Christian Science: Its Theory and Practice

 

Richard P. Verrall, C.S., of New York, N.Y.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Richard P. Verrall, C.S., of New York, lectured on "Christian Science: It's Theory and Practice," Tuesday evening in the church edifice of the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Mr. Verrall is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecturer was introduced by Paul Patrick. His lecture follows substantially as it was given:

 

The efficacy of Christian Science was first demonstrated to me through the reading of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. In reading this book I was reminded of the words of a famous preacher, who said, "I know that the Bible is inspired because it inspires me." I, too, knew from the first that the Christian Science textbook is inspired, because it so changed my thinking that many tormenting fears and bodily ills which before were rampant gradually disappeared and have never returned.

 

The Triune Principle

In her introduction to the platform of Christian Science, beginning on page 330 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "When the following platform is understood and the letter and the spirit bear witness, the infallibility of divine metaphysics will be demonstrated."  Under the marginal heading, "Divine trinity," in the seventh section of this platform, we find this impersonal definition of the Trinity (p. 331): "God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the three-fold, essential nature of the infinite."   The Old Testament deals chiefly with God as an invisible Lawgiver or ruler. God's presence was very real to the patriarch and prophets, however, for they heard His voice, felt His sustaining influence, and even spoke with His angels or representatives. This was the case when Jacob wrestled all night with the angel, and his name was changed to Israel.

In the New Testament we are introduced to the Son of God, the Christ-idea, or divinely inspired messenger. The man Jesus, according to Christian Science, was animated by the divine Mind, which he acknowledged as his heavenly Father and which made him the Messiah or mediator between God and men.

The third aspect of the Trinity is now becoming apparent through Christian Science. The mission of this Science is to remove the mystery that is supposed to surround the nature of Godliness, and to enable mankind to have the same Mind that was the sole motivating power of Christ Jesus. This is the final stage of the development of the Godhead, or divine Principle, as it unfolds to human consciousness. The fulfillment of this ideal will be the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth and the complete effacement from human memory of everything ungodly, unChristlike, and untrue. St. John, the beloved disciple, summed up the case briefly as follows: "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

 

 

 

The Pentecostal Baptism

When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the river Jordan, the promise was given that Jesus world baptize with the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 3:11;  28:19; and John 1:33; 7:39.) It was not until after the ascension of Jesus, however, that his disciples received the overwhelming influx of the Holy Spirit, which came to them on the day of Pentecost.

That great day marked the beginning of a new era for the disciples and for the future of the human race. The apostles, who had felt helpless and incapable without the personal presence of their beloved Master, were now suddenly transformed into towers of spiritual strength. Their persuasive oratory became so irresistible that three thousand people joined them on that day, and on another occasion five thousand more were added.

This phenomenal outpouring of the Holy Spirit was by no means confined to the day of Pentecost; it continued to guide, inspire, and sustain the apostles, so that they in turn were able to impart the same enthusiasm to others. Even Saul of Tarsus, who, through mistaken zeal, had been persecuting the Christians, at once surrendered to the vision of the Christ that came to him on the way to Damascus, when bent upon his anti-Christian mission. It was thus that the Christian religion received its first great impulse after the brief earthly ministry of Christ Jesus.

In spite of the Dark Ages which were to follow, there were nearly three centuries of primitive Christian healing and teaching, during which time the spirit of the Master was the sole guide of the faithful in their missionary journeys and in their gospel of healing. When the test of popularity had to be met, during the fourth century, ecclesiastical Christianity began to lose much of the clarity of vision that had characterized the early church.  It was then that pomp and ceremony and theological debate were permitted to overshadow the essential nature of true Christianity.

 

The Authority of the Bible

One of the great sheet anchors which proved to be the ultimate salvation of the drifting church was the New Testament. This body of written testimony passed through many vicissitudes before the present canon was adopted, and it is one of the great proofs of the immortality of the teachings of Christ Jesus that we have his words and the account of his deeds, uncontaminated by the great mass of legends and Apocryphal literature that, at one time, threatened to obscure the inspired Word.

The whole Bible in approximately its present form, including the Old and the New Testament, did not become available to the layman until the sixteenth century, when the great Protestant Reformation began to influence the thinking of a large part of Europe. It was hoped, by the leaders of Protestantism, that the translation of the Bible into the common vernacular, or "vulgar tongue," would provide Christendom with the supreme authority necessary to supersede ecclesiastical dogmas, and would eventually enable every man to work out his own salvation, through a knowledge of the truth.

This hope was only partially realized, however, for it was soon found that the Bible was open to a great variety of private interpretations. In spite of this difficulty, the Bible began to have a very wide circulation among all kinds of people, and, while all did not agree as to the true meaning of certain passages, the Scriptures were studied with increasing earnestness. Although it was inevitable that differences of opinion should arise, this mental activity was far better than blind belief. The human mind became relatively emancipated, and a great era of progress and prosperity ensued.

Among those who looked for a freer atmosphere in which to worship God, without ecclesiastical restrictions, were the Pilgrim Fathers, who came to America early in the seventeenth century. Even though their religion was austere and their vision restricted, nevertheless they saw a great light, and they followed it with burning zeal to lay the foundations of religious liberty in the New World. It was after more than two hundred years of liberated thought that New England produced a spiritual leader of the first magnitude, who was destined to become the Founder of a great religious revival of the gospel of Christian healing.

 

The Discovery of Christian Science

From early infancy Mary Baker, who was afterwards to become Mrs. Eddy, was a child of promise. She was endowed with spiritual vision far beyond her years, and the Bible was her daily companion. The heart of this New England child was filled with two great loves: she loved God supremely and she loved her neighbor as herself.

She writes in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," that, after many years of endeavor to trace all physical effects to a mental cause, and her own immediate recovery, from a supposedly fatal accident, through spiritual means alone, she was led to the conclusion in 1866 that "all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon" (p. 24).  Mrs. Eddy then took time to test her discovery over a period of years before publicly announcing her conclusions.

Finally, in the year 1875, when there was no longer any reason for delay, she published her textbook, "Science and Health," which with its "Key to the Scriptures," that followed, has since surpassed every religious book in the number of copies issued, with the exception of the Bible. This book passed through many clarifying revisions before it reached its present and final form, but the divine Principle upon which the discovery of Christian Science rests, remains unchanged.

In the opening paragraph of the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy names "an absolute faith" as the first essential of true prayer. She says in that passage (Science and Health, p. 1), "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,  - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

Before becoming acquainted with Christian Science I believed that I had faith in God, but this faith was largely offset by a counterbalancing fear of evil. Both my parents were sincerely religious people, and my mother was especially devoted to good works. The reading of the Scriptures and family prayers were a part of our regular daily routine, but questions concerning the nature of God and the meaning of the Bible were discouraged as impertinent. On Sunday, at church, we recited a liturgy in which we confessed ourselves to be miserable sinners, having no health in us. These declarations were depressing, for they affirmed only the false nature of mankind.

When I became interested in Christian Science, all this was changed. I learned that the real man was unfallen; that he was truly the son of God. I began to understand that the term "man," without any qualifying adjective, stands for the likeness of God, and that God is Himself the very Life, substance and intelligence of the universe, including man. I then saw that all the defects to which mortals are supposed to be subject come not from God, but from a false sense of origin in material parentage. I saw further that from the beginning of time two conflicting theories of existence had been at war with each other.

The first was a steadily growing realization that God is the only cause and creator, and the second, a material counterfeit claiming that mortals are also creators, having minds of their own, which are frequently in conflict with the divine Mind. I saw that these two opposite theories of existence were the wheat and the tares to which the Master had referred in one of his parables.

When the Christian Science textbook fell into my hands, I was at once impressed by the fact that an omnipotent God implies an infinite Mind, and that all that is true must necessarily emanate from that one Mind. Heretofore I had not been able to understand why there were so many religions; now I understood that actually there is but one true religion, that of which the Christ-spirit, through whomsoever it may work, is its sole exponent and demonstrator.

The teachings of Mary Baker Eddy were to me a direct answer to prayer. I found in them the answers to the questions that had previously perplexed me, and both my reason and my aspiration for spiritual things were satisfied. I saw that Mrs. Eddy's great service to humanity lay in the fact that she had not been drawn aside from the inspired Word of the Bible through the usual futile attempt to explain the inexplicable phenomena of matter on a material basis. She had taken the fact of God's allness literally, and had thus repudiated as untrue everything inconsistent with God and His image and likeness.

The remarkable proofs of healing and regeneration which followed the application of this revival of primitive Christianity made it still further apparent that a great discovery had been made. When asked to state the cardinal point of difference between her teachings and all other religions, Mrs. Eddy replied (Unity of Good, p. 9.): "This: that by knowing the unreality of disease, sin and death, you demonstrate the allness of God. This difference wholly separates my system from all others." While there is much in common between Christian Science and many other religious faiths in this one particular - the repudiation of sin, disease, and death, as the unreal products of the so-called human mind - Christian Science is unique.

 

The Revival of Christian Healing

One of the striking phenomena that followed the publication of the Christian Science textbook was its healing effect upon the reader. Many, like myself, who had never dreamed that the reading of a book could heal the sick, were emancipated from both acute and chronic diseases.  Furthermore, the book cases not only physical ills but produced such a fundamental change of viewpoint that in some long-standing habits, such as smoking, drinking, and profanity, fell off without so much as a struggle. The last chapter in Science and Health, entitled "Fruitage," contains a hundred pages of testimonies by those who have been healed physically and morally by the simple reading of that book. These testimonies have been verified by the same methods that would be required by a court of law.

Similar testimonies of the constantly recurring cases of Christian Science healing appear monthly in The Christian Science Journal and every week in the Christian Science Sentinel.  Furthermore, a regular period is set aside every Wednesday evening in all Christian Science churches at which individuals give their personal witness to the healing and regenerating benefits of Christian Science.

The following incident, which occurred soon after I became interested in Christian Science, is an illustration of this point. In the house where I was then living, there was a young man who drank to excess. When I returned one evening, his mother met me at the door and implored me to stay with her son, who she said was suffering from delirium tremens. The doctor had been with him all day and was expected back later, but in the meantime, she was afraid that her son might jump out of the window. When I entered the room, I saw a most terrifying spectacle. The young man was in a belligerent mood and was quite violent. After I had spoken a few words of truth to him, he became quiet and lay down. I read some passages from Science and Health, after which he arose and dressed for dinner. When I reached the dining room half an hour later, I found the young man in his place, in a perfectly normal condition.

This experience occurred soon after my own healing from several chronic ailments, from which I had never before been able to get permanent relief. Since then the evidence of Christian Science healing has continued to multiply, until today there is no longer room for doubt that the divine Mind is the Great Physician that is able to meet all human needs. To those who have not yet been set free from the ills to which they are subject I would say, in the words of Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 410) "The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love."

 

The Universal Solvent

In cleansing the so-called human mind of its impurities, it is essential that we have an effective solvent. On page 405 of our textbook, Mrs. Eddy names four specific phases of error and their metaphysical antidotes.  She says "Christian Science commands man to master the propensities - to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty." This list could, of course, be extended indefinitely; but these four examples are sufficient to illustrate the method of procedure. St. John covered the whole ground with one sweeping generalization when he said, "Perfect love casteth out fear."  Mrs. Eddy also names divine Love as "the universal solvent," and she urges her followers to overcome self-love, which together with self-will and self-justification, she calls "the adamant of error," with this "universal solvent of Love" (ibid., p. 242).

As an illustration of the way in which errors of belief tend to obscure God's likeness as reflected by the real man, the following true story may prove helpful.

Some years ago a private collection of art treasures was donated to a metropolitan gallery. The authorities chose what they considered museum pieces, and the rest of the pictures were offered for sale.

One of the items was listed as "Portrait of a man (after Titian)." A buyer for another gallery saw the picture, and, being familiar with the old master's technique, he felt convinced that it was a genuine Titian which had been disguised, as was often done in wartime, by painting another picture over the original work of art. This buyer purchased the picture for a comparatively small sum. When the process of removing the over-painting was undertaken it soon became evident that there was another picture underneath.

As the work progressed the beauty of the underlying portrait became more and more

apparent. Finally, when the cleaning process was completed and the original work was fully revealed, an exhibition was held before technical experts. Their verdict was that the portrait is the best example of Titian's art now extant. Its value is estimated to be over a quarter of a million dollars.

The purpose in relating this story is merely to show that false concepts of ourselves and  others are but superficial coverings. They are overlays which tend to hide the real man or woman made in God's likeness.  Truth removes this fleshly veil.

 

The Old Man and the New

"The old man," referred to by St. Paul, which needs to be replaced by "the new man," made in God's likeness is clearly the mortal, or false sense of man, which, according to Job, "is of few days, and full of trouble." The new man is not another man, but is the only real man. He expresses all the good that was ever attributed to the mortal man, but he has the advantage of being free from such defects as sin, disease, and death.

The Psalmist must have had a glimpse of the real nature of man when he sang, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."  This allusion to the new awakening is highly significant, for mortals are asleep to the truth of being. Christian Science awakens mankind to the realization of man's birthright as the son of God. St. Paul must have seen the need of this awakening when he cried, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

 

The Light of the World

Christ Jesus said plainly, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Since the time of his personal presence on earth, the example of Christ Jesus has not ceased to illuminate that portion of mankind whose vision has been turned God-ward. The light of Truth has always shone, even in the darkness of mortal mind; but it is seen only by those who turn their faces to the light.

We have a perpetual example of light shining in darkness in our planetary system, wherein day and night seem to alternate. As a matter of fact, however, the sun is always shining, although we see it at night only as it is reflected by the moon and stars. The space between the stars is dark because where there is no reflector, there can be no reflection. So it is with the Sunlight of Truth, which is always shining. It is reflected only by that state of mind which is spiritually awakened.

Some measure of the great light which guided Mrs. Eddy has been reflected by her followers throughout the world. Wherever the teachings of Christian Science are found in their purity, there the Bible is the companion piece of the Christian Science text book, and those who study and practice the truth contained in these books are continually adding their quota to the light of the world.

 

The Master's Theology

Mrs. Eddy reminds us: "Our Master said to every follower: 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature! . . . Heal the sick . . . Love thy neighbor as thyself!' It was this theology of Jesus which healed the sick and the sinning" (ibid., p. 138). The Master's theology is summed up in his prayer of intercession, as found in the seventeenth chapter of John. The essence of this theology is contained in the third verse, which reads, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Reduced to its absolute simplicity, the theory of Jesus is the conscious relationship of the child to its heavenly Father. Because God's children are made in His likeness, nothing that is ungodly can be found in the real man. In this respect, a helpful example can be taken from photography, wherein one must focus his camera steadily upon the object whose likeness he wishes to reproduce. When two pictures are taken on the same plate, we call this incongruity a "double-exposure."

As applied to scholastic theology, this double-exposure illustrates the ancient error of dualism which has so sadly plagued and perplexed the human race. While acknowledging God as man's heavenly Father, mortals have been taught to believe also in a material origin with all the fleshly ills which that falsehood entails.

To Jesus there was but one Father. He plainly said. "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Because human language contains no single word that can adequately convey the full meaning of Deity, Christian Science employs seven synonyms each of which has Scriptural authority, and all of which taken together express the fullness of the divine nature. In answer to the question, "What is God?" Mrs. Eddy writes on page 465 of the Christian Science textbook, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle Life, Truth, Love." The question was once asked: "Wherein is there any Scriptural authority for the word Principle as a synonym for God?" The answer may be found in the words of St. Paul, who said, "Love never faileth" (I Cor. 13:8, Rev. Ver.). Surely that which never faileth is in the nature of Principle.

 

The Healing Christ

The example of true sonship with the one universal Father which Christ Jesus gave, was for the benefit of all mankind. The disciples came to understand this only by degrees. As we have seen, it was not until after the Master's complete victory over the flesh, that they received the final revelation of the impersonal Saviour. This is true also of the understanding of Christian Science which today dawns upon us gradually. Only in the degree that the letter of Truth is lived does the healing power of the Christ-spirit come upon us and dwell with us.

Speaking of the ideal Christian Scientist's absolute reliance on God, Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 268): "His medicine is Mind - the omnipotent and everpresent good. . . . God's preparations for the sick are potions of His own qualities. His therapeutics are antidotes for the ailments of mortal mind and body." Jesus was able to demonstrate this great fact so effectively because, more than all others, his nature was akin to God's nature.

He said unequivocally, "I and my Father are one." It should never be forgotten that the Christ-element which animated Jesus and his true followers has always been available to the receptive thought. To the astonishment of the Jews, Jesus once said, "Before Abraham was, I am." And to his followers he said, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." While, there has never been a moment when God or His Christ have ever been absent from the world, there have been far too many moments when God has been absent from the thoughts of men. It is the purpose of Christian Science to remedy this sad state of affairs and to demonstrate the Christ-idea, which identifies man with God, as both the Father and the Mother of His universal family.

The healing influence of Christian Science is purely spiritual. It is the conscious reunion of mankind with God. It is called “Truth-healing” because, in its practice, Truth destroys error and overcomes evil with good. It is also called "Christ-healing," because it is the most human surrender to the Christ-idea that destroys both the love of matter and the fear of losing it. In a word, it is the spirit of God which annihilates everything unlike the divine nature.

The practitioner of this Science, however, requires far more than a mere knowledge of the letter of Mrs. Eddy's teachings. He needs the Christ-spirit which gives vitality to the letter of truth. A Christian Science treatment is a genuine conviction that God's allness and ever-presence preclude the possibility of sin, disease, and death as constituent elements of God's universe. It is based on the scientific fact that God is the only Lawgiver, and that so-called physical laws, which are in conflict with God's law of universal harmony, are but human misconceptions, no matter how much they may be dignified as laws by the wise men of this world.

 

The Mental Argument

While it is frequently necessary to employ an audible or a silent argument in the treatment of disease, there are times and conditions in which a momentary realization of God's allness is sufficient. This would always be the case if the thought of the Christian Scientist was wholly spiritual. It often happens, however, that one has to resort to the argument in order to prepare the soil of human consciousness for the seed of truth. The reason for this is explained by Mrs. Eddy as follows (Science and Health, p. 162): "The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind."

As an illustration of this point the following case is pertinent. I know a woman who, for a long time, had been under Christian Science treatment for arthritis. She was unable to use either of her arms without excruciating pain, and her finger joints were very badly swollen.  A practical nurse was employed to attend to her physical needs. One day she opened our textbook to the page from which I have just quoted.

When she came to the words, "The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind," she saw a great light. She saw that she had not been yielding to the harmony of the divine Mind, but on the contrary she had been yielding to the false testimony of the so-called physical senses and had become self-mesmerized thereby.

Now that she had grasped the truth that makes one free, she dismissed her practitioner and her nurse, telling them that she wished to be alone with God. For three days she saw no one but the room-service attendants of the hotel in which she lived. During those three days she studied her Bible and Science and Health and gave herself up to the idea of God's allness.

She found that her thoughts had been filled with fear, resentment, and self-pity. As these errors were uncovered she saw what Paul must have meant when he said, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" As this realization dawned upon her she found herself literally yielding "to the harmony of the divine Mind." On the morning of the fourth day she awoke to the fact that she was entirely free from every symptom of the trouble. This happened several years ago, and when I saw her recently she was happy and active, and there was no sign of stiffness or swollen joints.

 

Human Will Is Not a Healer

In the practice of Christian Science human reason, properly employed, is a very useful agent, but it is by no means a healer. Divine healing is achieved through the Christ-idea, and it is not until this purely spiritual contact is made that the healing is truly Christian.

What is termed mental science is often practiced in the name of Christian Science, but mental science operates through suggestion, which is a product of this so-called carnal mind.   Christian Science relies wholly on the divine Mind, which according to the Psalmist, "healeth all diseases." Submission to mental manipulation tends to destroy self-reliance on God and to promote dependence on the human will. Christian Science turns the patient's thought away from personality to the divine Principle from which all true health, happiness, and self-government flows.

 

The Millennial Dawn

According to absolute Christian Science, man in the likeness of God is the same now as "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."  The time element enters into the practice of Christian Science, therefore, only as a human factor in the process of removing the illusions of mortal mind from human thinking.

If it were possible for everyone, everywhere, to suddenly relinquish his or her belief in the reality of the false testimony of the physical senses, there would be at that moment such an influx of spiritual light that all the dark shadows of evil would be swept away, and the universe, including man, would be seen as God sees them in all their perfection. This state of things is what St. John saw and described in the book of Revelation.

Before this millennial state can be permanently realized, however, there is much work to be done. There are moral lessons to be learned, bad habits to be overcome, and a vast improvement in human development to be made. We must understand that it is impossible to escape the responsibility of participating in the establishment of peace on earth and in helping to promote good will among men.

Questions of social justice will have to be more equitably adjusted, better opportunities for self-support and self-improvement will have to be provided and made use of. And above all, greater stress will have to be laid on the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, as fundamentals of human government, both individual and national.  Universal peace and prosperity can be achieved in no other way.

This is just a brief sketch of a few of the things that can and must be done by human beings with their present heritage of Christianity. The healing of the nations, as envisioned by St. John, can be realized only through the unconditional surrender of the human will to the divine Mind. This is not merely a human opinion; it is the inexorable law of God. It will take time to prove all this, but eternity lies before us, and we have only to make good use of the time we have.

 

The Kingdom Within

Long before the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God, individuals will have established the reign of harmony within themselves. Our great Way-shower, Christ Jesus, did this and he made this specific bequest: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." It is in this state of conscious unity with divine Mind that Christian healing is done. There are no boundaries to this spiritual realm, and it is accessible to all who are pure in heart and have within them the love of God and man.

We cannot overestimate the peace, power and tender solicitude of the Christ-spirit when it is permitted to enter the human heart and to dwell there. Individuals on earth today have had glimpses of this heavenly estate. In fact, it is not an uncommon experience of those who have been healed in Christian Science, especially when they have been relieved of the fear of some impending disaster. These foretastes of the kingdom of heaven on earth are but faint reflections of a far greater glory that is yet to come. Those who have had such visions of reality can never again become willing victims of the counterfeit attractions of carnal desire.

All Christendom unites in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." From the Bible we learn that prayer should always be accompanied by faith in its fulfillment. In a word, we should desire nothing that is not already a reality in the divine Mind. Surely our heavenly Father is not withholding any blessings from the sons of men.

Truth is not coming true; it is true. Mrs. Eddy saw that the prayer, "Thy kingdom come," really means (Science and Health, p. 16), "Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present." It is with this thought in mind that the Christian Scientist offers his prayer. He knows that God's work is done, and that mankind only needs to be awakened from the belief of a separate existence in matter in order to realize that God's kingdom is come. Surely the Apostle Paul must have understood this when he said, "In him we live, and move, and have our being."

 

The Prayer of Faith

Prayer in Christian Science is both intercessory and affirmative. Mrs. Eddy makes the unequivocal statement (No and Yes, p. 38). "All prayer that is desire is intercessory." All prayer is not merely desire, however, for, as Mrs. Eddy points out further (ibid., p. 39), “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love. . . It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is.” An intimate sense of God's presence is in itself, an unceasing prayer. The prayer of affirmation is, therefore, a progressive realization of the oneness of God and man.

The prayer of faith believes that God made all things perfect and that He sustains the universe and man in a state of permanent perfection. The desire to realize this is the first essential of a genuine prayer, but this desire must be further implemented with the exercise of man's God-given powers of spiritual discernment.

We must learn to look less at and more through the testimony of the material senses. Then we shall know how to interpret the phenomena of nature more as Jesus did. We shall be able to read the signs of the times more spiritually, and we shall then understand that appearances cannot be accepted as evidence of both good and evil, but that evil is an illusion, while good only is true.

When the Master spent whole nights in communion with God, he was not fatigued, but refreshed thereby, he became spiritually reassured of the allness of God and of the consequent unreality of mortal existence. Christ Jesus was literally the mediator between God and mankind because he thought in terms of heaven, and spoke the language of humanity.

He knew that the words which he uttered were God-inspired, and that his hearers were divinely endowed with a potential capacity to understand his teachings, even though, for the time being, they might fail to realize their full import. Jesus prayed for the spiritual regeneration of the whole world and he foresaw the ultimate universal acceptance of his gospel of peace and good will. He said to his disciples, "Occupy till I come." In a word, Keep my sayings till all is fulfilled. A genuine Christian Science treatment is the very essence of true prayer.

 

The New Heaven and Earth

Nothing in human experience is more self-evident than the fact of perpetual change.   Nothing on earth remains unaltered except the immutable laws of God.   The prophet Ezekiel speaking under divine inspiration pronounced the following sentence on materiality: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is and I will give it him."

Surely the world belongs to its Maker, yet men have bought and sold and fought for it, and made plans for world domination without reference to the laws of God. This abnormal state of affairs arises from the fact that mortals have lost the true idea of substance and have accepted a counterfeit called matter. Two passages from the Christian Science textbook make this error clearly apparent. The first reads (p. 263): "The multiplication of a human and mortal sense of persons and things is not creation." And the second refills this void with the comforting assurance (p. 507): "Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source." We see the true substance, therefore, only as we look above and beyond the outward or superficial appearance of things and perceive the true idea of God reflected in the countless manifestations of the immortality of Life, Truth, and Love.

How can we best show our love and honor to Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science? The contribution of spiritual enlightenment which this divinely inspired woman has made to this and succeeding ages is beyond our present capacity to fully appreciate.

It is enough that we study her teachings, apply what we can understand, and, above all, live the life that she exemplified, and commended to her followers in these tender words of counsel: "Finally, brethren, wait patiently on God; return blessing for cursing; be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good; be steadfast, abide and abound in faith, understanding, and good works; obey strictly the laws that be, and follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ" (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 34).

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Dec. 1, 1944.]

 

 

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