Christian Science: A Satisfying Religion
Robert Stanley 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: A Satisfying Religion," was delivered in Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, 6318 Kenmore Avenue, Friday evening, March 29, by Robert Stanley Ross, C.S.B. of New York City, 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.
Why is it that the Christian Science movement grows apace, notwithstanding the world's lagging interest in the things of Spirit? There must be a reason for everything; there must be a reason for this. What is it? Is it not because Christian Science affords a healing refuge for those who are hopelessly afraid, sick, discouraged, and in want? Is it not because, even though all material means have failed, Christian Science reveals the availability of God's all-protecting, all-providing goodness and love?
When John the Baptist wondered whether Christ Jesus was the looked-for Messiah, he sent two of his disciples to the Master with the question, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" Jesus replied by pointing to his works, saying, "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
It is as if he had said: Those people were sick and in trouble. Neither prevailing systems of religion nor medicine were capable of healing them, although they must have had ample opportunity. But look at them now! They're well and happy! Could I send to John more convincing proof? Could I offer him clearer evidence of what constitutes practical, workable, satisfying religion?
Recently a young man applied for membership in a local Christian Science church. During the customary examination, he told the membership committee that he had gone from one denomination to another in what seemed to him to be a fruitless search for God. Finally he had turned to Christian Science and there had found that for which he had longed, namely, a satisfying religion.
When the committee asked the applicant why he felt so sure, he answered that it was because he had found in Christian Science a religion whose teaching was based on invariable, ever-available, demonstrable Principle. Already, with only a meager grasp of the subject, he said that he had overcome a number of physical difficulties. He had even been led to employment in the midst of worldwide unemployment. Having proved this divine Principle to be demonstrable in some ways, he said he was convinced that it was demonstrable in all ways.
To be sure, those who apply for membership in the Christian Science church are not required to express their convictions in the foregoing nor any other fixed terms. Nevertheless, this applicant's conclusions were impressive. They showed that he had grasped early one of the basic, vital facts about this new and yet old religion; for truly Christian Science is based upon invariable, ever-available, divine Principle, and this Principle is demonstrated according to rule.
Writing on pages 146 and 147 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: "Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus' healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease."
Now, my friends, perhaps you also are longing for a satisfying religion. Perhaps you also are wondering whether, after all, there is available to mankind a religion which, like that of the Master, satisfies the reason, comforts the sorrowing, and methodically heals sickness and wrongdoing, discouragement and failure, want and woe. To you and others who may be similarly situated, we offer a loving recommendation. If received and acted upon in the same spirit, it will surely lift the burden of doubt from your hearts. It will surely dispel all questions as to the present availability of the divine power to help and heal and save.
And what may our recommendation be? Simply this: As a prelude to reading Science and Health throughout, turn to and read the closing chapter thereof. In this chapter, which is entitled "Fruitage," you will find one hundred pages of authenticated testimonies pulsating with the joy and gratitude of persons who were healed by Christian Science, either mentally or morally, physically or financially, and, in most instances, after other means had failed. They were cases that would be looked upon, outside of Christian Science, as hopeless.
Here are a few of the healings recorded therein: rheumatism, astigmatism, hernia, catarrh, pulmonary tuberculosis, fibroid tumor, spinal deformity, cataract, valvular disease of the heart, asthma, cancer, Bright's disease, dropsy, indigestion, blindness, deafness, eczema, unhappiness, bad disposition, insanity, infidelity, alcoholism, tobacco habit, and criticism. Similar authenticated testimonies will be found weekly in the Christian Science Sentinel, and monthly in The Christian Science Journal.
The Amazing Book
Most impressive of all, no doubt, will be your discovery of the astonishing fact that every case recorded in those hundred pages was healed solely as the result of reading with an open mind Mrs. Eddy's notable book, or as the result of having it read. Could there be more convincing argument in support of the claim that Science and Health is an inspired volume? Will the prayerful perusal of any other known book enable one systematically to uproot inveterate sin and cure so-called incurable disease? Again, should further evidence be needed in order to prove that the author of this book must have been uncommonly close to God?
If however, the unprejudiced listener should still question the divine origin of Christian Science, he has only to study his Bible in the light which Science and Health throws upon it revered pages. Then, wonder of wonders, he will find himself by beginnings, either small or great, actually practicing divine healing in obedience to the Master's command, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
Reward of Righteousness
During its comparatively brief history, Christian Science and its Discoverer and Founder have been subject to the persecution which awaits, one form or another, every pioneer departure from customary belief, especially when taken in the realm of religion. Nevertheless, it can be truthfully said, even at this early date, that of all the questions knocking for admittance at the door of human consciousness, none is so insistent as Christian Science. More and more, it is becoming a topic of enlightened thought and conversation. No longer can one look upon oneself as a well informed person unless one knows something first-hand and authentic about Christian Science.
And surely, in order to acquaint oneself with any subject, one would naturally appeal to the teaching of its foremost exponent; one would naturally resort to the writings of its revelator! In this connection, let it be understood clearly that Christian Science is expounded originally, fully, and finally in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who, under God's directing, was spiritually prepared to carry out this divine commission. Obviously the healing power of divine Truth and Love can be invoked successfully only by those who are loving and true.
The world’s discoverers have been the world's benefactors, because their work has helped mankind to abandon limited for less limited points of view. But Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of the divine Principle underlying the healing works of the prophets, Christ Jesus, and the apostles, surpasses in importance all other discoveries, because it reveals the basis of harmonious, indestructible, eternal existence, and shows how spiritual truths can be effectually employed to solve human problems. The effect upon the work of this discovery is already incalculable. It is leavening with good every mode of human thought and activity. Writing on page 162 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind."
To illustrate: A year or more ago, a retired newspaper man (he was not a Christian Scientist) told me that at one time he lived in a suburban community, a particular group of whose residents were noted for gossiping and other phases of evil speaking. Suddenly, however, he realized that a great change for the better was taking place. Upon inquiry, he learned that one of the group had been healed by Christian Science after ordinary medical means had failed. Impressed by this healing, observing neighbors were turning to Christian Science also. Then a Christian Science church sprang up. Eventually the community became an outstanding harmonious and progressive one, and my former newspaper friend said that he attributed it mainly to the healing influence of Mrs. Eddy's teaching.
Utilization of Law
Notwithstanding the important part which scientific discoveries have played in the record of our time, nothing has been revealed that has not always been possible. All the constituents of these useful wonders have always been present, even though unknown. For example: Two persons - one of them familiar with the development of modern research - could be standing side by side, but only the one would be aware of any sense of dominion over the supposed density and power of matter, a dominion which the other might wholly lack. What would be the cause of this difference? Would it not be ignorance - ignorance which would deprive one of the enlightenment which education would afford the other?
Now, the facts relating to material discoveries illustrate spiritual truths. Spirit, God, is omnipresent. The law of omnipresent Spirit is therefore available at all times for help and healing. And yet, owing to human ignorance, this law is generally unknown and therefore unapplied. Through Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science, however, mankind is learning how to utilize the law of infinite Spirit, which is omnipresent but humanly invisible, as law must always be. It is teaching that the mighty, unseen power of God is always at hand and that everywhere it can be understood and successfully applied by those who are spiritually awake and lovingly obedient to divine law.
A Biblical Illustration
In the second book of Kings there
is an impressive example of the difference between one who is ignorant of
omnipresent divine law and one who understands it well enough to utilize it in
behalf of oneself and others. An Israelitish slave
girl, who waited upon Naaman's wife, told her
mistress that Naaman, who was commander of the king's
army and a leper, could be healed of leprosy by a particular prophet who
On the other hand, when the prophet Elisha, who clearly understood the omnipresence of good, heard the request, he was undisturbed and confident. He was as sure of his ability to heal that case by the application of divine law as a mathematician would be sure of his ability to correct a numerical mistake by the application of mathematical law. Was not this difference, though far more important, comparable to the difference between one who understands how to utilize scientific knowledge and one who does not. To the uninstructed, even mathematical law might seem to be mysterious, but to the mathematician it is natural and invariable. Although invisible, it is comprehensible and ever available.
And so, Christian Science is proving, as Elisha proved later by healing Naaman, that there is nothing mysterious about the law of spiritual healing. Its rules can be understood and sure results obtained through the prayer of spiritual understanding. Mrs. Eddy refers to this prayer as follows, on page 12 of Science and Health: "It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love?" It is this invisible, changeless law of omnipresent good; it is this law of the reality and substantiality of that which is humanly unseen; it is this law of the unity and perfection of God and the real man, that must be invoked in every true Christian Science treatment.
A Make-Believe World
Long ago, Paul wrote, "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." If, then, that which is seen is a sick body, a discordant home, a failing business, lack of employment, or a harmful habit, the need is to see it as temporal, unreal, powerless, because it is not of God, good. When faced by that which seems to be, the Christian Scientist resolutely turns his thought to that which is. He prayerfully looks at the things which are not seen by material sight, even to God, Spirit, and to man in His image and likeness, who is incorporeal, inorganic, spiritual: hence, always free, always safe, always at peace.
Referring to the unreality of sense testimony, the dean of the graduate school of a noted American university said in a recent public address that mankind as a whole is dwelling in a world of make-believe instead of reality and that, accordingly, they have not heard the opening theme of the great symphony of being, in which every note speaks of truth, beauty, goodness, and harmony. "To discover this world," he said, "it is necessary to go far deeper than the physical senses are able to go. On the surface of things, we see prejudice, suffering, and wickedness; but if we go deep enough, there is truth everywhere; if we go deep enough, there is beauty everywhere; if we go deep enough, there is goodness everywhere; if we go deep enough, there is harmony everywhere. Because the world of physical sense is by its very nature an artificially built-up and make-believe world, the best it can do is to direct our gaze toward the world of reality and truth."
Although the dean's words indicate clearly a tendency toward the truth of being, they do not reveal - as only Christian Science can - the divine Principle of "truth, goodness, beauty, and harmony," which he and others are seeking.
Nevertheless, a helpful illustration can be deduced from the educator's remarks. If, on a clear day, you were to look toward the eastern horizon at dawn, the sense of sight would say that the sun is rising. If you were to look toward the western horizon at dusk, the sense of sight would say that the sun is setting. In neither case, however, would sense testimony be telling the truth. Why? Because the sun has never risen and the sun will never set. That which seems to be the sun rising in the east and setting in the west is the earth turning on its axis from west to east. Therefore, in order to understand what is actually taking place, one would have to reject sense testimony. Not the phenomenon, but only the misleading human sense of it, would have to be changed in order to arrive at the truth.
Now, since material sense cannot be relied upon to tell the truth even about the things that are seen, how much less can it be relied upon to tell the truth about things that are not seen, namely, the real or spiritual universe, including spiritual man! Recognizing this, Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." He knew, on the one hand, that Spirit is the only presence, substance, and power. He knew, on the other hand, that so-called sense testimony refers only to matter, and that matter, whether seemingly bad or seemingly good, is untrue, because it denies the allness of God. It would have us accept the fatal error that there is something besides the everywhereness of Spirit.
Accordingly, that which seems to be a material world and mortal man, Christian Science uncovers as a false sense or material misrepresentation of reality. This false sense is the cause of all human discord. Progressively to abandon it in behalf of the divine ever-presence means to you and me an unfolding sense of health, happiness, and peace. Hence Christian Science is not presuming to change or improve the real universe, nor the real man, but to correct the wrong or material sense about them. Writing on page 298 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says: "What is termed material sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth. To material sense, the unreal is the real until this sense is corrected by Christian Science."
Tenacity of Belief
The difficulty with many of us, however, lies in the human disinclination to abandon this troublesome belief in matter. If we are not holding on to a belief in bad matter, we may be holding to a belief in good matter; hence, the continued human bondage to a false sense of existence. This was well illustrated when a mother found her young son trying to extricate his closed hand from the family sugar bowl. Recognizing quickly that the occasion presented an opportunity for teaching a helpful lesson, the mother told the boy that he had only to open his hand in order to be free. "But, mother," the lad replied, "I want the sugar!" "Well, my son," continued the mother, "it is plain to be seen that you cannot have both the sugar and your freedom. You must surrender either the one or the other." After thoughtfully surveying the situation for a moment or two, the child let go the lumps of sugar; then his hand was free.
Is not the predicament of mankind as a whole similar to that of the little boy? In one way or another, is not our closed hand in the sugar bowl of material sense? If we are not holding on to a belief in sick matter, may we not be holding on to a belief in well matter? If we are not holding on to a belief in material pain, may we not be holding on to a belief in material pleasure? Surely, the one is as unreal and misleading as the other! Then we wonder why we seem to be in bondage to human discord and limitation! Obviously if we would be free mentally and morally, physically and financially, we must remove our hand from the sugar bowl of material sense; we must let go.
Man Is Immortal
Now, this misleading sense of things says that man is mortal, living in a material world, and subject to material law; whereas, the exact opposite must be the case, if Spirit is true and material sense a liar, as the Bible says. Accordingly, Christian Science declares that, rightly considered, man is immortal, living in infinite Spirit (the kingdom of heaven), and subject only to spiritual law. If that is the truth (and it is), should we not fearlessly claim it? Never will man be other than he is now; namely, the image and likeness of Spirit. To be rid of this false, personal sense of existence calling itself an unhappy, diseased, unemployed, poverty-stricken, dying mortal, one has only to obey more and more Mrs. Eddy's inspired counsel on page 201 of Science and Health, where she writes, "The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love."
Some time ago, for example, I read a charming parable about a baby lion that became separated from its mother. After much wandering in the African wilds, the cub came upon a clearing where there were farms, and in the distance a flock of sheep. Wearily making his way to the latter, the little fellow was unselfishly adopted by a mother sheep, who thereafter looked upon him as her own.
A year or two later, a shaggy-maned old lion came upon the same scene and was amazed by the sight of a lion contentedly grazing with the sheep. At first, he chuckled, then he laughed, and finally roared in amusement. Looking up in surprise, the lion who believed himself to be a sheep asked why all the roaring. "Who wouldn't roar," came the rejoinder, "at the sight of a lion grazing with sheep?" Unaware of his feline ancestry, the young lion stoutly insisted that he was not a lion, but a sheep, and then resumed his grazing.
Not to be silenced, however, the older lion challenged the younger to follow him to a nearby pool of water in which he could see his reflection and thereby learn what he really was. Accepting the challenge, the one followed the other to the pool. Looking in again and again, the young lion, at first incredulous, was eventually compelled to admit that he was not a sheep, but a lion. Once convinced, he went back to bid a fond farewell to his friends the sheep, and then disappeared into the jungle, never to reappear. The moral was that man is never what belief says he is, but always what he is; namely, spiritual, Godlike, perfect.
Enlightenment That Heals
Similarly, owing to man's supposed separation from the Father-Mother Principle, or true source of being, which is omnipresent Spirit, mankind are ignorantly believing that God's ideas, or children, are mortals, living in a material world, and subject to material law. But, thanks to Mary Baker Eddy, we now have the mirror or Christian Science, into which we may look and learn what God's man really is - not a mortal, but an immortal; not the subject, object, or victim of material sense, but the carefree idea of divine Mind, God.
The healing power which accompanies this spiritual enlightenment was beautifully illustrated in a recent case. It was that of an elderly woman who for thirty-five years had been suffering from a particular bodily ailment. She said that she had spent a fortune in her search for healing by material means. But, instead of getting better, she said that she grew steadily worse. While listening to a lecture on Christian Science, however, she was suddenly and completely healed. When asked what specific truth it was that accomplished the healing, she said it was at that point in the lecture when she realized clearly for the first time that man is not a mortal, either sick or well, with or without pain, but - in the likeness of God - incorporeal, inorganic, spiritual.
Modus Operandi Illustrated
Many years ago (obviously, before I knew anything about Christian Science), I attended the public exhibition of a professional hypnotist. Most of the persons who appeared on the stage as prospective subjects, could not be controlled by the mental manipulator, simply because, as he explained, they refused to "think about nothing." On the other hand, a young man of my acquaintance, who willingly yielded his mentality to the hypnotist's suggestions, suddenly found himself believing he was trying to save himself from drowning. Although physically safe on the stage, he manifested all the evidences of a person in grave danger. By observing only the subject's struggle to save himself, one might have been deceived into trying to rescue a drowning man. Obviously, however, one would soon realize that no man needed to be rescued from water, for there was no such water and no such man. Human consciousness needed merely to be awakened from the hypnotic spell which was causing the man to believe that he was what and where he was not. Once released or awakened from the hypnotic delusion, he would find himself restored to mental self-control and freedom.
Daydream of Material Sense
Similarly, because the world at large still believes that man is mortal, living in a material universe, and subject to material law, Christian Science reveals that it is only from this hypnotic belief, this daydream of material sense, and not from supposed realities calling themselves sickness and unhappiness, unemployment and poverty, discouragement and failure, disaster and death, that human consciousness needs to be saved. The basic error is never person, place, nor thing, but always mesmeric suggestion appearing as such in order mentally to deceive and mislead mankind. Accordingly, the axe of Truth must always be aimed at the root of the tree; that is, this supposed malicious mind or basic claim to existence apart from infinite Spirit or Mind called God, must be cut down by divine Science, if one is to enjoy a harmonious sense of things in human experience.
Therefore, instead of trying to change matter that cannot see into matter that can see, and matter that cannot hear into matter that can hear; instead of trying to change matter that has a malignant growth into matter that has not a malignant growth, and matter that is unemployed into matter that is employed, Christian Science aims primarily to dispel the sense-dream of organized matter. It accomplishes this by stimulating human obedience to the law of infinite good, to the allness, everywhereness, and onliness of Spirit. This obedience progressively reveals the truth that the man of God's creating is not a mortal, either good or bad, sick or well, old or young, poor or rich, employed or unemployed, alive or dead, but that he is - in the likeness of Spirit - incorporeal, inorganic, spiritual. This revelation imparts the spiritual power that heals.
Only One Mind
In other words, Christian Science is teaching mankind that the spiritual power to overcome material belief - whatever its manifestation may seem to be - is available to all who are prepared to think and to live in accord with the law of infinite Spirit or Mind. As already indicated, the modus operandi is simple. Whatever the discord that needs to be overcome, one must always start from the basis that God, infinite good, is the only Mind, and that man is not a mortal, either imperfect or perfect, but that - as God's likeness - man is incorporeal, inorganic, spiritual. Having lifted thought to this true sense of being, one can readily see that whatever seems to be unlike Spirit must be unreal - that is, a material sense or false concept of reality. Hence, all mistaken beliefs can be made to disappear before the understanding that God is the only Mind and that man, or true existence, is Mind's infinite idea.
Thus one can see that what is called the human body does not affect one's thinking as much as one's thinking affects the body, as well as all other phases of human experience, including one's home, one's business, one's country, and even one's world. We are not in them, as we may have believed, but they are in us, - that is, in what we call our mind or consciousness. How important, then, that one's point of view be found more and more on the side of the spiritual, the good, and true! Mrs. Eddy makes this clear on page 208 of Science and Health, where she writes: "A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind. A mortal man possesses this body, and he makes it harmonious or discordant according to the images of thought impressed upon it. You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness."
What have heretofore seemed to be material persons, circumstances, and things, Christian Science uncovers as states and stages of belief. They are never "over there," but always "here" - in individual consciousness. Accordingly, we can always change what seem to be objective conditions by dealing with them subjectively, in the realm of thought, - by progressively surrendering finite, three-dimensional beliefs to the infinite Mind called God, to whom only spiritual good is occurring everywhere, all the time.
Some Helpful Hints
Now, this so-called mind or material sense may be suggesting that you are afraid; that you believe that evil has power. But God is omnipresent Truth; hence, in Him there is no fear, nothing to be afraid of, and no mortals susceptible to fear nor any other frailty. It may be arguing that you are critical or criticized, hateful or hated. But God is infinite Love; hence everything in His universe is loving, lovable, and beloved. It may be arguing that you are confused, forgetful, and lacking in ability. But God is the all-knowing Mind; hence His likeness, man, always knows what should be done and expresses the intelligence and ability with which to do it.
This false sense may be suggesting that your eyesight is dim or your hearing impaired. But sight and hearing must abide in infinite Spirit; hence, they are as omnipresent as God. They have nothing to do with organized matter, either good or bad. They are as permanent and indestructible as Spirit. They are safe in the heavenly Father's keeping. Is not the reflection of all-discerning, all-comprehending Mind, the all-seeing and all-hearing man? Surely, if the cause of sight and hearing is changeless, the effect must be changeless also!
If personal sense is whispering that man is material and that false appetite and other forms of sensuality are natural, you can turn the lie upon itself in the awareness that true existence is not subject to animality, for man is incorporeal, hence inorganic; he is spiritual, hence sinless. If personal sense is declaring that man must die, reject the lie in the assurance that man lives eternally, because he reflects God, who is omnipresent, changeless life.
Accepting the fact of man's likeness to the Infinite, and, in the fore-going manner, applying this truth to whatever phase of evil may present itself at the door of consciousness, we can progressively put off the so-called "old man" and become more and more aware of the "new man" or true selfhood. Writing in II Corinthians (3:18), Paul says, "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." And on page 126 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy assures us that "mortality will cease when man beholds himself God's reflection, even as man sees his reflection in a glass."
As numerical mistakes can be corrected only by human obedience to mathematical law, so the discords of earthly experience can be corrected only by human obedience to divine law, the law of infinite Spirit, the law of present spiritual perfection. The promises of the Bible are inseparable from this obedience.
Christ Jesus makes it plain that adherence to religious creeds, doctrines, or opinions, however sincere it may be, will never bring about the needed change from a material to a spiritual point of view. And yet, without this change, no one can reasonably expect to reach that harmonious state of consciousness to which the Master referred as the kingdom of heaven.
Writing on page 26 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised. His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love" - setting himself and others free mentally and morally, physically, and economically.
Because it is based upon divine Principle, which abideth forever and leadeth the spiritually obedient into all truth, Christian Science is mankind's best friend and true comforter. It is capable of answering every question, solving every problem, and supplying every need. Why, then, should anyone hesitate longer about going to the nearest public library or the nearest Christian Science Reading Room and asking for a copy of Mrs. Eddy's notable book? Science and Health has healed others; it can heal you. Owing to the spiritual light which this unique volume throws upon the teachings of the Bible, Mrs. Eddy has established that for which all this world has been waiting; namely, a practical, a workable, a satisfying religion.
[Published in The Chicago Leader, Oct. 11, 1940.]