Christian Science: The Open Door to Progress
Theodore Wallach, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Delivered in First Church of
Christ, Scientist Auditorium,
The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Carla Crow, who said:
"Good evening Friends: In Revelation we read: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.' In my own experience, as the door of understanding was opened, and the Truth seen, as taught in Christian Science, many seeming obstacles have been overcome both in business and human relationships, and personal progress has been made. But friends, true joy comes when we see the false landmarks beginning to disappear.
This evening we are privileged to hear a lecture on Christian Science entitled: "Christian Science: The Open Door to Progress" by Theodore Wallach of Chicago, Illinois, who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts." Mr. Wallach . . .
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Is it not true that one of the basic longings of the human mind is for progress? I am sure few would deny that we are all interested in bettering ourselves − in improving our business and home conditions, in increasing our incomes, and in broadening our social, cultural, educational, and spiritual horizons.
The discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy has given great impetus to the demonstration of man's marvelous capacities for good, his tremendous possibilities for achievement, and his ability to reflect divine power. "The elimination of limitation" might well be taken as the watchword of Christian Science. Lovingly, irresistibly, Christian Science opens the door for each one of us to come forward into a richer, more satisfying human life-experience, with its attendant steps of progress Spiritward.
One of the most interesting facets of the Christian Science movement is the great number of carefully verified testimonies of healing which appear regularly in the Christian Science periodicals, The Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science in its various editions. These unsolicited accounts tell of the healing of all manner of physical ailments, serious and not so serious, of the healing of moral problems, of hatred and sorrow, of fear and lack. They speak, too, of reformation of character, restoration of purity and happiness, the bringing of success where only the dead ashes of failure had covered the ground of human experience. Each testimonial, in its own way, is a record of progress − of the inevitable progress which has come to the individual as he has turned with forth-rightness to the study of Christian Science and has applied these teachings to daily living.
Just as a sample of what one may expect when reading these reports, I am going to read to you part of an experience given in the Christian Science Sentinel, which is the weekly publication of The Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston, Massachusetts. (From the Christian Science Sentinel, April 17, 1954, p. 693) Here a young man, who states that he had had no particular interest in religion, says: "I was an Air Corps Reservist working as a civilian pilot, under contract to the Air Corps. My wife, who is a Christian Scientist, and I were flying in a private airplane on a business trip when we were caught in a sudden severe snowstorm. The visibility was immediately reduced to zero, and our airplane was not equipped for instrument flying.
"I told my wife that if she knew Christian Science would work, the opportunity was at hand to prove it. She declared the truth aloud, and at length we were enabled to turn around and to fly out of the worst of the snowstorm. However, the storm was closing in around us, and I knew that there were no emergency landing fields near. To reach the airfield where we had last stopped seemed impossible, for over half our fuel was gone.
"My wife continued to work in Christian Science, and we kept on flying for a period of twenty minutes after the fuel would normally have been consumed. We reached the field that we had left, and after we had landed safely the engine quit. The fuel tanks were dry. From that moment on Christian Science has been my religion."
He then goes on to tell of his sincere study of this religion, and how, while serving on active duty as an Air Corps pilot during the Second World War, his life was saved on several occasions by the spiritual understanding he had gained. On the next page he says: "Seeking to learn and do God's will resulted in the overcoming of difficulties previously considered impossible and in securing advancements that had been regarded as most unlikely. . . .
"In the last several years continuing unfoldment has added many blessings in the guidance and operation of a business, the location and maintenance of a home, the overcoming of undesirable traits of character, and joy in the birth and rearing of children free from the fear and worries of medical means and material theories." What a splendid record in the achievement of things most worthy!
Progress Is Natural
The great promise of Christian Science may well be stated in the words of its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, "Science inevitably lifts one's being higher in the scale of harmony and happiness." This quotation is from the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 60), written by Mrs. Eddy.
Surely each of us desires to accomplish ever worthier objectives! Of course, there is a reason for this, and the reason is a simple one. It is because of man's innate urge to live up to the measure of his own true being, his genuine spiritual selfhood. And yet, how easily men have glossed over the impelling description of man given in the very first chapter of the Bible, wherein he is acknowledged to be the actual image and likeness of the perfect Father. Instead, they have fastened onto the questionable account given in the second chapter of Genesis to the effect that man is made from dust, almost immediately gets into serious trouble, and runs into some severe, well-deserved punishment. No doubt men have accepted the far less interesting second account in Genesis because it accords more nearly with so much of their own mortal experience.
How very much more interesting it is to contemplate man as the image and likeness of God! Doubly interesting, I would say, when you come to realize that this is the truth of man, and can be proved in the measure one spiritually understands it. The allegorical "man of dust" spoken of in the second chapter of Genesis is merely descriptive of a mortal sense of man, called "mortal man," whose beclouded thinking is never an accurate reflection of divinity.
Is it not true that each one of us, in our moments of more serious contemplation, instinctively knows that deep down within lies something more wonderful, more thoroughly intelligent and capable of spiritual good, than we have ever yet showed to others, or even to ourselves? Each individual reflects spiritual sense in some measure, with which may be discerned his genuine selfhood, the reflection of the perfect God. As we resolutely turn from the mortal, material sense of man and claim our legitimate identification with the divine likeness, the restrictive ignorance of carnal beliefs begins to fall away, and the true nature of man as spiritual and perfect is more clearly seen.
Naturally, we look to the Scriptures for information about Deity. While early Bible writings often tell us about a far from perfect God − a God of wrath, vengeance, and repentance − there are constant glimpses of an improving, a nobler concept of divinity. These lead us, in later Bible writings, to satisfying statements of God's marvelous, changeless goodness, His ineffable wisdom and loving-kindness. In the last book of the Old Testament − and I am using the King James translation, for this is the version used in Christian Science churches − we read, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. 3:6); and near the end of the New Testament the Apostle James speaks of "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
Progress Based upon Principle
Such expressions of the unchanging nature of God's rightness naturally led as spiritually discerning a woman as Mary Baker Eddy to the contemplation of Deity as Principle − changeless, divine Principle. This word "Principle" has the twofold meaning of First Cause or origin, and also the source of basic, unchanging law.
You will note, in studying the Christian Science textbook, frequent use of this word "Principle" − spelled with a capital letter − as a synonym for God. Herein lies one of the greatest contributions to the religious thought of the ages. Those who properly evaluate Mrs. Eddy's mighty advancement of mankind's concept of Deity are immeasurably grateful for her perception of God as divine Principle.
Other religious teachings assure us, for instance, that God is Love. This they must do, for it says plainly in Scripture that He is Love (I John ). But the whole trend of such teachings about God is often such a personal one that the sense of His love is likewise tainted by this fluctuating human concept.
But when we perceive that God is perfect Principle, or divine Love, the whole tenor of His love takes on a different aspect. We see that His pure love must be unvarying, "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," to borrow a Scriptural phrase (Heb. 13:8). It is a continuing love! It is impossible of fluctuation or stoppage or failure! Therefore, we can rely on His love; we can "bank on it," so to speak. We know that divine Love is eternally here, closer than the air we breathe. How close to you, for instance, is the principle of mathematics? Why, at any moment you may utilize this principle, in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Even as close to you is Love, the divine Principle of your being, for you are the very expression of this loving Principle.
The small son of some dear friends of ours knew how close God was to him. One evening this child had seemed quite ill, and his mother had helped him with the prayer of love as taught in Christian Science − knowing his safety and freedom as the child of God − until a late hour. When she felt confident the youngster was all right she quietly left his room, shut the door, and retired.
Later that night she was awakened by a violent thunderstorm, accompanied by great flashes of lightning. Anxiously she thought of her little son, and for a while struggled between conflicting fears and her declarations that he was all right. Finally the anxious mother-love won out, and she arose, tiptoed quietly down the hall and into his room. As she reached his bedside, a great flash of light illumined the room. There he lay, wide-eyed and smiling. Looking up at her he said: "Don't be afraid, Mommy. God will take care of you, 'cause he's right here!" This little boy is now an officer in the Naval Air Corps, knowing, as he flies his jet planes in confidence and safety, that God is taking care of him, " 'cause He's right here!" Really now, can you conceive of any place where divine Principle, Love, is not "right here"? How helpfully our concept of God is enlarged when we recognize that Principle and Love are actual synonyms for Deity!
Now if we think of God logically, we must surely conceive of Him as supreme intelligence, unlimited, divine wisdom. God is indeed the Mind which is unerring, unfailing Principle − the divine Mind in which mistakes are unknown. And so this word "Mind" is consistently used by Christian Scientists as a term synonymous with God. As we claim man's legitimate identification with divine Mind, we are enabled to prove our exemption from mistakes as surely as the intimate knowledge of his subject helps the expert mathematician to avoid mistakes.
Several years ago a man of my acquaintance was in a desperately unhappy frame of thought. He had been a successful contractor and builder and had amassed a large fortune. Then, through a series of misjudgments and unfortunate circumstances, he not only lost all that he had, but found himself many thousands of dollars in debt. He had been, in his own words, "self-reliant, self-righteous, and self-willed."
Then, in the depths of poverty and humiliation, he learned something of the meaning of humility and teachableness. A friend interested him in Christian Science, which he eagerly accepted and endeavored to apply. At once he began to ascend in the scale of harmony and happiness.
Through small beginnings, things began to look up for him in a business way, and soon he was reestablished in his own business, although on a very modest scale. Then one day came the opportunity to submit bids for the construction of a large office building of the type he had previously been accustomed to build. Bidding was on a competitive basis, so that, obviously, if his bid was too high, he would not secure the contract; if too low, he might suffer loss. You may be sure that he prayed over this situation. All through the process of preparing his bid he held to the thought that there are no mistakes in divine Mind and that he reflected this Mind.
On the day the bids were to be submitted, as he was leaving his office with the sealed bid, one of his assistants told him that a certain item should have been about five hundred dollars more. He returned to his office and was about to add the five hundred dollars to his estimate − a small amount considering the total figure. Then he paused and said to himself: "I have prayed over this entire estimating job. I have declared and understood that there are no mistakes in Mind. This is the figure which has come to me to submit." So, without making the alteration, he submitted his bid.
Do I need to tell you that he was the successful low bidder? But the interesting thing about the whole situation was this: of the five bidders, the three lowest were but a few hundred dollars apart. If my friend had added the five hundred dollars he would not have secured the contract.
The successful completion of this contract opened the door to remarkable progress for this man. It helped to free him from the burden of old debts and paved the way for further successful activity in the construction field.
Mrs. Eddy has confidently stated in Science and Health (pp. 232, 233): "There is neither place nor opportunity in Science for error of any sort. Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power." And in the same paragraph she continues, "This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil." Note the succinct statement, "progress is the law of God." The balance of this sentence in the textbook shows Mrs. Eddy's tenderly keen perception of the compassionate requirements of divine Love, for she goes on to say, "whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil." Thus we read, "progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil."
Foes to Progress
We may not all be privileged to build great structures of concrete and steel like the friend I told you about, but we are privileged to build for ourselves noble mental dwellings. Take heed from Oliver Wendell Holmes' lovely poem, "The Chambered Nautilus":
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free. . . ."
Free from what? Do you recall that at the beginning of the account about my friend the builder, I said he had been, to use his own words, "self-reliant, self-righteous, and self-willed"? There had been a few other "selfs" involved, such as "self-centered" and just plain "selfish." These are some of the things from which we need to be freed, for it is much like trying to run an automobile with the brakes on to expect to make much progress while indulging these retarding characteristics. Often a sense of personal domination and determination acts like a roadblock on the highway of achievement. I am reminded of the words of a small niece of mine long ago. Returning from her Christian Science Sunday School class, she said to me, "Uncle Ted, 'I want' and 'I won't' aren't very nice words, are they?" Truly, "I want" and "I won't" are not very nice words, are they? Stubborn resentment, ill temper, unwarranted criticism, unprincipled emotionalism mislead us and blind us to the nature and desirability of that which brings lasting satisfaction.
These unlovely characteristics form no part of the identity of man as the child of God. Our true identifying characteristics are not physical but mental, the expressions of our spiritual consciousness or Soul-sense. The word "Soul" is so intimately linked in meaning with divine Mind, God, as to be a synonymous term, and it is so used in Christian Science. Knowledge that God is Soul, or the only real consciousness, enables us to see and prove that we possess only the nature and character, the temperament and disposition, which have been divinely bestowed upon man. How much more easily we lay aside defective traits of character when we discover that these are not deeply ingrained flaws in our make-up but are only surface errors which have never truly belonged to us! There is no way whereby a material lie can be fastened onto, or become part of, a spiritual idea. And yet, how often when some problem or error comes our way we immediately say "my problem" or "my error."
In one of those priceless parables whereby he taught deep spiritual lessons, Jesus told of a householder whose enemy came and sowed tares, a noxious weed, in his freshly planted wheat field (Matt. 13:24-30). When the tares began to show among the growing wheat, the dismayed servants asked the owner, "Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?" Without hesitation the householder replied, "An enemy hath done this."
He knew that he had planted good seed. He wasted no time in self-condemnation nor in condemning others. Neither did he blame faulty seed, the ground, or the weather. (How people love to blame the weather for almost everything, especially poor dispositions!) He did not say "my enemy"; he recognized that it was "an enemy" − the only enemy there is, mortal mind. His spiritual alertness enabled him to deal with the situation correctly and decisively. He knew that evil could never be blended permanently with good, hence he simply required that the tares − typifying such evil thoughts as resentment, fear, anxiety, doubt − be separated at the time of harvest from the wheat − the consciousness of good, of Truth − and burned, destroyed.
Truly, evil thoughts are but clouds which float about in the atmosphere of mortal sense. If on some half-bright, half-cloudy day a shadow should float across your lawn, would you immediately say "my shadow," or looking up, say "my cloud"? Likewise, the shadows of sickness and sin, disease and disaster, which float around in the atmosphere of human thought never belong to man. So please do not say "my error" or "my cold, my headache, my heartache." If "the enemy" can make you believe that the error really belongs to you − well, then you have work to do! Mrs. Eddy exposed evil thoughts and their results as suggestions − nothing more than vaporous suggestions from the so-called carnal mind.
Mrs. Eddy a Progressive Woman
As the Founder and Leader of the Christian Science movement, Mrs. Eddy dedicated herself to the mission of freeing mankind from its thralldom to ignorance and evil beliefs, to sin and disease, with all their attendant frustrating experiences. To this end she wrote the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Knowing that it is the understanding of God which opens wide the door to genuine progress, she undertook, first of all, to explain the actual nature of God, using seven specific synonyms to make plain the multifaceted nature of divinity. We have already considered four of these − Principle, Love, Mind, and Soul. Spirit, Life, and Truth comprise the other three. The counterpart of these synonyms may readily be found in Scripture.
The account of Mrs. Eddy's life makes fascinating reading. There are several authorized biographies available, which may be secured at the Reading Room of this church. From the human standpoint, her life presents an amazing chronicle of progress. Like the Master, she triumphed over obstacles, proving that these strengthened rather than weakened her. Mrs. Eddy steadily walked forward along the paths of spiritual discovery, taking historic steps in proving the allness of God and the consequent unreality of evil.
Would you like to know what someone
who knew Mrs. Eddy well − a businessman who was not a Christian Scientist
− thought about her? William Dana Orcutt was one of the world's great
makers of books, for many years head of the famed University Press in
Perhaps the depths of Mrs. Eddy's spiritual nature and her great humanitarianism cannot better be illustrated than by quoting the poem she chose to conclude her own brief autobiography:
"Ask God to give thee skill
In comfort's art:
That thou may'st consecrated be
And set apart
Unto a life of sympathy.
For heavy is the weight of ill
In every heart;
And comforters are needed much
Of Christlike touch."
(Retrospection and Introspection, p. 95)
Jesus of Nazareth was not only the greatest humanitarian, but he manifested the true spirit of divinity without measure. He acknowledged this, too, for he said, "If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you" (Matt. 12:28). It is this pure reflection of divinity, this highest spirituality, this saving consciousness of divine Truth, which is meant by the word "Christ." The Master so consistently identified himself with this Christ-consciousness that he came to be known as Christ Jesus, although there is evident distinction between the man Jesus and the absolute Christ, Truth. From his first humble turning of water into wine, on through those great instances of raising himself and others from the dead, and finally in his own crowning, unparalleled ascension, the Master illustrated the progressively unfolding dominion bestowed by spiritual understanding of man's unity with God. He who is our Exemplar dwelt in no ivory tower. Of him our great Leader writes (Science and Health, p. 25), "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus," and in another place she points out that his prayers amounted to deep and conscientious insistence upon man's likeness to God and his unity with Truth and Love. Jesus' concept of prayer needs wider acceptance today.
Prayer Opens the Door
In a large midwestern city, so the story goes, a woman living alone in her modest bungalow was much troubled by the fact that after a new sewer had been laid down her street, a large pile of earth had been left on her front lawn. She had phoned the proper authorities several times to come and remove it, but to no avail. She had become quite exercised over this situation, until one evening when she was about to retire, after reviewing all the steps she had taken to have this dirt removed, the thought suddenly came to her: "Well, you haven't prayed over it. After all, it does say in the Bible that faith will remove mountains!" So she got down on her knees and prayed "loud and long."
The next morning, upon awakening, she lay there for a few moments contemplating the day's duties, when suddenly she thought of the pile of dirt. Jumping up, she ran over to the window, threw up the shade, and exclaimed, "Just as I expected; it's still there!"
Friends, what was wrong with that picture? The dear woman had prayed, hadn't she? Yes, she had prayed much like the man who tried to run his car with the brakes on, her doubts and fears working against the prayer of her lips.
If prayer is to mean anything other than a mere outlet for the emotions, we must, first of all, pray to a God who actually exists, not to some personal, mistaken concept of a deity who is little more than an accumulation of the human mind's superstitious picturings. How would you pray to the all-knowing, altogether loving, divine Mind? How would you pray to the Love which is divine Principle? Mrs. Eddy asks in Science and Health (p. 3), "Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem?" And a little further on she continues, "Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God's rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation." Thus, in true prayer we avail ourselves of God's rule by affirming and understanding the eternal unity which exists between God and man, divine Principle and idea. With the Christ, Truth, we dispel the mists of material thinking with all its avoidable beliefs in the unavoidableness of sin, disease, and death, accident and failure, and behold the truth of man's divinely ordained exemption from all evil. Intelligent prayer enables us to come forth from the dark shadows and stand in the sunshine, the warmth, of God's great love, and live a life which proves that, as Mrs. Eddy states, "Science inevitably lifts one's being higher in the scale of harmony and happiness."
Life Is Forever Progressive
How wonderfully we are freed from thoughts of fear for our life or the life of a dear one when we recognize that Life is not the product of material, organic construction or physical action, but that it is the unfailing activity of divine Principle. In Deuteronomy (30:20) Moses, referring to God, declared, "He is thy life, and the length of thy days," and he illustrated his knowledge of the living God in a great span of human life. We ourselves are protected not only from fear of evil, but also from the experiencing of evil, as we understand the full import of Life as a synonym for God. For this lifts us out of the danger zone of belief into the realm of an understanding of the living Principle.
Do we not readily see how our thoughts control our daily lives? And these thoughts may range all the way from the most deep-seated human inhibitions and fears to the unchanging calm of reliance upon God. More and more, people are beginning to perceive also the close relationship between the state of their health and their thoughts, a relationship which modern medical practice acknowledges in many instances.
Some individuals may feel that while they can rely upon spiritual means in most instances, they may not have enough faith to trust Christian Science if some sudden, crucial ailment should come into their experience. This very question had to be answered by a young neighbor of mine, a college student home for summer vacation. This young man had attended the Christian Science Sunday School from an early age, but apparently felt that he had no especial need to apply these teachings to himself. He had always enjoyed excellent health, had gotten along well in school, and had a pleasant home, not really appreciating the great part Christian Science had played in this situation.
Then one day, while serving as a lifeguard at the local beach, he was taken with a pain which increased so rapidly that soon he was doubled up with agony and fear. A fellow lifeguard prevailed upon him to go to a nearby physician, who pronounced the trouble acute appendicitis. He said the patient's life was in danger and phoned a nearby hospital to prepare for an emergency operation.
Then my young friend called his mother and told her the situation. But she was ready, prepared by her hours of faithful study and use of Christian Science in daily living. Fearlessly she insisted that her son be brought home, and she phoned a Christian Science practitioner for help. Soon the young man himself telephoned the practitioner. He was weeping bitterly from pain and said he was afraid; he wasn't sure that he wanted Christian Science treatment. He said that he wanted to live, and that the doctor said he needed an operation to save his life; also, that it was up to him and not his mother to decide what kind of treatment he wanted. Of course the practitioner agreed with that latter statement, and then strongly assured him that Christian Science could meet this crisis promptly.
In response to the question as to how long it might be before he could possibly have this operation, the young man assumed that it might be an hour − even more. The practitioner then assured him that if he would actively cooperate in applying the truth of Christian Science to this situation he could be well on the road to recovery − perhaps altogether healed − within that time. So my young friend agreed to try. During the following hour there were many calls back and forth. Each time, some vital statement of truth was given the patient − a sentence from the Scripture or from Science and Health, all showing that the pure Life of man is never touched by the sharp thrust of evil suggestions.
Soon the pain began to abate, and before the hour was over, the pain was well-nigh gone. Before long, the young man was entirely free and returned to his duties on the beach the following day. This healing has been permanent and this young Christian Scientist has continued to roll up a fine record of progress, not only in his college life, but more recently in the United States Army. Mrs. Eddy reminds us, "The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 5).
Here is an interesting sidelight to this healing. Within a few days this lifeguard was instrumental in saving a young Navy flier whose plane had crashed into a stormy sea far out from shore. My friend said that what he had learned about Life as God, plus his own freedom from fear of life in matter, was the main factor contributing to his successful accomplishment of this rescue.
Matter Not What It Seems to Be
Every instance of healing in Christian Science is a proof of God's presence and power, and is also a clear-cut illustration of the fact that matter is not at all what it seems to be. Healing in Christian Science is accomplished by spiritual means alone. Spirit and matter are ever the two opposites. But Spirit is a synonym for God − that is, Spirit is God, and God is infinite. An inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that Spirit is infinite. What room does this leave for its opposite, matter? Well, apparently matter does not require much room, for the latest descriptions of matter by the natural scientists picture the matter atoms as composed of a very, very small amount of positive and negative electricity and a great deal of space, to put it in simplest terms!
Not infrequently today one reads in the daily papers or in some magazine or book statements by well-known physicists which, to say the least, certainly support the conclusion that matter is not at all what it seems to be. In a recent issue of one of the largest-selling news-analyst magazines, a professor in a great American university is quoted as saying: "I have been told that one may illustrate the changing concepts of the nature of matter by imagining that on some given morning I may drive my car out of my garage without opening the doors, without damaging either the car or the garage, because matter is largely space which is always shifting, and all these areas of space may coincide. A scientist is no longer able to say honestly something is impossible. But he may be able to say something is impossible to explain in terms of our present knowledge" (Time Magazine, July 4, 1955).
This concept of the nature of matter may appear to the natural scientist to be progress, yet many years ago Mrs. Eddy made a better statement concerning the nature of matter, one which has been scientifically proved to be correct. In Science and Health (p. 278) she writes: "Spirit, God, is infinite, all. Spirit can have no opposite. That matter is substantial or has life and sensation, is one of the false beliefs of mortals, and exists only in a supposititious mortal consciousness." In other words, matter is seen to be, not a substance in and of itself at all, not composed of real or basic elements, but only a wrong slant on things! It is just a materialistic sense of things as opposed to the right, spiritual view.
The actual spiritual man and spiritual universe, expressing the creative Principle, God, constitutes the underlying truth of existence. This changeless truth unfolds to the receptive thought of the student of Christian Science until he beholds that the total of all reality is divine Truth, synonym for the changeless God. Learning to dwell consistently in this consciousness of divine Truth − no longer fearing and obeying the deceitful senses − he finds that man's marvelous capacities for good, his tremendous possibilities for achievement, and his ability to reflect divine power become realities in daily living. The "elimination of limitation" no longer is put off as some impractical idealism.
And so it is that Christian Science brings us not only a foretaste of salvation, but a very present sense of it. For all that salvation means to us − the consciousness of permanent well-being, of safe enfoldment in the realm of divine Love − can be ours today. Not for some far-off salvation do we wait; the redeeming Christ-consciousness has been revealed. The understanding of God as divine Truth, Life, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and all-encompassing Principle has opened wide the door to progress. The basic longing of the human mind for advancement is satisfied, betterment in all our human affairs becomes evident as we learn to dwell in this spiritual consciousness which is the legitimate goal of all mankind. Truly, "Science inevitably lifts one's being higher in the scale of harmony and happiness."
Below is the testimony quoted by Mr. Wallach in this
lecture. It is from the
My gratitude for Christian Science has been without limit or cessation ever since I began its study and practice more than eleven years ago. At that time I had no religion, nor did I feel a specific need for one. But a particular incident made me aware that Christian Science affords instant and constant access to God's love and protection.
I was an Air Corps Reservist working as a civilian pilot, under contract to the Air Corps. My wife, who is a Christian Scientist, and I were flying in a private airplane on a business trip when we were caught in a sudden severe snowstorm. The visibility was immediately reduced to zero, and our airplane was not equipped for instrument flying.
I told my wife that if she knew Christian Science would work, the opportunity was at hand to prove it. She declared the truth aloud, and at length we were enabled to turn around and to fly out of the worst of the snowstorm. However, the storm was closing in around us, and I knew that there were no emergency landing fields near. To reach the airfield where we had last stopped seemed impossible, for over half our fuel was gone.
My wife continued to work in Christian Science, and we kept on flying for a period of twenty minutes after the fuel would normally have been consumed. We reached the field that we had left, and after we had landed safely the engine quit. The fuel tanks were dry. From that moment on Christian Science has been my religion.
I gave up social drinking and every other activity which was not in accord with attaining spiritual understanding, and I used every moment I could to study the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. To my wife and other loving Christian Scientists who patiently answered my questions for hours on end, I owe much gratitude.
The spiritual understanding I gained proved invaluable to me while I was on active duty in the Air Corps in the Second World War. My life was saved many times. On one occasion the engine and the entire pilot's canopy of my airplane burst into flames at an altitude too low for a parachute jump. Although the airplane was of a size and speed suitable only for landing on improved airstrips, I was able to land it safely on a rugged hillside. At another time, while I was flying over mountains in icing conditions so severe that the deicing equipment was unable to combat them, the airplane rapidly lost speed and altitude. At the same time the oxygen system failed. Holding to the statement (Isa. ), "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils," I was led to a channel of clear visibility between and away from the mountain peaks. Here the air was dry enough for the equipment to get rid of the ice, and I found a new, safe course over the mountains.
Praying as I had learned to do in Christian Science overcame many similar circumstances, sometimes almost daily. Seeking to learn and do God's will resulted in the overcoming of difficulties previously considered impossible and in securing advancements that had been regarded as most unlikely. The healing of injuries was frequently instantaneous.
In the last several years continuing unfoldment has added many blessings in the guidance and operation of a business, the location and maintenance of a home, the overcoming of undesirable traits of character, and joy in the birth and rearing of children free from the fear and worries of medical means and material theories.
Truly "my cup runneth over," and I hope that I can prove by my works the gratitude I feel for the truth which I have received through the faithful study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings. I am grateful for membership in The Mother Church and a branch church, for the invaluable enlightenment and impetus of class instruction, and for the tremendous opportunities to be a laborer in the harvest field, healing sickness and discord. − William Hebenstreet, Jr., Kansas City, Missouri.