Christian Science: A Spiritual Discovery
Ralph E. Wagers, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
My introducer has mentioned that the title of this lecture is "Christian Science: A Spiritual Discovery." What do we mean by discovery? We mean becoming aware of something that already is, that actually exists - otherwise it would be an invention, not a discovery. So let me say right at the start that Christian Science was discovered, not invented, by Mary Baker Eddy.
When you discover something - when you dis-cover something - you remove the cover from it, don't you? And then what was there all the time, but was obscured, is revealed, is made known. In the case of Christian Science, two questions present themselves: (1) What was it that was obscured? and (2) What obscured it? Well, I'll try to answer both questions for you. But right now let's take a look at the need for such a discovery and see how Christian Science is meeting that need.
Not long ago I was introduced at a lecture by a woman who told me that only a few years ago she was crippled with arthritis. She had been like that for twelve years. She was a registered medical nurse at the time, and she had exhausted all material means to find relief. Then something happened that she, would never have thought possible - she was completely healed by reading a book. Of course, it was no ordinary book. It was the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. When I saw my introducer she was the picture of health. She said that she had never felt better in all her life. Of course, this is but one case out of many. I will tell you about another one too.
The last chapter of this textbook, entitled "Fruitage," consists of one hundred pages of testimonies of people who also were healed just by reading this book.
You may ask, what could there be in a book - any book - that would heal physical difficulties? I do not know of any better way for you to find out than by reading this particular book for yourself. It is in most public libraries, and you can read it in a Christian Science Reading Room - or you can borrow or buy it.
But Christian Science is not confined to healing the sick. It also reforms the sinner. And it is helpful in solving all kinds of human problems, especially those involving human relationships. You see, Christian Science has to do with the laws of God and their application to human life.
Our Attitude Toward Christianity
Christianity was established nearly two thousand years ago; but each generation is faced with the task of Christianizing even Christians. It should be known that Christian Science and Christianity are one. In fact, it would be hard to find a more consecrated group of Christians than Christian Scientists are. In saying this I am endeavoring only to indicate the attitude of Christian Scientists towards Christianity itself.
Every once in a while somebody asks me how I think the cause of Christianity is progressing in the world. Invariably my answer is, How is it progressing in you? The individual is the unit of measure. The group indicates only what is taking place in the individuals that compose the group. We all know what is needed for the progress of Christianity. We need a better, a deeper, a more demonstrable understanding of what Jesus taught and did, then we shall not only live progressive lives, we shall do the works he did - the works he told us to do. He said that he was the light of the world (John ). We need more of that light. He also said that he was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We certainly need more of that life.
No doubt you have noticed the large number of new church edifices that are springing up everywhere - churches of various Christian denominations. These are healthy signs of the times, especially when we see that they point to the need of another kind of building - the building of Christian character. This is the basic part of true church building.
The tremendous physical forces that are in men's hands today make such building more important than ever. Physical scientists keep reminding us that if we are to make proper use of these forces, we will have to match our progress in the physical realm - or even exceed it - by progress in the moral and spiritual realms. They say that only this will prepare us to make proper use of the freedom we enjoy.
These physicists are warning us that we should never use these hideous weapons of destruction as a substitute for wisdom, patience, faith and understanding, good will. We certainly hope that these weapons may never need to be used for destruction; but we must not ignore that threat. We must destroy it.
Spiritual Forces Await Our Discovery
It is encouraging to realize that
spiritual forces, greater than we are presently aware of, await our discovery.
We have to make these spiritual discoveries, each one for himself. They are within our reach if we seek them
through spiritual understanding. They are not only ours to utilize, they are
essential to our very existence. Elisha's experience in
Elisha's servant looked out at all these men and this equipment - it was a vast array - and he asked Elisha what they should do. Elisha said, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them." Then Elisha prayed: "Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man: and he saw: and, behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around about Elisha." No power on earth can match the understanding of the omnipotence of God or thwart its holy purpose. And that is as true today as it was then.
We have reached a point in our way of living where we need a continuous stream of mechanical devices. They are all right. But what we need even more is a constant unfolding of spiritual ideas in our consciousness - ideas that develop our moral and spiritual strength. And Christian Science is helping to meet this need by showing us the nature of these ideas and by preparing us to be receptive to them, and to use them for our own good. Why shouldn't religionists, and physicists, and educators too, give wholehearted consideration to Mrs. Eddy's discovery, without any bias or prejudice? This discovery of Christian Science tells us who we really are, and what we are, and it is imperative for us to know this. That is why Christian Science is the one important discovery of this age - the discovery that elevates science to its divine status, and proves that divinity is scientific in nature, that it is capable of being understood and demonstrated. We have but scratched the surface of the possibilities of Christian Science.
A true sense of what we really are, and who we are! Isn't this worth seeking and even striving for until we find it? But let me tell you that it will not be found in matter, or in reasoning from what the material senses present. It will be found through spiritual sense, and through spiritual sense alone. You just can't find something where it isn't.
Refusing Evil and Choosing Good
In a recent motion picture, man was referred to as the image and likeness of God, and to this man was given dominion over the earth. Christian Scientists agree, wholeheartedly with this statement. It is to be found in the Bible. In the first chapter of Genesis (see Gen; -28). ,
Then it was stated in the motion picture that to this man was given freedom to choose good or evil - the freedom to choose evil as well as good. Now, while our present concept of man seems to confirm such a belief, this concept of man cannot apply to the man made in God's image and likeness.
If man were free to choose evil, would he have dominion? Would he be the image and likeness of God?
Fortunately for us, many of the ancient prophets had the spiritual discernment that enabled them to understand the true nature of man - to separate the truth about man from the error about him. Ahaz was one of these prophets. He foretold the coming of Jesus and said of him that he would know how to REFUSE the evil and CHOOSE the good (Isa. -16). What a difference! This ability to distinguish between evil and good develops for each of us as we gain the true understanding of man in Science.
When one chooses evil as well as good, he is the double-minded man that James in the Bible spoke of - "unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). On the other hand, when one refuses the evil and chooses the good, his eye is single, as Matthew points out in the New Testament (Matt. , 23). This is oneness, oneness with God. This is the substance of dominion.
What Mrs. Eddy Discovered
Now let's consider what Mrs. Eddy discovered that was obscured, and also what obscured it. What she discovered in 1866 is what Jesus demonstrated nearly two thousand years ago. She refers to it as the Christ Science, the divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love. She writes (Science and Health, p. 107), "God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing."
The Christ Science is not only the spiritual Science of Being, it is the Science of spiritual Being. This Science includes what God knows about Himself and what He knows about man made in His likeness. This is clearly indicated in the first chapter of Genesis, which I have mentioned before.
This science comes to human consciousness as divine revelation, but we must have spiritual sense to be able to discern it. It is God's revelation of Himself, of His nature, of His laws. It is the Science of Christ, ageless, timeless. That is why it is called Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of this Science was not accidental. Not at all. She was searching the Bible thoroughly and systematically for an explanation of her own remarkable healing and that's how the revelation came about.
Casting Off the "vail of ignorance"
I'm going to have more to say about the discovery and about the discoverer. But now let's see what it was that obscured this discovery from religious thought - in other words, let's see what's keeping human thought from recognizing and accepting God's revelation of Himself. It's what Isaiah referred to (Isa. 25:7) as "the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations." It is the covering, the veil, of materialism. It is not necessarily the veil of matter but the veil of BELIEF in matter - of belief in the existence of an opposite of Spirit - a belief that would deny the allness, the infinite, of Spirit or God, for if Spirit had an opposite, it would not be at all.
A well-known Bible concordance (Cruden, p. 718) speaks of this "vail" as "the vail of ignorance, blindness. and hardness of heart, which kept the Jews from understanding the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the spiritual sense and meaning of the law, and from seeing that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness." The veil is that which would induce people like ourselves to take the name of a Christian, but not the nature. It is that which appears as the material concept of creation, which is presented in the second chapter of Genesis.
In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians (II Cor. 3:14), mention is made of this obscuration, "for" he declares, "until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ."
Now, an important phase of Mrs. Eddy's discovery is the distinction Christian Science makes between the terms Jesus and Christ. When we see this distinction, we are exercising spiritual sense, and this is an important step in laying off the veil. Jesus was the Son of man. Christ is the Son of God. Christ was the divinity of the man Jesus, that which made him superior to the flesh. Christ is divine. Jesus was human.
Healing of Cancer
Many years ago a woman whom I know was suffering with an advanced state of cancer of the breast. She said to herself many times, "If Jesus were only here, he would heal me." One day she mentioned this to a friend who was a Christian Scientist. Her friend said, "Jesus may not be here, but the Christ is here, the very same Christ which was the healing agent in Jesus' marvelous works." This appealed to her and gave her a ray of hope.
It so happened that she did not have help from a Christian Science practitioner. She found all she needed in the Christian Science textbook. This book gave my friend an understanding of what Christ really is, and this understanding healed her. She saw that if Christ was the divinity of the man Jesus, the Christ must also constitute her divinity, and this must mean her complete freedom from mortality. She was completely healed in a relatively short time. That was over fifty years ago. Today she is busy healing others through her understanding of the Christ and has been doing so ever since her own healing.
Christian Science Reveals Purpose of the Bible
People are reading the Bible today more than they ever have before, and yet they are saying, "Just what is the purpose of this great book?" That is a startling question, isn't it? A correct answer will lead to a better understanding of what Christian Science is and what its mission must be, for if Christian Science is what it claims to be (and it is) it is through Christian Science that the purpose of the Bible will be fulfilled, and this purpose is to PROVIDE HUMANITY WITH A COMPLETE SALVATION FROM MORTALITY.
Revelation of Truth Followed Mrs. Eddy's Healing
Until she discovered Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy had been ill much of her life. She sought healing in the systems of medicine which were available to her, including homeopathy. She was disappointed, but probably this was what led her to give more and more attention to the Scriptural accounts of healing by spiritual means. When, as the result of what were considered to be the fatal effects of an accident, she was healed by reading her Bible, she sought an explanation of what had taken place.
She naturally confined her search to the Scriptures, through which her healing came, and it was here that she found not only the explanation of how she was healed, but she found also the solution of the problem of spiritual Mind-healing.
She tells us that the Bible was her only textbook, and that the revelation of Truth came to her gradually and apparently through divine power. She declares that she won her way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration.
These three steps in her discovery - revelation, reason, and demonstration - are important. We usually think of reason as a human faculty - and a very important one. It has been referred to as a vehicle, transporting one from a premise to a conclusion. But, in the case of Christian Science, reason cannot possibly establish the premise. The premise must be established by revelation. Based upon such revelation, reason is elevated to a spiritual status. Through divine revelation and reason one arrives at demonstration. We might say, then, that revelation plus reason equals demonstration.
The premise in Christian Science is always perfect God and perfect man. This does not mean a perfect mortal because there is no such thing in reality. It means perfect man, the man we really are. It involves the spiritual fact about ourselves. As the fact of man's spiritual perfection as a child of God is accepted, and we reason from this fact, the result will be correction and improvement right where this reasoning is taking place - in our consciousness, and consequently in our physical being and experience.
A New Concept of God as Divine Love
The question, "Of what value can Christian Science be to me and my family?" is answered in experiences which are related in our Wednesday testimony meetings, in carefully verified testimonies of healing in our periodicals and in our radio and television programs. It is answered also in the lives of your friends, relatives, or neighbors who have found that when they base their thinking upon what is revealed to them of God, their daily activities are established upon a firmer foundation - a rock. And these individuals become more and more assured that Christian Science is what Mrs. Eddy declares it to be (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1), ". . . the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."
Divine Principle as a term for God reveals the immutable and invariable nature of His laws. When we accept this term for God we do not, as some have imagined, turn away from a loving personal God to a cold unyielding Principle. We turn, rather, from a limited, humanized concept of God to a presence whose nature is best understood in the word Love itself. In fact, time after time in her writing Mrs. Eddy uses the term divine Principle in conjuction with Love as a synonym for God.
Spiritual Laws as Angels
We who have not always been Christian Scientists, are finding that this Science is removing from our path a stumbling block - the false sense that God is variable, more approachable at one time than another. We are finding that when we turn to God, not as a person whose ear we would gain, but as divine Principle, Love, whose laws are ever at hand these laws become like angels to us.
Spiritual laws as angels? You may ask. Precisely, because Mrs. Eddy calls angels "God's representatives." These representatives, or laws, are divinely mental or spiritual in nature. This means that they are intelligent. They know their purpose, which is to establish and maintain harmony in the universe. And they are always at work - always with us - always as near as are our thoughts. In fact, when these laws govern our thoughts, they determine our experience. This may be what the Psalmist meant when he said (Ps. 91:11), "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."'
Divine Mind - the Cause of Every Effect
Often we hear the present age referred to as the age of discovery - and so it is. The scientific inquisitiveness of man has removed the covers from more things during the past century than in all the centuries which have proceeded it. True, these discoveries have occurred in what is generally referred to as the realm of physical science. But each progressive footstep taken by physical scientists advances thought beyond the concepts they formerly had of matter.
In Chapter 10 of Science and Health (p. 268), the author refers to the great rapidity with which thought has brought to light many useful wonders. Then she says, "With like activity have thought's swift pinions been rising towards the realm of the real, to the spiritual cause of those lower things which give impulse to inquiry." And to a great extent Christian Science is responsible for this change in human thought. And she continues, "Belief in a material basis, from which may be deduced all rationality, is slowly yielding to the idea of a meta-physical basis, looking away from matter to Mind as the cause of every effect."
The Mind to which she refers is not the so-called human, mind. It is the divine Mind, or God. As the teachings of Christian Science are better understood, human thought will be led irresistibly from a material to a spiritual interpretation of "those lower things which give impulse to inquiry," with much benefit to us all.
An understanding of these laws removes mysticism from religious thought. It effectively disposes of the doctrines of paganism. It reveals primitive Christianity to be scientific in nature - spiritually scientific. Mrs. Eddy's discovery, then, establishes the compatibility of Science and religion.
A Practical Textbook for a Practical Religion
Now, let me say that Christian Science is not just metaphysical, it is divinely metaphysical. And let me emphasize this point: The metaphysics of Christian Science are not to be compared with what people usually call metaphysics. They are no more alike than mental healing - the popular concept of mental healing, at least, where the HUMAN mind is supposed to be the healer - is like Christian Science.
Christian Science is absolute and practical. It is not abstract and vague. It is the Word made flesh - to use Bible language. It is the activity of the Christ in human consciousness - the Christ, which Mrs. Eddy says is "The divine manifestation of God which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (see Science and Health, p. 583). Now you notice she does not say it comes to destroy the flesh. She says to destroy INCARNATE ERROR.
I have referred several times to the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. There is a reason for quoting the full title of this book and the name of the author. It may be said, in explanation, that there is only one authorized textbook presenting the complete revelation of Christian Science. Only Science and Health will plant one's feet firmly upon the divine laws of Truth, Life, and Love as discovered and presented to the world by Mrs. Eddy. We want all to know what book it is that contains the full statement of Christian Science, so that they will not be misled by attempts to adulterate it.
Please remember that Christian Science involves a spiritual interpretation of the Bible and reveals its holy purpose. It has to do with laws which apply to every phase of our lives - spiritual laws. It, of course, confirms the works of Christ Jesus. But it does more than confirm, more than merely prompt us to say, "Yes, I believe that he healed." It reveals the spiritual nature of these works. In so doing, it restores primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing. This is the second time I've mentioned primitive Christianity. Maybe I'd better clarify this use of the word "primitive." Its original meaning is prime, pure, original. Primitive Christianity is Christianity as Jesus presented it, and not what has come to be generally accepted as Christianity.
The lost element of healing? Where was it lost? Where but in the multiplicity of conflicting religious doctrines, all conceiving of God in terms of human personality? Where but in the complexity of differing religious practices, designed to bring Deity into accord with human desires?
How Mrs. Eddy happened to write Science and Health is an interesting story in itself. From. what she has said about it in her writings it is evident that Mrs. Eddy not only felt impelled by God to write such a book, but was encouraged to do so by those who saw at firsthand the practical results of Christian Science in healing the sick. For instance, about three years after her discovery she received a telegram asking her to attend the patient of a distinguished medical doctor in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Mrs. Eddy has written of this experience in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" as follows (p. 105): "The patient was pronounced dying of pneumonia, and was breathing at intervals in agony. Her physician, who stood by her bedside, declared that she could not live. On seeing her immediately restored by me without material aids he asked earnestly if I had a work describing my system of healing. When answered in the negative, he urged me immediately to write a book which should explain to the world my curative system of metaphysics."
Science and Health Reveals the Bible's Hidden Treasures
Science and Health is not the Christian Scientist's Bible. Nor does it take the place of the Bible. We study - and I mean study - the King James Version of the Bible, and the more we study it, the more we are able to discover the rich spiritual treasures it contains.
No library is complete without a copy of the Bible. And nobody can consider himself well educated without some knowledge of the truth it reveals. And where the Bible is cherished, it is not unusual to find a copy of the Christian Science textbook.
In fact, men and women all over the world - their number is growing all the time - are devoting a portion of each cay - often the first thing in the morning - to studying our Bible Lesson-Sermons. They are found in the Christian Science Quarterly. Each week we study different citations from the Bible and Science and Health, on various subjects - like "God the Only Cause and Creator," "God the Preserver of Man," "Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?" The study of these Lessons - Sermons is not just an intellectual exercise, not just a mental discipline. And it isn't a ceremony or ritual. It involves getting a better understanding of God's government of the universe. This takes it out of a mechanical process and puts it on an inspirational basis.
Mind and mind
Mrs. Eddy has written (Miscellany, p. 317): "My diction, as used in explaining Christian Science, has been called original. The liberty that I have taken with capitalization, in order to express the 'new tongue' has well-nigh constituted a new style of language."
When I myself, began the study of the Christian Science textbook over forty years ago, I was disturbed by some things I did not understand. One of these had to do with what I believed to be careless proofreading. On almost every page I found that certain words began with capital letters in some place and with small letters in others - sometimes in the very same sentence - and the difficulty seemed to be mostly with seven words.
Gradually, however, I became aware of the spiritual meaning of these words. Now when I read Science and Health and come across the words Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle, Life, Truth, Love - all beginning with capital letters - I know that they are being elevated to their deific, their absolute, their divine meaning.
Take the word Mind, for instance. One might say, "Well, mind is mind, isn't it?" Let's see how Paul brings out the difference. In his epistle to the Romans he said (8:6,7);
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Here Paul indicates that the divine Mind, or God, is the source of life and peace, while the carnal or mortal mind has to do with death. This being true, if we would live forever we must be spiritually minded. And is this not what Jesus said when he declared (John 17:3), "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"?
Christian Scientists and others have been helped and encouraged by reading a biography which traces Mrs. Eddy's mental footsteps into the discovery of Christian Science. It was written by one who, as a child, knew of her mother's healing of what was claimed to be a fatal condition, and who has devoted her life to serving the Cause Mrs. Eddy founded. The book is entitled, "Mary Baker Eddy: Her Mission and Triumph." It is written by Julia M. Johnston.
She writes: "The thoughts of Mary Baker Eddy are the substance of her life story, they ripened into action, led to discovery, and garnered spiritual treasure for the world."
Later in the book the author says: "In the depths of her consciousness Mrs. Eddy knew that in her discovery of Christian Science was fulfilled the Bible prophecy of a woman who would bring forth a man child to rule all nations with the power of God (Revelation 12:5). . . . With patience and tolerance for all, with tender compassion and healing power, with love unfeigned and impartial, with simplicity and sincerity, with vision and strength of destiny, the woman divinely foretold fulfilled her mission."
Only One Mind
The demand of Christian Science is never to lose sight of the fact that there is only one Mind, the divine Mind. Not the Mind which God has, but the Mind which God is. It seems necessary at times, however, to use the term "mortal mind," or "carnal mind," as Paul puts it. But in doing so we realize that no such mind really exists. We do not believe that God as infinite Mind has a competitor, for if He did, He would not be infinite.
When we refer to a consciousness which appears to be in bondage to mortality, we do not speak of the divine consciousness, but of human consciousness - the consciousness which is the object of Christian salvation, the consciousness which is redeemed by divine Mind. This consciousness may be likened to the field in which tares and wheat grow side by side until the harvest, at which time the tares, mortal beliefs, are destroyed; the wheat, spiritual ideas, is preserved.
Christian Science Treatment
One unacquainted with Christian Science may wonder just what takes place in what is referred to as a Christian Science treatment. Of course, treatment varies in respect to the needs of the case. But, in general, the healing of disease by spiritual means alone requires the unfolding of the truth about man in the consciousness of the practitioner or patient or both. This truth reveals the spiritual fact about man, that he is subject to good only. It establishes the reality of his inseparability from God, the divine source of his being. It uncovers as false the evidence of material sense which accuses man of being susceptible to evil, whether in the form of sickness or sin.
The practice of Christian Science exalts Truth, but does not ignore the claims of evil presenting themselves as discordant mental or physical conditions. Rather does it replace the illusions of evil in human consciousness with the facts of being.
This is brought out clearly in one short statement in Science and Health (476:32-4): "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick."
You will notice that it was in Science that Jesus beheld the perfect man. He stood with the revelation of Science rather than with the testimony of the physical senses.
A Language That Men Can Understand
The practice of Christian Science involves rejecting physical sense testimony. Then would one be justified in audibly voicing to another that he himself is not sick when the material senses say he is? It would depend upon to whom one was speaking. If the denial is made in a sincere effort to heal; if it is made in an honest effort to repudiate error with Truth: if it is made in support of one's divine right to be undeceived by error, such a one would be obeying the rules of Science in denying that he is sick. He would be replacing error with Truth in his own consciousness, and, as Jesus declared, this truth understood would make him free. On the other hand, if the statement that he is not sick is made to one who has no knowledge of Christian Science, it might appear ridiculous to the listener. Wisdom and the circumstances must govern the nature of one's reply.
This point may be illustrated in my own experience. When I became interested in Christian Science I went all the way with it. I was enthusiastic and thought I must be extremely scientific in everything I said and did. Looking back upon my experience I can see how such consciousness might have been rather painful to some of my friends and business associates.
I had not been feeling well for several days, and one morning I just could not go to work. Naturally I felt obliged to call one of my associates and let him know about it. But what should I say? I was sure that he, not being a Christian Scientist, and perhaps somewhat critical, would ask me - and with considerable glee - if I was sick. Just how was I going to answer him?
In being truthful, should I speak to him from the standpoint of absolute Truth and say that I was not sick, or should I speak relatively and say that I was sick? If I should speak to him from an absolute standpoint I felt sure he would say, "Then why don't you come to work?"
I decided that this would not be the way to approach him and that I should break the news in some other way. So I spoke to him as truthfully as I could in language acceptable to him. I told him I was ill. When I turned away from the phone, I continued working from the standpoint of absolute Truth. I realized that God's government of man enfolded me in laws that preserved my well-being. Whatever seemed contrary to this was nothing but a denial of my oneness with God. Ideas such as these were like rays of light illuminating my consciousness and in a short time what was divinely true about me asserted itself and I was able to go to work.
In this experience I became convinced that I could think in the absolute even while speaking in the relative. And it has been a helpful rule to follow ever since.
What Christian Science Requires of One
During this hour we have been considering a spiritual discovery that runs counter to many cherished doctrines and beliefs. It can be challenging to you - even enlightening and satisfying in its challenge. You perhaps know already that Christian Science requires more of you than most religions do - and offers more in the way of present results. An important requirement is that you make some needed discoveries about yourself - spiritual discoveries. This will involve discovering spiritual facts about yourself, facts that are being obscured by the belief of life in matter.
You must be led of God to accept Christian Science, just as Mrs. Eddy was led of God to discover it. If your acceptance of it is not without a struggle, you will find that the struggle is not with Christian Science, but with material sense that attempts to misrepresent and misinterpret its teachings.
You will be helped by starting in right away by acknowledging that God has led you to this lecture. You may even go so far as to acknowledge that whatever is true in the lecture has its origin in God, divine Mind. Its vitality is much like that of a germinating seed.
It will be helpful to acknowledge to yourself that your real consciousness is derived of God; that it is your awareness of God's allness and of your oneness with Him - your inseparability from Him. Acknowledge that it is the only consciousness you really have, and that it has never been darkened by materialism. Acknowledge that it remains in its source, has never been in matter, and is yours by reflection. Realize that it has never fallen, never been deceived, and that it does not include false beliefs that can fulfill their erroneous conditions in you. You see, when you gain a spiritual sense of what you are, you will refuse to identify yourself with evil, and choose to identify yourself with good.
That which seems to be involved in suffering, in struggle, in disappointment, is not the consciousness you have derived of God. It is merely a false sense of things that seems temporarily to have taken the place of your consciousness, involving you in much that is unreal - much that is unworthy of you. That which is enduring in your consciousness is spiritual. Your experience consists of spiritual ideas which constantly unfold the grandeur of your being.
Identify Yourself with God Through Prayer
What Christian Science requires of us, we can do. And the doing of it brings satisfying rewards. One requirement is that we identify ourselves with God, our divine source, through prayer. Not merely by pleading, although this is often the first step. Effective prayer involves recognizing and acknowledging that there is the spiritual fact about everyone and everything, and that this fact is revealed to us of God as we reach out for it - as we are receptive to it. Prayer involves a willingness to utilize what is divinely unfolded to us, and to reject whatever would stand in opposition to it.
The prayer that humbly asks for divine guidance never returns void, and the prayer that gives thanks for guidance already received makes one receptive to a continuance of it.
Fervent effectual prayer is preventive and protective as well as healing. And it is a complete repudiation of the world's belief in fatalism. The only thing that is inevitable if your awakening to the joy of living - the satisfaction of knowing that because God and man are one, indivisible, you are as necessary to God as God is to you.
When you leave this auditorium, the only thing you have to face is God's ever-present love. His arms will be around you. His law will protect and bless you in every right activity.
With this attitude a new sense of life will open up to you. You will see how grand your selfhood may be when it conforms to the laws of Life, Truth, and Love. In this transitional state your endurance and mental powers will be enhanced. Your perception of character will be enlarged. You will exceed your ordinary capacities.
As Mrs. Eddy puts it (Science and Health, p. 128): "A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity."
[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, Dec. 26, 1957.]