimensional? It comes from the human mind. The human mind is itself limited and material. It therefore entertains a limited and material sense of whatever it contemplates. Matter, with the limitations and mortality that follow in its train, will therefore disappear as we exchange the limited human mind for the limitless divine Mind. And this is what happened in the experience of Christ Jesus. He put aside the human mind, which speaks of matter and danger and disease, and put on the divine Mind, which voices health and freedom and boundless life. Thereby he was enabled to set distance and solid walls at naught.

On one occasion, it will be recalled, he put himself across the lake, instantly. On other occasions he entered rooms without troubling to open doors. That startling material phenomenon, the radio, hints the possibilities in this direction. The radio knows little or nothing of distance and intervening walls. They scarcely exist to the radio. They do not exist to spiritual man. And there is no material man except in belief.

 

The Human Body

It is no more than an erroneous belief that man is a physical figure, so many feet in height, so many pounds in weight, and occupying a definite amount of space. And out of this belief come the dangers and diseases to which flesh is heir. While out of the fact that really man is spiritual consciousness rather than corporeality, outside the body rather than in it, come freedom and safety and irrepressible life.

The form of matter of immediate interest to each of us is the human body. Physiology would have us believe that the material body with its material mentality is man. Clearly it is not, for man is immeasurably more than human body and intellect, as presently will be brought out. The body is the human mind's limited, distorted sense of man. In other words, the human body is the product of the human mind or consciousness. Hence the higher and clearer one's thinking the better his body; and our purpose, obviously, is not to destroy or discredit the body but to improve and normalize it. The human mind or consciousness constructs the body and supposes that the individual lives in it, his capacities cramped, his existence endangered, thereby. All this in belief only, for man is not finite and corporeal, but incorporeal and spiritual, unconfined and safe.

 

Deity Invisible

Why spiritual and unconfined? Because God is Spirit and man must be like his creator. Certainly no one in this enlightened age would contend that Deity is corporeal, for this would amount to a denial of His omnipresence. Tradition says that when the Roman legions entered Jerusalem, Pompey, their commander, striding through the temple, tore aside the curtain, from the Holy of Holies, intent on viewing the Hebrew God. He had expected, presumably, to find a magnificent image or statue. He found nothing that the eye can discern. He stood face to face with the sublime conception of God invisible.

Less than a century afterward Jesus, conversing with the Samaritan woman at the well, defined the unseen God as Spirit. In our own times Mrs. Eddy has more definitely proclaimed Him divine Mind, Life, Love, Principle.

This concept of Deity is not only in conformity with Scripture but it satisfies reason and silences the unbeliever. For no one supposes that things just happen without cause or direction. Your watch did not happen. There was intelligence back of its construction. There is law governing its movements. There is law, intelligence, purpose underlying and directing all things. And the universal Mind, Life, Love, Principle, understanding, animating, and directing all things, Christian Science declares is God; and man is God's noblest witness or expression.

 

Incorporeal Man

For God must express Himself, otherwise He would be practically nonexistent. And He expresses Himself through man, imparting to each individual divine intelligence and inextinguishable life. His intelligence thereby becomes your intelligence and His Life becomes your life, as you gain the understanding of the Christ. Hence the oneness, the unity of God and man; hence the harmony, the energy, the continuity of individual existence. Small wonder that you feel

 

“through all this fleshly dress

bright shoots of everlastingness.”

Henry Vaughan

 

In reality, and despite material appearances, there is no escape from the conclusion that man is consciousness rather than corporeality, abiding in the realm of Spirit not matter. Since God is Mind and Spirit, man must be mental and spiritual. You are convinced of this the moment you close your eyes to outward physical phenomena, and, through introspection, observe mental and spiritual processes in operation. Fearfully and wonderfully is man made, not as matter, not of atoms and cells, but of thoughts and ideas.

Thoughts and ideas make up consciousness; and consciousness is the genuine man. He is, to use Mrs. Eddy's words, "the conscious identity of being" (Science and Health, page 476). Man, therefore, instead of being a physical figure is an individual consciousness, a state of awareness. This helps to explain how Jesus walked the waves. In sleep you have sometimes found yourself walking on the air, material weight gone but yourself intact. In these moments you have approached reality, the realm of freedom and safety as distinguished from the dream of heaviness and danger which in some unaccountable way appears to have enveloped mankind.

Spiritual man is more than imponderable, he is impalpable to material sense, that is, unreachable and untouchable by any blow or destructive agency. Hints of imponderability and impalpability abound in the material sense, that is, unreachable and impalpable. One cannot seize a handful of it. It is elusive, evasive. Jesus, talking to Nicodemus of spiritual things, used the wind as an illustration. He said: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

 

Treatment of Disease

Take the time occasionally to reason of being a kinglike being off in the clouds somewhere, in Mind and Life. That He is here and now. Invisibly here it is true; He makes Himself visible or manifest through spiritual man, establishing divine intelligence and irrepressible life in each individual, for man is consciousness rather than corporeality, existing in Mind not matter, out of reach of the perils of mortal existence. As you work out this dynamic proposition and grasp its significance you will gradually find yourself lifted out of the realm of disease and danger into the upper realm of health and safety, because of your enlarged understanding of the Christ.

When you gain the true concept that God is Mind and Life, you see how it is that you are always in His presence. You are always in the presence of intelligence, are you not? So near is it that it is your life. You cannot get anything between you and your intelligence. Whence comes this intelligence? So far as it is sound and true it is the divine Mind asserting itself through you. God is nearer, if could be, than your thoughts. Your true self is at-one with Him; His intelligence is your intelligence and His life is your life, for there is only one Life. How then can your life be corrupted with disease? How can your intelligence be so confused as to believe in disease or evil? How can your well-being or existence be put in jeopardy? It cannot if you understand the truth of being.

Disease and accident are mortal and material concepts and cannot come into the presence of God, and you are never apart from Him. Where do disease and accident and death come? They come in human belief, illusion, or dream. Indeed mortal existence is no more than a dream that we have strayed from God's presence into a realm of danger. Necessarily as we lay hold of the fact that actually we are always in the presence of God, in a place of safety, and can not get away from Him because He is our very life and intelligence, the dream of separation, with its attendant difficulties, dissipates, and we awake to the security which is the birthright of spiritual man.

 

Life Irrepressible

Before the advent of Christian Science most of us had a very inadequate concept of God. He is more, as Paul points out, than merely around and about man. He is everywhere, and man is His reflection, His expression, His likeness. This means that harmonious and irrepressible life is in operation right where pain or distress may seem to be, because God is all-in-all. The realization of the ever presence of God works the annihilation of obstruction, inflammation, or any other supposed disorder; that is, it ousts the belief in sickness and reveals the fact of health.

This realization or declaration of truth is treatment or prayer; and anyone can pray. You pray when you think your highest and best; and when you think your highest and best, that is, when you insist upon and recognize the fact of harmonious life and being and repudiate the claim of sickness and mortality, you undermine the foundations of disease and death and lay hold of reality and eternal Life. You then glimpse the fact that spiritual man is the expression of imperishable Life; that he is, to use Paul's words, "the temple of the living God," unprofaned and unfettered by sin or suffering.

Never doubt that intelligent prayer is effective. Never suppose that the injunction, "Pray without ceasing," is impossible. You can be occupied with the sublimest thoughts, and oftentimes you are, while busy with the homely tasks of daily existence. Through meditation and desire for understanding you open the door to heavenly visitors. Inspiration and revelation are not obsolete. God's voice has not been silenced nor has His interest in man declined. He has health and strength for you, and opportunities for success and usefulness. "Acquaint now thyself with Him and be at peace," is still the soundest of advice.

 

The Business World

Intelligent prayer is the reverent and grateful recognition and acceptance of the abundance always at hand. Humble desire is indispensable to spiritual growth, but why plead for what we already have? Man is the expression, the reflection, of God. And by reflection man possesses divine substance and bounty. You may say you are in want, out of work, without opportunity; but that is not the case. In fact this moment you stand at the open door of opportunity, for God continually makes available every good thing to man. "All that I have is thine," says the father to the prodigal's brother in Jesus' well-known parable. "What things soever the Father doeth, these things doeth the son likewise." All this by reflection. Take a hint from your own reflection in the mirror. Does it not do what you do? You do what God does, by reflection; you enjoy what He enjoys, you possess what He possesses. Can you ask or hope for more?

Christian Science not only heals sickness but it brings relief from other difficulties that interrupt the harmony of human existence. Unemployment and business depression are talked on all sides today. They are brought about largely by people arguing for them. There is no genuine reason and certainly no necessity for them. If people would stop their idle, fearsome talk in this connection, and try to realize that divine Mind directs all things great and small, production, distribution, and all the affairs of industry and business generally would become what they should be. If men and women would take the time each day to realize that the divine Mind is in fact the only Mind, they would go forth with the ability to meet their problems and difficulties and make their businesses and professions successful and useful enterprises in the community.

 

Unemployment

The unemployed are too much inclined to proclaim that there is no work and that the world has no need of them; when if they would insist upon the fact that every individual is important and indispensable, regardless of age or past failures, the situation would improve. There is something important awaiting the attention of every individual, something no other person can do. After taking this rational mental attitude, let the person in need of employment realize that the all-knowing Mind gives him the intelligence and vision to find his work or position. Then let him go out and look for it, expecting to find it and willing to do the work when found. No one is without opportunity and no one need be without employment.

God must express Himself, must express divine intelligence, life, and substance. These His qualities, he expresses through spiritual man. You can therefore say of the real man, indeed you can not say less if you would state the full truth, that he is the invisible God's opportunity for making manifest every good thing. To use Paul's language, "He giveth to all life and breath and all things."

We speak of people being out of place or out of employment, when the fact is that man, governed by divine Principle, cannot get out of his place or escape activity. Not only does Principle uphold and direct man, but it operates through him. Man therefore really cannot be idle nor can he stray out of the divinely appointed path.

Take a lesson from the heavens. Does not gravity hold each planet in its orbit? One star does not depart from its course or get in the way of another. How little rivalry and lawlessness are there, because the unerring law of gravitation reigns. More certainly does divine Principle reign in the affairs of man. And divine Principle is not a blind, mindless force; it is a living, a knowing, an all-pervading power that brooks no interference. In a world thus governed by Principle it is impossible for man to stray from the realm of health and usefulness. He does so only in belief, and this mistaken belief loses its hold the moment he realizes that he is in the grip of Principle. Then his mortal wanderings cease.

 

Silent Argument

Almost incessantly does everyone carry on an argument, in silence most of the time, with himself. The argument is either for or against his best interests, against them generally, if he is not on his guard. Observe your mental processes occasionally and see if this is not true. How easy it is, as one converses with himself, to magnify his injustices and minimize his blessings. How almost irresistible it is to say business is bad, morals are on the decline, diseases are multiplying.

And how rather difficult it is to declare the obvious fact that the doors of opportunity were never so wide open as today, that the world is getting better and its people better, that at last disease is being attacked successfully because its vulnerable spot, its unreality, has been discovered. We wonder why we are under the belief of bad business and bad health. Have we not argued ourselves into the belief? Can we expect to break the belief unless we cultivate the habit of talking healthfully and sensibly to ourselves, insisting upon the true and repudiating the false? And the fundamental truth is that God is invisible Mind and Life, made manifest through man, and therefore that man is spiritual, not material, fashioned in perfection for a useful, endless career.

This mental debate, after all, is little else than mortal beliefs trying to array themselves against the invincible truths which God ceaselessly imparts to man. While it is a fact that God has made man spiritual and put him in a spiritual universe, out of reach of all disease and disaster, and in the presence of opportunity and supply sufficient to his needs, the mortal appearance is decidedly to the contrary. For the individual appears to be corporeal and mortal, and the realm he inhabits appears to be a world of danger and limitation. These appearances Christian Science teaches the individual not to ignore, but intelligently and industriously to cope with and rise above. He will require, in this campaign, all the alertness and fortitude he can command. In his struggles he will be heartened by Paul's ringing declaration, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

 

Facing Difficulties

Therefore while the Christian Scientist insists that disease, with its contagion and other supposed laws, is unreal, nevertheless he does not overlook its insidious claims. Rather he faces them understandingly and resolutely, declaring and realizing how impotent they must be, however formidable their appearance, when God, omnipotent and irrepressible Life, is in operation everywhere.

So with animal magnetism and evil generally. No person can afford to ignore their pretensions to power or their sinister purpose to influence his conduct. They must be grappled with intelligently and courageously, and actually reduced to their natural nothingness, however insinuating and persuasive they would have the individual believe. They are powerless and can be so realized, because they are unprincipled, and unprincipled forces can exert no influence where Principle operates incessantly and omnipotently. Let him who is confronted with temptation or confusion remember what Paul says, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

In the world of business and industry strife, greed, competition, rivalry, dishonesty try to assert themselves and to interfere with the success and well-being of the individual. For him to close his eyes to these sinister forces would be to invite them to snatch from him those good things which are rightfully his. He must not, therefore, be indifferent to these pretended forces, but rather must look them fearlessly and intelligently in the face and see how impossible it is that they should accomplish anything in a realm where divine Mind controls, meting out justice and abundance to all.

The constant desire for understanding and righteousness, coupled with the expectation that the desire will be fulfilled, gradually enables one to put on the Christ consciousness, to have the Mind which Christ Jesus enjoyed and which enabled him to exercise dominion over those influences which would bear the individual downward. As Mrs. Eddy says, in that inimitable way she has of stating spiritual truths, "the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness" (Science and Health, page 4).

 

Science and Health

Christian Science has come into the world, as you all know, through Mary Baker Eddy. This great woman was a profound student of the Bible. While studying the Scriptures, especially the New Testament, it was revealed to her that Jesus in healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and raising the dead, was employing Science. He was not working wonders and miracles; he was putting into operation a Science which he understood. Naming her discovery Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy set forth its teachings in her great book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."

Perhaps some of you have not read "Science and Health." If not do not delay the matter. Do not depend on what people tell you about Mrs. Eddy or about Christian Science but get her book and read it. It can be obtained in any public library or in any Christian Science Reading Room. You will be astonished at the good you find in it; astonished at the good it will do you, for it will arouse in you the strength and health and ability which hitherto perhaps have been latent. It will enable you to get acquainted with the man of divine intelligence and irrepressible life God has made you, and to put off the sickly, inefficient mortal that the human mind has tried to make you think you are. And as you proceed with your reading you will soon realize why it is that Mary Baker Eddy stands in the front rank of the benefactors of the human race.

 

Spiritual Man

She makes perfect God and perfect man the inspiring starting point in Christian Science practice. While we may concede that man is spiritual and perfect, we are inclined to think of him as a vapory creature somewhere away in the clouds, instead of recognizing that he is here and now the ever-present expression of the ever-present God. Indeed this perfect man, this man of divine intelligence and imperishable life, this man with a world of opportunity and usefulness stretching out before him, is none other than yourself, your true self.

Keep in mind when reading about spiritual man or immortal man or the image and likeness of God that you are reading about yourself, your genuine self. Remember that when a Christian Scientist, in his attempt to break some dream of suffering is talking to you of the perfect man, he is speaking of you. Not your supposed physical body or self, of course not. That is not you. It is the human mind's mistaken sense of you, and the erroneous sense of self as material and suffering melts away as the true sense of self dawns in consciousness.

 

Individual Consciousness

Our concept of the physical body has necessarily undergone radical changes as our belief that matter is real has yielded to our understanding that Mind is all. We used to speak of the body having a soul or consciousness. Then, as matter receded and became secondary to Mind, we spoke of consciousness having a body. But now that the allness of Mind is dawning, we speak of man as consciousness, or, more specifically, we say that man is an individual consciousness, "the conscious identity of being," to use Mrs. Eddy's words (Science and Health, page 475). God's man is mental and spiritual throughout without a vestige of corporeality.

This would be clear enough if we were not haunted by an apparent consciousness of both good and evil, of both health and sickness, as distinguished from genuine or spiritual consciousness. This false consciousness is a sort of complex of fear, pain, and other mortal qualities. It tries to parade as man and make the individual believe that it, with its heaviness and suffering, is he. Far from being man, it may be likened to Macbeth's "poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

This false consciousness we call a mortal or mortal man. He makes his entry into the world, at what is called birth, so tiny and dull a creature that months pass by before he becomes aware of himself. Under the influence of education and experience he progresses until, if disease or accident does not overtake him, he reaches his zenith in mortal manhood. Deterioration then begins. And the bundle of sense testimony, thus industriously built up, finally dissolves and the place thereof knows it no more. The extinctionist, viewing this passing phenomenon, and quite oblivious to the presence of enduring consciousness, naturally mistakenly concludes that man is of few days and full of trouble.

 

Apartness From Mortality

Entirely apart from false consciousness, and always at hand, is the true consciousness of God's creating. It is a compound of life, intelligence, goodness - a compound of divine qualities. This consciousness knows what God knows, and knows nothing else. It is aware of life without beginning or end, without fear or pain. It is aware of intelligence and power sufficient for all human needs.

This genuine consciousness is man, the real you. Insist, intelligently and reverently, that it is you. Disown the false consciousness of helplessness and distress which claims to be you. Thereby the bonds of materiality will be loosed and the unobstructed realm of Spirit attained, where

 

“Man in the sunshine of the world's new spring

Shall walk transparent like some holy thing.”

Thomas Moore

 

There are those who in extremity, or in quiet meditation, have found themselves detached from false consciousness, have viewed it as quite outside of and apart from themselves. This is as should be. The wonder is that the vision does not come to us all, and not only come but abide so that we may permanently realize our apartness from mortality. For evil cannot mix with good. Disease cannot invade the realm of health. Consciousness cannot become unconscious. Life can never change to death. "We must hold forever the consciousness of existence," declares Mrs. Eddy; and "Man's individual being can no more die nor disappear in unconsciousness than can Soul" (Science and Health, pages 428 and 427).

 

Pre-existence Spiritual

Man cannot help but live on and on indefinitely, for he is made up of imperishable elements. Look within yourself; look into consciousness. What do you find? Honesty, purpose, resolution, and an innumerable host of spiritual qualities. Take any one of them, honesty, for example. Can honesty have a collision? Can it be gassed or inflamed or extinguished? Can any spiritual quality suffer accident or pain? Can it experience birth, decay, dissolution? Manifestly not. Then man, as a compound of spiritual qualities, cannot suffer or experience such conditions.

Why not hold to these obvious truths, and reject the false consciousness of disease, accident, physical birth, age, and extinction. "Never born and never dying, it were impossible for man, under the government of God in eternal Science, to fall from his high estate," declares Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, page 258). Spiritual man has not fallen; he cannot fall with the everlasting arms of Principle underneath. Your genuine self has not left heaven for earth. It is no more than a dream that you have been born into a realm of danger and destruction.

One of the first steps toward overcoming the belief of death is to overcome the belief of physical birth. So long as one entertains the belief that he has been ushered into this vale of tears, he can hardly hope to escape being ushered out of it. Indeed one can scarcely expect to gain permanent immunity from sickness and accidents, so long as he indulges the supposition that he has come into and inhabits a world of lawlessness and contagion.

When Mrs. Eddy declares, "Jesus' true and conscious being never left heaven for earth" (No and Yes, page 36), she declares a universal truth, which every individual would do well to apply to himself. You have never left the abode of safety, the presence of God; your real self never has. Hence the groundlessness of fear.

When you intelligently claim your present sonship with God you begin to awake to the man of His creating, and the tottering mortal that physical sense proclaims begins to dissolve into his natural state of nothingness. Then you begin to find in yourself the health and strength and ability God equips man with. If you are not trying to realize that your true self always has lived and always will live as a tangible witness to imperishable Life, and therefore that birth and death are alike impostors, you are failing to utilize one of the fundamental truths of Christianity. In other words, you are not making your practice or treatment as searching and dynamic as you might.

 

Groundless Fears

"Always begin your treatment," counsels Mrs. Eddy, "by allaying the fear of patients" (Science and Health, page 411). The soundness of this practice is apparent when we remember that the human mind and body are so intimately related that actually they are one. Therefore when the individual is half-frozen with fear, and this is the usual condition of mortals, inaction or overaction in the body is inevitable. When, in place of the sense of fear, a sense of safety is established, the body will function as it should.

And in order to gain an enduring sense of confidence, one must do his best to think rightly and live rightly. He who consciously persists in wrongdoing thereby invites fear and its consequences. He provokes the confusion and depression of thought which reacts unfavorably on the body. Whereas the individual who tries to walk uprightly instinctively feels that he is entitled to health and safety. He has the courage to claim and expect them, for he knows he cannot drift beyond God's care.

Christian Science has a larger purpose, of course, than to establish and maintain physical health, however desirable that may be. Its primary aim is the overthrow of evil. And Science overthrows evil by pointing out its unreality in a universe governed by divine Principle and its unattractiveness to man as God's likeness. As one faces and denounces evil as unreal and not his, and fills his life with wholesome work and activity, he begins effectively to conquer evil, for he then not only loses his desire to do wrong, but, what is quite as important, he masters his fear that he will do wrong and thereby incur punishment. To him the ancient prayer, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me," becomes natural and dynamic.

The spiritualization of thought which comes as one rules out hatred and its allies and welcomes to his mental home love and its companions inevitably brings not only peace of mind but so clarifies vision that one begins to see the beauties of earth and recognize the perfection of man. It enables one to find his God-given confidence and ability to go forth and embrace the opportunities with which the world is packed and thereby carve out a career of usefulness.

How unwarranted after all are our fears when we remember that man is always in the presence of God. Certainly no danger can lurk "under the shadow of the Almighty." Accidents and diseases cannot invade a world governed by divine Principle or jeopardize incorporeal man. Out in the material realm the sunshine, or "the wind that bloweth where it listeth," suggests the nature of incorporeality. How can incorporeal man in an incorporeal universe suffer bruises or fractures or inflammation? Where in him are the materials out of which to construct growths or tumors? The answer must be that they have not been constructed, that they are not where they may seem, except in belief.

 

Continuity of Life

Speak the truth to these things and conditions, searchingly and confidently. They are not there, they are not yours, they cannot touch you. They have not substance, no law to support them. They are comparable to the perils of the sleeping dream. How dreadful they are at times. Yet actually they never touch you, and presently you awake and find that throughout the supposed tragedy you have been entirely safe. Some day this waking dream of disease will break. Indeed it is already breaking; for are not our dreams almost at an end where we begin to suspect that we are dreaming? Do more than suspect. Know it!

Almost every day someone confronted with an accident, declares the truth that man is incorporeal, and goes through the experience unharmed or practically so. I know of a woman who one evening attended a lecture where the incorporeality of man was so clearly presented that she grasped its significance. A few days afterward she was hit by an automobile. As friends picked her up and pronounced her gone, she silently and stoutly insisted to herself: "I am incorporeal. I am not hurt. I cannot be. I am alive and safe in the presence of God." Presently she was on her feet. The truth she declared saved her. The truth always saves and liberates. She refused to accept appearances. Had she yielded to what her friends were saying, she perhaps had passed on.

And yet, in fact, she would not have come to an end. When a person, according to the verdict of his friends, passes away, he finds that he is still himself and aware of existence. This must be the case because man as an individual spiritual consciousness persists and endures on and on, regardless of what may seem to happen to the physical body or to mortal consciousness, "Mind," says Mrs. Eddy, "is perpetual motion" (Science and Health, page 240). You have in yourself an example of perpetual motion, and that is your thinking. Try as you may you cannot stop thinking, because your thoughts and your intelligence, so far as they are true and sound, are the thoughts of the intelligence of the all-knowing Mind we call God, and God can not be suppressed. Therefore you cannot stop thinking and you cannot stop living. Mortal consciousness may lapse temporarily, and eventually fade out entirely, but spiritual consciousness, your genuine self, can never for an instant be silenced or interrupted.

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jan. 15, 1932.]

 

 

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