Christian Science: The Way of Complete Salvation
Earl E. Simms, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Earl E. Simms, C.S., of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. John it is recorded that as Christ Jesus and his disciples were sitting at the supper table in commemoration of the Passover, Thomas asked, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5.) Thomas had not yet caught the full purpose of the Christ mission. Jesus' reply, however, made plain that the path of inspired spiritual living lay in obedience to his commands; that following this path required thinking, talking, and living as he did. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6.)
Jesus the Christ
It was the prayers of the righteous which opened the way for the Saviorís coming! God so loved those righteous, those who prayed for a better way of life, that He sent His only begotten Son into the world, "that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17.)
The Christian Scientist acknowledges
Jesus the Christ to be the Son of God. The human Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
Judea, of the Virgin Mary. He lived with his family in
When the Master's mission was accomplished, Jesus ascended. He rose above all material concepts and limitations, while the Christ, Truth, continued to remain here for all men in all times to embrace and understand. The Christ is here now, taking away the sins of the world and healing the sick.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Throughout Christian history many
have striven to follow the path of inspired spiritual living charted by our
Way-shower. Some have been more successful than others. In this long procession
of worthy disciples, none has followed more closely or understood more clearly
the spiritual import of the Master's teachings than Mary Baker Eddy. The
purity, courage, and spiritual consecration of this brave
Mrs. Eddy was a frail child and during young womanhood this frailty developed to the point of semi-invalidism. It was following an injury from a fall on an icy street, from which the attending physician reported she would not recover, that the light of Christ's Christianity, Christian Science, came to Mrs. Eddy. With the verdict of death hanging over her she called for her Bible and opened it to the healing by Jesus of the man "sick of the palsy." As she read, she was healed, arose from her bed and walked into the adjoining room where friends were sorrowfully awaiting word of her passing on.
Mrs. Eddy pondered her marvelous healing. She concluded that there must be a science, a system, behind the healings performed by the Master and his disciples. This she set out to understand. She describes her research as follows:
"In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science. . . .
"For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule. The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing. I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were† produced† in† primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration." (Science and Health, pp. 107, 109.)
In the years following her discovery, Mrs. Eddy demonstrated God's healing power over practically every known disease, especially those termed incurable by the doctors. Is not this what the churches are striving for, the seamless garment of the Christ, Truth, which heals sickness as well as sin? The churches then as now were concerned almost exclusively with the reformation of the sinner, leaving the healing of the sick to medicine, surgery, or other material means, all this in spite of Jesus' teachings and demonstrations wherein he healed sin and sickness through one and the same spiritual process. Hopefully she offered her great discovery to the world. She invited into her classes of instruction in Christian Science ministers, professional and business men and women, and others. Some seed fell on good ground and bore rich fruitage.
In the meantime, healings were going on under the Christly banner of this Science. Those healed could not return to the old doctrines and their former churches, but longed to be with those who thought and lived as they did. A Christian Science group was formed which later became the Christian Science church. This group called as its pastor, Mary Baker Eddy.
From this seed, planted less than
seventy years ago, has grown The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ,
Christian Science and Holy Writ
The first tenet of The Mother Church, namely, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Manual, P. 15), shows the position of Holy Writ in Christian Science.
The Christian Scientist loves the Bible. He holds its truths to be practicable today, hence to him it is not merely a hard taskmaster saying with rod in hand, "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not." He finds its law challenging, its history informative, its poetry incomparably beautiful, its examples and proofs assuring, and its prophecies glorious promises of comfort and joy. So all-important are the Holy Scriptures in Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy was later divinely led to ordain the Bible and the Christian Science textbook as the sole pastor of her church.
The Scriptures have both literal and spiritual meaning. The important one is the spiritual. In the first chapter of Genesis is presented the record of spiritual creation. Directly following this account of perfect creation, in the second and succeeding chapters of Genesis, is the story of the so-called material creation. This first account shows God to be the only cause and creator of the universe, including man in His image and likeness. He declared His creation to be very good. Therefore, it is most worthy of note that God did not make evil - that is, sin, disease, war, or death. Then He did not make fear. He made nothing to fear, nor anything that can express fear. It is upon these facts, the eternal perfection of God and man in His likeness, spiritual, unfallen, perfect, and eternal, that all Christianly scientific metaphysics is founded. From this basis of reasoning operated the prophets, the Master, his disciples, and our Leader. It is on this spiritual foundation that you and I, my friends, must stand today.
The Adam-Dream of Creation
Science and Health says of the story of the Adam-dream of creation (p. 521), "The second chapter of Genesis contains a statement of this material view of God and the universe, a statement which is the exact opposite of scientific truth as before recorded." That these two divergent accounts are placed so closely together at the outset indicates that Truth, immortal Mind, is at once challenged by so-called mortal mind; and that man, the offspring of Mind, the child of God, revealed in light and understanding, would appear to be counterfeited in dust and brought forth in darkness, mystification, and† hypnotism. Hence, we see the carnal so-called mind and its offspring, the false concept of man, hurling challenges at the divine Mind and its spiritual idea.
God Is Knowable and Understandable
Is not the question, "What is God?" one that you and I should be able to answer for ourselves and others? Indeed it is! Our answer, namely, our knowledge of God, reveals our ability to demonstrate His ever-presence, His power, His love, and His law.
The Christian Science textbook says (p. 465), "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." Answering the question as to whether or not the terms she uses interchangeably for God are synonymous, Mrs. Eddy says (ibid.), "They are. They refer to one absolute God. They are also intended to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity. The attributes of God are justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on."
Christian Science reveals God to be All-in-all. God being infinite, the synonyms for limitless Mind are infinite. To magnify Him as we must to gain this enlarged concept, we must understand and make extensive use of these holy names for our dear heavenly Father-Mother.
Does not God as Mind denote the omniscience of one divine intelligence which conceived man and the universe, and revealed His numberless spiritual ideas? There cannot be minds many because in reality there are not gods many. Man reflects and expresses the divine Mind, whose qualities include spiritual wisdom, intelligence, understanding, spontaneity, originality, and ability.
The Master himself designated Spirit as a synonym for Deity. He said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24.) To some, Spirit, more than any other term, indicates the infinity, omnipresence, and eternality of God.
Soul is another term for God, employed by Mrs. Eddy. Spelled with a capital letter as are the other six major synonyms, Soul presents God as the very essence and substance, the center and circumference, of all true life and being. Then Soul can never be in matter. That which is erroneously called a soul in a physical body is proved by Science to be no more than the five physical senses which counterfeit infinite Soul. Through Soul, spiritual sense, alone, you and I are enabled to see the beauty, grandeur, harmony, holiness, and spiritual nature of God and His creation.
Truth is another Scriptural name for God, and is so used in Christian Science. God is Truth. Someone has said, "Truth is that which is." Then error, the opposite of Truth, must be that which is not. Jesus declared God to be knowable; he said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) His teachings, understood, erase agnosticism, which is ignorance of God. To the Christian Scientist, Truth is divine, real, and powerful, while error is temporal, unreal, and impotent. Man is the expression of Truth. His God-given qualities include intelligence, ability, understanding, honesty, might, and courage.
Life and Love are also synonyms for Deity which mean so much in Christian Science. Shall we consider them together? Mrs. Eddy felt they could be so considered, for in one of her poems she wrote (Poems, p. 7), "For Love alone is Life." You recall the Master's experience recorded in Luke's Gospel when the lawyer asked him, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" This man desired to know how he could experience life, here and now, in all its beauty and joy, spiritual progress and prosperity. Jesus had him answer his own question in that he required him to state the law of Love which governs eternal life, namely, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." (Luke 10:27.) When the man had finished, the Saviour declared, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live." (Luke 10:28.) He did not say, "Thou shalt die and then live." He implied, Thou shalt live now.
My friends, isn't this the only life that you and I desire to know anything about? I am sure it is! Then why not live this life, here and now, in all its beauty, love, happiness, and true prosperity, instead of waiting until some uncertain future time? Why not recognize death as an enemy to be overcome, as the Scripture declares, instead of erroneously believing it to be the portal to eternal life and heaven?
Love the True Incentive
"Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching," declares Mrs. Eddy (ibid., p. 454). A Christian Science treatment may be defined as divine Love in action! Spiritual affection and understanding are healing angels, operating instantaneously, opening their prison doors for the sick, and binding up the broken-hearted. When a call for help comes, the consecrated practitioner pours into human consciousness the flood tides of Love and Truth, and the healing should be immediate and permanent.
This was proved conclusively to a young businessman who entered the public practice of Christian Science. After about a year of reasonably successful practice this young man found himself with quite a list of patients. The group was composed of those who were better today and worse tomorrow and vice versa. True, there were no serious complications, but there were few complete healings. Concerned over this erroneous state of affairs which seemed to persist in spite of his earnest and conscientious prayers, the young worker consulted his teacher in Christian Science. The more experienced friend was quick to discover the reason for the trouble and said, "Do you know what you are doing? You are doing your practice work just as you used to do your business!" The unamplified statement was not at that moment understood.
That night, humble prayer was continued and more than once the kind and tender voice was heard saying, "You are doing your practice work just as you used to do your business."
In his office the next morning, the young practitioner, refreshed after a night of earnest longing, continued his efforts to dispel the mist and clear his vision. As he affirmed the ever-presence of divine intelligence and that man reflects and expresses this intelligence in wisdom, power, understanding, and ability, the still small voice of Truth whispered, "How much do you love those patients?" There was the answer, my friends, "How much do you love those patients?" In other words, "Do you yourself reflect and understand those impersonal qualities of divine Love, namely, spiritual understanding, compassion, mercy, patience, and tender Christly affection? As you affirm the Christianly scientific facts of man's being as the child of God, do you understand that these spiritual qualities are reflected by you and your patient?"
This young man realized forthwith what his friend had meant. He was regarding those who came to him for help just as a lawyer would a client, a doctor a patient, or a merchant a customer. Indeed, he was denying and reversing error's claims and replacing them in consciousness with the true spiritual facts of man's real being as the child of God; but the unction of divine Love so vitally necessary for instantaneous and permanent healings was lacking in the treatment.
With this uncovering of error and the revelation of how to destroy it, the healer took up work with greater inspiration and confidence. In the midst of the treatment he would declare, "I do express divine Love's qualities." The results were gratifying, in fact amazing, for by the next day at , exactly one half of those listed as patients reported that they were healed and the remainder showed good progress. Does not the textbook say (p. 365), "If the Scientist reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing work will be accomplished at one visit, and the disease will vanish into its native nothingness like dew before the morning sunshine"?
A businessman, a student of Christian Science, put his scientific understanding of Life, Truth, and Love, and their qualities as expressed in man, to practical use some years ago. He accepted a position as a salesman with a large manufacturing establishment. The line given him was a new one for this concern. It was not easily sold and required some pioneering. The sales manager demanded immediate results in dollars and cents. However, at the outset, this salesman carefully analyzed the situation according to Christian Science. He realized first of all that actually, in truth and in fact, God was his employer, that he was working for his dear heavenly Father-Mother; and that he would do all things for God's glory and honor, and for unselfish service to his fellowman. Second, he thought carefully on the good and beneficial purposes of the line he was selling, the good his product would do for the merchants and their customers. Third, he endeavored to realize clearly every morning, through a diligent study of the Christian Science Lesson-Sermon, that as the perfect child of God he reflected all of God's qualities and so could all with whom he dealt. He said that every day he went about doing business with God's children, hence he found them responsive, helpful, and cooperative. What at first appeared to be a hard line, he found to be an easy one to sell and, needless to say, he had a grateful sales manager. This salesman understood Truth and Love to be powerful and ever-present, therefore applicable to his business problems. This understanding opened up new avenues of thought and today he himself is sales manager in a fine business. May I say to you business men and women, that our friend does not hold a corner on the market! The open fount of Love is free to all!
The One God
Do not all these synonyms for God which we have been discussing point to His oneness, His allness, His completeness? They do not signify gods many. They indicate the one and only God. The Christian Scientist is a monotheist. He obeys closely the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
In the old city of
Most Occidentals stand in utter amazement at this Oriental superstition and ignorance, little recognizing how much idolatry is practiced daily in the western world. We do, however, have many temples with many idols. Indeed we do! To mention a few - there are exercise, diet, vitamin pills, daily weighing, and materia medica. Every time one lingers longingly before a patent medicine counter or sends himself by way of prescription into a pharmaceutical case, he is admitting that matter has power and intelligence and that Spirit is not infinite and supreme. He is apparently worshiping the various chemicals on the shelves. Someone may say, "I never do any such thing. I just drink a little hot water before retiring, or take a little soda water after meals, or use a little Mercurochrome as first aid." My friends, these may not be idols nine feet tall, but give them time, they will grow in your thought. Mrs. Eddy wisely observed, and I quote (ibid., pp. 173, 174), "The idols of civilization are far more fatal to health and longevity than are the idols of barbarism. The idols of civilization call into action less faith than Buddhism in a supreme governing intelligence."
Christian Science, however, in no sense condemns those who are misled by the illusive promises and hypnotic arguments of belief in false gods, but reiterates the First Commandment and the need of obedience to it and thereby points to the way that Jesus healed. He set aside all material so-called laws and took no stock in material sense testimony, but vanquished sickness, disease, deformity, lack, and poverty, through the application of the Word of God, without the use of material means. Indeed, the Christian Science way is one of radical reliance on divine power, which permits no adulteration.
At this point, someone may be thinking, "That is all very good, but is not the sin which I see all about me very real?" To be sure, sin seems to be real to those who indulge in it, like it, and think they find pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction in it. Such persons are mesmerized by sin's false promises. On the other hand, observe the person who refuses to be a party to sin, repudiates it, and refuses to indulge in it. Is sin real to him? So far as he is concerned, sin is powerless, it has no attraction, does not become a part of his experience, therefore it presents no reality.
Let us look further at the false claim of sin. Does God punish sin? Sin is its own punishment! The sinner, so called, makes himself at-one with sin; he believes in it. So when the belief in sin is punished, the sinner is punished also. Sin is punished so long as the belief in it persists. Sin or evil is overcome, destroyed, and salvation is gained through three steps, the first of which is repentance, sorrow for wrongdoing. The second step, a highly important one, is reformation, stopping the sin, turning from it to good. The third step is baptism, communion with Spirit, complete cleansing from evil of every sort. In this connection, Mrs. Eddy has written in her book, "Miscellaneous Writings," and I quote (p. 107), "Three cardinal points must be gained before poor humanity is regenerated and Christian Science is demonstrated: (1) A proper sense of sin; (2) repentance; (3) the understanding of good."
The uniqueness of Christian Science, that in which it differs from all other religions, rests in the fact that it enables one to take here and now the step into spirituality, complete salvation, wherein the sick are healed, demons are cast out, the lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised through the prayers of the righteous.
Christian Science teaches that prayer is constant spiritual thinking. Effectual prayer comes from a heart filled with an unquenchable desire for righteousness, purity, and holiness. It is the prayer of denial of error as well as affirmation of the truth. It declares what God is, and identifies man as the perfect expression of his creator. The Lord's Prayer in its first four statements clearly constitutes a petition which, scientifically understood, affirms what God is, while the next three parts, scientifically interpreted, are declarations of what God does for man. The final statement of this glorious prayer, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" (Matt. ), may well be considered a summary.
Does God answer prayer? Indeed He does! Scientific prayer acknowledges divine law as ever present, ever operative, and supreme over all material so-called law. Such prayer lifts us above material sense testimony; it delivers us into the beatific presence of infinite Mind where good is supreme; it reconciles us to God, whereby we become conscious of the all-presence of infinite perfection. True prayer does not reconcile divine Love to a seemingly sick, sinning, or war-torn state of affairs, for God can know only Himself, Life, Truth, and Love, because He is All. The prophet declared, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." (Hab. 1:13) Thus it should be plain that scientific prayer is not blind belief, based on trembling hopes and doubts, but it is the spiritual understanding of the infinite, divine, supreme, perfect, and eternal nature of the loving Father-Mother who is ever bestowing all good upon His image and likeness, man.
True prayer is the Word of God in action. It denies, reverses, repudiates, and casts out every false claim that fear, pain, discord, and inharmony are real, present, or powerful. It brings to human consciousness man's sonship with God. It affirms the ever-presence and ever-operativeness of God's spiritual law of Life, Truth, and Love which ever guards, guides, and governs man harmoniously.
Christian Science Treatment and Healing
From what has already been said, two things are apparent; one is that prayer and treatment in Christian Science are one and the same thing; and second, that we have been praying, that is declaring, the perfection of God and man in this lecture.
It must ever be remembered that God is infinite Spirit, hence all substance, all presence, all power, the one and only Lawgiver; and that man is the expression of God's very being, therefore always at-one with God! Thus it is seen that being God's image and likeness is not elective, is not a matter of choice with you and me, but is mandatory, compulsory. We have no alternative. Too, we see that man is not a medium for God, but is God's very manifestation of Himself. He is the expression of Life, Truth, and Love. So then God is not in one place and you in another. God and man are not separated, but are one, as divine Principle and idea; Love and reflection; Truth and expression; Life and manifestation; Father and son! Christian Science holds this perfect unity of God and man to be unchanging and eternal, indestructible and indissoluble. Through it the sick are healed, the sinning are reformed, and poverty, fear, doubt, anxiety, hatred, and worry are cast out as unreal and untrue.
The following incidents prove that this Christ, Truth, heals today as it did nineteen centuries ago.
Recently, in a Wednesday evening testimonial meeting in a Christian Science church, a mother expressed gratitude for a Christian Science healing. She told of her son, a boy of twelve, who fell some twenty feet from a tree. His foot was badly twisted and seemed to be fractured. This mother called a Christian Science practitioner for help. She asked the practitioner if the foot should be X-rayed and the fracture reduced by a surgeon. The practitioner reminded her that God is omnipotent and can do all things, but left the decision up to her and the boy. The boy, a student in the Christian Science Sunday School, decided to rely wholly on God for healing. Pain and discomfort were reduced to the minimum and within a week the foot was straightened. The following week he was back in school with no trace of the accident remaining. I can verify this healing from personal observation.
Another healing concerning which I can give firsthand information was of a man who was not a Christian Scientist. This man became desperately ill. He was sorely afraid that a surgical operation would be necessary. He asked for treatment in Christian Science. When the practitioner arrived, the man was writhing in pain; his abdomen was badly swollen. Christian Science treatment was begun at in the evening, and three hours later the pain had ceased and the swelling had disappeared. The next morning this man walked into the practitioner's office completely well.
Was anything real changed in these healings? No, not anything that God had wrought; but the human mind had been changed and the human body and the human experience responded accordingly. Science and Health says (p. 162), "The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind."
Salvation a Demonstrable and Present Fact
Does not all this point out the path of inspired spiritual living, the way of complete salvation?
Your very presence here is sufficient proof that you are seeking the truth. Christian Science is the law of Truth, the Word of God brought to human consciousness. All that Christian Science teaches is found in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mrs. Eddy. This book may be obtained at your nearest Christian Science Reading Room. The Christian Science Lesson-Sermons are composed of passages from the King James Version of the Bible and correlative passages from Science and Health. A daily study of this Lesson furnishes spiritual food for thought throughout the day. Why not begin this systematic study at once? If you will do so you will find your days unfolding harmoniously. You will not have lost time, but will find time, strength, and intelligence to do all that it is necessary for you to do. Students of this Science are proving every day that it does what its Discoverer says, namely (ibid., p. 162), "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies. Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth. It changes the secretions, expels humors, dissolves tumors, relaxes rigid muscles, restores carious bones to soundness." The Word of God is Life, Truth, and Love in action with all power behind it.
Paul expressed it thus, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12.)
So, my friends, this Word of God, put into practice, dispels the fogs of error and reveals to you and me the way of complete salvation.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, April 18, 1947.]