Christian Science: Its Benefits and Blessings
The Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, C.S.B. of Concord, New Hampshire
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I am to tell you of Christian Science and of the blessings which it brings. Jesus said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." The mission of the Master is the mission of this religion, to give abundant life to all. Are there any here in sorrow, or in suffering? It comes to give "the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit, of heaviness." Are there any fettered by sin, or bound by disease? It comes ''to heal the brokenhearted, * * * to set at liberty them that are bruised." (Luke 4:18.)
I accepted Christian Science not only because I could not deny its good works, but because, after long and careful investigation, I found that it was the religion of the Bible and satisfied reason.
For ten years I have made this important subject my daily study, and I have tested its truth in the healing of sickness as well as sin. For more than seven years it has been my privilege to reside in the home city of Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and during several months of this time I have lived at Pleasant View as a member of her household.
A correct estimate of any movement depends so much upon a true appreciation of its leader that a word concerning the Leader of Christian Science will, I am sure, be welcomed. Mrs. Eddy comes from distinguished lines of Scotch and English ancestry. During a residence of more than two hundred years in New Hampshire, her illustrious forefathers and their children have faithfully served, with honor and distinction, their beloved Church and Commonwealth.
A deeply religious atmosphere pervaded her ancestral home. From childhood she has given earnest thought to religion and the welfare of the race. She has been a constant student of the sacred Scriptures from her early youth, and she has repeatedly said: "The Bible has been my only authority."
Her home city highly appreciates her and gratefully recognizes her benefactions for the public good. The Concord church worships in a beautiful granite edifice, which was her generous gift.
The influence of all of Mrs. Eddy's writings is to purify and elevate those who study them. During my residence in Concord I have taken note that those who have come in contact with her have been inspired with higher ideals and nobler purposes. Her life testifies that "a good tree bringeth forth good fruits."
With her strong faith firmly fixed in God, with her revered Master as her example, "with malice towards none, with charity to all," she continues, with unabated zeal, her loving ministry of blessing the human race.
Known By Its Fruits
It is not the purpose of this lecture to pass judgment upon the opinions or practices of others, however much these may differ from our own. In this free land all have a right to their religions views, so long as they infringe, in no way, the public welfare. We shall take the hour, which you have so kindly granted us, not to criticize others, but to present some of the reasons for the hope that is in us.
It is an encouraging sign of the times that, in many quarters, since the advent of Christian Science, there are voices saying that healing is an essential part of the religion of Jesus Christ. In one denomination there has been established a healing guild, and the daily press tells us that "even the conservative Bishop of London urges his clergy to pay more attention to the recovery of the sick than to preparing their souls for the next world."
There are good reasons why this religion commands the respect of the sincere and thoughtful, even though they are not of its communion.
1. Christian Science shows its faith by its works. It asks for no man's sanction until it has been weighed in the even scales of right reasoning and mature reflection. In the bright light of truth it has been accepted by a large body of Christian people, among whom are learned scholars, wise judges, distinguished editors, practicing physicians, earnest clergymen and successful men of affairs. Its fruits bear witness to its worth.
2. Its growth, in spite of early persecutions, is the marvel of the age. Less than forty years ago there was but one Christian Scientist. Today it has more than a thousand churches and societies, and its representatives are to be found in every state and territory of the United States, and in seventy-five foreign countries. The text book of the denomination, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker G. Eddy, had a circulation during the first ten years of its history of fifteen thousand copies. During the next decade, these substantial figures mounted to eighty-five thousand copies. During the last ten years, the demand for this remarkable religious text book has so increased that it has now reached a circulation of nearly four hundred thousand volumes. It is a significant fact, that there were distributed twice as many copies of Science and Health during the past twelve months as were sold during the first twelve years.
3. This world-wide movement is firmly established upon a sound and enduring basis. Its Mother Church in Boston, capable of accommodating twelve hundred people, was built in 1894, at a cost of more than two hundred thousand dollars, and dedicated, as are all its churches, free of debt. It has outgrown this beautiful edifice and is now completing a new structure which is to provide for an assemblage of five thousand people, at a cost of about two million dollars.
It possesses a Publishing House in Boston which issues annually more than two hundred thousand books and pamphlets, and distributes through its regular publications more than five million pages of literature very month. A religious movement which is achieving such benefits for mankind is worthy of thoughtful consideration.
Let me, at the very outset, correct some mistaken views concerning this religion. Christian Science does not deny the true personality of God. It affirms that He is the supreme infinite Person. As Jesus said: "God is Spirit." (R.V.) It does not deny the divinity of Christ. It affirms that he is the son of God. It accepts his own words: "I and my Father are one." (In explanation the lecturer read from Science and Health, page 361.)
It does not deny the atonement. It does not deny that, to human sense, sin is in the world and that Jesus suffered for sin. It does teach that sin may be overcome and that in his resurrection and ascension Christ Jesus proved the power of divine Spirit over death and the grave.
Christian Science has no connection whatever with mesmerism, hypnotism, or what is sometimes called Mental Science. It is, in fact, their very opposite. It is not Spiritualism or Pantheism, and has no relationship whatsoever with either. It is more than faith cure, for it agrees with Peter when he says: "Add to your faith virtue: and to virtue knowledge." (2 Peter 1:5)
It is also to be said that the members of this church are instructed to be strictly obedient to all public statutes relating to health, and carefully to fulfill every requirement of the State concerning the prevention and the suppression of disease.
All these important points are fully explained in Mrs. Eddy's writings, and their intelligent study will show that on all the fundamentals of genuine Christianity, Christian Science is in full accord with the teachings of Christ.
God A Present Help
This healing religion proclaims the good tidings that heaven's favors were not alone for the people of Asia Minor, nineteen centuries ago, but that these benefits are also for the people of our own age, and our own land. The old-time Gospel message reads: "Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2.)
The help which the Bible has for man is a present help. Psalms 46 sings: "God is a very present help in trouble." A religion of healing was preached and practiced by Abraham the father of the faithful thirty-five hundred years before the Pilgrims landed on the rock-bound shores of New England. His friend Abimelech was ill and Abraham treated the patient. Genesis the 20th chapter thus describes the treatment: "Abraham prayed unto God and God healed Abimelech."
While the man of faith was engaged in prayer for the recovery of his sick friend, it would not have been just or right for the unbelieving critic to have denounced him, on the ground that he was letting his friend suffer without doing anything for him. Restored health, abundant happiness and abiding harmony are reliable witnesses that something has been done. When the Father of the faithful healed the sick through prayer, it is not heretical for the children of the faithful to heal like manner.
Not less a present help was the God of the great lawgiver and wonderful leader, Moses. This was his message to the Jewish church in Exodus 15: "If thou wilt do that which is right, * * * I will put none of these diseases upon thee, * * * for I am the Lord that healeth thee." Moses pointed to his religion as having the power to save from all the ills that flesh is heir to. Surely the follower of Christ cannot say say any less of his religion. The church of the ancient Hebrew offered results as witnesses of its worth. So also the Christian church must be able to point to its fruits as the true test of its value.
The Whole Gospel
If there is any question as to our right to understand the Scriptures to teach that God himself will be our helper when we are in distress, then let the founder of Christianity himself be the interpreter of the ancient records. A most important event in his career confronts him. Jesus is about to preach his first sermon in the dear old church of his boyhood home of Nazareth. His utterance unfolds the meaning and the mission of Christianity for his own day and for all eternity. These are some of the words from the ancient prophet Isaiah as quoted in Luke, the fourth chapter. with which he inaugurated his great religious reformation:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he hath anointed me to
preach the gospel to the poor;
He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted.
We all know that the Master practiced the helpful religion which he preached. In the same chapter we read: "All they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him: and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them." Thus to Jesus the Bible references to healing were more than figures of speech, they were commands to be obeyed. Then he who interprets his Bible to teach a curative religion gives to it the same interpretation as did the Master. He who heals through prayer has the Bible for his authority, and Christ Jesus for his example.
We recall that it is sometimes asserted that though Jesus healed the sick, it is presumptuous for his followers to think of doing likewise. Before passing this severe judgment, would it not be well to glance at early church history? When the founder of the Christian Church sent out his followers upon their first missionary labors, St. Luke declares in the 9th chapter: "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases, and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God. and to heal the sick * * * And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere. And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done."
Thus Jesus commanded his followers not only to preach the gospel, but also to heal the sick. If the direction of the Master to "preach the gospel" is a command to be heeded, then his call to heal the sick is likewise to be obeyed. If he who observes one half of the command, by preaching, has the right to be called a believer, then no one can forbid the name to him who obeys the entire command.
Modern materialism separates healing from religion. Jesus made it inseparable from the true life and pointed to the cure of sin and disease as the divine instrumentality for the attainment of Christian character.
In the midst of his healing ministry, he was paid a visit by certain of the Pharisees, who bitterly opposed his curing the sick by the power of God. Their invitation to him was as given by Luke in the 13th chapter of his gospel: "Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee." Herod was a Roman governor, a man of the world and not a member of the Jewish church; but in his efforts to outlaw Christian healing and the man who practiced it, he was actively supported by some among the sect of the Pharisees. This unholy alliance between the civil and religious authorities in no wise intimidated Jesus and in no particular hindered his healing through the power of God. The fearless answer he returned was, "I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected."
When the great Master regarded the doing of cures as a real part of his own perfecting, then also a like practice must constitute an essential part in the perfecting of his followers.
Christ's Christianity Heals
It has been mistakenly supposed by some, that though the disciples healed the sick while Jesus was with them, that their power ceased when he was gone. The sacred Scriptures do not so record. In his farewell address to the members of his church, the Master said, as reported in the last chapter of Mark: "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Jesus herein indicates that the signs were not simply to follow the twelve who were with him, but that they were to be with all true believers in all ages. He expressly says: "These signs shall follow them that believe."
His disciples, after the Master left them, were true to their charge. Their commission included "heal the sick" and they faithfully carried out their instructions. Coincident with the blessings which accompanied their works of healing was the remarkably rapid growth of the early church. This increase was not due to any lack of opposition. Every known method was employed to exterminate the infant church. But the greater the antagonism, the faster grew the new movement.
The first notable case healed by the early Christian practitioners after the resurrection was that of a beggar lame from his birth, as given in the 3rd and 4th chapters of the book of Acts. Having been for years a familiar figure at the gate of the temple, and being considered an incurable case by all the congregation, his instantaneous cure by Christ's followers through the power of God produced a great commotion. So bitter was the antagonism against the apostles who wrought this remarkable cure, that they were not only arrested but were cast into prison. This opposition advertised the merits of genuine Christianity as is always the case. Following this healing the sacred historian, in Acts 5, thus describes the work of the bishops and the clergy: "There came also a multitude * * * bringing sick folks, * * * and they were healed, every one."
Such were the works of the early church. Her teaching was in accord with her practice. The apostle James thus instructs the members of the early church: "Pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16.)
Since the healing was of first importance in the church of the first century, it should not be denied a place in the church of this century. When the power to save the sick was granted to the elders of that day, then it is also the privilege of the elders of our own day. Because the great growth and prosperity of the church accompanied the cure of the sick during its first three centuries, here is strong evidence that Christian healing would revive and restore the old-time prosperity of the modern church. Gratefully does this household of faith acknowledge that obedience to Christ, expressed in healing, docs bring prosperity and unnumbered blessings.
The inspired Writings relate that healing was not confined to the twelve disciples. The great missionary apostle Paul so felt the command to heal that he cured the sick as well as the sinful. After the shipwreck which cast Paul and his companions upon the island of Melita, you recall that a viper fastened itself upon his hand. The book of Acts says that "he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm." Paul was not only able to save himself but also to cure others. He knew that he had received his commission to heal from the Founder of Christianity. He could do naught else but obey. On this same island of Melita, "the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed." (Acts 28:8, 9.)
Paul, who was not one of the twelve disciples, understood the unique characteristic of primitive Christianity to be its healing power; therein is the positive proof that, when the church understands Christ as he understood him, it will give to healing its rightful place within the sanctuary.
The true understanding of the Bible, therefore, discloses that the cure of the sick and the sinful is an inseparable part of its very structure. As warp and woof are interwoven to make the perfect pattern, so is healing interwoven in the pages of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. A religious faith devoid of healing is not the faith of the Scriptures. The distinctive feature which places Christ's Christianity high above all institutions and entirely separates it from all human theories, is its exemplification of the transforming healing power of God. The church which truly possesses the religion of the Bible not only preaches the gospel to the poor, but also, in loyal obedience to the entire command of the Master, heals the sick as well as the sinful. "The stone which the builders rejected" Christian Science has made "the head of the corner."
Good The Only Power
We are thus brought face to face with two questions to which answers must be given. First, How has it come that mankind have so far departed from the teachings of the Bible and of primitive Christianity, that they look elsewhere for help than to God? Second, How may all attain the ability to heal the sick and the sinful as Jesus promised? Christian Science has a complete and satisfactory answer to both these questions.
It is to be remembered that during the first three centuries of the Christian era, the church was obedient to the Master and both preached the gospel and healed the sick and the sinful. But in the days of the Emperor Constantine by imperial edict Christianity was made the state religion. Immersed in materialism the rulers of the state religion of the Roman Empire were satisfied to preach doctrines and practice forms and ceremonies. These false leaders of the church turned from the healing power of God as a help for every need, and thereby abandoned the essential element which makes Christianity unique and gives to it pre-eminence above all other institutions.
Christian Science is the restoration of Christ's Christianity. It successfully makes the healing power of God available so that those who understand its Principle not only heal themselves but also cure others of sickness and sin. It accomplishes this in no hidden or mysterious way, but by natural and simple processes so that all who so desire may practice Christian healing as was promised by the Master.
It proclaims that mortals have been too long bondmen to a false taskmaster more cruel than was Pharoah to the children of Israel. The Pharaoh which fetters the children of men is the false education which seals fast the lids of the Bible and separates mankind from the healing power of God.
Two erroneous dogmas concerning disease are included in this mistaken education, which are not in the Bible, but which modern civilization has inherited from a remote Paganism. The first fallacious belief declares that sickness is of God and is sent by Him upon man. If this were true, then it would follow that because God is all-powerful and eternal therefore sickness is eternal. So long as mortals are fettered by this false view they will be the bondslaves of disease. But, as the inspired Writings teach, and as Christian Science makes plain, sickness is not of God. A loving parent sends blessing and not cursing on his children. It is written, "God is love." And we know that the only way in which Love can express itself is in benefiting its loved ones. The proof that sickness is not of God is clearly set forth in the words of Scripture concerning our Heavenly Father: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." (Habakkuk 1:13.)
The second inheritance from an outgrown past whose falsity Christian Science discloses is the fatal and erroneous human doctrine that there is a power for good independent of God which resides in matter. If it were true that a power for good dwelt in matter, that is, in drugs, then one is forced to believe, either that there is another power than God or he must take the other horn of the dilemma and say that infinite Spirit resides in finite matter. Both suppositions are manifestly false. God is infinite good and there is none other, even as the Master said: "There is none good but one, that is, God."(Matt. 19:17.) Scripture also declares that "There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." (Romans 13:1.) Even more emphatic is that other word of revelation: "With God all things are possible." (Matt. 19:26.)
Modern materialism has so perverted Scripture as to make it read: "With matter, that is, with drugs and material remedies, all things are possible." But this worldly philosophy is no more like the teachings of the Master than midnight is like midday. Be it forever remembered that in direct opposition to materialism, the Scripture already quoted declares "With God all things are possible."
Christian Scientists recall with gratitude the faithful labors of their former physicians, but they know, from personal experience, that they have found in the healing religion of the Bible a better way. They believe that revelation teaches and that their experience demonstrates that man should place his entire trust, not on material means, but on God alone.
We know that certain instances in the Scripture are cited as supporting material theories. In II Kings the twentieth chapter we have the account of the severe illness of King Hezekiah. It is there related: "Isaiah said, take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered." The hasty inference from these words is, that the lump of figs cured the difficulty. If the inference is correct, then this is the only instance in which the Old Testament claims a material remedy to be the healer of disease. A more careful reading, however, discloses the true cause of the King's restoration to health. We read:"Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, * * * behold, I will heal thee." These words show that this is not an exception, but a striking evidence of healing by the power of God through prayer.
In II Chronicles 16, it is plainly stated that King Asa sought the help of the physicians. With what results we will permit Holy Writ to tell us. We give the exact language. "Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign."
It is recorded of Jesus that he healed all manner of diseases. Yet neither by word nor deed does he give any warrant whatever for the neglect of God and the employment of drugs to effect the cure of disease. We are aware that the use of clay and spittle in the healing of the man born blind, as given in the ninth chapter of John, has been taken as the peg on which to hang an argument for the drugging method. But if it was clay which wrought the cure, then there should today be no eye troubles; for there is still a great abundance of unemployed clay.
You no doubt recall that this man, who had fully recovered his vision because of his fidelity to Christ, was excommunicated from the church. The enemies of Jesus made a great effort to compel the healed man to give credit for his cure to anything but to the Master. Had he done so, had he explained his recovery as some do today, there would have been no commotion, had he said: "God had nothing to do with my healing: It was the clay which cured me," or had he said: "I have nothing for which to thank Jesus of Nazareth, I should have gotten well without his help," he would have denied his Savior, but he would have been allowed to remain at peace with his persecutors. But he told the truth. He confessed to the healing power of God and for it he was excommunicated.
Thus the cure of the man born blind does not witness to Jesus' approval to the use of drugs, but it does testify to the unjustifiable excitement which is sometimes created when healing is wrought by the power of God.
There is no justification in Scripture for dependence upon drugs or on material means and methods for healing humanity. From Genesis to Revelation, God's appeal to all is "I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth." (Jeremiah 33:6.)
Sickness of Mental Origin
Christian Science not only discloses the falsity of ascribing to God the responsibility for sickness and sin, but it declares that sin, fear and ignorance are the prolific sources of human ills. It successfully teaches that all healing is to be accomplished, not by an appeal to the supposed material power of an inert drug, but by reliance upon the spiritual dynamics of the omnipotent Mind, our Father in heaven.
All well know of the ravages made upon the human system because of sin. Well has James said: "Sin bringeth forth death." Drunkenness, licentiousness, hatred and revenge induce a train of evils resulting in sickness and death. It is not unreasonable, in view of the wrong mental states involved, to hold that when those false conditions of the human mind are replaced by the Mind of the Lord, harmony will be restored.
Again, all nervous diseases can be traced to morbid mental conditions. It is not surprising that this scientific system should enlist the hearty sympathy of thinking people when it insists that, if the disturbed mental states are supplanted by the right mental conditions, health will be established.
In thousands of instances Christian Science has overcome and destroyed all these false mental conditions and restored harmony. It has not only healed nervous troubles, but there are multiplied cases upon record of its cure of so-called organic and functional disorders, many of which had been pronounced chronic. It has healed, and is to-day healing, those afflicted with consumption, cancer, curvature of the spine, locomotor ataxia, insanity, and many other so-called incurable diseases.
There are in common observation many illustrations which are leading men away from faith in matter as the only remedy to faith in the infinite Mind as the sure and certain Helper for every need.
You may recall the following familiar incident. A storm-tossed company of sailors in a dismantled craft upon the Atlantic ocean were bereft of drinking water and they supposed that they were without the means of obtaining a supply. In their hour of need, a distant sail appears, and as the vessel draws near, those in distress signal their fate. Instantly the reply comes back: "Let down your water buckets into the sea. Fresh water is all about you. You are near the mouth of the Amazon." That which prolonged their suffering was their ignorance. That which enabled them to end their suffering was true knowledge.
Like those uninformed sailors dying of thirst with an ocean of pure water all around them, so also is much of the suffering among men. They deem themselves separated from the source of health and life. They are ignorant of the abundant life that is near at hand. A ship with its white sails outspread draws near and the glad message is sent forth: "Suffering ones, awaken from your false dreams. You are in the stream of life. Around you is the infinite ocean, Spirit, the source of all health. Drink of the healing waters of Truth, and live."
We are drawing no false pictures. We are raising no false hopes. We are telling only what is to be found in your Bibles over and over again. Neither from God nor from matter comes sickness, is its message, but from sin, fear and ignorance. To the man whom Jesus had healed of a disease which had afflicted him for thirty-eight years, he said (Fifth chapter John): "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto you."
To those suffering torment the beloved apostle declared in that wonderful fourth chapter of I John, "Fear hath torment." And then he also prescribes the antidote in the words, "Perfect love casteth out fear." To all mankind, "alienated from God," as Paul says, "through ignorance," Jesus has given the sure and certain balm of healing in his never-to-be-forgotten words, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3.)
Christian Science next makes God available as humanity's Helper by awakening mortals to the transforming power of good thoughts. The Psalmist knew the value of right thinking when he declared of his Creator, "How precious also art thy thoughts unto me, 0 God! how great is the sum of them!" Consider our own land as a striking example of the transformations, wrought by thought. How little impress did the Indian make upon the trackless forest and desert wilderness. Our happy homes, thriving cities and fruitful prairies testify to the revolution wrought by thought. The wilderness of the Indian was the measure of his thought. The land of the free is the witness of the freeman's thought.
As the face of the earth is changed so also are the faces and lives of mortals transformed by true thoughts. We have seen sin and selfishness, appetite and passion give place to thoughts of purity and Truth, and we have beheld there a desert bud and blossom as the rose. We remember others where fear and despair have been changed for faith and hope. We know the transformation. A new light glistens in the eye. A new song hovers on the lips, and on the placid brow there rests a crown of glory which fadeth not away. Truly might one so changed exclaim with the Christian astronomer as he viewed the starry hosts of heaven, "I think thy thoughts after thee, O God."
Priceless is the blessing which Christian Science has bestowed in making available to all the infinite resources of the Supreme Being. Science and Health (p. 587) gives this all-inclusive definition of God. "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Mrs. Eddy's writings, unfold the deep meaning of this wonderful description of the infinite Father and thus make God better known and loved.
The blind materialism of this world has too long closed its eyes to the havoc wrought by the debased human mind and is asleep to the blessings which result from the transforming power of divine Mind; instead of looking to the spiritual Cause of all things as the source of blessings, it has groped darkly into materiality and met only with disappointment and defeat. These unspiritual ways have kept mortal man captive to sin and sickness.
The members of this religious faith hold fast to the definition of God as infinite Mind, the only Cause and Creator. The first chapter of the Bible declares: "God created man in His own image." They take the reasonable ground, therefore, that the Creator who made man like unto Himself is also able to sustain and support him.
Paul knew that evil desires and evil thoughts lead to disaster and that right thinking gives health, and peace, for he says: "To be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6.) In his wonderful letter to the church at Rome he plainly acknowledges the transforming and renewing power of divine Mind in his explicit declaration: "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2.)
This is the teaching of this Science of healing, that peace and prosperity, health and happiness are the heritage of all, and that through the transforming power of the infinite Mind, mortality is put off and the new man of God's creating is put on. This is in entire agreement with that Scripture which declares: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17.)
"Son of the Living God"
The thought concerning Christ which this religion presents is in perfect harmony with the Scriptures. The life work of the Master was to prove the availability of God as a help for every need. He overcame and rendered null and void every form of evil and every manifestation of disease through his consciousness of the all-power of God. Before the omnipotence of the divine Mind as Jesus demonstrated it, error lost all power and Truth reigned supreme. He walked the wave. He calmed the troubled sea, he cleansed the leper, he restored Lazarus, he rose from the rocky tomb, not in opposition to law, but in perfect keeping with the law of infinite Mind. His works were wrought in harmony with law which all may know, and because of his perfect oneness with that Mind which is God.
Highly exalted as was the work of the great Nazarene it was not done merely to be seen of men. His mission was to reveal God to man. His purpose was to show all their true worth and the unused opportunities within their command. He said of every true believer, "The works that I do shall he do also." He had opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, cured malignant diseases and had won victory over the last enemy. Not only were his followers to do these works, but without hesitation he proclaims: "And greater works than these shall he do: because I go to the Father." (John 14:12.)
Jesus does not announce a new doctrine for man. He is simply calling the son to his own. His fellow countrymen had sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. They had wandered from the Father's house and were feeding on husks. He recalls them to their heritage and restores them to their divine rights. The man, then, whom Jesus knew was the one of whom the Psalmist spake saying, "Thou has crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands." (Ps. 8:5,6.)
Thus the Bible names no point in the healing of mortals where it can be said: "Here God can do nothing more." The Scriptures inculcate from Genesis to Revelation that God and God alone is to be trusted with the entire care of man. In the Bible there are no exceptions to the rule, that Christ is able "to save to the uttermost." (Hebrews 7:25.)
True Prayer Answered
The effective agent whereby God is made available as humanity's helper, is fervent prayer. James tells us that "effectual fervent prayer availeth much." And even stronger is the promise of the great Teacher, "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22.)
The large majority of this denomination were devout members of the old churches. They were, like many others, greatly puzzled on the subject of prayer. They saw that the great Teacher made prayer the sole instrument for the procurement of divine benefits. Yet in their experience how often was prayer unanswered. They now know that the book of James gives the reason for unanswered prayer in the words: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss."
All of the healing in Christian Science is wrought through true prayer. Therefore, priceless are the benefits which have come to the members of this church through their new understanding of prayer. They are deeply grateful to God, because instructed in Christian Science they know from their own experience during every waking hour that their prayers are heard and answered by Him. To them, precious are the words of the Master:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth;
And he that seeketh findeth;
And to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
It is to be remembered that this new-old religion made its advent into human experience through the open door of healing. In the year 1866, memorable date, a patient sufferer, prostrate in the valley of shadows, bereft of all material aid, sought the heavenly Comforter, and God's answer to that prayer was health and the discovery of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy, upon her restoration, found that her healing was not an exceptional visitation of divine power, but that the same infinite Love which had blessed her with strength and vigor also bestowed the saving benefit on others through her prayers. She taught students the deeper import of the Bible, so that they also healed the sick, in accordance with its teachings. She wrote the text-book of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that the whole world might rejoice in a like blessing. This text-book opens wide the pages of the Bible and makes clear its teaching that God will restore health unto His people. It confers a further benefit by explaining clearly how to obtain this divine help for every time of need.
(The speaker then read from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:46-48, and a correlative passage from the text-book of Christian Science, Science and Health, page 248.)
Revelation and reason therefore coincide in the conclusion that the power of God is sufficient for every human need. They unmistakably disclose that thoughtful men and women should welcome Christian Science because it makes the Bible accessible and God available. Scripture affirms and reason confirms the divine origin and nature of this healing religion, while an ever-increasing company, in their every-day experience are proving its transcendent worth. On every hand are the signs of the new day which call aloud to the children of men, "Arise shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
The Ministry of Love
Students of history know that God never conferred a new and great blessing upon humanity that there did not appear one or more doubting Thomases. The first doubter to confront us is he who denies that Christian Science has a mission. Its purpose, as we have seen, is to replace sickness with health, discord with harmony, and for sadness to bring gladness. It has been argued in the past, and to-day is being asserted in some quarters, that sickness and sorrow, pain and misery are blessings. We observe that he who argues that suffering is a benefit, never prays for a larger share of it for himself.
If disease is a blessing, why is all mankind seeking to get rid of it? If God sends blindness and lameness and palsy and leprosy, then why did He send Christ Jesus to heal them? No one will deny that many sufferers display great fortitude and rare patience. Nor do we forget that the couch of pain often holds a saintly character. But we shall not therefore argue that the best that an all-wise and all-loving parent can do to bless His children is to send distressing disease upon them. It is better reasoning to say that mortals do not suffer because the loving heavenly Father has no better way to show His love, but because of the sin and ignorance of the world, which God through Christ is bringing to an end.
The angel of the Lord said: "Thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." And the Master himself declared that "God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17.)
Another doubting Thomas is the incredulous one who questions that Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the text-book of Christian Science, was written by Mrs. Eddy, the author of it.
The questions that immediately suggest themselves are, "If somebody else wrote this most marvelous book of the age, then where are the other writings of this wonderful individual? What has become of him, and where is his following?"
In addition to Science and Health Mrs. Eddy has written fifteen other religious works, which have a circulation of more than a half million copies. She is also continually giving her writings to the world through the public press and the publications of this denomination. It needs but the glance of the honest observer to decide that the author of the shorter works on Christian Science is also the writer of the greater one. The expert readily recognizes the beautiful Gobelin tapestries of France. To the observing eye, their design, texture, material and workmanship leave no doubt as to their maker. So of all Mrs. Eddy's writings, in design, composition and workmanship, to the honest person of average intelligence, they bear the unmistakable stamp of her own individuality.
There are on our library shelves in New Hampshire, books published twenty-five years before Science and Health appeared, which contain writings by this religious author. These articles prove that Mrs. Eddy was a well-known and cultivated writer twenty-five years before she became author of Science and Health. I know of people now living in New Hampshire who have read Mrs. Eddy's writings with pleasure and profit for sixty years. Surely the endorsement of threescore years as a favorite writer and the producer of books having a circulation approaching a million copes should suffice the honest thinker as to the genuineness of Mrs. Eddy's authorship.
Only the futile desire to rob the true author of her just rights could have begotten the unholy fiction that an unknown writer wrote the immortal book that bears the enduring name of Mary Baker G. Eddy. There is absolutely no room for skepticism as to the author of this religious work. In all history there is not one fact more indisputably attested, not one more certainly verified, than the fact that the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science is also the author of its text-book.
Man's Noblest Ideal
There may have been some few in days gone by who were delayed in their study of Christian Science because it was discovered and founded by a woman. It were well in considering this point to remember that the blessings which this religion confers upon woman are in full harmony with the spirit of the Master. It makes real for her the freedom and equality guaranteed by the constitution of a liberty-loving people. In the churches of this denomination, man and woman unite in the conduct of the Sunday services. Its Board of Lectureship is honored by the presence of gracious and noble women. In the sacred work of healing the sick and the sinful, woman has rendered a blessed ministry. Woman in all ages has been the devoted servant and supporter of the Christian Church and she receives at the hands of this denomination the recognition and the place that are justly hers.
Those who hesitate to cross the threshold of this church because its Leader is a woman, are forgetful of the characteristics of their age. They are unmindful, also, of the meaning and place accorded woman in the sacred symbolry of a Christian people.
Deeply significant is the beautiful and commanding statue which stands in the noble waters of New York Harbor and like a gracious queen guards the portals of the new world. This imposing figure known as the Bartholdi Statue, in the form of noble womanhood, and symbolic of the American goddess of liberty, was presented with imposing ceremony on November 1, 1886, by the Republic of France to the Republic of America. By day, she stands as an impressive symbol of the progress of civil liberty and the enthronement in this Republic of the sacred rights of man. By night, with flaming torch and face illumined, she becomes emblematic of "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Thus before all the nations has our own America uplifted woman as the befitting and eternal symbol of Liberty enlightening the world.
When all men acknowledge that what is truest, purest and holiest finds its fairest flowering and richest fruitage in woman, they should with equal candor admit that if a new spiritual discovery is to be made which is to benefit all mankind, the one most likely to make it is woman. Experience shows that thoughtful persons who desire the truth will not be hindered, but, rather, will be stimulated in their investigation and study of Christian Science because its Discoverer, Founder, and Leader is a woman. In following the star of Truth, they willingly say of the true woman, as did the wise man three thousand years ago:
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
And in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Give her of the fruit of her hands;
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
We live in the land of expectancy. Faces look forward and upward. Our golden age lies not in the dead past. It is at hand. The bright, hopes of the prophets have found their fulfillment.
The clanking chains of ignorance and superstition are giving way before the hammer blows of light and liberty. The long night of materialism wanes. The radiant dawn of a new day illumines the eastern sky.
The Nations rise to greet the coming morn. The rights of man so long denied can no longer be withheld. The people are coming to their own. The living message of Holy Writ, "Now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2) has been heard by an ever-increasing host, who are calling to their brothers, "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem the holy city." (Isaiah 52:1.)
[1906. Substantial portions of this lecture are repeated in Rev. Tomlinson's later lecture Christian Science: Both Christian and Scientific, but there are also differences between the two talks.]