Christian Science: The Science of Indestructible Good

 

John Ellis Sedman, C.S., of Los Angeles, California

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

John Ellis Sedman, C.S., of Los Angeles, Calif., opened the Christian Science lecture season here last night when he spoke on "Christian Science: The Science of Indestructible Good" at Cadle Tabernacle under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis. Mr. Sedman, who is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., was introduced by Mrs. Lura W. Broadbridge. His lecture follows in full:

 

No more comforting or reassuring message ever reached human ears than the compassionate appeal which Jesus made when he said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Humanity has always seemed to stagger under heavy burdens. Jesus came to lift the burdens from off the shoulders of all men. He came to show the way of escape from everything that hampers, hinders, limits and binds. He came to reveal the way that leads into ever-lasting peace, joy and freedom. He truly declared, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

When Jesus presented his teaching, many were willing to listen and to follow him. Otherwise he would not have come. But many others were not yet ready to receive the eternal truth which he presented, and they resisted the spread of that truth, and fought Jesus and his true followers at every turn of the way. Those who listened and obeyed, and they were a vast multitude, followed Jesus onward and upward, along that way which leads out of all human discord into the light of everlasting day. But because the world as a whole was neither ready nor willing to accept the facts of being which Jesus revealed, gradually his teaching was lost from human view to be discovered again when the time was ripe and the world more ready. That momentous hour arrived in the last half of the last century. Prepared for her work by God, inspired and impelled by Him, Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science in 1866; and after demonstrating the value and the truth of her teaching, she gave her discovery to the world in 1875, when she published the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health." From cover to cover of that remarkable book, as throughout all her published writings, Mrs. Eddy sets forth and advocates no teaching nor philosophy other than the pure Science of God, which Jesus preached and practiced when be taught and healed in Palestine. On page 138 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Our Master said to every follower: 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature! . . . Heal the sick! . . . Love thy neighbor as thyself!' It was this theology of Jesus which healed the sick and the sinning. It is his theology in this book and the spiritual meaning of this theology, which heals the sick and causes the wicked to 'forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.' It was our Master's theology which the impious sought to destroy."

Christian Science is a subject of such vast proportions that it cannot be dealt with in a comprehensive way in a brief address. At this time I desire to call your attention especially to that aspect of Christian Science which makes plain the indestructible nature of good. When we look out over the world, and mark the problems which confront humanity, we can easily see that no teaching can lift the burdens from the shoulders of men, unless it can make plain the fact that the discords and distresses of the race have no foundation in God's infinite plan. All the fears which beset humanity can be traced to the prevailing belief that health can be impaired, diminished, destroyed. When happy, they fear lest happiness be displaced by sorrow. People fear for their faculties, because they believe that mind can be injured. They fear concerning their friendships, because they believe that friendship is something which begins and consequently may end. People fear concerning their supply of necessary things, because they believe that supply may be curtailed or entirely cut off. Men fear that they may be displaced, and no longer have good and useful positions to fill. They fear even for life itself, because they believe life to be destructible. Christian Science comes putting to rout all such fears with the comforting assurance that good is, always has been, and ever will be indestructible. There is no such thing as destructible or perishable good. Our concepts of good may vary and change, but the good itself remains forever the same immutable, imperishable good.

What is good? We can give a simple and yet profound answer to that question in one word, God. God is good, infinite, ever-present, indestructible good, existing at the standpoint of causation. God's creation is good, infinite, eternal, indestructible good, existing at the standpoint of effect, forever produced and forever sustained by God. All Christian thinkers agree with the inspired teaching of the Bible that God is the one and only cause and creator. God is admittedly eternal, infinite, and perfect. Obviously then, God can have within Himself no destructive element. Now, like produces like; that simple proposition bases all true logic. It follows that since there is no destructive element in God, there can be no destructive element in that which God creates. Hence, the demonstrable fact that everything that God produces is as eternal and indestructible as God himself.

Everyone agrees that good and evil are opposites. Honesty and dishonesty are opposites. Love and hate, holiness and unholiness, sickness and health, happiness and unhappiness, harmony and discord are opposites. Mrs. Eddy was led by God to see that since good and evil are opposites, only one of them can be real. She saw that since the perfect God obviously produces the real good, then evil, the opposite of good, cannot come from God and must be unreal. No one has ever been able to explain how a perfect God could create evil; and no one has ever been able to explain how evil can exist as a reality if God is perfect and omnipotent. Christian Science t††††††††††† akes its stand squarely on this proposition and teaches that the perfect and omnipotent God cannot, and does not, produce evil of any sort, and that consequently evil is that which may be supposed to exist, but which actually has no existence. Then Christian Science proceeds to make good its irresistible logic on this point by irrefutable proof. Centuries ago Jesus taught and demonstrated the unreality of evil. He taught and proved that sin, sickness, and death are unreal and powerless. The people of his day thought of leprosy as terrible reality, a mighty power capable of destroying the health and the life of a man. Jesus proved their view to be utterly false when he healed ten lepers at one time. He healed every form of sickness, and did it instantaneously. He never failed in a single instance. If leprosy had been a reality, Jesus could not have destroyed it. He destroyed leprosy with perfect ease, because he knew that God never made leprosy nor any other form of evil. Jesus knew that the race believed in evil, and needed to be healed of that false belief. Today Christian Science is healing all forms of sickness and discord on the basis of God's omnipotence and God's infinite goodness. Thus Christian Science is proving today, as Jesus did, that evil is unreal and powerless.

 

Health Is Indestructible

What would not the world give to find a health that is indestructible? Everyone desires health. Everyone needs it. Good health is a priceless blessing. One day, many years ago, I was taking a trip on an old-fashioned stage coach drawn by four horses. On the seat with me sat two men who conversed freely, and quite inevitably I heard their entire conversation. One of these men was a business man, a very successful man. He owned the stage line and the stage in which we were traveling. He owned hotels and other valuable properties. The other man was a lawyer of eminence in that state. He had prospered, and he had been honored by his fellow citizens. He had once served the people as their governor. He was loved and respected for the valuable service he had rendered. Both of these men were unhappy, and they talked of their unhappiness. They were longing for good health. They believed they had once enjoyed good health, but that they had lost it. One of them said to the other: "You have prospered, you have made money, but you would give every dollar you have, and every dollar you have ever made, if it would bring to you good health, even that measure of good health which you were enjoying ten years ago. Is not that a fact?" Without hesitation, the man addressed replied with a vigorous affirmative. They were of one mind in their attitude that they would gladly give up every material thing they possessed if by so doing they could gain good health. They did not talk to me, and I found no opportunity to tell them of the message which Christian Science brings, but I took comfort then in knowing that each one of these men already had the blessing he longed for as an eternal, irrevocable gift from God, and that, sooner or later, each one would become aware of that glorious fact.

What is health? Well, it is not a material condition and it does not rest upon matter as its foundation. People will continue to believe that they can lose their good so long as they place that good on a material foundation. But all the while the fact is that the good rests upon a spiritual foundation. Health is spiritual. It is a quality of God, and God is infinite Spirit. Health is eternal, universal, and indestructible. It is an inherent quality of every creature which God produces. You have health because God is forever harmonious, and you reflect Him. Your health is an inherent quality of your very being. It is eternal and indestructible, because you as a child of God are eternal and indestructible, and you are eternal and indestructible, because God is eternal and indestructible, and He forever sustains and preserves you. We never lose our health. It can never be diminished or impaired. It is with us wherever we are, and it is ours to enjoy forever and forever without interruption.

Sickness cannot destroy health, it cannot diminish or displace health. It is not produced by matter. Sickness is a mental delusion. Sickness is sickly thinking. Now there is no sickly thinking in God, nor in Godís creation. Mortals, taught to believe in sickness, think in a sickly fashion, and a sickly state of mind manifests itself in an inharmonious human body. But only God's thoughts are true, and whatever is unGodlike is untrue, unreal, and unnecessary. Man in God's image and likeness receives all his thoughts from God, and he cognizes only that which God produces and cognizes. Consequently, man in God's image never entertains sickly thoughts, and he is never sick. When mortals entertain sickly thoughts, that false thinking hides from them the ever-present and universal health, just as a mist or fog hides from our view the sun. As soon as sickly thinking is cast out of human consciousness by the truth of being, the sense of sickness vanishes into its native nothingness and then health is seen.

 

Evil Cannot Destroy Good

We cannot remind ourselves too often of the fact that evil never destroys good. Evil is unreal, temporary, destructible. Good is real, everpresent, eternal, and indestructible. Evil, believed in, hides the good from human view, and that is the worst that evil can do. Where is evil? In the divine Mind or God? Certainly not. The Bible and Christian Science make plain the fact that there is no evil in God, and that God never cognizes evil in any form. Evil is found only in the realm of unreality, or, in other words, in erring human consciousness. If a human being believes in some evil, then that particular aspect of evil seems to him to exist, but when he sees evil in its true light as nothing, what then becomes of that evil in which he believed? It vanishes; and if he has seen the truth involved clearly enough, that particular evil vanishes forever, so far as he is concerned, never to come into his experience again. For example, if a little boy, ignorant of the multiplication table, is told that two times two equals five, and believes it, then at that stage of things it appears to him that there exists an actuality called two times two equals five; but when that little boy learns that two times two equals four, then two times two equals five becomes to him a falsity which never really existed for a moment. In a similar way, if a human being believes in ghosts, then he may apparently see ghosts, and they may appear to him as terrible realities.But when he learns that there are no ghosts, because God does not and cannot make such things, then his belief in ghosts forever vanishes, and he realizes that he never was in danger from ghosts, but was always safe in God's eternal care. So it is with all of us. Whatever would terrify us is a ghost, a falsity, a dream; and remember that all dreams come to an end. Evil can never destroy good, but evil is self-destructive. When a night dream reaches a point where it seems more than we can bear, what happens? Invariably we awaken, then we say, Oh, that was nothing but a dream.

Does something ominous seem to threaten you, dear listener? Remember it is a dream. Whatever claims power to do you harm has no support from God, nor from God's law. It is a myth; and its mythical nature is bound, sooner or later, to become apparent to you. Put your trust in God and in His Science, and this Science will make plain to you the perfection of being and the nothingness of evil. Did not Jesus say for the comfort of his disciples, and for our comfort, "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh"?

Those words took on a deeper meaning to me, many years ago, when I witnessed the healing, through Christian Science, of an intimate personal friend. This friend was a bright young man, energetic, alert, quick of perception, and possessed of a keen sense of humor. He smiled and laughed easily. He used to confide in me his highest hopes, and his greatest fears. At that time, like Job of old, there was something which he greatly feared might come upon him. Regarding himself as high-strung, he was afraid that sometime he would overwork, and suffer a mental and physical breakdown. I often noticed that when he talked on that subject, not the trace of a smile ever came to his features. Then the thing he feared came upon him. This occurred about the middle of his senior year in college. He at first turned to materia medica for assistance, and was assured by competent physicians that he could not safely return to college until two years, or more, had passed. Then he put his trust in Christian Science, and experienced one of the most beautiful healings it has ever been my lot to witness. He grew rapidly spiritually, he grew mentally and physically. He returned to college, made up his back work, passed his examinations, and took his degree with his class. He accomplished it all with an ease and a happiness which was comforting and inspiring to his friends. After his healing he used to talk freely of the various aspects of his experience, and often when he referred to humorous incidents, he would laugh so heartily that tears would literally appear on his eyelashes. Again and again at those times, I found myself thinking of Jesus' words, "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh."

We all have times when we feel hard pressed: We have times when it seems as though our burdens are more than we can bear. It is good at such times to remember that statement of the Master, "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh." Evil is always unreal and powerless. It may hide from us the good temporarily, but as we work on, patiently trusting God, watching and praying, sooner or later the nothingness of error becomes apparent to us. We behold the everpresent, indestructible good which God is always producing and sustaining. We see how God has blessed us, and how He is blessing us. Then we are able to laugh with true joyous laughter in the sunshine of God's infinite love, and His generous and ceaseless care for all His children.

We are all familiar with the saying, "The darkest hour precedes the dawn." Those must have been dark hours indeed in the experience of Mary Baker Eddy which immediately preceded her first clear glimpse of Christian Science. She had met with a serious accident and all material means had failed to bring any comfort or relief. The attitude of those about her was one of grief, pessimism, and gloom. They believed that her period of usefulness here was drawing to a certain and tragic end. But when all human means have failed, God's law still remains, the same perfect, mighty, irresistible power, which always operates to heal, to comfort, and to redeem. Suddenly Mrs. Eddy felt the presence and power of that law, operating in her consciousness. She asked to be left alone with her God and her Bible. She opened the sacred volume and read the first part of the ninth chapter of Matthew. As she read there the glowing account of Jesus' healing of the man sick of the palsy, great, far-reaching, fundamental truths dawned upon her consciousness. She realized as never before the omnipotence of God, and the powerless, yea, the nothingness, of every phase and aspect of evil. She was comforted, uplifted, healed. She had touched the hem of Christ's garment. She had caught her first glimpse of Christian Science. She arose, dressed herself, and from that time on she enjoyed better health than she had known before.

Nine years later she published the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health. Not only does that book explain how Mrs. Eddy's healing occurred, but it so clearly, adequately, and accurately sets forth the Science of Christ-healing that just through reading that book people have been healed of all sorts of diseases. People have taken that book and just through reading portions of it to others, have healed them of extreme conditions of sickness. Science and Health has proved itself, and is daily proving itself to be the book which unlocks the Scriptures. It makes known the Science of being which Jesus preached and practiced, and which can and will heal and redeem the entire human race.

 

God Is Man's Eternal Preserver

Not only does God create everything which has actual existence, but He eternally preserves His creation. God needs His entire creation. He cannot spare one jot of it. He loves it all. He blesses it all. He keeps it forever intact. God forever governs His creation. He forever beholds His infinite and perfect work, and He eternally rejoices in that which He beholds; for therein He expresses His own infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. God is man's eternal preserver. He forever preserves, loves, and blesses you. Learn to think of God as your eternal preserver. Mrs. Eddy has done so many wonderful things for her followers, and for all mankind, that not all the Christian Scientists on earth combined are capable of doing full justice to her life, her character, and her work. Many of you are students of the Lesson-Sermons found in the Christian Science Quarterly. There you study passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." There you are fed by the Word of God, and that Word is not hidden from you by false doctrines or human opinions. As most of you know, Mrs. Eddy instituted that form of Sunday service wherein the sermon is read from the Bible and Science Health. Many of you know that she selected the twenty-six subjects which are used for the Lesson-Sermons which are found in the Christian Science Quarterly and which are read in Christian Science churches all over the world. One of those subjects is, "God, the Preserver of Man." What a subject that is for a sermon! How valuable and how necessary it is! When studying that Lesson-Sermon you may have noted sometimes this passage from page 550 of Science and Health, "God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men." Mrs. Eddy was led by God to see just what the race needed for its comfort and for its deliverance. How persistently false doctrines put forth the delusion that there is something which can destroy life and happiness. How persistently false philosophies and false theology have represented God Himself as the producer of all kinds of discords and dangers which could threaten the welfare and the life of His own creatures. How valuable is the instruction set forth in this sermon entitled, "God, the Preserver of Man."

Love always preserves and protects. God is Love, and all His creatures express His love. He loves them and they love Him, and they love one another. God is the divine Mind, and in the divine Mind there is no destructive element. Emerson, in one of his poems, uttered a truth of deep importance when he said, "Goodwill is intelligence."†† God, the divine Mind, is always intelligent, and His will is always the goodwill of the perfect creator who forever loves, and blesses, and sustains His creation. God's creatures, governed by Him, manifest only goodwill, usefulness, and appreciation for one another. Each creature of God is essential, and knows it. Each child of God needs every other child of God, and is aware of this fact. Each one rejoices in the good of all.

The belief in harmful things, and harmful creatures, is solely a product of the carnal mind. This false belief, like every other false belief, will vanish when God and His Christ are fully understood. Isaiah, the great prophet of the Messianic work, clearly perceived this fact. He saw that there will come a time when all belief in enmity and destructiveness will be purged from human consciousness through the operation of eternal truth. He saw that then the wolf can dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid, that the cow and the bear may feed together, and a little child may lead them all. He foresaw the day when "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

In the days of William Shakespeare people were taught to fear ghosts. The young men in the universities were carefully instructed just how they should address a ghost in order to avoid offending the ghost that might be a friend and have something valuable to communicate, while at the same time avoiding the danger of coming under the malign influence of a ghost that was hostile and intent upon doing harm. When the ghost appeared to the three watchers in "Hamlet," you will remember that Horatio was asked to speak to it; for he had just come from the University of Wittenberg, and there he had been instructed concerning ghosts. Today the race has laid aside its ghosts, but it believes in other things deemed equally as illusive and dangerous. At our universities today, the student is not instructed in the etiquette of ghosts, but he may be taught to watch his step when associating with microbes.

A student of Christian Science once had this experience. He was employed as a chemist, and his work consisted in testing coal and flour to see if they came up to the specifications made in the contracts under which they were bought and sold. In a laboratory near him was a man employed as a bacteriologist. This man entered the laboratory of the Christian Scientist one day, and put to him this question: "What do you Christian Scientists do to microbes?" Then he added, "You cannot say that they do not exist, when I see millions of them every day through my microscopes; and they are vicious and voracious and inimical to the welfare of man." The Christian Scientist did not at first take the question seriously, but when it was repeated on a number of different occasions, he realized that there lay back of that question a yearning for something which only Christian Science could supply. When he recognized this fact he earnestly prayed that he might be divinely led to say the right thing in the right way. He had asked the bacteriologist if he believed an infinite God, in His infinite wisdom, would create man as His highest creature, and then create a host of microscopic creatures to destroy His greatest and highest work. But this line of reasoning had not appealed to the bacteriologist, and consequently it had not proved helpful.

Do not overlook one point involved right here, my friends. If we would help others to understand God and His Christ, it is not enough that we say something good and true. We must say just the right thing, we must say it in just the right way, and we must say it at just the right time, if we would bless others, and bring to them something of that peace of mind and comfort which Christian Science has brought to us. How can we say the right thing at the right time and in the right way? Only by being guided and governed by God, the divine Mind. There is no other way. Jesus did his work always under God's guidance, and he always met the needs of those who turned to him for help. Mrs. Eddy's way was the same way. Her absolute reliance upon God enabled her to do the many useful things she has done for us and all mankind.

Soon after the Christian Scientist had turned to God in prayer, seeking divine guidance, this question concerning microbes was propounded to him again; and he met it in this way. He said to the bacteriologist: "According to the prevailing theories concerning microbes, they are all about us, they are in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in the food we eat. You say they are vicious, voracious, and inimical to the welfare of man. Yet here you are, and here I am. We are both in excellent health, and we are both about thirty years of age. How do you account for that fact? Why have not microbes destroyed us long ago?" The bacteriologist replied, "I account for that fact in this way: So long as a man is in his normal state, he is immune to the attack of microbes. It is only when he is thrown off his balance, becomes depleted, or in some way abnormal, that the microbes can successfully attack him, and do him harm." Then the Christian Scientist said: "Right there you have the answer to your question. Christian Science makes known the man who is always normal, and you will readily see that that man is always immune to the attack of microbes." The answer apparently satisfied, and the question was never propounded again.

Could you imagine Elisha or Daniel or Jesus or Paul being afraid of microbes? Paul was unafraid and unharmed when a viper fastened itself upon his hand. Elisha was unafraid and safe when an army surrounded Dothan where he dwelt, with instructions to capture him. Daniel was unafraid and secure in the lions' den; Jesus touched a leper before he healed him. Jesus stilled the tempest, raised the dead, overcame death and the grave. All of these men knew something which the race needs to know today, and which Christian Science makes plain. All of these men understood God's infinite goodness, and omnipotent power; and they all knew that God never made a harmful thing, nor a harmful creature.This understanding not only brings peace of mind and perfect security, but it also enables one to heal and bless others. On page 514 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions' den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless. All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible.A realization of this grand verity was a source of strength to the ancient worthies. It supports Christian healing, and enables its possessor to emulate the example of Jesus. 'And God saw that, it was good.' "

 

Holiness Is Indestructible

When Jesus' disciples very earnestly asked him who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he took a little child and set him in their midst and said: "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." How wonderful is the heavenly sweetness which reaches us through the pure consciousness of a little child. Would it not be terrible indeed if that sweetness could be lost or destroyed? Many people think it can be, but Christian Science shows that it cannot. Whenever we see purity, sweetness, goodness anywhere, they point us to God, the source and preserver of all good. Good is indestructible; and goodness is indestructible. Sin hides goodness, but it never destroys it. The sweetness and purity of a little child show that it is natural for people to be good. God is everywhere, and His creation is ever present. Holiness is universal. It is of God, and is manifested in and through everything that God creates. The goodness seen in a little child points to the grand fact that goodness is real and eternal, and to the fact that nothing hides from our view now the eternal holiness inherent in all God's creatures, except a false theory of life and being which we entertain.

The good seems natural to a little child. It seems real to him and it is easy for him to believe in the good and rejoice in it. The reason for this fact is that good is real and natural; and the little child has not yet been taught to believe otherwise. He has not yet "learned" in the false theory of life which so often makes the adult believe that evil is real and natural. Christian Science makes plain the comforting fact that the goodness which appears in childhood is not destroyed by the passing of years and the gaining of experience in false ways and false teachings. It is only hidden; and in due time the spiritual eternal goodness which constitutes the very ego of the child of God will appear in all its glory.

Jesus taught his disciples that they must become as little children if they would enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now comes the question, Did Jesus' disciples succeed in doing that which he told them they must do? They most assuredly did; for they followed him onward and upward into the realm of eternal reality, where God forever reigns, where sin and sickness are unknown, and where health and holiness appear in the everlasting and changeless grandeur of perfect being. Every one of us and every member of the human race is going to succeed in doing just what the disciples did. We are all going to awaken to behold the eternal glories of everlasting and perfect being. Sooner or later, we must all take the steps which lead us into the enjoyment of eternal and changeless harmony. It is God's purpose that we should do so, and nothing can prevent the fulfillment of the beneficent purposes of God. Those of us who are active students of Christian Science find that each day we trust evil a little less, and love and trust the good a little more. In this we are following in the footsteps of our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, and in the footsteps of our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy. We are not taking these steps through some power or some volition of our own. We are being impelled onward and upward by the operation of God's law, which enters human consciousness and takes away its belief in evil and causes it to trust in good. It is God who takes care of us. It is God, through the operation of His changeless and beneficent law, who saves and heals, -enlightens and regenerates us.

Faithful Abraham sought God and found Him. At first Abraham may have though it was a volition of his own which impelled him to seek God. But later he unquestionably saw what Mrs. Eddy has explained, and what everyone will some day see, that every impulsion which leads an individual Godward indicates the operation of God's law and the activity of His divine and holy purposes. In the Glossary of Science and Health, where Mrs. Eddy gives the metaphysical significance or spiritual import of certain terms, including many Bible terms, she writes of Abraham (p. 679): "This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding."

 

Man's Unalterable Innocency

Down through the ages false theology has depicted God as the punisher of man, and down through the ages false theology has depicted man as constantly doing something worthy of punishment. We can never understand God and we can never understand man in God's image so long as we entertain in consciousness the slightest trace of this fallacious teaching. God is perfect, and all that He creates is perfect. God is incapable of doing wrong. He has no evil element in Himself, and consequently no evil element can appear in His creation. God never for a moment entertains an evil thought or cognizes evil. God beholds the eternal real, and it expresses His own infinite purity, boundless power, unlimited intelligence, and changeless goodness. Man in God's image is forever like God. He exists in God. His Mind is God; for God is the one infinite Mind, and man eternally expresses this divine Mind. Man has no volition, no power, except the perfect volition and power which God supplies. Consequently, man made in God's image and likeness is forever upright, holy, pure, and free.

If we would succeed in liberating people from bondage to the belief in disease, it is absolutely essential that we recognize two facts: first that God never produces disease, and second, that man in God's image and likeness is never sick. On that basis Christian Science destroys the belief in disease and brings to light the eternal and indestructible health. In a similar way, if we would liberate and uplift the sinning, we must recognize that God never produces or cognizes evil in any form, and the equally important fact that man in God's image and likeness never sins. It is mortal man, not immortal man, who believes in disease; and mortal man gives up his belief in disease when he learns that God is perfect and man forever whole. It is mortal man, not immortal man, who believes in death, and mortal man gives up his belief in death when he clearly perceives the fact that God is the one infinite Life and that man in God's image is the ever-living man, eternal and indestructible. It is mortal man, not immortal man, who believes in sin; and mortal man gives up his belief in sin when he learns that God is perfect and that man in God's image and likeness cannot and does not sin.

Sin, sickness and death constitute the mortal dream which hides the glories of eternal being. But this false human dream never in any way affects or changes the eternal and indestructible reality. If all the race believed that two times two equals five, that false belief entertained by the entire race would have no effect whatever on mathematical law, and the simple fact that two times two equals four would remain stable and unchanged. Nothing that the entire race can do can in any way alter or change or destroy a single mathematical truth. Nothing that the human race can believe or do can in any way alter or change anything that God produces. Regardless of what the human race believes or does not believe, God remains perfect and eternal, and God's creation remains eternal and complete, perfect and indestructible. The dreams of mortals hide from human view the glories of God and the perfection of man, but they in no way change the infinite God, they have no effect at all on His attitude, and they in no way change the spotless purity and the eternal joy of man made in God's image and likeness. Hence Mrs. Eddy's remarkable statement found on page 11 of her sermon, "Christian Healing": "A dream calleth itself a dreamer, but when the dream has passed, man is seen wholly apart from the dream."

Here is an illustration which may help to make plain the important fact that evil may hide from us the beauty of holiness, but it can never destroy, impair, or diminish holiness. Suppose you were looking at a beautiful little child, and rejoicing in its beauty. Then suppose that suddenly in some way mud was splashed all over that little child, quite hiding from view its beauty. You would clearly see that the mud was unwholesome and undesirable. You would recognize that it must be washed away. But you would clearly perceive the fact that it had in no way changed or defaced the beauty of the little child. You would proceed to wash the mud away and then the beauty of the little child would be clearly apparent to you and to anyone else who had eyes to see.

Jesus healed and redeemed people because he never made a reality of human errors. Jesus constantly knew the changeless grandeur and eternal perfection of man made in the image and likeness of God. When he came in contact with human beings, he knew not only the changeless holiness of the real man, but he also, through his unerring spiritualdiscernment, saw the good which was unfolding in the consciousness of the individual who turned to him for help. Our ability to help others is in exact proportion to our ability to pattern what Jesus did in both these respects. If we would help others we must understand the perfection of God and the changeless holiness of man in God's image, and we must see the good which is already apparent in the consciousness of the individual whom we would bless.

Here is an incident which illustrates some of the points we have been considering. In a community where I once resided, there grew up a boy of rare promise. His generosity, his courage, his nobility of spirit were recognized and valued, by the boys and the adults of the town in which he lived. High hopes were entertained for his future growth and usefulness. But as he neared his majority, he took a sudden plunge into the highways and byways of dissipation. He went to such lengths that the opinion generally prevailed that he had wrecked his chances, and would never amount to anything. This situation, not strangely, brought a sense of grief to his relatives and to his friends. A few years passed by, and one winter he took a trip across a continent to pay a visit to his mother. When alone with her, he said: "Mother, I have a question to put to you. I have come nearly three thousand miles to put this question to you, because I felt if anyone could answer it you could: Is life worth living, or is it not? I have just about concluded that it is not." His mother for many years had been an earnest and consecrated student of Christian Science; and with quiet assurance she said, "My boy, I can answer your question. What you have been thinking of as life is not worth living. But you have been dreaming. Real life is abundantly worth while. It comforts and it satisfies. It will comfort and satisfy you." Then she explained to him something of the real nature of God's love and care for man. They had many helpful talks together in the weeks that followed. They read and studied the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. He had Christian Science treatment from a competent practitioner. He was healed of a serious sickness, and of the appetite for intoxicants. A new and bright view of life appeared clearly to his vision. He returned to the community from which he had come, and took up his work there. About a year and a half later, I visited that community and heard glowing accounts of his ability in conducting his business and his generosity and unselfishness. I talked with the proprietor of the hotel where I stayed concerning him, and with great earnestness the proprietor said: "There is not a man in this community more deeply loved and more highly respected than he is. Personally, I regard him as the most useful man in this section of the state." A few weeks later I met the young man himself, and the experience was inspiring. His nobility of nature, his breadth of view, were apparent. He took a broad view of the Christian Science movement. He valued Christian Science, and the work of its Discoverer and Founder, because of the blessings which they were bringing, not to him alone, but to the entire race. It was evident that the high hopes of those who had loved him when he was a boy were being fulfilled, and more than fulfilled in his manhood. The dream had ended, and his real manhood, entirely apart from all human dreams, was appearing. Evil is unreal, and good and goodness are indestructible. Truly the highest hopes that we can entertain for the final and complete triumph of good in the lives of the people, individually and collectively, are justified.

 

The Indestructible Universe

When winter comes, the grass withers and disappears; but in the spring it reappears in all its verdant beauty. The grass disappears and reappears to human sense, because we believe that substance is mutable and material. But the real universe is spiritual, eternal, and indestructible. Where is the real universe?It is everywhere; because it is where God is, and God is everywhere. In reality there is only one creation, and that is God's perfect creation. In that real creation there exists everything good and beautiful. There the real grass exists, the grass which God produces and forever maintains. On page 70 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes, "The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal." We have never seen the real grass, nor any part of the real universe of God's creating. Why do we not behold the real universe now? The explanation does not lie in distance; for the real spiritual universe is not far away, but right at hand. It is our ignorance of God which hides from us the real creation, the real universe, and the real man. St. John recognized this fact when he wrote these words so important that they are read every Sunday in every Christian Science church: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." We are all destined to advance to the point where we understand God perfectly, and then we shall behold the real universe and the real man. Christian Science is gradually opening our eyes, and thus it is equipping us to see the eternal realities. Although we do not see the real trees, the real flowers, and the real grass now, we shall see them when we understand God well enough. Now we see our own material concepts of trees, and grass and flowers, and they are beautiful indeed. How grand then must be the real trees and the real flowers and the real grass which God forever beholds and which are forever spiritual, perfect, and indestructible!

If we take a microscope and work with it, we can explore a portion of the material universe which we may never have seen before. Tiny creatures and tiny flowers which we cannot see with the naked eye we can see through a microscope; and many of them are interesting, and some are very beautiful. If we take a large telescope and work with it we can see far-distant heavenly bodies which otherwise are invisible. How limited is our material vision! Still more is our spiritual vision limited, and it is limited by our lack of spiritual understanding. But we are growing, and through spiritual growth our spiritual vision is expanding. Spiritual growth will not only enable us to see the things we are familiar with in their true light and glory, but it will also enable us to behold beautiful spiritual realities which we have never heard of or thought of before. Surely the way which lies ahead of us as we journey Godward, is a wonderful way. On page 264 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible."

When I was a small boy I dwelt among the mountains of a western state. How grand those mountains were, and to me they were as real as they were grand. Then came geology with its explanation that mountains are only upheaved masses of matter, destined to be worn down and to be worn away by the destructive action of frost and rain and snow. That theory brought to me a heartache, and a sense of loss. Many of you have had similar experiences. But my sense of loss was a short duration, for Christian Science gave me back my mountains as grand eternal ideas of the one infinite Mind.

We have never seen the real mountains, the mountains of God's creating; but we shall see them in all their eternal grandeur. What we now see is our material concepts of mountains. But when material sense is destroyed through spiritual understanding, then the mountains as we now see them will disappear and the real mountains will appear. Those of you who are familiar with Mrs. Eddy's article, "One Cause and Effect" (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 21-30), will remember that while explaining the difference between the real spiritual creation of God, and the material human concept of that creation, she puts this question (p. 27), "But, say you, is a stone spiritual?" Then she gives this answer: "To erring material sense, No! but to unerring spiritual sense, it is a small manifestation of Mind, a type of spiritual substance, 'the substance of things hoped for.' Mortals can know a stone as substance, only by first admitting that it is substantial. Take away the mortal sense of substance, and the stone itself would disappear, only to reappear in the spiritual sense thereof."

Gradually Christian Science, the Science which Jesus perfectly exemplified, which Mrs. Eddy discovered and founded, and adequately and accurately expounds in her published writings - gradually this eternal Science is liberating us from a false material sense of things. Gradually there is dawning upon human consciousness the spiritual true sense which enables us to see the creations of God as they are. "When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man's spiritual being," says Mrs. Eddy on page 264 of Science and Health, "we shall behold and understand God's creation - all the glories of earth and heaven and man."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, date unknown.]

 

 

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