Christian Science: The Basis of Enduring Peace
Elisabeth Carroll Scott, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Mrs. Elisabeth Carroll Scott,
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Long ago Jesus looked out upon the
world longs for peace and strives for it. Yet it has continually eluded
mankind. It is hid from them because they do not know, even today, much more
than they did nearly two thousand years ago in
The world courts, the
Peace is something greater and more positive than refraining from warfare and aggression. Peace, individual, national, or worldwide, is effect, not cause, the effect of spiritual values understood and spiritual facts demonstrated. Peace is not something of itself, independent of individual thinking. Peace is a state of spiritual consciousness; it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. To see it realized on earth, we must understand the things which will bring peace and which alone will ensure it, for the Bible teaches that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).
Peace is actually what was demonstrated by Jesus, "the Prince of Peace," and what was left by him to the world. You will remember that at Jesus' birth the heavenly host sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). And towards the end of his career Jesus comforted his disciples with the assurance (John 14:27), "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." But unfortunately the practicality of his teaching was lost sight of, for it was crystallized into a doctrine instead of a way of life. Jesus practiced peace, and enjoined its practice upon his disciples. Because he knew peace to be a quality of the all-inclusive Mind that is God, he knew that it rightfully belongs to all God's children everywhere.
Even before Jesus’ time it was recognized that a true apprehension of God brings peace. Hundreds of years before Jesus, Eliphaz the Temanite advised Job in his anguish to acquaint himself with God and be at peace.
Christian Science acquaints mankind intelligently with God, for it presents God in such a way as to show that He is present and available. It brings to men the knowledge of how to obtain peace, because it comes revealing the God who is God of peace.
In Christian Science the word "God" is used to express the primary fact of being, Mind, consciousness. It teaches us how to demonstrate the practical nature of the Mind which was in Christ Jesus to such a degree as to bring a return of primitive Christian healing.
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," its author, Mary Baker Eddy, states (p. 469): "Mind is God. The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind. . . . There can be but one Mind, because there is but one God; and if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other, sin would be unknown."
There can be no surer basis for the establishment of peace than the fact that there is one Mind, and that one is infinite good. Where it is believed that there are two, there may be conflict; there can be clashes of interest, difference of opinion, of temperament and desire. Where there is only one Mind, and that one infinitely good and all-powerful, there is necessarily harmony. The one infinite Mind or being expresses itself in eternal perfection, joy, and harmonious activity throughout its creation.
According to the Scriptures, there are several terms for God that are used as synonyms in addition to the divine Mind. Mrs. Eddy says, "Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, combine as one, - and are the Scriptural names for God" (Science and Health, p. 276). The God whose nature they express is never absent. He is with us now, right here to help us in our problems of everyday life, and as we turn to Him we find Him a living, vital power, a Love that never fails.
"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?" the Bible asks (Jer. 23:23). Christian
Science makes clear that God is not only a God at hand, but all-inclusive
presence, the one Mind or Life, your Mind and my Mind, the only Mind we shall
ever really have. "For God," according to
As human beings put off the belief of a private mind, or human intellect, which Paul calls "the carnal mind" and which he says is enmity against God, they find themselves released from afflictive, limited beliefs about themselves and free to express the qualities of the divine Mind; and in the measure that they express the divine qualities they will find themselves at peace, for divine qualities make for peace.
Man the Likeness of God
Christian Science coincides with the Bible teaching that man is the son of God, His image and likeness. Indeed, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, elucidates this great truth in her textbook. On page 470 she writes, "God is the creator of man, and, the divine Principle of man remaining perfect, the divine idea or reflection, man, remains perfect. Man is the expression of God's being."
This man of God's creating is not mortal, brought here for a little time, only to go into the darkness and obscurity of death. The man of God's creating is immortal. He partakes of the eternality of his creator, divine Life. He manifests this Life at all times in vigor, strength, harmony, and immortality. His health is intact. His welfare is assured. His is a great destiny. He is destined to live forever, to express his creator throughout eternity.
This is the real man, our true individuality, which Christian Science shows us how to demonstrate by evangelizing the human self. The man of God's creating is as spiritual as he is eternal. With this model for our goal, we must regenerate our own false sense of self. There is nothing about God's man that is mortal or material, for God, Spirit, is cause, and man is the spiritual effect of this cause.
Man glorifies God by manifesting the divine attributes. For example, man's intelligence, wisdom, and originality are unbounded, for he expresses the Mind which is Spirit, unlimited and fetterless. The real man is tender and kind; his tenderness and compassion are all-embracing, for they emanate from Soul, the Soul that is God. Man's divine qualities cannot be shaken, overturned, or destroyed, for they proceed from Truth, eternal Principle.
Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 6:19). Anyone who will accept what these words of Jesus mean will find release from fear or limitation. For we have the promise that "as many as received him (Christ Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). We have the capacity to express God and we have, in our real being, no capacity to express evil, sickness, or sin, for we have no capacity to express anything that is unlike God.
The correct concept of man heals disease. As an illustration of this truth, let me cite a case that came under my observation of a young child who had a disfiguring and persistent skin trouble which covered a large part of her body. Prayer in Christian Science was taken up for this child. The physical difficulty was not immediately healed; but the mother and the practitioner held faithfully and steadfastly to the fact that man is the unblemished child of God, created by Him to express His beauty and harmony; that nothing can mar man's perfection; that disease does not belong to man; that nothing alien or foreign to man can attach itself to him. After some weeks of regenerating prayer, the eczema disappeared completely and permanently.
Christian Science shows that the real man is immune to evil. He is at peace because he is at one with God. Because his unity with God, divine Mind, is complete and enduring, he does not have to strive for peace, to strain after it, or to achieve it with effort. It is just something to be realized and demonstrated as an inalienable right of man.
Human beings experience peace and make it their own to the degree that they themselves become spiritually-minded. Men are at peace only to the extent that they deny and forsake evil, for peace and evil can no more dwell together than can peace and fear. Before men can attain peace, they must be healed of the belief that they can be the victims of evil or that they enjoy evil.
One of the great deterrents to peace is fear. The average human being is robbed of peace when he accepts fear, which is not a fruit of the Spirit. Fear walks with him and it talks with him. He is afraid he will be sick, poor, lonely, misunderstood. He thinks he is helpless in the grasp of circumstances, a puppet in the toils of a malign fate. He fears it is either too early or too late for success. He fears that he may be the victim of greed or oppression.
When one stops fearing for himself, he fears for those he loves, or devotes himself to being afraid of the world and for the world. Since mortals believe that evil experiences are real and inevitable, there is small wonder that they are fear-ridden and tremble at what they think may be in store for them.
In the light of Christian Science, it can be proved that this fear is unnecessary, because it is unintelligent, for Christian Science has proved to multitudes that where ever is evil is due to erroneous thinking and can be dissipated as the erroneous thinking is replaced with trust and confidence in God. Nothing is more destructive to peace than fear, and Christian Science dispels fear.
I should like to tell of the experience of a young naval officer, a student of Christian Science, in replacing fear with trust and confidence in the protecting power of divine Love.
For two years, during the late war, he was on a mine sweeper which was often under attack. Toward the close of the war, the boat took part in five invasions in the European theater, and at one time was bombarded by a hundred planes.
In the beginning of his naval experience, this young man seemed fearful at the constant suggestions of danger. He saw that in order to protect himself and those around him it was necessary that he replace thoughts of fear with the realization of the protecting presence of divine Love. This he did so successfully that even after the sleeve of his uniform was torn by shrapnel he was able to go through every encounter with the enemy not only without fear, but with a sense of security and peace. Some of his fellow officers asked him how it was possible that he managed to be so tranquil amid the hazards of battle, and he said, "Through my understanding of Christian Science, I realize and declare the presence of God, and that presence realized dispels fear and replaces it with the assurance of God's protection."
As its textbook, Science and Health, says (p. 410), "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!'" The real remedy for fear is expressed in the words of the Apostle John, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). Christian Science practice releases men from the torment of fear by enabling them to realize the ever-presence of the divine Principle, Love. The practice of Christian Science shows that the law of this perfect Principle, Love, is the law operating throughout the universe and in individual experience. As this divine law is understood and applied, it supersedes and displaces the false beliefs of sin, disease, and lack which ignorance has permitted to masquerade as law in human experience.
A false sense of law is another
deterrent to peace. Mortals believe that they are under the so-called laws of
sickness, sin, and death. This mistaken sense of law has kept humanity under
Since all government is based upon the consent of the governed, humanity cannot continue to be governed by false law unless it consents to be so governed. It has power to rise in active rebellion against false beliefs of law such as sin, disease, and lack, which have so long paraded as law, and it can overthrow their claims to activity in human experience. God does not know or demand penalties. His law is wholly good.
Most men need to learn and understand more about man's relationship to God. Christian Science comes to assure them of the permanency of this relationship. In words that are both clear and comforting, our textbook states (pp. 470, 471). “The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.”
The relation of God and man is always one of unity, of oneness. Since God is the eternal Father and man forever His child, their relationship is both enduring and harmonious, and as we understand this indissoluble relationship we find a scientific basis for the establishment of our individual peace.
We learn in Christian Science that, when we pray intelligently and understandingly, we gain our freedom from troublesome conditions in the peace of answered prayer. Taking as our model the Lord's Prayer, which is known to all of you, we in like manner declare and cling to God's allness - to His kingdom and power. Then there follows as a necessary consequence, as indicated in the Lord's Prayer, the rejection of evil in all its forms.
Every human being is in need of healing of one kind or another. To all in such need, Christian Science comes with a message of hope and assurance, for Christian Science proves God present and His power available. The power is divine, but it is applicable to human problems and it solves them.
In Christian Science, we do not pray to change anything that is true or actual. We pray that the scales may be dropped from our eyes, that we may perceive reality, that we may know the truth which God knows and become acquainted with the man He made, the universe He created. Whenever the truth is clearly seen, that which is untrue becomes impotent and disappears. In Christian Science we pray to know ourselves as we truly are.
By recognizing our true being, we gain great peace. There is no man but the man God made, and no creation but God's creation. God never made a sick man, a poor man, or an unfortunate man. Since God made man and the universe, all is well; since God made man, he is Godlike. Man has enduring health, abundant supply, satisfying companionship, and infinite capacity for accomplishment. Because God, divine Love, is the only creator and cherishes its creation, man is loving and beloved; he has never had a heartache, a sorrow, a fear, has never been limited, thwarted, or frustrated, and so this man of God's creating inevitably expresses peace and harmony.
Prayer in Christian Science enables men to utilize the divine power. In "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy says (p. 69): "The Principle of Christian Science is divine. Its rule is, that man shall utilize the divine power." Christian Science brings to humanity the power of divinity. Man has no power of his own, but reflects the power and dominion of God, divine Mind; therefore, man is not subject to disease, discord, or disaster. Every human being who understands and demonstrates man's spiritual nature and God-given dominion can prove his freedom from disease and disaster and help others to overcome them.
Healing in Christian Science is a very simple thing. A child can demonstrate it. Children very often do. I remember two young people who were reared in Christian Science homes and who attended the Christian Science Sunday School. One of them, a young woman, was in an automobile accident and her back was broken in three places. She was carried unconscious to a hospital, and there the verdict was given that she would be in a cast for many months and would require mechanical support for more than a year, and even then her healing would be incomplete, because her body would not be in perfect alignment.
This young woman lovingly insisted that the attending surgeons, with whom she was on the best of terms, did not understand the situation, that she was in reality the child of God, who made her perfect and kept her that way. She was steadfast in this declaration, as was the Christian Science practitioner who was called to help in the case. After ten or twelve days, new X-ray pictures were taken, which showed that the substance of the bone had been completely restored.
One of the surgeons saw her some months later and said, "Just why your frame is not some inches out of alignment, I do not know." And she replied, "I told you that God made me perfect, and that He keeps me just that way."
The other was a boy in his teens, who fell from a height and was picked up and taken unconscious to a hospital. X-ray pictures showed a fractured skull, a broken vertebra, and a broken rib. A Christian Science practitioner was called, and the young man himself realized the truth taught in the Christian Science Sunday School that no accident or belief of accident can interfere with the harmony in which God has created and maintains His child. He suffered almost no discomfort. Within two weeks this young man left the hospital well, and a short time later took his place at work and in his Sunday School class.
Prayer, or treatment, in Christian Science is such a natural and simple thing that everyone may use it for himself and for others. It is the realization of the divine presence, power, and law. Christian Science treatment is based upon the allness of God, upon His infinite goodness and divine intelligence, upon divine Truth that never changes, upon divine Love that never fails.
Christian Science healing is necessarily based upon spiritual facts. It could not be demonstrated unless it was. It could not heal unless it was fundamentally true. Its primary fact is that of God's perfection. This fact no one should deny; but does it not carry with it, as a necessary corollary, the perfection of God's creation and of man, the son of God? Because God is, must not man's health, his well-being, and progress be divinely provided? If so, they can be demonstrated, because they are facts of the divine economy, of divine providence.
Prayer, as Christian Scientists understand it, is not primarily the prayer of petition but the prayer of affirmation, of spiritual facts declared and eternal truths realized. Our textbook, Science and Health, says (p. l2) that Jesus' "humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth." Jesus was making such a protest of Truth when he declared, "They need not depart; give ye them to eat" (Matt. 14:16). That he recognized Mind's infinite provision for its own and understood that their supply was not limited to the five loaves and two fishes which the disciples had, is evidenced by the fact that the multitude was fed. Again he protested the truth at the tomb of Lazarus when, in the face of the evidence that Lazarus had been dead four days, Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth," and the Bible narrative continues, "He that was dead came forth" (John 11:43,44).
In Christian Science, we are
taught to lift our eyes, as Jesus did, above the material need, or the sense
testimony of sickness or sin, above the realm where trouble seems to be, and to
affirm the truth as God knows it. Thus the
Mrs. Eddy teaches that it is a “deific law that supply invariably meets demand” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 45). The same deific law is what Jesus demonstrated when he multiplied the loaves and fishes sufficiently to supply the requirements of five thousand people. Far from being an economic law, this deific law could be demonstrated in a desert place, even as Jesus demonstrated it.
Mortals have looked for supply everywhere except in the right direction. They have done everything except to look to God for it. Because mortals conceive of supply only as material, they think that there is not enough, that if one has sufficient supply another must go without. Nearly all wars have been fought because of the belief that there is not enough for all, and that consequently one nation must take from another by force.
Christian Science shows how absurd this is. Of course, there is enough for everyone. If men will only look in the right place for it, look to God for it, they will find it. God is impartial and infinite. There is no scarcity in the divine economy. He has enough for all, and gives equally to all. We need only become conscious of this fact to find our needs supplied, both our spiritual needs and our everyday human needs.
The recognition that we are all heirs of our Father and that His supply is infinite, will do much to ensure peace to us collectively and individually. When we get away from a sense of competition and uncertainty in regard to supply, we shall attain a larger measure of individual peace, and a great obstacle to the establishment of universal peace will have been removed.
The Bible says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved" (Isa. 45:22). Look to God, Spirit, for salvation. You will find it there, and Christian Science can prove to you that you will not have to wait for it. It is right here now. You will find it in expressing your own spiritual nature, your likeness to Truth and Love, and your God-given dominion over every phase of evil.
Christ Jesus expressed his God-given dominion and taught us to do the same. He was called "the Prince of Peace." His advent was heralded as the coming of peace on earth. Born of a virgin, claiming no Father but God, he was singularly fitted to bring peace to humanity, for he acknowledged no reality but good. Yet he was tender and compassionate and met the human need for help whenever he was called upon to meet it. He was a peacemaker such as the world has never known. He brought peace to everyone who would accept his peace.
The Christ found expression in Jesus. He exemplified the Christ. He never failed to represent God, and never failed to use the power of God for the alleviation of human woe. This was the proof of his mission to which he pointed when John asked if he was the promised Messiah: "Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached" (Luke 7:22).
Jesus overcame every aspect of evil that the carnal or mortal mind may present. He did not greatly concern himself with the phase of evil presented. He spoke the truth, evil belief disappeared. To the man with the withered hand, he said, "Stretch forth thy hand," to the blind man, "Receive thy sight," to the leper, "Be thou clean," to the lame man, "Take up thy bed, and walk," to the sinner, "Thy sins are forgiven, go and sin no more," to the dead, "I say unto thee, arise."
Jesus was at peace because he was engaged in demonstrating the divine facts of being -the allness of God. To us who would follow him, he said he would give peace. These were his words, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). That peace, which is a fruit of the Spirit, is ours for the claiming, but we shall obtain it only in the way Jesus did, by acknowledging the allness of God and claiming and demonstrating man's eternal oneness with Him.
Jesus interpreted divinity to humanity. He introduced to mankind a loving Father, tender enough to mark the fall of a sparrow, mighty enough to create and control a universe. He taught the Christ and demonstrated the Christ; it had human illustration in him. But the Christ is exclusive to no one; for Christ is Truth, the divine idea, manifest in overcoming sin, disease, and death, and has been expressed in some degree both before and after the time of Jesus by those who loved God. Science and Health defines "Christ" in the following words (p. 583): "CHRIST. The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error."
Every healing in Christian Science is an evidence of the presence of the Christ, for it means that the Christ, or divine manifestation of God, has come to the flesh to displace error.
It takes spiritual understanding of the oneness and allness of God to discern the Christ; it demands a willingness to subordinate a false sense of self in order to express the Christ. "I can of mine own self do nothing," Christ Jesus said (John 5:30). Humility, born of consecration to the Christ, knows that all ability and power are of God. Humility honors God by declaring with Christ Jesus the nothingness of any personal capacity or power. Those who are willing to put from them the praise of men and in complete humility to strive to demonstrate the allness of God, these, and these alone, can exercise God's power on earth; and they alone know the truth of another saying of Christ Jesus, "I and my Father are one."
We are all called on to do the works of the Christ. Jesus made this plain when he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do" (John 14:12). We are told in Science and Health (p. 494), "It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good."
We have the promise from Christ Jesus of another Comforter. He said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16). Inasmuch as Christian Science has brought a return of primitive Christian healing, we recognize in this the promised Comforter. Its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, had from her youth sought God with her whole heart; in her was fulfilled the promise of the prophet Jeremiah, "Ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). Through her search for Him, Mrs. Eddy learned to know God aright, and she turned to divine intelligence to guide her in giving this knowledge to her fellow man.
When apparently near death from an accident, Mrs. Eddy was healed through her own prayers and spiritual understanding. Upon her recovery she worked without ceasing to understand for herself and bring to humanity the knowledge of the divine law that had healed her and to show its application to human problems. To this end she wrote the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and founded and established the Christian Science movement. She has brought to humanity the peace of the Comforter.
Mrs. Eddy's work is of tremendous import to each one of us here, for if we will study the Christian Science textbook and assimilate and begin to demonstrate the ideas that are found there, it will lead us out of bondage into freedom and peace. Thousands will tell you from their own experience that these ideas are both practical and demonstrable. Those individuals who have been healed, regenerated, and redeemed by the Science she discovered gratefully acknowledge their debt to Mrs. Eddy. Millions who do not yet recognize what Christian Science has done and will do for them owe her a like debt. For, through Christian Science, according to the textbook (pp. 223, 224), "Longevity is increasing and the power of sin diminishing, for the world feels the alterative effect of truth through every pore." On page 223 of the textbook we read this prophecy: "Spiritual rationality and free thought accompany approaching Science, and cannot be put down. They will emancipate humanity, and supplant unscientific means and so-called laws."
When the Apostle Paul cited Jesus as our example, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb. 12:2), he evidently understood in large measure its significance. And we today know that Mrs. Eddy also endured what was necessary to bring to humanity the practical, demonstrable Science of Christianity. She restored to Christianity its lost element of healing and founded her church upon the works of the Christ as well as upon the words of Christ Jesus.
She says, recounting her discovery of Christian Science, in her book "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 25): "The Bible was my textbook. It answered my questions as to how I was healed; but the Scriptures had to me a new meaning, a new tongue." Perhaps one reason the Scriptures had a new voice and meaning to Mrs. Eddy was that she had so long loved and pondered them. Her thoughts of the Bible had dominated her life from earliest youth and had prepared her to receive the revelation of Christian Science.
Every Christian, whether or not he be a Christian Scientist, can truly say that the Bible has influenced his life; but it is especially true of the life of a Christian Scientist. To him the Bible is a daily companion, it guides his thoughts and impels his actions. He studies its healings as do few others, for it is incumbent upon the Scientist to heal also. To him it is a living book, its truths are a present reality, it’s commands are as authoritative as when they were uttered centuries ago. He turns to it daily for instruction and enlightenment. It reveals his God to him and instructs him how to help his fellow men.
Men need to do better thinking, to obtain inner tranquility, and to restore peace and concord to the world. All the progress humanity makes to ensure peace will be because human beings are doing better thinking, kindlier, more Christlike thinking.
Christian Science must bring peace to nations in the proportion that it brings peace to individuals. Christian Science comes to show that the welfare of one man must concern all men and that when men wholeheartedly seek their brother's good they will actually find their own.
It is the mission of Christian Science to show men how to stop the practice of evil, to show them how to heal the hate that is born of fear. Christian Science accomplishes this by probing deeper into the meaning and significance of the First Commandment, which enunciates the fact of one God or Mind. In this one Mind which is God is found the basis of mutual understanding, and where there is mutual understanding there is inevitably friendliness and cooperation.
Peace is not, and cannot be, of human origin. Divine Mind is the source of peace, and this Mind, demonstrated, will bring individual and collective peace. As we individually demonstrate the oneness of God or Mind, the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind in its peace-giving power.
The peace of God is more glorious than anything of which human consciousness can at present conceive, and we all can have our share in bringing this peace to mankind.
Let us then devote ourselves to the demonstration of the one Mind. Let us endeavor to eliminate from our thinking such obstacles to peace as petty irritations, resentment and ill will. Let us think only Godlike thoughts, let us express the love of God on earth in peace and good will to all mankind, for the expression of divine Mind in individual lives makes peace manifest among men. Mrs. Eddy sounds the keynote of universal peace in the following (Science and Health, p. 340): "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils 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." In closing, I wish to leave with you these words from II Corinthians (13:11): "Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 27, 1946.]