Christian Science: Its Limitless Promise
James Watt, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Divine goodness and abundance are
unlimited, James Watt, C.S., of
Speaking on the subject, "Christian Science: Its Limitless Promise," Mr. Watt said that the healing power of the Science of the Christ is bringing peace, health, and spiritual enrichment to humanity. He related a healing through wholly spiritual means of paralysis and tumor of the brain.
Mr. Watt spoke in The Mother
Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Were it possible to question each individual present, undoubtedly we would find that most of us are aware – either keenly or vaguely – of the diametrically differing natures of that which is termed spiritual and that which is called material.
Now let us consider this difference specifically. Isn't it apparent that every material object or form has an outline? It may be a coin, a person, or a continent. The very fact that it is material gives it boundaries – or limits. The word limitless cannot be applied correctly to anything material because of the nature of matter.
The nature of Spirit, of the divine Mind or perfect consciousness, which we reverently term God, is eternal. It is without beginning or end. That which is spiritual – all that partakes of the nature of God – is unconfined, in the fullest sense of that word. Therefore it is limitless.
As our introducer has said, the subject of the discourse of this hour is; "Christian Science: Its Limitless Promise." You might be interested to know how this title came to thought. As may be generally known by this audience, a series of television programs explaining the healing efficacy of Christian Science is carried by many broadcasting stations. Early one Sunday morning, the television in our household was tuned to one of these programs. At its conclusion, the program of another denomination appeared, and we watched it. Then we watched a number of other religious programs which followed. This was not done appraisingly or critically, but with appreciative interest in all the good that was presented.
Power of Good Is Limitless
The programs showed the corrective influence of Christian conduct on men, women, and children. Bible history and examples in present everyday living gave proof that kindness, unselfishness, and charity bring their reward of good for all concerned. We watched with thankfulness the acknowledgment of the transforming power of Christianity. And as never before, our hearts overflowed with gratitude for the limitless promise of Christian Science, making available to all mankind, as it does, the actual method of Christ Jesus' great work.
The power of good, when recognized as the power and presence of God, is without restriction. The power of good can heal not only sick morals and sick relationships, but also sick bodies. Unquestionably the limitation of divine power can come only through belief in a mind apart from God.
If a private human mind becomes a somewhat better human mind, the effect of the improvement will be limited. The so-called private mind of a mortal thinks materially and therefore accepts the boundaries of all it thinks about. And so there would be a limit to its healing capacity.
The limitless promise of Christian Science springs from an unqualified and absolute acceptance of the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). There is in reality only the presence of Spirit and the universe of Spirit, of divine Mind and its infinite manifestation. In the measure that our thinking is based on and reflects this eternal truth, in that measure will the limitless nature of good evidence itself in our experience here and now. This means having the Mind in us that was also in Christ Jesus. This is the healing consciousness of the Christ. Its promise is limitless.
Christian Science, the Science of being, is infinite; it embraces all truth. And let me say to those who may be attending one of our lectures for the first time, do not be disappointed if you leave here without a complete understanding of Christian Science. You can learn, if you will, that the thought of a human being – one's own thought – externalizes itself as the health, welfare, and destiny of that individual. In fact one's thought influences others as well. And going further we learn that all thought, both evil and good, externalizes itself according to its nature. This means that pure spiritual knowing manifests itself in limitless life, harmony, and happiness. On the other hand, an erroneous sense of being manifests itself in the many difficulties which beset humanity with endless strife and limitation and despair.
Let's consider this more fully and in a very practical way. Spirit is a Scriptural name for God. Spirit is infinite – limitless with limitless resources; limitless intelligence and wisdom, limitless substance, limitless power, limitless life. Let each of us ask himself, how much of these things can I take for my own use? How much intelligence can I assimilate and make use of? How much understanding can I grasp? How much divine Love can I express? How much divine substance can be evidenced in my experience? The supply is limitless. The only limit lies within us – within our own thinking.
Divine Abundance Available to All
An interesting item in the "Signs of the Times" column of the Christian Science Sentinel (Aug. 29, 1959) brought out this idea and went on to say in effect that when one goes down to the seashore, he finds what is practically an unlimited supply of sea water at his disposal. There are billions and billions of gallons of water there. But the amount of water which one can carry away depends upon the vessel with which one has provided himself. If one takes a ten-gallon can, he can take away ten gallons; if one takes a pint, he can take away a pint of water; if it is a thimble, then one will be able to carry away very little water.
So it is with divine abundance. So it is with the healing efficacy of Christian Science. Isn't it true that every problem which confronts individuals and nations is a claim of limitation: lack of health, lack of supply, lack of freedom, lack of love? Actually the only limit is the limit of one's capacity to receive.
Over ninety years ago, a loving,
selfless, benevolent woman stood far in advance of human mentality. Her consciousness
was sufficiently freed from materialism to reflect the light of revelation. Her
work was one of ceaseless devotion to the healing of mankind and epitomizes a
recall to the original healing work which history declares marked the first three
Christian centuries. This woman, Mary Baker Eddy, has described the existing
scene of mortal enslavement in these words in the Christian Science textbook,
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 226): "I saw
before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the
belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind." And she continued
on the same page: "The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the
sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and
from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who today, as of yore, hold the
children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the
Mrs. Eddy Discovered Divine Law
It has never been claimed that Christian Science was invented by its Discoverer, nor has it ever been presented as something she evolved through belief or opinion. Like all exact science, it rests upon clearly discerned and demonstrated facts. Christian Science comes with an entirely new tongue. Mrs. Eddy came out of the old sense of things and discovered that causation is in God and not in matter. She disclosed that disease originates in erroneous thought and that divine law, ever present and available, may be demonstrated to dispel sickness according to Principle and rule. Hundreds of thousands of adherents constantly bear witness to the practical and healing benefits of Mrs. Eddy's discovery and stand unmovably in the understanding of divine law. As Christian Scientists we recognize that the promised Comforter appeared in fulfillment of prophecy as divine Truth evidenced itself in the consciousness of the only one in the world who was prepared to perceive it. For this we bestow upon Mary Baker Eddy our reasonable gratitude and esteem, mindful of her constant effort to turn her students from all exaltation of her personality to the understanding of her impersonal teaching. The revelation of the demonstrable Science of Life as set forth in her writings has made Mrs. Eddy the Leader of the Christian Science movement for all time.
The experience of a friend who
introduced me at a lecture in
Spiritual Completeness Reflects God
God is infinite intelligence and wisdom, or Mind. This infinite Mind is good and manifests the power of good. It includes all consciousness and therefore Mind is Life, continuous and eternal. An exact and true understanding of God effaces mystery and makes plain the work of God to men. Because God is eternal Life, Truth, Love, He must manifest Himself in that which expresses His nature, and therefore He does not cause the sin, sickness, or death of anyone.
It is not possible for human terminology to depict omniscient Spirit, but mere words must at least make clear that God is the sole presence and is the creator of all that has actual existence. Christian Science teaches that God is incorporeal, inorganic, indivisible. It teaches that His immaculate nature, His omnipotent allness, does not include evil. Christian Science reveals that God's limitless perfection, His spiritual completeness, exists as the law of immortal harmony, and therefore as a law of extinction to all that besets and defiles humanity.
Now most people are convinced that the material basis, or sense, of existence is real. They accept matter as real because they can see and feel it. They are so occupied with the belief that they are mortals, matter-men, miserable sinners, that they fail to utilize their God-given ability to comprehend the ever-present, spiritual animus of divine law. Such people complain of heavy hearts and baffling burdens. Yet in their ignorance of God as infinite Spirit, and of their own spiritual nature as Spirit's likeness, they keep on trying to solve their perplexing problems by material means and human reason rather than by reliance on prayer – that is, on God. Such a materialistic view of life makes one the servant of matter with its myriad problems and, until replaced by the correct view, which is spiritual, robs one of his God-given dominion over all the earth.
I'd like to tell you a little story at this point for it seems to me that it illustrates how unnecessarily limitation governs our experience until we waken and begin to claim our God-given dominion. It's the story of a small boy, a third grader. It's a true story. It actually happened. The boy's teacher was much concerned because he used only blacks and reds in his paintings. After consultation with the principal, the mother was called in and told that the boy needed psychiatric attention and help to explain the red and black paint and all the meanings of red and black. The mother returned home deeply concerned and decided to ask our little friend why he always used red and black. He answered simply: "Mother, I haven't any other paints. I've only got red and black."
Christian Science Reveals Reality
Don't we constantly limit ourselves with the blacks of fear, doubt, discouragement; and with the reds of anger, hatred, envy, condemnation; all of which are forms of ignorant, speculative material thinking – the primary sources of sin, disease, and death? Christian Science supplies the full range of colors for one to use. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way in one of her writings: "It only needs the prism of this Science to divide the rays of Truth, and bring out the entire hues of Deity, which scholastic theology has hidden. The lens of Science magnifies the divine power to human sight; and we then see the supremacy of Spirit and the nothingness of matter" (Miscellaneous Writings 194:13).
Down through the ages, the search
for the truth of being – the true basis of life – has led to what we shall call
spiritual-mindedness. Certain individuals such as Moses, Elisha, and other
prophets and leaders of Biblical and other times perceived something of the
substance of infinite Spirit, and Christ Jesus perceived it in full measure.
Their inspired thinking, or spiritual-mindedness, enabled them to set aside the
limiting boundaries of materialism and to accomplish such great good for their
fellowmen. For instance, it was the recognition of Spirit's allness
and the unreality of matter that enabled Moses to lead the children of
Christian Scientists do not believe that the cause of existence is a non-intelligent material substance and energy. We do not believe that the true universe is material, nor do we believe that it is the result of evolution. We maintain that an effect or phenomenon cannot show forth that which is unlike its cause and that the cause or source of man and the universe is God. Man is not a state of self-existence, nor did he produce himself. Yet every normal individual exhibits intelligence. Matter is non-intelligent and therefore cannot produce intelligence. It cannot create anything. Man – all that is real about every individual – exists as the expression of one supreme and intelligent numen. This infinite numen or Mind hasn't established us as victims of evil, but as having full dominion over it – a dominion demonstrated in human experience by letting this Mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. Only when we realize that the supreme cause of existence manifests itself in divinely conscious and directed thought can we experience its omnipresence in tangible effects. The entire teaching of Christian Science rests consistently on this basis of one infinite, all-knowing entity which we reverently term God.
Intelligence Divests Evil of Power
Now, other systems of religious thought and philosophy believe that Deity includes consciousness of matter and therefore of evil. Their theories meet on the premise of matter's assumed reality. And so we differ also concerning the nature of sin. The opinion of the world is generally that evil is actual and immortal and is known to God. The age-old enigma of evil is solved by Christian Science, which shows it to be merely a negation – a defective sense of life which is being dispelled by the intelligence which divests it of its power. God is either infinite evil or infinite good. That which is eternal Life, that which is All-in-all, cannot possibly be both. The human race is unlike God today, not because of any law, but because of ignorance which renders mankind insensible to Truth.
In the Bible we read the statement
(Rom. ) that "by
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." Christian Science
amplifies this statement by showing that sin, fear, superstition, and all other
kindred evil thoughts procure disease. And Christian Science proves that "to
be spiritually minded is life and peace," as the Scriptures also tell us (
Christian Science teaches that every step of the way from the bondage of mortal beliefs to the freedom of heaven on earth may be and must be accomplished because of what the Christ is and what the Christ will do. In the life and ministry of Jesus, Christian Scientists recognize a complete example of the means by which humanity can and must be freed from the misery of a mortal sense of being. Jesus voiced pure Christianity for mankind throughout all generations, demonstrating the scientific method for destroying the fabulous and unnatural claims of sin and disease. This means that he was endowed with Christian knowledge or the Christ-consciousness without limit, a knowledge which enabled him to manifest the wisest way and therefore the only scientific way in which to heal. He said: "Go, and do thou likewise" (Luke ); "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead" (Matt. 10:8); "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John ). The Father – the limitlessly perfect divine Mind that dwelleth in us, He doeth the works today, here and now! We need literal obedience to these injunctions if we would lay hold upon the possibilities of life and find this Mind, the expression of which is our Saviour, to be in us.
In the great writing from
It was divine Mind evidencing its unerring and infinite intelligence through Jesus' conscious knowing that healed the sick and the sinner, abolished the law of death, demonstrated the power of Truth to overcome every form of error, and brought to pass the ascension. It was the Mind which people have called omniscient for so many ages, God – the intelligence of the universe. What does the word "Christ" mean? It means Immanuel, or "God with us.'' No matter what we have done or what we seem to be experiencing, we can have high hopes because we can think! And through the true utilization of our divinely reflected intelligence we can have that Mind in us which manifests itself in the healing and saving Christ.
Wherever Christian Scientists may be – in active service in The Mother Church, in large branch churches, or in small societies, or far removed through location from any participation in church work – the thinking of each one continues to bless and further or to retard the Cause of Christian Science. As we individually follow our Leader in obedience to the "Daily Prayer" as given in the Manual of The Mother Church (Art. VIII, Sect. 4), " 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin;" and do so through attention to our own thinking, in this degree will come the fulfillment of the second half of the prayer, which reads, "and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!"
The enrichment and government of humanity by the healing Christ-consciousness means less grief and want, less tension and anguish. It means more dominion and progressively greater happiness and peace. Indeed all the limitless promises of Christian Science unfold to guide and transform individual experience. And how? Why, through the education of thought according to its own divine nature. Without thought, nothing would ever have been done, no country discovered, no government organized. All commerce, industry, agriculture, and art – and all poverty, evil, and woe – are in consequence of thought. The power of thought is immeasurable. Thought constitutes all the nobility and capacity – and all the limitation and hate – among men.
Understanding Leads to Dominion
It will be useful to dwell on this for a moment in order to bring to our consideration the fact that thought is the supreme concern of humanity. I am sure there is no one here who does not comprehend the apparent dominion of thought over all that affects the destiny of each one of us. Then the great question should urge itself: What is governing my thinking? Am I being governed by an erroneous and complicated sense of being which externalizes itself in limitation and woe, or am I governed by the divinity and simplicity of spiritual understanding? If I find that ignorance and unawareness of Spirit constitute my standpoint of being then proportionably as this ignorance is supplanted by an abiding consciousness of Truth, shall I experience an entirely different existence.
Dear friends, that which is infinite continues to unfold and to appear progressively. At times the limitless promise of Christian Science may seem beyond the grasp of even its most earnest students. But be of good cheer. To dramatize our shortcomings is but to prolong them. Patience and good humor and "stick-to-itiveness" will pave our way in demonstrating the fulfillment of this promise step by step. A good example of gratitude expressed for progress already made, is found in a short, simple prayer which I'll quote. It was given by a preacher at the close of a Sunday service in his church in a small southern town:
Lord, we ain't what we want to be.
Lord, we ain't what we orter be.
Lord, we ain't what we gonna be.
But Lord, we's thankful we ain't what we was.
We have all known some individual
who is benevolent and kind, and noticed the effect such an attitude of thought
has produced on the face of this person in softened lines and loveliness of
expression. And no doubt we have noticed hard and twisted faces that have been
caused by a distorted sense of life. Now let us ask ourselves if thought can do
this to faces, what does it do to our bodies and to all our affairs and to
world affairs? Jesus told Nicodemus in these words that, in order to be saved,
he must have a radically altered sense of life (John 3:3): "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
Now in considering the power of thought, it may also be useful to consider what constitutes the human brain, which contains, we are told, 80 to 90 per cent water, with the rest of it made up of iron, starch, phosphorous, lime, and ever so many other non-intelligent things. If it is assumed that this mass of non-intelligent matter can think, what reason can there be for the assumption that the water and starch in the brain of a savage should not know as much as the water and starch in the brain of a genius may know? It is true, however, that thought does not originate in the brain because the consciousness of man is not material. The primary impulsion of being is in the realm of divine Mind. The time has come when one can learn that his reason may be reconciled to the perfect intelligence of God. Because of the availability and divine simplicity of scientific Christian knowledge – the healing Christ-consciousness – there is no longer a mysterious and unfathomable abyss between us and God.
God, Truth, Is Boundless Love
When men come to understand that life has an immortal basis they begin to be free of disease, to be happier, and to live longer. When they begin to learn that the cause of their existence is indestructible and perfect Mind, they experience a growing dominion over the theory of an evil power. What does this? It is a touch of the Christ. It is just an enlightening gleam of the Mind that means good and health and abundance for mankind.
Now what has taken place? This Mind is God, divine intelligence, or whatever you choose to term that which is infinite, omniscient, and eternal. To the degree that the allness and omnipotence of spiritual being is acknowledged by us, in that measure does our consciousness show forth its true nature as the image and likeness of God. Omnipotence is the divine presence manifesting itself as Immanuel – Mind with us, as wisdom and power with us. How many healers are there? Only one! God, the Mind that is infinitely good. It is the Christ, our Christ, our understanding of man's at-one-ment with the Mind which is God, that heals.
Thought that is based in the consciousness of divine reality actually is true prayer and claims the ceaseless attention of the genuine Christian Scientist. True thought requires relinquishment of idols – of every false material sense of being or law – to which one might pay the homage of belief and fear. Such thought is not only thought, it is law. Through healing, it is being proved that the efficacy of prayer is determined by the standpoint of one's thought. Effectual prayer acknowledges Mind, acting through divine law, to be the cause of all that really exists, and is assured that divine Mind gives evidence of its power in the annulment of what are called laws of matter.
Now in summing up, let it be said that in Christian Science there is no longer any unknown God. God is omnipresent, not as a corporeal being, but present as Truth, intelligence, as impartial, unfailing, boundless Love. And all of this means that health and life are the normal states of man's existence and are available to one now, not through some mysterious intervention but because the ever-presence of the actual law of being supports one's permanent welfare. Truth declares you are not a victim and that you have a fundamental right to prosperity, satisfaction, health, and continued activity.
Truth declares that the dominating power of the universe is not the shattering physical power of the atom, but that it is that power which lies beyond the physical atom, so to speak, in the unseen universe of Spirit..
Truth declares that the only power there is, is the power that is Spirit – the power that is divine Love. Truth declares that it is this power, and this power alone, that can guard us and guide us as we move forward into this awesome, wonderful new world of atomics and rockets and space.
Then let us, as never before, see to it individually that our thinking is spiritual and scientific, the steadfast, unerring reflection of eternal Truth, so that the omnipotence of God will be evidenced irresistibly as safety, peace, and freedom for all mankind.
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 1961, under the headline "Christian Science Proves Divine Goodness Is Unlimited".]