Christian Science: The Enlightened Way
Gertrude E. Velguth, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Man's true purpose in living is
found only through spiritual enlightenment, Gertrude E. Velguth, C.S., of
Addressing a noontime audience in John Hancock Hall, Mrs. Velguth pointed out that lasting happiness and health are gained as the light of the Christ, Truth, is more clearly discerned, acknowledged and demonstrated.
She described how spiritual enlightenment enabled a businessman to overcome limitation and unfair competition and how it brought healing to a man incapacitated by shoulder growths.
A member of the Christian Science
Board of Lectureship, she spoke under the auspices of The Mother Church, The
First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Christian Science Is Revelation of Truth
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
The enlightened way, the true, the God-directed way to think, act, and live is the way of Christian Science, or the Science of the Christ. It is the true mode of life, the way taught and illustrated by Christ Jesus, who proclaimed (John 14:6), "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Naturally he meant that only by thinking and living as he did could we reach the altitude of his divine heights, the renunciation of life in matter, the understanding and demonstration of life as Spirit, God.
The Master was not speaking from a human standpoint, for the benefit of a chosen few in a restricted area or era. He was voicing the pure directive challenge of divine Truth, the impersonal Christ, accentuating its infallible guiding power throughout time and eternity. He tested and proved the enlightened way for all men, everywhere, and Christian Science understands, acknowledges, and accepts this way without reservation.
Christian Science is the revelation of the Christ, Truth, which has come in this age. It is the second appearing of the Christ. It acknowledges Christ Jesus as the forever Wayshower, the triumphant master metaphysician, conqueror over all that would becloud spiritual sense; in other words, over time, space, the elements, sin, sickness, and even death. The teachings of Christian Science are supported by the spiritually enlightened at every point throughout Scriptural history.
No doubt you recall that through deep, prayerful experience and steadfast devotion to Truth, Isaiah realized that there is but one way, the enlightened way of the Christ, and he prophesied (Isaiah 30:21), "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
Are you here this afternoon because the way seems a bit dark before you? Is there a baffling business problem, a sense of instability, a difficult human relationship? Possibly there is a physical ailment that refuses to yield, or a persistent indulgence in grief or self-pity threatening to becloud your path. Has the belief in just a future-world salvation threatened to stifle your spiritual animus and inspiration? Or, most frustrating of all, are you in the dark as to how to pray, how to listen for and recognize the answer, how to commune with God and to establish your oneness with Him?
Jesus Foretold Coming of Comforter
If such aggressive mental suggestions prevent you from enjoying your present heaven, the happy, harmonious state of mind which is your divine heritage, certainly you will rejoice to know that there is comfort, real solace for you. We have available now a tested and proved way out of these difficulties, an enlightened way.
Christ Jesus definitely foretold the coming of the Comforter (John ,17), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth."
In our day this prophecy has been fulfilled. Christian Scientists realize that Mary Baker Eddy, as Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of the Christian Science movement, was appointed of God to reveal this promised Comforter to this age.
In a time of great extremity, she was literally raised from her deathbed, when a moment of divine illumination revealed to her the spiritual import of the healing of the palsied man, the account of which is to be found in the ninth chapter of Matthew.
Following this seemingly miraculous recovery, her intensive study of the Scriptures revealed with ever-increasing clarity their spiritual significance, the Science of the Bible. Mrs. Eddy put this newly discovered Science to the broadest tests. After overcoming diseases and discordant conditions in a manner unknown since the days of the Galilean prophet, she was convinced that divine revelation, the daystar of Truth, had appeared to her in its full effulgence. She proved that the Science of the Christ, as practiced by the Master with unfailing success, was omniactive spiritual law. Like our Master, Mrs. Eddy not only knew God, but she shared this knowing with all mankind. Marvelous spiritual leaders like Elijah and Enoch rose to the very heights of ascension but left comparatively few definite instructions Spirit-wise, for us. A willing disciple of the Christ, like our Wayshower, Mrs. Eddy could be happy, satisfied, could truly fulfill her mission not only by working out her own salvation, but by guiding and directing others along the true, the enlightened way.
Is it to be wondered at that the hearts of Christian Scientists sing with gratitude to her? Not one enlightened student worships the personality of Mrs. Eddy, but we hasten to acclaim her as the inspired revelator of the daystar of Truth, of divine Science, to this age.
God Creates All That Is Substantial
Honest seekers for Truth find that the so-called pains and pleasures of the senses are but the would-be disquieting influences of the carnal mind. They are completely outside the realm of God, good, and that is what we need to know in order to rise above them, to see them in their unreality.
All that is real, substantial, is God-created. This truth is solidly supported in the spiritual account of creation as recorded in Genesis (), "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."†††† :
Here Christian Science takes a firm stand. Here it departs from false theology which reasons from a dual premise − namely, that since God created all, He not only recognizes good, but is responsible for evil also, evil in such forms as sin, atmospheric disturbance, poverty, disease, disaster, even death.
Such inconsistent reasoning is confusion, gross darkness, a lack of understanding God as unchanging good, the source of all that is harmonious, lovely, and enduring.
The Scriptures imply and Christian Science affirms that God is All-in-all. What a wonderful thing it is to know that in this allness is only goodness, health, joy, abundance, and that God's idea, man, the ultimate of His creation, expresses these qualities by reflection.
We realize in Christian Science that the term God is capable of many meanings. Christian Science not only defines God as good, but also as Love, Mind, Principle, Soul, Spirit, Truth, and Life. Definitely or by implication the Scriptures use these synonymous terms for Deity. They all combine as one, refer to the one God, but for convenience and a fuller understanding, for clearer spiritual enlightenment, they may be dealt with and studied in their distinctive offices.
Much of our trust in God is based on our understanding of Him as Love. We confidently lean on infinite, substantial Love, on its solidity, reliability, patience, its willingness to help, keep, sustain us.
The life that depends on divine Love is an endless life of joyous activity. Love sings as it works, rejoices as it triumphs. Love radiates its warm benevolence. It stimulates and perpetuates good will among men. Love binds the hearts of nations in perpetual bands of confidence and peace. Love patiently, justly solves all problems involved in human relationships. Love glows steadily, brightly.
Turning to Divine Mind Wins Release
Not long ago I was flying over a great city at night and noticed how the street lights and signs not only brightly shone but gaily twinkled. I mentioned this to a fellow traveler who explained that it was the swing and sway of tree branches and electric wires, the passing wisps of fog and cloud and mist that made the lights appear to twinkle. I am sure you have guessed what came to me at that moment; namely, that when little obstructions such as trivial differences of opinion, petty bickerings, slight misunderstandings, and the like seem to clutter our daily paths, how well it would be if we would turn on the sparkle and gaiety of wit, the twinkle of humor, the hearty laugh, and see these as expressing in some measure the steady, radiant glow of spiritual love. It is surprising how quickly harmony is restored in homes and in meetings − whether church, school, or business − through the joyful influence of these gloom dispensers.
Only recently I visited in a home where a lovely young daughter had been thought of as difficult to manage. She had even become somewhat estranged from the family. Her mother had soberly and conscientiously tried to reason with her, but had met with little response. Like her mother, the child's father was a devoted student of Christian Science. He turned expectantly to divine Mind for further enlightenment as to how to win this child. It was revealed to him that little serpents seemed to be taking the proportions of great dragons. In other words, errors which were small indeed were being magnified rather than the good deeds that dominated the child's life and activities. Instead of ballooning the petty indiscretions and indifferences, how much better it would be, he realized, to laugh them off as trivia, which they really were. In no time the daughter was one with them, thoroughly enjoying and participating in the warmth of family devotion. As they reminisced together they were jolly, good friends, frankly amused over the whole experience.
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs ) is proverbial. In Science we recognize no medicine but that of the healing Christ, Truth. This is the divine and universal panacea, the right way of restoration. This medicine is potent beyond all other remedies. It contains no bitter, distasteful purgatives, no false stimulants, no dulling tranquilizers. It is soothing, gentle, joyously inspiring, exhilarating, and life sustaining. Spiritual enlightenment reveals Truth as the unfailing restorative medicine, the medicine of Mind, the one medicine God-known and God-prescribed.
God is divine Truth, that knows no falsity in the way of false attraction to material systems, physical laws, germ theories, contamination, contagion, or infection, to planetary force or atomic radiation. None of these false gods, these claimants of power, have authority, foundation, or influence in Truth. God is the only cause, good the only effect, Spirit the only attraction, Mind the only influence. We need to cling steadfastly to these truths when the aggressive suggestions of the carnal mind war against our God-given consciousness of spiritual supremacy. Under whatever guise error or evil masquerades, it lacks reality because it lacks Truth.
It is apparent, then, is it not, that in whatever manner we approach or attempt to analyze evil, we find it wanting − wanting in substance, presence, real entity, cause or effect.
Lesson-Sermons Provide Orderly Study
God revealed Himself to Mrs. Eddy as divine Principle. We look to
Principle for law, government, justice, integrity, loyalty, and order, order essential
to our daily peace and joy. Shall we consider order in some of its true
meanings? Is not order the sense of proper placement, of perfect alignment, of
putting first things first? Students of Christian Science deeply appreciate
Mrs. Eddy's provision for maintaining perfect order, in its higher sense,
through the daily study of the Bible Lessons contained in the Christian Science
Quarterly. Before starting their daily activities, alert Scientists avail
themselves of the protection and support of these lessons. This is one way of
seeking first the
I know a man who, shortly after he became interested in Christian Science, asked a Christian Science practitioner to help him take the proper steps toward establishing his thinking on a firm basis of security. How pleased he was to shortly find himself a member of a large sales force in a well-reputed organization.
At first, few negative suggestions reached him, suggestions such as limitation, overwork, discontent, and unfair competition.
Our friend had chosen the way of life known as Christian Science, so he realized that his sense of security must necessarily rest on the understanding of divine Principle, the source of constructive ideas which God was unceasingly imparting to him.
Through the Lesson-Sermons he learned that as Mind's reflection he expressed wisdom that never mistakes. His growing understanding of Principle in turn unfolded practical, operative ways of selling − such as the selection of proper methods, intelligent approaches, satisfying contacts and associations. He learned that right motives promote right methods. His, he found, was the joyous privilege of lovingly helping his patrons select and buy wisely. Moreover he rejoiced in the progress and prosperity of his fellow salesmen. He stayed consistently in his own territory. He was scrupulously careful to tend strictly to his own business. Wasn't that a wonderful demonstration?
Today he holds a top-ranking position in the company. His security is based on Principle, on the understanding of God and His ways, ways that are higher than the ways of mortals, ways that bring to view the ideas which constitute man, the forever radiant expression of divine Mind.
Real Man Reflects Serenity of Soul
Man is God's glory revealed, His intelligence and wisdom made manifest. Man depends on God for inspiration, illumination.† The real man, Spirit's original masterpiece, reflects the activity of Spirit, the serenity of Soul. Man bears witness to the intelligence of Mind; in other words, man knows because Mind knows. Man knows what is good, all that is good, and why it is good, because he knows God and only God and His spiritual creation. This spiritual understanding, this light of lights, dispels the darkness, the false belief that God's man knows evil, even partakes of it, whether it be in the form of gluttony, greed, poverty, tyranny, pride, lust, or any other form of mental depravity.
Man, God's perfect spiritual idea, is never absorbed, erased, dissolved, amalgamated or depleted. He is a whole, indestructible unit, useful and entirely essential.
To a degree we might compare individual man with a numeral in mathematics, like seven, for instance. Erase the figure seven from the blackboard, but the idea remains − seven is still seven. It never loses its identity, its completeness, its value, or its place in the numerical order: yet in its relationship with other numerals it is infinitely useful in mathematical calculations. It never becomes six or eight, never reduces itself to zero. It remains seven, no matter how often it is used, how manifold its duties, how universally it is applied. It can never be overworked, overestimated, slighted, or discarded. Its identity is permanently and undeniably recognized and established.
So it is with man, God's perfect expression. He can no more be limited, circumscribed, or exhausted than can his Maker. He is neither the pawn of fate nor the outcome of chance or circumstance. He is always needed, always wanted, always useful. But here we leave the comparison we have been making, since man's boundlessness as the reflection of infinite Mind is incomparable. Man embraces spiritual power, painless being, immortal life. Man has his joy, his mission, his triumph, and his reward in his Father's eternal and just plan.
But what of the mortal, material sense of man? No light, no glory here. The mortal claims to know evil, and it calls evil good. Paradoxically speaking, its light is darkness indeed. The mortal supposes, suspects; it guesses. It is superstitious, suspicious, and sad to say, very often malicious. Offspring of the carnal mind and not of Spirit, the mortal is the antithesis of the divine idea. The periods of infancy, maturity, and age are but dream shadows. Grapplings with sin and sensuousness are unknown to the real man, God's idea. A mortal concept of man is but the symbol which is erased and soon forgotten.
Mrs. Eddy Beheld Manís Real Identity
It was the Master's mission to bear witness to divine Mind Ė to divine light, with its dynamic resources, its restorative power, its resurrecting impetus. Mrs. Eddy tells us that atomic action is Mind. Christ Jesus was well acquainted with the all-power, the omniaction of the one Mind. By divine reflection or the laws of divine Love he stilled the tempest, healed the sick, raised the dead, and provided food, both spiritual and material, for multitudes.
Jesus was so inseparably united to his Christly identity that he was and is known as Jesus the Christ.
The Christ is tangible only to the spiritualized consciousness. The Christ is never born, never acquaints itself with the sensual realm, is never crucified, never resurrected, and never ascends, since it is always at the zenith of spiritual perfection. The Christ is the Messianic, peace-bestowing presence.
In her inspired hymn, "Blest Christmas Morn" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 23), Mrs. Eddy reverently refers to the Christ as
"Thou gentle beam of living Love,
And deathless Life!"
This beam, this living Love and deathless Life, exemplified by our Master, is the pattern eagerly emulated by his followers. It was his recognition of the living Christ that made possible his ascension, that lifted his consciousness above the belief of life in matter to the recognition and demonstration of life in Spirit, God.
Christ Jesus knew that it lay within the mental scope of each one of us to demonstrate step by step the Science which he so fully proved. He lived a life of prayer with signs following. These signs were the manifestation of Truth's efficacy, wherein spiritual understanding, spiritual vision, spiritual expression and activity in turn restore sight, hearing, and speech, even life, to otherwise helpless victims of material sense.
The beginner in Christian Science may wonder at times how he can be about his numerous daily affairs and at the same time obey Paul's admonition (I Thess. 5:17), "Pray without ceasing." Hear what our textbook says (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 4), "The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer." What a helpful concept of prayer! Can you imagine anything simpler, more practical, yet more challenging?
The affirmation and realization of Mind's presence and power is likewise enlightened prayer. God never fails to answer sincere, earnest prayer.
God patiently awaits the undivided attention of the listener; then He gives us His wise and loving answers. By their love and mercy, by their wisdom, we recognize them as His own. We know that He has answered by the peace and the joy in our hearts. In proportion to our relinquishment of self-righteousness, we accept these answers and put them into practice in our daily lives. We let our light, our spiritual enlightenment, shine.
In our own uniqueness, each one of us expresses God in a different way, but that expression is always the reflection of only the Godlike.
The Bible is the record of mankind's progress in the unfoldment of this expression. This unfoldment is made possible as we progressively understand the nature of God and His perfect idea, man. We become, in other words, spiritually enlightened.
Life Radiates Life and Immortality
May I give you an illustration?
Not long ago, a man I know called and said: "I have good news. I have just played a game of softball, and made four hits out of six times at bat. You know, you don't swing a bat with one arm − you use both of them."
Why was this good news? Here was a man who before coming into Christian Science doubted that he would use his left arm to any extent again.
When he asked for help from a Christian Science practitioner there was an abnormal growth of great size on his shoulder. Both arm and shoulder appeared to be out of line. He said that there were several similar growths, not so large.
This man had exhausted every recommended material means of healing, but nothing had helped. A friend suggested Christian Science. Now he had turned to it as a last resort.
As a young man, he had left the church of his parents' choice because he had seen his mother − "such a good woman" − suffer for a long time, and pass away. She had been a praying mother. "Why had she felt no relief?"
"How did your mother pray?" asked the practitioner. "Do you remember?"
"I know," he said, "that she prayed that if it were God's will, she would recover and raise her family."
"And if it were not God's will?" the practitioner asked.
"Well, naturally, although she did not want to suffer or leave us, she must bow to His superior judgment."
"In that case," the practitioner reasoned, "there really was not much use of praying, was there?"
He sat silently for a few minutes and then said, thoughtfully, "Why, I guess there wasn't, was there?"
Then the practitioner talked to him about the Science of being, about God as Life, eternal, infinite Life that knows no death, no inactivity, no stagnation or phlegmatic condition, but remains Life, buoyant, vital, glowing, inexhaustible Life: Life that radiates life, that vivifies, glorifies, and immortalizes its own ideas, including individual man.
Life is one of God's immutable gifts to man. Life identifies itself by its own immortal qualities, its animation, exhilaration, spontaneity, and exuberance. Life knows no dreamy idleness. Life lives. Life abounds, for Life is God.
This newcomer to Christian Science saw for himself that Truth thus understood wipes away all tears from our eyes.
He became a serious student of Christian Science. One night, however, his condition appeared critical. The practitioner asked him to endeavor to consider with her the following passage from Science and Health (Pref., p. xi), "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation." She prayed diligently for his understanding of this passage.
Soon the patient found his peace and went to sleep. Imagine his relief, his joy, when on awakening he found that the large growth had opened and drained through the painless operation of mental surgery. Christian Science treatment was continued until each†† growth disappeared, muscles and cords were restored. Now he could say, "I made four hits out of six turns at bat."
The physical healing, however, was the least part of his restoration. Gratitude, joy, hope, faith, and patience − his accumulated spiritual wealth − was reflected in financial stability. Very early the truths revealed in Christian Science routed the false appetite for tobacco. Under Soul's refining influence profanity became loathsome. He learned that as the child of God he could legitimately claim divine sonship. Consequently his human experience became brighter, more serene.
Today he is a healthy, successful businessman, and a willing, wholehearted, active church member.
This is a typical example of how Christian Science allies man to God, good, through the enlightened way of living, working, and praying.
In every age and clime, alert thinkers clear a way through the dark shadows of material sense to behold the light of Truth. They glimpse, though often faintly at first, pure gleams of divine Truth and Love. The way grows steadily brighter, the steps become firmer as the Christ light is more clearly discerned, acknowledged, and demonstrated.
Wisemen Followed Daystar of Science
In the Preface of Science and Health (p. vii), the steps along the enlightened way to harmony, heaven here, are clearly and beautifully defined: "The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day. So shone the pale star to the prophet - shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to benighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being."
Mrs. Eddy then recalls the Wisemen who were led not only to behold, but to follow the daystar of divine Science, the spiritual guide to health, to harmony within.
Are we wakeful shepherds? Our presence here this afternoon strongly indicates that we are, that we are alert, watchful. Likewise we may be counted as wisemen of today, searchers for Truth, humble, happy to be guided by the eternal Christ light, to follow the revealed daystar of divine Science. Eternal harmony, heaven, is here, now, within the reach of each one of us. There is one way only, to grasp, to hold, to establish it. It is the way of Christian Science, the enlightened way.
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 26, 1960.]