Christian Science: The Availability of Unlimited Good
Theodore Wallach, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Unlimited health and peace are
proved to be practical possibilities when scientific prayer is put into action, Theodore Wallach,
Addressing a noontime audience in John Hancock Hall, he described God's power and told about healings through prayer of polio and broken bones.
Mr. Wallach said God gives boundless good health, morals, abundance, happiness, and peace, and "every lack of these things can be rectified . . . by a correct understanding of God as infinite goodness."
A member of the Christian Science
Board of Lectureship, he spoke under the auspices of
The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Unlimited Good Is Available Now
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
The Holy Bible is, without doubt, one of the most widely loved books in all the world. It declares the never-departing presence of divine wisdom and love, and the marvelous availability of unlimited good. If the Bible is correct, then the good for which you have been longing is available to you now. The promise is, "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Ps. 84:11).
If you feel that good has been withheld from you at times, that this often-quoted promise from Psalms has not been fulfilled in your life, do not cast aside these Scriptural assurances as worthless, "too good to be true." Remember, rather, that to every promise in the Bible is attached a condition − a condition which must be fulfilled in order to inherit the promised good: "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Seek to fulfill the condition, and you will find the reward at hand. However stated, this condition always amounts to a requirement for an increase in spirituality, a willingness to do the will of God, in short, a demand to obey the Scriptures.
Throughout this greatest of books, there runs, like a golden thread, the assurance that God is good. In the first chapter of the Bible, in describing the handiwork, the creation, of God, is the constantly recurring phrase: "And God saw that it was good." Here we are told of man made in the image and likeness of God; and in the concluding verse of this chapter we read, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." The image and likeness is good, very good; hence the original, the creator, is very good. All subsequent Bible revelation bears out this same testimony. "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him" (Ps. 34:8) is the familiar theme.
We are told, too, that God is infinite; that is, unlimited in scope and power, in wisdom and presence. "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite" (Ps. 147:5), the Psalmist says.
It is easy to render lip service to Deity and freely admit that God is good and God is infinite. However, few outside of Christian Science carry these statements through to a logical conclusion. It is axiomatic that two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. It should be evident, then, that since God is good and God is infinite, good is really infinite.
Yes, good is infinite: and because infinite, it is forever available.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, we read (p. 275): ". . . No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows."
God Can Heal Every Disorder
And God bestows upon us − our spiritual selfhood, His own beloved image and likeness − goodness without stint or measure, good health, good morals, good sense, abundance, happiness, peace. It is the promise of Christian Science that every apparent lack of these things can be rectified; every instance of sickness, disease, sin, unhappiness can be healed by a correct understanding of God's infinite goodness.
Perhaps one of you may already be saying: "But there is something besides good. I have experienced evil; I have been hurt, and I know others who have been hurt." Now Christian Science does not neglect to deal with evil. We recognize that, while many sincere thinkers have acknowledged and endeavored to understand the allness of God, good, they have floundered on the shoals of this problem of evil, because they have accepted evil on the same basis of reality as good.
Alone among the world's great religious leaders, Mary Baker Eddy saw that the validity of the allness of good, God, Spirit, Mind, implies the utter unreality of evil. She also saw that this indicates the unreality of matter, which she recognized as but a wrong sense of substance and existence. And she carried through to the demonstration, or proof, of these great facts.
"We must learn that evil is the awful deception and unreality of existence," she counsels in Science and Health (p. 207). Then, because this is the textbook of Christian Science Mind-healing, she continues on the same page with this clear, basic rule for demonstration: "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause."
The cause is good, therefore the effect is good, in spite of sense evidence, which is so often acknowledged to be inaccurate. Do you find it so difficult to understand the great distinction which Christian Science makes between those things which temporarily appear real to the limited physical senses and those which are real in the eternal, or absolute, sense? Do you find it so difficult to recognize the distinction between the true, spiritual man, made in the likeness of God, and the mistaken, material sense of man called mortal man? Let me illustrate.
Recently, as I was traveling by train, I chanced to look down at the roadbed paralleling the tracks upon which our train was speeding, and noticed, because I was looking through a defective piece of glass in the train window, that the ties in this next roadbed appeared to curl and wave in a most astonishing manner. Far from being concerned over the bad condition of these ties, I was quite amused because I had, of course, recognized at once just where the trouble lay, that is, in a defective viewpoint.
Not long after this I stepped into a men's wear store to make a purchase. The salesman was brusque and irritable to the point of rudeness. For the moment I was tempted toward resentment, until I recognized that here was that defective sense evidence again − that same limited vision or human ignorance which we Christian Scientists denominate mortal mind, and which temporarily hides the true facts of man's spiritual rightness. It was interesting to note that as soon as I corrected my wrong viewpoint by a right and positive sense of man as God's own likeness, and followed this with a kind and cheering word, quickly the hard look melted, and the salesman began to act in a friendly, helpful manner.
Healing Prayer Destroys Fear
Actually, I have just told you how Christian Science heals. It heals by correcting the way things seem with a clear comprehension of the way they are in Truth. It heals by correcting a deeply mistaken, temporary sense of evil with the scientific realization that good alone is real. In a word Christian healing is the result of correcting superficial sense evidence by spiritual understanding.
This is true prayer, knowing the truth, which the Master said "shall make you free."
This prayer is the practical application of that moral and spiritual culture which eschews unreliable sense testimony and sees through the carnal mind's mesmeric claim of a life and power apart from God. True prayer enables one to behold man as the forever blessed of the Father, the idea of God, not material, but spiritual.
Such healing prayer destroys fear. Fear, you see, results from belief in the power of evil. Divine Love's love is the effect of understanding the power of good. It is true that "perfect love casteth out fear" (I John ), for a comprehension of the power of God, good, always destroys belief in the power of evil.
Not long ago a small lad seemed to be suffering intensely from that much-advertised disease called polio. The distressed mother asked help from a Christian Science practitioner. All during that day, as the disease appeared to rage unabated, this dear mother turned away from the pitiful human picture and held fast to her knowledge of God's encompassing power and unfailing goodness. Late in the afternoon, however, she telephoned the practitioner and said she did not see how she could bear the ordeal much longer, so bad did the condition appear. Then she asked help for herself, to quiet her own fears. She was afraid that her intense anxiety was affecting the child and delaying the healing.
The practitioner, realizing the urgent need to destroy this rapidly mounting fear, said; "All right, Go ahead and be just as afraid as you like! I know that God's love for that child is so much more powerful than your fears that your fears cannot even touch him!" Thus the mother's distress was quieted. In about two hours, she called again, and this time, with tears of gratitude, told of radical improvement. The following morning the child was well − healed by prayer.
"The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth,'' Mrs. Eddy insists, in the Preface of Science and Health (p. x). She thereby reminds us of the practical nature of this religion which teaches the availability of unlimited good. So when you pray for healing − and truly, there is not much difference in the matter of healing a sick body, a sick pocketbook, or an ailing, failing home − you do not beg or beseech divine Love to help you. You apply your spiritual understanding of divine Love: that within this infinite, tender Love there is no room for aught so unlovely as disease; hence you recognize disease as illegitimate, lawless, powerless. You do not beg or beseech divine and perfect Life to help you. You understand that within this infinite, incorruptible Life there can be no room for an opposite − no room for old age, frailty, sickness, or defeat. You realize that strength and vitality, health and well-being, are the normal and inevitable expression of divine Life, God. When thought is troubled or anxious, you do not beg pure intelligence or divine Mind for peace or understanding. Rather do you recognize and claim this infinite Mind as your very own.
Prayer is a matter of claiming that which is rightfully yours in Truth. When you pray for others, you claim for them the good which is rightfully theirs in Truth. You know that the absolute Truth, which is God, is omnipotent good; that the only real Spirit, or Soul anyone can possibly have is that spirit of ineffable goodness which is God. Such healing prayer spiritualizes human thought so that the individual, to an extent, sees as God sees.
This was an outstanding characteristic of Jesus of Nazareth, his ability to see, to a great extent, as God sees. He maintained this pure vision consistently, which explains his unparalleled ability to heal by spiritual means. So clearly did he behold man to be the idea of God, the expression of deific Mind and Love, that he used this spiritual discernment at all times to free mortals from their troubles.
It is plain that Jesus regarded these troubles as errors, or mistakes, no part of a child of God. Said he, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). The only thing truth can ever free one from is error, or a mistake. Jesus evidently regarded all untoward conditions, sin, disease, disaster, poverty − yes, even war − as errors, or ignorance of the truth. You will not deny that war is the product of ignorance, the result of fear, suspicion, intolerance, greed, will you? All the way through, evil bears the same relationship to good as ignorance to intelligence or darkness to light. I am sure that if more people understood their troubles to be the expression of ignorance, they would not so willingly brag about their ignorance!
Good Is Never a Finite Person
Jesus of Nazareth, master thinker of all time, was more completely free from human ignorance than any other individual who ever lived. But this should be stated the other way around: Jesus was the one who possessed and expressed more Christliness, or divine facts of being, than any other individual. He identified himself completely with the Christ, the actual perfect spiritual ideal man as he exists in divine Mind. This endowed him with spiritual power without measure.
In fact, he did so many Godlike things that certain people of his day − and for that matter, ever since − have attempted to deify him. This he stoutly rejected. Witness his statement: "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. ). The Master knew the dangerous tendencies inherent in personalizing good. Good is never a finite person nor humanly personal, he recognized, but is a synonym of God, the divine, unlimited Principle, Love.
Mary Baker Eddy also knew the dangers inherent in personalizing good − saw that few things so becloud one's spiritual vision as fastening upon a human personality as the source of goodness. Many times she found it necessary to deny overzealous adulation on the part of individuals who had greatly benefited from her epoch-making discovery. In an article "Deification of Personality," in "Miscellaneous Writings," she wrote (p. 307): "Christian Scientists should beware of unseen snares, and adhere to the divine Principle and rules for demonstration. They must guard against the deification of finite personality." And on the next page she states, "Whoever looks to me personally for his health or holiness, mistakes." In her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 she said, "I again repeat. Follow your Leader, only so far as she follows Christ" (p. 4).
Here was the essence of her greatness. No one since the days of our Master was a more faithful follower of Christ: no others turned the thoughts of their followers so consistently away from corporeality to the divine Principle of all goodness. Christian Scientists know that she is so great a Leader because she was so great a follower of the Christ. Through her writings she continues to lead forward this mighty movement which is leavening universal thought with the realization that good is the natural Principle of being.
Mrs. Eddy Stressed Reliance on God
This emphasis upon God's omnipotent goodness was no mere theory with Mary Baker Eddy. Throughout the fabric of her long life were woven colorful experiences revealing the beauty and effectiveness of her constant reliance upon God. Authentic biographies of Mrs. Eddy which relate these experiences may be secured from Christian Science Reading Rooms and most public libraries. These biographies tell of her many years of spiritual hunger and searching which culminated in her discovery of Christian Science in the year 1866.
The following three years Mrs. Eddy devoted to consecrated search and study of the Bible, for she could not be content until she had discovered the Principle of spiritual healing, that she might share with all this glorious truth. After several more years of prayerful clarification and proof, teaching and healing many others, she gave to the world the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health. This great work, containing the complete revelation of Christian Science, is leading mankind forward to the perception of spiritual man's inseparability from divine Principle.
How important it is for us to remain awake to the ever-presence of good! Long ago Mrs. Eddy made a remark which still holds true: "Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 7). I wonder what she would say about some of the radio and television programs being broadcast today!
The real question is: Are we awake to this business of rejecting the evil suggestions which are constantly thrust upon us? Too many are carried about by every mortal wind that blows!
The story is told about a group of men in a small town who were sitting around a stove in the rear of a store, heatedly discussing politics − and you know how warm such a discussion can become! Suddenly, the front door of the store was thrown open, a man stuck in his head and shouted, "Hey, Mac, your house is on fire!" Like a shot, one of the men jumped up, tore out of the front door and down the street for about two blocks. Suddenly, he came to an abrupt stop by digging in his heels and exclaimed, "Heck, my name ain't Mac!"
If you like that story, please remember not to let suggestions push you around − catch you off guard! Before you start running, think! If you are alert to detect and reject such suggestions as anger, hatred, pressure, a sense of insecurity, they will not ripen into some dream of unhappiness, unemployment − lack of employment − and the like.
Do you not always find it easier to silence an erroneous thought when it first tries to talk to you than after you have been listening to it for a while? You will recall that in the famous allegory about Adam and Eve in the Bible, the serpent, representing evil, did not bite or hurt or even scare Eve. It merely talked to her. And Eve merely listened! Be careful what you listen to!
Alert Denial Ends Evil Influence
I recall a time when I was teaching a class of young Sunday School boys about the figurative meaning of this story. I explained to them that the serpent typified evil suggestion, and read the following citation from Science and Health appearing in that week's Lesson-Sermon (pp. 564, 565): "In Genesis, this allegorical, talking serpent typifies mortal mind, 'more subtle than any beast of the field.' In the Apocalypse, when nearing its doom, this evil increases and becomes the great dragon, swollen with sin, inflamed with war against spirituality and ripe for destruction." And so I went on to remark that it was the same apparently harmless little serpent in Genesis which grew and grew until it was the great and awful dragon pictured in the last book of the Bible. One bright-eyed little youngster looked up at me and said, "Gee, why didn't they kill it when it was little?"
But just suppose you have not been alert enough to "kill it when it was little." What then? Just suppose you have not been alert enough to ward off some distress − an accident, for instance. Then more than ever, you must deny evil's apparent reality, vehemently and consistently. Always make this denial from a background of understanding of the glorious might and availability of good, the wisdom and willingness of divine Love to care for His own.
Do not be surprised if the evil condition suddenly disappears. Instantaneous healing is often the result of a statement of truth made with understanding. In the Christian Science periodicals − the Christian Science Sentinel, The Christian Science Journal, and the foreign language Heralds − carefully verified testimonies of healing have been appearing regularly for years. Many of these record instant, or immediate, release from disease. However, at times great patience is needed − patient perseverance, never patient resignation! There are times when great courage is needed to be a Christian Scientist, to oppose some sense evidences which seem dangerously real.
Occasionally individuals are positively unwilling to make declarations which are not borne out by the personal senses. "How can I say my knee does not hurt, when it does?" they argue. Christian Science does not deny that suffering and disease seem very real at times, but it is well to remember that the medium which is telling of difficulty has been proved never wholly reliable. The opportunity to prove the truth of your scientific statements is ever at hand, for error disappears under the impact of scientific right thinking, showing good to be ever accessible.
Divine Love Eradicates Suffering
The value of holding to the spiritual fact in the face of great odds is vividly shown in the experience of a young friend of mine whom I have known since his high school days. From an early age he attended Christian Science Sunday School. When he was about nineteen, he stepped into the business world and for the next few years paid scant attention to Christian Science.
One evening, while crossing a business street, he was struck by a streetcar and seriously injured. He was rushed to a hospital in a semiconscious condition, where the doctors discovered that besides other serious injuries, five of the spinal vertebrae were broken or fractured and partial paralysis had set in. His family was notified that he would doubtless have to remain in the hospital for at least three months.
Then a member of his family called a Christian Science practitioner for help. Not three months, but three weeks later this young man walked into the practitioner's office, just about entirely free.
I wish you could have heard him tell of his experience! When this accident seemed to happen, and the pain was almost beyond endurance, he reached out in thought for some sustaining statement of truth, something he had learned in Sunday School. But nothing came to mind. As he continued to reach out to God, semiconscious from suffering, the words finally came: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." That was all. He could recall no more of the glorious twenty-third Psalm. But he repeated these words again and again during the next few days. Hundreds of times, he said to himself, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." And he told what these words began to mean to him: That God was leading and sustaining him; that because he could never want for good, he would come through this experience, healed.
Soon his family taught him the rest of the Psalm and when he was able, gave him many helpful statements from the Christian Science textbook, which he eagerly accepted and applied. I am sure that his healing was greatly accelerated by his determined hold on Truth in the face of unusual odds. One year after the accident he was required to undergo another medical examination. The examining doctor said there was absolutely no evidence that an accident had ever occurred.
As you earnestly endeavor to think Christly thoughts, as you sincerely strive to live in close accord with the concept of limitless good which Jesus demonstrated, you will find that you are being redeemed from evil and materiality. You cannot associate with right thoughts without being uplifted, purified, healed. You will find that you are being healed of mortal mind itself − the carnal mind, fount of all evil suggestions. As this process of purification is carried forward, you will lay hold on salvation; yes, you will find that you are saved, safe in the only Mind there is, the only true consciousness, supreme and infinite good.
Herein lies the answer to the questions many are asking: "What can I do for world peace?" You can pray. You can pray scientifically.
To pray the prayer of peace for the world, your own thoughts must be at peace. None can heal while his thinking is filled with fear or conflict. Peace, like charity, begins at home. It begins at home and goes out into all the world. "Of this we may be sure," our great Leader tells us: "that thoughts winged with peace and love breathe a silent benediction over all the earth, cooperate with the divine power, and brood unconsciously o'er the work of His hand" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152). So you can readily see how your thoughts, allied to the divine Mind, actually can help to heal world conditions.
In conclusion, guard your thoughts from suggestions of evil the world is constantly holding before you − suggestions which would make you forget that good is still omnipotent, omnipresent, available here and now, and wherever you or your dear ones may be. Divine Love is infinite. You need but to learn to let omnipresent Love be good to you!
"And Love is not the author
Of discord, pain and fear;
O Love divine, we thank Thee
That good alone is here."
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 374.)
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 27, 1959.]