Christian Science: The Unity of Law and the Gospel

 

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

 

Ralph B. Scholfield, C.S., of London, England, gave a noonday lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Unity of Law and the Gospel," at B. F. Keith's Theater, Thursday, under the auspices of Third Church of Christ, Scientist.  Mr. Scholfield is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. He was introduced by C. Fred Burtless.  His lecture was given substantially as follows:

 

As we review the condition of human affairs today throughout the world, we cannot help being struck by the universal sense of unrest and tumult.  Dissatisfaction with old theories, systems, and standards of living has brought about a state of turbulence rather than a state of order and control.  In such conditions mortals are apt to be borne on by the current of human emotion without consideration of that divine law, whereby alone, order, discipline, and control can be maintained.  That law, which we will call the law of Mind, intelligence, or God, is fully dealt with in the teachings of Christian Science.  And through Christian Science we can learn how the application of that law will bring calm to the troubled waters of human experience.

 

Moral Law

The progressive portion of mankind has instinctively perceived that law and order are right, and indispensable to progress.  It has formulated laws in its effort to bring about that ideal condition which it feels must be normal and natural.  These may be called laws of conduct, or moral laws.  The purpose of moral law is to develop order, discipline, justice, and control; and one of the best known illustrations of this is the Ten Commandments. These Commandments, though framed to be comprehensible by mortals, are not the origin of moral law.  They are based on something higher than mere human ordinances.  Being the very essence of life, health, and success, regardless of nation, time, and place, they must have then foundation in intelligence or wisdom.  Moral law, therefore, as we know it, is the direct outcome of the operation in human affairs of Mind, intelligence, or God.

 

So-Called Physical Law

Another sense in which law is frequently used is in the expression "physical law."  The significance of the word "law," used in this meaning, lies in the fact that it implies some fixed and invariable order, or uniform action.  In so far as this so-called law manifests the elements of order, control, discipline, and wisdom, it bears distinct resemblance to the moral law.  Law interprets the control of wisdom and intelligence, and where these are not apparent there cannot be law.  While the laws of adhesion, cohesion, and attraction seem to be wholly material, yet in so far as they manifest control, order, and wisdom they must be based on intelligence.  A well-known professor of astronomy has said recently, "At the foundation of science is the principle that the universe is orderly."  This shows that even limited human vision is able to perceive, to some extent, the great law and order that support the universe.  What is mistakenly termed physical law, in the proportion that it manifests wisdom, order, justice, and good, is the direct outcome of the operation in the material universe of intelligence, Mind, or God.

We are enabled, therefore, to perceive that wherever law in its highest sense is being manifested, whether in moral or in physical conditions, there is evidence of the operation of intelligence, Mind, or God.

 

Nature of the Lawgiver

The nature of this great Lawgiver, God, or Mind, is a question that confronts every religion, and it confronts Christian Science.  Even the leading physical scientists of today are looking beyond matter and mystery for a solution to this question and are coming to the most wonderful and interesting conclusions.  Professor Jeans at Cambridge University has recently said: "The universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician. . . . Today there is a wide measure of agreement that . . . the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine!"

Even more wonderful still are statements written some thousands of years ago.  In the book of Proverbs we read: "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. . . . Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? . . . The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.  I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."

Christian Science teaches that the great Lawgiver cannot be inert matter or material force, but must be primal, eternal, and self-existent, Mind, or God.  Wherever law is being manifested, whether in the command "Let there be light," or in the control of the oceans, or in the exemplification of life and goodness in human experience, it is always the same cause, namely, Mind, or God, that is operating.  All creation is held in this law, and it is a law of love, and not of hatred or indifference.  For hatred and indifference cannot protect, support, or control.  Hence the all-important fact that the great Lawgiver, God, must be Love as well as Mind.

In order to illustrate the nature of God as the Lawgiver, Mrs. Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 119): "The lawgiver, whose lightning palsies or prostrates in death the child at prayer, is not the divine ideal of omnipresent Love.  God is natural good, and is represented only by the idea of goodness."  Therefore, from the standpoint of the Lawgiver, or God, being Love, she could detect at once that the prostration of a child in such circumstances is wholly unlawful, and is brought about by the general ignorance of God's law of preservation so beautifully expressed by the Psalmist in the simple words, "The Lord is thy keeper."

 

Christian Science Aspect of Law

The Christian Science aspect of law is of great importance not only in healing, but in every day life.  We may be accustomed to look upon law as merely a regulation.  But Christian Science shows law to be, in its ultimate meaning, an operative force which renders all that is unlike that force powerless and unreal.

To illustrate this: Suppose a Government passes a constitutional bill rendering certain qualifications necessary for citizenship; then, whatever an individual may do, he cannot be a citizen unless he complies with that law.  If he disobeys it, he excludes himself from citizenship.  In other words, that law is an operative force, which acts regardless of persons, time, and place.  In the same way God, who is infinite wisdom and Love, the primal and only Lawgiver, operates through laws determining the nature of man.  Under these laws man is immortal, spiritual, and perfect; and disobedience to these laws deprives an individual of true manhood.  God's law determines what is real and what is not real.  Hence, law is a divine energy, eternally rendering all that is unlike God lawless and devoid of power or truth.  Evil and disease are forever unlike God, hence cannot be based on law, power or truth.

In order to be a good citizen we do not merely pray or beseech the constitutional government to give us citizenship.  We obey the laws that determine the status of citizenship, and our prayer is answered just in so far as we are obedient.

So, in order to experience life and health, and to prove man's spiritual unity with God, we do not merely ask God to help us.  Christian Science shows that we must obey His laws and that those very laws, when obeyed, will render the so-called forces of evil and disease utterly powerless, and will reveal man held eternally in the law of Life, God.

In the Gospel of Matthew it is recorded that Jesus was asked by a lawyer, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus' reply was: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  Christian Science emphasizes the fact that in his gospel of healing and compassion Jesus did not destroy, but fulfilled all true law.  And Christian Science teaches that healing of disease follows naturally the fulfillment of God's law.

 

The First Commandment

The first demand, then, is to love God supremely.  And here we are faced with a question that is not only natural but is one that exists at the back of the minds of most people, and that is: Is it possible to love anything, or anyone, that "you do not understand?  Obviously, this is impossible.  The idea of God as infinite Mind and Love, and not as a mysterious and vindictive power, opens up to us the possibility of understanding and loving God.

A Christian Scientist was once trying to explain to a highly intellectual man of science the nature of God.  She told him that Christian Science teaches that God is good; whereupon he replied instantly, "Do you mean that God keeps the Ten Commandments?" This was a somewhat humorous way of exposing the common inability to solve the profound question as to the nature of God.  Christian Science explains that God does not keep the Commandments as does a mortal, but that since He is infinite Mind and Love, He is the very basis and essence of those Commandments.  God is therefore good, using that word as a noun and not merely as an adjective.  To love God supremely implies two main demands: (1) to recognize that God must be absolute good - infinite Mind and Love; and (2) that we must understand the nature of God.

 

Loving Ourselves

The second command is to love one's neighbor as one's self, and it is necessary, as in the case of loving God, to understand the nature of one's true self.  Most people think they understand themselves more or less, and many have a kind of love for what they consider to be themselves.  But is it their true self?  Is it the man of God's creation, spiritual, immortal, and perfect?

There is a very helpful illustration of how to understand true selfhood in the story of the prodigal son.  You will remember that the record states that after he had spent everything in vice and debauchery, he "came to himself."  This was the turning-point in his career.  Does not this infer that there began to awaken in him a desire for his true self?  His desire to give up animality and to be a man was a proof that he was beginning to obey God's law, which is so clearly indicated by the writer in the book of Ecclesiastes, "This only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions."  The prodigal's true sense of man had not been destroyed, but merely obscured.  When he began to have some desire and love for his true self, his true nature began to come to light.  This led him away from evil to his birthright, and healed him.  And he found his father loving him and coming out to meet him, not remaining at home angry with him.

Many people have been taught to think of that parable as applying only to bad young men.  But Christian Science shows how it applies to all who are under the bondage of sickness, sin, and discord of every kind.

The common expression "to be one's self" would be very useful if applied correctly, since it implies being a true man.  A true man is not physical, but is eternally spiritual, the likeness of his Maker, Spirit, God.  Hence, man's true self must express intelligence,

health, life, and joy.  Therefore, the self that we must love is our true, genuine self which is at-one with God, and which manifests law and order.  And let us remember that we have not two selves, one evil and material and the other good and spiritual, but one only.  What seems to be a material, sick, and sinning self is no more than a temporary dream; it is not that true self which is indicated in Psalm 17, "I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness."

If a man has to produce a machine, or any kind of goods, he naturally thinks of the standard machine or goods, and not of some old and worn-out samples.  In the same way, in thinking of man we should have some standard.  The standard for man's true selfhood must be that which is the outcome of primal law, infinite Mind, Love.

Whatever does not come up to this standard is not the true man, God's image and likeness, and has no law to support it.

 

Thoughts About Health

Two ways in which we naturally think much about ourselves are: (1) in our health, (2) in our occupation, or profession.  Let us first examine the thoughts about health.  Infinite Mind, or God, says: "My thoughts are not your thoughts," but the thoughts of mortals undoubtedly consider health to be dependent upon the blood, the brain, the nerves, and organs of the body.  These thoughts claim to say to you, You, yourself, are physical, or animal in nature.  For centuries physiology has been investigating these mortal verdicts, but Christian Science investigates and explains the thoughts of God.  The conclusions that you support will determine your views on the cause and cure of disease, and therefore your health and happiness.

 

Heredity

Suppose, for a moment, that we think of ourselves as subject to hereditary weakness or disease of some sort.  Is such a thing the outcome of Mind, wisdom, Love, and does it constitute our true self?  Heredity implies a material law of transmission and an origin to evil.  But if Mind or God is the only Lawgiver, hereditary disease is unlawful and mortal. God does not think it or make it.  It must be impossible for God who is Life, or Mind, to think in terms of mortality, materiality, or death.  We cannot simultaneously believe ill a law of heredity and the law of God.  Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 380): "Every law of matter or the body, supposed to govern man, is rendered null and void by the law of Life, God.  Ignorant of our God-given rights, we submit to unjust decrees, and the bias of education enforces this slavery."  Let us then deprive so-called material heredity of law, and obey only the one law of Life, or Spirit.  And when we apprehend the illegal nature of material heredity we shall cease to fear it and begin to come to ourself, and understand the words of Paul, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

The question as to whether disease, limitation, and death are based on true law must sooner or later be answered by everyone.  Much that is classified as law is but the outcome of the observation of the human mind, being, as Mrs. Eddy says, "conjectural and speculative" (Science and Health, p. 229), and not based on divine Principle, Mind, or Love.

 

Disease Has No Course to Run

Sometimes we are led to suppose that certain diseases must run a definite course before they either kill or are eliminated.  That is a type of law to which mankind is in bondage and which has not been seriously questioned for centuries, until Christian Science came.  It is recorded in three Gospels that Simon's wife's mother was taken ill with a great fever.  Jesus never recommended her to take great care of her body, or to go to any place for convalescence until she regained strength.  It is said in Luke's Gospel that Jesus "stood over her and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them."  He never expected that fever to run a course.  He separated it from what he knew to be her true self, and he rebuked it.  He obeyed the law of God under which disease is unlawful.

Here is an illustration to show that what are called laws of matter or the body are not spiritual, but that they are only the outcome of human belief.  I had a friend who was a very good long distance track runner.  He was also a very fine mathematician.  I once asked him if he ever became fatigued, or lost his breath while running.  He said that he did, but that on those occasions he tried to work out a mathematical problem and thus forgot all about the so-called law of matter which would otherwise have bound him.  Does not that indicate that those so-called laws of matter were merely a decree of the human mind, and that when this mind became engrossed in something else it forgot its own laws, and thus showed them to be no more than changeable beliefs?

What are wrongly termed laws of nature may appear to enter our lives in the shape of deformity, disease, and decay, but the hour has struck when mankind, through Christian Science, is questioning the legality of those laws.

It is wise, and necessary, for us all to ask ourselves: Are age, limited capability, and death, based on law; or are they the false belief of self from which we must arise and go to the Father, whose laws are a law of destruction to all that is unlike wisdom, Life, and Love?  In Christian Science we are beginning to see that the words, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be" are not only a promise but a law.

Let us then raise our ideal of our self from organic matter and materialism up to our true nature; "till," in the words of Paul, "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."  This is not self-love, but love of our true self.

 

Our Occupation

The other way in which we think much about ourselves is in our occupation or profession.  A man's, or a woman's, occupation will often be the outcome of his, or her, childhood impressions.  Sometimes these will lead to constructive, unselfish ambition, sometimes to the reverse.  But we are all engaged on some sort of life-work, whatever our age or position.  As Mrs. Eddy has said in Science and Health (p. 248), "We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought."  What sort of a model have we before us?  Is it one based on wisdom, law, and Love; or is it one based on limitation and failure?  Do we hope for the best and fear the worst?  The law emanating from the one great Lawgiver, Mind and Love, can produce only harmony.  This law of harmony is indicated in that great Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  The ultimate law is that God, or Life, created and united our living with our life; but human belief has separated them with disastrous results.

If failure comes into our experience we are usually tempted to feel that we are the victims of circumstances, and that nothing but a miracle can put us on our feet again.  Doubtless the prodigal argued that way!  How often do we hear it said that if only "things" would change in some way or other, all would be well.  We pray for help, but how rarely is it seen that it is not "things" but our "thoughts" that need to be altered!  And just as the prodigal's prayer started in right desire, and continued in obedience to law and lawful action, so must our prayer be when we are faced by failure.  Prayer and law are inseparable.  The children of Israel prospered and were protected in proportion to their obedience to the great law of the First Commandment.  The size, numbers, and physical strength of their opponents were utterly powerless and of no importance so long as the nation was obedient to law - namely, to having one God, one Mind, only.

 

The True Motive

In our occupation we cannot examine too closely our motives.  And here Christian Science is very definite in its demands.  In the construction of any great and important building, the architect, if he is a good one, tries only to bring out beauty, dignity, proportion, and so forth, and not to allow any selfish motive to mar the effects.  In building up the true concept of himself, the Christian Scientist has very definite motives.  One of these has been defined as follows by Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 450): "The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death."  You will observe that this statement includes no suggestion that he must do it after he reaches a certain state of understanding.  He must do it now.  Hence the goal towards which he must look in his daily occupation is the lessening of evil, disease, and death.  This aim, or ambition, is beautifully expressed in Psalm 67: "That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations."  This true motive opens the door to the operation of good and of harmony.

You may ask, How can one do such a thing when in the midst of business and material occupations?  Suppose that one is very desirous for a certain business transaction to happen.  The question naturally arises, Does Christian Science teach one to pray to God to bring about this transaction?  No, it does not.  Even though a certain material result may seem very right and desirable from the human standpoint, yet the Christian Scientist never works or prays to bring about a material effect or result, either in business or in physical healing.  He works and prays always to think God's thoughts and to be guided by divine wisdom.  When he prays "Thy will be done," he means not only "May Thy will be done," but "Thy will is done;" or, in other words, the will of divine wisdom and Love is the only will that can be done.  And that is all he wants to see, for it will assuredly satisfy and heal. Wisdom will often work out a problem for us in a way that, prior to the completion of the problem, may seem wrong to us, as in the case of Daniel, and still more with Jesus, whose life, to many, appeared to end in failure.

When we correct our motives and ambitions and make them correspond to the truth of Christian Science we shall no longer limit our life-work but we shall see the grand capabilities and capacities of our true self under the government of infinite law and Love. This is the self we can love without any fear of being selfish.

 

Loving Our Neighbor

Now, having gained the true idea of ourselves that we can love and prove, let us apply the same test to our neighbor.  You will again admit that to love your neighbor you must understand him.  We are often tempted to think that we understand our neighbor; but how seldom we do so!  Suppose for a moment that we had been called upon to associate with the prodigal son - and we all of us are associating frequently with prodigal sons who are under the bondage of sickness and unhappiness, if not under actual sin; should we have been called upon to love that physical expression of vice and squalor?  I am sure that this would not have been necessary or possible.  But with compassion in our hearts we could have followed his own subsequent line of thinking when he "came to himself," and we could have loved that true self all the time, in spite of what the mortal was manifesting. That would be the right thing to do, both for ourselves and for him.  That, too, would have been loving and understanding our neighbor.  Therefore, the manhood of our neighbor that we can and must love is his true, genuine self, the man that is  spiritual and perfect, held eternally in the law of God, Life and Love.

Loving our neighbor, then, includes also getting at the truth about our neighbor, just as loving music or mathematics includes getting at the truth about these subjects.

The necessity for watching our thoughts regarding our neighbors is shown in the following habit of thought.  The natural tendency of the human mind is to focus attention on evil.  We may have a friend who is a wonderful character, a model of goodness and kindness, and in speaking of him we may dwell on his good qualities and then spoil it all by some reservation indicating a weakness.  Then the human mind will take that weakness and magnify it beyond all proportion, whether it be a physical weakness or one of character.

To many this may seem harmless.  But, looking deeper, we see that by doing this, one is not only focusing one's vision on evil, but one is associating evil with man and calling evil man's selfhood.  I do not wish to infer that one must entirely overlook and disregard evil occurring in others, but it is highly important to differentiate between what is lawful and real and what is unlawful and false and to remember that any manifestation of evil selfhood is neither man's true self nor the outcome of the one great lawmaker and creator, God. Hence evil does not belong to man.

 

Helping to Heal Our Neighbor

In the Christian Science treatment of disease, the question of loving our neighbor as ourselves is of vital importance.  Suppose your neighbor comes to discuss a disease with you (and there are plenty of people ready and anxious to do this); what is the best attitude for you to take?  First of all, ask yourself this question: Is this disease the outcome of law, of wisdom, and God?  Obviously it is not.  Then if you sympathize with the disease, and give it the dignity of place and power, you are sympathizing with and building up something that is wholly illegal, unwise, and evil.

To gain dominion over disease you must understand that it has absolutely no law to support it.  Whatever has no law to support it has no order and no continuity.  It is utterly false.  To see disease as false and lawless enables you to speak with authority to it.  You fear it less; your confidence in the power of good grows, and you communicate this to others.

But in dealing with our neighbor we must be careful not to shock his feelings.  We must not ruthlessly cast the teachings of Christian Science to his unprepared thought.  And if your neighbor wishes to talk disease, you should try gently and compassionately to lead his thought away from this false sense of self, and help him to arise and go to divine wisdom - that one Mind whose thoughts are perfect law.

The Christian Science practitioner cannot heal without law and Love.  And that Love is daily and hourly helping him to see his own true self and the true self of his neighbor.  Here is an illustration.  You will sometimes see a creeper, such as ivy, growing round an oak tree, choking and obscuring it completely.  The ivy may be so thick as to cause you to think that it is actually an ivy tree.  But if you know the facts, you understand that underneath the ivy is the true oak tree; and if you wish this oak to grow, you help it to do so by removing the creeper.  Now, if your neighbor is overgrown, as it were, by sickness and evil, are you going to forget his true self, and call him a sick man?  The senses may tell you to do so, but the thoughts of God, the evidence of divine law and Mind, say otherwise. This is stated clearly by Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 476): "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.  In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy."  Sometimes this correct view of man is not acceptable to those whom we wish to help, and the mortal thus shuts himself out from the operation of God's law.  Two men once came to see me about the same time.  They were both suffering from the same so-called serious organic disease which, they had been told, would necessitate a major operation.  I tried to present to each of them a higher concept of man as immortal and perfect, and to encourage him to rise out of his false sense of self or life in matter, to see his true nature upheld by the law of good, Life and Love.  One of these men accepted this correct view in deep humility and gratitude and was marvelously healed within a few hours.  The other was annoyed at being, as he called it, given a sermon, and he went away and received no healing.  Self-love, which is selfishness and self-centeredness, hides one's true self, which loves unselfishly.

 

Loving All Mankind

Christian Science shows that the question of loving our neighbor stretches far beyond our immediate surroundings.  It reaches into the great national and international affairs of the day, and our attitude on this point determines, largely, the harmony, or otherwise, of those affairs.  Employment, commerce, wealth, peace, and war are affected by it very directly. And here again we see the impossibility of loving other nations without understanding them.  And to understand them we must again look beyond the outward appearances to man's true nature, remembering that this spiritual nature and this alone is real and permanent.  If individuals and nations do not express some measure of understanding and love they obscure the very essence of unity and cooperation; they are not natural, and being unnatural, they are not themselves.  In such a condition fear, hatred, and suspicion paralyze confidence, industry, and justice.

When a nation is beset by want and woe, as was the prodigal, its remedy is the same as that of the prodigal, namely, for the individuals comprising the nation to "come to themselves."  This can be done only by individual effort, and we here can do much to help that; for by loving God supremely and our neighbor as ourself, we are conforming to the operation of the power of Love which heals, stabilizes, and restores.  If the task seems too vast, let us remember that the prodigal did not have to heal all sinners.  By healing himself he helped his nation in the best possible way.  Right motives clear the road of obstructions, and love and achievement go hand in hand.

Let us then cease to bear false witness against our neighbor and love him for what he is and not for what he may appear to be.  Then we shall lift his burdens, and in so doing, lift our own, thus obeying the law and demonstrating the gospel.

 

Our Leader's Great Work

Christian Scientists recognize that besides Christ Jesus no one has lifted the burdens of sickness and evil from humanity as has our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy.  A careful study of the references to law throughout her writings will reveal the fact that no great teacher has ever been more insistent on obedience to the laws, both of God and of the land in which we live.  She recognized, as she has said in the Church Manual (p. 28): "Law constitutes government. . . . Without a proper system of government and form of action, nations, individuals, and religion are unprotected."  As the revelation of Christian Science unfolded she boldly and courageously faced the question as to whether sin, disease, and death are based on law.  Her love of good urged her on, and her desire to heal the lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, and the sinner, brought her to the point where she saw these conditions as unlawful bondage, such as was experienced by the prodigal.  She pressed on until she saw that a higher law, the law of the one great Lawgiver, Mind and Love, must end human bondage.  And in explaining this she has said (Science and Health, p. 227): "Christian Science raises the standard of liberty, and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' . . . The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you."  She, indeed, has revealed to us the only reasonable and rational way of loving God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.  And she has done this in the only way possible, namely, by practicing it herself first.  As time goes on, the evidence to support this historical fact grows, but there is a greater and more important test than that of mere human history to prove the grandeur of her work.  This test is that her teachings are demonstrable by all mankind in bringing out the effects of the law of God, Love, through healing all kinds of evil and disease.  She, indeed, has reunited the gospel of healing with the great law that there is only one God.  Truly it can be said of her, in the words of the writer in the book of Proverbs, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

Paul says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law."  Christian Science is showing mankind that this law is the one great moral force or power which is operative in every proof of the power of good over evil.  To love is to understand, and to understand is to love.  The law of Love gives man power to heal all evil, including disease, and to experience what James spoke of as the "perfect law of liberty."

In thinking of the law and the gospel, let us not regard the law merely as the Ten Commandments and the gospel as a feeble effort to manifest some human affection.  Let us rather understand God as "I AM," as the one great lawmaker, Love, whose law renders life good and love eternally real, while evil, disease, disorder, and death are rendered wholly unlawful, unreal, and powerless.  Let us think of the gospel as the demonstration of this law in all the minutiae of our daily experience, healing sorrow, sickness, sin, and death.  Let us remember that "the law and the gospel concur" (Message for 1902, p. 8), and are as essential to our existence as life itself.

To love God supremely and our neighbor as ourself requires, then, a new vision of God, of our neighbor, and of ourself.  This vision, in proportion as it resembles the thoughts of God, opens up to us a new and true view of God's creation, or reality.  Does not this imply that the evidence of the material senses must disappear before the knowledge of the truth? What is this but prophetic vision, and the concurrence of the law and the prophets?  Thus, keeping the law and having spiritual vision concur.  Through obedience to law this vision opens to us the truth about God, our neighbor, and ourself, and "this correct view of man" heals the sick.  This vision enables us to know as God knows, and to understand the unity of law and prophetic vision contained in those wonderful words of Isaiah: "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.  But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."

John writes in his first epistle, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." And to love aright cannot be mere emotional affection, but it must be, as we have seen, that understanding of God, of our neighbor, and of ourself which recognizes the eternal law that God and man are coexistent and coeternal.  Mrs. Eddy has said (Science and Health, p. 340): "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfills the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jan. 25, 1935.]

 

 

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