How Divine Love Heals in Christian Science
Arthur C. Whitney, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Delivered in Convention Hall,
To those of you who are new to Christian Science, Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, welcomes you to this afternoon's wonderful adventure in Truth. Mary Baker Eddy says, in her book "First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany", Page 158, "We live in an age of Love's divine adventure to be All-in-all." To those of you who have already ventured in this way, we welcome you just as warmly, knowing so well how eagerly you come to learn more of Love's healing power.
Arthur C. Whitney of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
There were two books in my hand as I stepped on the platform a few minutes ago. One of these two books is the Bible. This volume is the most universally loved book in all the world today. This same Bible is the source book of Christian Science and is one of its two textbooks. The seriousness with which Christian Scientists believe in the Bible is stated clearly in this second book. On page 497 is written the first tenet or important point of Christian Science. It reads, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life."
The second of our two textbooks
from which I just read that statement is "Science and Health with Key to
the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of
Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy, years ago, ordained the Bible and Science and
Health as Pastor of The First Church of Christ, Scientist,
God Is Love
Study of the Bible truths in the light of Christian Science transforms and spiritualizes men's thinking and thus protects and frees them through their recognition and acceptance of these truths in consciousness. Among the Bible's many gems of truth, for instance, is the illuminating, fundamental spiritual fact that God, who is divine Love, is All-in-all. This divine Love is limitless spiritual presence or consciousness. There is no place where God is not. Do you realize that this means that you right here this very minute are in the presence of God, divine Love? The consciousness and conviction of this fact is an aspect of prayer. The Bible records the Apostle John as saying, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (I John ). And Paul wrote the Corinthians, "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him." (I Cor. 8:6). The Bible also tells us, "Now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). Man, God's likeness, is inseparable from and dwells in Love. Our other textbook, Science and Health, says (p. 340): "Divine Love is infinite. Therefore all that really exists is in and of God, and manifests His love."
Lift your vision to become conscious of and know as real the presence, power, government, and control of Love, and to recognize yourself as Love's full expression, spiritual, Godlike, perfect, eternally the loved of Love, forever safe in divine Love's care and protection.
Prayer Rescues Sailor in Landing Operation
A consecrated Christian Science lad in the Navy was in charge of a wave of boats in landing operations on a strategic island in the Pacific. The boats were heading for the shore with a load of tanks and infantrymen, running through heavy surf. The young man had been keeping the spiritual facts of the infinite ever-presence of God, divine Love, constantly active in his thinking from the time he wakened that morning. He saw his real existence in God.
All of a sudden he noticed that a heavy rope had slipped over the stern of the landing craft and at any moment might foul the propeller, thus rendering the boat useless. He ran to the stern. He was just pulling the rope in when a heavy breaker struck the boat. It threw him against the deck-house and knocked him, half conscious, into the boiling surf.
In the early morning briefing on board the troop transport, before the landing operations began, the men had been told that if anyone went overboard in the surf the boat was to go on its way without delay, as the heavy undertow would suck him under and draw him out to sea. This very thing had seemingly happened to this lad. He disappeared quickly in the surf, and no rope reached him – no human help seemed available. He never allowed the consciousness of God's loving ever-presence to fade from him. He said that the angel thought came to him, "God's love is all around me; I'm safe in Love's presence." To human sense he was helpless in the churning waters, but he knew that he was in reality dwelling in God's loving presence and under His care. Then, he said, these words of Hymn 144 from the Christian Science Hymnal came to him with conviction:
"In atmosphere of Love divine,
We live, and move, and breathe."
Now that's being conscious of and living in the presence of God. He persisted in this attitude, though the physical turmoil seemed insurmountable. Then he struck something hard. It was the shore. He got to his feet, stood in the surf, and thanked God for his wonderful deliverance. God's ever-present government and control, realized in consciousness, counteracted the danger, and he was brought safely to shore instead of being sucked out to sea. The statement of the beloved disciple, "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," truly found its fulfillment in that lad's experience. Ponder and apply this to yourself. This is another aspect of prayer in Christian Science.
We are all as safe in this abiding spiritual consciousness as was the young shepherd boy, David, when facing the lion and the bear and finally the threatening giant Goliath (I Sam. 17:1-50); as surely protected as were the three Hebrew boys in the midst of the burning fiery furnace (Dan. 3:1-30); as secure as Daniel was in the den of fierce, hungry lions (Dan. 6:1-23).
Distinguish Between Real and Unreal
Christian Science admonishes you
to study to know the distinction which the Bible and Science and Health teach
between the spiritual, unapparent, but true things of God on the one hand, and
the material, continually apparent, but false things of mortal sense on the
other hand. Christian Scientists stand squarely with these textbooks in distinguishing
clearly between the spiritual and the material, the true and the false, the
Godlike and the ungodlike. They are not deceived by appearances. Let us love
the Godlike and reject the ungodlike as unreal. The Bible reports Paul as teaching
this to the Christians at
One time a ten-year-old Sunday School pupil was having quite a struggle to overcome hatred of his schoolteacher. In studying the line on page 9 of "Miscellaneous Writings" where Mrs. Eddy says, " 'Love thine enemies' is identical with 'Thou hast no enemies,' " he worked it out in this way: "You need to know the truth. Then love what you are knowing. You can make that so good it is not hard. Then what you are knowing is what will sit down in front of you." Love what you are knowing rejects as untrue the false personal sense evidence, and what you are knowing is what will come into your experience. You cannot help loving the truth about your brother man. He is Godlike, spiritual, perfect. These are the facts about your brother, who, as the Bible tells us, is made in the image and likeness of God. That is all there is that is actual and real about him.
Healing Through Love
A woman who had sought healing from chronic stomach and bowel trouble, and was suffering from a malignant growth which operations and years of doctoring had failed to cure, was led to have treatment in Christian Science. She was quickly relieved of many of the fears arising from false theological teaching, and many physical difficulties vanished, but she still suffered from the growth. In pondering her situation one day and earnestly searching her own thought to detect the obstruction to complete healing, she discovered there was lurking in her thinking a great sense of hurt and disappointment she had felt because her father several years before had married a woman whom she had hated ever since that time.
Then she read in the textbook of Christian Science this statement (pp. 476,477). "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." Her thought, imbued with an earnest desire to put on "the whole armour of God," was greatly touched with yearning to see her fellow man in God's true likeness, and she practiced the counsel which our Leader gives on pages 248 and 249 of the same book, to keep perfect models in thought and look at them continually in order to "carve them out in grand and noble lives." This student shortly found herself completely free from that malignant growth. Every evidence of it had vanished. This healing took place more than thirty years ago, and that woman has continued in perfect health and has done consistent healing in the practice of Christian Science ever since.
The central figure in the Bible is Christ Jesus. Christian Science tells us that the Christ is eternal, changeless Truth, which enters consciousness and transforms thinking, healing sin and sickness. The title, Christ, denotes the spiritual understanding which actuated the man Jesus in all that he said and did. He himself has best expressed in words the secret of his spiritual activity: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John ). Every time a spiritual truth is recognized and acknowledged, the Christ is being entertained in consciousness, enlarging and elevating one's thinking to at-one-ment with the divine source of being. Jesus was the best demonstrator of the Christ, or Truth, that ever existed, and his example of living and healing has made him recognized as our Master and Wayshower. He taught us how to pray. His prayers healed the hopelessly sick, cleansed the sinner, raised the dead, fed the hungering multitudes, and transformed the lives of countless individuals. Prayer in Christian Science is an affirmation with conviction of the omnipotence of good and the impotence of evil. It is the conviction of the omnipresence and all-power of good and the nothingness of evil. Mrs. Eddy has so clearly given us the basis of affirmation and denial in these words: "The spiritual fact and the material belief of things are contradictions; but the spiritual is true, and therefore the material must be untrue. . . . Spirit and all things spiritual are the real and eternal" (Science and Health, p. 289). Actively following this enables us to pray the prayer that transforms and heals. Prayer in Christian Science heals, whether the affliction is hate, bitterness, carnal-mindedness, sin, sickness, or any other evil. Prayer in Christian Science is effectual in meeting all one's needs, and for that very reason one should keep himself spiritually prepared through study and prayer. True prayer is an awareness of the presence of the Christ, Truth. An active, effectual exponent of Christian Science spends much time in daily prayer. It becomes a thing of life. As a little girl wisely said to her mother after they had experienced a beautiful healing: "Mother, prayer did that job. Now let's keep prayed up." That's worth heeding.
Here is what Jesus told his followers as recorded in John 14:12: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." In other words, anyone, any time, any place, who has a conviction of the spiritual facts about God and man which Jesus taught, and uses them in prayer and living, shall, according to the measure of his understanding, do the works Jesus did.
We might put it this way: As you really know the spiritual facts about God and man and intelligently repudiate the opposite, discordant, material sense evidence as false and unreal, that conviction and acknowledgment of truth shall enable you to free yourself and others from the apparent, discordant material sense evidence regardless of how oppressive it seems to be. That evidence is counterfeit, and a counterfeit thousand dollar bill isn't worth any more than a counterfeit one dollar bill, and neither is really worth anything. But if you are confronted with them, you need to know it in order not to be deceived, and as you do know it you are made free from that false sense. Think of our Master, nailed to the cross, and his attitude in regard to those who had put him there: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke ). What an example for us! His love and spiritual understanding freed him from the ill effects of that experience, and he proved his God-given dominion over hate, resentment, and fear through his resurrection from death,
God is not a far-off being somewhere up in the sky, as so many have been taught to believe. When an ingenious little fellow was told to "lift his thought in prayer" he immediately climbed to the next floor. After a few minutes he called to his mother, "It's no better up here." She said to him, "You need to climb spiritually by releasing all material thoughts and seeing the beautiful, uplifting consciousness of Love's presence."
We haven't got to go somewhere to find God. Unless we find God right where we are, we shall never find Him. Truth, God, will never be more real or potent than right now. God will never be nearer us, for God is Spirit. He is the very presence in which we live. God is All – all that is real and present. Therefore, Spirit, or spiritual consciousness, is all that is real. God is not something apart from us, nor is He something apart from our brother. Nothing can be closer to us than divine consciousness. We need to rouse and waken ourselves spiritually to realize it, and then to stay in that state of consciousness which is the true and real. This is the way of salvation through Christ, Truth, from all evil.
Mary Baker Eddy
From her earliest years Mrs. Eddy sought for spiritual understanding of the facts of existence. God revealed them to her, and when she gave them to the world, her discovery so stirred the science, theology, and medicine of the time that she was under continuous condemnation; but the spiritual truth revealed to her included the power to heal disease and to evidence health. Our Master, Christ Jesus, said, "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. ), and the fruitage of Christian Science healing through more than seventy-five years attests this statement.
Whenever Mrs. Eddy encountered the persecution that has awaited every reformer and spiritual leader since history began, she courageously and with the love that sees the truth about one's brother faced slander, ignorance, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance. She had the spiritual vision, tenacity of purpose, and above all, love for God and man, to persist until her God-inspired undertaking of establishing the Christian Science movement was completed, God's purpose fulfilled, and mankind given a priceless legacy which we cannot fully estimate. In the Message to The Mother Church for 1902 this statement emphasizes our Leader's Christianly attitude (p.l9): "The Christian Scientist cherishes no resentment; he knows that that would harm him more than all the malice of his foes. Brethren, even as Jesus forgave, forgive thou. I say it with joy, – no person can commit an offense against me than I cannot forgive.'. . . To the burdened and weary, Jesus saith: 'Come unto me.' O glorious hope! there remaineth a rest for the righteous, a rest in Christ, a peace in Love."
In that very thought you can understand why the love of God which she exemplified in her living with others brought healing to those about her. If each one of us would turn to God for greater vision, love, patience, joyous forgiveness, and unselfish helpfulness to share with those about us who need it, what peace this would bring to us and to them. Loving is the key to happy and satisfying living.
Every alert Christian Scientist is daily grateful to God for Mary Baker Eddy. Her gift to us from God is beyond all valuing. Humbly and gratefully we acknowledge her as the Discoverer of Christian Science; the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," one of our two textbooks; the Founder of the world-wide Church of Christ, Scientist; the first one to practice Christian Science healing, and our forever Leader through her inspired writings.
No finer modern example of the necessity for love can be found than in Mrs. Eddy's own experience. In 1896 she stated in a letter: "Love is the only and all of attainments in spiritual growth. Without it healing is not done and cannot be, either morally or physically. Every advanced step will show you this until the victory is won and you possess no other consciousness but Love divine" (Christian Science Sentinel, March 28, 1936, p. 590).
Re-educate Yourself from a Material to a Spiritual Basis
Suppose you have been educated to believe in the reality of a material sense of existence as your only existence. Suppose you have accepted the material senses as your only senses, picturing matter as actual and spirituality as unimportant – picturing yourself as mortal, material, physical, picturing material life and intelligence as your life and intelligence.
Well, if you have, then let Christian Science re-educate you here and now by your relinquishment of all belief in the reality of a material sense of existence. No matter how real and substantial the physical senses present it to be, it is an illusion. The evidence it shows forth is just as real as a mirage, and no more so. Accept it as such, and cease any longer to give mortal sense testimony any reality in your thinking.
Re-educate yourself to see spiritual sense testimony as real, to see yourself as the son of God here and now. Re-educate yourself also to see yourself and your brothers as permanent evidences and expressions of the divine Father-Mother. Think of man in his real being as wholly like God – an individual spiritual consciousness that includes every quality and evidence of God, your one and only creator. See the ever-presence of spiritual consciousness, and recognize the fact that you have always been inseparable from that divine consciousness, and therefore you represent true being, as God's image. See spiritual thoughts or spiritual concepts as real, substantial. See the testimony of the material senses as illusion, as the thing you see in a dream. The things we see in dreams may appear beautiful or abhorrent, but in either case they are deceptive and unreal. Recognize them as unreal.
A Christian Science practitioner once heard a woman recite a long list of bad points concerning her husband and tell of years of extreme discord and oppression. Then came the question, "I am going to get a divorce; don't you think I should?" He said to her: "If I were you, I would get rid of that old husband and get a new one. And I would do it today. From this moment on get rid of every mental picture of that fellow that is ungodlike. Separate each false belief from your consciousness of him. See him as God sees him. See that error as unreal because it is not a product of divine Mind, and replace it with the specific spiritual quality which is the opposite of that false belief. Get rid of your old husband in this way. Every Godlike quality that you would like in a husband, see as belonging to the man God made. It is your consciousness than needs to be changed, first of all, not your husband." It was three weeks later when the practitioner's telephone rang and this same lady said, "I just cannot resist telling you what a wonderful new husband and wonderful new home I have, and I did nothing but what you told me to do." She had impersonalized the error, thus separating it from her concept of her husband.
Living Christian Science
The religion of Christian Science is thoroughly practical in daily living. As a matter of fact, Christian Science is the Science of Christian living. You only have what you live of it. You prove your understanding only as you live according to its precepts. Whatever you think you have of it, which you do not live, is having what Paul called "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Cor. 13:1).
Christian Science is not just a substitute for material medicine, to be turned to through the aid of a Christian Science practitioner when you are in trouble. Christian Science is a basis for your outlook and purpose in living. It unfolds inspired guidance for every thought, motive, desire, attitude, word, and act of your daily living. Your living will then be in accord with the rules Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew, chapters 5 to 7). To understand Christian Science is to live it, and to live it is to understand it. If you have only blind belief in Christian Science, you cannot live it any more than you can work an example in mathematics if you merely blindly believe in mathematics. Without understanding, you could not even prove that 2 times 2 equals 4. Beware of just believing in Christian Science. Belief is an opiate. Strive to understand Christian Science so that you can know it and live it.
Ponder this statement from Science and Health (p. 83): "Nothing is more antagonistic to Christian Science than a blind belief without understanding, for such a belief hides Truth and builds on error."
Through spiritual understanding you can heal sickness, sin, lack, and material-mindedness.
Three Steps in Living
There are three steps of spiritual progress for the newcomer in Christian Science and for the old-comers, too. They are:
(1) Follow the example of our Master and Wayshower, Christ Jesus, who said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John ). Give up your belief that you have any ability underived from God.
(2) Stop trying to use God to get what you think you need or want.
(3) Strive to understand God's
nature and to let God use you to unfold and fulfill His will and plan for you.
This is consecration. This third step practiced in daily living bears most
beautiful fruitage. It fulfills the Master's statement, "But seek ye first
Strive diligently to make Christian Science thoroughly practical. Measure against it every thought, word, and act. Let that part only of your religion be real to you that is the part of it you live. Anything else is just empty theory, or profession, or pretense. If your religion isn't practical to you now in meeting your needs, set to work at once to make it so by seeking to make it more practical in your daily living. Don't talk your religion. Live it. And you must understand Christian Science before you can start living it.
The First and Great Commandment
The Bible gives us a clear and definite way to carry out the Master's first and great commandment. It is recorded that a lawyer once asked Jesus (Luke ), "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The Master in return replied, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" The lawyer replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." And Jesus replied, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
Daily Consecration to God
Ask yourself, "How can I prove that I love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind?" Ponder that question daily. Let it be a definite part of your homework every morning. Think it through. Then answer it through living. How? A most effectual way would be by consecrating yourself wholly to God's service in your thinking and actions, and living accordingly each waking hour in your everyday life.
One time a student of Christian Science, burdened with difficulties, asked a Christian Science practitioner what he could do to help himself. The practitioner replied something like this: "Stop trying to do things on your own. Stop trying to use God to get what you think you need or want. Let God use you to fulfill His will and plan for you by acknowledging Him in all you think and do." The practitioner explained that it is natural to converse with God and to feel His presence and thereby gain dominion. In the textbook of Christian Science is this statement (p. 308): "The Soul-inspired patriarchs heard the voice of Truth, and talked with God as consciously as man talks with man."
Talking with God is really more in the nature of listening to what we know is really true about man as he is created by God, divine Love. It is to realize, often, that nothing is true concerning oneself or others except what God knows, and that is good. Then, when erroneous suggestions come that one is sick, weak, hampered in business, or any number of limiting arguments, one needs to firmly deny these beliefs for just what they are: the attempt of a belief in evil to deceive man into accepting a basis of good and evil as real, an attempt to deceive one into believing there is more than all. God, good, is all; and, as we find in "Unity of Good" by Mrs. Eddy, "God is All-in-all; and you can never be outside of His oneness" (p. 24). Again, the textbook states: "There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God" (p. 228). In talking with God, then, one listens to absolute truth, ponders its meaning, affirms it with conviction, and denies any presence, power, or intelligence which claims to oppose infinite good.
Some weeks later, after listening to this explanation, the student came back to tell the practitioner of his freedom from trouble and said to him: "What has helped me most of what you said has been that daily consecration to God's service. Now the moment I waken in the morning my first thought is to commune with God through the 'Daily Prayer' in the Manual of The Mother Church (p. 41): ' "Thy kingdom come;" let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!' Then it becomes easier to repudiate any reality in mortal or personal sense testimony. When I have seen the unreality of all that is unlike God, it is natural for me to consecrate myself and my purpose, motives, and desires to serve Truth in every thought, conversation, and contact throughout the day. Man reflects divine Principle, Love, and nothing else. I will listen for the voice of divine Truth and joyously do God's will every waking moment, and I mean it." He continued: "I always say 'and I mean it,' and it is not just sweet talk. It is consistent, Christlike living I am striving for, and that helps me to make it so." He said he recalled how he stopped daily in front of a jeweler's window that he passed on his way to work and synchronized his watch with the authoritative time. "Now," he said, "I have learned how to set my purpose and thinking correctly through recognizing and then utilizing true spiritual values. This way," he said, "I synchronize my thinking with the things that really count." He added that he often checked up on himself during the day or evening to be sure that he was working to express divine Principle and not with a selfish purpose. He said the fruitage had been beautiful, just as Jesus promised it would be for those who serve God. Doing as that man did is one way to fulfill the first commandment, to really love God supremely in daily living.
The Second Commandment
Let us turn back to the story of
Jesus and the lawyer. After the latter had replied that he must first love God
and then love his neighbor as himself, Jesus said, "This do, and thou
shalt live." Apparently the lawyer's conscience was touched, and he felt
that he must justify himself; so he asked the Master, "And who is my
neighbor?" Then Jesus told the wonderful parable of the good Samaritan
(see Luke -37). You
remember it. A man went down from
Which had a living religion? Jesus concluded his talk with the lawyer in these words: "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?" The lawyer replied, "He that shewed mercy on him." Then said Jesus unto him, "Go, and do thou likewise."
Take that admonition to yourselves as you think of those among your acquaintance who may have fallen among the thieves of the carnal mind through ignorance of their God-given dominion over evil in all its forms. To really love your neighbor is to recognize that Love is God and that man in God's image naturally expresses the qualities and nature of divine Love; and these are far removed from the limited, finite tendencies by which human sense counterfeits goodness. To separate the erroneous tendencies in another from the actual truth about him, to do this in your thinking about him, is to be a "good Samaritan," for in this way you are lifting your neighbor out of the mire of limited, finite beliefs into his true status as God's son, and this is doing unto him as you would have him do unto you. This is Love in expression. When you thus reflect the Love which is God, you truly love your neighbor as your brother.
The Samaritan who helped the Jew in his distress was held in contempt by the Jews, as were all members of his race. Did it prevent him from helping the man? No. He did all he could for him with compassion, while the other passers-by neglected him in his extreme need and passed by "on the other side." Again and again think of the Samaritan's example and then remember the Master's admonition, "Go, and do thou likewise." Jesus intended it as much for you to follow today as for that lawyer nineteen hundred years ago. This is a way to love God and your brother, of whatever race, nation, or people. He is your neighbor and even brother. In the words of the beloved disciple: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (I John ).
In Science and Health (p. 135) we read: "It has been said, and truly, that Christianity must be Science, and Science must be Christianity, else one or the other is false and useless; but neither is unimportant or untrue, and they are alike in demonstration. This proves the one to be identical with the other." Shortly before his crucifixion Jesus washed his disciples' feet. This was one of the humblest tasks that our beloved Master could do. As he sat down, he said to his disciples, "Know ye what I have done to you?" Then he answered his question: "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." His act was one of true humility, and in proof of his godly love for his brothers expressed in deed rather than in empty words. This is recorded in John 13:12-15. And in the same chapter he said (verses 34,35): "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
[Published in The West Tulsa (Oklahoma) News, Jan. 31, 1952.]