The Gospel of a Supreme Affection for Good
James G. Rowell, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
James G. Rowell, C.S., of Kansas
City, Mo., lectured Monday and Tuesday evenings on Christian Science: The
Gospel of a Supreme Affection for Good" at Third Church of Christ,
Scientist, under the auspices of that church. Mr. Rowell is a member of The
Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist,
Friends: The kingdom of heaven is
at hand! Christ Jesus told us plainly that the
The kingdom of heaven, or the
That we are not enjoying all the health, all the joy, all the precious abundance of good things that a loving Father-Mother has bestowed on us, is evidence either of ignorance of how to obtain them or of unwillingness to pay the price. Anything that is worth having costs something. We have to climb the hill to obtain the most beautiful view. We sacrifice time and effort to obtain everything we consider worth having.
The kingdom of heaven is, in one sense, a free gift; but we must purify ourselves by sacrificing or giving up one by one all the falsities of the erring human mind in order that we may see clearly that this splendid gift is ours. Each small sacrifice, willingly made, brings us that much nearer the realization of present harmony. No sacrifice, great or small, begrudgingly made or made with the desire to exchange for something of more value materially, availeth anything at all. The eternal realities of the kingdom of heaven cannot be purchased with money or with barter.
To prepare ourselves to enter the kingdom of heaven, we are not called upon to give up any good thing, for, in God's universe, each one of His children consciously possesses every good thing. We must know and feel that "all things that the Father hath are mine." Jesus knew this and made this statement, but he made it not alone for himself but for all God's sons and daughters. Paul called us "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." To be able to enjoy the kingdom of heaven we must give up only our imperfect, destructible, false sense of the real in exchange for the true, the divine sense of the real - that is, for the very real itself.
The way leading to the kingdom of heaven is available to all; for the way is found through study and practice of the laws of eternal Life as applied to human affairs. Jesus knew these laws and practiced them; that is what makes him our Way-shower. Law is no respecter of persons. Every one may become a beneficiary of all of God's beneficent laws for man. Through His laws God tenderly and compassionately governs His infinite creation from the least to the greatest. Even the laws of nature, rightly understood, Mrs. Eddy points out, are God's laws, although what we usually call laws of nature ignore the presence and power of divine Mind.
The laws of God, unconsciously ignored or neglected through many centuries since their revelation through Christ Jesus have been brought to light again in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy's supreme affection for good has made God's laws available to us, and our own affection for good will enable us to understand and make use of them. A supreme affection for good reveals and makes available all the beneficent laws of God.
All her life, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was actuated by a great desire to know God. During all the years of her search for God, her affection for good, as she knew it, sustained her. For many years prior to her discovery that the kingdom of heaven is present here and now, Mrs. Eddy suffered severe invalidism. To her great desire to know God, which influenced everything she did, was now added the desire to gain her health, her normal physical freedom.
After exhausting all material means known to herself and to her friends, she one day called for her Bible and asked to be left alone. She ceased looking for help from matter, and turned without reservation to Spirit. In her extremity, she placed herself under the fundamental law of God - that law which recognizes that God is good only and that He is All. She had unconsciously turned away from the material, erroneous belief in the reality of both of such opposites as good and evil, life and death, the spiritual and the material, and had grasped instinctively the scientific spiritual reality of the oneness and allness of good, God.
As a result of this spiritual exaltation, she was instantaneously healed of the effects of an injury caused by an accident. She arose and dressed herself and, to use her own words, written years later, (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24) “I . . . ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed.”
Mrs. Eddy's discovery revealed the allness of good, God, and the paramount necessity of an undivided affection for good. God, Mrs. Eddy tells us, is "unchangeable, all-wise, all-just, all-merciful; the ever-loving, ever-living Life, Truth, Love: comforting such as mourn, opening the prison doors to the captive, marking the unwinged bird, pitying with more than a father's pity; healing the sick, cleansing the leper, raising the dead, saving sinners" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 124). "Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love" (ibid. p. 150). Again she defines God as divine Principle or cause, the only Lawmaker; as Spirit, the only true substance; as divine Mind or intelligence; and as Soul, true consciousness.
Jesus worded the first commandment as "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The first commandment as given by Moses, "Thou shall have no other gods before me," enjoins an undivided affection for good. Without an affection for good, a love for God, one can make no progress Spiritward. An undivided affection for good is the genius of Christian Science, the spark which fires its activity in human consciousness.
Christian Science reveals that God, divine Mind, is the only creator and that His creation is like Him; that is, spiritual, harmonious, and eternal, the kingdom of heaven. It reveals that the human mind, the supposed ruler of the kingdom of this world, is not an originator; that it merely counterfeits the creation of the one perfect, divine Mind; and that every material object and concept, every "cherished" belief and practice (Science and Health, p. 141) is but a counterfeit or an opposite, a dream, a perverted sense of some real, eternal idea or ideal in divine Mind. Christian Science shows to humanity the way whereby false, distorted mortal beliefs, or concepts may be translated back into their better originals; in other words, Christian Science shows the way by which mortals may exchange their fleeting, false, and suffering concepts for the kingdom of heaven, the reign and rule of unchanging, divine intelligence.
Christian Science brings to light the fact that there is a spiritual supply present for every human need, a solution through spiritual understanding for every conceivable problem; in other words, a divine law present and available for all who strive to understand it. From her healing, Mrs. Eddy learned that she had had but one real need all her 1ife, and that was to understand spiritually the nature of God and His availability to mankind through His laws. She saw that the answer to this one great need had met all her needs and would meet all the needs of others. Therefore, Mrs. Eddy set herself the task of revealing to all mankind the nature of God and His ever-operative laws, and of explaining just how the individual may consciously and scientifically benefit by their operation. These revealed laws of God Mrs. Eddy named Christian Science.
Many years later, after she had tested and verified them, Mrs. Eddy gave these laws to the world in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science. In this book are found, on every page, careful, scientific rules which, when understood, obeyed and practiced, bring most desirable results; better morals, better health, better business, happier and more useful lives.
Let us open this book. Gratitude compels us to do it reverently, for through the truths contained within its covers men and women have been restored to purity and health, businesses have been reestablished on the basis of service to mankind, broken homes have been made happy again, and life has been made worth living to thousands of our fellow creatures.
Get a copy of this book: own one of your own; you will realize more and more how precious it is. Study it in connection with the Book of books, the Bible; practice what you learn in your study. The truth these two books contain will meet your human need.
Let us turn, for instance, to page 346 of Science and Health. Remember, now, we are looking for rules to be used in practice. We read, "Material beliefs must be expelled to make room for spiritual understanding." Here we have a most important rule for solving our problems. On page 201 of the same book, beginning with line 17, we find: "The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love." Now let us do just what we are told to do. We must follow our rule carefully. Let us seek the specific truth with which to replace the lie we may be entertaining. This truth may be found by reversing the lie which has deceived us. On page 120 we find, "Science reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being." The truth we have found, made strong with divine Love, will heal us. But if we do not find our freedom instantly let us follow the rule given on page 417: "Maintain the facts of Christian Science - that Spirit is God, and therefore can not be sick; that what is termed matter can not be sick; that all causation is Mind acting through spiritual law. Then hold your ground with the unshaken understanding of Truth and Love, and you will win."
On every page of this remarkable book the sincere seeker will find stated the divine laws of Life and rules for their establishment in daily living. He will find, too, the false laws of the human mind exposed and rules for the reduction of them to their native nothingness. Search the pages of Science and Health for these laws and rules of Christian Science practice. Mrs. Eddy does not always say, "Do this," or "Avoid that," but her book makes clear that a desire for spiritual growth and an earnest affection for good will enable the seeker to find these laws and rules. Then, having found them, he does well who puts them into practice.
One can readily see what was wrong in the case of the woman who complained that she had read Science and Health through five times and yet had not received her longed for healing. A wise friend explained: "We both have cookbooks in our possession which contain recipes for many delectable cakes. We may read a cake recipe through five or even fifty times but not until we have done what the recipe demands, may we reasonably expect to be able to have any cake to eat." Is it reasonable to expect that the mere reading of the laws and rules of eternal Life revealed in Science and Health can take the place of putting them into practice? So powerful is Truth that many healings do result from the reading of this book. Indeed the last one hundred pages of Science and Health are filled with the testimonies of persons who were healed simply by reading the textbook. These healings were brought about, of course, by a transforming of the readers' thought, but if fear, ignorance, or sin persists in spite of the inpouring of the truth of "perfect God and perfect man" (Science and Health, p. 259) through the pages of the Bible and of Science and Health, Christian Science reveals the fact that these errors of thought can not remain in human consciousness when truth is practiced in the daily life.
Sometimes, caught napping, even the most earnest Christian Scientists fail to practice rules which they know perfectly well. A mother trying to bring up her small son as a Christian Scientist, refers on occasion to certain laws and rules to be found in Science and Health. She often says: "There is a scientific rule by which to govern our thinking on this subject. You will find it, son, on page so-and-so of the textbook." He verifies these references and in this way his understanding of Christian Science and acquaintance with our textbook are growing.
One wintry day, when the thermometer was low, this young student was about to go out to play. "Button up your coat, son," said the mother; "mother is afraid to have you go out with your chest so exposed; you might catch cold.'' Startled, he turned about and without thought of being impudent or desire to be smart, but with a twinkle in his eye asked earnestly, "What page do you find that on Mother?" She took her rebuke with gratitude, and now all that any one in that family has to do to rebuke an error is to ask, "What page, please?" If the little boy had been better acquainted with the laws of God as revealed in our Leader's writings, he could have read to his mother from page 240 of "Miscellaneous Writings," "Predicting danger does not dignify life, whereas forecasting liberty and joy does; for these are strong promoters of health and happiness." If all of us would learn to help each other as did this mother and son, instead of condemning one another when we err, we should enjoy more of heaven here and now.
Mrs. Eddy saw that since God the only creator, could not be the author of anything which is unlike or opposite to His spiritual nature, everything which seems to express evil is but an erroneous, false state or stage of human consciousness. She knew that matter, hate, sin, sickness, death - all evil - did not constitute another actual creation for she acknowledged one God, one wholly good, omnipotent power, incapable of creating or supporting evil in any form.
Every one knows how real, how true a false belief, a lie, a dream, seems to be to the one who is believing or experiencing it. How quickly the dream vanishes when one awakes from sleep. How readily the truth is accepted when the falsity of a lie is exposed. Yet how tangible to the dreamer are his dream thoughts; how real they seem. How wholly oblivious he is to the world which seems so real to the one who watches, awake by his side.
Mrs. Eddy learned that the world of sense impressions is but a dream-world in which evil seems to be just as real as good - a dream-world conscious only of its own false sense of reality, which it calls good and evil, love and hate, life and death, and wholly oblivious of the real world of God's creating. Awakening from this dream-world, Mrs. Eddy saw that spiritual ideas are the divine realities of God's universe; that these ideas are wholly good; and that they are tangible and real to the God-bestowed senses of man, the spiritual senses.
The great harm resulting to mankind from believing in both good and evil as real is disclosed in the second, or allegorical, account of creation in these words: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." To believe in both good and evil as real is equivalent to believing in the unreal as real. Such contradiction is far from scientific fact and would sink its believer into a state of consciousness that would, indeed, be dead to Truth.
When it is more generally comprehended that "all causation" is "Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24), the world will begin to understand the wisdom back of the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods [no other mind] before me."
The fact that matter and material conditions have no more power to affect a man than he allows them to have is illustrated in the experience of a friend who lives in a coast city. His story illustrates clearly that every ill effect is a mental phenomenon, resulting from the human mind's belief relative to material conditions, and not from conditions themselves. This friend was, with several other men, invited to take a three-day cruise. This was an unusual opportunity and he wished so very much to go that he immediately accepted the invitation. The one thing that stood in the way of his anticipated enjoyment was the fear of seasickness. He had been miserable every time he had ventured upon the sea, even in the calmest weather.
The evening before they were to go, he was enjoying a good dinner when another prospective member of the party dropped in to talk of plans. He mentioned that the government weather forecast was for high winds and a rough sea. My friend returned to the dinner table, but was unable to eat another bite; he was in the midst of a case of seasickness. He went to his room, but spent a wretched night. The morning found him no better. His last-minute regrets were ready to send. Before doing so, however, it occurred to him to call a Christian Science practitioner. He explained the situation and asked whether she thought he should go. She laughed, and asked him if it was the roughness of the ocean that had produced his distress. When he faced the fact that it was not the ocean that had caused him to spend a night of misery, but his belief in the reality and power of evil and his fear of it, he decided to go on the cruise, and asked for help to hold his thought in line with divine Principle. The result was a most profitable and enjoyable experience. Although the weather behaved just as had been forecast, he was well, happy, and harmonious all the time.
The way to the kingdom of heaven, we have said, is through demonstrable law - unchanging ever present, ever operative, and ever available law. Law operates so quietly and with such unlabored motion that we are prone to overlook or doubt its existence and to remain ignorant of how to benefit by its activity. No human being ever originated real law, for true law is God's law. Men have appropriated and interpreted this law into governmental statutes, but they have only discovered, or rather partially uncovered, true law and based their best laws thereon. Good laws are made to restrain evil and to protect men in their exercise of truth and good. All such laws are based on the law of God, good, which Mrs. Eddy tells us may be simply yet completely stated as, "I am All" (No and Yes p. 30).
God’s law for Himself is self-existent perfection. His perfect universe, including man, is created and maintained by God, through His law of reflection. The perfection of God's creation is not self-existent, therefore, but is originated and maintained through divine law. In Science and Health God's law of infinite perfection is shown to operate in human affairs in innumerable ways. It operates as a law of right action, as was proved for my seagoing friend; as a law of progress, a law of true inheritance, a law of abundant supply, a law of justice, of restitution of harmony, of assimilation, of elimination, of adjustment; a law of protection, of perpetuity, of increase, of adhesion, cohesion, and attraction. I have enumerated but a few of the infinite ways in which God's law of perfection operates to benefit mankind.
A genuine affection for good puts one in the way of benefiting in all the purposes of divine Love. It is plain that one who loves evil instead of good, and pursues it, will find at length that he has succeeded only in cutting himself off from his true inheritance of good. We progress as we learn to have an undivided affection for good. If one's desires would not, if fulfilled, ultimate in good, he will appeal in vain to God to fulfill them through His laws of true inheritance or of abundant supply. Really, God protects the man who appeals to Him from erroneous human suggestions and desires. To be able to say, "Thy will be done," and to feel that whatever may be the will of good for us in the particular circumstances in which we find ourselves is what we most desire, is to love good, God; to have a supreme affection for good. And this is real Christian Science, and nothing short of it has the ring of reality.
A woman whom I know testifies that after several years of studying and trying to practice Christian Science she was enabled, through her understanding of the protecting law by which divine Love cares for His children, to hold crime in check and to save her own life. Her husband from childhood had had violent spells of temper. As he grew older, they became more severe, until finally he seemed controlled by a desire to take her life. Upon several occasions she had become fearful, had left home, and had remained away two or three days, giving him time to become normal. This time, however, when he became infuriated at a trifle, she felt that her understanding of and trust in God's protection was sufficient to enable her to stand and see the glory of the Lord - the triumph of divine Love over hate. As he rushed, knife in hand, toward the chair where she was sitting, quietly trying to realize the presence of protecting Love, the assurance that "the gentle presence will save you" came to the Christian Scientist.
The man laid violent hands on her, but when she yielded gently to his touch and made no physical resistance, his hand opened and the knife dropped to the floor, while he seemed shocked into a deep sense of stillness. The wife continued preparation of their dinner. She seemed almost to hear the words; "You have proved error to be nothing. Now carry it through as nothing." She called him to dinner. He came quietly. She began a pleasant conversation in which he did not join. Finally he said, "I am a crazy man." She did not reply, knowing that error had been self-seen, and that man has the Mind of Christ. This happened more than five years ago, and there has been no repetition of the temper spells since that day.
One's affection for good, God, must find practical human expression. Prayer, watching, and working are three very practical ways of manifesting and increasing one's love for God. Through prayer, watching, and working the individual's thought is guided into realization of the ever-presence of harmony, the kingdom of heaven. In the first chapter of Genesis we read, "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." God and His universe are complete, perfect, changeless. "Desire," Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 1), "is prayer." Intelligent desire, or prayer, is based upon a love for good. Righteous prayer, or desire based upon an affection for good, God, must be to understand God's perfect, spiritual creation, and not to try to change that which has been, is now, and ever will be.
When the world does grasp the tremendous import of the fact that God, good, is the divine Principle of the universe and not a manlike judge or potentate subject to passion and change, there will be a great spiritual impetus, a decided change in the world's thought of what constitutes prayer to God, and the progress of mankind heavenward will be marked. The apostle James had the Christianly scientific understanding of God and of true prayer. He said, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Mrs. Eddy tells us that "all Science is of God" (Science and Health, p. 551). The practice of the science of mathematics opens many avenues which are helpful in the understanding of true prayer. We all know more or less about the principle of mathematics. We understand that the principle of mathematics does not depend upon human recognition or use. It exists forever independent of the human mind. It had no beginning and can never end. It covers all possible mathematical calculations from the simplest to the most intricate, including those as yet unknown except to infinite intelligence. We know that it is exact, unchanging, always perfect.
Every one who uses numbers - and who does not? – every one, if he would he honest, exact, just, reliable, dependable, loving and satisfied, must have a wholesome respect for the principle of mathematics. He will desire that understanding or consciousness of numbers which the principle of mathematics includes and will be satisfied with nothing less. The desire, or may we call it the prayer, of the mathematician is, Not my will, but the will of principle be done.
Imagine an impatient, self-centered student's desiring or praying, if you please, that the principle of mathematics might pardon his mistake of calling two plus two five; asking it to overlook his carelessness in mistaking a multiplication sign for a sign of addition;
begging it not to penalize him for failing to see a decimal point; imploring it to forgive his omission of a very simple calculation; and attempting to bribe it by promises of future good conduct to allow him to have the satisfaction, joy, and pride of having arrived at an answer, which, though differing from the scientifically correct one, might be allowed to stand in his individual case as the correct answer. Having failed in all these attempts, can you imagine his trying to force the principle of mathematics to give him the correct answer without his having corrected his mistakes?
You can't imagine it. No, of course not. No student of mathematics would ever attempt such a thing, no matter how much depended upon his getting his answer. Why? Because he knows it wouldn't work! He knows that there is a principle back of every mathematical operation which can not be deceived, nor bribed, nor cajoled. If he would solve his problem, he must respect it and obey it. As he progresses, his respect grows into an affection for this living, loving, truthful principle, which blesses all.
No more should any one attempt to flatter, to coax, or to wheedle or to force God into solving his life-problems for him or to putting the stamp of approval on his mistakes. Nor would he, if he understood God to be not only divine Love, but divine Principle, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," as the Bible teaches.
There is but one thing for both of these students to do; each must correct his mistakes. The student of mathematics will have to go over his work in humble obedience to the laws derived from the principle of mathematics before he can arrive at the correct answer. All the changes which will be made in the solution of his problem will be made first in his own consciousness. He will learn that two and two make four, and one by one he will add to this truth each fact as need for it arises, carefully piling up his scientific truths until the correct answer appears.
No different course is possible to one who is trying to solve the problems of everyday life. He must repent - re-think, which is the literal meaning of the word. He must drop one by one his false opinions and viewpoints and make his own the scientific facts of being. Piling up these scientific "protests of Truth" (Science and Health, p. 12), he will find himself enjoying the presence of good, his problem solved, and no trace left of the error which had seemed so real.
"The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick" (Science and Health, p. 1) scientifically is the prayer of affirmation - affirmation of the truths concerning God and man. God does answer prayer - the prayer that reduces sin and disease to their native nothingness and affirms understandingly the allness of God, good, and His ideas. So-called prayer that entreats God, divine Principle, to forgive sins and leaves men free to repeat them would perpetuate sin and make God responsible for it.
Gratitude is an integral part of true prayer. It is a key which unlocks many blessings. Gratitude is impelled by justice and honesty. If we are ungrateful, then, we are also unjust and dishonest. We owe many debts of gratitude, and how lightly these debts sit upon us. The world owes to Mary Baker Eddy a debt of gratitude for her immeasurable gift, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures"; gratitude for lives lengthened and made purer, sweeter, and more useful as a result of studying this book. Honesty, justice, and gratitude are divine qualities, messengers of healing.
I once heard the testimony of a man who said that after reading Science and Health for several months he concluded that Christian Science was all right, logical, reasonable, provable. He entertained no such approval for Mrs. Eddy, however; indeed, he ignored and sometimes even doubted her. One afternoon he was walking along a country road near his home when he saw a motor car stalled on the roadside, beside it a woman the picture of dejection. The woman accepted his offer of help gladly, and stood helpless while he lifted the hood, tried this and that, and finally, after an hour's work, succeeded in getting the machine to run.
Then the woman, who by this time was at the wheel, stepped on the gas and, without even glancing back, made off as fast as she could to keep a belated engagement. Standing all alone in the roadway, the man looked at his dirty hands and at his soiled clothing. Such ingratitude - not even a "thank you." He could not understand how anyone could - and then as if conscience had spoken aloud, he heard "This is just the way you have treated Mary Baker Eddy." From that day, he has cultivated a grateful heart.
One of our familiar hymns reads:
O loving Father, well we know
That words alone are vain,
That those who seek Thy will to do,
The true communion gain.
Then may our deeds our pure desire
For growth in grace express,
That we may know how Love Divine
Forever waits to bless.
(Old Hymnal, No. 191.)
Affirmations of spiritual truths, unsupported by gratitude, are but as "sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal."
How shall we pray? How watch? How work? True prayer, we have learned, is the affirmation, the realization of spiritual truths. Watching means guarding our mental home, protecting it from the intrusion of false beliefs and conclusions. Work means right activity.
The highest sense of work is vigilant, vigorous, scientific thinking. Working, watching, praying, we shall find ourselves drawn by the irresistible attraction of Spirit into realization of the presence of infinite perfection.
A little more should be said, perhaps, about the laws of adhesion, cohesion, and attraction. These laws are ordinarily regarded as laws of matter. In Christian Science they are understood to be laws of divine Mind. God's law of adhesion holds all right ideas to divine Mind, their source and creator. That means no separation from God. "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Cohesion holds all God's ideas or creatures together. That means no separation from each other. Nothing can estrange God's children, for they are held together by spiritual law, the law of divine Love. Attraction. Ah, there is a word to turn over in one's thought!
If men but knew that the only real attraction is that of Spirit, they would seek a straight course, instead of stumbling toward God. To know that we are drawn to God by the irresistible attraction of Spirit calms our vagrant longings and stills our restlessness. I know of a person who was healed of cancer by the realization that the laws of adhesion, cohesion, and attraction could not be invoked to hold a false belief to a right idea. The cancer separated itself from her cheek and fell away.
The immediate result of grateful working, watching, and praying is healing - moral, mental, and physical healing. One of the most striking instances of healing and regeneration that I know of is unfolded in the story of a man whom I am proud to call my friend.
At five years of age, his mother having died, Jim went to sea. He bunked and ate with the crew of his father's trading vessel. Helped by various shipmates, Jim learned to read and write, the limit of his formal education. At twenty-one, inured to hardship, wise in the erring ways of men of the sea, he stepped ashore as his father's ship pulled off. He became a day laborer, a prize fighter, a gambler, a saloon keeper. At thirty, he married a hard-working woman of good character, left the saloon business, and went west. He owned his own launch at a winter resort, and took men deep-sea fishing. After the good dinner that his faithful wife always managed to have waiting for him every evening, he made the rounds of the saloons in his little town, drinking and gambling until in the small hours of the morning he staggered to the hovel which they called home.
Jim's wife, longing for decency and almost hopeless, found Christian Science. She spent all her spare time reading Science and Health and the Bible. She began to see the way out. She learned to separate in her thinking the man she loved from the insatiable drinker and gambler. She grasped the fact revealed in Christian Science that good is supreme over evil. To prove the supremacy of good, God, and to help Jim to prove it was the task she set herself.
At dinner one night, after she had been studying for some time, she said, "Jim, I wish you would come home early tonight; I want to read something to you." Jim had seen it coming and was all prepared for it. "If you think you're going to read to me from that blankety-blank book of Mrs. Eddy's you're just ——." "I wanted to read you something from the Bible," she broke in calmly. It took him unawares; he had no comeback. The let-down surprised him into saying that he would come. He kept his word, telling his companions of the saloon that he had promised to show the old girl a good time that night.
At 8 o'clock Jim was at home. Everything had been cleaned up and made as comfortable as possible. His wife was ready. She picked up the Bible and turned to the New Testament. Jim eyed her closely, and said, "If you are going to read a book to me, begin at the beginning." She began at the beginning and read till 9 o'clock, when Jim, becoming sleepy, decided to go to bed. Jim retained consciously no impressions from the reading, but when the next night the invitation was repeated he was home at 7:30, after making the rounds, but drinking nothing. They read until 11, when Jim was too sleepy to listen longer and went to bed. Something he liked seemed to stay with him this time, and he was eager to begin reading the third evening. The wife read and Jim listened until 2:30 in the morning. When they stopped it was not from sleepiness, for they talked until some time later. From that hour, Jim's affection for good proved its supremacy over the suggestions of evil; he neither swore nor gambled nor drank again. His evil habits fell from him like wornout garments, ruled out of his life by his awakened love for good. This happened twenty-five years ago.
Jim and his wife became Christian Scientists. His devoted study of Science and Health and the Bible, with the help of a dictionary, has given Jim a liberal education. He has been for many years a respected citizen of his community, holds a position of responsibility above the average, and takes a keen interest in everything for the betterment of living conditions and the improvement of the moral standing of his fellows. He began humbly twenty-five years ago to prove himself a child of God and is still keeping joyfully at it.
Healing is important - more, it is imperative. It is the sign-post which gladdens our hearts that we are on the right path, the path which leads heavenward. We must heal and be healed.
Moses, you remember, was commanded by wisdom to put his hand into his bosom. He drew it forth “leprous as snow.” Again he put it into his bosom and this time drew it forth normal as the other. This sudden appearance of disease and its instantaneous healing showed to him that things are not what they seem. Christian Science explains that what appear to the human mind to be material conditions are merely thoughts or beliefs objectified. It teaches that what we think of as the material universe is, after all, but a mental world, where things are thoughts, and all is changeable and fleeting. Moses saw that both the normal and the diseased conditions of matter were but mental concepts, which will yield at last to the reality of a perfect spiritual universe, in which man reflects God. He saw that matter is not substance, but merely a variable human concept of true substance, which is Spirit, God. He was assured that the world which needed salvation so badly would hearken eventually to the "voice of the latter sign," or healing. And it has hearkened to the voice of healing. A great, growing army of Christian warriors is marching heavenward. It is made up of those who, burdened with sin and sickness, did hearken to the voice of spiritual healing, which, ever since the discovery of Christian Science, has been calling, "This is the way."
Christian Science uncovers and destroys, in addition to apparent errors, the unsuspected pitfalls that beset the path of the individual climbing heavenward. It maintains a constant right balance between man's relation to God and to man. Affection for persons is a very commendable quality in mankind; in fact, it is an essential element of true manhood. But when affection for human beings becomes paramount and affection for God, good, secondary, the true order of things is reversed. We must love each individual because God loves him and we reflect God, but we can never love individuals rightly until we love God supremely.
Christian Science teaches us that to look to an individual for supply, for happiness, for completeness is a form of idolatry. Such idolatry keeps the one infinite Cause and His perfect spiritual creation well out of sight, and attempts to rear and maintain a social structure on a false and fleeting basis. This false dependence holds in bondage both the leaner and the one upon whom he leans. These material bonds will keep both of the victims of this false trust out of the kingdom of heaven until spiritual understanding frees them. A supreme affection for God will cause us to depend upon Him alone at all times and in all circumstances.
Human beings are accustomed to look upon business and supply as things of their own origination and of their own responsibility. Christian Science shows that this mental attitude is a pitiable mistake, which is at the bottom of our floundering progress, our fleeting success, and none too infrequent losses and despair.
Christian Science teaches that the only real business is right activity, the activity of divine Mind. It shows that Spirit, true substance, is the only real supply. It avers that the laws of God are just as available and just as powerful to produce results in the realm of business and supply as in religion, ethics, and health. Humanly speaking, then, good business and substantial supply can be found only by reflecting the activity and qualities of God, Spirit, in obedience to the laws of Love.
Speaking of God's activity or business, Mrs. Eddy tells us that "divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494). Could there be any greater, any more noble business? As an individual reflection of divine Love, our business, then, is to meet every human need. Jesus sent his disciples forth to meet human needs, saying to them, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Jesus knew the divine source from which his disciples must draw to meet human needs rightly. This business of reflecting the Father's inexhaustible supply of strength, of intelligence, of love, of right ideas to those in need is true business. It is your business and my business.
All that is helpful, constructive, and worthwhile in the world's business today is founded upon service, the Christian basis of meeting human need - of reflecting divine Love to our fellow men. Whoever is consciously or unconsciously working on this basis is not working alone; he is being sustained and rewarded in ways he knows not of. Not a single human being, however much or little of this world's goods he may possess, is limited in the slightest in the pursuit of and the reward from God's business, for the needs of men are not for things but for right ideas, for love and joy and peace.
In Science, business is seen as an integral part of religion, a certain necessary, and practical road to the kingdom of heaven. Our reward in the Father's business is found not alone in that our human needs are met, but in that which money cannot buy - in purity, innocence, health, satisfaction, yea, salvation.
Salvation is individual. No one can work out another's salvation for him. Jesus, our great Exemplar, could work out only his own salvation. No one has the power to keep another from working out his own salvation. No one has to wait for others to work out their salvation. Salvation is possible today for each one of us. Jesus furnished us an example worked out in daily life. He is our Way-shower. Paul instructed us: "Work out your own salvation." When we have demonstrated in ourselves the Mind that was in Christ Jesus, our salvation is assured.
God's work is done. Our part is in the transforming of our thoughts. Our deeds, not our words, show what our thoughts are. Salvation means scientific right thinking, oneness with divine Mind; saved from false beliefs, superstition, the testimony of the erring senses. Salvation is Christ Truth, Christian Science, understood and demonstrated in purity, perfection, and Life eternal.
Salvation means the abandonment of the false dual standard of belief in the reality of both good and evil, of more than one God, more than one Mind, and the identification of one's self with the one true, eternal standard of supreme affection for good, God, that knows no other reality.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, March 16, 1934.]