Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (2)
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Christian Science holds the key to the law of practical good and its application, and the key is for you and me and for all who have the wisdom to discern it and put it to use today," declared Paul Stark Seeley, C.S., a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Mass., in a lecture yesterday afternoon in the Academy of Music. "Right and reason are supplanting mere precedent and opinion," he said, "and men and nations are feeling a power and impetus to better things.
"The world is questioning its systems, which have failed to bring to it in times of its greatest need security, happiness, health and peace," said the speaker. "Its theories of man-made material beliefs are falling and in the ruins there is beginning to appear the foundation of that true creation in which all religion, science and medicine are one, and all real life and being is seen to proceed from and be the expression of eternal spiritual Truth."
Mr. Seeley, who was introduced by Martin F. Jackson, a Christian Science chaplain with the American Expeditionary Forces, recently returned from overseas, continued:
"With the assurance of that which has been tried and proven, Christian Science presents to the world not a new denominational dogma but the eternal Truth about God, creation and man based on reason, logic and demonstration. It asserts that an ever-operative law of good, which is superior to every phase of evil, exists, that this law may be understood and used by man to overcome every evil condition with which he may be confronted. It supplies the one and only antidote for evil of every kind.
"Looking into the consciousness of the world at large, we find a divided sense of life and being, widely varying points of view, mental cross currents, acting and counteracting upon one another. Good and evil appear in conflict in every department of human life. Religion, medicine and science are viewed from a hundred different angles and on social, political and economic questions, men are of a multitude of minds.
"In this complexity of human thought, in this labyrinth of world opinion, one looks for a standard, but none is to be found. Men are as far apart as the poles in their beliefs as to where they came from and as to whither they are bound. Cause is to them a thing of mystery and destiny a matter of conjecture. Confusion and division seem exalted and unity and certitude seem hidden from men's minds.
"Can this confusion of mortal thought be disentangled? What is the solution? Is there a rational, provable explanation of mind's processes, of cause and effect, of good and evil, or is life a mystery, man the marionette of evil forces, the puppet of chance and circumstance, and creation an unexplainable enigma?
"Looking into this maze of a world confused, divided and discordant, Christian Science places before men the unvarying standard of spiritual Truth, a lodestar and unerring guide to lead them out of the turmoil of worldly belief into the peaceful latitudes of consciousness which are correlative with true being. With the understanding of the spiritual Truth about God and man the simplicity of good supplants the complexity of evil, order takes the place of chaos, and man's conscious sense lays hold of the priceless verities of eternal life and spiritual law.
"Reason tells us that the cause of man must be intelligent, that intelligence, indeed, must be its primary quality. Man and his consciousness are one. A moment's consideration shows us that intelligence is found only in mind, is the native substance and essence of mind. Indeed mind and intelligence are inseparable, synonymous, and it is therefore intelligence or mind that Christian Science accepts as the rational and primal cause of man. From this fundamental premise Christian Science never deviates in its deductions or conclusions.
"Evil, discord and distress betray absence of wisdom or entire unrelatedness to real mind or intelligence. Goodness, unity and harmony — the expression of wisdom — must characterize mind and its expression. Erring human thought is not real intelligence and bears no relationship to God. Goodness and harmony are correlated with intelligence; evil and discord are coincident with ignorance.
"The highest signification of intelligence is Love, the truest synonym for God. We thus come to see that this one intelligence, this one altogether good Mind, Life, Truth and Love is that primary cause to which mortals have given the name of God, and that the totality of good or the sum total of intelligence is the person of God.
"Let it be well noted that an altogether intelligent and good cause cannot initiate or produce an unintelligent or evil effect. Evil is not an adjunct of intelligence nor is immortal Mind sponsor for sin, mortality, discord and disease. Who will say that intelligence, wisdom and love are responsible for such scenes as today stand forth in bold relief in the world of matter and mortality, when multitudes are afflicted with sorrow and millions contend in strife, and when for many the sun of life seems all but darkened? Surely God is not the author of such scenes. Habakkuk well expressed the entire separateness of God or intelligence from evil when he said: 'Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.'
"To make God responsible for evil at once gives it place as eternal reality, thereby forestalling hope of harmony, peace and brotherhood. It impugns God's wisdom, power and love, enthrones Satan and damns mankind to perpetual sorrow, discord and dismay. Such a belief is the depth of pessimism. Christian Science is a religion of joy and gladness, for it propounds an intelligent optimism based on a usable understanding of the supremacy of good and the way to its present demonstration. Good does not associate nor collaborate with evil. God does not fraternize with the devil.
"God is spiritual good and everywhere we find spiritual good we find God. God is to be found in thought, through spiritual thinking, and nowhere else. Understanding good is knowing God, doing good is expressing God. 'Behold, the kingdom of God is within you,' said Jesus; that is, within your consciousness. Wherever, then we find the expression of spiritual good, that is, wherever we find the manifestation of goodness, love, kindness, honesty and purity, right there is God being expressed.
"Evil, matter and the world deny the presence of good, but whenever we rightfully turn thought from the negative claims of evil to the positive facts of spiritual good we find good there waiting for us. God present with us, just as Jesus stated. God is not affected by the physical concepts of distance or space. God isn't somewhere; He is everywhere. God is not up 'there' and men down here. The 'here' and 'there' of mortal sense does not affect the everywhere of God. No matter what man's mortal environment may be, be he in the home, the office, the factory, the farm or the battlefield, God is as near to man as thought.
"The real man, since he is the expression of God, must be like Him in quality, for effect cannot differ in quality from its cause. He is in reality mental, spiritual, and expresses only goodness, purity, love and truth, the perfect creature of a perfect cause. Thus we see that Jesus's admonition, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' simply means to rid consciousness of all evil and mortality and gain the true spiritual sense of being which enables man to express his perfect, natural and divine identity.
"The real man is not a physical organism that, like a jack-in-the-box, appears and disappears. He is the creature of Mind. Matter is Mind's opposite, never its partner or medium. Man does not live because of matter but in spite of it. Matter is not the creator, destroyer or arbiter of his being. Man does not live by sufferance of evil but by decree of God. He is not a variable mixture of good and evil whose moral mercury rises and falls according to the atmosphere of temptation and circumstance, a mixture diplomatically adjusted to keep him on speaking terms with the devil, without too seriously offending God. Man is in reality the eternal and constant idea of Mind, Life, Truth, Love. How, indeed, would intelligence, honesty, love, purity, goodness and justice be expressed save through the consciousness and activity of man? God is your life and my life and all real life. He depends on you and me to express Him.
"Looking into the consciousness of mortal man, we find a very different concept of God, creation and man than that which we have been considering. This concept makes matter to be cause, from which man seems to be evolved by a material mind which operates through matter. Man is a creature of flesh, sinful, corrupt and perishable instead of the expression of God, perfect, pure and eternal. In this corrupt, material concept is found division, strife, sickness, grief, fear, injustice and hell. Ignorance and confusion about life, its origin and ultimate, characterize this mortal sense of being. Mortal man knows nothing of what precedes or follows this short earth span. He is hopeful of better things, perhaps, but ignorant of how to attain them. Good is limited and obscured instead of being natural and abundant. Things of beauty are but for a moment and all that appears perishes and dies.
"Matter in some form seems to be everywhere and thus offers a direct contradiction to the ever-presence of Mind or intelligence. This mortal sense of creation which makes matter its god would subordinate divine intelligence to mortal ignorance, supplant all-powerful good with all-mighty evil; supersede the ever-presence of good, which is heaven, with the ever-presence of evil, which is hell.
"Which of these concepts of creation is true, the material or the spiritual? Both cannot be, for each is the exact opposite of the other. 'I have set before you,' said the Prophet, 'life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose!' This is the demand that is pressing you and me and all mankind today, a demand that will never cease until we have chosen and chosen aright — aligned our thinking with the true cause, divine intelligence and its law."
[Published in The Brooklyn (New York) Daily Eagle, Dec. 15, 1919.]