Christian Science: The Great Physician Understood

 

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

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Introduction

Delivered in Convention Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tuesday evening, October 16, 1951, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Tulsa. The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Raphael G. Elliston, who said:

First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Tulsa, is happy to welcome you here this evening. It is always a joy to share with you a lecture delivered by a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.

This evening's subject is of tremendous importance to you who are asking yourselves: what can Christian Science do for me? and to you students of Christian Science who are ever seeking a larger concept of God and of His ability to heal and save. Your lecturer has healed himself and others according to the Principle and practice of Christian Science which will be explained on this platform. The audience includes many people who can support all that he has to say with their own healings. There will be more healings of thought and body here this evening because of the clear concept of Truth embodied in this lecture entitled, "Christian Science: The Great Physician Understood."

It is indeed a pleasure to present your lecturer, Richard P. Verrall of New York City.

 

The Lecture

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

It will be my aim in this lecture to lay before you, as simply and plainly as possible, a few of the fundamental truths of Christian Science, which will help those of you who may not yet be fully persuaded to rely more implicitly on the great Physician, whose healing and redemptive powers are so graphically portrayed in the one hundred and third Psalm. This Psalm contains the following benediction: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Then follows a list of the good things that are promised to them that put their whole trust in our heavenly Father, who, when understood, as the Psalmist declares, "forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction" (Ps. 103:1-5). This description of the healing power of the only true God becomes the more remarkable when we remember that it was uttered some three thousand years ago, at a time when the absolute goodness of God, who sends no evil, had scarcely been thought of.

A thousand years later, when Christ Jesus had grown to young manhood, he began to translate the heavenly vision of the Psalmist into tangible evidence. We read in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew that "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matt. 4:23). No other man in the entire course of human history has so well deserved the title of "The Great Physician." Nevertheless, Jesus disclaimed all personal homage and said, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10).

In our own day, after nearly two thousand years of Christian history, a new light has been shed upon the sacred Scriptures through the discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy. With the aid of her divinely inspired textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," any sincere student of the Bible can now understand and demonstrate, at least in some degree, the simple rules of Christian healing.

 

The Significance of the Title "Science and Health"

It may be of interest to many to know that there is a remarkable coincidence in the choice of the words "Science and Health," which form a part of the title of the Christian Science textbook. Several months after the first edition of this book had been published it was learned that the phrase "Science and Health" had been used by John Wycliffe in his fourteenth-century translation of the Bible as the equivalent of the words "knowledge of salvation," which are now found in Luke 1:77 of the Authorized Version. The full text of the passage in which this phrase occurs reads as follows: "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:76-79).

"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is now the full title of the Christian Science textbook, has, in the brief space of a single lifetime, become, next to the Bible, one of the most truly world-renowned books ever written. It has brought "knowledge of salvation" to vast multitudes who had previously sat "in darkness and in the shadow of death," and it has literally guided their "feet into the way of peace."

 

The Immortality of the Christ

While the gospel of Christ Jesus introduced a new era and gave a permanent impulse to the moral progress of mankind, the people of Jesus' time were not yet ready to grasp the full scientific significance of the great Master's words and works. Nevertheless, the disciples of Jesus and their immediate followers did catch much of the Christ-spirit, and they continued to heal, and even to raise the dead, until toward the end of the third century, when, because of the gross materialism of the times, the practice of divine healing began to decline. In spite of this partial eclipse of the sunlight of the gospel, the Christ-idea never ceased to shed its spiritual rays on the path of humanity's progress, and it is now apparent that there never was a time, even in the pre-Christian era, when someone was not able to hold the torch of Truth aloft sufficiently to guide those who were ready to follow its light. An excellent example of this can be found in the Old Testament, in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis, when Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, is introduced to us. This remarkable figure is also mentioned in the one hundred and tenth Psalm as a type of the coming Messiah, and we are told in the book of Hebrews that Melchizedek was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God" (Heb. 7:3). We see, therefore, that the spiritual idea of man made in God's likeness, without beginning or end, was not wholly unfamiliar to the ancient patriarchs, nor was it unknown to their successors, the early Christians, who actually saw this divine ideal expressed m their Master, Christ Jesus.

 

St. John's Revelation

St. John, who was perhaps more spiritually-minded than any of the other disciples, actually saw a heavenly vision of things to come on the Isle of Patmos, where he had been sent, as he states, "for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9). After receiving his revelation, John tells us that he fell down to worship the angel who had brought him the message; but the angel rebuked him, saying, "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God" (Rev. 22:8,9). This refusal to accept personal adulation clearly indicates the angel's fitness for the high office for which he had been chosen.

This incident recalls Jesus' words in reply to an admiring follower: "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matt. 19:17). From these and many similar citations it should now be perfectly clear that there is not the slightest Scriptural foundation for the misleading assertion that Jesus ever claimed to be God. Such mistaken beliefs not only contradict the Bible, but they deprive those who accept them of a knowledge of the true purpose of the great Teacher's lifework. As evidence of his humanity Jesus repeatedly used the plural possessive pronoun "our" to show that all have the right to claim sonship with God. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, furthermore, assures us that "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16,17). In order to derive the full benefit of our great Wayshower's teachings and example it is essential, therefore, that we become doers of the Word, by keeping the Commandments and by bringing forth the fruits of healing. In no other way can we enter the door of spiritual understanding which Jesus the Christ opened for all mankind.

 

The Age of Reason

Because materialism cannot close the door which Christ Jesus opened in human consciousness it became inevitable that the path to it, which had been overgrown with creeds and man-made doctrines, should be rediscovered. Faint indications of the coming renaissance began to occur as early as the eleventh century, but it was not until John Wycliffe translated the Bible into fourteenth-century English that the seeds of the great Protestant Reformation began to germinate. There is not sufficient time, in the brief space of this lecture, to do more than touch upon the sequence of events which ultimately led to the acknowledgment of the Bible as the supreme authority of Christendom; but we cannot pass by this momentous period without paying tribute to the courage and vision of the great reformers who prepared the ground in human consciousness for a new and more practical religious faith. It was about this time that Columbus discovered America, and other navigators, inspired by his example, ventured upon hitherto uncharted waters. Furthermore, the invention of the printing press provided the means for the mass production of the Bible, so that a copy of it soon became available to every layman who could read. Francis Bacon, who "lived during the early days of the publication of the King James or Authorized Version of the English Bible, and who has been called "the father of the inductive method of scientific inquiry," saw and pointed out the prevalent lack in his day of a truly scientific approach to all branches of learning. In one of his best known works he makes the following significant observation: "The sole cause and root of almost every defect in the sciences is this: that while men falsely admire and extol the powers of the human mind, they do not search for its real helps" (Novum Organum, par. IX). In the same treatise there is an indication that he had gained a glimpse of the true source of help, for he declares that "there is no small difference between the idols of the human mind and the ideas of the divine mind" (par. XXIII). While the printing and distribution of the Bible did much during the next three centuries to promote a greater degree of faith in God, there were no teachers who could truly interpret the inspired Word of the Bible so as to recapture its original spiritual power, especially in respect to the practice of Christian healing. In a certain degree, therefore, the Bible still remained a closed book.

 

The Dawn of Christian Science

Mary Baker, of Bow, New Hampshire, who was afterwards to become Mrs. Eddy, was born in the third decade of the nineteenth century. When a very young child she learned from devout Christian parents to keep the Ten Commandments and to love both God and mankind. Very early in life she realized that the divine Mind is the only source of man's real help. She tells us in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," that her mother had taught her to listen for God's voice, and when only eight years of age she had an experience similar to that of the child Samuel. From that time on she followed literally the Master's instruction, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matt. 6: 33). And in one of her early poems she wrote (Poems, p. 14):

"I will listen for Thy voice

Lest my footsteps stray."

 

Through her desire to be helpful to humanity, Mrs. Eddy, as a young woman, took up the study and practice of homeopathy, which was at that time a comparatively new system of therapeutics. From her experience in this field she soon learned that the highest attenuation of a drug often produced the most effective results. Then, when she found that unmedicated pills, given at regular intervals, with all the formalities of the sickroom, often appeared to be equally successful, she saw that it was not the medical prescription but the patient's blind faith that had done the work. Writing of these experiences in her autobiography, Mrs. Eddy says: "During twenty years prior to my discovery I had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause; and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty that all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24). Her own healing of a supposedly incurable condition, when apparently at the point of death, was, as she tells us, "the falling apple that led [her] to the discovery how to be well [herself], and how to make others so" (ibid., p. 24).

At this point Mrs. Eddy had actually touched "the hem of the garment" of the great Physician, who, as the Psalmist declared, "healeth all thy diseases." Thus, step by step, Mrs. Eddy rediscovered the lost art of Christian healing, and thereafter she devoted her entire energies and capabilities to the momentous task of imparting to suffering humanity an understanding of God's universal law, or Christian Science. All who are dissatisfied with their present dependence on material methods of seeking health, happiness, and usefulness need only bring their thoughts and lives into closer accord with this divine Science of Christianity, which, when understood and relied upon implicitly, not only maintains the harmony of mind and body, but is applicable to every human problem.

The purity of Mrs. Eddy's desire gave her an unsurpassed clarity of vision which was matched by her lucidity of expression. Thus she was able to reduce her epoch-making discovery to that concise and comprehensive "scientific statement of being," which is given on page 468 of the Christian Science textbook and which reads in part as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all."

In her book entitled "No and Yes," Mrs. Eddy sums up her discovery in one brief sentence as follows (p. 30): "God's law is in three words, 'I am All;' and this perfect law is ever present to rebuke any claim of another law." In order to demonstrate the practical benefits of this simple but profound statement one does not have to undergo a long and tedious course of theological training, for anyone can begin at once to practice the simple rule of faith in the allness of God. It is essential, however, that the student possess such moral qualities as honesty, fidelity, genuine humility, and integrity, which are always prerequisites to spiritual understanding. The fundamental fact of God's allness must first be accepted on faith, however, before it can be demonstrated. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6).

It is a great pity that modern scholastic education pays so little attention to the greatest piece of classic literature that was ever written, except to discredit the divine authority of the Bible and to undermine the simple faith in God which many pupils had already gained at home from Christian parents and from attending Sunday School. While it is true that none of the experiments in a modern research laboratory can ever furnish any evidence of the divine Principle, this fact in no way invalidates the existence of God's law, neither does it prevent those who do understand it from demonstrating its healing and redemptive power. The faith of a little child has often confounded the wisdom of this world, and young people are frequently far more receptive to spiritual ideas and their practical application to human problems than their more sophisticated seniors. Referring to the spiritual receptivity of little children, Christ Jesus once said, "Of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). This statement does not apply, of course, merely to youth, as such, but to that state of childlike receptivity which can be attained by anyone who gives up false material theories and dependencies in favor of the simplicity of the Christ-idea. The pupils in our Sunday Schools often grasp the significance of man's relationship to God more quickly than their parents. The following is an illustration of this point.

A small boy, who was a pupil in a Christian Science Sunday School, called at a neighbor's house to inquire about his little friend, who had been absent from his class at school. The child's mother said that her boy was very ill and that the doctor had forbidden any visitors. The little Christian Science boy pleaded so earnestly to be allowed to run upstairs, just to say "Hello," that the mother eventually relented, with the proviso that he stay only a minute. In a very short time both boys came running downstairs, and the boy who was supposed to be very ill declared that the pain was all gone and he felt perfectly well. When the doctor arrived soon after, he could find nothing the matter with the child, and he was allowed to return to school the next day. Some time later, when the mother met the little Christian Science boy, she asked him what he had done while he was upstairs. He replied simply, "Why, Willie had forgotten that God loved him, and when I reminded him, he was all right." This incident recalls the Master's rejoicing when his disciples returned with reports of their success in healing, and he said: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Luke 10:21). Under the marginal notation, "Childlike receptivity," on page 323 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea." Our Christian Science Sunday Schools furnish abundant proof of the truth of this assertion, and their training has already helped to produce many splendid men and women.

 

The Eternal Union

The eternal union between true Science and genuine Christianity, which Mrs. Eddy discovered, is typified in St. John's heavenly vision as a marriage between the "Spirit and the bride." In Revelation 19:7, the angel, in announcing this marriage, says, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." The "Lamb" is a symbol of the Christ-idea, and his wife stands for that purely spiritual state of consciousness which understands the divine idea and thus becomes its natural complement. When this spiritual union had been consummated, the angel of Revelation issued the following proclamation: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). This call is a standing invitation to all mankind to attend the marriage feast, that is, to partake of the blessings incident to the reunion of pure Christianity and true Science. Under the marginal notation, "Spiritual wedlock," on page 575 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy paraphrases this universal invitation as follows (p. 575): " 'Come hither! Arise from your false consciousness into the true sense of Love, and behold the Lamb's wife, Love wedded to its own spiritual idea.' Then cometh the marriage feast, for this revelation will destroy forever the physical plagues imposed by material sense." In Jesus' parable of a certain king who made a marriage for his son, as told in the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, there was among the guests one who had not put on a wedding garment. This man was not allowed to participate, for the soiled garments of materialism must first be discarded and the pure robes of righteousness must be put on. Through the study and practice of Christian Science we are now learning how to change our thinking so that we may be reclothed in our right mind.

 

An Example of Self-Liberation

The following case is cited as an example of the way this can be done.

An earnest student of Christian Science, after a rather strenuous horseback ride, found herself suffering from a very severe pain in her hip. In spite of the fact that much conscientious work had been done for several weeks by both the patient and a practitioner, the condition seemed to be growing steadily worse. Then it was thought best to have a surgical examination, in order to ascertain whether or not there was a structural dislocation. The X-ray disclosed a very serious tubercular condition in the thigh bone; the surgeon said that the ligaments of the sacroiliac joint were already consumed, and he predicted that the patient could not live more than six months.

At first this verdict seemed overwhelming; but the patient soon rallied to the challenge, and the battle was on. She would not yield to the suggestion of defeat, and placing her full faith in God, she summoned every argument of truth she could think of to oppose the false physical testimony. Then one night, when the pain seemed to be unbearable and sleep impossible, she opened her textbook to page 309 and read this passage: "Life is never for a moment extinct. Therefore, it is never structural nor organic, and is never absorbed nor limited by its own formations." After pondering these words and realizing their application to her own case, she understood more clearly that her life was in God and that there could be no truth in the surgeon's verdict, for his diagnosis had been based only on so-called material evidence. Taking her stand upon the divine idea of man in God's likeness, she repudiated the belief of life in matter. This conviction brought such peace and assurance that she closed her book and fell asleep. The next morning, after her first good night's rest since the trouble began, she was able to bear her weight on the leg that had previously been so painful, and the healing was soon complete.

During all this time the patient had been serving as a Reader in a Christian Science church, and she never missed a single service. She was frequently sustained during this trying experience by the following verse from Deuteronomy: "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27). This healing occurred a long time ago, and the six months allotted to her by the surgeon have been superseded by many years of usefulness in the practice of Christian Science. I can vouch for the truth of this demonstration, for I saw the patient frequently during the time that this heroic battle was being fought and won.

I myself have had countless proofs of the healing power of the great Physician, and when God's laws have been obeyed there has never been a time when Christian Science has failed. On one occasion, when serving as First Reader in a Christian Science branch church, I awoke one Sunday morning with a severe case of what is known as quinsy throat. I flatly refused to accept this false suggestion and made no attempt to obtain a substitute. I went to the church at the usual hour, but when the time came for the service I could not speak above a whisper. Nevertheless, I went on the platform, trusting God to supply me with the power to voice His Word. When it was necessary to announce the first hymn, my throat cleared, and my voice was perfectly normal thereafter.

 

The Physician of the Future

To those who have learned to place full reliance on Christian Science for healing it is already apparent that the physician of the future will be able to minister to the needs of both human mind and body. Because these two correlatives are one and inseparable, the physician who has heretofore been content to treat his patients for so-called physical ailments alone will have to learn that disease is primarily mental. Neither modern psychology nor so-called mental science can truly meet this need, for the human mind must learn to look beyond itself to the divine Mind in order to find its real help. The physician of the future will actually be a Christian metaphysician and thus be able to bring to his patient an understanding that his life is in God and that man is not corporeal, but is in reality spiritual. In this way the physician will awaken a true concept of immortal manhood, in which, as Paul says, "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). It is certain that no medical remedy can ever be found that can take the place of the regenerative power of the great Physician. Surely it should not be thought too transcendental or presumptuous for humanity, to reclaim man's divine birthright as the child of God.

To carry the point a step further, the physician of the future will understand that every patient has within himself the spiritual recuperative capacity to receive the ever-present healing influence of the divine Mind; thus he will bring to the sickroom a spiritual confidence in good which will inspire new hope in the patient. The physician will thus be able to think in terms of absolute divine Science and to speak to his patient in the language of Christlike human sympathy. His diagnoses will include a divinely inspired insight into his patient's state of mind, and his remedies will be prescriptions compounded of an understanding of the vitalizing properties of Life, Truth, and Love.

Because Christian Science is the universal law of God it is invariable, ever available, and infallible. It is, therefore, ever ready to respond, night or day, to any and all legitimate calls. It cannot be overworked, because its resources are infinite and its energies are untiring. Furthermore, we are assured by the Scriptures that God, the great Physician, neither slumbers nor sleeps (see Psalms 121:4). It is evident that no human being, no matter how consecrated, should be expected at this period to meet all the demands that can be made on Christian Science. Those who would reap the full benefits of Christian Science, therefore, must not rely too much on practitioners but more on divine Principle, which has always the ways and means of providing for every human need. It is well also to remember that vast numbers of sick people have been healed through their own study of the Bible as interpreted by the Christian Science textbook, unaided by a practitioner. A number of testimonies of such healings can be found in the closing chapter of Science and Health. These cases are especially interesting, because they have all been thoroughly authenticated and they thus furnish convincing proof of the impersonal and ever-available nature of the healing Christ. The fact that we have this great Physician who is always ready to meet our every human need is being demonstrated continually through the practice of Christian Science.

 

A Brief Summary of Achievement

When Mrs. Eddy began her ministry of Christian Science a little more than seventy years ago, there was not one person on earth to whom she could turn for help and encouragement. In her search for the underlying divine Science of the Bible she had to rely wholly upon God's guidance in order to penetrate the accumulated overgrowth of creeds and dogmas which had hidden the vital meaning of Christ Jesus' teachings. Then, through prayer and faith in God, she patiently and courageously followed the path of light which ultimately led to the discovery of the great fact that "all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law'' (Science and Heath, p. 417). The publication of her epoch-making textbook in the year 1875 places within reach of all who are receptive the means of working out their own salvation according to the teaching and example of Christ Jesus.

It is only a little over half a century since our Mother Church edifice was built in Boston. Since then thousands of branches of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, have been established in all parts of the civilized world. Christian Science Reading Rooms are also to be found wherever there are churches, and at these rooms one may study, borrow, or purchase the authorized literature of Christian Science.

 

The Christian Science Pastor

In the year 1895 Mrs. Eddy issued the following notice to the Christian Science field; ''Humbly, and, as I believe, divinely directed, I hereby ordain the Bible, and 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,' to be hereafter the only pastor of The Church of Christ, Scientist, throughout our land and in other lands" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 313). In order to effectuate this novel and impersonal mode of religious instruction Mrs. Eddy provided for the appointment of a standing committee whose duty it is to compile a series of Bible Lessons composed of selections from the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" entitled Christian Science Quarterly. In order to make these Bible Lessons humanly articulate, Mrs. Eddy further provided for the election of Readers, whose periods of service should be limited, so far as possible, to three years. It should be clearly understood that Christian Science does not claim to be a new religion, but it is a revival of primitive Christianity with its lost element of healing.

It is confidently believed by all Christian Scientists that the time will come when all mankind will recognize and avail themselves of the priceless benefits of Christian Science and that God, as the great Physician, will not only be relied upon for healing but will also be worshiped in the manner taught by Christ Jesus when he said to the woman of Samaria, "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him" (John 4:23).

Those prophetic words of Jesus summed up the great Teacher's faith in the immortality of his mission and the spiritual ideal which he aimed to establish on earth. When he said, "God is a Spirit," "or, more correctly interpreted, "God is Spirit," he added, "They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Then when the woman replied, "I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ," Jesus declared himself openly, saying, "I that speak unto thee am he" (John 4:24-26). The Scriptural record of this dramatic incident should have settled forever the question as to how and where God ought to be worshiped. Neither Mt. Sinai, the temple at Jerusalem, nor Mt. Chorazin in Samaria should thereafter have been regarded as holy places, for God, as Jesus indicated, must be worshiped primarily in the sanctuary of one's own heart.

Mrs. Eddy shows us what the practice of true religion means when she says: "To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true. Thus we may establish in truth the temple, or body, 'whose builder and maker is God' " (Science and Health, p. 428). This process of self-purification involves the final overcoming of all false beliefs and practices. It not only applies to sinful thoughts and deeds but also to the diseased beliefs which manifest themselves in sickness. Christ Jesus once spoke of his own body as a "temple" (John 2:21). It is understood in Christian Science that the human body is the expression of the individual's state of mind. When one's thoughts reflect the divine Mind, these life-giving impartations of Truth and Love not only result in improvement of character, but they also purify and regulate the secretions and functions of the physical body as a natural consequence. Furthermore, they vitalize the entire system and give to what is termed human life a new and higher meaning.

What is termed the nervous system is generally acknowledged as a prime factor in the government of the human body, but sufficient attention has not heretofore been given to the mental impulses that control the nerves. The fact is now becoming better understood in Christian Science that true health can be established and maintained only on the basis of the human understanding of man's oneness with God, for God, who is Life, is the only source of true existence. The fact that God is man's life, while it has always been available to humanity, has now been reduced to scientific application.

It should be understood that God alone knows how to maintain the health, happiness, and welfare of mankind and that only through obedience to His laws can men and nations be governed harmoniously. That no man is fit to govern another until he has first learned to rule himself is an old axiom; but Mrs. Eddy goes farther and says, "Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love" (Science and 'Health, p. 106). It should be apparent, therefore, that universal peace is primarily contingent upon an acknowledgment of divine authority. The suppositional warfare between the flesh and the Spirit, spoken of by St. Paul, appears to have divided the human race into opposing factions, but we learn in Christian Science that evil is no part of absolute truth and that its false testimony must eventually yield to the understanding that God is the only power. Mankind will then be animated by a higher motive than that of material self-interest, and it will be understood that, as members of one family, our welfare is inseparable. Furthermore it will be more clearly seen that the only way to gain the full benefits of economic security, universal freedom, and good will is through mutual co-operation. A large part of humanity has already learned that the barriers of race, creed, and color must be broken down; but the only way of accomplishing this successfully is through a better understanding that these seemingly irreconcilable differences are already nonexistent in the divine Mind.

 

Prayer and Fasting

When questioned by his disciples as to why they had failed where he had succeeded in casting out a certain disease, the Master said that it was because of their unbelief. But he added, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). Mrs. Eddy interprets prayer and fasting as "refraining from admitting the claims of the senses" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 222). We pray, therefore, not only in words, but in deeds. Prayer, as understood and practiced in Christian Science, is communion with God rather than a selfish petition. It is the desire of the heart for more grace and truth, and it refrains from every form of self-indulgence which would cater to the lower fleshly instincts. True prayer elevates one's aspirations and gives fresh impulse to spiritual aims. In a word, it brings human consciousness into closer relationship to the divine Mind, thus enabling human beings to become more Godlike. As taught by Mrs. Eddy: "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good. 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. Advancing in this light, we reflect it" (No and Yes, p. 39). Only this kind of prayer can be offered without ceasing.

It is certain that Christ Jesus would never have taught his followers to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10), if such an eventuality were impossible. Who knows but that the present violent upheavals and antagonisms which seem to be rending the world apart are not symptoms of the final struggle between the selfish instincts of mankind and the true light of the Christ-idea which is ushering in a new era? We have prophetic assurance in the book of Revelation that in this final conflict those who have overcome their sinful habits and their false beliefs will win the victory over evil, and that even those misguided individuals who have been deceived by the illusions of the so-called material senses will be awakened to the immortal fact that all men are created free and equal in the sight of God and may claim exemption from the so-called laws of sin, disease, and death.

Through the practice of Christian Science one is constantly demonstrating the healing power of the divine Mind; thus the great Physician is being understood as the ruler, not only of the spiritual realm, but also of the so-called physical world. Let us thank God that we have in Christ Jesus and Christian Science His two faithful witnesses, appearing first as the personal and then as the impersonal Saviour. These two aspects of the one Christ are together leading mankind out of mortality into health, happiness, and permanent peace.

In closing I will leave with you the following inspired lines by the poet Whittier:

 

"The Great Physician liveth yet

Thy friend and guide to be;

The Healer by Gennesaret

Shall walk the rounds with thee."

(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 96)

 

[Published in The West Tulsa (Oklahoma) News, Oct. 18, 1951.]

 

 

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