Christian Science:

The Revelation of the Rights and Character of Man


James G. Rowell, C.S.B., of Kansas City, Missouri

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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


The Magna Charta, the English Bill of Rights, the statement of the "Rights of Man" by the French Assembly of 1789, the Preamble and certain Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America are all attempts to bring into human experience the rights of man as set forth by Christ Jesus, the summary of whose teaching John voiced as, "Now are we the sons of God." It is Christianity that opened the eyes of mankind and is opening them still wider to the God-given rights of man.

In the fullness of time, the long human struggle for freedom has been rewarded by the coming to mankind of Christian Science, in which the rights of man are fully discerned and stated scientifically. More than this, Christian Science makes that clear statement practical by teaching men the way of its accomplishment. Christian Scientists recognize in this appearing of the truth about God and man, and the law or way to make this truth practical in human affairs, the coming of the Comforter which Jesus discerned and whose coming he promised. Summed up in human terms, these divinely bestowed rights may be expressed in these words: the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."



 Before discussing these great and irrevocable rights of man, however, let us look to the source or origin of these rights. These precious rights of man, even though faintly discerned and practiced very imperfectly in human experience, have shown themselves to be good; hence their origin or source must be in God, infinite good. The question, "Is there a God?" is answered definitely and affirmatively for each individual who turns to Christian Science, for this Science of Life reveals God to be divine Mind, Life, Truth, and Love. It shows in a logical and satisfying way that divine Mind is the Principle or source of the universe, including man. The universe is, of course, like its creator wholly spiritual, therefore absolutely real, tangible, and practical. When one learns what cause or primal origin is, he has taken the first logical step toward an understanding of reality. Understanding cause means being able to comprehend its nature and characteristics so fully that there can be no possibility of ignoring or mistaking that which originates in and results from it. Christian Science teaches that divine Mind, not matter, is the universal cause or primal origin of all that really exists. Never has God's nearness, His lovableness, and His availability been more clearly seen and felt with more certainty than in Christian Science. Christian Science shows that God is, indeed, a practical God one whose presence and power can be demonstrated by those who understand Him. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," defines God in this book (p. 465) as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." Although one may have heard this definition many times, new and practical revelations of its meaning will continue to come to the student who prayerfully contemplates it, for God is infinite, All.



Since it is an acknowledged scientific fact that "like begets like," the understanding of primal cause as divine Mind, Spirit, leads to the Christianly scientific explanation of its effect and the law by which it originates and governs this effect. From the point of vantage of her scientific definition of God, Mrs. Eddy defined man, the image and likeness of God (Science and Health, p. 475), as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." The term "man" is both generic and individual. The term "generic man" refers to the ideal man, the complete spiritual man, the full expression of God. It is the family name for all men. Individual men and women are individual ideas or expressions of God, identities of the one real man, All men are one in generic man or Christ. Man is a divine manifestation, inseparable from his creator.



From the point of vantage of this definition of God, Mrs. Eddy was enabled, also, to define and to demonstrate the undeviating will or law of God, the law of divine Love. She named this law Christian Science. God's will or law, His Science, cannot be conceived of as separate from Him. God or cause is law-producing, law-including, and law-enforcing. God is continuously expressing His law, His Science. Through reflecting Him, men demonstrate or show forth God's divine law and the power which enforces it.

Christian Science reveals that, although the rights of man are demonstrable here and now, they remain obscured, even hidden, to human sense until the true nature of man is discerned spiritually, and God's law is understood and practiced. The Master, you remember, taught his disciples to inform the people that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our greatest need is to understand spiritual facts. When understood, every fact, every truth, can be demonstrated. It is supremely natural, not supernatural, to understand and to demonstrate the truth of man's being, here and now.    


Man's Right to Life

Webster defines the noun "right" as "that to which one has a just claim; . . . a power, privilege, condition of existence, or the like, to have or enjoy which one has a natural claim: as, the right of liberty." Life is a definite right of man; one, however, that only compassionate scientific Christian consciousness acknowledges. In pagan countries, a man's life is not his own, but may be at the disposal of one who calls himself his master. Christian civilization recognizes the individual's right to life. Christian Science teaches that each one of us lives because God is Life. We reflect the one infinite Life. We live to bear witness of that Life, that Truth, that Love, which is God. Our connection with Life can never be interrupted by disease or accident, never cut off by death. Through divine law, everyone has a right to understand and to assert the fact, "God is my Life." We shall all have life more abundantly when we understand this fact more clearly. Christian Science reveals that life is not in nor of matter. No condition of matter affects Life, God.


Man's Right to Health

The right to live includes the right to health and harmony. It is right that men should be well and happy. These are rights which can be demonstrated as belonging to men through the understanding of God, of His presence and power. Health is one of the sacred rights of man. Men often fail to understand this right and to claim it until it seems to be a struggle to regain it. Since the real man of God's creating is spiritual and lives in an atmosphere of sanity and harmony, it is not difficult to realize that man never loses his health. Men, seem to become deceived into believing that health is something personal, something dependent upon the so-called physical body, something that can be lost through breaking so-called physical laws (as if there were any such laws) and regained, perhaps, through observance of these laws. Christian Science teaches that health is not a physical but a divinely mental condition which is permanent, even eternal.

Men who think that they have lost their health are awakened through Christian Science to see that health is something inherent in man and that, quite contrary to popular belief, it is not dependent upon matter. Christian Science teaches as did St. Paul that health is restored to mortals as they "renew" their minds. Mortal mind, instructed by divine Truth, gives up its erroneous belief of impairment, and a man finds himself whole. Sometimes this change takes place immediately; in other instances it seems to take some time for the realization of man's freedom from disease to be understood and accepted. Thousands of people are healed in Christian Science every day by this method of exchanging the false beliefs of material sense for the truths of divine Mind. Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 191), "The human thought must free itself from self-imposed materiality and bondage."

 Everyone who turns to Christian Science is benefited and can be healed by this scientific method if the fact of God's allness is absolutely established in the thought of practitioner or patient. Physical healing in Christian Science is important, but it is only a steppingstone to more   far-reaching purification. When we give up the erring belief in the experience of sickness, sorrow, and death as unavoidable, and gain the understanding that man, the reflection of God, is, of necessity, as perfect, joyous and eternal as God Himself, then man's right to life and health will be established and will no longer be subject to perversion, misinterpretation, and jeopardy through fear, ignorance, and sin. In the degree that we exchange the belief that all men must die for the understanding that all men must live throughout eternity because God does and His manifestations or expressions cannot be otherwise than like Him, then the experience called death, which the great evangelist spoke of as the "last enemy that shall be destroyed," will cease to chill the hearts of men with fear. Death will be seen to be but an empty boast of material sense. To the materially minded, it seems to be able, now and again, to make good its threat, but spiritual sense and scientific reasoning assure us that life goes on uninterrupted for everyone who may seem to have been brought low. God is Life, and God is eternal. The life of an individual, being the expression of the Life which is God, continues throughout eternity to unfold harmoniously more and more of the Godlike qualities of man. Man's right to life and health is innate and inviolable.


Healing Demonstrated

I love the testimonies of healing given in the Christian Science Sentinel, the Journal, and at our Wednesday evening meetings. They encourage and inspire me. Several months ago I heard of a healing which impressed me greatly and filled me with gratitude. At my request the grateful man who had been healed gave me a statement of his healing which I will share with you. He wrote: "Several years ago I had a siege of boils and carbuncles which lasted for more than two months. When one boil would break, another one would come. Then there were two carbuncles on the back of my neck. They were very painful. Three physicians treated me without success.

"My employer said that I must go to the company doctor and find out what he thought about it. He gave me an examination and said the carbuncles would have to be lanced and that there were many more boils coming.

"I went home very discouraged, sank wearily into a chair, and asked my wife, who was a Christian Scientist, 'Do you really believe Christian Science can heal bolls and carbuncles?' She assured me that 'all things are possible to God' (Science and Health, p. 1). A practitioner was called about six o'clock. We read the testimonies in a Christian Science Sentinel and I went to bed very early that evening. Had the first good night's sleep in about six weeks. The next morning I was very much improved, so went to work at the usual time, while my wife gathered up all the bandages, poultices, and plasters and put them in the trash burner.

"In a day or so the bolls and carbuncles just seemed to disappear and did not even leave a scar. There has never been a return of the trouble."

Life being but one of the synonyms used in the scientific definition of God, a discussion of man's right to Life would be incomplete without taking into consideration the whole definition. The synonyms of Life used "to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity" (Science and Health, p. 465), as stated by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, are Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Truth, Love. These terms are illumined by the adjectives which precede them: "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite." Man's right to Life means also his right to Mind, to divine intelligence; it means his right to Spirit, real and lasting substance; his right to Soul, spiritual consciousness, a pure and holy mind; to Principle, spiritual cause or origin; his right to Truth, changeless, self-existent being; his right to Love, to spiritual affection and affection for Spirit; its qualities, characteristics, and identities; his right to be loved by Spirit and, in consequence, by every one of Spirit's manifestations. In God's universe, all of His creatures express love to each other, as well as to God.

We must strive to understand man's right to Life in order to improve our daily lives, for the way we live our daily lives is our highest human approximation of true living. In our everyday life, we mirror forth our concepts of God and man. We are demonstrating every day what we think God and man are. Our daily lives must be made to conform more nearly to real Life. To do this, we must improve our mental concepts of God and man.

To realize that every one of God's creatures has a right to Life makes us kinder, more considerate of each other and of the lesser creatures. It calls into expression equality and fraternity. Man lives to express the will of God, to be and to do good and to expect and to rejoice in the good done to him. God's purpose in giving life to men is that they should express love to each other; to speak truth every man to his neighbor; to stand as representatives of purity and integrity in the affairs of the community in sum, to glorify God by doing unto their neighbors as they would that their neighbors should do unto them. The Christian understanding of the purpose of life excludes selfishness. We could not and would not even wish to enslave our fellow men if we knew that the right to life is equal among men, inalienable and inviolable. It must be clear that there is no power derived from Life in any evil thing or purpose and that evil falls for lack of life.


The Right to Liberty

Among the precious rights of man which men have sought throughout the centuries to establish on earth is the right to liberty freedom, not only of person, but freedom to think for oneself and to express one's thoughts to others. Liberty is a definite God-given right of man. Respect for the right of conscience is a foundation stone in true government. The greatest wrong that any government can do to the governed is to deprive them of the right to think and to express their thoughts openly. The very progress and success of government depend upon this privilege of the governed. Freedom of individual conscience, free speech, and a free press are avenues open for inspiration from God. Behind all civil liberties and fundamental to them all is the liberty to worship God as conscience directs.

Liberty is freedom under law; it is not license to do as one pleases. Lawlessness is the very opposite of liberty. It is a subtle form of bondage not easily detected as such, for it would have us believe that it is freedom itself. Mortals may seem to be free to choose between good and evil, but when they choose to follow evil, they have chosen the way of bondage. That this is true can be seen all about us. Many are in bondage to the alcohol habit who think that they are drinking because they wish to do so. They fail to see what many who know them do see that alcohol has become their master and that they are obedient to every crack of its whip. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the so-called freedom to indulge sensual appetite or to follow error in any direction is any part of the true liberty of the sons of God. The many who have awakened to the fact that they are slaves of evil in some form or another should take hope. Christian Science will help them to correct their mistake and to prove that their freedom is innate and God bestowed and cannot be denied them if they really wish to be free. This way out is open also to those who have allowed themselves to be suppressed and dominated by human will expressed through family, through church or friends.

Totalitarian regimes of every kind would suppress all the priceless rights of man. They would regiment his thinking, his speech, and his actions. Authority established on any basis but that of righteousness fears the higher God-ordained authority of right and justice, calls it evil, and tries to suppress it. In all of this present world turmoil let us be mindful of the old motto found in early copybooks: "Truth crushed to earth shall rise again." The fact is that the truth can never be gainsaid, for it is endowed with the omnipotence of divine Mind. It is true, as some of these vain theorists aver that, humanly speaking, evil does seem to take advantage of free speech and a free press; but with no right on its side and only vociferousness as its ally, who should fear it? The abuse of a right should abrogate that right only to the one who abuses it. Evil has no right and should be denied the right to make use of the rights of man, which exist only for the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. In other words, men have the right to express God, good, only, and they have no right at all to lend themselves as mouthpieces for the expression and propagation of evil or error. In a newspaper column I came across the following recognition of this spiritual fact:

Question: "Has everyone the right to his own opinion, if it is expressed as his opinion?"

Answer: "Not unless he knows what he is talking about; for two reasons: first, one's opinions profoundly influence his own character and behavior whether he expresses them or not; second, his opinions profoundly affect the lives of others. So, from every standpoint, no one has a right to any opinion that is not based upon the most exact knowledge obtainable. Anyway, why have opinions without knowledge? It ruins your character and destroys your capacity to find truth or even recognize it when you see it."

Bearing witness to Truth is of such great importance that one of the commandments given to Moses reads: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." "I know what that means," said a little Sunday school boy, "It means you mustn't say anybody's sick when it's only error saying they are and they aren't really at all." What about us grown-up boys and girls? Have we a right to say of any man that he is a sinner? A little clear thinking shows that it is error pointing to itself and calling that man which isn't man at all. Sin ought to be condemned, of course; but the sinner is not man, but an erring mortal mentality which must be put off through repentance and reformation. The so-called sinner, healed of sin, is revealed in his true selfhood as a man, the beloved of divine Love.


The Right to Know the Truth

 Before a man can tell the truth about his neighbor, about God, about himself, he must prove his divine right to know this truth. It is one of the precious rights of man to know the truth about God and the universe, including himself. To know the scientific truth about any thing or circumstance will put a man in a position to enjoy it or, if necessary to remedy any condition or circumstance which may seem to keep him from enjoying it. The truth is a healing agency powerful enough to break the grip of any lie. "If ye continue in my word," said Jesus ". . . ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This demonstrated freedom extends not only to a man's own person and the reward of his labor, but to his home, his belongings or effects. Everyone and everything upon which his thought rests will be benefited by his "knowing the truth."


Man's Right to Protection

"How are we to defend ourselves and our country best against evil, swollen by mass mesmerism, backed by the power of diabolical physical force?" is a question occupying the attention of half the world. Christian Science teaches that no matter what human steps one's country may decide to take, a man must find his refuge in Truth. The fact revealed by Christian Science that evil is powerless unless made powerful in the thought of an intended victim by fear or other false beliefs, can be demonstrated by everyone. No concentrated will or evil intention of any nation or of any individual or group of persons pretending to be a nation, even though backed by the force of brute strength and criminal cunning, can prevail against the omnipotence of right and justice, the will of God, good. The truth is our only refuge for self-defense. That student defends himself best against the suggestions of evil who has learned best how to trust himself absolutely to the care of divine law, which is Truth. To make himself worthy of that divine protection, he must first impersonalize the evil which is tempting him to call it man, and realize that, because it has no origin in God, it is absolutely powerless. It must be plain that to the divine Principle or creator of us all, we must all be equally dear. "God is no respecter of persons." In the kingdom of ever-present Truth, there is no error, no evil to attack man, nothing to instill fear. Man, the beloved of divine Mind, is assured of safety and security under God's law of omnipotent love. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

A friend of mine feels that he has proved in a small way that his protection lies in his realization of God's presence and power. He was running to catch an approaching suburban trolley car when a dog, which had the reputation for being vicious, made directly at him. There was no human protection possible, as the dog was between my friend and the only house near. My friend stood still, declaring the presence and protection of divine Love. The dog seemed to become confused in its headlong dash, passed my friend and turned around to bark in a bewildered fashion. My friend walked on to the car stop, where the motor-man greeted him with, "Well, you're a lucky fellow. I saw that dog grab a man by the trouser leg a week or two ago and tear his clothes almost off of him." That dog, by the way, was only reflecting the mentality of its owners, who were reportedly under the influence of liquor more than half the time. The young man the motorman referred to was given a whole new suit, with two pairs of trousers, but I wouldn't recommend this way of getting a new suit even if you needed one as badly as he did.


Man's Right to Happiness

The crown of the life patterned after the divine is the joy to be realized in learning to love God, good, supremely. We have this great gift of inviolable, eternal life that we may use it to express our love for God and His reflection, man. We have no right to live a life of empty idleness, of frivolous self-indulgence, and certainly not a life of criminal disregard for the rights of others. A man's life is not his own to spend as mortal mind suggests. Life is to be lived to uplift mankind to the realization that the more abundant life is the right of every son of God, of everyone who reflects divine qualities to his fellow men. Living has been defined as enjoying the presence of good, of the spiritual real. We should be learning how to live and to help others to live. Worthiness to enjoy the rights of man is dependent upon our seeking "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" upon loving God supremely. When true happiness is seen as the spiritual joy realized in loving good above all else, the kingdom of God, heaven, harmony, is found to be at hand.

It is right to be happy. True happiness is man's expression of the spiritual joy which is the atmosphere of divine Love. This spiritually mental state can be proved to belong to each one of us through right thinking, thinking based on the eternal facts of being, the allness of God and the nothingness of evil. Until we grasp the spiritual fact that there is only one Mind and that one wholly good, we are without a dependable standard by which to distinguish true ideas from erring suggestions. Without this spiritual understanding, the pursuit of happiness falls into a trial-and-error method, wherein suffering instead of Science becomes our teacher in the way of life.

Christian Science offers a way of living based on intelligence and reason, a way wherein all may benefit who will. Happiness will be found by acknowledging that there is but one wholly good Mind and that Mind is not in matter. Persistent, honest effort to realize this truth will bring into our experience whatever originates in this one wholly good Mind and is governed by it. Such effort will open up to each one of us a host of God's angels, which our Leader defines (Science and Health, p. 581) as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions." These angels coming to one who is humble and receptive are not supernatural, awesome apparitions, but are natural evidences of the constant presence of divine Love. By entertaining angels, we find that our every human need is met, whether this need be mental, physical, social, or even financial. Science discloses that there is an angel, a God-inspired thought, present in every need, waiting for recognition, and that this thought is able to meet that need. Science shows also how to awaken one's receptivity to the presence and power of God's angels.


Man's Right to Adequate Supply

It is right that every one of us should have our needs supplied. But the man who thinks that, because he happens to be in it, the world owes him a living without effort on his part, or that his fellow men should be taxed to care for him even though he is not physically incapacitated, is radically wrong. God cares for man, but a man must express right activity as the result of right thinking before he can prove this spiritual fact in his daily experience. When we realize that the man God knows has no need, the belief that lack is a reality begins to fade from human consciousness, Since "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation," as Mrs. Eddy points out in "the scientific statement of being" found on page 468 of Science and Health, then all supply is infinite, and there is no lack of anything needful to man's completeness and satisfaction. This must mean that there is adequate supply for every human need. God is the source of all good, which originates in Him as ideas. His good comes to us in the very form in which it will serve us best. Mrs. Eddy puts it (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307): "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies."

There is infinite wealth in the Mind which is God, and each one of His creatures is heir to this infinite supply of good. This will never be attained by putting into practice the false doctrine that in order to become possessed of our share we must take from others all that they seem to have above what we think they should have. Wealth must be leveled up, not down; and this can be done by honesty in industry and by realizing that we are all equal heirs of divine Love. The world needs honest employers and honest workmen. Christian Science will help it to "level wealth with honesty" (Science and Health, p. 239). Our Father is rich; can His son be poor? It must be remembered, however, that all really substantial wealth is in ideas, spiritual ideas. Industry and justice, love and honesty will lift the level of wealth in the new, free world which the right thinking of everyone who loves God, good, is beginning to build. Meanwhile, we can each do our bit toward bringing this about by making our own demonstration to rise, through entertaining spiritual ideas, to the place where all our human needs are met.

I know a young woman who, without any capital, financial backing or business experience, started a new business and, in one year's time paid not only the running expense of the business, but for all of the equipment as well. Her expenses included salaries, supplies, rent, commission, and incidentals. She did not have to borrow any money or defer a single payment when due. She did this by being receptive to and entertaining the angels coming to her from divine Mind. Through constant reliance on divine Mind, she continued in this business and it met her needs and the needs of her family for many years. Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing," but, he proved that with God all things were possible to him. This spiritual fact is true of each one of us.

The world's problem today is the same one which the Master faced and triumphed over twenty centuries ago. The setting and the trappings have changed, but the essence of the conflict Spirit, God, versus error, alias matter is the same. The erring mentality which champions matter and physical force Paul called "the carnal mind." In Christian Science we speak of it as "mortal mind" or "animal magnetism"; the erring belief in a mind opposed to God. When a man understands that this counterfeit of Mind is "a liar and the father of it," that it is never a person, place, or thing, but just a lie, nothing claiming to be something, he divests it of reality and power. The only truth about it is its falsity, its nothingness. Having proved its unreality in his own mental processes, he can then see its nothingness more readily in the thinking of another and help him to banish evil from his consciousness. Such individuals are spiritual lawyers. They know the law of God and they know that the law of God ends human bondage and sets men free.

What we really need is the spiritual ability to detect the falsity of evil in ourselves and in others and the understanding of the allness of good, which reduces the error to its correct status as nothing. The Master knew, the nature of evil its mythical, mental nature. He knew it as error, and he knew, too, that the place for each individual to take-up arms against it is in his own consciousness. We can save the world from bondage and suffering only by knowing the truth about man, that it is not man who has sinned and must be punished, but that the carnal mentality is the sinner and must be put off without delay. This supposititious carnal mind must be seen as an impostor, a usurper of the place and power which belong lawfully to infinite divine Love, Spirit, Soul, that Mind which is without sin, that wholly good and pure Mind which was in Christ Jesus.


Our Leader

It was Mary Baker Eddy who pointed out to us this practical way of life. It was she who taught us how to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. She tested her discovery of the fact that Life, Truth, intelligence, and substance are not in matter, but that "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation" (Science and Health, p, 468) and proved it capable of performing the sudden cures identified with the Master's ministry. Mrs. Eddy's unselfish love for God and man compelled her to make this discovery available to all mankind. She did this by publishing the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and by establishing the Christian Science church with its many avenues for healing and uplifting mankind.

Mrs. Eddy is the spiritually inspired Leader in this world war against evil, a war which will end, when it is well fought, in victory for every man who enlists. Christian Science will end hatred, greed, and injustice, and will reveal the reign of Life, liberty, and spiritual joy. This is the warfare of the Spirit with the flesh, to be fought to a finish in each individual consciousness. "Progress," our Leader tells us (Science and Health, p. 233), "is the law of God." To progress, the student must be receptive and must use every bit of Truth made clear to him. He must push forward through every rent or rift made by intelligence in the veil of ignorance which, to human sense, has obscured and hidden the spiritual facts of being these many centuries. Every man has a divine right to progress.

To win with Spirit in this warfare with the flesh requires faith, unwavering trust in God, good. It is faith in Love which makes trust in physical force, and hatred powerless. Faith in Love is far from being just a combination of words. Its presence in any human consciousness is proved by loving deeds and by facing without fear the full array of evil's boasted manifestations, knowing full well that they must fall for lack of divine support. Faith in Love means, too, seeing the qualities of divine Love as constituting the true selfhood of every individual on whom one's thought rests and knowing that the power of Love strips from the minds of men the evils which animal magnetism may seemed to have attached to them. Faith in Love means full trust in God, in good, and in the power of Truth to establish God's reign of "on earth peace, good will toward men."

Mrs. Eddy points out (Science and Health, p. 227): "All men should be free. . . . Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free!"


[Published in The Aransas Pass (Texas) Progress, March 18, 1943.]