Christian Science: Its Revelation of Divine Sonship

 

Ralph E. Wagers, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Ralph E. Wagers, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: Its Revelation of Divine Sonship," last evening under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice.

The lecturer was introduced by Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

"It gives me much pleasure to welcome you to The Mother Church tonight to hear a lecture entitled "Christian Science: Its Revelation of Divine Sonship."

"The awakening to this true sonship is illustrated by Christ Jesus in his well-loved parable of the prodigal son. When the prodigal, thoroughly repentant, retraced his footsteps to his father's house, or overcame the erroneous beliefs that seemed to separate him from his father, it is recorded that when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.' (Luke 15:20.)

"As understood in Christian Science, this parable reveals the unfailing love of the Father-Mother God for His children. It clearly shows that the purpose of divine Love is always to bless, to heal and to save. Furthermore, it indicates how each individual may avail himself of the Father's infinite blessings by awakening to his true sonship with God and claiming the heritage that is eternally his. Christian Science reveals how this may be done.

"Our lecturer this evening is a member of the Board of Lectureship of this church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. I am happy to present Ralph E. Wagers, of Chicago, Illinois."

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

Have you any idea what percentage of the world's population is Christian? We are told that the figure is hardly twenty-five per cent, and that less than half this number support the church, attend church services, or earnestly try to practice the teachings of the Master in terms of daily living. We who are accustomed to think of Christianity as a worldwide force may well pause before such figures. Christian nations have, of course, made great progress socially, politically, and economically. Yet, what has been accomplished thus far is small indeed compared with the potentialities of this way of life. Why have we not better fulfilled the Master's requirements for true Christian living?

Perhaps this illustration will serve as a partial answer to the question. When an object is observed through binoculars, the object appears nearer than it is. But if the binoculars are reversed, that which is right at hand seems suddenly to have been removed far from the observer. So if the teachings and demonstrations of Christ Jesus seem far removed from present experience, it is certain that we are wrongly regarding the Master's precepts and practice. We are looking through the wrong end of our binoculars.

Surely as long as we relegate Christian healing to a distant past and Christian salvation to a doubtful future, we are removing ourselves from the understanding of the Master's spiritual teachings, and then we cannot practically apply them to meet our present needs.

For centuries before the appearance of Jesus, there had been an active expectancy among the more spiritually-minded Hebrew prophets that a new concept of man as the immortal son of God, rather than as a sinning and unhappy mortal, was to be revealed through what they referred to as the Messiah. And in his conversation with the woman at Jacob's well, Jesus declared, "I that speak unto thee am he" (John 4:26).

 

Jesus Cited His Works as Proofs

John the Baptist announced the appearing of Jesus as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), and later he commissioned two of his friends to go to Jesus and ask him if he really was the one "that should come," or, as John put it, "do we look for another?" You will notice that Jesus answered John's questions, not by citing doctrines and theories, but by enumerating the practical works and healings which were being accomplished by the Christ, Truth. Matthew records his words thus: "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matt, 11:3-6).

This power to remove the evidences of sin and suffering was the direct result of Jesus' awareness of his sonship with God, which made him forever conscious of his superiority to all that was corruptive, afflictive, and destructive. Through the Master's teaching that man is the son of God, Christian Scientists today are gaining such a spiritual concept of man that it is already transforming their lives; it is making them healthier and happier; it is making them conscious that such demonstrations as Jesus made are possible to them in this present time; and it is convincing them that divine sonship is something which they may rightly claim for themselves, with all of the practical benefits such an acknowledgment involves. Surely it is not surprising that we who have been dissatisfied with the distant or merely theoretical view of Christianity should be grateful to have found in Christian Science the teachings of Christ Jesus made available and demonstrable in meeting our problems today.

In this connection, let us take note of two unfortunate tendencies of human thought which tend to obscure the healing power of Christianity. One is the tendency to consider Christianity as a mode of salvation designed primarily to prepare for life hereafter. The "then" and the "there" may be intriguing subjects for theological speculation, but they should not deny the practical benefits of Christianity to those who may be in need of healing "now" and "here." To believe that Jesus sought to save men from a dreaded future, while leaving them vulnerable to all sorts of suffering, wretchedness, disappointment, and catastrophe in the present, certainly does not do justice to the Master's mission. Did he not say (John 10:10), "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly"?

 

Man Able to Claim Inheritance

The other unfortunate tendency is to look upon the works of Christ Jesus as what are commonly called miracles rather than as natural and normal demonstrations of divine power. To think of them as miracles, in the generally accepted theological sense of this term, would be to consign the works he did and taught others to do to the realm of mysticism or transcendentalism. This also would be a misinterpretation of his mission.

Perhaps these two tendencies explain why men are tempted to set God aside and try to take the present into their own hands, leaving the future to fit in with some sort of a pattern that will concern them only when they catch up with it. But what if they never catch up with it? Suppose the "now" is found to be continuous? We may speak of a thousand years from now as being "then." But then it would be "now," and each moment of the intervening years would be "now" to the one experiencing it.

As Christianity is seen as Science, as it is recognized that everything a devout person hopes to experience in the future is available to him today, Christianity becomes more than hope; it is found to be the satisfying fulfillment of hope, here and now.

When the Master spoke of himself as the human Jesus, he referred to himself as the Son of man. But when he spoke of himself as Christ, he referred to his sonship with God. This is the spiritual significance of the term Christ Jesus. A correct understanding of his life shows how a son of man − you and I − may become progressively aware of our sonship with God and yield to this sonship in the complete overcoming of sin and mortality.

The story is told of a young child in the Orient whose parents, American missionaries, were victims of a severe epidemic. The baby was taken in and cared for by a native family. Several years later an estate of considerable size was being probated in the United States. One of the child's parents was the beneficiary. The existence of the child was known, and to close the estate it was necessary to determine his status as heir.

Until the child himself learned of his true identity, he had no sense of himself as anything but a member of the family with whom he dwelt. But the agents of a just government persisted until his inheritance was legally established. It became his own not by reason of anything he himself had done, but he had to be made aware of it, and it had to be made available to him through law.

 

True Sonship of Man Can Be Proved

One might speculate upon the child's wonderment when he was first made aware of the fact that he belonged to a country where a sizable inheritance awaited him. But his wonderment and appreciation could not have been greater than that of those earnest followers of the Master who were being awakened to the fact that in reality they were not mortals but sons and daughters of God.

And what about your wonderment, my friends? Does it seem strange to you that you are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," as Paul wrote to the Romans? (Rom. 8:17). When you repeat the Lord's Prayer and refer to God as "Our Father which art in heaven," does it bring to your thought a sense of your heavenly or spiritual existence? Let us be sure that we can never reconcile two contrary interpretations of our existence. The belief that we are now mortal must be repudiated in favor of the fact that now are we the sons of God. Jesus declared plainly, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9).

Now, just what is meant by divine sonship? The popular belief that a mortal, in some way, eventually evolves into an immortal being must be given up in favor of the fact that if you and I are ever to be sons of God, we must in reality be sons of God now. Our very existence is justification for this acknowledgment, since something must be responsible for our existence, something above ourselves, greater than ourselves. Like produces like. It should not be difficult to accept the fact that God's likeness must be Godlike. Whatever is true about God must be true about man. Whatever is not true about God is not true about man. As if to establish for all time the fact of man's divine sonship, John declared, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (I John 3:1).

Man is one with God as effect is one with cause. This sonship unfolds to human consciousness through divine revelation. We need not wait until it is fully manifested before we acknowledge it. Through spiritual unfoldment we can perceive a spiritual fact before it is humanly apparent, and the very acknowledgment of the spiritual fact has a transforming effect upon our thinking and so upon our lives. In the presence of man's spiritual identity understood and demonstrated, human experience is improved until it eventually disappears − not through death, but through overcoming death.

You will find that as you work from the standpoint of divine sonship you will approach problems and difficulties with a new sense of dominion and authority. You will not seek to avoid moral and ethical responsibilities, but to fulfill them. You will learn to enjoy the battle between Truth and error because you know you are on the winning side. You will not seek to avoid contact with the world, but to determine for yourself, in Science, the conditions of this contact.

Jesus spoke with authority. To those who were suffering with various afflictions, his words were with such power that all manner of disease and discord were quickly healed. Have you believed that such healing is not possible today? Well, it is, and many are the witnesses. Here is one example: A man who introduced me at a lecture in a Canadian city told me that he owed his life to the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. Over twenty-five years ago a doctor was called to examine him because he had been coughing considerably and seemed to be getting worse. He was told that his lungs were tubercular and was advised to go to a sanatorium at once.

 

Mrs. Eddy Studied Bible Devoutly

The hoped-for improvement did not come about. His condition grew steadily worse. At a particularly discouraging time a copy of Science and Health was brought into the sanatorium by a new patient and was loaned to him. He began with the Preface and continued through the chapter on Prayer. He told me that he will never forget his feelings as he read that chapter. With a conviction that nothing has since shaken, he read statements which confirmed some of the things that had already begun to unfold in his thought as he had reached out to God in prayer during his illness. Thoughts which had dimly passed through his consciousness he now saw printed in black and white, and he accepted them without hesitation.

He read on and on, pausing occasionally to read a passage aloud to his fellow patients. He finished the book and reread it again and again. Within two weeks despair and gloom had yielded to new hope and spiritual enlightenment. This brought physical rejuvenation, and when his wife made her next visit, he felt able to walk with her for more than a mile, talking earnestly of what he had read and scarcely conscious of any physical effort.

Within three months he was back at work and has never had any recurrence of the difficulty. He is now an earnest worker in the Christian Science movement and realizes that his physical healing was only a step in the unfoldment of a completely new sense of his being, in the recognition of what sonship with God really means.


Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, which presents and explains this divine sonship, was a devout student of the Bible and a sincere follower of Christ, and Christian Scientists strive to follow their Leader's example in both of these respects. In so doing they are assured that the Christ, rather than a human person, is leading every step of their way in spiritual progress. This gives them great appreciation of their Leader and a deep love for her, without in the least tempting them to deify her.

Mrs. Eddy gave unmistakable evidence of her capacity for leadership when she recognized the need for and founded the Christian Science movement. Those who appreciate the significance of this step recognize the necessity, as well as the difficulties, of the organization she established.

The plan for this organization centers in the Manual of The Mother Church. This instrument of government requires and develops on the part of its members a degree of spiritual growth through the unfoldment of spiritual Truth or divine law in human consciousness. Membership in this organization implies a sacred obligation to understand and fulfill the underlying moral and spiritual demands which constitute the substance of this Manual. Under such voluntary discipline, human thought changes for the better, but the rules by which this improvement is brought about are so fundamental as to be changeless.

 

Inspiration Marks Christian Science

Mrs. Eddy knew that by its very nature mortal mind would attempt to stir up conflict from within and without; that it would seek to confuse and deceive, weaken and discourage. She realized that she was being directed to take a step that would test the consecration of her followers to the utmost. But she had great confidence that the problems of organization would be met and disposed of through obedience to the Manual, by the very power of the divine intelligence that brought forth the discovery itself.

As Discoverer of Christian Science and Founder of this movement, Mary Baker Eddy will always be recognized as its beloved Leader. In her book, "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (pp. 119, 120) she writes: "St. John found Christ, Truth, in the Word which is God. We look for the sainted Revelator in his writings, and there we find him. Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me."

The movement of Christian Science consists not so much of edifices as of consecrated lives. Two important aspects of this movement are the Sunday services and the Wednesday testimony meetings. Here not routine, but consecration and inspiration make the healing power of the Christ, Truth, available to receptive thought. In these church services the activity of the spiritual idea in the hearts of the congregation brings healing and regeneration to those in need of help. And is there anyone who does not need help in one form or another today?

During the last war, an American woman whom I know incurred severe back and leg injuries in the course of an air raid on Singapore, escaping on the last boat to leave that port. In the depth of despair, her husband left to an unknown fate, she herself unable to straighten up because of her injuries, with no money and no place to go when she reached Java, she was sitting dejectedly on the boat when a lady came up to her and asked if she might be of help to her. Upon their arrival in Batavia, Java, this woman took her to her hotel room and cared for her. The next day, which was a Sunday, my friend limped to the first Christian Science church service she had ever attended, the guest of the woman who had befriended her.

 

Divine Love Is Always Operative

The first thing she observed, as she stated in my visit with her, was this sentence painted on the wall: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494). It arrested her thought. What divine Love was, she had no idea, but even the word "love" seemed to be from another world in which there must be peace and quiet.

Suddenly the air raid sirens sounded. She was half on her feet, looking for a place to hide, when the voice of the First Reader came quietly and confidently: "There is a shelter back of this church. Should anyone wish to leave, we will pause for a few moments, then continue with the service. If, however, you are sincere students of Christian Science, you will know that God is everywhere and that there is no place where God is not." This woman looked about and saw that no one moved. Instead of terror, she suddenly felt a great sense of peace. It was almost beyond her grasp to see people who really trusted God in such an emergency.

It was generally accepted that the Japanese would soon take Java, but with renewed courage from what she had seen and felt at that service, she wired to her bank in Singapore for money to be cabled to her at Batavia. The money arrived the very day Singapore fell. She later found that it was the last cable sent by the bank. She was already realizing that divine Love is ever operative in her behalf.

After she reached her home in the United States, a medical diagnosis doomed her to an inactive life in a steel brace. A friend urged her to see a Christian Science practitioner, which she did at a time when it seemed she would mentally snap from worrying about her husband and from her own physical suffering.

Gradually truth dawned upon her consciousness, and slowly but surely she came out of the mist where suffering had seemed so real. In time the steel brace was laid aside.

She then sought help in Christian Science for her husband, who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese. Many times when fear suggested itself during her husband's three-year internment, she was able mentally to stand firm and hold to God's omnipresence. She and the practitioner worked earnestly to maintain their vision of man's at-one-ment with God. Her husband came through his experience in fairly good shape. He later said that he had been down to the "valley of the shadow of death" and knew that some power beyond the human had protected him in that camp. The woman is today active and strong, an enthusiastic student of Christian Science, a member of a branch church and of The Mother Church.

That Christian Science heals the sick is a proven fact. But how does it heal?

The oft-repeated statement by those who are unfamiliar with Christian Science that it is merely a personal or human mind over matter leaves the grand point of spiritual healing untouched. Healing in Christian Science is mental, but it is more than merely trying to convince yourself that you are not ill when there is evidence that you are. Nor is it what might be termed mere faith-healing. The right approach is this: that as human thought grasps something of spiritual Truth and gains thereby some sense of the divineness of all true being, the spiritual idea has a transforming and redeeming effect upon human experience.

In Science and Health we read (Pref., p. xi): "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,' − a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,

 

"To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],

And recovering of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty them that are bruised."

 

The Psalmist declared, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions" (Ps. 107:20). Christian Science practitioners have had ample proof that healing results from divine unfoldment rather than from mere human effort. Mrs. Eddy gives a helpful explanation of this healing action of the divine Word in her illuminating definition of Christ as "the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (Science and Health, p. 332).

The word "divine" means "of or pertaining to God," the word "human" means "of or pertaining to mankind," while the word "mortal" means "of or pertaining to death," or "subject to death." Now is not the first mission of Christianity to save humanity from sin, sickness, and mortality − to save the human, or mankind, from the mortal − from that which pertains to death and is subject thereto? Paul said (I Cor. 15:26), "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." So death is to be overcome, not submitted to; and the present fruitage of this overcoming is healing. To think of the human and the mortal as one and the same thing subjects human experience to all the varying degrees of restriction, impairment, failure, and destruction, which mortal or deathlike concepts include.

Suppose we consider the human in relation to the divine. On page 100 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy states, "The spiritual monitor understood is coincidence of the divine with the human, the acme of Christian Science." The coincidence of the divine with the human does not mean that these terms are identical any more than are the terms human and mortal. It does mean, however, that through Christ − "the spiritual monitor understood" − the divine reaches the human at every point of receptivity, elevating and improving it until every human concept finally yields to the spiritual idea to which it points.

 

Divine Mind Expresses Right Ideas

Thus the word "mortal" has to do with all evil, without a vestige of good. The word "divine" has to do with all good, without a vestige of evil. The word "human" has to do with the seeming mingling of good and evil, typified by Jesus in his parable of the field in which tares and wheat grow side by side but never really mingle (see Matt. 13:24-30). In this parable the good man slept; the enemy planted tares. These two are related. The enemy who plants the tares puts the good man to sleep. Mortal mind is the enemy, evil in tendency, mesmeric in nature. It is only under the mesmeric influence of mortal mind that evil seems real and powerful. When evil appears natural, when it seems more pleasant to do wrong than to do right, when sickness seems more real than health, the enemy is sowing tares.

A helpful illustration compares the divine, or absolutely true, with gold or its equivalent in the treasury; the human, or relatively true, with a ten-dollar bill: and the mortal, or utterly false, with a counterfeit ten-dollar bill. The genuine ten-dollar bill has no intrinsic value. Its value is not in the paper on which it is printed, but in the ten dollars in gold or its equivalent with which the bill coincides. The bill has a redemptive value, and, when redeemed, is put out of circulation. The counterfeit bill, on the contrary, coincides with nothing in the treasury. It has no redemptive value. Though resembling the genuine which it counterfeits, it is a deception, and is put out of circulation when detected. The good bill is redeemed, the counterfeit is destroyed.

Those whose business it is to preserve the integrity of our monetary system are so familiar with the various issues of currency and their identifying characteristics that they become expert in their ability to detect a counterfeit bill. Likewise, a Christian Scientist, becoming increasingly aware of the nature of spiritual ideas, is able to detect the spurious nature of mortal beliefs when they fraudulently present themselves as phases of human experience. Thus a Christian Scientist finds it essential to distinguish between a spiritual idea, a human concept, and a mortal belief.

Unaware of anything unlike itself, because nothing unlike itself exists, the divine Mind is aware only of the spiritual identity of all that exists. The divine Mind expresses itself in spiritual ideas, and these ideas exist forever in the Mind expressing them. Nothing exists, then, apart from the divine Mind and its ideas. From this absolute standpoint, the standpoint from which healing occurs in Christian Science, there is no such thing as a human concept or a mortal belief.

It would appear, however, that the consciousness of mankind − human consciousness − must by degrees be made aware of this absolute fact. That through which this awareness appears is the Christ. And, again, human experience is improved as human consciousness yields to divine reality.

One evening a desperately ill and discouraged woman, suffering with a serious heart condition, attended her first Wednesday testimony meeting. Her husband was an alcoholic, and the responsibility for maintaining the home seemed too much for her. She had been told by physicians that she could not live. She had three children and wanted to live for them, but was sinking fast because of her fear.

 

Inspired Word of the Bible Guides

After a difficult night she had a talk with her eldest daughter, explaining the situation, and they began to make plans for the inevitable adjustment which this mother's passing would seem to necessitate.

The daughter went to work the next morning very much upset. A girl with whom she worked asked her what she was crying about. She sobbed (and I am quoting her): "My mamma is going to die, and I just can't think of it. She is all I have, and I can't let her go." Her friend said confidently, "If your mamma will go where my mamma goes she will not die." She asked where that was and was told "to the Christian Science church." She made an appointment for herself and her mother to meet her friend and her mother the following Wednesday evening and went home radiantly happy, saying, "Mamma, you are not going to die." When told about the conversation and the arrangements, the mother said, "Oh, no! I'll never be caught there." The daughter said, "But, Mamma, it you can get well − " Her mother said: "No, dear, that can never be. All the doctors could not help me, and what can the others do?" But she finally consented to go once for her daughter's sake, determining never to go again.

Upon entering the auditorium, the saw on the wall this quotation from the Bible: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). She said to herself, "Just listen to that − as though anyone like me could have the Mind of Christ!"

She looked again and found that it said "you" and realized that it referred to her. Then a sense of self-condemnation argued, "No, you could never have the Mind of Christ!" She said to herself, "But if I could have only a little of it, I would give up everything for it." She had always had a great desire to give of herself and what she had, but felt she never had had much to give. She thought to herself, "If I had just a little of that Mind, see the good I could share."

Suddenly, she felt as though a great load had lifted, and a sense of peace came. She became aware of what she described as "a beautiful light" that seemed to flood the whole church. She wondered what it could be and later realized that it was not something taking place outside of her; it was the awakening of her consciousness to the fact of her sonship with God. She went home buoyant with new hope, and for several weeks she did not even remember that she had been ill.

The woman had been completely healed that night at the Wednesday testimony meeting of what had been pronounced incurable heart trouble, and several other ailments. That was over thirty years ago. For at least twenty of those thirty years she has been engaged in the public practice of Christian Science. Her husband has been healed of drinking and gambling, and, as she stated, "We have found much of that 'peace . . . which passeth all understanding.' "

In this lecture I have referred to three healings. The first one had to do with merely reading the Christian Science textbook. The next one had to do primarily with attending a Christian Science church service. The last one had to do with attending a Christian Science Wednesday testimonial meeting.

Now, just what is the significance of this? I mentioned a few moments ago a statement by the Psalmist in which he declared: "He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." The first tenet of the Christian Science Church reads: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497:3). The inspired Word of the Bible!

And what is the inspired Word of the Bible? Is it not Truth's revelation of itself; God's revelation of Himself to mankind? As human consciousness, through spiritual sense, perceives this revelation − and yields to it − there is made available to present experience the divine energies of Spirit which are creative as well as redemptive and restorative.

Prayer is a subject frequently discussed in private conversations and in the press. By reading and rereading the first chapter in the Christian Science textbook many inquirers are being introduced to a higher concept of prayer than they formerly entertained. This chapter consists of only seventeen pages, but in all religious and scientific literature no more helpful pages may be found. It closes with a spiritual interpretation of the Lord's Prayer which encourages a deep study of this prayer and makes the thoughtful repetition of it a genuinely helpful experience.

Christian Science treatment, or prayer, is described figuratively in the Bible as the "laying on of hands," hands being descriptive of work, of service, of skillful and creative accomplishment. A Christian Science practitioner uses his highest understanding of divine reality in the denial and overcoming of all that is unlike God. The inspired skill with which he applies his understanding and the love which accompanies his service determine the immediacy and completeness of the healing.

 

Scientific Prayer Not Stereotyped

No greater opportunity can come to one than to be asked to pray for or treat another in Christian Science. Here is exercised the ability to see through, or unsee, what appears to be a sick or sinful mortal, and in its place to behold the perfect son of a perfect Father. This encourages and requires a silencing of criticism, personal condemnation, and false judging. It requires one to disagree with every evidence of material sense that would claim to involve man in any situation foreign, and so impossible, to a son of God.

The Master's approach to this subject reveals a concept of prayer that is not stereotyped, not ceremonial, not doubtful, but vibrant and assured. Take, as an example, his raising of Lazarus from the tomb. What height of inspiration, what depth of understanding, what breadth of expectancy is shown in his utterance, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John 11:41)! From the standpoint of divine sonship he spoke with such authority that when he then commanded his friend to come forth, Lazarus responded, "bound hand and foot with graveclothes" (John 11:44).

Who would not rejoice to be able to speak with such power? The Master's instructions to his followers − to you and to me − indicate that as we understand and fulfill the conditions of sonship, we too, will speak with authority. But that Mind must be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. In Science and Health we read (p. 243), "That those wonders are not more commonly repeated to-day, arises not so much from lack of desire as from lack of spiritual growth."

The present generation enjoys a great deal of freedom. But freedom enjoyed must be based on freedom understood. One dictionary defines the word "free" as not subject to the control of external force or authority. But this does not mean abandonment of control or authority. It does not mean license to release human will or to indulge what should rightly be restrained. This definition points to the need for yielding to the control of the force or authority of divine law unfolding from within. Only as one is governed by divine Principle is he really free.

The Master said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32). Can you conceive of a more interesting, a more joyous and satisfying adventure, than to engage in an earnest attempt to know the truth about yourself? Take, for instance, the truth about your health. Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind. It is spiritual. There can be, then, no interruption of it, no end to it. It is sustained by divine law. It is never subject to external circumstances or conditions. Its continuity is evidence of the unceasing action of divine Principle. It cannot be lost, because it is ever present; it cannot fail, because it is inseparable from omnipotent Mind.

What is the truth about what you call your disease or physical incapacity? The truth about it is that it is unreal, deceptive, illusive. It has no presence, no power, no necessity. It has no God, no man, no source, no agent, no victim. It is neither you nor yours. It is merely a denial of your perfection, a negation or contradiction of what is true about you. It is not necessary for you to have it, to claim it, or to experience it. God's perfect government of man makes it necessary for you to be well continuously, uninterruptedly.

As one seeks an understanding of what is really true he becomes receptive to the revelations of Truth itself. With this as our objective, we experience the supremacy of Truth, of God, of Life, and of Love over error in every phase of our present experience.

 

'Still Small Voice' Available for All

The prophet Elijah was directed of God to go to a certain mountain. There, it is recorded, "a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (I Kings 19:11,12).

This "still small voice" comes to each one of us when thought is humble enough to hear it. In that quiet, confident, exalted communing with your heavenly Father, you will become aware that you are the child of God.

O child of God, reflecting the harmony of being, your nature, derived from God, is undefiled, and in it no capacity or freedom to sin has ever been engendered. In you is established the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love, which holds you forever free from errors of omission or commission.

You are here and now acknowledging and demonstrating God's supremacy and omnipotence, fulfilling the divine benediction, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Your affections are enriched today by the Word of God, revealing your true spiritual nature and manifesting in you that perfect Love which knows no fear. You are free from the false claims of animal magnetism, or belief in life and intelligence in matter, therefore you cannot be tempted to hold yourself or others under bondage to any phase of material sense.

As a child of God you are immune to sin, sickness, and death. Therefore no matter in what form the "prince of this world" comes or has come, it hath nothing in you and must return to its native nothingness; for man is the reflection of the infinite good. He possesses "unlimited divine beauty and goodness, without a single bodily pleasure or pain'' (Science and Health, p. 76). He has dominion over all the earth, forever glorifying the infinite Father-Mother God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

This, my friends, is the man you really are!

Claim your divine sonship. Understand it. Be what you really are.

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 25, 1949.]

 

 

HOME PAGE                INDEX OF LECTURES