Christian Science: Present Redemption

 

Robert Stanley Ross, C.S., of New York, N.Y.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Robert Stanley Ross, C.S., of New York, N.Y., a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture, entitled "Christian Science: Present Redemption," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.

The lecturer was introduced by Judge Samuel W. Greene, C.S., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

My friends: You are welcome in The Mother Church; and your presence in such large numbers will make glad the heart of our lecturer.

Some years ago, our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote a letter to the Board of Lectureship in which she said: "You are here for the purpose of grasping and defining the demonstrable, the eternal." (Miscellany 248:7-9.) May we on this occasion, realize that our lecturer is present for this purpose; and may we understand that we are here to receive and to interpret in our everyday life, the demonstrable and eternal that shall come to us in this lecture.

Surely in such a consciousness this hour will be filled with the richest blessings - the heavenly Father will be remembered in honor, and His creation - man, will be exalted.

I am happy to present to you a member of the Board of Lectureship of this Church, Mr. Robert Stanley Ross, C.S., of New York City.

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

Christian Science is demonstrating that it is the Christianity of Jesus made practicable today. Now, as of old, it is showing mankind how to escape from all evil. No matter how long one may have been ill, no matter how deeply one may be involved in sin, no matter how heavy one's burden of sorrow, poverty, or care, Christian Science joyfully points the way out, not through death and the grave (surely, that is no way out!), but here and now. The Bible tells us that the kingdom of God - that is, the kingdom of heaven - is at hand, here, now; that "now is the day of salvation;" that "now are we the sons of God." Christian Science is truly the religion of now; for, instead of exhorting us to wait until tomorrow, or next year, or the next world for salvation, it lovingly invites us to partake today of God's infinite goodness. All the possibilities of real being are always here and everywhere. How could they be otherwise, in view of the nature and omnipresence of God, infinite good, whose love is the same yesterday, and today, and forever?  Consequently, the only God about whom Christian Science teaches is "God with us," a God who is absent only to those who believe Him to be absent.

 

Reality Intact

But in order to grasp and utilize Christian Science, one must learn first something about God and man's relation to Him. Consulting our supreme authority, the Bible, we find in the first chapter of Genesis that in the beginning - in which God declared all reality to be spiritual and good like Himself - perfection reigned universally and sin, disease, and death were unknown. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. . . . Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host o£ them," including man, of course. Early in the second chapter, however, we are told that a mist arose and hid from view this ideal state of existence, after which the Lord God is supposed to have begun immediately to recreate out of the dust of the ground an already perfect universe and man. Owing to this so-called mist, man is believed to have been separated from his original perfection and to have become an erring mortal, or human being, subject to sin, disease, and death.

Now, if it were true that the mist arose and that because of it man actually fell from his high estate as the divine image and likeness, do you not see that sin, disease, and death would be of God, hence inevitable, and that man would be their helpless victim?  But surely there is nothing in the infinity, the allness, of pure Spirit or Mind called God out of which its very opposite (this mist or fog of material belief miscalled matter) could be evolved! Therefore, notwithstanding all this mystified human sense of things with its seemingly real sin, disease, sorrow, poverty, failure, discouragement, disaster, and death - notwithstanding all this, Christian Science declares with conviction based on proof that matter and its attending discords have no basis in fact or Truth, and that God's spiritual, harmonious creation is now and forever the only real creation, in which there has never been any actual departure from nor necessity of returning to health and harmony. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this plain on pages 470 and 471 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science  and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where she writes: "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history."

 

Matter Is Human Belief

This being the case, it should be evident to us that what seems to be a material earth and mortal man are not the universe and man of Spirit's (God's) creating; for Paul tells us plainly that "the things which are seen are temporal [unreal]; but the things which are not seen are eternal [real]." Furthermore, I shall endeavor to show you that the material earth and mortal man are not even substance-matter, but merely subjective states of this mystified mentality called the carnal mind, mind of the flesh, or the mind that is the flesh itself which, the Bible tells us, is "enmity against God;" that is, it is an attempted though always unsuccessful denial of infinity, the allness of God, spiritual good. Therefore, one of the first things which the student of Christian Science needs to understand clearly is that mortals are not living in matter, the flesh, or the body, as they believe they are, but in a state of material, mortal, carnal-mindedness which they, in their error, call matter. This will explain why the so-called sick (at least those of them who know nothing about the teaching of Christian Science) turn to drugs, surgery, manipulation, diet, change of climate, and other forms of material treatment for relief. They believe the illness to be physical, that is, in the body; whereas it is wholly mental.

And now for the proof: Even material or natural scientists admit that matter is not what it appears to be. According to the science of physics, so-called matter (be it air, water, flesh, wood, metal - it does not differentiate) is made up of aggregations and combinations of distinct, minute particles called atoms. Considered individually or separately, these atoms are so small that they have never been cognized humanly in any way; for we are told that it would require millions of atoms to make a speck of dust large enough to be seen humanly with the aid of the most powerful microscope in the world. When atoms are finally analyzed (in theory, of course), physics tells us that they are resolved into positive and negative swirls, vortices, or stresses of force or energy called electrons, from which point they elude further detection and disappear entirely in that wholly unknown quantity called the ether or space. Indeed, a few years ago an eminent British scientist, one of the most noted of our day, admitted that he and his colleagues were explaining matter by explaining it away. In other words, according to its own deductions, natural science admits that the so-called physical body has no existence as visible, tangible matter.

Here let it be said to her everlasting credit that, more than 60 years ago, Mrs. Eddy announced in effect to a then incredulous world, that matter is a phenomenon of physical force or energy called mortal mind or animal magnetism. She was a half century ahead of our professors of physics. On page 177 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Mortal mind and body are one. Neither exists without the other, and both must be destroyed by immortal Mind. Matter, or body, is but a false concept of mortal mind. This so-called mind builds its own superstructure, of which the material body is the grosser portion; but from first to last the body is a sensuous, human concept."

 

One Mind Only

However, Christian Science would be conferring no favor upon the human race by merely resolving matter into its final analysis, mortal mind, and leaving it there, for mankind would not know how to dispose of mortal mind as a supposed reality any more effectually than it now knows how to dispose of matter as a supposed reality. But Christian Science does not leave the question dangling in space, as it were, it does not leave mortal mind on our hands with no way to dispose of it. Christian Science goes all the way; it declares that the divine Mind is infinite, all, because God is infinite, all. Can there be more than one infinite called God, good? No! Can there be more than one Mind, for God is Mind, and God is infinite, and God is good? No! What real foundation is there, then, for this so-called other mind, this alleged basis of matter, sin, disease, and death - all of humanity's troubles?

Is it real or is it unreal? That is, is it true or is it untrue? If unreal and untrue, you will admit, I am sure, that the human race is the victim, not of the all-loving, ever-present, unchangeable God, but of a universal imposition, delusion, nightmare, dream, or mist of materiality commonly looked upon as a personal demon called Satan, adversary, or devil, but which Mrs. Eddy has uncovered and exposed as mortal mind or animal magnetism, even that which, to human experience, seems to be, but which, in fact and in truth, is not.

But, let none of us congratulate ourselves upon having overcome the devil or evil so long as we are thinking or doing wrongly at any time toward anybody; for, would not that be admitting the reality of more than one mind, hence more than one God? The only way to be sure that we have overcome the devil or evil is to think and do rightly all the time by everybody. In this way and in this way only can we prove or demonstrate that there is but one Mind, hence one God.

Referring to the offspring of this mind that seems to be but is not, namely, material man, the prophet said: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Touching upon the same subject, Paul wrote, "For if a man [a mortal] think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." And again, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh [materially, humanly, bodily]: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth [in the light of this new, this scientific, this wholly spiritual, point of view] know we him no more;" for Christian Science shows that neither God nor God's man can be discerned by material sense.

 

Mental Cause, Spiritual Remedy

It you are willing to admit the reasonableness of the foregoing, I hope you will go a step farther and admit that the human body is not fundamentally flesh, blood, and bones, but at best the alleged substance of mortal mind, and that it manifests only that which this so-called human, mortal, carnal mind is entertaining in belief. For example, all of us know that an ugly disposition (which is a mortally mental state) will manifest itself in harsh, unlovely features (supposedly a physical state); whereas a gentle disposition (which is an improved state of human belief) will manifest itself in a serene, perhaps a smiling countenance (supposedly a physical state). If that is true, is it not reasonable to conclude that the organs and functions of the human body as a whole are equally responsive to thought? Who in this audience has not seen the face become red with rage or white with fear? Does not the heart seem to beat now fast, now slowly, owing to differing states of thought? I have known people to become desperately ill instantaneously following outbursts of temper or bad disposition. Someone has well said that, if fear, envy, jealousy, hatred, and so on, will distort the features, they will distort likewise the heart, stomach, and liver. Why not?

There is on record in our country some experiments made by well-known educators. One experiment consisted of causing a man to become very angry and then procuring from his perspiration and breath precipitations of moisture. Analyzing this moisture chemically, they found that it contained what are commonly looked upon as deadly poisons. Another experiment consisted of taking the same man in a happy state of thought and procuring from the perspiration and breath other precipitations of moisture. Analyzing this moisture chemically, they found that none of the poisonous elements were present. The third experiment consisted of taking the moisture procured in the first instance and injecting it into small animals such as guinea pigs, rats, and chickens. The result was that it caused their death. Now we ask, do not these three experiments prove what a direct and leading influence one's thinking has upon one's health and happiness and how very, very important it is that one and all should learn to think rightly always,  an achievement, which the teachings of Christian Science make possible? All of which indicates that mortals are healthy or unhealthy, happy or unhappy, strong or weak, in the proportion that their thinking is good or bad, spiritual or material. Centuries ago, the wise man said, "As he [a man] thinketh in his heart', so is he" - so is he physically. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that one becomes truly healthy only in the proportion that one's thinking becomes spiritualized; for, surely, a wrong mental state miscalled a diseased body can be corrected or healed only by seeing the nothingness of error through spiritual understanding of the divine Mind or Mind of Christ! That which under Christian Science treatment appears to be a physical change is really a mental change brought about by spiritual understanding.

By accepting as reality the new, the ideal, the perfect, man, the old, imperfect, human concept is improved and evangelized step by step, in proportion to one's spiritual growth. It is therefore reasonable to believe that, some day, when sufficient growth in spiritual understanding has been attained, the human concept may be expected to yield entirely, as it did for the Master at the Ascension, and disappear before the one, infinite, divine, all-Mind called God, which contains no material, human beliefs.

No one has ever understood so well as the Master that "mortal mind and body are one," and that, in order to put off the old or material concept of man called a mortal, one does not die out of matter, but, stays awake mentally and, through harmoniously unfolding spiritual understanding tempered by love, learns by correct thinking the way out of false, material beliefs. Accordingly, when the Master had risen entirely above the universal belief calling itself matter and mortality, that which was looked upon as the material, earthly body disappeared from view.

In words of the poet quoted by Mrs. Eddy on page 51 of "Miscellaneous Writings":

 

“When from the lips of Truth one mighty breath

Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in the breeze

The whole dark pile of human mockeries;

Then shall the reign of Mind commence on earth,

 

And starting fresh, as from a second birth,

Man in the sunshine of the world’s new spring

Shall walk transparent like some holy thing.”

 

Recognizing that the human body is not in the final analysis, flesh, blood, and bones, but the alleged substance of mortal mind (this mind that does not exist), does not Paul exhort us to be transformed, that is, remolded, remade, or made-over even physically by the renewing of our minds or thinking; by honesty, chastity, and forgiveness instead of dishonesty, impurity, and hate; by spiritual understanding instead of material belief? Consequently, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 425 of Science and Health: ''Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered. Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew."

 

No Incurable Disease

But one in the audience may be saying to himself that some diseases are more than mere beliefs or figments of the human imagination. He may be saying that he knows some of them are real; that he has a disease for which he has tried all sorts of treatment; that he has been operated upon; and that the doctors have pronounced him incurable. With incredulity he asks, Does Christian Science presume to heal incurable diseases? The answer is an emphatic and assuring, Yes! and in accordance with divine authority. No doubt there are in this audience at least some people who were healed by Christian Science after other methods of religion and medicine had failed.

Years ago, in reply to a critic who had accused the Christian Science movement of swelling its ranks from the membership of other churches, a Christian Scientist replied: "My friend, we haven't come from the other churches. Most of us have come from the graveyards." In those days (it is practically the same today) nearly all who turned to Christian Science did so only as a last resort - only after other systems of religion and medicine had failed. They were abandoned as human wreckage. They had become mere, flotsam and jetsam upon the sea of human experience. Nevertheless, aided by the gratitude of those whom her teachings have restored to health, happiness, and usefulness, after all else had failed, Mrs. Eddy has taken this heretofore hopeless material and built up the most remarkable religious movement since the days of the Master.

Let us understand clearly, therefore, that a so-called incurable disease is merely one which our friends of the medical profession are unable to cure. In the sight of infinite Love, God, there are no incurable diseases; there never have been any, there never will be any. If there were, how could Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christians for nearly three centuries have dispelled them? If there were, how could there have arisen in our day a great religious movement whose ranks are made up largely of those who have been healed and regenerated only after other systems of religion and medicine had failed? If there were, how could the Psalmist have sung that song of assurance: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases"? Note well that it reads, "all thine iniquities" and "all thy diseases" not some of them, not nearly all of them, but all of them.

 

Spiritual Surgery

Here let us suppose a so-called surgical case. Although these might not be the cause, let us assume, nevertheless, that owing to fear, criticism, jealousy, sensuality, hatred, or some other favorite inclination of the human mind, or combination of such beliefs, the patient believes he has a diseased condition of the body which can be got rid of only by way of a surgical operation. Well, even though the disease - which must have been conceived mentally before it could have become evident physically - be removed, the cause of the difficulty - that is, the patient's belief in, fear of, or other mental association therewith - is uncorrected. The top of the weed has been twisted off, but the roots are still there. Plainly, the kind of surgical operation that needs to be performed is this (if I may use a somewhat ordinary expression), namely, the patient needs to learn through Christian Science, the Science of infinite Mind, how on the basis of their unreality to "cut out" some of his fearful, irritable, ugly, meddlesome, sensual, hateful thinking. Can you get rid of sin or wrong thinking by way of a surgeon's knife? Would you attempt to overcome a bad disposition by swallowing pills, taking mineral baths, or going to some part of the country where the climate is supposed to be more beneficial to one's health?

When applied by one who is morally and spiritually qualified to do so, and presuming of course upon the willingness and readiness of the patient to do his part if he is able to do so, Christian Science will take such a case and remove the physical effect by eradicating first the hidden, unseen mental cause; for the surgery of Christian Science is the activity of divine Principle operating in and upon human consciousness, overcoming and casting out sick and sinful beliefs. According to the Bible: "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Here we are told that true surgery is not material but spiritually, divinely mental; dealing not with the individual's body, but with his thinking. When a diseased condition is overcome in this truly scientific manner, the patient is benefited not only physically, but mentally and morally - the weed is pulled up  by the roots; hence, there can be no relapse or return.

Although Christian Science when fully understood is capable of overcoming human discord of every sort, Christian Scientists are counseled by Mrs. Eddy to be modest in their claims regarding surgery, and for the present at least to leave broken hones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon. "However," writes Mrs. Eddy on page 402 of Science and Health, "it is but just to say that the author has already in her possession well-authenticated records of the cure, by herself and her students through mental surgery alone, of broken hones, dislocated joints, and spinal vertebrae."

 

Treatment

In view of the foregoing, you can see readily that the practice of Christian Science is not physical, but metaphysical - that is, it is above and beyond the physical sense of things. It aims to see the universe and man as God, infinite good, sees them. Obviously, Christian Science treatment has no relation to magic, mesmerism, or autosuggestion. It should not be confused with mental science, new thought, theosophy, spiritualism, and other theories based upon minds many and the supposed reality of matter. Instead of willing people to be well or trying to make sick people believe they are all right, Christian Science treatment is spiritual recognition of the unchangeable perfection of God's universe, including man, and the rejection, on the other hand, as unreal, untrue, and powerless, of all that is unlike God, infinite good, human belief and experience to the contrary notwithstanding. This is true prayer, even the prayer of spiritual understanding. With tenderness and love this prayer heals the sick by forgiving, overcoming, destroying, all wrong thinking, which is the cause of sickness and sin.

Now, in view of the allness of God and His creation, including man, how many types of man are there? Only one, in reality. And what one is that? Why, it is God's man, spiritual man. Is the real man, who has coexisted with God throughout eternity, at the standpoint of spiritual perfection - is he born of human parents, "of few days, and full of trouble," a victim of the so-called law of heredity? Is he a white man, a yellow man, or a black man?   Is he Jew or Gentile? Is he sick or a sinner? Is he deformed or crippled? Is he trying to recover from a surgical operation? Has he had an accident? Is he addicted to narcotics, alcohol, or tobacco? Is he a victim of immorality or vice? Is he growing old? Is he poor, discouraged, or a failure? Is there anything wrong with God's image and likeness? No; not unless you are willing to admit first that there is something wrong with God, infinite good.

To illustrate further: if you, in good health, were to stand before a mirror, would you see yourself in the mirror an invalid or crippled? If you, dressed in white, should stand before a mirror, would you see yourself in the mirror dressed in red or black? Is it not equally unreasonable, unscientific, and unchristian to think of God's image and likeness as a sick, unhappy, discouraged, poverty-stricken, or deformed human being, which is the very opposite of God, Spirit, hence the opposite of God's image and likeness, man? Do you ever think of yourself as God's image and likeness? This is an important question. Can man be both material and spiritual? Can man be both God's likeness and His unlikeness? In reality there is only the one of you. Which one are you? Therefore, Christian Science is exhorting mankind to hold prayerfully to the one Creator, one creation, one man, one law, and that one wholly good, spiritual, perfect, as our basis, our starting-point, our working model, yea, our divine Principle of thought and demonstration.

 

The Only Way

Now let us suppose that you knew where in a dry and thirsty land, there were two springs of water, one of which was invariably pure and wholesome and the other sometimes pure and sometimes impure. You would, if you were wise, go always to the first spring and in this sure way avoid the risk of being poisoned, perhaps, on one of those possible off-days of the second spring. For the same sound reason you would direct your friends and the weary traveler to the first spring also.

God reveals Himself only to the pure in heart. Has He ever revealed Himself to one who was not near and dear to Him? Think it over for a moment. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God," said Jesus, and they only. This will explain, as nothing else can, why Mary Baker Eddy was chosen to be God's messenger and scribe to this and future generations. True to her divine commission, she has recorded in the simplest, clearest manner that human language will permit, the Science of infinity - all of it.

It should be evident to us, therefore, that the only way by which we may be sure always of imbibing Christian Science in its unquestionable purity is by adhering strictly and undeviatingly to the writings of its Discoverer and Founder, who must have known more about it than anybody else. We believe that Mrs. Eddy, because of her spirituality, was peculiarly fitted for the great task intrusted to her. Why, then, run the slightest risk of drinking impure water when you know where the pure, unadulterated fountain may always be found?

Books purporting to be the same as the writings of Mrs. Eddy are unnecessary, whereas books that are unlike her writings do not present Christian Science. There is only one Christian Science, there will never be any other, and that is the Christian Science revealed by God to His loving, watchful, obedient servant, Mary Baker Eddy.  Consequently, they who would understand and practice Christian Science must approach the subject in God's way. In the Bible, the writings of Mrs. Eddy, the periodicals, and other publications of The Mother Church authorized by her, the student will find all that is required and all that will ever be required for self-instruction in and for information about Christian Science.

 

Conclusion

I might talk for hours on this endless theme and still do poor justice to the most wonderful Science that has ever been revealed. Owing to this discovery, millions of weary, heartsick mortals have found the direct and open road to health, happiness, and usefulness; whereas the way had been dark, devious, and discouraging - uphill all the way. In view of this, is it any wonder that Christian Scientists are grateful to Mary Baker Eddy? Is it any wonder that they look upon her reverently as their beloved friend and forever Leader? If Christian Scientists were not grateful to Mrs. Eddy, it would be said of them as Jesus said when the envious authorities of Jerusalem called upon the Master to rebuke the multitude's rejoicing, namely, "I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

In the period at my disposal, however, I have endeavored to show you, in the light of Mrs. Eddy's teachings, that all mankind has been the more or less unsuspecting victim of this imposition, delusion, this nightmare or dream of materiality, this mist or mistake if you will - a mistake which Christian Science has come to uncover and correct, to arouse the world mentally, morally, and spiritually, as it has never before been aroused. I have endeavored to show you that, notwithstanding this mystified, human sense of things with its seemingly real sin, disease, sorrow, poverty, failure, disaster, and death - notwithstanding all this, all is well in reality, and that God's universe and man are as harmonious and intact as they were in the beginning when "the morning stars sang together." Finally I have endeavored to show you that, instead of a God of condemnation and wrath, the Christian Science God is unchangeable, universal, impartial, divine Principle (Life, Truth, and Love), to understand and obey whom means health and happiness, peace and plenty, not tomorrow, or next year, or in the next world, but here and now. In words of Eliphaz to Job, "Acquaint now thyself with him [God], and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, April 30, 1927.]

 

 

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