Christian Science: The Omnipotence of God
Ralph B. Scholfield, C.S., of London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Evanston, Illinois, in the church edifice, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, Friday evening, February 13, by Ralph B. Scholfield, C.S., of London, England, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The speaker was introduced by Mrs. Belle M. Vaill, as follows:
Friends: The members of this church extend to you a cordial welcome. We have invited you to share with us this opportunity and privilege of learning more about God, and His power and presence.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, through her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, " teaches that there is one infinite God, and that God is good.
Christian Science teaches us to acknowledge God in all our ways, assured that He will direct our paths. It teaches us to pray without ceasing for divine wisdom and understanding, and that it is the understanding of God, and of the real spiritual man that heals the sick, reforms the sinner, brings about harmony and happiness; and that enables us to comprehend the facts of existence, and to reason in regard to those things which have real value, and which, when understood, contribute to our well being.
The lecturer of the evening is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
It gives us great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. Ralph B. Scholfield, of London, England.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Omnipotence of God." Mr. Scholfield spoke substantially as follows:
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 345), there is the following remarkable statement, "When the omnipotence of God is preached and His absoluteness is set forth, Christian sermons will heal the sick." From those who are uninstructed in Christian Science that sentence may call forth a number of queries. And it is in answering these queries that I think we shall be able to arrive at a clearer perception of some of the main teachings of Christian Science.
To preach the omnipotence and to set forth the absoluteness of God must necessitate an understanding of God. And here we arrive at the first and most important query which the above sentence, might well call forth, namely, What is God? We cannot, if we are observant, conclude that mankind has an exact knowledge of the nature of God. I remember, when I was a boy, being persuaded to believe in God, but I am quite sure that no one ever undertook to explain God to me in such a way that I really could understand God, until Christian Science was presented to me.
Let us consider for a moment how varied are the usual or prevailing ideas about God, and what confusion has arisen owing to this great variety. Even here in this audience, supposing we were to ask six people to define God as fully as possible; I will undertake to say that all six definitions will be very different, unless by chance they happen to be by Christian Scientists. Thus, to many God is the supreme lawmaker or power, but there is a vast divergence of opinion as to the nature and effects of this power. This implies that there is no universal exact knowledge of God which one can take as a standard, and by which one can measure the truth or the error of his life experience. There would seem to be no unvarying fundamental cause or Principle as yet generally conceived of by mankind. The science of numbers can be understood, and it is based on unvarying and fundamental laws. But the greatest of all sciences, the Science of Life, appears to be a mystery to mankind and to have no unvarying or fundamental laws. In other words, mankind appears to have no universally accepted exact knowledge of an absolute or unconditional Principle, or God, since mankind's concept of God is varying, and men are not taught by the schools to put their concept of God to a genuinely practical test.
And so, if I tell you that the Principle of Christian Science healing and teaching is God, it may seem unintelligible to you unless you know what is the Christianly scientific explanation of God.
Let us see then, first of all, if we can find a few ideas about God that are common to us all. And then let us build up on that foundation a concept of God that will really satisfy.
The very fact that there is a creation, that we exist and have strength and intelligence, proves that there must be a creator or a first cause. This first cause must necessarily be the first or primal power, intelligence, and life. In other words, there must be fundamentally one cause, one power, one intelligence, and one Life. Someone may here say, But why should there not be two causes, two powers, two intelligences behind creation? If by chance there were two causes, two intelligences, and two powers or more, on which creation is based, they would necessarily be unlike each other. For were they alike they would be identical. Thus, if there were two intelligences or two powers as primal cause, one cannot escape the fact that intelligence and power would still be cause. Now creation cannot proceed from both intelligence and non-intelligence, power and impotence, life and death. For if intelligence is cause, non-intelligence is not cause. Hence the great fact that the primal cause, power, intelligence, and Life is one.
We are now entitled to ask, What is the nature of this one cause or power, that in the words of the Bible, “spake, and it was done”? Is it good, or is it evil? It cannot be both, for, as we have seen, it is one in its very essence. Let us be quite clear on the fact that if it were evil, all creation would be evil, all power would be evil, all intelligence would be evil, and all life would be evil. Being evil, this first cause would be self-destructive. To analyze this statement, that evil is self-destructive, let us illustrate from our ordinary experience. A business that has dishonesty at its foundation ultimately reveals this weakness and fails. Wrong processes in the construction of a bridge bring about the destruction thereof. Unjust social conditions bring about their own downfall. The writer in the Proverbs says, "Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way, but wickedness overthroweth the sinner." If the first cause were evil or destructive, chaos would be natural; and evil being natural would be the right or good thing to happen. Hence evil would be good. But this cannot be so. Furthermore, our experience shows us that good is natural and constructive. We see in the world around us that the natural process is growth in health and strength; expansion in intelligence and in self-expression. The wonderful grandeur, beauty, and order of the heavens, the control of the tides and of the atmosphere, all show that good is natural, and that mankind regards destructive forces as evil and unnatural. Without kindness, good-fellowship, and cooperation, no real constructive work can be done. The natural conclusion, and may I say the inevitable conclusion, is that the primal cause or power is absolutely good.
Now we have arrived at the point where we can say that our first or primal cause is intelligence, power, good, and Life. Let us add one more, very important word, namely. Love.
I think that you will again admit that if that first cause were the opposite of love it would be hatred. Now hatred never does anything but destroy. And if we had a first cause that is destructive in its nature we are again reduced to an absurdity.
Let us just repeat, then, that our primal cause is intelligence, power, good, Life, and Love, and is One. Now you may, I hope, be beginning to see how Christian Science regards and defines God. The word God should not be a mystery to us. It should be preeminently expressive of those very terms that I have given you. Christian Science takes the Old Testament definition of God as "I AM," and couples it with the terms we have used above, namely, cause, intelligence, good, Life, Love. Does not this imply that God, the one infinite Mind, is utterly free from conditions or limitations? In other words, God is absolute. Here let me read to you a few lines from the Christian 'Science textbook, on page 466.
"Question. - What is God?
"Answer. - God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.
"Question. - Are these terms synonymous?
"Answer. - They are. They refer to one absolute God."
There was a time, and not so very long ago, when it would have been considered almost sacrilegious to inquire so deeply into the nature of God. Some of our ancestors would have been shocked at such an effort, and would have told us that it was one of the things that we are not meant to know. But progress and enlightenment have changed all this.
May I ask you, therefore, to keep before you some idea of the Christian Science definition of God. It is a definition that even children can use intelligently. Here is an illustration of this. There is in the Christian Science textbook a sentence that reads as follows (p.472): ". . . God is to be understood, adored, and demonstrated." I once asked some children in a Christian Science Sunday School class if they knew this sentence, but I omitted the last word in my question, and I requested them to fill it in. They were unable to remember the actual word, so I asked them to tell me what they thought we had to do in addition to understanding and adoring God. One of them said, Practice. To practice our understanding of God. That may sound at first rather unusual. But let us probe a little deeper. Suppose you were to overcome a bad temper by substituting love in your thought; what are you really doing? You are practicing good. Now goodness is a manifestation of the first great primal cause, or God. So in that small proof of the power of good over evil you yourself are demonstrating God's law. You are witnessing a faint gleam of the power of God, or infinite good. Similarly we can and must demonstrate the law of Life, Truth, and Love in the overcoming of all sin and disease, and whatever claims to hold us in bondage.
Someone may now say, Well, that may seem very logical, but how am I going to approach a God like that? How am I going to pray if I want help or comfort? You are taking my God away from me and leaving me nothing but vague cause. The question of prayer is a very important one in the teaching and practice of Christian Science.
Let us take one of the Bible definitions of God, one that is very familiar to all Christians, namely, that God is Love. Remembering what we have previously seen, that is, that the one primal cause has no conditions or limitations, let us ask ourselves if the ordinary idea of supplication is the best way in which to approach infinite Love. The one primal or infinite Love surely does not need to be reconciled to mortal shortcomings, does not need to be asked to do something. That one great cause has by its very nature formed and established the realm of unconditional reality. Shall we try to get God to step aside, as it were, and deal with difficulties that He never caused, and that therefore lack true cause? Or shall we ourselves try to attain that realm of reality by right effort? An infinite God cannot mix with conditions which He does not impose. And it is the function of prayer to lead us out of false conditions up to the point where we can think and act in line with that one great Mind or power which is Love.
To illustrate: Suppose that two individuals were in a similar trouble, and that they desired to pray for divine help. Let us suppose also that one of them said or thought, "God help me," meaning thereby, May God help me; and that the other said or thought, "God helps me," meaning, God actually does help me; which of these two would be the more likely to obtain the help desired? Christian Science says that the second way is the most efficacious. The first expression may carry with it a great doubt as to the possibility or propriety of God's help, whereas the second is an assertion of a fact, and implies no doubt at all. I do not mean to say that the first method is wrong. Not at all. It expresses a desire, and desire is the very foundation of true prayer. But the second manifests some grasp on the fact that the great primal cause, which is good and Love, is in its very nature, a help - "a very present help in trouble." Therefore, to our prayer of desire and supplication let us add some understanding assertion of the omnipotence and absoluteness of God. In defining the prayers of Jesus Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 12) that his "humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love."
Let me give you an illustration of what I consider that protest to resemble. Suppose that you were brought before a judge, and were charged with a crime of which you knew yourself to be innocent; would you merely implore the judge to let you off? Would you say that you knew you were a miserable sinner and that you just wanted him to do as he liked, even to the imposing of a harsh and cruel sentence? Would you not rather protest vehemently your innocence? Would you not hunt high and low for witnesses and evidence to support your case? Then you would go into court with the confidence of Truth as your deliverer, and there you would assert your innocence, your freedom from the evil, proving that it was never a part of your experience. Now when evil and disease come into your life, are you going to sit down meekly under them, and call them the will of God – the will of that one great cause which is eternally loving and good? Are you merely going to ask God to remove them, wondering all the time if medicine, climate, or an operation will do it better? Or are you doing, as Jesus did, to protest the truth, namely, that the first great cause is good, absolute, infinite Love, and therefore that disease or evil does not belong to you, and that you cannot be guilty of it? If you will do this, you can and you must win your case, for your judge is infinite Love and justice.
So long as the Israelites prayed aright or as the Bible has it, had one God, they prospered. War, sickness, plagues, destruction of crops and herds, were stayed. And I believe that their history has remained with us in such wonderful books as are comprised in our Bible, because behind this idea of one God lay a great and marvelous Truth. A grain of this Truth did wonders for them and enabled their prophets and seers to look ahead, and to foresee the coming of this Truth in an ever-increasing and more practical method. In a broad sense, the most remarkable, achievement of the Israelitish history was the giving of the law, as revealed in the First Commandment. That law is as alive and as important today as it ever was, but it has become somewhat clouded through false teaching. Thus mankind has been taught that while it must serve and have only one God, there are other gods from which it may choose - and very powerful ones too. The word God has become so emasculated that to many it conveys practically nothing at all, so that they are, as the Apostle says, "having no hope, and without God in the world." Christian Science comes like the voice "of one crying in the wilderness" to preach once more the absoluteness and the omnipotence of God. It makes that law or First Commandment live again. We do indeed acknowledge only one cause, one Life, one Mind, one Love, one power - one God.
Do you not think that this is what Jesus came, to fulfill - not a law of rites and ceremonies, but a law that had no conditions with evil or disease, a law that would admit of only one power, and that good? Had he regarded evil and disease as lawful and supported by cause he could not have healed them, and it would have been wrong to try to do so.
I do not wish you to think that we as Christian Scientists just say that evil does not exist, and that we leave it at that. No, not at all. We take the side of humanity in the effort to overcome evil and disease. But for centuries humanity has fought evil and disease as if they were a stubborn and almost an eternal reality, and certainly a very powerful force. And what we are doing in Christian Science is gradually depriving evil and disease of origin, cause, or power, by understanding the assertion in the Lord's Prayer, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory." Our God is that divine Mind which is absolute good, and therefore cannot produce evil. In proportion as you deprive evil and disease of origin or cause, that is, as you do so in your reasoning and in your thinking, you will see that the most that can be said for them is that they are a deception, or an illusion, which must vanish before the great law of the First Commandment. But if evil and disease were the outcome of the primal cause they would be eternally real and indestructible. What hope then should we have of ever escaping them, and why try any longer to do so?
Let us see now how Jesus used his knowledge of the absoluteness and omnipotence of God. The most outstanding feature of the accounts of his life in the Gospels is undoubtedly what are called the, miracles, or what we may term his control over evil, disease, and material conditions. If we were to take out of the Gospels all the works of the Master there would indeed be no evidence left that he proved what he taught, or that his teaching would really save from sin, disease, and death. That he preached the omnipotence of God there is no doubt. Among his many sayings emphasizing this point are his statements, "I can of mine own self do nothing," - "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works," and, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." As Christian Scientists we are convinced that his great works were no mere spectacular or supernatural exhibitions, but that they were done to illustrate the fact that God, Spirit, or Love, can be subject to no material conditions whatsoever; that is, that God is omnipotent and absolute.
Let us take several illustrations from the Gospels - illustrations which reveal the power of good over evil, Spirit over matter, and Life over death. The first is from Luke, where Jesus met a woman who had been a cripple for eighteen years. Did he tell her that she was incurable, and that matter or the body was manifesting a condition which could not be healed? No, neither a so-called incurable malady, nor the fact of the day being the Sabbath could stop Jesus from practicing the power of good over evil. He said that Satan had bound the woman. Let us see what he meant by this. His own definition of Satan was "a liar," without any truth. Therefore the woman was bound by something that had no truth in it. Having no truth in it, it could not limit good, the Life of man, nor could it make conditions opposed to good, or God. Hence the Master's knowledge of the omnipotence and absoluteness of God gave him complete dominion over this lie, and he healed the woman instantly. Love is omnipotent, absolute, and if we loved more as Jesus did, we should heal the sick as he did.
Again, in the feeding of the five thousand, did Jesus allow the material conditions to impose upon him, and say, You have only five loaves and two fishes? No, matter was known by him to be wholly subordinate to infinite Mind, or God. The human sense of lack, starvation, and death could not make conditions with that infinite Love which gives us all that we need before we ask.
In the stilling of the tempest and walking on the water, did not Jesus show that the power of intelligence, or Mind, was absolute, and could not be controlled by matter, by a storm, or by a material law of gravity? He rebuked his disciples for their fear. Who has not been afraid in a bad storm? But Jesus knew that "Thine is the power" - that power is good, and never evil or destructive.
And lastly, in the raising from death of Jairus' daughter, Jesus said, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth." His recognition of the absolute allness of Life saved him from admitting the condition of death for a moment. If anyone on earth ever kept the First Commandment in its highest meaning, Jesus was that one.
The manifestation by Jesus of the power and nature of God brings us to Mrs. Eddy's definition of Christ as (Science and Health, p. 583), "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." You will observe that in this definition there is nothing implying death, limitation, or subjection to material conditions. The one infinite God, Mind, or Life, must eternally be expressed or manifested, hence the Christ or divine manifestation of God must also be eternal. And the Christ will come to the flesh or human belief so long as that false belief lasts. That is what Jesus meant when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Is not this so? The Christ or the divine manifestation of God, of Life, and of Love, is with us now this moment, and we shall feel its tender influence if we will only look up into Spirit, instead of down into matter.
Though the Master passed from human sight the Christ, or divine manifestation of God, which he embodied, is with us still. Some may say, Yes, but we cannot hope to do what he did and to manifest that power. But why not? If Life and good were omnipotent in his time they are so now. He overcame sin, disease, and death with Truth, Life, and Love. If you overcome evil or erroneous thinking with good or scientific thinking you will find that evil vanishes from your consciousness or experience. If, on the other hand, you try to overcome good with evil you will find that good cannot be annihilated, but that it stands inviolate - an eternal presence - even though it may appear to be temporarily obscured. This shows that evil is an illusion or deception. Matter is part of this illusion, for even the physical scientists of today are beginning to classify matter as a mental concept. The Christ, or the divine manifestation of God, restores to us in Christian Science, the power of good and of Love which heals, by the simple process of manifesting or showing forth Emanuel, or God with us.
In her textbook (p. 560), Mrs. Eddy says: "Abuse of the motives and religion of St. Paul hid from view the apostle's character, which made him equal to his great mission. . . . To misunderstand Paul, was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught." And we can say about our beloved Leader that no one can grasp the great import of her teachings if he either misunderstands her or abuses her motives and religion. Those who wish to study her early career without prejudice can do so, and they will find it to be one wherein the love of humanity and the desire for unselfish good surrounded her from childhood. Passing through the trials of poverty, ill-health, and loneliness, in the anguish of bitter experience she learned that greater sympathy for mankind which was the foundation of her great work for mankind.
I would ask you to observe just two events in her career, which may illustrate to you the purpose of her life. The first is in the year 1866, when she was suffering from an injury caused by an accident and pronounced by the doctors to be fatal. Whilst in this condition she read in her Bible from the ninth chapter of Matthew, the story of the man healed of palsy by Jesus. As she read, to use her own words (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24), "the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed." And here we come to one of the points I wish to emphasize. Mrs. Eddy did not stop then and use the experience for any selfish or ignorant purpose. Feeling that there was a law or Principle behind her healing, just as there was behind the healing of the case of palsy, from that day forward she devoted her whole life to discovering and revealing this Principle for the benefit of sick and tired humanity.
The other event to which I refer in Mrs. Eddy's career happened some thirteen years later, after thirteen years of toil, discouragement, endless difficulty, and triumph. At a meeting of a small band of Christian Scientists, known then as the Christian Scientist Association, Mrs. Eddy moved a resolution as follows (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 24), "To organize a church designed to commemorate the words and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." That was her life purpose made clear once again; and a careful study of her writings will reveal the fact that the central strain throughout her life work is her teaching of the omnipotence and absoluteness of God. She has said (Science and Health, p. 340), "The First Commandment is my favorite text."
As a result of her devotion to her life purpose thousands upon thousands have been lifted from the bondage of sin, disease, and death. To countless numbers throughout the world the Scriptures have through her teachings become so alive that they are used as a direct aid to healing; and not merely as fine or interesting literature. Undoubtedly, as "the smoke of battle clears away," to use her own expression (Science and Health, p. 22), she is going down to history as a generous, great, and noble woman. Her foresight of what she has termed "the new dispensation of Truth" (Science and Health, p. 270), and her great achievement in providing for the spiritual needs of humanity will assuredly cause her to rank as one of the greatest seers and religious leaders of all times.
You may now be asking yourself how all this is going to help you in overcoming your daily troubles and difficulties. Let us take several illustrations of the working of Christian Science in our daily life - illustrations of how to meet and to overcome trouble.
Some that may appear to be very general are unhappiness, disease, unemployment, and poverty. How are we going to heal them? Let me first of all remind you that we must necessarily begin by gaining some measure of dominion over these things ourselves before we can give any permanent help to others, and before we can understand the law that operates in Christian Science healing.
Let us consider unhappiness first. May I ask you to refer once more to our definition of God as absolute. Now in infinite Love and good there is no condition or room for sadness. The Psalmist said, "In thy presence is fulness of joy." I do not wish you to think that we as Christian Scientists go about saying to people who are overwhelmed by grief that there is nothing to be unhappy about. But everyone recognizes that to remain overwhelmed without any effort to rise above the sorrow is not true wisdom. Now Christian Science says that you can not only rise above the sorrow, but that you can heal it. The writer in the Proverbs says, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." If the one great Cause does not produce or add sorrow then it is not produced or added. But you may say, I know where that sorrow comes from and I have it all right. Let us pause a moment and refer to a word that is of far more importance than we may think. This word is gratitude. Now I would ask you, Can you be grateful for the fact that divine Love, the great primal cause, has not caused that grief? Just try. Then thank God that He never included unhappiness or sorrow in the realm of true creation - even if you cannot quite understand the fact yet. Remember that grief is a solid conviction in conditions unlike infinite God, good, Life, and Love, whereas God is ever present and omnipotent. Now meet that solid conviction with a deep and conscientious protest of the presence and power of God. Bring out your witnesses to the omnipotence and absoluteness of Spirit, or God. Then little by little you will understand that whatever the physical senses may tell you the actual Truth is the same for you and for all mankind. For those, too, whom to human sense you may have lost, you may know that "underneath are the everlasting arms." Let me assure you that true gratitude heals grief.
Now for the method of overcoming disease. Many people still believe that God either sends or permits disease for the benefit or discipline of mankind. If you had charge of the world would you, even with a human sense of compassion, do such a thing? If you had infinite power, would you need to employ the most dreadful sicknesses and plagues in order to regenerate mankind? No, your very infinite power could regenerate instantaneously. Why then do we suffer? Why is disease so great a part of human experience? Mrs. Eddy has said that it is all owing to "fear, ignorance, or sin" (Science and Health, p. 411). This means that disease is based on something which each one of us can and must deal with himself, up to a point at any rate. The cause of disease may be illustrated in part as follows: if you walk along the street and walk into a lamp post do you blame the sun for not shining and lighting your way? Moreover, the sun does not punish you, nor is the injury caused by the lamp post, but rather by your own carelessness. Now the experience of disease may not always be caused in quite such a direct way as the above illustration, but it is certainly caused by, or gains admission through some weakness in the individual's mentality or character. And this weakness will, when analyzed, be found to be one of the three things mentioned above - or an amalgamation of all three - namely, fear, ignorance, or sin. Briefly these may be defined as fear of evil and disease, ignorance of the one absolute cause, or God, and sin of ascribing reality and power to that which is unreal and powerless.
Even if a mortal suffers from an inherited disease or from one that he has never thought of, this does not alter the fact that ignorance of God has opened the door for this disease to enter. Now how is this to be healed? In her textbook Mrs. Eddy gives an interesting illustration of the standpoint from which to advance and meet disease. Let me say that this standpoint is of the very greatest importance. She compares the position taken up by a surgeon and by a Christian Scientist when faced by two parallel cases of bone disease. Let me read you what she says (Science and Health, pp. 422, 423): "The surgeon, holding that matter forms its own conditions and renders them fatal at certain points, entertains fears and doubts as to the ultimate outcome of the injury. Not holding the reins of government in his own hands, he believes that something stronger than Mind - namely, matter - governs the case. His treatment is therefore tentative. This mental state invites defeat. . . . The Christian Scientist, understanding scientifically that all is Mind, commences with mental causation, the truth of being, to destroy the error. This corrective is an alterative, reaching to every part of the human system. According to Scripture, it searches 'the joints and marrow,' and it restores the harmony of man."
Now, do you see that these two practitioners start from diametrically opposite standpoints? And if we are to believe and to obey the First Commandment we must take the side of the Christian Scientist. Do you not see that he refuses to give power or cause to disease from the very beginning? And if you build up a disease in your thought and then try to destroy it you will never succeed. But if you deprive it of cause, of time, place, and opportunity to act, you will heal it. Let us remember once more that God is absolute, that Spirit, good, and Love is infinite. How then can it be sane or sensible that matter can dictate terms and have power?
In the treatment of sickness the Christian Scientist is really trying to obey the First Commandment. He sees that centuries of education on wrong lines have caused mankind to think erroneously about cause, power, and God. And the outcome of this wrong thinking has been an aggravation of evil, disease, and so forth.
You may say that Christian Science cannot touch organic diseases. But that is daily proved to be untrue. Organic disease is just as much the outcome of fear, ignorance, and sin as is functional disease. Both the Old Testament and the New give us every indication that organic disease must yield to the law of God just as readily as functional disease. The Psalmist makes no distinction in those well-known verses of Psalm 103, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, . . . who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases." And Christian Science through thinking rightly about God, through the love of God, heals those poor mortals who are under the spell of the illusions of fear, ignorance, and sin.
Paul said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Why did he not recommend renewal of the blood, the lungs, and the tissues? Because he had proved in his own experience a better way to heal the sick and raise the dead. And this way, which he recommended to all, is to have the Mind that was in Christ Jesus. Our great Master acknowledged God as All-in-all, as the only power, as a loving Father, and he healed disease and overcame death instantaneously. He said that "these signs shall follow them that believe" - and they do.
How is Christian Science going to help in poverty and unemployment? In the first place let us remember that there is a universal employment which is not ordinarily reckoned as such by the common use of the word. This universal employment is thinking. All have to do a certain amount of thinking. It is not generally understood that a man's experience in life is very directly the outcome of his thinking. Laziness is lazy thinking, and dishonesty is dishonest thinking; and while the effects of these may seem to be very material, the cause will always remain mental, that is, in the individual character.
Now as we are all engaged in the universal employment of thinking, do you not feel that we might at least begin to do the job better? I have seen very many cases of poverty and unemployment healed by the introduction of better, of purer, and more honest thinking. Here is a typical case. A man came and asked me for Christian Science help or treatment on the question of unemployment. He was in a very difficult position, having to support a wife and child on a sum of little more than a dollar a week. For a fortnight or more I did what I could to help him with treatment but without any result. Then I decided to ask him how he was spending the little money that he had. I found that he was spending a few cents on smoking. I asked him if he did not think that this was rather selfish, and perhaps dishonest, when he needed all he could get for the support of his wife and child. He was not at all pleased at my comment. But he went away and thought it out. In a few days he came back and said, I see your point; I have stopped that selfish habit and I have got a job. That man was continuing in good employment when I saw him a year or so later.
This is a case of doing the job of thinking better. Well, someone may say, What am I to think about? There is plenty to think about. If you will refer once more to our statement that God is absolute, that Life, good, and Love is infinite, you can surely see that God never caused poverty or unemployment. Therefore when you find suggestions entering your thoughts such as that the war or some catastrophe ruined your business, that you are too old or too young, that you are too inexperienced or unlucky, are you going to let these thoughts rule you and blur your vision of good? No. Then get down to your job of "bringing into captivity," as Paul says, "every thought to the obedience of Christ," the divine manifestation of the absolute God. Rule out of your mind all destructive thinking, such as fear, hatred, envy, depression, and ingratitude, and you will then become a constructive thinker. Now a constructive thinker does not merely find a job, he makes one - and often where least expected. Are there five thousand jobs on the market, and are the fifty thousand people applying for these jobs going to go away disappointed, except for just a few? And are they without a chance of a job? No. Each man by his constructive, pure, right thinking, will help himself and others to work and to be cared for. David said, I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." The Master said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Now it is in accordance with God or good to be active, busy, and useful. Therefore let us purify the thinking of the heart, and we shall see and experience good, and this is the corner stone of the healing of unemployment and poverty.
I can in a lecture such as this touch on only a few of the important points of Christian Science. The subject is so vast and so interesting that if you wish to understand more of it you will need to study and to practice it yourself. As Christian Scientists we have no quarrel with either the medical faculty or other denominations. There are great and grand men and women in those professions, and all we can say is, "By their fruits ye shall know them." One of the fruits of Christian Science which I have seen over a period of many years is that it gives its followers a higher standard of manhood and womanhood. It shows us that we have a divine right to conquer and eliminate from our experience everything that is not directly the outcome of the primal cause, which is absolute Love. We expect to be more happy and healthy than we ever were before, because these qualities must in reality belong to man made "in the image and likeness" of Life, or Mind. We know that to pray without ceasing is the very necessary process of thinking rightly and scientifically. There is in Christian Science no mystery, no secret. It is the very opposite of mesmerism, will-power, or strained and nervous concentration. It is just the simple and honest recognition of the First Commandment, that is, that there is but one cause, one power, one God, who is infinite Love.
Let us then collect together our evidence concerning the great statement that God is absolute and omnipotent. The Christian Scientist finds that reason, logic, and demonstration support this beyond contradiction. He finds also that it was the basis of the prosperity of the Israelitish nation so long as they obeyed it. He finds that it was the very essence of all the prophetical teaching and works; also that it was the basis of the great healing works of Jesus and his disciples. He finds too that it was the key to the discovery and revelation of Christian Science in Mrs. Eddy's life, and that it is the corner stone of the healing and regenerative influence of Christian Science. For evidence against the absoluteness and omnipotence of God there is nothing more stable than the testimony of the five senses, and the dogmas and doctrines of human philosophy. All know that the testimony of the senses is utterly unreliable, and that human doctrines and dogmas are constantly changing. Sooner or later we shall all give our verdict in favor of an absolute, omnipotent God, who is Spirit.
Let me therefore ask you to use more thoughtfully than ever before your most reliable and most active human faculty, namely, reason. Reason from the standpoint of one great, good, and loving cause, which is Love itself, and which is Mind, not matter. Then and then alone will you get all things into their true perspective. You will be an idealist, but a very practical one, because you will be able to prove for yourself and for others man's God-given right, here and now, to Life, joy, good, strength, and all that goes to make up that which we call the kingdom of God. For does not the Father say "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine"?