Christian Science: The Healing Science of the Christ

 

James Watt, C.S. of Washington, D.C.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Christian Science Brings Hope

Coming before you today with a message of the utmost hope, it is my purpose to declare to you that Christian Science includes nothing but supreme good for all mankind. No doubt there are present this evening those who seem to be the victims of difficult circumstances or physical disorders. And perhaps there are those whose problems day by day seem as baffling and afflictive to them as sickness. We wish to tell you that because the one infinite God is the sole source and basis of all that really exists, these evil conditions are the result, of abnormal causes which can be proved powerless and unreal.

Our Board of Lectureship was instituted nearly sixty years ago by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, largely for the purpose of refuting misconceptions that have been held concerning Christian Science. In continuing to fulfill this purpose and in bringing the healing message of Christian Science, these lectures stand forth around the globe to tell everyone who will listen what we believe and what we are doing.

Our lecturers have told their audiences, as I now tell you, that Christian Scientists believe in the only living and true God − one eternal, infinite, self-existent Spirit − and that we repudiate every assumption that God has created sin, sickness, or death. They have told that Christian Science rests upon the Bible; that we accept the Messiahship of Christ Jesus, and that we are striving to follow literally in the way which he established by precept and proof. It has been explained that Christian Scientists believe that Jesus' work, done for the deliverance of mankind through divine power or the will of God, was not mysterious and miraculous, but natural, practical, and scientific. We believe that there is but one Christ and that there will be no other.

The lecturers have explained that genuine Christian Scientists pray without ceasing in obedience to Jesus' teaching and practice. And it can fairly be stated that we pray with intelligence and effectiveness.

Testimonies of healing are given by members of the congregation at the midweek meetings held by Churches of Christ, Scientist, each Wednesday. The people who give these testimonies are bearing witness that a releasing and transforming power is available for the deliverance of mankind.

Our purpose in assembling this audience is to devote an hour to making some explanation to you concerning the way in which we are blessed through Christian Science and the way you can at once begin to benefit yourselves. If you will appropriate what is said, it will be of incalculable value to you. As Christian Scientists we are learning that God is the law of life and health to man.

We are finding that in the Mind which was in Christ Jesus is happiness, abundance, and dominion over evil. And we are perceiving that this Mind, the manifestation of which is the Saviour, is within. Many noble people have exhibited endless devotion in attempting to alleviate the struggle with the enigma of human existence. They have been adherents of religion and non-religion, and of countless phases of philosophy. As Christian Scientists, we are grateful for every good thing they have ever thought or done. And we respect their right to exercise independent mental attitudes. We respect their freedom to worship God as seems best to them. On the other hand, we know that we should be lovingly accorded the same right as we stand on the platform and demonstration of Christian Science, conscious that its substance and animus are Godlike and spiritual, and confident that it will release the human race from all evil.

We are finding that the practical influence of Christian Science includes, but extends beyond, the reformation of the sinful and the healing of the sick, into the everyday effort and achievement of us all, whether one be merchant or housewife, teacher or farmer, laborer or diplomat, politician or a member of one of the professions. The same defective philosophy of the reality of both evil and good and the same erroneous sense of life which have imposed sin and sickness upon men have brought discord into their business and other affairs. And the same Science of healing, Christian Science, which renews and restores a man's body can also govern his pursuits.

 

Mrs. Eddy Gives Christian Science to Mankind

Christian Science, or the Science of being, is infinite; it embraces all truth. Now do not be disappointed if you leave here without a complete understanding of Christian Science. People have been heard to complain because a lecture did not tell them all about metaphysics and the work of healing. Yet if they had really perceived the essential import of what was said, they would have gone on their way rejoicing. 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 good and evil thought externalizes itself according to its nature. In other words, pure spiritual knowing manifests itself in 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 despair.

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. Mary Baker Eddy has thus described the existing scene of mortal enslavement 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 to-day, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged."

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, which is ever present, 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.

 

Spiritual Thought Brings Healing

The experience of a friend gives eloquent proof of the efficacy of this healing Science of the Christ, Christian Science. Let me tell you of it as she told it to me. Some years ago Christian Science was presented to her parents at a time of extreme need. It seems that for nearly a year their daughter, my friend, had been bedridden in a large hospital, suffering from a tumor on the brain. She had had two surgical operations, both unsuccessful, both leaving her in a worsened condition. She was in great pain which the strongest drugs could not alleviate, was partially paralyzed and could not talk intelligibly, and was becoming blind. She told me that hardly any of her bodily organs were functioning properly. The specialists advised the parents to put her in a home for incurables. They said she would never walk again and would live only a few more months. Instead of following the doctor's advice, the parents took their daughter home and accepted help in Christian Science. After three weeks of Christian Science treatment, the doctor called and was so amazed at the young woman's progress that he said he would not come again unless called. That was his last visit to this home.

Drugs were discarded, the pain ceased entirely, gradually our friend could see, and read, and walk, and talk. She then sought employment as a teacher and needed a doctor's certificate for this purpose. The doctor said she could not possibly take up teaching. He said her memory had been impaired. Through continued work in Christian Science this pronouncement was proved utterly untrue, and our friend was given a senior post teaching Latin and mathematics. She taught for more than ten years only stopping to be happily married. Restored, her life transformed from one of hopeless suffering to one of happy usefulness, this woman is truly a living witness to the healing power of the Science of Christ, Christian Science.

 

Spirit, Not Matter, Is Real

God is infinite intelligence and wisdom. This infinite Mind is good and manifests the power of good. It includes all consciousness. 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 He therefore 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. So occupied are they 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.

Those who object to the teaching of Christian Science that life is spiritual and that the universe consists solely of spiritual ideas, often hold to the theory that atomic dust is substance and that the universe, including man, originates in atomic dust. Such conclusions inevitably result in the belief that man is extinguished in oblivion at death, for they imply that his ultimate is in dust. Such a theory scoffs at prayer, abolishes salvation and immortality, and consigns us all to extinction. Its assumed basic substance, atomic dust, is illusive and always will be.

The following quotation from the book entitled "The Universe and Dr. Einstein" by Lincoln Barnett illustrates how radically physical scientists are changing their concepts of matter. Mr. Barnett states, "Gradually philosophers and scientists arrived at the startling conclusion that since every object is simply the sum of its qualities . . . the whole objective universe of matter and energy, atoms and stars, does not exist except as a construction of the consciousness." The quotation concludes, "Einstein carried this train of logic to its ultimate limits by showing that even space and time are forms of intuition which can no more be divorced from consciousness, than can our concept of color, shape, or size."

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 fellow men. For instance, it was the recognition of Spirit's allness and the unreality of matter that enabled Moses to lead the children of Israel through the Red Sea. It was pure spiritual-mindedness that let Jesus cleanse the lepers and overcome death for others and for himself. And unquestionably spiritual concepts, in other words, the manifestation of Spirit or Truth, will continue to dawn on individual consciousness. The eternal good which is divine Life, Truth, Love, or God must inevitably dispel mental darkness with the light of its irresistible reality. Personal sense, in other words, material thinking, cannot possibly perceive Spirit, God. But spiritual sense, which is the innate and divine heritage of everyone, will continue to appear more and more fully as human thought becomes progressively open to its presence.

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. 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 noumenon. This infinite noumenon or Mind establishes us, not 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.

Now, other systems of religious thought and philosophy agree that Deity includes consciousness of matter and therefore of evil. Their theories meet on this 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 good or infinite evil. That which is eternal Life cannot possibly be both. The human race is unlike God today, not because of any law, but because of ignorance which renders it insensible to Truth.

In the Bible we read the statement (Rom. 5:12) 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 (Rom. 8:6). Mortals emerge from the so-called area of sin, disease, and woe in the measure that they comprehend the scientific fact that all that means God − all that means power and reality − is contrary to every form of evil imposed upon them by an utterly perverted sense of existence.

 

Christian Scientists Follow Jesus' Teaching

I am reminded of a carved panel which I saw, as have many travelers, at the Buddhist temple at Nikko, Japan, while serving in the Orient as an Army Chaplain. This original carving portrays the legend of the three monkeys, which may be familiar to many of you. One monkey has his hands over his eyes, the second has his hands over his ears, and the third has his hands over his mouth. This all is to indicate that one must see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The implication is, however, that evil is real and powerful and that it is to be shut out and ignored. In reading the first series of the books "We Knew Mary Baker Eddy," I was greatly interested to find that someone had sent our Leader a small reproduction of the three monkeys with these words printed on them: "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." "That," and I quote (p. 22), said Mrs. Eddy in substance, "is not Christian Science, it is heathen philosophy. Christian Scientists do not close their eyes to evil, but open them. They open their eyes, spiritual discernment, and awaken to the true nature of evil or sin, to its false claims, methods, subtlety, etc., and then realize its nothingness, its utter powerlessness to control or to harm." Let me read Mrs. Eddy's words from her book "Unity of Good" (p. 4): "But how could we lose all consciousness of error, if God be conscious of it? God has not forbidden man to know Him; on the contrary, the Father bids man have the same Mind 'which was also in Christ Jesus,' − which was certainly the divine Mind; but God does forbid man's acquaintance with evil. Why? Because evil is no part of the divine knowledge."

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 Christ, 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 10:37); "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead" (Matt. 10:8); "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). We need literal obedience to these injunctions it 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 Philippi, Paul taught his followers that liberty is a matter of consciousness which he termed "the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor. 3:17). And he admonished the Philippians, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Paul knew that the Mind which was in Christ Jesus was the Mind that is God; that the eternal Christ is the manifestation of this Mind and therefore was before Abraham. For Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13).

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. Therefore 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.

 

The Healing Power of Christian Science Proved

Let me tell you the experience of a dear friend. It vividly fulfills the Scriptural prophecy, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). This man, a very successful businessman, is now rendering our country great service in a vital position of our government. He is a vigorously healthy and happy man with a lovely family. He told me that some years ago he had gradually developed a depraved appetite for alcohol. He said his appetite had taken such possession of him that he lost his health, his business was practically gone, and he was dangerously close to losing his home, his family, and his friends.

In desperation, his wife persuaded him to go with her to a Wednesday evening testimony meeting at the Christian Science church of which she was a member. He said he understood little of what went on at the meeting. After the service he was introduced to a man who told him how he had been healed of the drinking habit through help in Christian Science. This aroused my friend's curiosity to the point that he called on a Christian Science practitioner for help. While he was at the practitioner's office, for the first time, a little child was carried in. This child had just been sent home from a charity ward of a large hospital with word to her parents that she could not live more than a couple of weeks. She was suffering from tuberculosis and rickets and had wasted away until she weighed less than twenty pounds; and, as a last resort, the parents had sought help for her in Christian Science.

Shocked at the sight, our friend was utterly astonished to see this same little girl, only a few weeks later, walk happily into the Sunday School of the Christian Science church − healed. Naturally, he said he was seized with a great and earnest desire to learn of the Science which had brought such a wonderful transformation in the life of this child. And incidentally this child is now a lovely woman with children of her own. Our friend said his search for healing was long and arduous − it took more than a year. But, as the Christian Science practitioner was able to point out erroneous qualities in his thinking and our friend replaced them with Christlike thinking − true spiritual knowing − he was healed. He was healed of both the liquor and tobacco habits; his health was restored, his business flourished, and he continues in a valuable, happy life.

 

Spiritualized Thinking Essential

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 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. Solomon might have broadcast his wisdom by television, Columbus might have had a jet plane, and Galileo a cyclotron if thought had been more open to ideas beyond its established frontiers. Thought constitutes all the nobility and capacity − and all the limitation and hate − among men.

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.

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? 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 kingdom of God." As the kingdom of heaven, eternal Truth, is established in our consciousness, we find a lessening acceptance of the universal expectation of reaching a state of usefulness only to settle into the ruts of incapacity, impairment, and old age. Submission would bring on the havoc of mistaken, mortal thought with its beliefs and misconceptions of law. Rejection of such limitation brings the unfoldment of the limitless law of immortal Mind. Calamities are imposed on people not because of necessity or law but contrary to true law. They are the result of false beliefs and fears. 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.

 

Salvation Is at Hand

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, the 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 constitutes true prayer and claims the ceaseless attention of the genuine Christian Scientist. True thought requires relinquishment of idols − of any 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 the so-called laws of matter. Mrs. Eddy, alluding to the belief that prayer is adequate to save sinners, writes (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 19), "I love this doctrine, for I know that prayer brings the seeker into closer proximity with divine Love, and thus he finds what he seeks, the power of God to heal and to save."

Now, in conclusion, 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, and He operates through the law of harmony. 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. It will be useful to every one of us, whether we are Christian Scientists or whether we are not, to go forth tonight realizing that God includes no cause for human woe and that it is simply a monstrosity of mortal misconception to think that He does. It will be useful for us to act as though we have dominion because a knowledge of Truth means a lawful mastery over every one of our problems and over all that besets the world. And in the measure that we do this, we shall find to our joy that, governed by the pure intelligence of the Christ, we can demonstrate the divine provision concerning our household, our business, our daily need, and our very life.

In all the Christian world there is probably no statement more widely known and quoted than the words of Jesus (John 8:32), "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And what shall it make us free from? From distress and pain, from worry and sorrow, from sin and failure, yes, from all that is unlike perfect and enduring Mind. And concerning what should we know the truth? The truth concerning the sublime and complete goodness of God and man and the glorious possibilities of existence. When you know this, you will be free. All the law is with you.

 

[Nov. 1, 1958.]

 

 

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