Christian Science: The Revelation of Divine Love
Charles V. Winn, C.S., of Pasadena, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Charles V. Winn, C.S., of Pasadena, lectured in the city Tuesday evening and Wednesday noon on "Christian Science, The Revelation of Divine Love" under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. The speaker is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.
The lecture Tuesday was given at the Church edifice, Twelfth and Delaware streets, and was introduced by Mrs. Edith L. Cooke. Wednesday at B. F. Keith's theatre. Arthur Kraus introduced Mr. Winn. The lecture follows in full:
A Christian Science lecture is a joyous occasion. Its invitation is, in the words of the Scriptures, "Come now, and let us reason together."
Mankind is seeking the truth and those who seek aright can never seek in vain. The very fact that so many attend these lectures is self-evident proof that on one point we are all agreed, that is, we are all seeking good. Fundamentally we all have one prevailing motive, namely, we are all seeking happiness or harmony. All human effort is induced by one all-impelling desire, to attain that which will improve our condition or gain more of that which is desirable and satisfying. Even what is wrong and mistaken is impelled by the belief that something is to be gained or secured that will be advantageous. It is only when we begin to consider what is really worth while, what is truly satisfying, what really brings permanent and abiding harmony, that our paths diverge and separate. So divergent have our paths become that the theories of the human mind as to how harmony is to be obtained are almost legion. The very fact that humanity is still searching and striving for peace and satisfaction gives indisputable proof that we have very largely missed the way.
To a race groping in bewilderment and confusion for some way out of its difficulties and troubles, Christian Science comes with its healing message and says that there is a way out of all confusion and failure, sin and despair; that it can and will unfailingly prove to every earnest seeker a demonstrable way to attain peace, health, and life eternal.
Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in one of her writings (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1), defines Christian Science as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." For anyone in nineteen words to convey to humanity a greater hope, a greater assurance, yea, a greater certainty that the way of salvation has at last been found, would be impossible. Here we have the unqualified assertion that our harmony is not a matter of chance or uncertainty, but that it can be obtained through a definite knowledge of law, a divine Principle and universal rule. Science tells us that the two great characteristics of a law are universality and permanency, and the inspired Leader of Christian Science in conformity with true Science tells us that we can understand and demonstrate a law of God, a law of good which will universally and permanently establish and maintain our well-being. We know that a real law is impartial and ever-operative, that it is always dependable, and certain in its results: surely we could have no greater blessing than to acquaint ourselves with such a law.
In order to understand God's law we must necessarily gain the true knowledge of God, for the nature of God's law will depend entirely on the nature of God or the Lawgiver. It is right here that Christian Science brings to us one of its greatest blessings by declaring and proving that God is knowable. This may not seem so significant at first, but a little thought will convince you of its tremendous importance.
Every religion in the world outside of Christian Science is predicated very largely on the theory of postponed good. Study any religion you may and you will find this to be true. The Bible says, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." The theory of postponed good says that you cannot know God, hence your good will have to come to you in the future. So extensively has this theory that God is unknowable permeated religious thought that one of the main objections to Mrs. Eddy's teaching has been that she has coupled the words "science" and "religion." Probably no other postulate of Christian Science has aroused so much opposition. Science has been variously defined as "classified knowledge; demonstrable facts; provable truth". Is it not, then, self-evident that in demonstrating and interpreting the rule of universal harmony we must know the exact, provable, and demonstrable or scientific truth about God? Mystery, superstition, or conjecture will never enable us to prove anything in religion any more than in mathematics or any other science. We have no less an authority than our great Master, Jesus the Christ, for such a scientific stand. He declared, ''And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." And it is a matter of the greatest significance that in this instance the Greek word translated "know" means to know exactly, accurately, or scientifically. In strict accord with our great Master's teaching, Mrs. Eddy has declared in the Preface of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. vii), "The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal."
In order that we may know God aright, Mrs. Eddy has employed various terms for God to help us grasp more clearly the character and nature of God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we, through scientific knowing, can increase our understanding of the divine attributes, thus enlarging our concept of God. One of the terms that Mrs. Eddy uses which has proved most helpful is the term "Mind." Christian Science declares that God is omnipotent or all-powerful, omniscient or all-knowing, omnipresent or everywhere. When we learn that God is Mind, we can begin to see that God is everywhere, always present and always available. We know that Mind can be everywhere and must be everywhere, for we cannot conceive of any existence without mind or consciousness. We further learn that we can turn to this infinite Mind in every hour of need and instantly avail ourselves of its infinite power, for it is ever at hand and omni-active. Everything comes to us by way of thought, or consciousness. Then if God is Mind and ever-present, we can at all times open our thoughts to the activity of the divine Mind and allow its infinite power and presence to pervade our thoughts and enrich our being.
Previous to our availing ourselves of the understanding of Christian Science how limited and restricted our concept of God was, and how enlarged our sense of the infinitude of God has become through the revelation of God as Mind. This is attested by the fact that in very few languages is there any real equivalent for the term "divine Mind." We learn in Christian Science that since God is Mind and "in him we live, and move, and have our being," man can never find himself in any situation where God is not available and where God and His power and presence are not operating for his protection, comfort, and well-being.
Another most helpful truth about God is that God is good. Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 13), "Seek the Anglo-Saxon term for God, and you will find it to be good;" not that good is only an attribute of God, but that infinite good is God. When this truth was first given to the world it brought down a storm of criticism, but repeated proofs of its truth have caused it to so leaven religious thinking that many most eminent religionists are accepting it. We have always believed that good was an attribute of God, but we also thought of God as having other attributes and that He sometimes sent us evil. Christian Science declares and demonstrates that God is the very infinity of good; that He is the only Creator, power, presence, basis, and origin of all that truly exists. He knows nothing about evil, does not create it, does not use it for any purpose, but is entirely, wholly, and completely good. This means that Christian Scientists are endeavoring to manifest good, hence that God is always exercised for the welfare and sustenance of His creation; and His changeless plan, purpose, and rule is beneficent, merciful, and only operates to promote that which is good. Every Christian Scientist remembers with joy how his burdens and fears began to drop away when he first learned that God is wholly, unchangeably, and eternally good.
There are countless thousands today who are gladly and joyously saying, "Not my will, but thine, be done," who could not say it before they knew of Christian Science for fear that God's will might operate for their discomfiture or undoing. Until one's thought perceives the allness of good as taught in Christian Science, one is hardly aware how ingrained is the belief that God is both good and evil. In the receipt issued by most transportation companies there is a clause specifically exempting them from liability under certain circumstances. They assume full responsibility for the acts of their employees, but they are not responsible for the "act of God." In other words, if something happens that is so dreadful they cannot lay it to anybody, they call it the "act of God." It is no wonder that such teachings have turned thousands away from religion altogether, neither is it at all strange that a great multitude are finding their way back to the true religion and the loving, good God as revealed in Christian Science.
Still another blessing awaits the seeker in Christian Science when he learns that God is Love. Our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 517), tells us that "Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity," and it also declares (p. 569) that the proof of healing is evidenced by "a sweet and certain sense that God is Love." We learn that God is not only capable of loving but that He is the very essence of love; and God being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, that divine Love is boundless, illimitable, and inexhaustible. Divine Love creates, constitutes, contains, sustains, and governs all true being. The consciousness of God as Love unfolds a clearer perception of omnipotence than we have ever known. There is nothing that infinite Love could not do or would not do to insure the harmony and perfection of His creation. By thinking of God as Love we can more readily understand the omnipresence of God, for we can easily see that there is no place where His loving interest and beneficent care would not reach even the least of His ideas. Divine Love is all-embracing and all-enfolding and His tender care embraces every part of His creation. And how easy is it to understand the omniscience of God when we know Him as Love. Divine Love is so deep, broad, and far-reaching that no part of being could be beyond the boundary of His loving interest and far-seeing beneficence. Omniscient Love knows everything that is right and true and good, and His infinite wisdom and all-seeing intelligence encircles and embosoms everyone and each one of His children. As our beloved Whittier has so beautifully written:
"I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care."
Christian Science proves beyond a doubt that the only law there is, is the law of love. God being Love and infinite, could only establish a law that is in accord with His own nature. He could not and would not formulate or enforce any law that was antagonistic to His own nature. His law must be designed to perpetuate and uphold being; that is, it must be constructive, healing, and positive; it must be eternal, unchanging, and unchangeably good. Surely a God of love and wisdom would not establish any law that would destroy or mar His own handiwork.
One's attitude toward what is or what is not law has a very important bearing on every least detail of his daily life. There is not a moment in the day that he is not acknowledging a law of some sort. How important, then, is it to know that the only law there is, is God's law of perfection, harmony, and completeness and that any so-called law that would claim to bring about a wrong condition is utterly spurious and powerless. God's law is as eternal and infallible as God Himself and never was suspended nor rendered inoperative by any lapse of time or changed conditions.
This understanding of God's law gives us a different concept of Christ Jesus, his words and works, than the one commonly entertained. Amongst the Hebrew people it was the custom to set apart a certain number to administer the laws or rites of the temple. You remember on one occasion when Jesus had healed a leper he commanded him to show himself unto the priest and offer the gift that was required in the Mosaic law. Before the priest could enter on his duties of administering the law of the temple he was set apart or consecrated by a ceremony in which he was anointed with oil. What made our great Master the anointed one or Jesus the Christ? He was not formally ordained or anointed. Mrs. Eddy defines "Christ" (Science and Health, p. 583), as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error,"
Jesus knew more about God, man, law, creation, life, or being, than any man who ever lived. It was this Christ-truth, this Christ-understanding, or Christ-consciousness, with which he was anointed that made him the Way-shower or Saviour from everything that is unlike God. He stated his mission in most definite terms when he said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." He came to fulfill God's law of love, and because God's law is universally and eternally operative, as we conform our lives and thinking to the Christ-standard and obey God's law, we can attain the same results as he attained.
Every form of disease, every phase of sin, poverty, deformity, or discord vanished before Jesus' understanding of God and God's law, and in every instance he completely annulled the mortal law that was seeming to hold the patient in bondage. It made no difference whether it was a law of contagion, a law of heredity, a law of inaction or overaction, a law of age, or a law of death, the mind which was in Christ expressing itself through Jesus completely broke every yoke and "let the oppressed go free."
Every healing that Jesus performed was not only to liberate his patient but to prove for all time the true nature of God and man. The Christian Science textbook says on page 42, "Jesus' life proved, divinely and scientifically, that God is Love." He always saw man as God made him and not as error was disguising him. Jesus knew that the man of God's creating whom the Scriptures declare was made in God's image and likeness could be no less than the perfect expression of God. He knew that nothing true or real had to be changed, but that the only thing which had to be changed was a false concept of God and His creation. You will recall that on one occasion Jesus was in Cana of Galilee and that he was approached by a nobleman whose son was dangerously ill at Capernaum. The nobleman asked Jesus to come to Capernaum and heal his son. Jesus knew that divine Love and the perfect manifestation were right there where disease and impending death seemed to be, and he was also able to make the father see the same fact. As a result "the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him," and the child was perfectly healed. Here is a perfect example of Christian or metaphysical healing. It is self-evident that Jesus did nothing in a material way. Jesus did not see the patient's body, never knew any of the symptoms, nor even the name of the disease, and yet he restored him to perfect health and, as was later learned from the servants, he did it instantly. All that took place was in the mental realm and all that transpired was a recognition of the eternal fact of being that infinite good and its manifestation can never for one moment be anything less than perfect and perfectly expressed.
The Bible says, "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." It also says, "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever." Nothing can ever change God's perfect creation. We could not if we would and would not if we could.
God's creation exists at the standpoint of perfection and nothing can be added to it nor taken from it. Christian Science has not come to change anything but our false and erroneous concepts of God, man, life, and creation; and as these are replaced and displaced by the divine facts as recorded in the Bible, in the works of our revered Leader, and as demonstrated by Christ Jesus and his apostles, we are daily experiencing the truth of Jesus' promise, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
The whole process of salvation as described in the Scriptures is an awakening or enlightenment: a waking out of false beliefs into spiritual understanding. After describing God's spiritual, perfect creation in the very beginning of the Bible, the first mention of evil is an account of a mist that seemed to arise. Now what does a mist do? It only obscures or obstructs our vision. It never destroys, alters, changes, nor affects reality in any way. So the spiritual or scientific interpretation of the Scriptures which Christian Science gives to us shows that all we have to overcome is a "mist taken" sense, a mistaken belief or misconception of divine reality. It is most significant and helpful to learn that in the very last chapter of the Bible, where it tells of all evil having been overcome and that there was no more curse, the Revelator makes this profound statement, "There shall be no night there." The mist of ignorance, darkness, or false belief had been completely dispelled by spiritual light or truth. The Bible from beginning to end shows us how to rouse ourselves and others out of this mist or dream into the cognition or perception of eternal reality. The Psalmist said that he would be satisfied when he awoke in God's likeness. The word "satisfy" means to make enough, and the Psalmist saw clearly that he would not experience the fullness of true, harmonious being until he completely awakened from the dream of mistaken sense or false belief.
Paul, the great apostle, enjoins us to awake from the dead and that Christ shall give us light. When Peter awakened from the dream of material bondage he was immediately delivered from prison and walked forth free. He was aroused to see that the man of God's creating cannot be deprived of his rightful heritage of freedom and dominion. In order to be thoroughly awake we need to see what it is that puts us to sleep and what it is that awakens us.
Mrs. Eddy tells us on pages 306 and 307 of Science and Health, "The parent of all human discord was the Adam-dream, the deep sleep, in which originated the delusion that life and intelligence proceeded from and passed into matter." Here we have a definite, succinct, and scientific explanation as to the cause of our trouble and the only way out. The only way out is to awaken out of the Adam-dream of evil and to awake to the divine facts or eternal reality of good. This is what is properly called "working out our salvation." Salvation means deliverance or safety, and what we need to be delivered from is every belief, theory, or argument that would in any way deny the allness of God and perpetuate the dream of evil. We could not in a brief lecture consider all the phases of this dream, but we shall consider some of them and show how Christian Science delivers or saves us.
There is probably nothing which the average person has to contend with more than fear. It seems to haunt our every footstep and assail us at every turn. It is a subject that has been much to the fore of late years and has brought forth almost endless discussion. The modern term is "complex," but it makes no difference what terminology you use, it is the same old enemy by whatever name you call it. While many systems recognize its pernicious effects, none of them show us the way out. If one is laboring under the stress of fear, it accomplishes nothing to tell him that his trouble is due to fear. He knows that only too well, but what he is most interested in is how to get rid of it. The Bible and Christian Science give us an unfailing remedy wherewith to meet and master this fraudulent impostor. The Bible says, "Perfect love casteth out fear." Here is a remedy for fear that never fails when utilized and it is as free as the very atmosphere. All fear is based, primarily, on the belief of life in matter. Fear is a constituent part of the Adam-dream of Soul in sense, a belief in existence apart from God. Do you not recall how often Jesus admonished his patients thus: "Be not afraid;" "Fear not;" "Be not afraid, only believe"? He knew that man is not living in a material body subject to sin, sickness, and death, but that he lives, moves, and has his being in God, Spirit: that man's life is not material, subject to material laws, conditions, and vicissitudes, but is at all times under the control and government of God: that man is guarded, guided, governed, upheld, and maintained by Love divine and that in the realm of eternal good where man eternally dwells, sin, disease, and death are unknown. Jesus was so conscious of Love's all-power and ever-presence that fear could find no room to dim his vision of eternal and omnipotent good. Fear can only seem present to the thought of him who believes that evil has power to harm him. It can never trouble the one whose thought is permeated with the consciousness of God's presence and power. The one who strives to reflect only God and who forgets self knows naught of fear or anxiety.
If divine Love casts out fear, then the conclusion is irresistible that it is only a selfish, ignorant, finite sense of love which induces fear. Every fear in its last analysis is a fear of one of two things, either that we are going to lose something or that we will not gain something. If you take the selfishness out of any problem and substitute therefore perfect unselfed love, your fear will entirely vanish. The thought that is governed by selfishness loses thereby that consciousness of God's presence and power which destroys fear in all its forms. It is too busy trying to gratify its selfish, material sense of life in matter to gain that larger sense of infinite Love which banishes all fear.
Let us suppose that one has been without employment for some time and his resources have become rather depleted. After some effort he finally hears of a position which seems very desirable. He makes application for this work and the possibility of securing it seems very favorable. He goes home and does his right thinking as we have been taught in Christian Science. He earnestly prays, "Not my will, but thine, be done," and then leaves it in God's hands, knowing that God, divine Love, will bring out that which is right and best for all. So long as he maintains this scientific attitude and keeps selfishness out, fear will be completely absent. If in God's wisdom it were right and best for him to have the position, nothing could interfere with God's purpose. Surely, if it were not right and best, he would not want it.
But suppose he allowed selfishness to creep in and said something like this: "I have been without employment a long time and need the money very badly. I know that I can do the work and I am determined to secure this position." Then fear would immediately follow in the train of selfishness and say, "But what if I should not secure this position?" Then great anxiety would follow.
Divine Love has unlimited good for us all, and we can fearlessly and joyously trust divine Love to work out that which is best and highest for each and every one of us. I have seen business men enthralled by fear and worry almost to the point of distraction and then when unselfed love and childlike trust in good came into thought, fear would vanish as a dream.
When we know that God's will is wholly good, we can have no fear as to the outcome of any problem if we honestly and sincerely leave the solution to Him. It has been well said that when unselfishness comes in at the door, fear flies out of the window. There is so much of good to reflect, so much of truth and love to manifest, that we can ill afford to waste any time in selfish, material thinking that never leads us toward, but only away from God. Self-seeking gets us nowhere. God-seeking leads to the Heaven of His presence where fear is unknown.
Another phase of the Adam-dream of life in matter that Christian Science completely destroys is the belief in a material past. Many a person, all tangled up in the sticky flypaper of a material past, would and should be doing a grand and noble work for the world, if released from its thralldom. Christian Science has released countless numbers of men and women from this blight of belief in a haunting past and will do it for anyone who learns of God and His creation aright. God is infinite good, the only Creator, Being, or Mind in the universe, and His creation is the only creation there is, ever has been, or ever will be. As the beloved disciple expressed it: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Nothing unlike God ever had any real, true, or actual existence. Nothing that is unGodlike ever had any actuality or real entity. The only place where evil seems to exist is in a false, erroneous, and untrue state of consciousness. It never was any part of God, man, or true creation.
The Christian Scientist has learned that he must promptly reject any and all false beliefs that would try to lead him into accepting as true any phase of evil. Because evil is not true, it never was true. It has no history, past, present, or future, no states nor stages, but is wholly and entirely false and unreal. Any belief to the contrary is only a delusion, devoid of truth or reality. When we dispel evil from thought; we dislodge it from the only place where it even had a seeming existence.
The Bible tells us that "God requireth that which is past." Christian Science shows us that it is just as necessary to redeem the past as it is the present. God has maintained His perfect creation throughout all eternity, and there never was a moment when it did not express Him. God's man has never departed from his eternal and perfect estate. There never was a time when anything existed but God and His perfect ideas. When this immaculate concept is gained, all belief in a material past with its haunting memories of sin, sorrow, and failures is erased from consciousness. Right here is where even the most experienced Christian Scientist needs to be most alert. If error cannot get in at the front door, it sometimes slips around to the back door to gain an entrance. The back door that we need to guard most carefully is a belief in a past. We have learned pretty well the folly of discussing disease, depicting disaster, or dwelling on present difficulties, but if we think that something happened in the past, we feel free to talk about it quite glibly. Is it not self-evident that if we are still retaining it in consciousness, still believing that it happened and that it was a part of our experience, we are giving it the only reality that it ever had? As long as it is a part of our thinking we are still giving it entity and reality and giving it room that should be occupied by something good and true. Mrs. Eddy says on page 530 of Science and Health, "The history of error is a dream-narrative." Error or evil has no past, it never began and that is the end of it. It never marred or changed God and His perfect child, and God's man never fell from his immaculate purity and union with God. Your past has absolutely no power to influence you in any way, but your own attitude towards it determines its seeming power over you.
What a glorious hope this gives us all! How it inspires to gain a greater vision of the Christ and to rejoice in ever-present good instead of bemoaning an unworthy past! Through Christian Science we learn how to think constructively, positively, and affirmatively. Man exists at the standpoint of ever-present good because he is coexistent with God, and what a glorious privilege it is to keep our thoughts steadfast on that which is good and be so occupied with the eternal good which is ever at hand that we have no time for rehearsing the dream of evil.
The Christian world has had many avenues of approach to God, but perhaps the most common one is prayer. In common with other Christian peoples the Christian Scientists also pray, but through the spiritual understanding of prayer that they have learned in Christian Science, their prayers approach the Scriptural standard of the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man which availeth much. They no longer beseech an infinitely good God to change His plans and purposes to suit them, but they have learned how to change their thinking to bring them into accord with God. Judged by the standards of results, Jesus the Christ must have understood how to pray better than any man that ever lived, for through his prayers the sick were healed, the hungry fed, the dead were raised, and every form of evil was destroyed.
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is found an exposition of true prayer that measures up to the very highest standard of Christian prayer and through which instances of every known form of disease, sin, or error have been destroyed. Inasmuch as this understanding of true prayer has brought forth the same results as Jesus attained, is it not reasonable to conclude that we have gained the same perception of the elements of true prayer?
God is infinite good and unchanging Love. Mrs. Eddy has also defined God as divine Principle. This latter term is most helpful in giving us an understanding of how to pray aright. We know that Principle is exact, undeviating, changeless, and eternal. We know that it operates through eternal, immutable laws and fixed rules. To some, the thought of God as Principle seems distant and cold, but in most instances God is referred to in Christian Science as divine Principle, Love. Surely we could have no higher concept of God than as an infinite, loving Principle, unchanging, impartial, unfailing, ever dependable, all-acting, undeviating, and inexhaustible good. To change this Principle would be impossible, and it would be useless to attempt it. Divine Principle being Love, it must be infinitely beneficent, kind, and loving to all. Then the question naturally arises. If prayer cannot change this divine Principle, how does it operate and how does prayer accomplish anything? How do we avail ourselves of the power and activity of any fundamental law? Is it not by bringing our thoughts into accord with it and conforming to its rules? We know that it is only as we obey the principle of mathematics or think mathematically that the rules of mathematics operate in our experience. We know that it is only as we obey the principle and rules of music that the harmony is made manifest. The effort of true prayer is not to change the Principle, but to so conform our thinking to it that we can utilize in our lives God's power, presence, and love. Prayer enables us to realize the unity or at-one-ment between ourselves and God so that His power is manifested in us and through us to glorify Him and bless our fellow-men.
On page 192 of Science and Health we have this profound statement: "Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power." Mrs. Eddy also enumerates many other God-like qualities which are the elements of true prayer, such as patience, meekness, love, good deeds, self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection. This right understanding of prayer is the only one that enables us to pray without ceasing. We never stop thinking, and we soon learn in Christian Science that inasmuch as we are always thinking, we can just as easily be entertaining good thoughts and thus be in an attitude of true prayer. The man who has learned to pray aright soon finds that sometimes his most effective prayers are uttered in the marts of trade, on the street, in the home, on the land, or on the sea. Wherever man is, God is, and they are forever inseparable. True prayer makes one conscious of his unity with God and their eternal at-one-ment as Father and child, Creator and creation. A simple illustration may make this clear to us. This building is wired for electricity which comes from a power house full of electrical energy. The building is plentifully supplied with lights, switches, and everything that is necessary for proper illumination, yet at times the building is in a state of total darkness. Now what is the matter? Everything requisite for having the proper amount of light is there but one; the switch has not been turned on. In the switch is a substance which is a nonconductor of electricity, which breaks the contact between, the power house and the building, and there is another substance which is a conductor of electricity. We turn on the switch and there comes into play the conductor of electricity and we have perfect illumination. True prayer brings into consciousness Godlike or true thoughts, and these enable us to realize the unity or at-one-ment between God and us, and then the light of Truth and Love is reflected through us and in us. Mind, God, can express Himself only in one way and that is through His ideas. He cannot express Himself through the mentality which is entertaining wrong thoughts that are the very opposite of His being and nature. We can now see why our prayers before we knew anything of Christian Science were for the most part unanswered. Did they not almost always start with self, - some selfish desire or plan? True prayer never starts with self, but with God, and every prayer, the sole purpose of which is to glorify God, will never return void. We cannot conceive of God withholding His blessing from any prayer that has for its entire object to express more of Him.
True prayer is always healing prayer, and so we can readily understand that true prayer and treatment are always the same. All the healing work of Christian Science is accomplished through prayer, the prayer that acknowledges only one power, one presence, that of infinite God. Such prayer is not a blind belief but a scientific knowledge of what God is and what His image, man, really is. Our textbook (p. 12) tells us that Jesus' prayers were an "understanding of the divine healing Principle," were "deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." And this race that calls itself fallen and cries aloud for deliverance will find its way back to freedom and dominion only as it finds the way of the Christ as revealed in Christian Science.
True prayer or treatment is the absolute acknowledgment of the perfection of God and the real man. Jesus' entire ministry was based on the perception and understanding of the completeness and perfection of true being. When he was called to go to Lazarus he abode two days where he was before he started. This was not indifference nor neglect, for such qualities of thought were utterly foreign to the loving Jesus, but it was because he knew that life is eternal and indestructible. He did not need to hurry there to save Lazarus' life, for his life was already safe in God's keeping and care. Nothing could happen to it and nothing could take it away. When he fed the multitude he was not at all awed by any seeming lack, but he knew that right there was an abundance which a loving Father had provided and that it would and could be made manifest. Now here comes in a very important point which every one of us needs to bear in mind. He commanded the people to sit down and prepare to receive, and they did receive that which was necessary to their well-being. And so we, too, when we declare God's word, should expect definite results to follow. We should prepare for them and never for a moment doubt that they are forthcoming. How often when we go to a practitioner do we say, "Well, I guess you had better treat me for a few days," or perhaps arrange for so many treatments in advance, instead of knowing confidently and assuredly that God's word cannot be declared in vain but will accomplish perfect freedom and deliverance.
It must be patent that this divinely spiritual means of healing is equally applicable to the overcoming of sin. We hear more of the physical healing because that is the phase of Christian Science that seems distinctive to human thought. Religion has always claimed that God's power could be utilized in overcoming sin, but that we had to rely on material means to overcome sickness. Mrs. Eddy states (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 2) that "the emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin," and in fact the physical healing is only a by-product, a sign following, or result of the mental purification or spiritual regeneration. We learn that fleshly pleasures and fleshly ills go hand in hand, that they are both products of the carnal mind, and can only be permanently healed through putting on the Mind of Christ. One of the indisputable proofs that spiritual healing and regeneration are synonymous is the fact that when thought has been lifted above the sensual or carnal into the spiritual or divine, the healing is permanent and abiding and the trouble can never return. Christian Science is a sure antidote for all sin or wrong because it goes to the very bottom of the trouble and destroys it at its very inception. Every sinful act is preceded by a sinful thought, and if sin were never in thought it never would be acted. Jesus taught that all sin originates in sinful desire, and in destroying the desire the very foundation of sin is destroyed. His method Christian Science has restored and is delivering men and women from the thralldom of sin and evil of every name and nature. It is succeeding where all else has failed. Why? Because it is not only declaring the powerlessness of evil but is denying its very existence. What is declaring the existence and attraction of evil and wrong but false material sense, which Jesus declared is "a liar, and the father of it"? It is utterly baseless and untrue and cannot deceive or mislead us into accepting it as true or real.
By its positive and constructive knowledge of the allness of good, Christian Science furnishes and equips us with an impenetrable armor that renders us immune from every assault of evil. False theology has made the fatal mistake of dwelling on the awfulness of sin and its consequences, but Christian Science shows us how to dwell on the ever-presence of good and utterly deny the existence of evil as entity or reality. When evil seems to assail you, if you are in doubt as to what to do, think about God. Error never calls twice at that mental home whose door is closed and whose occupant is busy within, thinking about God. While we know evil's nothingness we do not ignore it. We overcome it. We do not overlook errors in mathematics, we correct them, not through will-power but through God's power.
During the last few years a great many systems have projected themselves upon public attention claiming that through cultivation the human mind can rid itself of its foibles and troubles. The modern term they generally use is "complex." The agency they generally employ is human willpower or suggestion. Their efforts are doomed to failure, for human willpower is a constituent part of the mortal or carnal mind, and mortal mind cannot overcome mortal mind. Only a higher power, the omnipotent divine Mind, can overcome the seeming power of mortal mind. These systems, one and all, believe firmly in the reality of evil and then attempt to do something with it. If evil is a fact, you cannot destroy it through any agency, but it is not a fact and, therefore, a right and scientific understanding of good will annihilate it.
I would like to tell you of a case in point. A Christian Science practitioner was once called to a hotel to see a man who had telephoned that he was in urgent need of help. Upon arriving at the man's room he found him in a highly nervous state of despair from the effects of drink. He paced up and down the room like a caged lion, voicing his seeming hopeless condition. He was a man of brilliant intellect, a former attorney for a large railroad, an editor of a well-known publication, and a man of considerable attainments. Surely here was a man whom the world would say could master any situation, and yet, here he was in apparently hopeless bondage to evil. He was finally persuaded to sit down, and the practitioner quietly realized the allness of good. No will-power was employed, but the invincible and irresistible power of divine Love was declared and realized, with the inevitable result that the man was instantly healed. My friends, this is only one of innumerable cases of the kind that have been healed through the power of God as revealed in Christian Science. But right here we must be most alert lest we do not think it necessary to make every righteous effort to resist evil in every form, not through will-power but through God's power.
Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 393) to "rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good." She does not say not to rise, but to rise and resist in the right way. In instructing us how to resist evil she uses such words as "firm," "steadfastly," "persistence," "perseverance," etc. Surely she could use no stronger words to describe the right way to oppose evil and error.
How often in our jaunts through the country we see the little brooks by the way babbling over the stones. If we follow them we find them joining a little larger stream called a creek, and then if we follow the creek we find it uniting with a larger river that flows into the ocean. But the little creek did its part in filling the ocean as well as the larger streams, and so every time we destroy some phase of evil and replace it with the good, we are making the sum total of evil less and adding something to the streams of good flowing into the human consciousness. And, oh, this is the joy of Christian Science, that we are not working for ourselves alone but for the good of all mankind. This destroys forever that assassin of happiness, jealousy, that would try to separate those who should be standing shoulder to shoulder. Good is infinite, and every least bit of good that is manifested blesses one and all. The only thing that seemingly obstructs our righteous endeavors is the claim of an evil power opposed to good. Every time any part of this false claim is destroyed the resistance to good has lessened and more of good has been expressed. Every triumph of good is hastening the day when we can joyously say that the "Lord God omnipotent reigneth." We rejoice at every good work and with every good worker, for then we realize that more of good is permeating human consciousness and the whole world is awakening more out of the Adam-dream of evil.
You remember that on one occasion the disciples saw one casting out devils in Jesus' name and they rebuked him, but when they reported to the Master what they had done he promptly pointed out their error in trying to limit the activity of good. Good is universal, and Jesus recognized it and commended it wherever and through whomsoever it was manifested.
Christian Science is leavening the whole human thought and day by day lifting our sense of things higher. Perhaps the most striking proof of this is the fact that since the first publication of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" the death rate in the United States has constantly decreased. To the Christian Scientist the answer is not hard to find. There are thousands upon thousands of people today leading active lives of service and usefulness who have been healed of so-called incurable diseases through Christian Science. Now every time that a so-called fatal disease is healed through Christian Science it is a victory for life. The asserted law of incurable disease has been broken and a greater, fuller, and more abundant sense of life has come into human consciousness. This larger and broader sense of life and being increases faith in good and diminishes and destroys our belief in death, and this leavening process will continue until the whole of human thought is uplifted to behold the divine facts of the allness of Life, the omnipotence of Truth, and the illimitability of Love. Human limitations and restrictions will drop away before the growing recognition of the allness of Mind. The human mind is awakening from its age-old dream of life in matter and evil and is breaking through the barriers of finite material sense and limitation. Almost every day we hear of some new invention that does away in some degree with material labor and brings to man more of freedom, harmony, and dominion. Time and space are being wiped out, and we are gaining a mastery and dominion which is man's rightful heritage. And it is a matter of the most profound significance that almost all the modern wonders of invention and more refined ways of living have come since the discovery of Christian Science. We are working out the dream that man is material, finite, and the slave of sense into the true sense that we are living in God, the divine Mind, where all is good, boundless good, and where all righteous activity is unlabored, free, unrestricted, and fetterless. And think of the great moral advance that has come with the growth and spread of this Christlike religion. I remember when I was a boy my father was a prohibitionist and there were many discussions in our home on the temperance question. At that time even the most optimistic prohibitionist thought that the outlawing of liquor traffic was far in the future. Today it is the law of our land and is fast spreading over the whole world. No one agency is doing more to aid this noble cause than Christian Science. Men and women are learning through Christian Science that good alone is real and hence good alone can satisfy. Man is spiritual and can only find true satisfaction and abiding happiness in spirituality and goodness. Falsity, materiality, and animality can never satisfy, for they are only illusions and have no abiding place in man or true being.
Christian Science is universal and far-reaching. It touches our experiences at every point and meets our deepest human need. Among the problems of human experience there is probably no one that gives us greater concern that the one of supply. Every one of us is engaged in a business of some sort. All have human needs and human occupations that demand our attention. There is probably no fear of the human mind that knocks at the door of our thought more frequently than the fear of lack. The overcoming of lack occupied a conspicuous place in the ministry of Jesus, and Christian Science, being the discovery of the Science of his teachings, proves the abundance of good in exactly the same way he did. God is infinite and immeasurable good and has abundantly supplied His creation with all that is necessary for continuous and harmonious being. The Bible says that He "giveth us richly all things to enjoy." From his infinite storehouse of good He amply provides for His creation all things needful. But to enjoy God's goodness and plentitude we must do our part and that part is to reflect Him. The Bible says that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Now what is the purpose of an image? It is to reflect or express. Man is the expression of God's being and his true function is to reflect, image forth, or manifest God and Godlike qualities. As we do this God's law of abundance operates in our experience and our every need is bountifully supplied. A simple illustration may help us to see this. Before the days of electricity we used kerosene lamps. They did not give out much light, but it was the best that we had. Now in order to increase the light we sometimes used a reflector. This reflector was made of quicksilver, which reflects the rays of light and absorbs almost none. As a result, the room was full of light. Now suppose the reflector had been made of a black substance which absorbed the rays of light, what would have happened? The room would have become dark because the rays of light would have been absorbed, not reflected. It is just so in our experience. When we are expressing, manifesting, and unfolding good our experience is full of light, abundance, and affluence: absorbing or self-seeking, our room or consciousness is full of darkness and lack. As one of our well-beloved hymns puts it;
Make channels for the streams of love,
Where they may broadly run;
For love has overflowing streams,
To fill them every one.
But if at any time we cease
Such channels to provide,
The very founts of love for us
Will soon be parched and dried.
For we must share, if we would keep
That blessing from above:
Ceasing to give, we cease to have,
Such is the law of love.
Can we not see how Jesus was always able to demonstrate instantly everything that was needful? We have no instance of his using his understanding of God's bounty to gratify self or gain some form of self-advantage. In every instance he used the supply that came to him to glorify God and bless his fellowmen. In the case of the loaves and fishes, the multitude had followed him seeking spiritual food and had delayed their departure until the pangs of hunger overtook them. How natural that Jesus should see that their need was supplied. In the case of the tribute money, the need was to pay the tax and help support the government. Jesus' entire ministry was one of giving, not of getting, and as worthy followers of him let us be about our Father's business, doing His will, expressing love and helpfulness wherever we go, and God will surely reveal unto us His unlimited bounty.
Discoverer of Christian Science
No person can understand even a little of Christian Science without being grateful to its Discoverer and Founder. Mrs. Eddy was born of devout New England parents, reared in an atmosphere of deep religious conviction and Christian living, was early a child of the church and a most earnest seeker of that which is holy and good. Her entire life was characterized by the loftiest motives, the holiest aims, the greatest unselfishness, consecration, and purity. No one can ever properly understand Christian Science without properly appreciating its Leader, Mrs. Eddy. Not worldly ambition or selfish human aims brought forth Christian Science. It could only be revealed to a consciousness filled with the very highest degree of humanity, purity, love, and spirituality, and it is only as we embody these qualities in our own lives that we can gain the heights of spiritual vision where we can see what she saw, the divine and eternal realities. Nothing can more surely enable us to reach these heights than an ever increasing gratitude to her who laid her earthly all on the altar of unselfed devotion and the deepest consecration to divine Truth and Love.
If we will follow where she has led and yield loving obedience to her every instruction, we can do no less than reap a rich reward. The way is a joyous way and a loving way. No words of mine could possibly describe the true path to follow as well as her own: "But remember God in all thy ways, and thou shalt find the truth that breaks the dream of sense, letting the harmony of Science that declares Him, come in with healing, and peace, and perfect love" (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 175 and 176).
[Published in The Marion County Mail, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 11, 1930.]