The Science of Health, Happiness, and Immortality
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B.,
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Health and happiness we all desire immortality most of us hope for. We can have all three. They live together in the spiritual idea of Life which Christian Science expounds and elucidates. Fortunately, this spiritual, health-giving, happiness-producing idea of Life is here. No one has to pass through the death shadow in order to find it. The immortal intelligence men have named God, makes eternally available to each of us everlasting health, perpetual happiness, immortal being. Here, now, today, tomorrow the immortal Life which is God is ours to express and enjoy. Christian Science ceaselessly challenges the apathy and indifference of mortals to this priceless fact.
What does one need to do to become aware of this immortal, spiritual idea of Life, and the health and happiness it bestows? The individual must be willing to use his God-given ability to think spiritually, to think the ideas which join one's thinking, and so one's life, with the all-loving and eternal Mind. What is God's greatest gift to you? It is your ability to think spiritually, healthfully, happily, eternally. This is your priceless talent, hidden by ignorant material thinking, but now being brought to light and utilized under the impulsion of Christian Science.
All reasoning as to immortality, and the health and happiness it includes, must begin with God. What and where is God? God is not an enlarged human person living at some unknown address. God is the one everywhere-present intelligence or Mind, of which our true selfhood is the expression. Can God be seen? Yes, but not with the physical eye. The physical eye sees physical persons and things. It has no capacity to see what is metaphysical - that is, above the physical - and cannot see Mind, intelligence. Mind is seen, or perceived, only by Mind-sense, spiritual sense, and it is seen where it is manifested. Christ Jesus manifested God, true Mind, more than others, and could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," meaning that he who perceived the activity and qualities of God which he manifested had seen something of the character of God. Man as idea is really the identified activity of God, or, in the words of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, page 475, he is "the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind. . . ." This is something to ponder: man is that by which Being, Mind, is identified.
It is time to stop clinging to physique and a temporary material organism as man and gratefully recognize that the Bible writer knew what he was talking about when he said man is the image of God. That is the man God makes, and that is the one real man now. What everlasting Mind originates it perpetuates.
For centuries mortals have been thinking with complete absence of logic concerning man. They have started with an intelligent, perfect God and ended with an imperfect, ungodlike man. How the imperfection of man arises while God remains intelligent and perfect, they have never rationally explained. As a mathematical error never originates with the principle of mathematics, so an imperfect concept of man never originates with the intelligent Life-principle, God.
The trouble has arisen here. It has been easy for mortals to accept the premise that God is perfect, intelligent, and good, but when it comes to man they find the aggressive testimony of matter and the material senses confronting them. These senses say man is far from being Godlike and perfect. They testify that he is little more than flesh, blood, and bones. Because mortals have not been sufficiently imbued with the spiritual idea of Life to see the unreliability of the testimony of material sense, they have accepted its illogical, material misconception of man, and temporarily lost the logical and true idea of man as the reflection of the perfect and eternal Mind which is God. Logic and understanding have been lost in the wilderness of the testimony of material sense.
Through Christian Science the individual learns how mentally to stick to the logical conclusion that an eternal God, or intelligence, constitutes only an intelligent and eternal man; that a good God constitutes only a good man; that a healthful God constitutes only a healthy man. Like produces like, asserts Christian Science, and the Christian Scientist refuses to be moved from this simple scientific base by any, or all, of the testimony of matter and material sense. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, on page 70, "The testimony of the corporeal senses cannot inform us what is real and what is delusive." By the corporeal, material senses is meant material seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. They cognize only what is temporary and material, never God, His man, or the things that are eternal.
"Christian Science and the senses are at war," declares Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 101). Why? Because the material senses would have us believe life, mind, substance, truth, and man are in matter, which is unreal and unintelligent, and that matter is cause to us. Here is the best of reasons for taking issue with them and waging a war of extermination on their falsities, mortality, sin, sickness, death. Jesus' lifework lives on and on because it was built on an understanding of spiritual reality outside of, and above, material sense. We can find reality only where he found it, in the spiritual idea, the saving idea of Life, often called the Christ.
How does Christian Science heal the physical body, if the body is wholly unrelated to God or His man? This is an oft-repeated question. If a child wrote on the blackboard, in his number work, two times three is seven, neither the chalk, nor the blackboard would be responsible for his mistake. It would be due entirely to his wrong thinking. To correct the mistake, you would not address the chalk or the blackboard or the digits on it. You would direct your effort, solely to correct his thought. His corrected thought would remove the mistake and cause the true statement to fill its place.
So when a wrong mental state delineates sickness, a mistaken sense of life and selfhood, on the body, the Christian Scientist turns thought away from the material body, which has no more to do with the disease than the blackboard had with the child's mistake, and turns to the true, or spiritual idea of man as God's image, fearless, sinless, and diseaseless. He aids the patient to grasp something of the true idea of himself and his God-given dominion over matter's sick suggestions. When the scientific fact as to his health is, in some degree, realized, the true thinking replaces the disease-producing thinking, and the body, which is always responsive to thought, becomes normal and harmonious.
To try to heal the body without healing the thought would be like trying to correct the child's mistake by talking to the chalk and blackboard and leaving the mistake still active in the child's thinking. "A sick body is evolved from sick thoughts," states Mrs. Eddy on page 260 of Science and Health. And on page 261, "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts."
In the sixty-fourth Psalm we read, "All men . . . shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing." That is what Jesus did. That is what Christian Science is helping us to do. Instead of concurring in the works of the devil and accepting as real and unescapable the sickness and woes of material sense, it teaches us to "declare the work of God," his perfect and harmonious spiritual creation and man, and wisely to consider and think upon what He has done.
When Jesus healed the blind beggar
True sight is never localized in matter, nor is it subject to time, organization, or space. To divine Mind there is no nearsightedness, no farsightedness, no distortion, or dimness. These are forms of material sensation, and as such, wholly false. Mind sees with the clarity of its own light and intelligence all that fills infinity, from the infinitesimal to the infinite. Its seeing is as perfect as its being. This lucid perception is eternally active and identified in man. A familiar hymn might be paraphrased to read,
I have no sight divided,
All-seeing Mind, from Thee;
In Thee is sight provided
For all mankind and me.
Listen to the conversation around you on a train or bus and you may hear something like this: "I have had a cold for two weeks. It's getting to be a bore." Answer, "I have had an operation on my stomach and may have to have another in six months." From a neighbor, "All our family have had shingles, and say, we had a time of it." Where do all these "haves" come from? "To have" means to possess. The only way one can "have" a condition is "to have" it in his thought. What an assortment of troubles mortals have in their mental kit bags, and how generous they are in sharing the exhibit with all who will take a look!
Since we can only have a condition by having it in thought, it follows that if we can root it out of thought we will no longer have it. Of course, we can only root out what does not belong to us. The method of ridding ourselves of what does not belong to us is simple. It is by letting the true idea of our individuality as spiritual, Mindlike, Godlike, so fill and enlighten our consciousness that we no longer consent "to have" what is really no legitimate condition, factor, or element of our true, God-created being.
Daily, hourly, ask yourself what it is that you have in your one real God-given consciousness. Then answer aright. Realize that you can really have, or be conscious of, only what God, the all-knowing Mind has, consciousness of His allness, His infinitude, His omnipresence, His omnipotence, and of His universe of intelligent, spiritual ideas and identities expressing the oneness of being that evidences His allness. Therein is no fear, no hate, no discouragement, no despair, no sickness, no failure, no sin to be conscious of.
In other words, identify your true selfhood as the reflection of God, Spirit, Love, and Life eternal. Stop consenting to believe that negative, nonsensical matter can, or does, identify you. Do not mentally tie yourself up with that which only befogs and buries thought in the enigma of matter and mortal selfhood. Pray, as did Jesus. "Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Mentally align all your thinking with the immortal, the joyous, the healthful. Proclaim your divine nature, and your inseparability from eternal Being, God.
Isaiah's grasp of spiritual reality should encourage all of us to explore the corridors of thought in this direction. The truths he brought to light give great comfort to the heavy burdened. In the thirty-fifth chapter of his prophecy, he tells us that, “in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes." What a contrast! The terrifying, red and swollen dragons, those devilish states of thought that would threaten to devour us with fear, hate, anger, lust, lack, sin, and disease, shall give way to grass with reeds and rushes. These forms of plant growth, so essential to his people, offer no threat, no danger, no devastation. They bespeak provision and supply. Grass, in its many varieties, was the most important form of food for man and beast. Reeds and rushes gave the raw material for many things essential to their human comfort.
Let it be noted that the promise is that not where some dragons lay, but where each lay - big ones, little ones, in-between ones - shall be found the humble, productive, upward-growing, spiritual thoughts that provide mastery over the inflated falsities of material sense, and enthrone the spiritual idea of being. If the dragon that may seem to confront you seems slow to give ground, and error argues there is little hope of displacing it, know that what error says cannot be done is already done. The divine and eternal order is here and now. Never has man, the son and image of the All-God, fallen into the habitation of dragons nor become their prospective victim. Says Mrs. Eddy on page 17 of "No and Yes," "In Science there is no fallen state of being; ... no escape from the focal radiation of the infinite." Know this, and you will stop iniquity's lying mouth.
A boy asked his Sunday school teacher if the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis grew up to be the dragon mentioned by John in Revelation. The teacher said probably it was the same fellow, to which the boy replied, "Well, why didn't they kill it when it was young?"
What appear to be dragons to us are often the habits of bad thinking we have unconsciously allowed to develop over a period of years, habits of criticism, faultfinding, worry, selfishness, seeing our fellows through the lens of personal sense, rather than as our brothers in the Father's kingdom, dominating tendencies, material indulgences, and so on. Unless killed when they are young, these thought-habits grow to be dragons that threaten our health, happiness, and success. But no matter if the dragons have seemed to grow in the past, they can now give way before the omniactive spiritual ideas that root in the soil of humility, and grow in the sunshine of patience and sincerity.
Have you learned to listen for God's voice to guide, protect, inspire you? Certainly we must be willing both to listen and obey if we are to find our unity with God. Mortals have, in belief, separated themselves from God and His voice. Yet the Bible says that there is no speech or language where His voice shall not be heard. Jesus and the prophets talked with God and He with them. His voice isn't something organic and physical, but the “still small voice" of everlasting Love, our omnipresent, omniactive Mind, declaring its wisdom to its beloved son. Surely there is nothing about supreme intelligence that makes it inarticulate and unable to communicate constantly to its expression, man.
The only dumbness and deafness is in the dull thinking of mortals, who ignorantly believe man is separated from God, bundled up in matter, and so unable to communicate with Deity. Christian Science is removing this wall of partition, as Paul well calls it. God is everywhere, the one infinite Person, or Presence, by whom and in whom we all live and think. Really, only God is speaking. His is the only voice there is to hear. "He uttered his voice, the earth melted," say the Scriptures. The deafness of material mindedness, egotism, and self-will must dissolve and men hear the voice of intelligence, Mind governing its own. Says Science and Health (p. 89), "Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent."
More earnest prayer and humble listening before we make decisions will lessen the need for much praying after we have made them.
Life and action go together. But in evaluating the material sense of things from the standpoint of divine Science it is necessary to see that mere material action does not express real Life any more than material thinking expresses real Mind. To illustrate:
One evening, some years ago, I was out walking with my fox-terrier dog. Of a sudden, he took off after a neighbor's cat. There was a lively race, but the cat escaped, as I presume the dog expected him to do. As I watched, the question came to my thought, Just what does all this represent from the mental standpoint? How should it be classified? There's plenty of action; an aggressive dog yields to forces that impel him, with no consideration, to chase a frightened cat. Certainly no such phenomenon originates with God or has a place in His kingdom, and yet see the action and movement. Isn't that life? So I reasoned.
I didn't see the answer at the moment, but later, when reading in Science and Health, I came upon the phrase "animate error." That answered the question. The scene was that of a material dog rushing a material cat, both impelled, or animated, by erring mortal mind. They were its puppets. But the sense of action wasn't true Life. It was like the action a dreamer sees in a dream. To his dream sense the dream action is life. When the dream sense is destroyed, with his awakening, there goes with it the dream sense of action and life. So all purely material action is but the action of the sense-dream, real to mortal dreamers, but wholly unreal to the higher spiritual sense which knows Life as God, and action as inherent only in eternal Mind and its ideas, never in mindless, lifeless matter or material organisms called man or beast. What mortals think of as a material organic body and its animate organic action isn't expressive of the activity of Life, God. Nor does this form of animate error afford an avenue of approach to, or a means for material beliefs to establish a contact with, the individuality of man. He, as Mind's idea, has no organic physical anchorage, no material inside, or outside. God is within and without all that really is. Man's identity is safely hidden from all error in this infinitude of Mind, Spirit, God.
Because Life is God there is, in Science, no sick life, sinning life, warring life, or dying life. These are all forms of animate error. Again, what thinks disease, writes, talks, telephones, telegraphs of disease is, too, but the more mental form of mortal mind in action. It is never man. Man declares only the work of God. He is not the mouthpiece, or the embodiment of mortal mind, the one evil. We must realize this.
The difficulties of human existence force us, sooner or later, to discover the means for their solution, already provided in the spiritual idea of Life, just at hand.
Someone who felt heavily burdened wrote me that Daniel did not have anything on her, for he was in the lions' den only one night. I replied that the reason Daniel was there only one night was because he was willing to think spiritually and find his unity with God, and not be bamboozled by the material senses and animate error. Further, that she could get out of the den before the next nightfall if she were willing to do the same. She did.
There is comfort in the thought expressed by Mrs. Eddy on page 486 of Science and Health, where she says, "Earth's preparatory school must be improved to the utmost." Human experience may be regarded as a preparatory school. Let us be diligent in learning the lessons, lessons in true values, real art, spiritual law, divine economy, and man's eternal destiny. Christian Science brings up our grades in this preparatory school. No one has yet, attained one hundred per cent, but the improvement is encouraging.
Jacob learned his lessons in this school and sometimes he did not learn them very willingly. Duplicity, he had to learn, was of no value, and human ambition and self-will were likewise nothing to claim for his own. The angel, or higher sense, with which he wrestled at Peniel, had, it appears, to treat Jacob rather roughly to bring home the lesson that was his. The record says of the angel, "When he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint." To human sense Jacob had to be rendered helpless before the higher sense could say "the day breaketh." Then came Jacob's recognition of his higher nature, a prince of God, equipped with spiritual power. "Love," writes Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 266), "will force you to accept what best promotes your growth."
There is a spiritual idea, or fact, for every material falsity, or counterfact. It is important for the student to see the import of this. Often one comes to Christian Science to be healed of disease. His study establishes in his thought that man, as God's image, is spiritual, healthy, and harmonious. That fact understood heals him. But he soon discovers there are many other human problems to be solved besides health. Then he digs deeper into spiritual reality and discovers that no matter what sort of a distorted material picture material sense may present, there is in the spiritual idea of existence the higher fact that will neutralize and remove it from his experience.
For instance, many human problems arise by reason of unhappy relationships in homes, in business, in society. The clash of human wills keeps men at war. I once knew a man who had had some problems as a result of unhappy relationships. He recognized the fault was not all on the other side, and one day remarked, "Really, I have a fine disposition if other people would only leave me alone!" He was of the sort who should have been tagged, "Handle with care." Have you ever had a feeling like that?
Many problems of human relationship are worked out through Christian Science. The spiritual idea of Life shows us that all that is true in regard to relationship is what God knows and causes to be. Mortal mind, His opposite, claims to evolve a mortal order wherein relationship is largely the result of human willing, desiring, competing. Mortals make and then unmake relationships, because they have made them so badly. But the true idea of relationship based on the one infinite and perfect Mind reveals the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man as the basic and true idea of relationship. God's universe of ideas is in perfect oneness with Mind, which perpetually determines the relatedness of all that is therein.
There are not many minds, wills, and purposes. There is one Mind. That one unites all ideas or identities, in one harmonious family. The individual must reverse in his thought the lie that his brother is domineering, complaining, dishonest, and a troublemaker in general. However much that may seem to be true from the human standpoint, it is not true of the spiritual idea of existence. What saves and heals is the divine fact seen and clung to, in refutation of error's lie. The Bible states that we are "builded together for an habitation of God." This spiritual fact realized is a potent force to bring out more normal human relationship.
Many problems arise from lack of work and lack of daily supply. Here again Christian Science turns thought away from the material seeming to discover the spiritual fact. To infinite Mind, everlasting Love, there is no lack of anything needed by man to express Life and activity. The only enduring substance is Life itself, Mind itself, Love itself, and all the manifestations of God inevitably have as expression, the substance of Life, Mind, Love. One cannot conceive of God as lacking anything; no more can His expression, for the expression is nothing but the active, living manifestation of the substance which is God. Matter lacks all that is substance, Life, Love, intelligence, wisdom, power, ability.
Man is not a lack-expressing mortal. He is a substance-expressing immortal. To prove this in some degree the individual must be willing to make it his first business to express those spiritual qualities which characterize the son of God. Substance is to be found, not without but within, in the already God-provided ability, activity, and ideas with which God supplies His man.
The spiritual fact that God is self-sustaining assures man's supply of substance forever. This self-sustaining ability of God includes the ability to sustain all that is essential to the manifestation of God, and so includes the only true individuality of you and me. We can properly agree with the adversary that it lacks everything because God has all, is All, and the wonder is that man is one with this allness. He is the conscious identity of all substance. These facts seen, even in a degree, bring normal adjustments in connection with human supply, and open the door to eternal riches.
A woman over eighty living in
There are still some good people who criticize Christian Science without ever studying its textbook. Such an attitude often robs the one who indulges it of that which would bring into his life health and happiness. Disraeli has said, "It is much easier to be critical than to be correct."
A lecture necessarily presents only a few of the more fundamental teachings of this Science, and those in a general way. If this Science is to be appreciated and understood, its textbook should be thoughtfully studied. Public libraries and Christian Science Reading Rooms make the book easily available. Science and Health is based on the Scriptures. It explains what Mrs. Eddy terms (Science and Health, p. 320) their "interior meaning," the spiritual, rather than the literal. It has proved itself to be the revelation of divine Science referred to in the tenth chapter of Revelation, of which the angel said, "Take it, and eat it up." Do not read Science and Health casually, hurriedly, superficially. Mentally assimilate the spiritual food it offers.
Now and then I hear someone say, I read Science and Health, but I do not seem to remember much of what I have read. The story is told of an Arab father who sent his very young son to bring water in his basket from a near-by stream. The boy tried several times, but always the water would seep out before he reached his father. Discouraged, he said, "Father, I cannot bring the water to you in the basket. It all seeps out before I reach you." "Yes," said the father, "but see, son, how beautifully clean your basket is." The human mind may not retain in full measure the deep truths of Spirit as set forth in Science and Health, but it cannot remain unbenefited by them.
The Bible and Science and Health acquaint us with the spiritual idea, the Christ-idea, of Life, and how to apply it in our human affairs. But it is for each one to make this God-given idea his very own, through loving and living it. The spiritual idea of life is ours to discern, even as it was discerned by the prophets, by Jesus, and by Mrs. Eddy. They have discerned it and, at God's behest, would share with us their discovery. Here is the idea which acquaints us with our God and our only true selves.
Christ Jesus came to bring to darkened human thought a great light. The light was the spiritual idea of God, creation, and man. He understood, he taught, he proved that Spirit, God, is the only Life of man, that health, holiness, and continuity are natural to man. Mortals hated him without a cause, clinging to their darkness and refusing the light. Humanity has usually maligned and persecuted its greatest benefactors.
For centuries prior to the coming of Jesus, prophets had foretold there would appear two great witnesses to the power and presence of God. In "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (pp. 346, 347) Mrs. Eddy writes, ". . . the manhood and womanhood of God have already been revealed in a degree through Christ Jesus and Christian Science, His two witnesses." It was her indomitable courage, her deep-rooted faith, her undeviating devotion to the spiritual idea of Life that made her thought the one in whom the eternal Mind's presence, power, and love could be clearly recognized, and man's unity with this sovereign Spirit be acclaimed.
A professional man who had made an outstanding success of his profession once said to me: "The greatness of Mrs. Eddy's work astounds me when I think of the wealth of original ideas she has presented to human thought. Here I am a man well-educated, successful in my profession, but when I ask myself, Have I given even one new, constructive idea to my fellow men, the answer is, No.
"Yet Mrs. Eddy, an obscure, gentle woman, facing the bitter hostility of theologians, medical practitioners, and physical scientists, and the indifference of the world, has given to mankind, in her book, a wealth of God-originated ideas, and proved by demonstration that they are the true ideas of existence. Her work is beyond comparison with that of any other man or woman in this age."
Appreciation and love for this great woman grow as one's understanding of Christian Science grows, for only so can one evaluate in a fair measure the spiritual depth of her living and thinking, which made it possible for her to perceive and to express in such a usable manner the deep things of God. We can do no less in thinking of Mrs. Eddy than to follow the wise admonition of Solomon, who said of a righteous woman, "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
The Chariots of God
During the centuries when the
Bible was being written, chariots were largely the measure of a ruler's
strength. On one occasion the Philistines mobilized thirty thousand chariots
The chariots of God, His legions of angels, are the invincible host, never to be defeated. They know no national boundaries, they fight for no personal ambition. They defend spiritual reality. Against them the forces of mortal men can never mobilize an invading force. Mortals may war in the plane of mortal thinking, never in the universe of Spirit, God, Love. War is a conflict between gradations of mortal thinking, and to that side expressing in the larger degree devotion to the things of Spirit, trust in the chariots of God to bring to light the reign only of justice and right, must ultimately come the victory.
The spiritual idea reveals to us that right where, to material sense, conflict and carnage appear to be, the angel legions - the chariots of God - are present, and working day and night. They are the very thoughts of God, which belong to the only true consciousness of every statesman, general, soldier, and civilian of every land. They bring to each the sense of the love, the wisdom, the justice of God. They bind the human will, stifle mad ambition, establish the rights of all to freedom of thought and action, and, in the words of the Psalmist, bring "the counsel of the heathen (mortal-minded thinking) to nought" and "the devices of the people of none effect."
Let us know this. Let us be helpers in establishing the only lasting peace there can ever be, the peace that comes from the activity of the legions of God's angels in the consciousness of ourselves and our brothers of every land. Let us see to it that we recognize the presence and the activity of the chariots of God in our thinking and permit them to conquer there the material belief in war at home or abroad. They are always here willing, eager to enlighten you and me and all with the fire of that eternal light glimpsed by Elisha, the light of the spiritual idea of Life. It reveals a new creation, or, as Mrs. Eddy puts it, "a fresh universe" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 27), where peace is natural and perpetual, and war is unthought and unknown. Isn't that what human hearts are hungering for? It is for that, or for the revelation of the presence of that - that God's chariots are fighting. Their everlasting victory over the forces of godless material sense in you, in me, and in all men and nations, cannot for long be stayed.