Christian Science: The Revelation of True Ideas
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
In the early history of the human race the activity of men was greatly limited by the darkness of night. No light but that of the sun, the moon, and the stars was known. Then many centuries ago someone discovered fire, which was used in crude ways to gain some dominion over darkness. There followed after many years the discovery of the use of fats to make more light. In more recent times oil and gas have been utilized, and lastly electricity has greatly advanced the conquest of night. We can now travel, work, and play, athletic games, if we choose, by night as well as by day. Contrary to the early belief of human beings, the light-producing forces were here all the time. But they had to be discovered and applied.
What has been done to conquer physical darkness illustrates what is gradually being accomplished in conquering mental darkness. The night of ignorance — ignorance of man, his cause and destiny — is being dispelled, and the resulting fear and doubt overcome, by the discovery and understanding of the true idea of the one intelligent creative cause and man's unity therewith. Like the forces used to produce physical light, these light-producing ideas have always been here. But someone had to desire them, search for them with patience and courage. The one whose thought has, in our time, most clearly perceived and utilized these ignorance-destroying ideas is Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Gratifying recognition of the work of this great leader of religious thought has recently been given by the women of the United States. In votes recorded by the Ladies Home Journal to determine the twelve women of this country who have contributed the most to the century of progress celebrated in Chicago in 1933, Mrs. Eddy was accorded the highest vote.
In April, 1931, the Spanish monarchy was overthrown and a republic set up. Eight months later the republic's fundamental law, its constitution, was adopted. This constitution contained an enactment unique in the history of human governments. It renounced war as an instrument of national policy. Such events do not happen by chance. What produced this decision by representatives of Spain's twenty-four millions of people? The decision came because the constitution makers of Spain accepted in some degree a higher ideal of existence. They recognized in a degree that human governments should encourage men to live in peace with and love one another, rather than to make war upon and hate one another.
Probably we can all agree that the ideas which will ultimately abolish war exist today. There is no limit to the ideas of good will, justice, kindness, mercy, friendship, love; that are immediately available to each individual everywhere. These war-destroying ideas are at Geneva, in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, and Washington. They are everywhere, because the Mind that is their source and substance is everywhere.
If the means, or ideas, to produce peace are just at hand why do we not have world peace? Because we accept and believe in a negative sense of mind, the opposite of the deific Mind that makes the ideas of peace and good will. We yield thought to the domination of this false mind which produces fear, distrust, greed, self-will and war. War will disappear from the earth as you and I rid our everyday thinking of the thoughts of conflict and contention which produce strife in the home, in the business, in the church, and finally between nations. Peace-thinkers are peacemakers. "Peace on earth" was the first promise of the heralds of Christ's coming. The ideas that will produce peace in every home, in every business, church, and nation were available then as they are now. Are you and I willing to use them?
True Ideas Solve Problems
The Mind that provides the true ideas that are the only antidote for war also provides the ideas that will destroy, and so solve, every wrong condition, individual and collective, physical, social, political, and economic. The solution will appear as you and I are willing to surrender our belief in the wrong sense of mind and yield our thought to the Mind which is God.
Christ Jesus had no material wealth, no social prestige, to accomplish his mission. He used only spiritual ideas wherewith to accomplish his works. He had no medicine kit, no surgical instruments; he made no diagnosis; but he did have an unlimited supply of health-producing, harmony-causing ideas. He understood that every form of discord was primarily a wrong thought condition which could be dispelled by the light of true ideas. He solved human problems by dissolving them with Mind-provided ideas. So must we.
What we call a problem is an opportunity to destroy with true Mind the argument of negative material sense, and material thinking, that there is present some mindless, unintelligent condition. For instance, material sense and material thought argue disease can be present even though it is not an effect of intelligence. So with false appetite, strife, poverty. To the false sense of mind that conceives them they seem real, but they can and must be driven into oblivion by true Mind and its ideas. Whatever lacks an intelligent cause lacks reality.
True Idea of Man
Linked to the true idea of God, or cause, is the true idea of the effect of God, called man. What is your idea of yourself? What are you? Why are you? Where are you bound? The mistaken concept that man is a perishable creature of both mind and matter, separated from God, is the misconception which has greatly obscured the true idea of Him.
It is easy to see that what is most essential to the progress of the race is worth-while ideas — ideas that enable men to live in peace and happiness, ideas that make for honesty, justice, courage, faith, understanding. The cause of real ideas must be Mind. Intelligence, or Mind, making these ideas, is most essential to man. And what is most essential to man must be his cause. With Mind as cause reason deduces that man, the effect of Mind, must be of the substance of Mind, Spirit, must be Mindlike and spiritual in quality. He must be intelligent, harmonious, permanent. Here, then, are the basic ideas of reality — God the only true Mind and man, a mode or manifestation of deific Mind.
Lessons From the Garden
In a garden on the south coast of Sweden one could have found in the Summer of 1930 some pea vines making a healthy and vigorous growth. The seeds from which they grew were three thousand years old and had been brought to Sweden by a Danish professor who got them from the tomb of Egyptian King Tut-ankh-Amen. Thirty centuries of time had not destroyed their vitality. What mortals see as things, divine metaphysics resolves into thoughts of true Mind, God. Time can never separate the real life of a seed or flower from its creative Principle, or Life, which is God. These seeds, resisting the forces of three thousand years of time, gave some hint of this spiritual fact. Christian Science teaches that as man's real identity is the individual expression of Mind, God, so the true identity of every seed, flower, and animal is a lesser expression of Mind, God, and like man is joined to God, as idea is united to Mind, forever responsive to Life's law of growth and multiplication.
One day last Summer my wife asked me to help her plant some marigolds in our garden which she had purchased at the flower market. We knew that if properly planted and watered they would produce freely of their colorful blooms, and they did so. So far as we could see, these plants were separate material objects, rather fragile, with stringy roots and green tops. But they had identities beyond what our eyes could see. Their real identities were as ideas of Mind, God, who is expressed by everything permanently beautiful and good. The material flower is a symbol of the more perfect original formed by Mind. "The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity," says Mrs. Eddy on page 240 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The real identities of these marigolds were linked to the active, living Mind-power, which caused them to live, to have color, form, identity, distinctive from all other forms of life, and to grow and multiply according to their kind. They had no such power within themselves. They belonged really to the universe of ideas, all joined to Mind, and were evidences or expressions of Love, or Mind.
Tennyson has written,
"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."
The writings of Mrs. Eddy show us that mortals misinterpret seeds and flowers as concepts of a moment, but spiritual sense reveals their true identities as ideas in the realm of perfect Mind, responsive to its mandate of life and growth. It is the primary relatedness of the flowers to Mind and their responsiveness to its producing power which makes them in their upward growth counteract the pull of earthward gravitation. Says Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 508), "The only intelligence or substance of a thought, a seed, or a flower is God: the creator of it." Birds sing, seeds grow, flowers bloom, trees bear, men think, because, in reality, they are active living modes or manifestations of the one Life, which is God.
"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed . . . nothing shall be impossible unto you," said Jesus. The mustard seed, one of the smallest of seeds, because of its unqualified obedience to the Mind that gives it its real identity and life, possesses God-given capacity for growth and production beyond anything that seems possible to material sight. So you and I, as we become more willing to yield our consciousness with unqualified faith to the Principle, or Mind, that is our Life, will find unlimited development and growth divinely natural to us.
All Effects in God
Christian Science teaches that, like the seed and the flower, the real life and identity of man reflects the one real Life, as thought reflects Mind. The true identities of flowers, birds, and animals, are some of the lesser ideas of Mind which go to make up the universe, which is Mind's full manifestation. Man is the highest idea of Mind, whose individual consciousness includes, through understanding, the lesser ideas. Indeed, these lesser ideas are essential to man's individuality. Even in the human sense we can see that our existence would be very drab and incomplete were we to subtract from our consciousness all sense of birds, flowers, trees, grass, and animals. The lesser ideas are essential to our selfhood.
All the forms and identities of real Life are spiritual and are reflections of God, included in God. They could not continue to exist as effects, detached or isolated from their life-giving cause, any more than a sunbeam could be a sunbeam detached from the sun. Many believe the life and soul of man to be in the unintelligent physical body. Dr. Mayo states that he has taken the body all apart and put it together again but has found no trace of man's soul therein. Good reason: it is not there. Man is really in Mind, the opposite of matter, because he is really an idea or manifestation of Mind, and as such must be within Mind, his only Life and substance. Says the Bible, "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way." Man belongs to God, He is Mind's eternal possession. As the digit six belongs to and is in the principle of mathematics, so man's real life is an individual expression of Mind, and is mentally in Mind. The effect belongs to, and is always within, the cause. Man's individual life blends with the universal Life, Truth, and Love which is God.
If religion is of benefit to us God must be a present God. If God is eternal, God is now. Mortals forget sometimes that whatever is eternally true is the fact now. Moses had no thought of God as a future power. He perceived God's nature to be I AM, not I will be. Jesus thought from the basis of what is divinely and eternally true. Always he used the present tense when he told of God and man's sonship with Him. A poet has written:
"Within Thy circling power I stand
On every side I find Thine hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still by God."
Man's Capital Inexhaustible
Each one of us is provided by our God, eternal Mind, with an unlimited supply of the most valuable capital in the form of true ideas. These God-provided ideas meet our every need. They produce health, happiness, harmony, peace, good judgment, initiative, prudence, successful activity.
A business man who had to plan advertising campaigns, which demanded much originality, for a large manufacturing corporation found he was very much afraid that some day he would run out of ideas and lose his position. This fear made his life miserable. His attention was called to Christian Science and he began to study it. Gradually he realized that he had an inexhaustible supply of ideas, because his consciousness was joined forever to and formed by the infinite Mind whose ideas were limitless. His fear was destroyed and he kept his position. Why? Because he accepted the true idea of himself and his relationship to God, Mind, in place of an ignorant concept that produced baseless fear.
We need to lean more on our rich, powerful Mind, God, with his angel legions of true, intelligent, loving ideas. If you knew you had all the resources of the United States in influence, money, and arms to support some undertaking you were engaged in you might feel assured of success. But you have more than the combined resources of any human government backing you in every right endeavor. You have the omnipotent power, the matchless wisdom, the universal presence of God and His legions of ideas to work for you and with you to produce for you health of body, peace of mind, success in useful Mind-ordered activity.
The dark cloud that needs to be removed from our mental horizon is the wrong concept of God and man, of cause and effect. The Christ-idea accepted and lived removes this cloud and all its attendant shadows.
How to Possess True Ideas
But, says someone, I want true ideas to fill my thought, but how can I get them? By study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." In these books is the clearest revelation of God's ideas available to men. Read contemplatively the great statements therein. Digest, assimilate, them. Then use them in dally life. Cling to them when negative thoughts would surge into consciousness. Battle down the suggestion of fear, resentment, sickness, sin, with the Christ, the saving true idea of God.
A young inquirer into Christian Science read the textbook through. He liked it but did not seem to get very much out of it. He had read it rather hastily, not recognizing that its teachings, which were so contrary to his past education, needed to be carefully pondered and digested. When he returned the book to the friend from whom he borrowed it, the friend asked him if he liked it. He replied affirmatively, but without much enthusiasm. The friend said, "Well, perhaps you got about as much out of it as I did when I first read it. But I knew that there was something there I hadn't understood, so I started reading it again, more thoughtfully. I read the first page of the chapter on Prayer close to fifty times. Then I began to realize what it really meant." The inquirer decided to follow his friend's example. More thoughtfully he approached the book. That first page he read and reread over thirty times and then the power of the ideas there given began to be realized. He was started on the road Godward.
If our automobile engine doesn't start quickly we try again and again until it runs. So with our mental mechanism. We cannot expect to get anywhere if we stop trying simply because it doesn't "spark" at our first effort. If we are to grasp the great ideas of existence we must be willing to think, to think as Christ Jesus thought. We need to read not so many words, but to understand the spiritual meaning of the words we read. Without the spiritual thought-value words are valueless. On the eagle wings of uplifting thought we are exalted to the realization of our oneness with God.
Solitude a Boon to Progress
Jesus once said. "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret," Because the Father "is in secret" — is apart from the highways of material thought — we can find Him only as we come into His secret place of spiritual consciousness, apart from the whirl of materiality. We are told in the New Testament that Jesus went apart into a mountain to pray. And after his periods of withdrawal for communion in thought with God and His Christ he would come among the multitudes and heal all their diseases. The discovery that each of us has immediate access to and can at any hour find God is a discovery we must utilize. Periods of withdrawal for thought and study in quiet solitude are a great help to spiritual growth. Men are so busy about things. The need is for more to be busy dealing in and pondering true thoughts.
Cicero said, "I am never less alone than when alone." Mrs. Eddy has written: (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 20), "The Christian Scientist is alone with his own being and with the reality of things." When the individual feels the presence of the Life and Love that is God he knows he is alone with reality. God and His thoughts are everywhere. There is no isolation but rather blessing and growth for the one who withdraws from the atmosphere of a material environment to find the presence of God.
Dominion Over Environment
When we assimilate somewhat the true idea of God as everywhere and our selfhood at-one with Him, environed in the universe of Love's ideas, we gain a dominion and superiority over the difficulties of trying human environment.
In the desert country of the southwestern part of the United States lives a bird called the cactus wren, which builds its nest in the prickly cactus plants native to that region. The prickly thorns which are its immediate environment do not disturb or harm it. It comes and goes from its safe abode, untouched by the surrounding thorns which are shunned by man and beast. The bird does not accept the thorns as any impediment to its freedom and happiness. So we, when we refuse to accept the thorns of human surroundings as able to harm or annoy us, can find our superiority to trying environments until such times as our clearer thinking is externalized in better surroundings.
The Bible abounds with instances of the power of unwavering trust in God to deliver from trying situations and difficult environments. Because of the ideas of God and man which united them to God and His delivering power, the pit could not for long hold Joseph; the error represented by the animality of the whale could not for long possess Jonah; the lions' den could not suppress Daniel, nor the tomb confine Christ Jesus. When one becomes conscious of the fact that man is the reflection, or idea, of the infinite Love, or Ego, he cannot be imprisoned by any medley of errors called a difficult human environment. God makes and environs man. Matter does not.
Sickness Healed by True Ideas
Some one may wonder how the use of true ideas can heal organic and other disease. Men have been educated to believe that the body can have conditions develop in it apart from thought. Christian Science contributes the important fact that sickness is not only related to thought but is the direct product of thought. Many people have been unwilling to accept this fact until they have been healed of the most severe forms of disease through the utilization of Mind-power alone, as taught in Christian Science. It is of course undeniable that if wrong thought causes disease the one effective remedy is right thought, true ideas.
Dr. George W. Crile of Cleveland has said, "Man cannot fear, he cannot hate, he cannot worry intellectually — he fears with all his organs. . . . The emotions, worry, fear, hate, and jealousy, affect every cell in the body. Some organs are stimulated, some inhibited; all are disturbed; waste products are increased; foundations of certain characteristics of human diseases are laid."
You cannot put medicine on wrong thoughts, nor can a surgeon's knife eradicate them, but you can exterminate them and their products with true thoughts. Worry, hatred, resentment, jealousy, and all the rest dissolve as shadows before the light of true ideas of God and man. Here is an authenticated case of healing through the power of spiritual ideas as taught in Christian Science.
A woman had in childhood become afflicted with tubercular conditions in her glands, joints, and lungs. The usual medical remedies, climate, serums, operations, were resorted to without effect. The conditions became more aggravated as she grew to young womanhood. The last X-ray picture taken when she was unable to walk showed the ankle bone had been destroyed and the bone affected to the knee. Amputation of the limb was urged by two surgeons. A third, then president of the American Medical Association, after careful examination said it was one of the most clearly defined cases of bone tuberculosis he had ever seen. His opinion was that the patient would never be able to walk again because, to use his words, "Nature's support is gone."
In her extremity the woman turned to Christian Science and had treatment. The bodily functions quickly became normal, the cough disappeared. It was not long before she could walk with the aid of crutches. From that time she never allowed anything to keep her from regular attendance at the Christian Science church services, where she could hear the healing ideas of Truth declared from the Bible and Science and Health. For some time she was confronted in her thought with the question, But just how can I be healed? She did not comprehend how Mind could replace the ankle bone. A practitioner finally helped her to see that matter was wholly negative; that it possessed no power to afflict her, but was, as Jesus proved it to be, but a condition of negative material thought which the true understanding of divine Mind could and would subjugate, as the individual accepted the true idea of himself as spiritual, not material, and God, Mind, as his only eternal substance and Life.
As she saw these truths in some degree, the question, How can I be healed? was silenced with the conviction, Now I know I can be healed. She set about earnestly to fill her thought with the true ideas of God, spiritual creation and spiritual man and so to nullify the false sense of a material cause, of afflicted man, of destructive law which had produced the diseased condition. She saw she would be healed as soon as she gained in some fair degree the understanding of God and her true selfhood as God's spiritual likeness. These ideas she found in the Bible and Science and Health. The battle to overcome the false material sense testimony was not an easy one. It required persistence, patience, and courage.
Within twelve months from the time she saw the way that the healing could be done, the ankle bone was sufficiently healed so that the foot could be used somewhat. She walked with but one crutch instead of two. A few months later the second crutch was given up and she was healed. This was some years ago. Her vocation necessitates the use of the ankle in an unusual degree and she has been using it without the slightest discomfort. She was transformed by the renewing of her mind, by the filling of thought with the light-bringing, health-producing ideas which God, her real Mind, had provided for her, not by dwelling on the evidence of disease. The discords gave way as she realized in some measure her true self to be the divinely substantial evidence of perfect Life, or Mind, God. True ideas did the work. She and the faithful practitioner solved her problem by dissolving it with God's potent health-restoring ideas.
Employment and Supply
Employment involves activity, and activity is a product of thought. All invention, communication, transportation, commerce, result from thought-action. There seems to be a wrong sense of mental activity which produces human business activity at times, then through fear stops its activity with resulting distress. Christian Science teaches that God, the true Mind, produces constant activity. Action is inherent in Life. Life-action, God's action, is evidenced in the activity of intelligent ideas. Man, the expression of Life's spontaneous action, can no more cease to be employed in his God-initiated activity than God can cease to be. God is self-expressed in His perpetual activity of self-manifestation. Man is essential to, and is presently included in, this self-activity of God, for man expresses that activity. He is, therefore, never, in reality, inactive or unemployed.
Jesus' statement of this fact is thus given in a modern translation. "My Father works unceasingly, and so do I." John said: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." To have the Son of God is to be conscious of the true idea of man as God's perfect son, or image, and consistently to cling thereto. If to have the son is to have true life, then to have the consciousness of man as "the son" is to have true life-activity, or employment.
A fearful employer may have his fear displaced with confidence and see a need for our services. Our usefulness may be recognized and desired where formerly it gained no recognition. Now ideas for intelligent development of new business may appear. It is God's will and law that each of us be eternally, successfully active. We have the right and capacity to earn, to express rightly rewarded activity. Says Daniel; "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" As we become conscious in some degree of the idea of Deity's activity — real business — our belief in, and fear of, the ups and downs of material business lessens, and improved conditions in our human affairs result. Let us know that neither the depths of adversity nor heights of prosperity can separate man from his sonship with, his life-partnership with, Life and its useful activities.
Christian Science Treatment
What is called a Christian Science treatment is the affirming and realizing of the true idea of God and man in its manifold adaptations to human needs. It is the activity of true Mind expressed, or appearing, as individual consciousness, displacing the mental lies of incapacity, illness, unhappiness with the Mind-made conditions of true manhood. Treatment is the thoughtful assertion and conscious acceptance of the spiritual fact that man is really spiritual, perfect, diseaseless, fearless, permanent, and with this enlightened idea of being refuting and destroying all that is negative and devoid of intelligence. The Christian Scientist treats himself by knowing that he is not what mindless matter and material sensation says he is, but that he is really only what his intelligent cause, divine Mind, knows he is, even the natural individual evidence of God. Therefore he must be Godlike in character, quality, nature, being. He realizes that his one true self expresses the Mind that is God, lives in the Life that is God, is one with the consciousness, or Being, which is God.
With these, or similar ideas and thoughts, he drives the misconceptions of human ignorance out of thought and so out of experience. And he knows that what the ideas of God accomplish cannot be turned back or reversed. A small girl became perplexed with a playmate and wished her to go home. To the playmate she said, "You go and stay go." Christian Science says to the suggestions of evil, Go and stay go. Dissolve forever into your nothingness.
Often the material mind would tempt us to listen to its prophecies suggesting that the future is dark with uncertainly. Here again Christian Science turns our thought to God and the Bible admonition "Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me." Should we not ask God, man's all-knowing cause, for enlightenment as to what our future is, rather than look to matter and mortal thinking which is never our cause or controller? When we truly ask God concerning His sons and the work of His hands, He assures us with His ideas that the future is filled with the certainty of His supremacy and loving control. The continuity of His sovereignty is never intermittent or broken.
Improved Beliefs the Way
Someone may ask, But does clinging to the true ideas of God and man transform man of a sudden into a full spiritual sense of existence? That would be the result if the full import of those ideas were realized. But human thought grasps slowly the vitality and power of spiritual ideas. In whatever degree they are understood good results and improved human conditions appear. They are the light dispelling the darkness. All the shadows of mortality do not disappear at once, but life becomes much brighter when even a few of the darkest shadows have gone.
This incident will illustrate how Christian Science produces improved beliefs in human experience. A girl grew into womanhood persistently disturbed night after night by a dream in which she found herself in the grassy bowl of a treeless valley. Into this valley would come a galloping band of wild horses who pursued her. She would flee at top speed with the horses close behind her. The dream would end only with her awakening. The nightly strain upon her became serious. Finally a practitioner who was working for her advised her to stop running away from the horses. "But they will run over me," she protested. "Then let them," she replied. So she agreed to stand her ground. Again that night the horses came galloping toward her. She remembered in her dream that she had agreed to stand her ground. Terrified and breathless she did so. The next instant she found herself absorbed by an aspect of the horses she had never seen before. She was looking at their flowing tails disappearing in the distance. They had passed over her but not the slightest harm had come to her. She awoke with a cry of gratitude; the illusion had been broken.
Twice thereafter she again dreamed of the galloping horses but they only circled the rim of the valley and did not venture near her. Her final dream picture was of the valley carpeted with flowers with no intruding hoof to disturb its peace and pleasantness.
The practitioner had worked from the basis of the true idea of God and man, realizing that God forever constitutes and protects the peace and harmony of His creation. The deliverance was manifested through improved beliefs. First the patient gained enough courage to stand her ground against the oncoming horses. Then the thought-picture was changed so that the horses were removed to the valley's rim where they showed no disposition to harm her. Finally all suggestion of danger was removed, and the valley was there clothed in beauty and peace. The ideas of Truth worked in her thought to produce a steadily improving concept until the dream was completely obliterated.
Valuing Mrs. Eddy's Work
Some years ago when beginning to study Christian Science I was somewhat disturbed by the attacks launched against Mrs. Eddy by some of her detractors. While pondering these attacks and wondering how it might be possible for me, as a young student, to satisfy myself as to the correctness or incorrectness of the allegations there came one day this thought. You have been studying earnestly the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is written by Mrs. Eddy. The authenticity of her authorship has been accepted by the United States Federal Court. You have derived from your study of the ideas she presents a clearer and more satisfying concept of God and man than you have gotten from your study of human philosophy or orthodox theology. Your thinking has been uplifted, your desire for a standard of life based on an intelligent concept of God has been satisfied.
Furthermore, you have been healed of various physical disorders through the thinking of those who have studied the ideas in this book. Many of your friends and some of your relatives have been healed physically and mentally by the power of the true ideas Mrs. Eddy has set forth in her book. Remember it was Mrs. Eddy's consciousness which, in this age, first saw and declared so lucidly these health-producing, evil-destroying ideas. Do you think that the individual consciousness that was sufficiently spiritual and intellectual to perceive and set down these great ideas of being could also be the type of a person that her detractors would make her out to be? Which is the reliable evidence, the ideas for which and with which she has lived and worked for most of a lifetime or the loose, unsupported opinions of her malicious detractors? I had my answer to my original question. I realized that I was coming really to know this great woman through her ideas, for they constituted her real character and life. My query had been answered, not by the testimony of men, but by the Father Mind, bearing witness to His own.
In her work, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," on page 120 Mrs. Eddy says, "Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me." For some twenty-five years the ideas which were her life were set down in her writings. In them she turns over to the world her life-consciousness and mental home for examination and scrutiny. There is naught therein but what, when understood, does her the highest honor.
Some good people still believe Christian Scientists worship Mrs. Eddy. That is wholly untrue. They never have and they never will worship her. Her teachings have taught them to worship God, not any human person. Because honesty and justice are essential to the right order of religion and science they desire to be just and honest to Mrs. Eddy, to recognize and honor her for her stupendous work in revealing to mankind the practical methods for utilizing the intelligent and loving ideas of God to overcome the misconception of material existence. They know she discovered and founded in human thought in this age the true idea of God and man which is evil's destroyer. More recognition than this she does not ask. Less they cannot give and be honest with God for His gift to her. Her discovery is set forth in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a book of eighteen chapters and seven hundred pages. It is easily available to all in public libraries and Christian Science Reading Rooms throughout the world.
The Bible's Real Value
An anvil will outlast many hammers which pound upon it. The Bible has been likened to an anvil which, though hammered with criticism and skepticism, stands and withstands and becomes more respected and used as generations go by. It has for many years enjoyed the distinction of being the best seller in the book markets of the world. Why? There must be a reason.
The vitality and power of the Bible lies not in the fact that it has been accepted by certain church organizations and individuals as the Word of God, not because certain high-minded characters such as Moses, David, Isaiah, Christ Jesus, John, and Paul are quoted in its pages. The Bible's power and vitality lies in the fact that it makes available to human consciousness ideas — true ideas, vital, enlightening, comforting ideas, which men in all ages have been able to grasp and feed upon. Sometimes the intellectualism of cold materialism has rejected them, but the spiritually hungry in all generations have appreciated them. Therein the earnest searcher will find ideas of God that satisfy, ideas of man that lift thought above the sodden paths of earth, ideas that increase one's hope in intelligent Love, ideas that cause faith in good to grow and fear of evil to lessen. Atheism, skepticism, human criticism, can no more undo them than moonbeams can melt the icecap at the pole.
A book's usefulness is in proportion to the worthwhile ideas it introduces into human thoughts. The individuals through whom those ideas are declared are entitled in honesty and justice to be rightly honored for the true ideas they express. But the ideas are what make their words live. Indeed their words declare their ideas. Jesus saw this and said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." The idea of God, man, law, health, substance, which he proclaimed, will remain as long as Mind, for Mind is their substance and life.
Consider, for instance, that great statement of Christ Jesus, "I and my Father are one." Here is an idea which riddles the superstition of the material ages that man is bound and imprisoned in godless matter and points to the spiritual fact that the Master's individuality, and all real individuality, is forever united and joined to the eternal Mind which is God. This idea is the very corner stone of the Science of Life. Without it men flounder and fail. With it understood they find their feet on a rock, the life-unity of man with the eternal intelligence, or Love, which is their substance and being.
'Let There Be Light'
The first command of Deity recorded in the Bible is, "Let there be light." Are we willing to let there be light in our consciousness? The command has never been changed. It expresses the nature of Truth. To it, to true Mind, the light of true knowledge is the only natural atmosphere of being. The darkness of ignorance is no product of God. Said John, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." The Bible records some of the more important events in human history which witness the fuller appearing of the light of Truth and its ideas. Christ Jesus, because he expressed so fully the enlightening power of Christ, could say, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life." Are we willing to have our thought enlightened by the true idea of God and man which is the Christ-light?
The night of material thinking may seem to yield slowly to the light of true ideas, but great progress is evident. In no period in human history has the human race progressed as it has in the last 60 years. Changes of first import have taken place in the thinking of men. In the realm of invention, of government, of international relations, of education, of religion, of commerce and economics, thought has been breaking through the limitations of ignorance and fear as never before.
Great changes have taken place and doubtless greater changes are yet to come. Ezekiel, pondering the adjustments that must come individually and collectively, foretold these changes thus: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: ... until he come whose right it is." We need have no fear of change, rather a right expectancy of it. When we remember that in the human race there are many millions living every day on the verge of starvation and many millions more confronted with the haunting fear of destitution, and still more millions whose lives are overburdened with the weight of excessive physical toil, we cannot fail to perceive that great changes must appear in our social and political order. These changes will, in their eventual result, hurt no one but bless every one, for they will be the fuller appearing of the rule of the right Mind, or God.
"This material world," writes Mrs. Eddy, "Science and Health," p. 96, "is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace. The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth."
Mrs. Eddy has lifted up above the darkness of material ignorance the lamp of spiritual Truth, even the Christ-idea, the true idea of God and man. Brighter and brighter it shines in human thought, dissipating the darkness and fear of mistaken thinking, lightening each individual consciousness willing to let light appear in his mental home. Out of the darkness of the material night Christ leads thought to the day of spiritual light, John in his vision of the new order of existence perceived that. Mind alone with its universe of enlightened ideas was the only permanent light. He said: "There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light." His spiritualized consciousness saw the full conquest of materiality's ignorant night. The ideas that brought this revelation of God's enlightening presence to John are here for you and me. In the words of a beloved hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 2):
A glorious day is dawning,
And o'er the waking earth
The heralds of the morning
Are springing into birth.
In dark and hidden places
There shines the blessed light;
The beam of Truth displaces
The darkness of the night.
The watchword has been spoken,
The light has broken forth,
Far shines the blessed token
Upon the startled earth.
To hearts and homes benighted
The blessed Truth is given,
And peace and love, united,
Point upward unto heaven.
[Delivered March 26, 1934, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Brooklyn, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 28, 1934.]