Christian Science: Godís Beneficent Law
John Ellis Sedman, C.S.B.,
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
John Ellis Sedman,
The law of God is very wonderful. It is a constant comfort, joy, and inspiration to those who understand it, even in part.† How could it be otherwise? God is the Supreme Being. He is the infinite Person. He is the one and only cause and creator. He is the source of all power and intelligence. He is the one divine infinite Mind. God is changeless Principle, and eternal, indestructible Life, Truth, and Love. God is the one and only Lawmaker, and His law is an infinite, changeless, perfect, beneficent law. The psalmist perceived to a degree this important fact. Hence his declaration: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
Everything beautiful and satisfying that comes into human experience points to the loving kindness of God, and indicates the beneficent activity of His perfect, changeless, spiritual law. We cannot overestimate the importance of this law, and its operations. It brings to us all blessings. It makes possible the attainment of our highest hopes and aims. We desire security, certainty, peace. To a degree, we enjoy these blessings in our daily human experiences. Why? Because there exists the perfect, changeless law of God which is the law of perpetual peace and eternal harmony. We dwell on an earth which rotates rapidly on its axis, and which moves swiftly through space. Yet our knowledge of this fact brings to us no sense of insecurity or alarm. We go to bed at night quite confident that we shall find the sun in its accustomed place in the morning. Why do we feel this certainty, peace, and security? Because we know that the heavenly bodies, the suns, planets, and satellites, move in accordance with fixed and definite rules. We know that each one journeys along its own pathway, and does not interfere with any other one. But why does this degree of harmony exist in the movements of the stars, sun, and planets? Natural science replies, because there exists a material law, the law of gravitation. But Christian Science cannot be satisfied with such an explanation. Christian Science makes plain the fact that any happy situation or beneficent result seen in human affairs points to the nature and the activity of the one infinite divine Mind. On pages 90 and 124 of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, we read these profound and instructive statements, written by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: "The earth's motion and position are sustained by Mind alone." "Spirit is the life, substance, and continuity of all things. We tread on forces. Withdraw them, and creation must collapse. Human knowledge calls them forces of matter; but divine Science declares that they belong wholly to divine Mind, are inherent in this Mind, and so restores them to their rightful home and classification."
Throughout her published writings,
Mrs. Eddy discusses and explains two realms, the realm of reality and the realm
of human belief. Down through the ages, Christian people have been interested
in the realm of reality. They have described this realm by the beautiful name
of heaven. They have believed that in heaven people find eternal peace, joy,
and satisfaction. Christian Science agrees that eternal blessings are found and
enjoyed in heaven. But where is heaven? Heaven is everywhere; because heaven is
where God is, and God is everywhere. Mrs. Eddy saw that God is not the author
of two creations, one material and temporal, the other eternal and spiritual.
She saw that the infinite and perfect God produces but one creation; and this
one creation of the one God is an infinite, perfect, eternal, spiritual
creation. The realm of the real is the realm of infinite, changeless,
indestructible Spirit. The infinitude of the perfect God and
the infinitude of His perfect creation renders impossible the actual existence
or presence anywhere of anything imperfect or unGodlike.
There are no fears in the realm of reality. There are no disappointments there.
There are no struggles, and there are no problems in heaven. In
heaven, God reigns, and there His eternal law holds undisputed sway. In
heaven everything is exactly as it should be. There everyone is happy, holy,
satisfied and free.
How are we to enter into the enjoyment of this eternal real which is so beautiful and so satisfying? Very simply, by acquainting ourselves with God. Jesus knew God and came to make him known. Christian Science fully explains and expounds Jesus' words and works. It is the Science of Christianity, which can and will heal and redeem all mankind. Christian Science is the Comforter, to which the great Master referred when he said: "The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Through the daily study and practice of Christian Science, any one who will, can acquaint himself with God and thus enter into the enjoyment of eternal peace and happiness. On page 21 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes: "If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy".
The Suppositional Realm
The view generally prevails that we now live in a material universe where material law holds sway. Christians believe that this material universe is temporary and imperfect, but that it is nevertheless the product of the infinite and perfect God. Although new views are rapidly gaining ground, most material scientists believe that the material universe is the product of material forces and laws. Christian Science explains that the material manifestation or material universe which John, in his revelation, declared must pass away, is not what it appears to be. It is not a temporary universe produced by divine Spirit; neither is it a material creation evolved by atomic force. It is instead only a bemisted sense, or misconception. It is a false theory, a false concept of creation, in which the race will cease to believe when the race becomes sufficiently enlightened.†† Human beings or mortals are not the sons of God. They are no more real than the material universe. Immortals are the children of God, who exist forever, and they dwell in the eternal realm of the real. But even mortals, as they work out their salvation, will come to recognize the fact that mortality is not the reality of being, and that God's creation, including immortal man, is a spiritual creation. Because mortals are dreamers, whatever they suppose and believe, they apparently behold. The believer in ghosts apparently sees ghosts. The believer in witches thinks he sees witches, and he believes that he may be bewitched. The whole race believed for centuries that it dwelt on a flat earth. We all have seen strange things, entirely unlike the eternal realities in our night dreams. Quite naturally then Mrs. Eddy describes the false concept of creation as the realm of supposition. On page 167 of her book, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, she writes: "The suppositional world within us separates us from the spiritual world, which is apart from matter, and unites us to one another. Spirit teaches us to resign what we are not and to understand what we are in the unity of Spirit - in that Love which is faithful, an ever-present help in trouble, which never deserts us."
The Perfection of God
The changeless perfection of God is the sure foundation upon which everything good and beautiful rests. Because God is infinite and perfect, health, holiness, happiness, beauty, harmony, and freedom are universal, eternal, indestructible realities. Because God is perfect, sin, sickness, death, pain, poverty, discord and distress have no real basis. They have no law to sustain them. They have no real cause to produce or maintain them. God's law and God's creation must be like Him. Like produces like. Never is there an exception to that simple fundamental proposition. Hence the perfection of God forever maintains and sustains the perfection of man and the universe.
Imperfection and evil are dreams, which may hide from human view the glories of true being, but which can never touch, nor mar, nor change that which is real, beautiful, good, and true. This Christian Science teaches and proves; but what Christian Science teaches on this point is not new. Centuries ago Jesus demonstrated the unreality of evil in every phase and aspect of it. Jesus never encouraged anyone to believe that there is reality or power in sin, sickness, death, pain, sorrow, poverty, or any other phase of human discord.†† Instead, he destroyed these evils with consummate ease, and thus he proved their unreality. He said of a sick woman, whom he healed, that Satan had bound her; and he described Satan as a liar and the father of lies, in whom no truth or reality can ever be found.
Jesus knew, and he taught and proved that ignorance of God is all that hides from humanity the glories of God, and the changeless perfection of the real man and the real universe. He said, "O righteous Father, the world has not known thee; but I have known thee." Jesus knew that the eternal truth which he exemplified can and eventually will dispel all human ignorance and superstition. Revealed truth can and it will heal and redeem the entire race.
Christendom has always admitted that Christ Jesus is the Son of God. Christians have always recognized in Jesus, the wisest, the best, the kindest and purest man who ever trod this earth. In some instances, Christians have perceived the fearlessness of Jesus, and they have honored him as the strongest individual the world has ever known. But it remained for Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, to see and to proclaim the all-important fact that Jesus was a Scientist, the Master Scientist as well as the Master Christian.
God Is Divine Principle
A pronounced error of the human mind is seen in its persistent endeavors to separate inseparable things. This tendency has a natural explanation. The very belief that there exists a mind apart from God is based upon the belief that Mind itself can be split up, or divided into minds many; when the fact is that Mind is forever one and indivisible, because God is the one and only Mind. This tendency of the human mind to try to separate inseparable things caused the human race to believe for centuries that the healing of sickness is quite different from the healing of sin. But Jesus knew, taught and proved that the same law and the same method must be employed in healing both sin and sickness. Just before he healed the man sick of the palsy, as recorded in the ninth chapter of Matthew, Jesus said: "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk?" It has always been true, and it is true today, that only those who know how to heal sickness know how to heal sin; and only those who know how to heal sin, know how to heal sickness. Just as the human race has attempted to keep separate religion and medicine, so it attempts to keep separate religion and Science. But the fact is that true religion and true Science can never be separated, because they both rest upon the same changeless Principle. When she discovered and founded Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy saw and proved concerning Principle many vital facts which no one else had ever previously presented to mankind. These vital facts were exemplified and proved in the life and works of Christ Jesus, but the race neither perceived nor understood them. Mrs. Eddy saw that there can be but one Principle and that this one infinite divine Principle underlies, bases and supports all true law and all true being. She saw that all real law is the product of Mind or intelligence. She saw that there can be, in reality, no such thing as unconscious Principle and no such thing as unprincipled or changeable consciousness. She saw that Mind and cause, Principle and creator, Lawmaker and Love, are forever one and the same, and this infinite One is the self-existent, ever-conscious, ever-active, ever-loving Supreme Being, the one eternal, all-wise, law-producing, law-abiding God. Mrs. Eddy saw that just as a student of mathematics can solve any mathematical problem which confronts him, provided he understands the law of mathematics well enough; so Christ Jesus could heal with unfailing certainty, because he obeyed and utilized the infinite and perfect law of the infinite and perfect God, whom he loved and understood.
Anyone who reads the Bible thoughtfully cannot fail to note the tremendous importance attached to divine healing in that great book. Wherever our Master and Way-shower, Christ Jesus, went when he was carrying on his ministry, he healed the sick, comforted the sorrowing, and raised the dead. The Scriptures indicate that Jesus often healed dozens, scores, perhaps hundreds and hundreds and thousands in a single day. He healed every form of sickness and disease. He never failed. No man, woman or child ever appealed to Christ Jesus for healing in vain. Therein lies one of the most remarkable and encouraging facts recorded in the long history of mankind.
But not only could Jesus heal, he could also teach others how to heal. He instructed seventy disciples for a brief period, and then sent them by twos into certain cities and villages with instructions to heal the sick and sinning therein. When the seventy returned, they reported not one failure. Everyone came back to Jesus rejoicing in success. The healing record of Jesus' apostles, as recorded in the book of Acts, is a glorious record. When he gave his final instructions to his disciples, and to his followers in all ages to come, Jesus said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
The first clear glorious glimpse of Christian Science which dawned upon the consciousness of Mary Baker Eddy brought to her prompt deliverance from conditions regarded as inevitably fatal by the best medical skill obtainable. Mrs. Eddy then pressed on, with the Bible as her only textbook, until she completed her discovery of this great Science. After she had thoroughly tested and proved the value and the truth of her discovery, she gave it to the world in her book, Science and Health. This book she first published in 1875. She revised this book many times, and with each revision she increased the clarity of its statements. In this book she sets forth the Science of Christianity so clearly and so adequately that no further revelation of this Science will ever be necessary for the complete redemption of mankind. Hence her statement, found on page 174 of Science and Health, "Truth is revealed. It needs only to be practiced." The Bible and Science and Health are and always will be the only textbooks of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy's success in her own healing work was remarkable. This fact was due to the completely unselfish nature of her motives, and to her profound spiritual understanding. She healed many diseases instantaneously. She proved there is no such thing as an incurable disease. She proved that God loves His creation, and keeps it forever intact. She proved that a knowledge of this fact dispels every aspect of human discord and distress. Her influence upon individuals, as well as upon the race, was ever uplifting, comforting, inspiring. A newspaper correspondent, who interviewed her, has left this record of his experience: "On the evening that I first met Mrs. Eddy by her hospitable courtesy, I went to her peculiarly fatigued. I came away in a state of exhilaration and energy that made me feel I could have walked any conceivable distance. I have met Mrs. Eddy many times since then, and always with this experience repeated."
Today, in all parts of the world, her followers are healing the sick, uplifting the sinning, comforting the sorrowing, through their utilization of divine power. No one can measure the benefits that are reaching mankind as a result of this Christian activity. Constantly this work broadens and deepens; for these workers are daily and diligent students of the Bible and its Key, Science and Health. It is their constant prayer that they may love and serve mankind more, and true prayers are answered. Slowly, perhaps, but surely these faithful workers are bringing to fulfillment the hope expressed by their inspired Leader, on page 367 of Science and Health. There Mrs. Eddy writes: "The infinite Truth of the Christ-cure has come to this age through a 'still small voice', through silent utterances and divine anointing which quicken and increase the beneficial effects of Christianity. I long to see the consummation of my hope; namely, the student's higher attainments in this line of light".
Miracles or Marvels
At the time when Christian Science was discovered, Christian people held divergent views concerning the miracles or marvels recorded in the Bible. Some maintained that nothing supernatural can ever occur, that nothing can take place contrary to law, that many marvelous incidents related in the Bible have no logical explanation and consequently could not have transpired. Another group held that to discard the marvels of the Bible, meant to lose its deepest significance, and in the end to abandon the Bible itself. Christian Science settles this question for all sincere seekers of eternal Truth. Christian Science shows clearly that no greater mistake could be made than to discard as untrue the glorious marvels or miracles set forth in the Scriptures for noble deeds are grander than noble words, and "faith without works is dead". But Christian Science agrees that nothing can happen contrary to real fundamental law. Christian Science makes as plain as day the fact the every marvel or miracle described in the Bible simply illustrated the operation of God's law, setting-aside and proving null and void a spurious false sense of law. On page 134 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes: "A miracle fulfils God's law, but does not violate that law".
When we sufficiently understand God's law, we see that every marvel recorded in the Bible was an entirely natural occurrence. People ignorant of God's law, find it difficult to believe many beautiful incidents recorded in the Scriptures, because they trust material law, so-called, and do not understand and trust the law of God. The law of God is a spiritual law. It is the law of divine Love. It is the law of infinite intelligence or divine Mind. Consequently, the law of God always operates to bring to pass that which intelligence and love sanction and approve. Material law, on the contrary, is supposed to act in a blind, unintelligent way, and it is ruthlessly cruel in its operations. Behind material law supposedly stands unintelligent matter, or mortal mind. How could such law ever operate to bring about kind and wise results? Before we can have intelligence and kindness we must have conscious being, and only the conscious Supreme Being can manifest divine Love. Because God, the infinite Supreme Being, is the only Lawmaker, the only law there can be is the law of perfect wisdom and perfect love. This law is beautifully exemplified in the miracles of the Bible. Was it just and right for Daniel to be safe in the lions' den? Beyond a doubt. He had wronged no man. He had done his work faithfully and well. He had only goodwill in his heart towards every living creature. He trusted and obeyed his God. Quite naturally then the law of God, which is ever the law of mercy and justice, operated to render Daniel safe and secure on that memorable night when he was locked in the lions' den.
Here arises a question of deep
importance. Where did Daniel place his trust that night when he sojourned with
lions? Daniel did not trust in material law. He did not rely upon human ways
and means. His trust was centered in God, who blesses man with all blessings,
and the angels of God ministered to him. We all need justice and mercy, and we
find them when we seek them in God and in His law. Jesus' trust was centered in
God when he fed the multitudes in the wilderness and Jesus knew that God's law
produces and maintains abundance. Moses was trusting
God and looked to Him for guidance and strength when the
Progress and Law
The law of God causes progress. Whenever we see human beings making true progress, we may know that the power of God operating through divine law is impelling and compelling this spiritual growth. On page 206 of her book, Miscellaneous Writings, Mrs. Eddy says: "Growth is governed by intelligence; by the active, all-wise, law-creating, law-disciplining, law-abiding Principle, God. The real Christian Scientist is constantly accentuating harmony in word and deed, mentally and orally, perpetually repeating this diapason of heaven: 'Good is my God, and my God is good. Love is my God, and my God is Love.' "
God holds absolute sway in the
realm of reality. The perfect law-abiding, law-producing, Supreme Being directs
and consciously governs everything that is real. But the all-knowing God does
not take cognizance of mortal affairs. Mortals are dreamers, and the infinite
God, who is ever active and awake, neither dreams nor cognizes dreams nor
dreamers. But God's law does reach the dreamers or mortals. This law improves
the thinking of human beings and awakens them from their dreams. On page 208 of
Miscellaneous Writings Mrs. Eddy says: "God is All,
and by virtue of this nature and allness, he is cognizant only of good. Like a
legislative bill that governs millions of mortals whom the legislators know
not, the universal law of God has no knowledge of evil, and enters unconsciously
the human heart and governs it." Consequently, it is invariably true that
whenever we see human beings enjoying a large measure of real peace, health and
happiness, it is because they are not resisting the law of God, but responding
to it and willingly allowing it to govern them and their affairs.† On the other hand, the discord which appears
in the experiences of individuals is due often to the fact that these individuals
are resisting the divine law. The brief but valuable book of Jonah emphasizes
this point. A divine leading came to Jonah, urging him to go to
Law and Eternal Beauty
The law of God produces perpetual, eternal, and indestructible beauty.† All true beauty is in and of God. God expresses Himself in His creation, and everything that He creates is eternally and perpetually beautiful. God cannot produce anything unlovely and He produces everything that is real.
In what we behold in our every day experiences, how much that is beautiful appears. The beauty of the children, the nobility of men and women, the glory of a waterfall, the grandeur of the mountains, lakes and rivers, the exquisite loveliness of flowers, the gorgeous beauty of a sunset, how much these things add to our happiness. And they speak to us of God's boundless love; for the beauty and grandeur seen in our temporal universe appear because of the glorious beauty of God's perfect creation, which the material world but feebly imitates or counterfeits. The eternal beauty of the real spiritual creation God directly produces and maintains, and how wonderful it must be. On page 247 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes: "Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.† It is Love which paints the petals with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems and covers earth with loveliness."
The law of God yields abundance. How often this fact has been proved! Moses proved it when water flowed from the rock, and manna fell from the sky to meet the needs of his people. Jesus proved it when he changed the water into wine, and when he fed the multitudes in the wilderness. All down through the ages people have proved in some degree that God's law produces abundance, and many are proving this fact today.
God's children can never lack any good thing. God is infinite in power, wisdom and love. His love for His children is boundless and ceaseless, and He bestows all blessings upon them ceaselessly and eternally. A knowledge of this fact casts out of human consciousness the false belief in lack and loss. It follows naturally and inevitably that as people learn to understand and obey God, they gain a sense of increased freedom and affluence.
God's law maintains eternal and universal happiness. Everyone desires happiness. Everyone needs it; and everyone can attain true and lasting happiness. God does not withhold any good thing from any of His children. He loves and blesses them all. Only cruelty or pettiness would keep happiness, joy, and freedom from anyone; and God is never petty nor cruel. God is Love; and because He is Love He includes within Himself all joy and bliss, and imparts bliss and joy ceaselessly to all His creatures. Hence, the man of God's creating is ever a happy man. He is forever rejoicing in the changeless perfection of God, and in the indestructible and satisfying perfection of God's infinite creation. When mortals perceive this fact, they see that they do not have to believe in unhappiness, but can rejoice instead in the eternal real. On this point Christian Scientists have wise counsel from their Leader. On page ten of her sermon, Christian Healing, Mrs.† Eddy writes: "If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and you will win or lose according to your plea."
Health and Longevity
God's law sustains perpetual, universal, and indestructible health. Mortals believe in laws of sickness, but there are no such laws. Christian Science heals every phase and aspect of sickness; and in every case it heals, it proves that sickness is unreal and powerless. Only that which God produces can really exist, and God does not produce inharmony or discord of any kind. God is eternally harmonious, and His law produces perpetual harmony. Health is a quality of God, and God is everywhere. Hence health is ever-present, real, and eternal. It is manifested in all God's creatures. It is a quality of the very being of every child of God. Consequently health is an eternal and indestructible quality of your real being. Knowing this, you can enjoy complete and perfect health here and now.
God's law promotes and maintains competency and freedom. God never produces old age, weakness, weariness, nor decrepitude, and we do not have to believe in them. God is eternally free and ceaselessly active. His nature is expressed in His creation and in His law.† Because God never wearies, man in God's image never tires, but rests, as God does, in harmonious freedom and action. Human beings are sustained and refreshed by useful work, because the law of God supports and impels right activity. The Bible writer perceived this fact when he wrote "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
When Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science she clearly saw that the Bible teaches that old age, decrepitude, and death itself are unrealities which God does not and cannot produce, and which mankind must eventually overcome through utilizing divine power. Ever since her discovery, longevity has been rapidly increasing. On page 246 of Science and Health, she writes, "Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than three score years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness."
Law and Freedom
Immortal man, the man of God, is a free man. Bondage is unknown to God; freedom is one of His eternal qualities. Consequently bondage is unknown to the real man, and man made in God's image is eternally free. Mortals are in bondage to false beliefs and they can and will be liberated. The beneficent law of God will effect this change. Salvation is universal, inevitable. Material law seems to enslave and hamper people. But this false concept of law is spurious, and powerless, and it can and will be proved so. Paul proclaimed this fact when he wrote: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." In every Christian land, Christian people pray daily that greatest of all prayers, The Lord's Prayer, which contains the petition: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." God's will must eventually reign supreme everywhere on earth. Then health, happiness, peace and freedom will be universally understood and enjoyed.
The time has come for me to close. In doing so, may I leave with you a few facts?† Remember that you need to keep ever in mind the changeless perfection of God.† Remember that in your real being, you are a child of God. Consequently you are spiritual, eternal and indestructible. You always have existed and you always will exist; for God's entire creation coexists with Him. As a child of God you are dear and essential to God, and you are dear and essential to every creature of God, and every creature of God is dear and essential to you. Remember that you are under the law of God, and the law of God is the only real law. This perfect law is the law of health to you and to all mankind. It is the law of peace, freedom, happiness and abundance now and forever. How often most of us think of that statement of the psalmist, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Divine Love is your shepherd and never shall you want; for the one eternal and perfect God meets all your needs, and blesses you with all blessings ceaselessly and eternally.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 23, 1936.]