Christian Science and the Search for Cause

 

Robert S. Van Atta, C.S., of Rochester, New York

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

True knowledge is the knowledge of spiritual reality, and constitutes demonstrable Science, healing sickness and destroying sin, said Robert S. Van Atta, C.S., of Rochester, New York, yesterday afternoon in a lecture in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mr. Van Atta spoke on the subject "Christian Science, and the Search for Cause." He brought out that Christ Jesus was able to heal the sick because his understanding of divine power was "so clear, so complete, and so exact that it must be acknowledged as truly scientific."

He was introduced by Miss Helen Appleton, C.S., Second Reader of The Mother Church, who said that "in reality there is but one cause, unlimited and unlimiting Mind, God."

 

Meaning of 'Christian' and 'Science'

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

Friends, our purpose in gathering here is to consider for the brief space of one hour two of the most important words in the English language: "Christian" and "Science."

The word "Christian" presents to our thought all that is noble, helpful, and good in human life; it stands for practical beneficence, meeting our brother's need, providing things needful, for mind and body; it includes heaven-sent mercy, compassion, and tenderness; it defines ever-present Godlikeness, which heals, saves, and blesses.

A true Christian is the highest type of man on earth; he thinks with God while he walks with men; he receives the things of Spirit from the divine source and gives them out to the sons of men in ways they can understand. He is an individualized presentation of the Christ-character, whose prototype was that master Christian of all time, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Christian means Christlike, and Christ is the manifestation of God. It is spiritual power on earth, meeting human needs, healing sickness, forgiving sin, and showing the way to the overcoming of death. The Christ-presence brings salvation now from all the ills and woes of mortal existence; it frees mankind from captivity to matter and opens the door to immortality.

Jesus understood the Christ-idea. His thirty-three years sojourn on earth proved that conclusively. He demonstrated complete understanding of spiritual reality and consequent dominion over matter and evil. Jesus' human life was wholly permeated by the tender Christ-presence. To peruse the account of his deeds and words has power even yet to inspire, enlighten, and heal.

The emphasis of Jesus' teaching and example was always on the things of Spirit, never on matter. Even while healing fleshly ills he ascribed all power and reality to divine Spirit and Love; he taught and showed that what seemed to be material results in his healings were but the outward signs of the unseen power of God. He rebuked the material thoughts and affections of his hearers; he chided them for demanding a sign, for craving the loaves and fishes; and he strove earnestly to help them see the vast possibilities for freedom and happiness available to all who would turn from matter and seek the understanding of   spiritual Truth.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 3), "[Jesus'] example is, to Christian Scientists, what the models of the masters in music and painting are to artists." Jesus' skill in healing showed him to have been indeed both master and artist. His success in meeting the most dangerous and difficult of all human experiences shows him also to have been the thorough Scientist as well as artist. The occasional rising to great heights may be due to the inspiration of the moment, but the constant and consistent dominion over material conditions, so conspicuous in the life of Jesus, could have come only through an understanding of divine power which was so clear, so complete, and so exact that it must be acknowledged as truly scientific.

 

Science of Christ Heals Sickness

Science is knowledge. It is further defined as "knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained truth or facts." It is "accumulated and established knowledge, which has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws; knowledge classified and made available in work, life, or the search for truth" (Webster).

Science is quite generally thought of as the knowledge of material things. It is commonly believed that knowledge of stars, rocks, plants, animals, numbers, and material forces is true knowledge or science. But the knowledge of Spirit and its manifestations, the knowledge of kindness and love, patience, unselfishness, and mercy, knowledge of purity and moral courage, of honesty, holiness, faith, and hope, in short, the knowledge of spiritual reality, is now properly called "Science," because it is revealed, established, systematized, demonstrated, and made available and practical in work, life, and the search for truth. It is based on divine Principle and subject to God's laws.

The world has heard a great deal about the Science of spiritual reality in the past eighty years and is destined to hear a great deal more, because the Science of Christ heals sickness and eliminates sin; it settles quarrels, ends strife, and ensures peace to weary strugglers; it shows the way to success, happiness, and lasting satisfaction.

Spiritual Science is fundamental, because it reveals primal cause and purpose; it explains God and man so that the simplest may understand; it explains away matter, exalts Spirit, brings heaven down to earth, and shows how we may delineate upon our present lives the heavenly vision of freedom and joy which men have mistakenly believed could be attained only hereafter. In short, the Science of spiritual things, of spiritual cause and law, is the Science of Christ, or Christian Science.

The history of mankind from barbarism to civilization is the story of the unfolding of higher ideas of God. In pagan times men worshipped idols of stone and wood. Moses, the great Hebrew leader, lifted his people above the worship of image gods and led them to some comprehension of God as Spirit. The ignorant and superstitious practices of neighboring heathen tribes were powerless to prevent the onward march of the more spiritual view of Deity.

The Greeks and Romans built houses for their gods. The temple of Jupiter in Rome contained a holy place for the image of Jupiter. But Jewish worship seemed mysterious to the pagans; many rumors were current among them about the kind of images the Jews were supposed to worship; it was even said by some that the Jews used no images at all.

Some sixty years before Jesus' time the Romans besieged and captured Jerusalem and broke into the great temple of the Hebrews. The Roman general, Pompey, penetrated into the Holy of Holies. As a pagan he must have been curious to see for himself what mystery was hidden there. But he found no images in the sanctuary. He exclaimed, "The shrine of the god is empty; there is no mystery!" There was indeed no material idol of mysterious shape in that great temple, but there remained to this pagan warrior the even greater mystery of a God who was unseen. We can easily imagine that he must have stood there bewildered, moved, possibly, by a sense of awe, "What, no idols? No statues? Who is this mysterious God of the Jews, a God who cannot be seen or represented?"

 

Only Spiritual Things Have Reality

After the Romans' desecration of the Hebrew temple it became common knowledge that the Jews did not worship images, and the Roman historian, Tacitus, writes: "The Egyptians worship many animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely mental conceptions of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations of God in human shape out of perishable materials. They believe that Being to be supreme and eternal, neither capable of representations, nor of decay. They therefore do not allow any images to stand in their cities, much less in their temples."

This incident sets before us in sharp and vivid contrast the worship of idols and the worship of Spirit, the belief in the evidence of sight and feeling versus faith in the unseen, the love of matter as against the desire for spiritual reality.

The deep antipathy between the seen and unseen, between matter and Spirit, is the very core of the one great human problem of all time. All questions of human life and happiness, right and wrong, morals and ethics, man's purpose and destiny, his health and the Science of his being, the nature of the universe, the whence, why, and whither of all things, are bound up in this issue of the seen versus the unseen, the outward evidence of material sense versus the revelations of spiritual understanding.

Even to present the issue between matter and Spirit startles the human mind; and to propose that the things which are seen are unreal and that unseen spiritual things are real is to shake the very foundations of human convictions. "After all," say the materialists, "are not these material things common, universal, needed, and accepted by all? If you take these away, there will be nothing left but emptiness and chaos."

The human mind so speaks because it thinks habitually of material things. People spend many years striving for satisfaction in matter. They believe that the accumulation of material things makes them feel rich, that the attainment of certain bodily conditions makes them feel healthy, and that certain social relationships will make them happy. Some fail in their search and fall by the wayside; but many reach those material objectives only to find that health, wealth, and happiness are still as illusive as ever. Finding only bitterness and disappointment in the pursuit of things which are seen, all may turn at any time to the things which are not seen and find salvation from human trouble through the understanding of spiritual reality revealed in Christian Science.

To discover the reasons for things is the task of the research scientist, and it is a very exacting task, requiring great clearness of thought, patience, and humility; it is a very easy thing to observe a result and claim that it was due to a certain cause; but the actual cause may be something very different.

A few years ago there was in common use a certain type of automobile, almost as the sands of the sea for number. Men were forever inventing improvements for it. One such amateur inventor came forth with a contrivance which, he claimed, would greatly increase the gasoline mileage. An experienced research man was asked to give his judgment on the device. He said: "There are so many things you can do to that car to make it run better that you can never be sure what caused the improved performance. A man might adjust the engine and at the same time paint the wheels red and then claim that the improved performance was due to the red wheels!"

This tendency to ascribe results to conditions which are not causative is a very common one in material medicine. A man is given a certain pill to relieve his pain, and because the pain then vanishes, the healing is ascribed to the pill. But, as a matter of fact, the faith of the man in the pill changed his thinking, and who shall say that the healing of his pain was not due to the changed thinking rather than to the pill? Honest scientific methods require that you take all factors into account,

How interested we all are in knowing the cause of things! We think of events as occurring in time, of one succeeding another in a steady procession, and we say that any one is the cause of the next one in line. In seeking the cause of any particular event, one allows his thought to travel back until he comes to something which satisfies his inquiry, and there he stops; he declares that one thing to be the cause of all that follows. But that thing can be cause only in a relative sense, for the question still remains, "What caused the first event to happen?"

The question of cause is not finally settled until the inquiry leads us back to a point beyond which it is impossible to go, back to something which has no cause outside of itself. Primal cause will never be discovered so long as the investigation keeps to the direct line of matter, for matter is not causative.

 

Divine Mind the Cause of All Things

The persistent investigations of the research scientist should lead him back to divine Mind as the cause of every effect. It should be apparent to all that divine Mind is the beginning of all things. Does not even the physical scientist begin and end with his highest conception of intelligence? Has anyone ever gone beyond intelligence as a starting point? One great student of physics states, "A percipient and intelligent mind is presupposed as logically antecedent to and as the condition of every phase of reality."

In the epistle to the Hebrews we are told (11:3), "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear," which points to the invisible divine Spirit as the source of all things real. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy we read (p. 195), "Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause." David, the Psalmist, writes (Ps. 8:3, 4), "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him?" It is interesting to note that the literal meaning of our English word '"consider" is "to look at the stars," and it is related to the word "sidereal," which means "relating to the stars." Here was an astronomer who looked at the stars, but he did not meditate on the size, weight, and distance of the celestial bodies; instead, his thought went far beyond those material appearances and conceptions. The majesty and beauty of the heavens, the orderly movements of the stars and their submission to law, elevated his thought to a fuller appreciation of the spiritual universe, and of man as the one whom God had crowned with glory and honor, and made to have dominion over the works of His hands.

Moses one day was tending his father-in-law's sheep on the slopes of Mount Horeb. Looking up, he saw a bush on fire. The bush continued to burn but was not consumed. So he said, "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt" (Ex. 3:3). His search for the cause could not end in matter, for material knowledge could give no explanation for such an extraordinary phenomenon. Therefore Moses rightly concluded that the cause was outside of matter, in other words, the cause was spiritually mental. This revelation was to him as the voice of God speaking, and he knew he stood on holy ground; he had touched something fundamental; he had glimpsed the absolute.

Forty years before, Moses had failed in his first effort to become the champion of the oppressed Hebrew people. His use of violent human means won for him only the fear and enmity of his own people. Subsequently his forty years as a wilderness shepherd gave him ample opportunity to inquire deeply into the cause and reason of things. Alone in the desert at night, he, too, no doubt was moved to consider God's heavens, the moon and the stars, and the nature of man. Finally he was ready to perceive and understand that matter is not final, and that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom his people had worshiped for many generations, was divine Spirit, all-present and powerful Mind.

 

All May Seek Spiritual Truth

Moses turned aside from the material ways and beliefs of mortals; he had found them inadequate to sustain and direct him in his great mission of breaking the shackles which bound his people. The burning bush was, to him, evidence that material laws are changeable, therefore matter was not fundamental. Pursuing the quest of ultimate causation, the nature of the creator of all reality was revealed to him as the great "I AM THAT I AM" (Ex. 3:14). It is believed that this expression is related to the Hebrew verb meaning "to be"; it is variously translated as "I-will-be-what-I-will-be," "He who causes to be," "That which keeps right on being." It is "the Father [who] hath life in himself" (John 5:26).

The search for spiritual cause is open to all who are minded to undertake it. Many have begun this quest, and all must eventually do so. Progress and discovery in spiritual reality are for the spiritually-minded, just as progress in music is for the musically-minded. Therefore it should not seem strange that the great spiritual discovery of modern times should have been made by a woman, since women have always been the guardians of the moral and spiritual talents of mankind.

From earliest childhood Mary Baker Eddy was a person of deep religious feeling. She loved God and was ever eager to know and serve Him better. While she was yet a young woman the brighter hues of human life began to fade before the somber shadows of sorrow and disease. How natural, then, that her interest in spiritual things should begin to take in the question of healing.

Mrs. Eddy began her work against a background of orthodox Christian teaching and the medical practices of the times. She often pondered the question of God's power to heal disease; the healings of Jesus interested her profoundly, and there were times when her own faith was so exalted that her prayers were effective to banish sickness and pain.

Some ten years before her discovery of the divine Principle of Christian healing Mrs. Eddy was called on for help by a woman whose child was almost blind. Mrs. Eddy lifted her thought in prayer to God, and the little one was quickly and completely healed without the use of any material medicine whatever.

At that time Mrs. Eddy believed in some of the current medical theories and practices and experimented with them in her search for truth. At first her investigations were both spiritual and physical.

The newest fashion in medicine in those times was homeopathy. This was an important forward step in the progress of medicine, a step away from the excessive drugging which had long characterized its practice.

 

Healing Power of Mind Discovered

Mrs. Eddy's experiments in homeopathy taught her that the more mind and the less matter there is in a remedy, the more powerful it is to heal. Attenuating the drug until there was no drug left, and giving more attention to her patient's mental conditions, she obtained phenomenal results in her medical experiments. She came finally to the conclusion that it is mortal belief entirely which governs the action of material medicine; the healing virtue of any material remedy is human thought.

But still she was not satisfied. Mortal belief furnished no absolute basis for practice, for mortal belief is capable of evil as well as good. The so-called mind of mortals is the cause of disease; so how could it be at the same time the final and reliable remedy?

And so, through various steps of experience, reason, and revelation, Mrs. Eddy came at last to the conclusion toward which her convictions had been tending for many years: namely, that divine Mind is the only cause and all effects are mental. Divine Mind is God, Spirit, or Life, infinite and all-power; therefore He alone is the healer of disease. Matter, being suppositional mindlessness, is the polar opposite of Mind; therefore it would be dishonest and sacrilegious to attempt to combine the two. The allness of Mind leaves no room for mindlessness. Discarding all reliance on matter and mortal belief, Mrs. Eddy found the healing power of divine Mind to be immeasurably superior to all lower remedies.

Like all great scientific discoveries, Mrs. Eddy's came to her by degrees. Sometimes the way led through dark valleys requiring strong faith, undaunted courage, and unlimited patience. There were also mountain peaks of clear sudden revelation. One such experience of glorious spiritual vision came at a time when she was very near the valley of the shadow of death, and lifted her out of a condition of pain and injury which everyone around her expected to prove fatal. She knew then that God is just as present and powerful to heal now as in Jesus' time, and the Master's method is still available and practical. 

Mrs. Eddy had tried many forms of material treatments – allopathy, homeopathy, hydropathy, diet, hygiene – but none of them brought her any but temporary relief. It was only when she turned entirely away from all these and relied on God alone that she gained complete healing and permanent health.

Having declared her thesis that divine Mind is everything and matter nothing, Mrs. Eddy's next step, according to accepted scientific methods, was to prove her position. Having been healed herself when at death's door, she did not hesitate to use her discovery in other cases. Her friends and acquaintances soon began to experience the benefits of her spiritual discovery.

Her first healing through the newly discovered power of divine Spirit was that of a young boy who was suffering with a painful bone felon on his finger. Through her quiet spiritual prayer the boy's suffering was quickly allayed. Soon he forgot about the condition, and when he looked at the finger again, the felon had disappeared and the finger was normal.

Many were the desperate cases healed through the ministrations of this good woman. She tells in Science and Health of healing "both acute and chronic disease in their severest forms"; secretions were changed, the structure of the body renewed, shortened limbs elongated, ankylosed joints, carious bones, and diseased lungs restored to healthy conditions (see Science and Health 162:16-25).

Mrs. Eddy had a natural intuition for spiritual things herself, but she found that her students had to cultivate this understanding. One time she healed a crippled man who came to her door. Later her students asked her how she did it. She replied, "When I looked on that man, my heart gushed with unspeakable pity and prayer" (Historical Sketches, p. 76). We may all understand the words she used, but do we feel what she felt? What was this spiritual sense, this unseen power, which did the healing work and which her words could only suggest?

To help others to understand and demonstrate the healing power of divine Mind was the object of our Leader's tireless labors. She gives this instruction in Science and Health (p. 495): "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit." The first and most important thing is to learn what God is. For this purpose Mrs. Eddy has described the nature of the great First Cause in much detail and in various terms. Chiefly she uses certain synonyms for God; these are Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love.

The word "God" means different things to different people. Some of the common meanings are plainly mistaken, unintelligent, and unworthy; some are even incomprehensible. Having found the ordinary beliefs about God so unsatisfactory, we may turn to a study of these synonyms in seeking the true understanding of the divine Being. Just to indicate the method of study, let us consider three of the synonyms for God.

The dictionary tells us, for example, that mind is that from which thought originates. In Christian Science we are interested in true thoughts, Christian thoughts, spiritually intelligent thoughts. We find that thoughts of honesty, compassion, patience, purity, and wisdom are truly intelligent thoughts, because they are constructive; they work together as part of one harmonious whole.

 

Mrs. Eddy Used Principle as Synonym

All of us have had such thoughts, and we know they did not originate with us. Since mind is the source from which thought originates, these various Christian thoughts must have originated in the Mind which is divine. Jesus knew this Mind and served it well; he was a perfect transparency through which divine Mind could show forth its practical healing power. Therefore the Apostle Paul admonishes us, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). By studying and practicing the kind of thoughts which proceed from the divine Mind, we grow into a truer sense of Mind, and sooner or later we shall find ourselves saying, "Divine Mind is indeed God, and here is a God I can understand and love."

Mrs. Eddy uses the word "Principle" as a synonym for God and so takes her place before the world as a bold, original thinker in religious matters. The use of this word has stirred much controversy among orthodox Christians, but it has brought unlimited enlightenment and healing to those who have grasped in some measure the great implications of it.

Those who object to the word "Principle" as applied to God claim the description is cold and impersonal. It does indeed play havoc with the popular conception of God as a gigantic human person, but surely the Christian world is mature enough nowadays to give up that childish fancy! How vastly above such a limited view it is to think of God as unchanging and unchangeable, always expressing Himself according to law, governing His universe with absolute justice and fairness to all. If God were not Principle there would be no relying upon His help; He would be available to some but not to others; there would be no law and order, only chaos; no science, only chance.

Principle is ''source or origin; that from which anything proceeds; ultimate basis or cause." Therefore Christian Science is perfectly correct in stating that Principle is a synonym for God and as such should be spelled with a capital "P."

The last of the seven synonyms for God which we will consider is that most glorious one of all: Love! We need no dictionary to tell us what love is. How it touches the inmost heart of every one of us! With what matchless beauty our Leader writes of it in "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 249, 250): "What a word! I am in awe before it. Over what worlds on worlds it hath range and is sovereign! the underived, the incomparable, the infinite All of good, the alone God, is Love."   

And yet she adds (p. 250); "No word is more misconstrued; no sentiment less understood. The divine significance of Love is distorted into human qualities, which in their human abandon become jealousy and hate." How much of human affection is little more than selfishness! One says that he loves another, but in his heart he thinks, not of how he can benefit the other, but of some pleasure or satisfaction it will mean to him. Even the love of mothers for their children is all too often poisoned by the feeling of personal possession, pride, fear, and jealousy.

But even human affection in its higher manifestations closely approaches true godliness. It makes noble sacrifices and soars to grand achievements. It expresses itself in practical help; it is active goodness and power. It sustains and protects its agents. It throws its mantle of benevolence and good will over all who come within its radius.

 

Love Is the Universal Panacea

Divine Love heals. As it animates the individual's conscious existence it rules out fear and hate. The complete elimination of these two errors would heal almost the whole of human disease and discord. If anyone is unhappy, let him love more. If anyone is sick, let him love more. If anyone is defeated, unsuccessful, frustrated, let him love more. If anyone doubts there is a God, let him love more. If any Christian Scientist has been struggling a long time with a case of disease which he does not heal – either his own or another's – let him love more. If you are the victim of injustice, it you are surrounded by grossness and wickedness, if you are mistreated, misunderstood, unappreciated, just love more. Love is the universal panacea. Love is God.

Man reflects God. Suppose you are in a room which is not reached by the direct rays of the sun; the sun is around a corner of the building. A mirror is placed outside in such a position that it catches the sun's rays and reflects them into your room. Imagine, if you can, that you do not know there is a sun; you understand nothing about the laws of light. So you say, "That is a fine mirror; it gives good light." But the sun goes behind a cloud, and in your ignorance you exclaim: "What has happened? The mirror is the same as before, but now it gives no light!" So you go outside and do things to the mirror so you may have more light. You polish it, move it around, or even put another one in its place. But all to no avail; you are still without light, because the cloud has come between sun and mirror and the mirror cannot give light of itself. In this case an understanding of the science of light will enable you to deal with the situation intelligently and solve the problem.

Man is the reflection of Life, Truth, and Love. His existence, truthfulness, and loveliness do not originate within himself; he has them by reflection. An understanding of the Science of Life, Truth, and Love enables us to deal intelligently with the subject of man and solve the problems arising from ignorance of man's relation to his Maker.

Divine Mind communicates its good thoughts to every one of us. But the common belief is that matter communicates thoughts of pain, poverty, and death. Yet matter is mindless and cannot talk; so the communication of evil must be from some supposed evil mental source. This counterfeit mind Mrs. Eddy has named "mortal mind." In belief it is the source of all wrong motives and desires, all thoughts of hate, fear, ignorance, and selfishness, all feelings of pain and disease. Immortal Mind, or true Mind, expresses itself in the intelligence of good. Mortal mind expresses itself in the so-called intelligence of error.

But mortal mind has no real existence. "Mortal" means "dying," and true Mind is undying; it never stops being intelligent. Mortal mind is a contradiction in terms: if it is mortal it cannot be mind, and if it is mind it cannot be mortal. The term is used because evil seems to be such an important element in human life that it is often necessary to talk about it in order to destroy it. But giving evil a name does not make it more real; the term "mortal mind" is designed rather to expose the unreality of all evil, both in its source and its manifestation. So we see that neither matter nor mortal mind can give you true information – they cannot talk.

A student of Christian Science was struggling with a condition of infection. The situation threatened to become alarming and demanded careful attention. Thoroughly examining his thinking, the student perceived that to look at the afflicted spot made him afraid. Reasoning carefully, he saw that matter in the form of diseased flesh was supposed to be telling him that he was afraid. "But how can mindlessness inform mind that it is afraid?" he asked himself. The utter impossibility of mindless matter telling mind anything came to him so clearly that soon he could look at the afflicted spot whenever necessary with complete lack of fear or emotion; it had no more power to stir his feelings than would a stick or stone held in the hand. As he continued to abide in this detached spiritual state of mind and realized the truth about God, the diseased condition disappeared quickly, and the flesh became again pure and clean.

Health is caused by right thoughts, and right thoughts are caused by God. Disease is caused by wrong thoughts, and wrong thoughts are caused by nothing.

Another student of Christian Science had a convincing proof of the protecting and healing power of God. She had opened the draft of the kitchen stove and left it on longer than she realized. When she returned to the kitchen, the top of the stove was red hot. She took hold of the handle of the lid lifter, which all this time had remained inserted in one of the lids, and discovered that the handle too was almost red hot. She dropped it immediately, and her first impulse was to scream, because the pain was intense. But she was alone and out in the country, and she knew it would do no good. She turned her thoughts quickly and earnestly to Christian Science. She saw that pain is in human belief, not in matter, and the only way she could have pain was by admitting it into her thinking. She turned her thoughts steadfastly away from the hand and toward divine Truth, Life, and Love. She affirmed persistently that Spirit is all and matter nothing; she prayed humbly that only God's thoughts should find abiding place in her heart. She realized the power of divine Love to cast out all fear and hold her securely in the consciousness of good. The worst of the pain subsided. She refused to look at the hand and continued her preparations for the evening meal.

 

Demonstration of God’s Protection

Nothing was said to the family during the dinner hour. Washing the dishes afterwards, she found she could put her hands into the hot water without trouble. When her work was finished, she went into the living room, placed her hands palms upward under the table lamp, and asked her family to see if they could note any difference between them. They said both hands looked alike to them. There was not the least sign of a burn. Then, with a heart full of gratitude, she told them of her beautiful demonstration of God's protecting power.

"When thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isa. 43:2).

The Christian Scientist prays by communing with God. Because of his cultivated spiritual understanding of God he is able to do this intelligently and therefore with practical results. He reminds himself of what he has learned about God; his faith reaches out to grasp more of Truth and Love. Honestly and humbly he entertains the desire to know and do God's will. He proves his desire for spiritual good by claiming and expressing spiritual good in daily affairs. He allows the realization of God's all-power and presence to rule out of his heart fear and hate. He knows that good is one and universal, and thus his prayers benefit himself and all upon whom his thoughts rest.

Science is absolute and must be practiced from the standpoint of perfection. Our textbook states (p. 259), "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, – perfect God and perfect man, – as the basis of thought and demonstration." But absolute Science is not the whole of this religion, for the book tells us in another place (p. 127), ". . . the term Christian Science relates especially to Science as applied to humanity." The true knowledge of God, man, and the spiritual universe is divine Science. Reduced to human apprehension it is named Christian Science (see Science and Health 471:30-31). Its power is divine, but it is to be demonstrated on the human level. "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus" (Science and Health, p. 25). Let us never become so scientific that we forget to be Christian.

Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science and gave it the clearest possible explanation in Science and Health. But with the Bible and the textbook as our guides each one of us needs to make his own discoveries of God. No one else can do this for us. It is a work to which all must come sooner or later, and the sooner we begin the better. The way sometimes seems long and the going slow, but the rewards are rich because everlasting. Healings are the waymarks of our progress.

Our Leader found the search for Truth "was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing" (Science and Health, p. 109). May we all search diligently until, like the Wisemen of old, we too come to where the young child lies. Let us ponder these encouraging words from Proverbs (2:1-5):

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

"So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

"Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

"If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

"Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God."

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 4, 1952.]

 

 

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