Christian Science: Practical Christianity for Modern Times
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
The price of freedom from worry, sickness, and lack is spiritually scientific thinking, Robert S. Van Atta, C.S., of Rochester, N.Y., said last night in a lecture in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Speaking on the subject, "Christian Science: Practical Christianity for Modern Times," Mr. Van Atta emphasized the availability of true intelligence.
"Intelligence," he declared, "is not a chance inheritance, the endowment of the fortunate few but unavailable to many. It is the free gift of God, to which all are entitled and which all must claim and practice."
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mr. Van Atta was introduced by Miss Leslie Harris, C.S.B., Second Reader of The Mother Church.
Lecture Is Spiritual Feast
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
A Christian Science lecture is free to the public. This lecture is a spiritual feast, prepared by the Christian Scientists of this city for their neighbors and friends. They have been blessed and healed by this wonderful religion and greatly desire that others may share the good which they enjoy.
There is no admission charge for entering this auditorium. And yet there is a price to be paid. It is stated on the first page of the Preface to the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "The time for thinkers has come." The price of knowledge is to think. Someone once said, "Thinking is the hardest work there is; that is why there is so little of it done." But the speaker must have had in mind the kind of thinking which is supposed to originate in the human mind or brain and to be called forth by laborious personal effort.
Christian Science presents an entirely different concept of thinking. It is based on God as the all-knowing, divine Mind, the supreme intelligence, creating and governing man and the universe. God is the only real Mind or Life, and man is His reflection or expression. True thinking, then, as explained in Christian Science, is the activity of the divine Mind or Spirit, creating, actuating, sustaining, and expressing all true spiritual being.
The common belief is that each person has a mind of his own. (It often seems that each person has two minds, a good one and a bad one!) This personal mind is supposed by many to reside within a fleshly body, living inside the head as to reason and in other parts of the body as to feelings and emotions. (This in spite of the fact that no one has ever found it there or seen it entering or leaving.) Please note however, that a dictionary defines "mind" as, "That from which thought originates" (Webster New International). We have all had intelligent thoughts, but it should be plain that we did not create them. Others have had such thoughts before we did. Where did these good thoughts originate? In Christian Science God is revealed and explained as primary intelligence, the creator of all true thoughts.
Ideas Originate in Divine Mind
What is commonly referred to as the person's mind, Christian Science prefers to call consciousness ‒ human consciousness. Individual consciousness is not a creator of ideas. True ideas originate in the divine Mind and are individually reflected or expressed. The complete reflection of God's being and nature is man and the universe. Thus God's man has no creating power of his own, but is entirely dependent upon God for his being.
So we see that God and man, Father and son, are one in quality. All that man has is from God, from the Father. The possibilities of joyous living, free from sickness, worry, and lack, which are inherent in this oneness of God and man are truly unlimited; they are wonderful and glorious beyond the comprehension of the material senses. Through the knowledge of Christian Science which one gains by earnest study and prayer, and through its application in daily life, we can experience the unfoldment of these divine abilities and possibilities of man which are potentially present for every one of us.
It is God's nature to express Himself. He loves to give His thoughts to man, who lives forever in God, in divine Mind. God loves to use man to express His intelligence and goodness. In fact, that is His purpose in creating man. The power to know belongs to God; man reflects this power. Like the moon, man shines by borrowed light.
Many people think of mind as human intellect, having little warmth of kindness but expressed in cold, unfeeling logic. But Christian Science shows that Mind as God is also divine Love, eternal Spirit, not matter. Therefore man, as the expression of divine Mind, is spiritually intelligent, spiritually minded. As the expression of infinite Love he is loving and good. In short, God's man is not material; his intelligence is not a personal possession; he is in all ways the expression of the divine nature.
Yes, Mind is God, the creator of all spiritual thoughts. But what is our part? What must we do to experience the inflow of right thoughts, noble desires, and practical wisdom? The real man is naturally one with God, Spirit, and knows what God knows by reflection. He knows no other Mind but God, and wants no other. These facts must first be understood and acknowledged. Then we must reject as unreal every suggestion arising from a lower source which would claim to upset the divine oneness of God and man.
All Right Ideas Are Ever Present
You probably know from experience how fear, worry, anger, and other such unchristian states of mind, when allowed to rule in consciousness, will becloud the mentality so that one cannot think clearly. All right ideas are ever present, but the person who allows his mentality to be darkened by fear and discordant qualities will not see them. The divine intelligence enters and finds expression through that human consciousness which is pure, unafraid, honest, and unselfish. See, then, how practical it is to cultivate the Christian virtues and attitudes, so that we may have clear inward vision and be able to recognize the angels of the divine presence, the Godlike thoughts, which come to us daily and hourly to inspire, protect, and guide us in all our right endeavors.
So we learn through Christian Science that true thinking is not difficult or unnatural. It teaches us not only what to think but how to think it. Intelligence is not a chance inheritance, the endowment of the fortunate few but unavailable to many. It is the free gift of God, to which all are entitled and which all must claim and practice. Truly, then, there is a God-enforced obligation on all of us to be intelligent, just as there is a moral obligation to be good. We all can meet these obligations. The rule is given by Paul where he writes to the Philippians (2:5), "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." So we have a job of letting to do.
We are all conscious. That much is self-evident. You do not need to have it proved to you that you are conscious. A man's awareness is the basic fact of his existence. Therefore consciousness must be our starting point in all our efforts to learn and to discover whatever is good and lasting and true.
Human consciousness can be improved; it can become more spiritual. You and I can learn to know God. We can become conscious here and now of God's presence and power. Knowing God as Spirit, we shall also know man as spiritual, perfect, and free. Knowing God and the real man, we shall know ourselves as happy, harmonious, and well.
One of the joys of human life is to learn and to know. What a thrill it is to grapple with a new idea and master it! The desire to know is characteristic of the present age, and a very worthy one. The past fifty years have witnessed enormous increases in the numbers of students in our high schools and colleges. From the Latin verb meaning to know comes our English word science. Mankind knows many things nowadays; therefore we have many sciences. There are the age-old, so-called natural sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and engineering. Then there are the more modern sciences of electricity, aeronautics, and electronics. In addition, we now hear of a science of salesmanship, a science of business, a science of teaching. Such humble vocations as agriculture and cooking have gone scientific.
World Needs Spiritual Knowledge
Now all this means merely that knowledge of these useful subjects has been collected, sifted, and analyzed, and the underlying laws discovered and stated. When any activity is carried on according to true knowledge and proved laws, there is no element of chance, and good results are assured.
The human race has been greatly blessed by the work of devoted men and women in fields of natural science. Inventions in transportation and communications, improvements in production, have brought us greater convenience and higher standards of living. And yet, with all our material progress, there is still something lacking. A man may know how to sell goods, operate a machine, or build a bridge, and yet not know how to conquer the rebelliousness in his own heart. A woman may know how to prepare meals, or keep books, or produce beautiful music, and still not know how to subdue envy and overcome her fears. People may accumulate success, wealth, and honor, and not know how to be happy and well. In spite of all our material advancement mankind is still woefully ignorant as to the real Science of existence. Yes, the progress of the race has been seriously retarded by the lack of Science in religion, the true knowledge of spiritual things.
The need for scientific knowledge of spiritual values was recognized by Benjamin Franklin back in 1780, when he wrote, "The rapid progress which true science now makes" (and he was referring, of course, to natural science, as the physical sciences are called) "occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the heights to which may be carried in a thousand years the power of man over matter. O that moral science were in a fair way of improvement that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity." (Letter from Franklin to Dr. Joseph Priestley, page 152, Vol. 2, "Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin.")
Does it seem right that material knowledge should be exact, available, and practical, while knowledge of God remains haphazard, mysterious, and impractical? Are we to rise no higher than superstition and blind belief in the realm of spiritual knowledge, the only real and true Science? We need the Science of spiritual thinking and living, even the Science of Life itself, encompassing all existence, explaining and controlling all cause and effect. Such Science would give the full, complete explanation of the universe; it would show the true nature and purpose of man.
In all the history of the human race has there ever been a man who possessed this great spiritual knowledge, and who gave proof of full mastery over the adverse conditions of human life? Yes, there has been such a one. His name was "Christ Jesus." He was a native of a small province of the Roman Empire. He lived and worked many centuries ago. Yet this humble man did such marvelous things that his life and teachings are, even today, a most powerful influence for good among men; they are, in fact, the very hope of the race.
Nothing could make Jesus sick; nothing could make him poor; nothing could injure him; no, nothing could really kill him, as he proved in the resurrection. He healed many people of so-called incurable diseases; he restored sanity to the mentally unbalanced; he provided food for the hungry, and protected himself and others from the dangers of storm and angry mobs. The crowning proof that Jesus' teachings were truly scientific is the fact that he taught others, and they, in turn, performed similar works of healing.
Jesus Exemplified Dominion
The Bible record of healing by Christ Jesus and his disciples is long and convincing. Read any of the Gospels and note especially the number of healings. I am sure you will be newly impressed with the extent and the importance of the healing element in the Master's career. Here was a man who exemplified in his own experience the declaration in the very first chapter of the Bible, that God gave man dominion over all the earth. Are we not justified in calling him the most successful man who ever lived, the most scientific man who ever walked upon earth?
However, many of the events of Jesus' life were so unusual that men have not always understood them. We have felt unable to fit such things into the pattern of human experience as we know it; so we have set them aside, placed them in a separate category, and labeled them "miracles." We have called them mysterious, supernatural, beyond understanding, and impossible to repeat. Now I submit that such an attitude toward any of the happenings of human life is unscientific and unintelligent. Where would natural science be if every phenomenon which is not understood were brushed aside and labeled "miracle"? No, the intelligent natural scientist observes the phenomena, studies them carefully, and through reason based on experience arrives at an explanation.
Strange, is it not, that for eighteen hundred years no one ever adopted this scientific attitude toward the remarkable happenings recorded all through the Bible? But there did come one, in the fullness of time, who studied these things intelligently and scientifically. Through spiritual insight, reason, and revelation she came forth with the simple, clear, and logical explanation. Ordinary folks, such as you and I, can now begin to understand the Master's method; we can repeat, in a modest way, according to our spiritual understanding, the works that he did.
Mrs. Eddy Made Discovery
The Discoverer of the Science of Christianity was Mary Baker Eddy. Her family were devout orthodox Christians, respectable, intelligent, public-spirited citizens, property owners, and people of considerable standing in the state of New Hampshire. After a normal, happy girlhood and an early marriage, she was left a widow. Then followed many weary years of invalidism. There were also domestic troubles and financial problems.
Being deeply religious, a careful student of the Bible, and a devout Christian, it was natural that she should be profoundly interested in the question of spiritual healing. How did Jesus, the early Christians, and the ancient prophets perform their remarkable cures? This question Mrs. Eddy pondered long and earnestly. She tried for many years to trace all physical effects back to a mental cause, and finally, in 1866, became certain that God, divine Mind, is the only cause and all effects, are mental phenomena.
In her book, "Retrospection and Introspection" she states (p. 24), "My immediate recovery from the effects of an injury caused by an accident, an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach, was the falling apple that led me to the discovery how to be well myself, and how to make others so." The writer here refers, of course, to Sir Isaac Newton, who, through observing an apple fall to the ground, discovered the law of gravity.
It is related that Sir Isaac Newton was asked how he came to discover the law of gravity; to which he replied, "By incessantly thinking about it." In like manner, Mrs. Eddy, not being satisfied to accept her own healing and let the matter drop, devoted much time and effort to discovering the cause, or divine Principle, and the law of spiritual healing. She searched the Scriptures. The Bible was the textbook for her spiritual research. Through prayer, study, observation, reason, and demonstration, the spiritual meaning of God's message was revealed to her. She learned that the great message of the Bible is the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance.
After practicing and demonstrating the truth and practicality of her discovery, she named it "Christian Science." It is literally what the name implies, the Science of Christianity, the exact and provable knowledge of spiritual living and healing. It is made available in human life and work through the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which Mrs. Eddy wrote. This book explains the spiritual meaning of the Bible, and for the first time in history mankind has been given a positive, definite rule ‒ a truly scientific method ‒ for utilizing the help of God in solving human problems.
The general misunderstanding of the teaching and method of Jesus has been a great tragedy to mankind. It has brought untold misery and suffering to the race. The man Jesus was a human being. He was born of a virgin mother, was brought up, lived his life, did his work, and finally disappeared from the human scene. How did he differ from other men? In the fact that, although he was human, yet his character was an expression of the divine. Through the Godlike character of his mentality he bridged the gulf between God and men; he brought heaven down to earth. He demonstrated the coincidence between the human and the divine.
Christ Idea Always Present
Jesus was the name of the human man ‒ a name in common use at that time. Because of his unsurpassed godliness he was called "Christ" or "Messiah." This is a title, and stands for the goodness which inspired him, the spiritual nature with which he was so generously endowed. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but the Christ, or divine character, has neither beginning nor end. The physical Jesus has disappeared from the earth, but the Christ - idea, his spiritual nature, is always present to be learned and lived.
For two hundred and fifty years after Jesus' time his followers healed the sick through prayer. Healing was generally recognized as an essential part of Christian ministry. But such was the grossness and materialism of the times that the spiritual meaning of his message was then lost, and spiritual healing remained largely a dormant element of Christianity until Christian Science was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy.
Christian Science is reinstating primitive Christianity. It is restoring healing as an essential part of true religion. The scientific basis of original Christian doctrine is now revealed in Christian Science; the divine Principle of Jesus' work and the rule for the practice of spiritual healing are herein explained in terms adapted to the particular genius of the present age and the urgent requirements of modern times. Religion for the twentieth century must be scientific and practical. To be scientific it must be based on the true understanding of God, on divine Principle, its exposition must be orderly, its laws ever operative and demonstrable, and its tenets understandable and true.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes in her book "Miscellaneous Writings": "This age is reaching out towards the perfect Principle of things; is pushing towards perfection in art, invention, and manufacture. Why, then, should religion be stereotyped, and we not obtain a more perfect and practical Christianity? It will never do to be behind the times in things most essential which proceed from the standard of right that regulates human destiny" (p. 232).
Science deals with facts. Religion is widely supposed to deal with beliefs. Can the scientific method of discovery and proof be applied to religion? Mrs. Eddy observes (Science and Health, p. 98); "For centuries ‒ yea, always ‒ natural science has not been considered a part of any religion, Christianity not excepted. Even now multitudes consider that which they call science has no proper connection with faith and piety."
If faith and piety are not scientific, it means that they are governed by no Principle, express no law, and have no place in systematized knowledge. But the experience of every practicing Christian refutes such notions, for faith and piety, love, hope, and honesty, are the very substance of his being; and he knows from experience that he takes no chances in relying upon those unseen qualities, for they elevate, invigorate, and inspire his entire existence.
Christian Science departs from the realm of the physical and deals only with thoughts, but it is none the less scientific for all that. Why shouldn't there be a Science of spiritually right thinking? Mrs. Eddy says, "Let us attach our sense of Science to what touches the religious sentiment within man" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 174).
Christian Science Presents Truth
Christian Science does not oppose the study of natural science, but it does teach that only spiritual knowledge is true and lasting; and these lower subjects can no more than hint at the truth of divine Principle, governing its ideas in harmony, grandeur, and beauty. The effect of these scientific studies when rightly pursued is to promote the growth of human thought out of itself, out of that which is mortal, and to introduce the spiritual and permanent sense of existence and harmony.
The study of spiritual reality is truly scientific but not difficult. Critics of our religion have said that it is only for the educated and well-to-do, and that it is beyond the understanding of the poor and uneducated. A man once said to me: "There are many intelligent people in Christian Science. In fact, I think it must take a very bright person to understand it." This man's wife and daughter were both Christian Scientists, and both were college graduates. But evidently the man failed to recognize that it was not their college education which made them Christian Scientists. Jesus of Nazareth, the great master Christian, had little formal book learning, but he knew the Scriptures well, and he spake as no man has spoken before or since.
So we see that Christian Science presents a simple and logical explanation of intelligent spiritual thinking. But human experience seems to indicate that there is another side to the picture, and we find ourselves asking, "Where do the evil thoughts come from?" Science explains that evil thoughts come from no impelling source, they carry no power to propagate, and they have no real substance or meaning. To ask, "What made the evil thoughts?" is like asking, "Who put the mistakes in the multiplication table?" The answer is, "There are no mistakes in the multiplication table," and you know that to be true when you thoroughly understand multiplication. Evil thoughts are like ignorance ‒ not really thoughts, but the seeming absence of thoughts.
Healing Achieved Through Prayer
Our Leader ordained the Bible ‒ the King James Version ‒ and the Christian Science textbook as the universal and only authorized preachers for this denomination. Science and Health is not a Bible; it explains the Bible. The Bible is the original source-book of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy studied it and found therein the authority for her teaching. Through spiritual insight she was able to perceive the deeper meanings of Holy Writ. She found nothing in ancient or modern systems on which to base her own, and she did not study Oriental occultism, hypnotism, or exotic religions. If there is any similarity between Christian Science and other systems, it can only be because such other systems catch occasional gleams of truth which put them in agreement with Christian Science at certain points.
Christians of many denominations pray to God in times of sickness or trouble and receive help, or even healing in some cases. Christian Scientists claim no monopoly in the practice of healing prayer; we have only joy and gratitude for whatever success others may achieve in their spiritual endeavors. But we feel sure that their prayers will be even more fruitful and certain in healing as they gain a more scientific sense of Christianity.
Healing through prayer is not, in Christian Science, just occasional and exceptional, nor is it the result of co-operation with the physician or psychiatrist. Because the Principle of Christian Science is infinite Spirit, it admits no compromise with material methods in healing. Matter and Christian metaphysics do not mix. Any seeming power of drugs to heal is due to human faith in them. Faith cannot be directed to both Spirit and matter at the same time, for these are opposites. A man cannot face north and south at the same time. When he looks in one direction he turns his back on the opposite direction, Materia medica and Christian Science are opposite modes of treatment; as a rule a patient should drop one when he takes up the other.
People become more willing to trust God to heal them as they learn that disease is mental, a false state of mind. Perhaps you have supposed that sickness is a condition of matter. But if you will consider the question carefully you will see that sickness is a mental conviction or belief. When a man says he is sick he means he is conscious of disease. When he says he is in pain he means he is conscious of pain. And then when he is healed he knows he is healed; he is aware of health and freedom. The change from sickness to health has been a mental change. But please do not misunderstand me on this point. To say that sickness is mental is not to say that the patient only imagines it. Sickness is more than imagination; it is generally a solid conviction. But a conviction ‒ even a solid one ‒ is still mental, and it may be mistaken. True thoughts are real, and yet an evil thought may seem quite substantial to the unenlightened human mind.
Faith in God Produces Results
Healing in Christian-Science is sometimes retarded by one's failure to grasp the fact that the problem is mental. But when this point is clearly seen it is obvious that the remedy is a change of thought.
Humanly speaking, we need to change our minds to be healed. How is this to be done? Many believe they can do it themselves. They believe they have a power within themselves which they call "will power" by which they are able to control and regulate their mental processes. It is also believed that one person, can influence another through the medium of the human will. But will power is not scientific, because it is a belief of an effect without a cause, an attempt to separate the creator from His creation.
It should be clearly understood that Christian Science healing is not brought about by human will power. Truth shows us a more excellent way ‒ the Christian way of meekness, patience, prayer, and intelligent faith in God.
Every praying Christian knows that his communion with God through prayer clarifies and spiritualizes his thinking. If he is fearful, he prays and feels more confident. If emotionally upset, he prays and feels at peace. When tempted, he prays and feels stronger in the right. Such Christians need to learn that this spiritualization of thought heals physical disease also, for it lets in the light of Christ, Truth, which invigorates, regulates, and purifies the body. If unwilling to trust your health to Christian Science, try it on your disposition, and do not be surprised if it heals the body also in the process.
In Christian Science you do not petition God for special favors; you study to know God better, that your life may express more of the divine qualities. You do not pray with doubt and pleading, but with absolute faith in God. You affirm the reality of Spirit and good and the unreality of matter and error. First, realize that God is all and therefore evil is illusion, unreal. Recognize that man is always the perfect manifestation of God, and no mental suggestion or material so-called law of health can deprive man of his forever oneness with his Maker. Remember that the problem is not primarily a material condition, but a false state of mind. Then turn to God as the only Mind and Life, that He may fill your consciousness with the spiritual sense of being. Do not reach out to Spirit for help in matter, but go to God for spiritual help only; do it in full faith and honesty, and you will find your human need is met. The response from God is quick and certain; it never fails. Turn your thought away from the contemplation of life as material; hold strongly the truth, that all being is in and of God; maintain this position with patience, courage, and persistence, and you will win.
Allaying Fear conquers Disease
A Christian Science couple were caring for a relative who had been taken ill while visiting. She asked for Christian Science treatment, and a practitioner was called. The relative had had a severe illness some years before which seemed to leave with her a strong fear of that particular disease. Perceiving this fear in her consciousness and believing it to be the cause of her present trouble, the practitioner thought of an appropriate passage from Science and Health, as follows:
"Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients. Silently reassure them as to their exemption from disease and danger. Watch the result of this simple rule of Christian Science, and you will find that it alleviates the symptoms of every disease. If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed. The great fact that God lovingly governs all, never punishing aught but sin, is your standpoint, from which to advance and destroy the human fear of sickness" (p. 411).
Going to the bedside of the suffering one, the practitioner assured her that God was her loving Father, ever present to guard and care for her, therefore she had nothing to fear; she could safely trust herself to Him. As the assurance continued in this vein, her fear abated, she became more confident, and before the practitioner left the room she said, "Oh, I know I am going to be all right!" The symptoms subsided, and she was soon well and able to resume her daily duties.
When the patient is a young child or a baby, the treatment should be mainly for the parents, because these little ones are so dependent upon their parents, mentally as well as physically, that their sense of being is largely colored by their parents' thinking. How important it is that parents should be scientific Christian thinkers, that they should be of one Mind, so as to protect themselves and their children from suggestions of fear, jealousy, doubt, anger, and so forth.
Christian Scientists are sometimes unjustly accused of imperiling the lives of their children by declining medical attention for them and relying only upon spiritual means tor healing. Christian Science teaches strict obedience to the laws of the land and the observance of all proper sanitary regulations. Christian Scientists are devoted to the welfare of their dependents. But they have learned by experience that spiritual healing is the more efficacious, and children sometimes respond to Christian Science treatment more readily, even, than adults.
A Christian Science practitioner received a telephone call one evening from a very frightened mother who said that her little daughter had fallen and suffered a severe cut which was bleeding profusely. She had left the child with the father while she ran to the corner store to telephone. She said she had called the doctor, who was then on his way to the house. This woman was new in Science and did not seem to know that one does not have a medical doctor and a Christian Science practitioner on the case at the same time.
Treatment Brings quick Results
But the practitioner recalled a statement by Mrs. Eddy in her Message to the Mother Church for 1901 (pp. 33, 34), "Christian Scientists are harmless citizens that do not kill people either by their practice or by preventing the early employment of an M.D." And further on she says, "The interval that detains the patient from the attendance of an M.D., occupied in prayer and in spiritual obedience to Christ's mode and means of healing, cannot be fatal to the patient, and is proven to be more pathological than the M.D.'s material prescription."
The practitioner reasoned that the doctor was not yet on the case, and he could therefore well spend the interval before his arrival in prayer to allay fear. He reminded the mother that God was the child's Life, and there was nothing to fear. He assured her that all was well and asked her to call back later. In less than an hour the mother called again and announced with much joy that the bleeding had stopped before she got home and before the doctor's arrival. There was nothing for the doctor to do but turn around and go home. Whatever surgery was required had been performed successfully and quickly by God, the all-wise and all-loving Father and Mother of the child.
Christian Science places strong emphasis on healing the sick by spiritual means alone as a vital part of Christian ministry, and it does this in obedience to the Master's command. However, it is also true that the higher aim and the emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin. Sinful deeds are the outward results of sinful thoughts; therefore sin, like sickness, is fundamentally mental, and is mastered by the same spiritual power ‒ the power of divine Mind or infinite Love.
There is, however, an important difference between the two, which is this: sickness is a wrong state of mind that everyone wants to get rid of, while sin is a wrong state of mind that many want to hold onto. This makes sickness easier to heal than sin ‒ strange as that may seem. People sin because they believe they like it; but they are sick because they believe they can't help it. The sick man readily gives his consent to being healed; the sinner is inclined to withhold it; therefore the sinner must first become willing to be healed ‒ thoroughly and honestly willing to change his thinking.
The Mind of Christ, referred to in the Bible, understood and lived, restores and protects health, supplies all human needs, and ensures safety and security. "Safety First" is the common slogan for prevention of accidents. God first is the Christian's insurance of safety, and how supremely urgent is the need for God's protection in this atomic age! Financial sufficiency and employment insurance may spell security for many; but human material means can express but faintly the eternal safety to be found in man's oneness with divine Life and Love.
Salvation Is Practical Reality
How humanity does need the assurance of God's presence in these days of change and instability! God, understood, worshiped, and served, is eternal salvation, manifested now in the healing of sickness, the destruction of sin and other elements of death. Thus salvation is proved to be a present and practical reality, not a mystical experience to come hereafter. Through his conscious service of God, the Christian Scientist can declare confidently with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth" (Job 19:25).
A traveling sales engineer for a manufacturing firm was sent out to observe the operation of a product of a competing firm. The company officials hoped to hear that the competitor's product was inferior; but the engineer's report was, simply, "Well, the thing works; and you can't argue against performance." Christian Science has now been before the world for ninety years. During that time it has healed thousands of cases of disease, including both organic and functional types. It has regenerated the lives of multitudes of men and women. Business problems of every sort have been successfully solved. Family troubles of all kinds have been harmonized. It is unquestionable that the truly scientific Christianity has been revealed to mankind in Christian Science. "You can't argue against performance!"
Christian Science is as modern as electronics but as old as the universe. It is a rational religion, devoid of emotionalism, a revelation of sanity and good sense. It opens the door to divine wisdom and intelligence. It will develop your latent abilities and lead you to success in business and work, to health, happiness, and long life. You can begin now to appreciate and love the Life which is Truth, to enter into heaven on earth. Spiritual progress commences every time a man turns his thoughts from evil to good, from sin and sickness to health and holiness, from the deadness of matter to the immortality of Spirit. Progress can never stop; it must go on to perfection ‒ perfection in understanding, perfection in thinking, perfection in living. Progress in spiritual understanding is the way of salvation for the human race.
Mankind has long cried out, in the words of Job, "Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. . . . But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" (Job 28:1,12.) The answer is given by James, when he writes, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). "Through Christian Science," our textbook says (Science and Health, p. 107), "religion and medicine are inspired with a diviner nature and essence; fresh pinions are given to faith and understanding, and thoughts acquaint themselves intelligently with God."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 12, 1958.]