The Logic and Consistency of Christian Science
James Watt, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecture was given Friday,
January 16, at ,
in the Church Edifice of First Church of Christ, Scientist,
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Christian Science Reveals the Christ
Today, we stand on the threshold of unlimited possibilities. These possibilities lie in two opposite directions. In one direction there is freedom − there is undreamed of abundance for all. In the other direction there is virtual destruction of the human race and civilization as we know it. Which shall it be? Now, in the thinking of individuals, and therefore in the thinking of nations too, we can see evidence of intense anxiety as well as great hope. An all-out search for protection and security and peace is taking place. The search is in every direction and from every standpoint that human ingenuity can conceive. But, for the most part, the search is from the basis of physical science and material thinking.
From the standpoint of what is
called objective thinking or human reason, people generally are looking out there to sputniks or some ingenious
device, or up above to some distant God for the solution of the tremendous
problems which confront the world. Yes, nearly everyone looks to some external
means or power for his protection and to bring about the fulfillment of his
hopes. Rarely do men look within − within their own thinking, their own
consciousness. Yet in the Bible the Founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth,
called our attention to this very need. Do you remember, he said (Luke , 21), "The
Christian Science with simple logic and faultless consistency presents the practical import of Jesus' statement and the necessity of looking within for our salvation. The earnest study of Christian Science brings to light the spiritual nature of one's true consciousness. It points one's thinking and one's activities in the right direction.
Now in bringing you a word picture of Christian Science I'd like to emphasize particularly the fact that this religion not only coincides with the inspired Word of the Bible but it sustains and amplifies logically and consistently every point it presents. To make things clearer I'd like to tell you of a lovely painting, a print of which I saw some years ago. In the painting the artist depicted his concept of one of the well-known verses from the Bible (Rev. 3:20), "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
In his portrayal, the artist had painted a figure representing the Christ, or the Comforter, standing before the door of a humble dwelling, knocking for admittance. The face was a countenance strong but gentle, benevolent, and patient. The attitude presented was one of quiet waiting − waiting for the one within to listen, to hear, and then to respond. The composition showed not only the exterior but part of the interior of the house as well, something like a cross section.
One detail of the painting impressed me particularly. The latch on the heavy door was hand-hewn and strong. And, it was on the inside. When closed tightly and latched, the door could be opened only from within. The artist truly had glimpsed the great truth, now presented with such clear logic by Christian Science, that we are required to do something first. Something must take place in one's own thinking before the Christ can bless and heal us individually and as nations. Actually, as the painting indicates, the Christ has always been right with us. Our need is to open the door of our consciousness to the truth of being − to a recognition of our true spiritual nature as the image and likeness of God.
Christian Science awakens us to the presence and availability of the Christ. It teaches us what the Christ is and how to let the Christ in. It teaches us how to let the Christ abide with us and how to sup with or entertain the Christ. Well, someone may say: "What is the Christ? I thought it was the man Jesus, that he ascended, and that some day he will return. How can the Christ be here now?"
Christian Science teaches that Christ is Immanuel, or "God with us." It teaches that in the measure that we understand God, we entertain the Christ, in other words, that our understanding of God is our Christ. And so it is up to each individual to learn of God's true nature, God's allness, the reality of being, and thus open the door to let the Christ in or, in other words, let the Christ be expressed in his consciousness. Jesus, born of a virgin, was the man who fully understood God and demonstrated his own divine sonship. As he worked out his own salvation, he gave to the world the teaching and example which enables each individual to do likewise. In Christian Science, Jesus is regarded as the most exact and pure-minded thinker and therefore as the most scientific man the world has ever known. He is revered and followed by all genuine Christian Scientists as the Wayshower. He earned the right to be known as Christ Jesus because he gave such complete proof in his words and works of the presence of the Christ. He exemplified the Christ so completely, because he entertained the Christ so constantly.
The Bible Promises Made Practical
Would you say that the world picture facing us today indicates that people generally understand God or know how to entertain the Christ? I think the answer must necessarily be, no. Well, can we do anything about it? Can we, as individuals, hope to accomplish anything in the face of what appears to be world-wide ignorance of God? We certainly can! Only as each individual is willing to work out his own salvation can redemption and healing and peace come to the world.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, tells us how to begin to help ourselves and mankind in these words from her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is the textbook of Christian Science (p. 275): "The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, − that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle. To grasp the reality and order of being in its Science, you must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is. Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, combine as one, − and are the Scriptural names for God." And she continues: "All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God. These are His attributes, the eternal manifestations of the infinite divine Principle, Love. No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows."
The Bible is a book of living promises and practical usefulness rather than one of impressive phrases and transcendental abstractions. As one reads, he begins to have an enlightened concept of what it means in daily life to realize the true spiritual meaning of the Scriptural pronouncement (Deut. 33:27), "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." He begins to claim the benefits of the assurances given in the loved ninety-first Psalm and to enjoy release from fears and difficulties through the fulfillment of the promise (Ps, 91:11,12): "He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
You see as one begins to realize that the statement "God is All-in-all" is not just an abstraction but a vital fact, he awakens to what it means to be the image and likeness of God − what it means to be the reflection, the expression of God. One begins to understand what man really, is − that in reality he has always been the image of God. This means that man is divine idea, not physique; spiritual, not material. He is not a sick, sinning, dying mortal, but the perfect, immaculate, immortal expression of God, eternal Life. This truth brings one an awareness of man's at-one-ment with God, his inseparability from God, and gives him a new, a practical sense of God's protection. As one begins to know God as divine Spirit, as infinite Life, as supreme Love, he perceives that his own true thinking is spiritual living and loving. He discovers the true meaning of angels as God's thoughts, the very thoughts which he is entertaining. These spiritual thoughts act to bless, to heal, and to protect. They are the "everlasting arms," the angels that bear us "up in their hands."
Basis of Christian Science Is Logical
Now let's take a look at the basic
structure of Christian Science and see how definitely it qualifies as the
Science of being − logical in statement, consistent at every step, and
demonstrable in every moment of our daily life. In speaking of her great discovery
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 108): "Whence came to me this
heavenly conviction, − a conviction antagonistic to the testimony of the
physical senses? According to
"1. God is All-in-all.
"2. God is good. Good is Mind.
"3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter.
"4. Life, God, omnipotent good, deny death, evil, sin, disease."
The simplicity, yet all-inclusiveness, the logic and consistency, the profundity of these propositions are evident throughout the teachings of Christian Science. They are also evident in our church services and in all the activities of the Christian Science movement. There is nothing complicated about Christian Science. As generally understood, we do not have doctrinal beliefs, but the important points of Christian Science are contained in six Tenets which support and amplify the four basic propositions just quoted. These propositions are further clarified and explained in the platform of Christian Science, which begins on page 330 of Science and Health. This platform occupies about ten pages and presents concisely the revelation regarding the Science of being which came to Mrs. Eddy through her consecrated study of the Bible and her receptivity to the inspired Word of Truth therein. In presenting these succinct statements of Truth, Mrs. Eddy writes (ibid., p 330). "When the following platform is understood and the letter and the spirit bear witness, the infallibility of divine metaphysics will be demonstrated." To every sincere inquirer, I recommend that you secure a copy of Science and Health at a Christian Science Reading Room and read the Tenets and the platform of Christian Science. Any Reading Room librarian will gladly aid you in finding the passages.
Today while large numbers of earnest Christians wait and wait and wait and watch for the coming of the promised Comforter, Christian Science shows with consistent logic that the Comforter is here, available to all. It reveals to us how we can let the Comforter − the pure Christ-consciousness, the spiritual understanding of God − abide with us in a practical way. We find that we can begin now to let in the Christ. As a result we can be blessed and healed individually and contribute effectively to the solution of world problems. The faithful study and application of Christian Science enable us to awaken from the ignorance of material beliefs that keep men watching and waiting for the second coming of the Christ, the promised Comforter − waiting for that which is already here. Waiting for something or someone to come from afar, from above, or from outside will never bring the Christ into our lives. We must do something ourselves. This latch is within. We must open our own doors − our own consciousness must acknowledge and receive the Christ, or in other words we must perceive the Christ.
What does entertaining or letting in the Christ mean? Christian Science teaches that it means to awaken to the nature of one's true being. It means to understand that because we exist as reflection, as the expression of God, the Christ-consciousness is our fundamental heritage. It means to become aware of our natural Godlike nature, to rejoice in it and to utilize it moment by moment. Letting in the Christ does not mean really acquiring something from the outside. Neither paintings nor words can adequately portray spiritual thinking, but they can give us a glimpse of the great promise the Christ, Truth, holds for us all and the way in which the Christly promise is fulfilled.
Earnest Effort Required for Practical Results
Every line of endeavor requires not only desire but earnest, constant, patient effort and practice. A baseball team doesn't gain the coveted championship pennant by reading and talking about baseball. The victory comes as the result of long hours of disciplined training and practice, and then playing the game according to rule. The concert pianist does not win his audiences by just sitting at the piano and wishing he could play it. His mastery comes from both great love of music and years of study and practice.
To have God's law, which is always really present and available, operate in our behalf we must not only learn of God's nature and of our true relationship to Him, but we must claim our heritage through demonstration. We must do this consistently, moment by moment, through unswerving obedience to divine law. Mrs. Eddy writes (Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 2), "The song of Christian Science is 'Work − work − work − watch and pray.' " In the measure that we are faithful and consistent in applying what we know of God and of ourselves as His image and likeness, we find to our joy that we know enough to work out any problem that presents itself. Then, step by step, we will prove and experience our true, spiritual, eternal identity.
Now in Christian Science the word "work" means, in one sense, "to pray." Work, or scientific prayer, as understood in Christian Science is not laborious striving but joyous, active, spiritual knowing. It means maintaining, moment by moment, the facts of being − God's allness, His infinite goodness, and the perfection of the only real universe, including man. It means maintaining the correct view of man, our true selves, as spiritual and perfect, like God, divine Spirit. It means seeing through the erroneous pictures presented by mortal, material beliefs. It means replacing the testimony of the physical senses with spiritual facts. This does indeed call for alertness, for consistent, logical thinking, or work.
Sometimes we may hear the question raised: "Does Christian Science really heal? I knew someone who tried Christian Science, and it didn't work for him. He wasn't healed." Or someone may say, "Well, Christian Science failed me; so I've given it up."
Dear friends, Christian Science is the Science of being. Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science in her book "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1), "As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." The Principle and rules of this Science never change. The logic and consistency of Truth never vary. No, God and God's laws never fail. But our understanding of God, divine Principle, and of Principle's laws can and must be improved in order to have our human needs met unfailingly and promptly. And our understanding and demonstration of divine Truth is unfolding daily. It is so illogical to blame Christian Science for our own failure to understand and use the law of God properly. And what is God's law? It is not the decree of some mighty, supernatural potentate. God, divine Mind, is the source of all law, and this law enforces itself. This means that all true law is God's expression of Himself, and therefore it is Mind being intelligent and wise. It means Spirit being perfect, unlimited, and therefore a law of obliteration to the imperfect and limited beliefs of matter. It means Soul manifesting itself in infinite beauty and purity. It means Love being altogether lovely and endlessly good, Truth-evidencing true power to wipe out all error, all evil, as the nothingness it really is, Life expressing eternal aliveness. In fact, it means that God is Principle.
Many years of my life were spent as a structural engineer. In the work of designing a bridge, there was never the slightest doubt in my mind or in the mind of any engineer as to the effectiveness of the principles of mathematics and the science dealing with the strength of materials. But we had something more to do. We had to see that these principles were properly applied, the loads and stresses properly calculated. The shop drawings had to be made correctly and checked carefully. The work of fabricating and erecting the structural steel had to be done without fault. But when each step was faithfully executed, we saw a fine, strong bridge take shape over which traffic could move safely. Should a failure occur, no one would dream of blaming the science of mathematics for not working or the science of physics for going astray. No, the failure would be traced to some mistake in the use of these sciences or some failure to apply the rules.
So it is with Christian Science. The Science does not fail. But, because of one's immature grasp of God, divine Spirit, because of his ignorance of God as Principle and of his own true nature as divine Principle's expression, he may fail to apply fully or correctly the law of God, good. He may fail or neglect to claim his innate, divinely bestowed dominion over the problems that assail him. The wonderful promises given us throughout the Bible, the winning of salvation, and the actual experiencing of our true spiritual immortal life are ours for the taking. We will claim them in just the measure that we let the Christ in − in the measure that we entertain the Christ by putting into practice the divine truths revealed with such clear logic and consistency by Christian Science.
Healing Efficacy of Christian Science Proved
Let me tell you about the experience of a woman of my acquaintance − a very earnest student of Christian Science. Her love of Truth and willingness to abide steadfastly in Truth resulted in excellent healing fruitage and a life of great usefulness. This woman was a member of a large family. She was the only one among them to become interested in the study of this Science. Her parents and all her brothers and sisters objected to her interest and urged her to drop what they termed "this new fad." Early in her study she found herself faced with a difficult and heartbreaking situation in which one dear to her and the family did not respond to Christian Science treatment.
The family then said: "Now, surely you will give up this foolish religion. It does not work. It has failed you."
"No," said the valiant young woman, "I'm going on and gain the understanding that will enable me to prove that Christian Science is scientific and consistent, and that, properly applied, it works."
She did go on, holding faithfully to the truths of God and of man, God's perfect reflection, as they unfolded to her. She helped to establish Christian Science in a far-off land and practiced there for many years. For a time, she was the only public practitioner of Christian Science in that field. One morning, came an urgent call for help. A little child, who was under the care of a medical doctor, had apparently passed on in the presence of the attending nurse and the parents. Seeing that their child was beyond further medical aid, the parents, not Christian Scientists, in desperation called our friend for help. She started at once for the home but had to go with a horse and cart driven by a native boy. More than a half hour elapsed before she arrived. When she got to the house and went in, she took the child in her arms. Then she carried the youngster tenderly to another room where they could be alone. She prayed earnestly for the child. In a little while she brought the little one to the parents alive and well. She had certainly proved the healing efficacy of Christian Science when it is understood and properly applied. Later she quickly healed a man of a condition which had been medically diagnosed as leprosy. He and his wife were given the choice of going off by themselves or of his being segregated with other lepers. But he was healed, and he and his wife continued to live useful, happy lives.
Mary Baker Eddy's watchful and unselfed devotion to what she perceived of true existence was evidenced, in part, through her establishment of the Christian Science movement. Her abiding sense of Truth led her unswervingly through the darkness not only of her own inexperience and lack, but of the opposition by universal thought as well. She let God, divine Mind, declare itself through her as she founded her Church. Divine Mind first gave Mrs. Eddy dominion over a sense of inadequacy before the Christian Science movement could appear. Had she not identified herself steadfastly with the perfection of Mind and refused to entertain the fears and criticism of personal sense, there would not have been evidenced the intelligence and power of Mind to guide the establishment of the Christian Science movement. As long as there is, in the thought of mankind, a belief of many minds, our organization will be needed for the proving of the one Mind, and the Mind which controlled the establishment of the Church of Christ, Scientist, is present and available to maintain it. The Cause of Christian Science which appeared as the evidence of our Leader's pure spiritual sense of being is continued today through the unselfed devotion and work of Christian Scientists throughout the world. The Cause is sound, useful, and progressive in just the measure of the fidelity of each individual Christian Scientist to Truth and Love. This fact is a constant challenge to those who have perceived something of the great meaning of Christian Science to mankind.
Thought Must Be Disciplined and Consistent
Each thought I think, every thought each one entertains, is either spiritual − the manifestation of divine Mind, in other words, the expression or reflection of God − or it really isn't thought at all, but simply false belief. It is a false suggestion that there are many minds, that we have a private mind separate and apart from the infinite Mind which is God. It may be startling to realize that all real thought is the manifestation of the incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind which is God, the All-in-all. And it may be equally startling to find that everything else, although generally accepted as thought, is misconception of thought which must be termed mortal mind beliefs, mental malpractice, aggressive suggestion, or evil. How important it is then to guard one's thinking, one's consciousness. How watchful one must be to see that he opens the door to nothing but true thoughts and that he entertains the Christ. You see, this is really the only logical and consistent way in which to shut fears, limitations, disease, and death out of one's mental home, the abiding place of one's thought. For these impositions are no part of God's universe, no part of man's true being. And when they are understandably shut out of thought, they are shut out of our experience as well.
I'd like to tell you about the healing of a friend in one of the European cities as she told it to us when we were there recently. Her singleness of purpose, her steadfastness in keeping her thinking pure and spiritual, that is, Christlike, as she had learned to do through the study of Christian Science, brought quick relief from a painful affliction and healing to another as well. One morning this woman, who devotes part of her time to the public practice of Christian Science, called on a patient who was suffering from a severe case of quinsy. The patient only newly interested in Christian Science had previously become so distressed and fearful that a doctor had been called in, and he said an operation would have to be performed the next day. Our friend, the practitioner, voiced the comforting truth that childlike trust in God and joy in the fact of her perfection as spiritual idea − the likeness of God − would banish all fear, bring healing, and wipe out all thought of the need for material surgery.
Upon returning home our friend found herself assailed with all the symptoms of quinsy, and by evening she couldn't swallow a sip of water or even whisper. She realized that she had unconsciously accepted the medical diagnosis and the fears expressed by the patient instead of instantly rejecting them as false. This lack of consistency opened the way for the very thing she should have been denying for the patient to manifest itself in her own experience. It happened to be the evening her church was giving a Christian Science lecture and, although it seemed almost impossible from a human standpoint, she determined to go.
Not being able to talk she wrote the name of the bus stop on a slip of paper and showed it to the driver. Each moment of the trip she maintained the scientific facts of being, as taught in Christian Science − God's allness, His infinite goodness, the allness of Spirit, her own spiritual nature as Spirit's likeness, the perfection of God's immaculate universe and therefore her own perfection, the utter unreality and nothingness of matter and material sensation. Then all through the lecture she accepted each statement of Truth given by the speaker as the actual truth about her and her patient and all men. She declared that these truths were a law of obliteration to the claims of material sense that she or her patient was really ill or in pain. She held to these spiritual facts resolutely and with conviction and joy. She told me later, "At the end of the lecture I was healed, I was completely free, my throat was again normal, and I felt very happy and very grateful to have had this problem met so quickly." And significantly her patient was healed at the same time, and the painful abscess in the patient's throat completely disappeared. Naturally my friend said she was deeply grateful for this proof of the healing presence and power of God, divine Love.
Dominion over Problems Demonstrable
As one is steadfast in keeping his thinking spiritual and Godlike he awakens to the tremendous import of Mrs. Eddy's words (Science and Health, p. 458): "The Christianly scientific man reflects the divine law, thus becoming a law unto himself. He does violence to no man. Neither is he a false accuser. The Christian Scientist wisely shapes his course, and is honest and consistent in following the leadings of divine Mind." And thus he begins to grasp the practical significance of the Scriptural counsel (Prov. 3:5,6): "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." And how will God direct thy paths? God is infinite intelligence and wisdom, or Mind. By understanding our true existence to be the expression of all-knowing Mind and constantly claiming that heritage, we find that we can know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. We find that more and more what we think and say and do comes as the result of revelation or intuition. And in the measure that we maintain the logic and consistency of true thinking, as required in Christian Science, will our experience here and now evidence progressively the blessings of Immanuel, or "God with us." Our fidelity in holding thought to God's allness, and our unswerving obedience to divine law bring redemption and healing and give us "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).
It seems to me a very simple little story which has come to thought may be useful to remind us of the value of being constantly vigilant in keeping the door of our consciousness ever open to the Christ and to the Christ only.
A farmer needed a new farm hand. The man who applied for the job, when asked for his qualifications, said, "I'm a man who can sleep on a windy night." This was about all that the farmer could get this man of few words to say. The farmer wasn't much impressed, but there didn't seem to be anyone else around, so he hired him.
The farm hand went about his chores quietly with little conversation. He worked, not speedily, but steadily, and the things he did seemed satisfactory.
Now one night a violent windstorm came up and awakened the farmer. With some alarm he knew he must go at once to see that the livestock were safely sheltered, and to fix the broken hinge on the chicken coop door, and nail fast that loose board on the silo. He went hurriedly to the barn where the hired man slept and banged repeatedly on the door, but the man didn't answer. The farmer, provoked and distracted, thought, "Oh, I'll just have to do it myself." So he hastened to see about the stock and found them bedded down safely, discovered that the chicken coop hinge was already fixed, and that the board had been replaced on the silo.
Then the farmer returned to his house and thought it over. Before going back to bed he said to himself, "Well, he did say he was a man who could sleep on a windy night."
Dear friends, will it not be logical and rewarding to decide to go about our duties quietly and willingly with consistent discipline of thought? Let's see that our households, our businesses, our loved ones are safely sheltered in pure, scientific, Christ-like thinking. Then we will find all our affairs secure, untouched by the winds of mortal mind. Let's not put off attending to the broken hinges and loose boards of fear, criticism, condemnation, and other forms of speculative, destructive mortal thought. As we keep our mental dwelling places dependably governed by God, divine Principle, we find our lives transformed. We find joy and inner peace. We find we can sleep on a windy night, in other words, rest confidently in the safety of divine Love's allness.
The logic, the scientific reasoning
of Christian Science makes clear that Spirit, the Mind that is supremely good,
the perfect entity which we reverently term God, is the sole reality of being
and that the true universe is spiritual, the manifestation of Spirit. The
consistency of Christian Science requires the ceaseless devotion of thought to
its divine logic so that the Mind which was in Christ Jesus may be proved
present to manifest its allness in what appears to be our human experience here
and now. As the Master said (Luke ,
Good thinking, dear friends, and a good night.
[Published in The South Des Moines (Iowa) Messenger & News, Jan. 22, 1959.]