The Real Man and His Relation to God
Judge Clifford P. Smith, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
It is my purpose to speak to you this evening on "The Real Man and His Relation to God." I have chosen this subject because of its practical and every day importance. All men need to know the truth of their own being; and to the extent that they find it and think and act accordingly, in that extent they are upright, healthy, happy, and successful in their legitimate occupations.
It may be assumed, I suppose, that no one in this audience disbelieves in a power or cause higher than himself. One who denies the existence of a supreme intelligent Being is said to be an atheist. But such persons are rare; in most cases the supposed atheist has simply not been satisfied with any particular concept of God and man that has been brought to his attention. A better concept, or the true one, may find him entirely willing to accept it.
As a matter of fact, every thoughtful man has some concept of Deity. Such a man at least knows that he is intermediate in the scale of existence — superior to some effects but subordinate to the primordial substance or cause, higher than some creatures but lower than the Creator. This is a fact made evident by reason as well as revelation. Mere observation discovers the existence of laws which manifestly proceed from a power, an intelligent source, higher than man. The turning of the earth upon its axis, the coming of a good thought into consciousness, these diverse facts both illustrate the operation of a mind which is superior to man. The most fundamental fact in human experience is consciousness; and this necessarily must have a principle.
God the Divine Mind; Man His Expression
Since man possesses consciousness, he must be related to the principle of consciousness; and Christian Science declares this Principle to be God, the divine Mind of which man is the mental and spiritual expression.
Not only do men intuitively believe in a Being or Mind higher than themselves, they also expect to live upon a higher plane of existence than is visible to the physical senses. We have no reason to be satisfied with the life which seems to begin from mortal birth, which appears to include all evil — fear, failure, sin, sickness, deformity, disability, suffering, sorrow — and to end in death. In fact, we no longer accept all the testimony about man that we get through the five senses. For example life seems to end in death, but who believes that it does? We see a change; we lose sight of a friend or loved one; we consign a body to a grave or its ashes to an urn; but we have faith, we know, that the life of the individual continues.
So also, the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, tells us of an existence for man which in every respect far transcends the life of mortals. It is unthinkable that man should always continue a bundle of contradictions, a mixture of opposite qualities, a meeting of conflicting forces, as he appears to be. Every man, whether he looks for salvation or for evolution, expects something better than this.
Christian Science declares that man's brightest hopes for a better life in the hereafter can not exceed what is in fact the present reality of life; that mortal existence is a state of ignorance and false belief based on a material sense of things; that the actuality is a condition of purity, completeness, joy, harmony, and goodness — a perfect state of mental and spiritual activity, a consciousness free from error or evil; an eternal identity determined by Mind or Spirit, not by matter. And Christian Science declares that this true selfhood must be attained, and can be attained, by gaining a demonstrable understanding of reality; by getting and using a scientific knowledge of the truth of being; by comprehending in its true import and following the example of him who came that we might have life, and have it abundantly.
Christ Rose to Divine Life, Overcoming Error
Taking human life from birth, Jesus the Christ ascended progressively to the life which is divine. Having the understanding of Truth, he grappled with and overcame, one after another, the errors which fetter and belittle the life seen in this world, until he rose above it and passed beyond the range of mortal vision.
With the knowledge of Spirit, he outgrew the belief of life in matter until every mortal or human element vanished. Nor did he do this as though it were possible for him alone. On the contrary, his declared purpose was to be the "way" or Way-shower for all men; to enlighten the world; to be the door by which any man might enter in and be saved.
Although immediate and lasting benefits resulted to the world from the ministry of Christ Jesus, the absolute truth which he taught was soon adulterated in human belief, so that the religion which took his name failed to bear the very fruits by which he said his system should be known. His religion differed from all others not only in doctrine, but in results, and by its fruits it was to be known or identified. The distinctive feature of the religion founded by Christ Jesus was its saving quality, and this was a present salvation from all evil — from sin, disease, and death. In fine his Christianity was as broad as human need, and the truth of it was proved by demonstration.
In the course of time, however, the understanding of true Christianity became diluted and demonstration failed accordingly, until a consistency between theory and practice was obtained by modifying the scope of Christian salvation. A distinction was made between moral disorder and physical, and the healing of the latter was left outside the Christian ministry. The Master, as St. Peter said, "went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil"; but this distinction, which was in no wise authorized by Christ Jesus, left half of the works of the devil to a profession which did not pretend to have a remedy for evil and did not deal with disease on that basis. Consequently even the nature of evil ceased to be comprehended, and for fifteen centuries before the discovery of Christian Science Christendom suffered disease, death, and certain other forms of evil as though there were no divine remedy for it, while faith looked hence for a better life, which might be gained, it was hoped, by death.
Nothing Abnormal in its Discovery
This was the scene upon which Christian Science entered. Some persons are not disposed to consider this science seriously because it was not discovered by either a physical scientist or a doctor of divinity. But St. John, for instance, was not graduated from a theological school, and there is no reason why the vision of spiritual reality should come to those scientists whose researches are confined to the elements, properties, and phenomena of matter. It is more reasonable to expect that understanding will come to those who are gaining the Mind of Christ.
For these reasons there is nothing abnormal in the fact that the world has gained a great accession of actual knowledge through Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy was brought up in the atmosphere of piety and devoutness that pervaded a New England home of nearly a century ago. From childhood she was a profound student of the Scriptures. She was compassionate, helpful, spiritual; she was a Christian in the true sense of that name. She had grown in the love for God and neighbor until her desire and aspiration were to heal and to save. She had turned away from matter to Spirit with an unusual degree of understanding. In these circumstances, the normal operation of divine law enabled Mrs. Eddy to discern the true nature of God and His universe, including man, and to penetrate the mystery of evil. The discovery of Christian Science declared the one divine Principle of the universe, separated the error from the truth in human thought, and furnished the scientific method by which the belief in evil can be overcome and abolished.
The attitude of existing churches toward her message made it necessary for Mrs. Eddy to found a new church; but the Church of Christ, Scientist, has gained members only as those who have come to Christian Science have gained a better life. Surely there is no cause for offense in this. It is the object of all churches, and none of them need feel a loss when a man finds in Christian Science what he could not, or even did not, find elsewhere.
Personal Following Never Was Sought
Mrs. Eddy never sought a personal following. Throughout her work as the leader of a great religious movement she consistently turned the attention of Christian Scientists away from herself to the message from God to men which was spoken through her. Her aim and hope, as she often said, was to "quicken and increase the beneficial effects of Christianity" (Science and Health, page 367; Miscellaneous Writings, page 207). The spiritual vitality of her message is proved by what it has already accomplished; but this is only a foretaste of the benefits that will accrue to humanity as this Science is more fully understood and practiced.
For ages humanity has accepted evil as a fearful reality, never doubting that the wretched havoc following as the consequence of this belief was in some manner ordained by an actual power. Intelligent truth seekers have sometimes perceived more or less clearly that the government of the universe could not possibly be divided between two opposite and antagonistic powers, and sometimes they have inquired how evil can exist in spite of divine and infinite Love; but no explanation consistent with the omnipotence and goodness of God has ever been furnished by scholastic theology.
So Christendom has taken its choice between evil as an independent and actual power and a concept of God which includes evil as His agent. In either view the resistance to evil has been vitiated by the admission of its reality; for no effort which concedes the truth of evil can ever overcome it; it can be abolished only with the understanding which dispels it as illusion or error. Therefore although Jesus Christ plainly taught the utter omnipotence and the absolute goodness of God and the consequent unreality and nothingness of evil, the adulteration or dilution of his instruction has postponed for centuries the fruition of his work.
Mission of Christ Misunderstood
One reason — perhaps the main reason — why Christianity has not yet accomplished all that Christ Jesus foretold for it, is that the purpose and meaning of his ministry have been misunderstood. The various theories which have been called his miracles, his passion, and his atonement, all need to be reconsidered; they need to be re-examined in the light of both reason and revelation.
From the time of Irenaeus in the third century to the time of Anselm in the twelfth, the accepted theory was that Jesus by his sufferings paid a ransom to the devil and thus wrought the deliverance of those who believed in him. Then came the theory which is still held by quite a large majority of all who profess the Christian religion. According to this, the righteousness of Jesus was accepted by the Father as a substitute for the righteousness of mankind supposed to have been lost through the fall, and the suffering and death of Jesus were accepted as an equivalent for the punishment for sin on condition of the acceptance through faith of his sacrifice.
In the seventeenth century, Grotius of Holland advanced the theory that violation of divine law must be followed by punishment, for the deterrent effect on sinners, as in the case of human government, but that the suffering and death of Jesus was such a spectacle to the world as to serve this purpose of warning, thus obviating the necessity of punishing men and remitting the penalty for sin. These are the theories to which the majority of Christians have hitherto assented.
Reads Tenets from Science and Health
Christian Science has a distinct view of this subject which I wish to give you by reading the tenets of Christian Science from page 497 of Mrs. Eddy's book, Science and Health. Our tenets are not limited to this subject, but they include it as you will observe. They are as follows:
"1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.
"2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness.
"3. We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.
"4. We acknowledge Jesus' atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.
"5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.
"6. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure."
In order to determine what Christ Jesus sought to accomplish it is certainly wise to consider what he himself said about his mission. Probably the most deliberate statement of his life purpose is to be found in the account of his final meeting with Pilate: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth."
Teacher's Purpose Was to Furnish Evidence
Now a witness is one who furnishes evidence or proof. It was therefore the great teacher's purpose to furnish evidence of the truth; to prove the true nature of God and man; to attest to the reality of being. To do this he uses both words and works. He bore witness unto the truth not only by what he said, but by what he did. When he destroyed sin, sickness, and death he bore witness unto truth; he did it to demonstrate their unreality, to prove that man is not really subject to evil; to show forth the actual qualities and power of man as the son of God. The most convincing proof of all — the crucifixion and resurrection — was an object lesson in the Science of being. It was intended to give us an understanding that we might know life as the reality and death as the unreality. It was designed to destroy death, that is to say, the belief in death, and to give us the knowledge of life. The Christ became the light of the world when the truth of being was taught and demonstrated so as to make it evident and available to all.
From these premises a conclusion necessarily follows that may startle those who have accepted orthodox views of this subject. From these premises the conclusion follows that what was possible for Jesus of Nazareth is possible, in proportion to his understanding, for every man. It has been the failure to grasp this fact that has kept Christians from following his example. The belief that he was not a man, or that his relation to God was different from that of other men, gave a supernatural and personal character to his acts and kept those who believed in him from comprehending the eternal and universal Principle which enabled him to do what was so wonderful as to seem unlawful or miraculous.
Jesus Christ Spoke of Himself as Man
Certain statements in the New Testament have been taken to mean that Jesus was God or that he was the only son of God. But he never said this; he spoke of himself as a man — "a man that hath told you the truth" (John 8:49); and the relation with God which he asserted for himself he claimed to all other men. Did he not teach us to pray to our Father and your Father? And although he said "I and my Father are one," he uttered a prayer which implied that all other men are entitled to the same unity with God. He prayed "that they may be one even as we are one." Therefore the author of the epistle to the Hebrews was exactly right when he said that Jesus and his brethren "are all of one".
It has been mistakenly said that Christian Science denies the divinity of Christ. It would be more exact to say that Christian Science affirms the divinity of man. According to the dictionaries, that is divine which proceeds from God; also that which is Godlike. It is therefore quite correct to say that man is the divine offspring, the divine reflection or likeness. Paul spoke of God as "the mind of the Spirit," and he said, "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Hence we may rightly say that as God is the divine Mind, man is the divine image or idea. Man is not separate from God; he possesses and reflects the Life which is divine.
Christ Jesus said, "I am the way"; "Follow thou me", but to those who worship him as God he can not be the way; and the belief that he was not a man would prevent us from following him. Throughout the Christian era this belief has had that effect. By confusing man with God the people have known neither the true God nor the real man and thus they have failed to gain the life which this man exemplified.
Jesus was put to death because he said that God was his Father. They who clamored for his death said, "By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." Nowadays most people are willing to concede that God was his Father, but they regard themselves as sons of matter; and this belief is still causing death; it is keeping death in the world.
Christian Science pleads with men to assert their divine birthright, to see the actual way showed by Christ Jesus, and to accept his example as one which may be lawfully and scientifically followed. He is "the way, the truth, and the life," because he exemplified and demonstrated the actual qualities and power of man in his true relation to God. I repeat therefore that what was possible for Jesus of Nazareth is possible for every man in this world. He based the whole achievement on knowing, on knowing the truth, on knowing the true God and the real man.
One Must Cultivate Knowledge
While endeavoring to know more of Truth, we need to remember that Truth is inseparable from Love and from Life. A man — a condition of thought — that was absolutely devoid of love would be devoid of truth and life. The knowledge of either must include knowledge of the others; so that in developing our knowledge of one we must not neglect to cultivate our knowledge of the others.
The gospels plainly show that Jesus made learning to love the first and great step toward truth and life, and the second step, like unto the first, was more love; and he showed that we gain the true sense of love by doing deeds of love. You will remember that John said, "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Love, Life, and Truth are synonyms for God and the knowledge thereof is a synonym for man. Jesus authorized this statement when he said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
A man is therefore what he knows. Then arises the question, What is knowledge? Is it what the five senses report to the brain? What is the source of true thoughts or ideas? Do they originate in the nervous system? What is the standard of reality? Is it material, or is it spiritual?
The human mind receives impressions through the five senses, but Christian Science is not alone in saying that these sensations do not constitute knowledge. Sense impressions are nothing more than the raw material of belief, to be accepted or corrected according to one's understanding.
Let me quote a paragraph from one of the popular encyclopedias:
"In all scientific inquiry the first step is to scrutinize the evidence of the senses, whose indications are always imperfect and often misleading. History shows again and again that the supposed scientific beliefs of one age are at variance with the scientific facts of a later age. In every such case it will be found that the earlier and false science has laid too great stress on the apparent, and has from insufficient knowledge failed in apprehending the real." (New Standard Encyclopedia)
From this it may be seen that every sort of science makes a distinction between what is real and what is merely apparent to the physical senses. Christian Science differs from all other systems except primitive Christianity by declaring that Spirit or God is the Mind of man; that God and man are one in substance and being; that man must therefore be known mentally and spiritually; and that the consciousness which man derives from God is the only true knowledge or consciousness. These propositions must find their full proof in demonstration, which is the highest order of proof.
The simplest case of healing wrought upon their basis proves them. But they also may be confirmed by the Scriptures, especially by the New Testament, and particularly by the words and works of Christ Jesus. He indicated the relation of man to God when he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." And St. Paul applied this truth specifically to Mind and thought in saying, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
Debt of Gratitude Owed to Nicodemus
We owe a debt of gratitude to Nicodemus for eliciting from the Master a great lesson upon this subject. Nicodemus represented the type of man which seeks first the kingdom of God and is ready to be told the truth of his being. The Master, therefore, told him abruptly: "Ye must be born again." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
In these few pithy sentences the great teacher set forth the truth of man's being; he stated the conditions and the method of salvation; he summed up the whole human problem and its solution. In these words he denied the testimony of the material senses, that man is a material selfhood, and declared man's spiritual and mental identity as emanating from God.
The physical senses can take no cognizance of the real man. They can not tell whence he cometh or wither he goeth. Jesus illustrated this by his reference to the wind. Man is that which is born of the Spirit. Every quality and faculty which really belongs to man is derived from God. If material sense or the false testimony of the so-called material senses attributes other qualities to man, they must be denied and cast out. Matter is not the product of Spirit; nor does either evolve into the other. Man, the son, is like God, the Father. They are of one substance and being, and that is Spirit. This is the gist and meaning of the memorable and momentous lesson which Nicodemus received from Christ Jesus.
New Birth Defined in Epistle by Paul
St. Paul defined the new birth when he said, "Put off * * * the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Ephesians 4:22, 23). "Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:10). And St. James reached the same result when he said, "Purify your hearts, ye double-minded" (James 4:8). Good only is real as Mind or thought.
The new birth is wholly mental. It is the mental renewal which takes place as false belief is superseded by actual knowledge. It is the mental correction by which material, fleshly, or mortal concepts are exchanged for spiritual ideas. It is the mental purification whereby the illusion or error in human consciousness is displaced by true thought. It is the result of recognizing and obeying the thoughts of God and resisting and destroying aught else. It is the forsaking of material sense and the gaining of spiritual understanding or divine consciousness. It is the mental reconciliation which occurs as the so-called human mind yields to the divine. It is the attaining of unity with God. It is the effect of making an absolute distinction between immortal man, representing Spirit or Mind, and the false beliefs about man which constitute sin, disease, and death. It is the result of observing this distinction as a constant rule of thought. In fine, the new birth is the gaining and maintaining of a true consciousness.
Only Way of Salvation From Sin or Disease
This is the divine method of salvation. It is the process and it is the only means by which we may enter into the kingdom of God. There is no other way under heaven by which we may be saved from sin, disease, or death. The possibility of salvation centers about the fact that good is real, while evil is its supposititious opposite. With the truth of being we can purify our hearts and cease to seem double-minded. Through spiritual understanding we can be renewed after the image of Him who is absolute good.
The kingdom of heaven is at hand because there is a scientific method of entering it. The kingdom of God is within you because the spiritual real man is the expression of infinite Mind; because he is the activity of true thought; because he is the knowledge, reflection, or consciousness of good.
This analysis of the new birth shows that it is neither to be gained nor advanced by death. Death is one of the beliefs to be outgrown and destroyed. It is one of the enemies which Christian Science is slowly but surely overcoming. For Christian Scientists death has already lost much of its pain and fear; it is an experience that comes to them less frequently than before; they have discovered the cause of mortality and the nature of that which is subject to it; they have learned the conditions and elements of immortality; and they have begun to put in practice the Science which is destined to abolish death and its cause — evil — and its effects.
Nature of Evil Told by St. John
St. John uncovered the nature of evil when he spoke of it as that "which deceiveth the whole world". Evil is merely illusion; it is only a negation or error; it is that which seemeth to be but is not. Jesus said that the devil "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it." Although he spoke in the imagery of an oriental country, a plainer statement in support of the Christian Science view of evil could hardly be made.
If evil could be anything it would be evil thought; if evil could do anything it would act as the counterfeit of Mind; but St. Paul said, "We have the mind of Christ." The Mind of Christ, the Mind which was also in Christ Jesus, is God, the Mind of man, and since He is good, thought must also be good. Evil is not thought, but the supposed absence of thought. The divine Mind supplies the consciousness of the real man, and nothing should be accepted as thought but the thoughts which originate in this infinite Mind. Evil thoughts are not true thoughts; they are not really thoughts, they have no substance or Principle; and the understanding and practice of Christian Science enables its students, in a large and ever increasing degree, to detect them and to exclude them from consciousness, thus saving the individual from their evil consequences.
Life Less Subject to Disease Demanded
Now a word on health and healing.
The world is undergoing a great awakening upon the subject of health. People are no longer willing to accept ill health as something natural to man nor as a curse which can not be removed. They are demanding of both science and religion a life that is less subject to disease and death. With this demand Christian Science is in full sympathy; indeed, the demand is in no small measure the result of Christian Science. Its gospel or good news that evil is unreal broke the fixedness of mortal belief and aroused the hope which has now grown into a demand.
One of the rudiments in the Science of Life is the fact that the lack of health called disease and the lack of mental rightness called sin are both aspects of one error; they are different forms of one evil. The gospels mention four cases of healing in which the Master taught this. To the man at the pool of Bethesda, "which had an infirmity thirty and eight years," he said, "Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:1-15). In the case of the woman who "was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself," he spoke of her as one "whom Satan hath bound" (Luke 13:10-17). When they brought to him "a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed," what Jesus said implied that for the man's sins to be forgiven and for him to arise and walk, were one and the same thing. "Whether it is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say Arise and walk?" (Matt. 9:1-8). In another case — that of a man "which was blind from his birth" — the question was asked, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" His answer was, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." And the work of God manifested in him was healing. (John 9:1-7)
Lack of Good Health is Effect of Evil
From these four cases a superficial conclusion might be drawn that disorder of health is sometimes the result of sin and sometimes it is not. A more discriminating conclusion would be that the lack of health is sometimes the result of sin on the part of the sufferer and sometimes it is the result of evil in general. A close observer might notice that, although Jesus did not say that the woman in the second case had sinned, he did say that Satan had bound her. Here is the explanation of all four cases. When he said that, he explained every case of disease. The lack of good health is always the effect of evil, primarily upon the human mind and secondarily upon the human body.
Jesus often spoke of healing as casting out devils; and once he said, "If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you" (Luke 11:14-20). Also when he sent forth the seventy disciples, he told them when they were received in any city to "heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:1-12). The kingdom of God comes upon the human mind when the belief in evil is cast out; and Jesus always dealt with both moral and physical disorder upon this basis. In his teaching and practice both were removed by the finger of God; and he expressly repudiated the practice of trying to cast them out by any other means or power. He asked, "How can Satan cast out Satan?"
In this as in everything Christian Science adopts the Christ method and for these reasons there is a radical difference between Christian Science healing and the results of drugs, hypnotism, suggestion, or any material method. Christian Science cures by means of the finger of God; by means of the power of Truth. Faith in drugs, hypnotism, or suggestion employs one phase of matter or mortal mind to work against another. Christian Science is truly educational; it develops the knowledge and love of Spirit, or God. Material means and methods inculcate faith in matter and magnify the knowledge of material theories.
Sin, Disease, Death Phases of Materiality
Sin, disease, and death are different phases of matter or materiality; they are particular results of the general belief in error. Actual and permanent changes for the better are gained only as the mentality is loosed from the mesmerism of error. The primary subject of actual healing is not the physical body but false belief. Genuine health of body can only result from health of mind or thought. Science, therefore, heals by the renewing or correcting of the consciousness; by putting off the "old man" with his sins and sicknesses and putting on the "new man" which reflects God in rightness and wholeness. Drugs, suggestion, and hypnotism do not cure at all. They may alleviate, but in the final analysis they only shift the old man from one belief to another; they merely exhibit different phases of mortal mind; and sometimes the last state is worse than the first.
The healing in Christian Science is based on the action and power of the divine Mind over the human mind and body. Every other curative effort rests on the notion that matter can cure its own diseases; that the human mind can remedy that which it causes. Such a notion is essentially fallacious, for it is an axiom that like produces like, that cause and effect must be alike. "None is good save one, that is God." Good is made manifest in human experience only by the thoughts which express God, the divine Mind.
Our Human Need to Watch and Pray
Our human need, then, is to increase in the love and knowledge of good and to watch and pray that we do not accept evil as true or real thought. The difference between Spirit and matter, health and disease, life and death, good and evil, must be established at the point of thought. In proportion to our watchfulness and our understanding of Truth, Life, and Love, the divine power will enable us to prove this difference to be the same as that which separates reality from unreality. In this manner we may fulfill the actual law of our being; and this is the way of salvation not only for each individual, but for the whole human race. Not only will those who understand and practice it become less and less subject to evil, but as this mental and spiritual method is practiced by increasing numbers error will have fewer supporters, and it will be easier and easier to overcome, until it finally disappears and God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
Evil can be overcome and abolished only by those with whom the understanding of good as Mind makes the claims of an opposite mind apparent, obnoxious, and unreal. Evil will continue to deceive until this understanding is gained. It is therefore of supreme importance that we develop the true sense of good with respect to both God and man. Doing this will enable human beings to divest themselves of mortal qualities and manifest true manhood.
Our Savior and Way-shower said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Evidently he did not mean that he was God, for he also said, "My Father is greater than I." "I can of mine own self do nothing." The saying, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," must have meant that the nature of God must be seen in man. The real man is exactly like God; he is the expression of God's qualities. Good only being real, the whole of man remains when the belief in evil has been eliminated.
Man did not produce himself; he is not in a state of self-existence. Man exhibited life as the effect of a living cause. He manifests intelligence by reason of his relation to an intelligent Principle. So it is with every actual quality and faculty; it is to be found in the real man because he reflects the action and being of God. All that is good belongs to you and to me as our inalienable birthright. All that we may honestly pray for is already ours by reason of our relation to the divine Father. Man is the receiving of God's giving and He is infinite good.
[Delivered April 29, 1912, at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and published in The Milwaukee Sentinel, April 30, 1912.]