Christian Science: A Religion of Love

 

Virgil O. Strickler, C.S.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Entirely apart from the question of physical healing, it is generally conceded that Christian Science produces a happy and contented mentality, that it destroys fear and makes people loving and kind. When we add to this the fact that it has healed many sick people who had previously been unable to find relief under other systems, that it has cured many of the drug habit and the liquor habit, has restored harmony in many homes which were discordant, and has given hope and courage to people who were discouraged, it is easy to understand why it has spread with such wonderful rapidity.

 

Seeking Help

It has been truly said that every person has a problem, either physical or mental, a domestic or a business problem, toward the solution of which he needs God's help; and if Christian Science is able to help people to be happy, to be healthy, to be less fault-finding, to have less fear and to have more love, then it is something which everyone must desire. Before becoming interested in Christian Science I was a member of an orthodox church. I had been taught to read the Bible and to respect and venerate its teachings, and I did so. There was one thing, however, which I was never able to understand, and that was why everybody who lived at the time of Jesus and witnessed his wonderful works did not believe in him. It seemed to me that if I had lived at that time, and had been able to see him heal leprosy, blindness, insanity, and raise the dead, it would have been very easy to believe in him. People who witnessed those works, however, were not always impressed in his favor because of them, for when he performed one of his most wonderful cures it stirred some of the people to rage. For instance, when he raised Lazarus from the dead, one of the eyewitnesses hastened to report it to the authorities in Jerusalem, and the Jewish Sanhedrim forthwith declared that Jesus must be put to death; because, they said, if this were not done, all the people would follow him.

Since becoming a Christian Scientist I can understand why the people of his time were not convinced by the works of Christ Jesus that he was the true representative of God. They believed that a Messiah would come, but they expected him to come in a certain way, and because he did not come in that way they refused to believe in him. It is the same quality of thought which prevents people at the present time from being convinced that Christian Science is the truth by the works that it does. People in other churches pray for the recovery of the sick. They do so because of the promises found in the Bible; but when the healing comes through the Christian Science church and as the result of Christian Science prayer, some are ready to condemn it, − as ready today as two thousand years ago to declare that the healing works are done through Beelzebub.

 

Christian Science Healing

Let us not rob ourselves of any good thing because of prejudice or sectarianism. Christian Science is knocking at the door of this age with a message of hope for every one. It declares that the truth taught and practiced by Jesus is operating today, and is as available now as it was in apostolic times.

The thing which has caused the most criticism of Christian Science is that it claims to heal the sick without drugs, by spiritual means only, through the medium of prayer; and as this is the phase of Christian Science in which the public seems to be most interested, we shall endeavor to answer the objections which have been presented to healing by prayer.

There are two classes of critics who attack Christian Science healing. First, those who say that such healing is impossible, and that it is therefore preposterous for Christian Science to claim that the sick may be healed without drugs, through the medium of prayer; and, second, those who claim that it is unscriptural to attempt to do so. All criticism of Christian Science healing falls under one of these two heads.

With respect to the first class, those who say that the healing is impossible, it can only be answered that through Christian Science all kinds of diseases have been healed. This cannot be denied. The entire Christian Science movement is made up of people who have been healed. Most of them turned to Christian Science as a last resort, after having failed to get relief through other channels. The Christian Science churches are built with money contributed as a thank-offering to God by those who have been healed through Christian Science. The person who denies that Christian Science heals the sick today, is merely closing his eyes to what he does not wish to see. It is a fact that Christian Science does heal all manner of disease and suffering, and it is a fact for which every one should be grateful.

With respect to the second class, those who think it is unscriptural for Christian Science to teach that the sick may be healed without drugs, by spiritual means only, I will say that it is difficult to understand how any person who has studied the Bible or believes in God, can give place to such a question. It seems obvious that people who pray to God for everything they desire, might also be expected to pray to Him for deliverance from sickness as well as from sin. Christian Science declares without any equivocation that the truth taught by Jesus, when rightly understood and rightly applied, is sufficient, without the aid of any material means whatsoever, both to heal the sick and to regenerate the sinner. This, then, gives us a starting-point from which to begin to measure Christian Science with the Scriptures.

It must be admitted that Jesus healed the sick by metaphysical and not by physical means. He did not administer drugs or recommend their use, and yet he healed the sick by some process which was infallible. Organic diseases yielded to his treatment as readily as those which were purely functional. People who were born blind and with crooked and misshapen bodies, found themselves restored to normal conditions under his treatment as readily as those who were suffering from fevers or insanity.

 

Doing the Works

The question is, How did he do it; and is it possible for human beings now walking the earth to learn his method so as to be able to produce cures in the same way?

Many believe that Jesus was able to do his wonderful works because he was divine, and therefore that it is impossible to do the works he did, and even blasphemous for any person to claim to do them. This, however, will not explain the exercise of the same power by his disciples and other early Christians. Jesus himself never said anything to justify such a belief. On the contrary, he apparently took every precaution to prevent such a theory from becoming prevalent. In a conversation with his disciples concerning this very matter, recorded in the fourteenth chapter of the gospel of John, he said: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." This was equivalent to saying that God is Mind, and that he dwelt in Mind, and Mind in him, so that he of himself did not do anything, but that God, operating through him, did the works. Giving all honor and power to the Father, he said, "The Son can do nothing of himself." He likewise declared that the divine power operating through him was available to every one, and could be possessed and exercised by every one who accepted his teachings and fulfilled their requirements.

In this connection it is significant that Jesus never at any time sent out his disciples to preach without telling them also to heal the sick. There is no Scriptural authority for preaching that does not have coupled with it the command to heal, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel" and "Heal the sick," were his commands. Lest there should be any doubt about it he said; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." Almost the last words that he uttered before his ascension were: "These signs shall follow them that believe," and among other things which he enumerated he declared that they should heal the sick. Not once in all the record do we find any authority to use drugs. Is it reasonable to suppose that he would have commanded his followers to heal the sick by spiritual means and without drugs unless he had known that it was possible to do so? Christian Scientists are striving to obey Jesus in his twofold command to "preach the gospel" and "heal the sick," and in doing so they have met with such success that Christian Science is now recognized as an efficient curative system.

The fact that the primitive church healed the sick and raised the dead, was one of the things which first opened my thought to Christian Science and caused me to see that in healing the sick the Christian Science church was not only obeying the commands of Jesus, but was in fact reestablishing the healing work of the primitive church.

History records that the healing of the sick was a part of the regular church ministry for three hundred years after the crucifixion, and that the dead were raised during the first and second centuries. Afterward, it appears that the healing power was lost, and history shows why. We read that the Emperor Constantine became a convert to Christianity in the third century. Tradition records that he was healed of an incurable disease by some member of the Christian church, and that out of gratitude for his healing he became an ardent Christian. He made the Christian religion the official religion of his empire, with the result that the church became very popular. Multitudes of people united with it, not because of their spiritual growth or because they understood its teachings, but merely because it was the proper thing to do. The officials and courtiers made haste to unite with the church, and in time it became a semi-political institution and the spirituality departed from it.

From that period the church went down until it seemingly reached its lowest state at the time of Martin Luther. It had then fallen into such disorder that an upheaval occurred within its ranks, and from then till now the trend of human thought has been upward toward a better understanding of God. The Christian Science movement means that we have gotten back once more into the zone of primitive Christianity, and we are again witnessing, to some extent at least, the same results from the teachings of Jesus which were produced by the primitive church. What further unfoldments shall be brought to light in the future will depend upon spiritualization of thought, individual growth in the true understanding of God; but it can be safely predicted that the healing power of Christ, Truth, will never again be lost to mankind.

 

Healing Is the Sign

Why should any one not wish to believe that God heals the sick? Is it not a thing to be desired? and is it not something for which humanity has been praying through the centuries? Now that it is here, why should any one not wish to accept it? Let each one ask himself that question.

Although the public regards the healing as the most important part of Christian Science work, such is not the fact. The vital thing about Christian Science is that it teaches the truth about God and man, and about man's relationship to God. By realizing and understanding this truth, healing comes naturally, and is simply the sign that the truth is understood. When the knowledge of the truth comes to the human consciousness, it destroys and corrects the false beliefs which have been entertained, and the effects of the false beliefs disappear, just as the erasing of a wrong figure in the problem at the blackboard and the substitution of the right figure brings the correct result. Christian Scientists, therefore, do not regard the healing of the sick by spiritual means as either mysterious or miraculous. A miracle is assumed to be something supernatural, whereas Christian Science shows that healing is the result of the operation of spiritual law, and that it is the natural and necessary result thereof.

The general opinion concerning the works of Jesus is that he had some mysterious power which enabled him to suspend the operation of the law, and that what he did was beyond the range of human understanding. Christian Science denies this, and insists that everything he did was in accordance with the laws of God, and that the same results must necessarily follow whenever and wherever man comes under the operation of these laws, since they are unchanging. If God established laws for the government of His universe, it is inconceivable that Jesus should suspend them or set them aside.

Many people believe that God either sends sickness or at least permits it, so that in some way it is an agency for good to work out our spiritual growth. Now if this is true, why did Jesus come to make war on it? If God created sickness, and either sends it or permits it to be sent for any purpose, and Jesus destroyed it and taught his followers to destroy it, was he not working against God? And if sickness is a good thing, why did Jesus wish to destroy it?

 

Origin of Sickness

Christian Science shows that sickness and sin originate in mortal mind and result from the operation of this so-called mind. God did not create them, nor do they result from the operation of spiritual law. Jesus did not work contrary to God's laws in destroying them. Christian Science insists that Jesus was consistent. He did not do the will of the Father at one time, and at another seek to overturn His laws. It follows, then, that if Jesus performed his works in accordance with and by means of God's laws, the same results must follow in every age whenever those laws are understood and applied. Moses and the prophets, and Jesus and his disciples and followers, healed the sick, raised the dead, and performed many wonderful works by means of this power; and in every age the result of the operation of spiritual law in human consciousness has been the destruction of discord and the establishment of peace.

It is highly important, therefore, that everyone should become familiar with the law of Mind, the law of Spirit, and learn its operation. We have all of us known a good deal about the so-called laws of matter, but we have the Bible statement that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" makes us free from "the law of sin and death." Christian Science is the only thing I know which defines the law of Spirit and explains its processes and operation so that people may understand it and apply it and prove it for themselves.

 

What Is Christian Science?

Christian Science is a religion. It is the Science of Christianity − the Science of God and man. It reveals spiritual law, and explains the operation of that law in its relation to man and the universe. It defines mortal mind and immortal Mind, and so makes plain the difference between mortal man, and man made by God in His image and likeness. Christian Science pleads for a rational understanding of God in place of mere belief about Him, and it is urging mankind to look for real causation in Mind and not in matter. It declares that God is not the author of sin, sickness, or death, hence these conditions are illegitimate and can be destroyed by a knowledge of the truth. It denies that there is any divine authority for man to sin, suffer, or die, and recalls the solemn declaration of the Scripture that God gave man as his birthright dominion over all the earth and over all that it contained. Christ Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Christian Science says to the one who is without any sense of dominion, that the knowledge of the truth will set him free from his bondage to sin, suffering, sorrow, and failure, and will give to him that dominion which God said in the beginning belonged to man.

A correct understanding of God, therefore, is necessary as the foundation of religion. Any system of religious teaching founded upon an imperfect or an erroneous concept of God must necessarily fail to bring to the believer the comfort and help that he seeks. When we look around and see the devotion of people to their religious beliefs, and then see how often they fail to realize the benefits for which they seek, it is a fair deduction that there is something wrong about their understanding of God.

 

General Concept of God

I shall give no offense when I say that the average person has a very uncertain and indefinite conception of God. Some think that God is a person. For instance, in his great painting called "The Flight of the Holy Family," which hangs in the Metropolitan Art Gallery in New York City, Rubens painted what he conceived to be a good portrait of God. He depicted Him as a man with a long beard and a patriarchal expression.

How many people there are who, when they kneel down and with closed eyes reverently pray to God, have in mind a person or form or image to which they pray! How many others there are who think of God as a being of anger and wrath, who sends disease and disaster to those who displease Him! And are there not some who believe that God lives in a far-away country called heaven, where He maintains a court after oriental fashion, and that it is necessary for people to die and go there in order to see Him; and still others whose beliefs about God are so nebulous and indefinite that they would be entirely unable to make any statement about Him which would be satisfactory even to themselves? In view of all this confusion of belief about God, is it strange that humanity is sick and discordant? Is it strange that there are so many different forms of religion, each pointing a different way to God?

 

God Defined

Christian Science teaches that God is Principle, and not person. The Bible reveals that God is infinite, and that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and that He created the universe and everything it contains. Christian Science, therefore, explains that God is Mind, that He is the only source and origin, the creative, governing Principle of the universe. Christian Science also teaches that God is wholly good, that He is Love, as the Bible declares Him to be; and since He is infinite, He is infinite good and infinite Love. Can we grasp the meaning of the word infinite either as it relates to time or to space or to qualities? Infinite means without beginning or end. It means unlimited, without bound.

We think that we gain some idea of infinity when we contemplate the solar system. The farthest planet is so far away that it takes nearly one hundred and sixty-five years for it to make a single revolution around the sun. Halley's comet, traveling forty miles per second, takes approximately seventy-six years to traverse its orbit. We get lost when we try to contemplate the magnitude of the space required for the movements of the bodies in our solar system, and yet that is only a beginning. Astronomers tell us that they have counted on photographic plates of the Milky Way one hundred and forty million suns, each probably having its own system of planets. These figures, stupendous though they are as mortal concepts, at least serve to show us that infinity is truly beyond our grasp. The Bible says that everything God made is good, and Christian Science stands on this declaration; and with this as a starting-point, Christian Scientists proceed to prove that good is ever present, and has power to destroy evil, and that when man is governed by God, good, as Principle, he is healthy and happy. The Mind that is infinite good and infinite Love cannot be the author of evil, and infinite Love does not send suffering or distress.

 

How Healing Is Done

The thing that most people consider difficult to understand is how healing is accomplished through Christian Science. Conceding that God is Mind or Principle, they ask, How is that Principle to be brought into relationship with the human mind, so as to destroy sickness and sin? In other words, how can man proceed to establish the unity between himself and spiritual law, so that this law may operate through him and free him from sickness and from the desire to sin?

Christian Science explains the matter, and makes it plain. In fact, Jesus explained it and made it so plain that there never should have been any misunderstanding about it. If you were to connect your lamp to an electric wire with a wooden rod, you would have no light; but if you made the connection with a metal rod, you would come into instantaneous communication with the power-house at the other end of the line, and your light would glow. God is Spirit, and when people try to establish the connection between themselves and Spirit with the rods of human will, ignorance, selfishness, pride, or any other form of wrong thinking, they will be disappointed; but when they use rods of truth, love, humility, meekness, kindness, and the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have others do unto us, the nexus is established and the divine power flows from Spirit into the human consciousness, imparting to it qualities and capabilities which it had not previously possessed, and bringing into it a sense of peace which it had not before known.

The prophet Micah said a man's enemies are they of his own household, and Jesus repeated the statement. I used to understand the meaning of these texts to be that a man's enemies were his own kin, but I now realize that a man's enemies are they of his own mental household. The mental guests or thoughts which we entertain in our mental homes are either our friends or our foes. Hatred, fear, self-love, and all evil qualities of thought, are enemies which bind men to sickness and death, and men will never gain their freedom until they drive out these enemies and make human consciousness the temple of God.

We are told in Christian Science that fear is an ingredient of every disease, and if fear were entirely destroyed, a large number of diseases would go with it. If we could imagine this world with all hatred, fear, superstition, self-will, and self-love destroyed, it is conceivable that longevity would be increased and that happiness and health would be more secure. If Christian Science had never healed a case of sickness, it would still be entitled to lasting praise for compelling this age to recognize the power and influence of thought. Solomon declared three thousand years ago that as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." In other words, the quality of the man is determined by the quality of his thought. It is therefore of supreme importance that man should know the truth, to the end that he may know how to think correctly.

 

Parable of the Prodigal Son

In the parable of the prodigal son Jesus illustrated the power of right thought. We read that the young man took the property with which his father had endowed him and went into a far country, where he made bad use of it. After a while he began to be in want, and finally secured employment in a very menial position. The position, however, did not yield enough to keep him from starving, and he was obliged to eat swine food. About that time a voice said to him, "Why do you not go home? In your father's house is enough and to spare; then why do you stay here?" So, he decided to go home and tell his father the whole miserable story and say that he was no more worthy to be called his son, but if the father would only let him come home he would be as one of his hired servants. Meekness and humility now took the place of self-love, and instantly the line of communication was opened between himself and the father. The father saw him a great way off, and ran to meet him, and put a robe on him, and a ring on his finger, and the son found that he had been a son all the time. Nothing but his own false sense had made him suffer, and when he got rid of the false mortal beliefs of a prodigal and revealed the qualities of a son, the scales fell from his eyes and he found himself in his right mind.

 

Beatitudes

At the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, in what has come to be called the beatitudes, Jesus enumerated the qualities in man which connect him with God. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." When these qualities of purity, meekness, mercy, and love take possession of the human mind, connection between the human and the divine is thus established, and a sense of divine Love, which heals and regenerates, flows into the human consciousness. From this it is plain that Christian Science Mind-healing is not hypnotism; it is in fact the very opposite. Hypnotism is the domination of one human mind by the will-power of another, on the basis of the stronger controlling the weaker, while in Christian Science it is the operation of Truth in the human mind which neutralizes and destroys the error and produces the healing.

There is not a case of physical healing in Christian Science where the person healed is not benefited morally, given a spiritual uplift; whereas the effect of hypnotism is harmful. A short time ago, one of the leading physicians of Philadelphia published an article in one of the medical journals in which he warned the medical profession and the public against hypnotism, saying that it is an evil and a dangerous thing.

While most people now admit that hypnotism is a bad thing, there are some who claim that mental suggestion is a good thing; some clergymen even claiming that Jesus healed by mental suggestion. The fact is that mental suggestion and hypnotism are on the same plane of operation and differ only in degree. All who claim that Jesus healed by mental suggestion are virtually accusing him of having been a hypnotist, and Christian Scientists deny that he healed through any such method. Any one has the right to believe in hypnotism and mental suggestion if he wishes to do so, but it should be made plain that those things have no connection with Christian Science.

 

God Not the Creator of Evil

Another subject about which the teaching of Christian Science is much misunderstood is the unreality of evil. As a matter of fact, the teaching of Christian Science on this subject is very plain. The Bible says that God made everything that was made, and that everything He made was good. God therefore did not create evil. Since God did not create evil, Christian Science says it is not real and that it is not eternal. Everything that God made is eternal and indestructible, and if He had made evil it would possess those qualities. It is a fact that evil, whether in the form of sickness or sin, can be destroyed. Jesus made war upon it and destroyed it, and the entire human race is at this very moment engaged in a warfare against it. Christian Science is taking the lead in this warfare against evil, and has shed much light upon the subject by showing that evil exists nowhere except in human belief, and that it can be destroyed by Truth operating in human consciousness.

Christian Science points out that evil has no inherent power, and that it cannot manifest itself either as sin or as disease without the cooperation of human belief. By showing that evil resides in human belief, and has no divine causation, Christian Science has performed an immeasurable service to humanity. It robs evil of its supposed authority; it sets humanity free from fear of evil, and gives men a working philosophy by which they may destroy it.

 

Creation

The subject of creation is also one about which there is much misunderstanding. I have found that many people do not know that there are in the Bible two accounts of creation. The first account is to be found in the first chapter of Genesis, where we are told that God created everything, and that He made it good, and lastly, that He made man in His own image, and after His own likeness, and that He gave man dominion over all the earth and over all that it contained. The second account contains an allegory about God coming down to earth and making a man out of dust. All through the centuries the trouble has been that people have regarded the Adam man as being the real man created by God in His image and likeness, and have tried to make the goodness and omnipotence of God fit into the creation of a sinner.

Christian Science maintains that since man was made in the image and likeness of God, he is spiritual and not material. To believe that God made man of dust is to make God responsible for all the sin and misery that have pertained to materiality and filled the world from the beginning of time. Such a belief is monstrous, and is not supported either by the Scriptures or by reason. It dishonors God and degrades mortals, and the best proof that it is erroneous is the fact that it has never delivered men from either sickness or sin.

As time goes on humanity exhibits an ever-decreasing interest in theories about God which are not helpful and practical. This tendency has been deplored by the churches as indicating a loss of interest in religion, but it is not so. It indicates a tremendous desire for a religion that is both reasonable and practical.

 

Age of Practical Things

The chief difference between the civilization of the present time and the civilizations which have existed in the past is to be found in the desire for practical things. The Greeks, for instance, attained a high degree of culture. They excelled in architecture, painting, sculpture, oratory, poetry, the drama, and in all forms of prose composition, but with all their culture they never invented a single labor-saving machine. They knew nothing of electricity or of the application of steam, and had none of the simple conveniences that are enjoyed today by everyone. In our own time, the demand is for practical things. A thing is valuable in proportion as it is useful. No one has any time for theories, and if a man has a theory he must try it out for himself and prove its utility before any one will listen to him.

In an age of practical things there must be a religion that is practical. People are no longer satisfied with theories about what is to happen in another world. What is desired is a demonstrable religion that saves from present trouble, − from sickness, and sin, and failure, and unhappiness, and the countless ills of everyday human experience, − and if there is a religion that will do this, it can be safely trusted for the future. Christian Science is essentially a practical religion; in fact, it has been called applied Christianity. Mathematics does much good in many ways, but it is not until its rules are applied to human affairs that we see brought out great bridges, railroads, subways, lofty buildings, and other things which are of public utility and which contribute to the well-being of mankind. In the same way it is only when the teachings of Jesus are understood and applied to human affairs that we see the sick healed, sinners liberated from bondage to evil habits, and other practical things done for the betterment of humanity.

Nor is the desire for practical things limited to religion; it manifests itself in an effort to find a practical solution of the problems of life. Man desires to know who he is, where he came from, and where he is going. He wants to know what is true as regards the overcoming of sickness and sin and death. He wants to find out if it is necessary for him to go on forever suffering from those conditions. In short, the same desire for practical things that is responsible for the steam-engine, telephone, telegraph, and many other useful things, is driving men forward to try to find out the truth about themselves.

 

Human Existence an Enigma

Human existence is an enigma. As far back as mortal man has left any history of himself we find that he has been engaged in an effort to solve this problem. To aid him in his efforts he has founded religions − many of them. He has devised many systems for healing the sick. He has built schools and endowed societies for research, and has invoked the aid of physical science. He has been industrious and painstaking, and has faithfully adhered to whatever thing seemed for the time being to offer a solution. It must be admitted, however, that none of these things have met the need.

When we look at the question from the physical standpoint, we find that humanity enjoys some sunshine and goes through much shadows, that it suffers and dies, and that these conditions have continued from the beginning of human history. We read about progress in medicine and surgery and begin to hope for better things, but these hopes have never been realized. After four thousand years under the drugging system we are forced to admit that not one disease has been permanently eradicated. In fact, there are more diseases today than there were five hundred years ago, and every year adds to their number.

When we look at the question from a theological standpoint, we see that there are more than one hundred and fifty different Christian denominations. They all use the same Bible and worship the same God, and yet they differ as to what the Bible teaches. They differ as to doctrines, ordinances, and modes of worship. In some cases the differences are of such a character that if some are right, others must be wrong. By thus multiplying creeds mankind has not arrived at absolute truth or been delivered from evil.

Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" but in spite of the consecrated, loving, and faithful efforts of religious workers, there are as many tears today as there were two thousand years ago. Sadly and sorrowfully humanity is forced to admit that material medicine and scholastic theology have failed to solve the human problem.

Nothing could induce me to say a harsh or an unkind word against the clergy or against the members of the medical profession. A large majority of them have labored faithfully and conscientiously to bring peace and health to mankind, and none have grieved more than they when their efforts were not attended by success. In face of these things, however, it seems apparent that if humanity is ever to be emancipated from sin, suffering, sickness, and death, deliverance must come through a better understanding of God and man than material medicine and scholastic theology have thus far been able to give.

 

Mrs. Eddy

Many people seem to think that Christian Science is some new thing devised by Mrs. Eddy; but such is not the case. It is defined by its Founder as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1). It was understood and applied, in part at least, by Moses and the prophets. It reveals the same Principle that was understood and practiced by Jesus, and by means of which he performed his works. It reveals the same Principle that he taught to his disciples, and which they in turn taught to their disciples. Whenever it has been understood and applied it has been found to operate as a law of annihilation to sin, disease, and death, and to supersede so-called mortal laws.

Mrs. Eddy discovered this law in the year 1866, as the result of her own healing from an injury that those around her believed would prove fatal. She turned to God for help, and through spiritual means, as the result of prayer, she was immediately restored to health. She knew that it was the power of God which had healed her, but she wanted to know how it had been done. She wanted to know whether it had been a miraculous exhibition of divine power, or had been brought about by the operation of a law which might be understood. She has told us that she was fully convinced her healing had occurred through the operation of some law, and that if she could discover the law it would be possible for others to be healed by means of it. She worked for three years, devoting most of her time to the study of the Scriptures, and at the end of that time she announced that she had discovered the spiritual law by means of which Jesus healed the sick.

 

Skepticism Met

At first people were skeptical, and refused to believe, but she met their skepticism by actually healing such cases as were brought to her. She reduced her discovery to writing, but before having it published, she tells us that she subjected it to the broadest practical tests. She healed many chronic and supposedly incurable cases of sickness, some of which have been authenticated by the written and signed statements of those who were healed. She taught her discovery to a large number of students, and they were able to heal through the application of the Principle as taught to them by her. In this way Christian Science grew very rapidly, and everywhere its growth was the result of the healing of the sick. Wherever the spiritual law discovered by Mrs. Eddy was correctly applied, it operated in the same manner, and destroyed both sin and disease.

In 1875 she first published "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in which she stated the spiritual law which she had discovered and defined its operation. This book dealt with subjects that were so unfamiliar, and apparently so uninteresting, that no publisher could be found who would take the risk of bringing it out, and Mrs. Eddy was obliged to publish it herself. According to all ordinary standards of judgment, there was apparently no class of people to whom it would appeal. Notwithstanding these facts, however, there was an immediate demand for the book, and it ran rapidly through one edition after another. Instead of appealing to no class of people, it was found that it appealed to every class. Only thirty-eight years have elapsed since the book was first published, but in that comparatively short time it has circulated in every land, and is perhaps today, next to the Bible, the most widely read book published in the English language. A great religious organization has gathered around its teachings, and Christian Science is now engaging the attention of thinking men and women in every part of the world. It has been truly said that the remarkable spread of Christian Science over the earth is comparable to nothing in history except to the spread of Christianity in the early centuries of the present era.

 

Mrs. Eddy’s Discovery

When viewed from any point, Mrs. Eddy stands as one of the great characters of this age. She has made a discovery in the realm of metaphysics which exerts and must continue to exert a more far-reaching influence upon humanity than any discovery ever made in the physical realm. She has founded a religious movement which has restored to mankind the spiritual healing as practiced by the primitive church. Within the brief space of one generation her teachings have so impressed themselves upon the public that it would be difficult to find a place where there is not a Christian Science church or society, or at least where there are not some Christian Scientists.

I shall never forget my impressions when I first heard the operation of a Marconi instrument. It filled me with a sense of awe when I realized that there was going on through the atmosphere about me a conversation of which my senses could take no cognizance. We know that the law governing the transmission of wireless messages has always existed, but it was not until some one discovered it that it became available to mankind. So it is with the spiritual law of life discovered by Mrs. Eddy. It has always existed. We have lived and moved and had our being in it, as Paul says, but it was not available until it was apprehended.

Mrs. Eddy has been assailed by critics, but that is not surprising. There has never been a pioneer of new and better things, a leader of thought, who has escaped from criticism or whose ideals have been at once accepted by all. Out of all the criticism and misunderstanding of Christian Science and its Leader and Founder, there stands the fact that it has healed a multitude of people. Sooner or later every person will adopt that system of religious teaching which brings the largest measure of help and hope and consolation, and so long as any remain who are suffering from unhappiness or sickness or sin, Christian Science will offer to them a sure means of finding the divine aid.

 

[From a pamphlet published by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1913.]

 

 

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