Christian Science: The True Vision
Charles V. Winn, C.S.B., of Pasadena, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
We read in the Bible, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." All the good that has ever come to the world has come by way of vision or discovery; that is, all progress in the onward march of the race has come by reason of someone rising above the common concept of things and attaining a mental eminence where he has discerned facts or truths which before were unknown.
His vision had arisen to that mental height where he had pierced somewhat the veil of ignorance and false belief and had seen the light of some truth hitherto unperceived.
The great benefactors of the race are those who went beyond the confines of commonly accepted theories and gained new vistas of facts which before were unknown. Viewed from even the most material viewpoint, new inventions and discoveries are only results of the utilization of laws and forces which have existed always.
Definition of Christ
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines Christ thus: "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 583). The Christ is that divine idea of God which comes to human consciousness to redeem it or save it from all that is evil, mistaken, or wrong.
Christian Science is the demonstration of the Christ, or spiritual idea, in human affairs, which, when understood, overcomes false beliefs and wrong conditions. It is not a fantastic theory nor a revamping of old beliefs; it is the vision of spiritual facts, of eternal verities which are as old as God Himself, but which have been made plain and understandable to everyone through the scientific interpretation of the Scriptures, as revealed in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this great, healing religion. To grasp its great truths is not difficult. They are readily understood by the pure in heart, the honest seeker, and by the meek and lowly who come knocking at its portals in sincerity and teachableness.
The final proof of any discovery is its provableness, or demonstrability. Anything that cannot afford proof of its verity by actual demonstration is soon discarded and abandoned. No matter how plausible a thing may seem to be, if it cannot be verified by actual works and results it is of no practical value. Nothing yet has ever taken the place of simple proof. The only thing that is necessary to solve any problem or overcome any difficulty is a knowledge of fundamental, spiritual facts. A fact will destroy a falsehood, but a falsehood can never destroy a fact. To illustrate: The fact that a message could be broadcast without the aid of wires destroyed the false belief that such a thing was impossible; but the belief that such a thing was impossible could not and did not prevent a wireless message from being sent. A fact is supreme and invincible, while a false belief or misconception is powerless in the presence of a fact. A fact may be disputed but it cannot be annulled. It may be obscured for a time, but it will eventually destroy that which is contrary to its own unchanging nature. A divine fact will rise triumphant over everything that opposes its all-conquering sway.
A knowledge of facts is generally denominated science. Indeed, the word "science" itself means exact knowledge. Then science must be a vision, or understanding, of facts. The highest or most practical science must be that science which best reveals the eternal facts and demonstrates them in human experience; that is, which gives the most definite and concrete proofs of its verity. Judged by this standard Jesus the Christ must have been the most scientific man that ever lived, and his science must have been the greatest and most valuable science which has ever come to the world. From the standpoint of results or scientific attainment his ministry stands alone and incomparable. All the philosophies and religions of the ages combined, have not brought such blessings to humanity as were accomplished through his scientific understanding. Surely no greater blessing could come to this age or any age than an understanding or vision of the Christ which will enable us to repeat his works and bring to mankind the same facts which so abundantly bless and heal.
What was the science which Jesus demonstrated? The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, tells us on page 30 that because of his spiritual origin he "could demonstrate the Science of Love — his Father or divine Principle." That was the science which Jesus was demonstrating — the truth about God, His Father, the All-in-all of being, the one and only creator and cause. And in proving the science or truth about God he necessarily proved the truth about man, God's law — the truth about life, being, creation, substance, consciousness, and all reality. The Christian Science textbook states on page 38: "Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual idea of divine Love." He said that his mission was to bear witness unto the truth. His true purpose was to reveal the infinitude of Love and Love's ideas and to prove the practicality of this vision in the destruction of Love's so-called opposites, sin, disease, or death.
Only One Creation
This vision of the Christ, this Science of true being, completely repudiated the source or cause of humanity's woes, the belief in duality or two creations. Science declares that since there is only one Father, one cause or divine Principle, there is and can be only one creation or effect. Surely God cannot originate or create anything unlike Himself and there is no other creator that could bring into being any other creation. God must have full knowledge of that which He creates and as He creates only that which is good, nothing unlike good can see or be seen, know or be known. God is the only sustaining power in the universe, and He cannot sustain or perpetuate that of which He knows nothing.
God, infinite Love, loves His creation and must want it to continue to exist and express Him. He would not and could not introduce any element into His creation which would cause its inharmony or destruction. God's creation exists to glorify Him, and nothing contrary to good could enter into His creation to mar His handiwork. "Love's work and Love must fit" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 92, old Hymnal; No. 51, new Hymnal). Jesus knew and demonstrated the complete unity of God and His creation, and because of this understanding he was able to destroy that which was not of God's creating. He understood perfectly the real; therefore anything erroneous or ungodlike could not deceive him. A miner who is thoroughly familiar with gold will not mistake it for lead, and one who is cognizant of actual facts cannot be deceived by false appearances. This vision of the Christ, this perception of unchanging truth, has always been here, and the progress of the race has been in exact proportion to its rejection of the material and finite and its grasp of that which is spiritual, eternal, and enduring. God's perfect, complete creation is here and now, and its beauty and loveliness become apparent to our awakened thought as the vision of the Christ dispels the dream of material thinking. Search and analyze as we may, we find that it is some form of material thinking that is obscuring our vision of that which is right and true.
The True Standard of Thinking
The question naturally presents itself, how are we to know when we are thinking materially and when we are thinking correctly? Christian Science gives us a perfect standard by means of which we can differentiate between the two. It shows us clearly that whatever does not express God is entirely false and baseless. In Washington we have what is called a bureau of standards, and if any question as to a certain weight or measurement arises in commercial life the question is referred to this bureau. Their decision is final, because as far as humanly possible they maintain a perfect standard by means of which everything is measured and to which all must conform. Mrs. Eddy, through her purified and uplifted consciousness, has given us the exact, demonstrable, and scientific truth about God, and as we test every thought by this unfailing truth we have a standard for our thinking which is infallible.
Judged by this standard we can readily see that material thinking is always the exact reverse of true thinking. God is eternal. All materiality is temporal, changing, and dissolving God is Love; all materiality is mutable, imperfect. God is Truth; materiality is untruthful, deceptive, and misleading. God is intelligence; all materiality is inert, non-intelligent, mindless. God is good; all the evil in the world, including every phase of sin, disease, crime, suffering, and death, is the outcome of materiality. God is Life, while materiality eventuates in death, change, and decay. So we can see that materiality is the very opposite of God in every particular. Jesus said that the "flesh profiteth nothing," and Paul said that "to be carnally minded is death." A modern version reads, "The mind of the flesh is death."
As we see that materiality is entirely contrary to God, then we can see that material sense is a false, lying erroneous sense. The vision of the Christ reveals to us that a false material sense never reports the true facts of being, but only a perverted or inverted sense of things. As the vision of the Christ reveals to us all the allness of God, Spirit, and the illusory, evanescent nature of all materiality, then we gain an understanding which furnishes us with a perfect defense against every fraudulent and delusive claim of evil. We cannot be misled, for we see the substantiality of good and the unreality of its seeming opposite.
The world has for many centuries been waiting for what it calls the millennium. While there have been many differing concepts of what the millennium would really be, yet mainly it has been conceived of as a time when all sin will have been overcome and Christ will reign supreme. Christian Science, through its proofs of the unreality of evil, is hastening this glorious day. During the late war, when my wife and I were serving in one of the army camps, one of the other religious workers came to me and said, "We have the same God, the same Christ, the same Bible, but somehow, you Christian Scientists gain results where we seem to fail." I can assure you, my friends, I felt a great sense of humility. The reason for such beneficent results is attributable solely to the fact that Christian Science reveals the truth about God and His Christ; reveals the peace and beauty of holiness, and evil's unreality is so clearly seen that it ceases to attract or allure. We do not follow an illusion when once its false nature is discovered.
In the early days of aviation I was once in a crowd who were looking up at what they thought was an airplane. Many comments were heard about this last wonder of the age which bids fair to revolutionize modern transportation. All at once it was discovered that what we were looking at was only a box kite. I do not think I ever saw a crowd disperse quite so rapidly as they did. In a few moments everyone had quietly slipped away and no one was to be seen. Why? Because the illusion had been broken, the deception had been exposed.
All the illusions of material sense will vanish in the same way. In the present troublous times unhappiness and suffering seem to be the order of the day, but out of it all we should learn a great lesson. We should see how we have vainly built our seeming happiness on materiality, worldly success and fleeting pleasures. We should learn that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace," and peace and true joy are inseparable from spiritual-mindedness. The joys of Spirit are not fleeting and evanescent, but abiding and continuous.
The Bible tells us of the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." How beautifully clear has Mrs. Eddy made this in her definition of the Lamb of God as "the spiritual idea of Love" (Science and Health, p. 590). As the vision of the Christ unfolds to us, the beauty, grandeur and glory of God's creation, we shall love the things of Spirit, we shall entertain only spiritual ideas, and we shall cognize the spiritual facts in all their loveliness.
Perhaps one of the greatest blessings which Christian Science has brought to us is the understanding that we do not have to make the imperfect, perfect; the material, spiritual; the abnormal, normal; nor the mortal, immortal. The vision of the Christ, "the spiritual idea of Love," so clarifies our vision that we see not "through a glass, darkly," but clearly, the perfect creation of God. We know that if we go into a beautiful garden wearing dark glasses everything appears dark to us, but when we remove the dark medium through which we are looking, we see the flowers in their beauty and loveliness. As our thought is spiritualized and uplifted above the mists of sense into the sunlight of spiritual vision and reality we gain a glorified concept of everything we see. We are not cold and indifferent to our surroundings, but we try to improve and uplift them. Spiritual love leavens our entire experience and influences all our thinking. When Jesus and his three disciples gained that great vision of spiritual reality on the mount of transfiguration, this vision did not make Jesus oblivious of the human need but enabled him more effectually to meet and supply that need; for the first thing which he did upon his return to the valley was to heal a severe case of epilepsy which had defied the efforts of his disciples. This glorified vision enables us to see all things and everybody in their true light and loveliness.
To my thought one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible is the account of Jesus preparing breakfast for his disciples just previous to his ascension. At the very time when he was about to rise above all materiality to a full realization of his divine sonship, his sublime and exalted love was expressed in human tenderness and thoughtfulness. How quickly criticism, coldness and indifference are dissolved in the crucible of such immaculate love!
Frequently we read an account of how some painting of an old master has been discovered in an attic or musty garret. An expert is put to work on it, the dust and soil are removed, and the real painting shows forth in its pristine beauty. What a priceless privilege it is to ascend our mount of spiritual illumination and then with that exalted vision help to remove the grime and dirt of false, sinful, material thinking from the lives and experiences of men!
The Scriptures tell us, "Our conversation is in heaven." A modern version puts it, "Our citizenship is in heaven." As we gain the vision of the Christ our conversation becomes such as is fitting to one who is a citizen of the heavenly realm. Knowing what is real and God-created our words are with power and authority. We voice only the harmonious and eternal, that which will bring forth the fruits of love. There are many instances where the conversation of a Christian Scientist has so convincingly declared the truth of being that so-called incurable diseases have disappeared. What a privilege it is to think, act and speak as if we were in the very presence of God, and thus see the human sense-dreams of disease and discord vanish from sight and experience!
A Christian Scientist at one time met a fellow Scientist who, until that time, was thought by him to be an entire stranger. To his amazement he was told that he had been instrumental in bringing this stranger to an investigation of Christian Science. It seemed that the first mentioned Scientist had been employed in a public office to which the latter went to transact some business and was much impressed by the conversation and bearing of the Scientist, so much so that, upon learning that he was a student of Christian Science, he decided to turn to it for healing. As a result, a beautiful healing took place, an account of which later appeared in The Christian Science Journal. What greater blessing could come to one as a result of ordering one's conversation aright?
The Christ Healing Effectual
The vision of the Christ is the greatest healing agent in the world today. It heals effectually, permanently, and completely. As it permeates more and more the hearts and lives of men, disease will vanish from off the face of the earth, and it cannot be overcome in any other way. We are told on page 390 of Science and Health, "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." As disease is due to an ignorance of God, surely, nothing but the true understanding of Him will overcome it. Is it not a matter of the greatest significance that he who had the greatest understanding of God was also the world's greatest healer? Many of our leading physicians are admitting the mental cause of disease. While it is a step in advance to see the mental origin of disease, until one learns the spiritual or divinely mental remedy disease can never be fully overcome. Indeed until one gains the true knowledge of God which destroys disease he may be led into very grievous errors. Christian Science declares and proves that all disease is due to fear, ignorance, or sin, all of which are beliefs of the human mind and which are unknown to the divine. Then it is self-evident that the human mind cannot overcome its own errors. You cannot lift yourself over the fence by your own bootstraps. Humanity has tried for centuries to overcome disease through material means, and only failure has followed. It is equally fallacious to try to overcome the errors of the human mind through human will or hypnotism. The human mind can be redeemed only through a higher power, that is, the divine Mind, and when the errors of the human mind have been replaced by the ideas of the divine Mind, permanent healing will follow.
In the New Testament several accounts are given of Jesus having cast out devils, whereupon the disease disappeared. The disease was overcome and the evil belief cast out simultaneously. As long as the devil, or evil belief, remained in thought, the disease seemed to continue. You remember the Scriptures record that when Jesus healed the dumb man, "when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake." The belief of impairment and inharmony had to be lifted from the human mind through the vision of the Christ. Man had to be seen as he really is, the perfect son of a perfect Father. It was the mind which was in Christ Jesus seeing only what the Father saw which obliterated the false concept, and then the perfect appeared. The perfection of being must be constantly seen and understood. Christian Science not only uncovers the mental cause of disease but it also eradicates the cause. If one realizes that his trouble is due to hate, for instance, that does not effect a cure, but a clear understanding of the allness of Love would destroy both cause and effect. There is no hate in the realm of reality and there can be no effect from something that does not exist in God's kingdom.
Christian Science is very compassionate in its ministry; it is not accusatory or condemnatory, but healing and uplifting. The carnal mind has deceived us all in times past, and now that we are enlightened as to its deceptions we need show great charity in dealing with our fellow men. How compassionate our great Master was in all his healing work! What divine compassion he showed to the woman taken in adultery! He was not by any means glossing over her wrongdoing but he was casting the sin out, not by seeing it as a person, but by knowing that it was nothing, and nobody. Only he who has immaculate purity in his own heart can see clearly the falsity of error and thus destroy it. He who walks in the light can safely guide those who have seemingly lost their way.
Amongst the early Christians the Apostle Paul attained a great vision of the Christ. He who at one time was arrogant, self-righteous, and self-assertive became a meek, devoted follower of the Master. His life and writings have been the inspiration of mankind for centuries. His career is an outstanding example of the transforming power of the Christ, Truth. He who bade us have the mind of Christ also gave us the sure way of attaining it. Hear his admonition in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; . . . think on these things." A faithful adherence of these lofty precepts would give us such a vision of the Christ as would bring heaven to earth.
Let us briefly consider these divine admonitions and see how we can apply them in a practical way. While most of us think that we generally tell what is true, judged by the spiritual truth we find we fall far short. Spirit, alone, is real, abiding, and enduring. Then, speaking absolutely, nothing is true but that which is the expression, or manifestation, of Spirit. Spirit and good are synonymous; so in the real sense of things good alone is actual. Anything that is contrary to good has no foundation in fact. It is baseless. Then we are thinking truly only when we are seeing, knowing, and cognizing that which is good. If we are seeing, knowing or recognizing anything evil as real, to that extent we are untruthful. This may come as a distinct shock to many of us but it is true, nevertheless. To the extent that we are seeing as real that which is unspiritual or unlike good, to that extent we are bearing false witness. We must bear witness at all times to the spiritual facts of being. We must be faithful to our vision of the Christ, and then we shall carry with us a healing consciousness wherever we go.
When a man is falsely accused of wrongdoing he summons what is known as character witnesses who vouch for his integrity and honor. Let us be character witnesses at all times, bearing true witness to the true nature of God, His character and attributes, and His perfect image, or reflection, man.
Nothing is more essential in gaining a vision of the Christ than a high sense of honesty. Of this, as well as of every other virtue, Christian Science gives us a most exalted sense, one that can be practically applied in our daily affairs. Ordinarily we think of honesty as truth-telling, or accuracy of speech, but Christian Science goes farther and shows us how we must be honest in our thinking and concepts. As honesty permeates our thinking, our judgments become honest as well as our words. We not only say the right thing, but we think the right thing. We not only talk about others as we would have them talk about us, but we think about others as we would have them think about us. The vision of the Christ so exalts our concepts and estimates that we try to think as God would have us think. We are not truly honest unless we think in accordance with the standard of perfection. The standard of Christlike thinking was clearly enunciated by our great Master when he said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." As we conform to this perfect standard, imperfection and discord vanish from our experience. A Christian Scientist was at one time afflicted with a very painful, stubborn disease. The suffering seemed to come from a very deep sense of irritation. One day when the suffering seemed very great, he turned the searchlight within to find where he had fallen short of the true standard which Christian Science sets up for us all. He discovered that what others did seemed to irritate him, that criticism and condemnation were occupying thought where love and compassion should have been at the helm. As these unworthy mental conditions were cast out, as an honest estimate of others was exercised in place of uncharitableness, as love replaced hate and criticism, and as kindness displaced irritability, the disease vanished into its native nothingness, never to return.
Honesty and truth are inseparable, and we are honest in the highest sense of the term when we are thinking in accord with absolute Truth. One of the commonest forms of dishonesty is to withhold from another that which is rightfully his. Man, in his true being, is the perfect image of the Father. God has endowed him with holiness, health and perfection. And we should never see man in any way other than as expressing those divine attributes. We owe it to ourselves and to our brother to see him as God made him, and not as error is disguising him. It is only false, material sense that would see man as other than perfect. Surely we want to see man as he actually is. We want to be in the uplifting and restoring business. In the twenty-third Psalm we read, "He restoreth my soul"; and what more lucrative employment could we be in than that of constantly restoring our vision of the Christ, and seeing only what is true and honest about everyone?
True Love Restores
The Bible says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." God is man's life and surely we can never lay down our true God-given life, but we can lay down fully and completely our false material sense of life, our erroneous concepts, our false estimates of ourselves and others, and thus restore to our friends the true, spiritual facts of which material sense would rob them.
What a beautiful example we have of the restorative value of the vision of Christ in the case of the man who fell among thieves! Surely our Master was not commending the good Samaritan merely because he supplied physical comforts, although that was very praiseworthy. But there is a more valuable lesson here for us all. This parable was given by Jesus to answer the lawyer's question, Who is my neighbor? We generally think of our neighbors as those with whom we associate, those whom we live with or in close proximity to, those with whom we come in daily contact. It is self-evident that we live with our thoughts; surely nothing is closer to us than our own thinking. There is nothing that we come into more intimate contact with than our own mental concepts. Then should we not see to it that we associate with only the noblest, highest, and most spiritual concepts, the most honest, truthful facts about God and His perfect man, and thus restore to our neighbor those divine rights of which he has been unjustly and fraudulently robbed?
There are many, many instances which prove that the vision of the Christ restores God's great and precious gifts to man. A lady was visiting in my home city. She had been deprived of the sight of one eye since childhood. Her parents had taken her to many eminent physicians, but no healing was accomplished. One day she was calling on a friend and spoke of her seeming blindness. The friend asked, "Do you not realize that you are God's child?" Now we know that God's child is never lacking in anything good. This lady started to motor to her home in the Middle West. As she journeyed, everything seemed to look especially beautiful, and upon making a test, she found that her sight had been perfectly restored. The vision of the Christ had dispelled the darkness of material sense. In another instance, a Christian Scientist was threatened with a lawsuit. At first a deep sense of resentment rose in thought, but this was quickly overcome. Then an earnest effort was made to gain a vision of the Christ and see only the true, honest man of God's creating. As a result an amicable settlement was consummated, and today the ones concerned are the best of friends. Their business relations from that day to this have been most satisfactory.
Another quality of thought needed at this hour is justice so the apostle's injunction to be just is a very timely one. How quickly the vision of the Christ does away with injustice and unjust thinking of every sort! Isaiah must have glimpsed a great vision when he described God as "a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me." God is infinite, impartial, and illimitable Love. In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 150), Mrs. Eddy has given us this beautiful truth about Deity, "Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as Life, Truth, and Love." God's love is all-inclusive and all-enfolding. His power and presence are available in all, everywhere. The vision of the Christ would do away with injustice and wrong of every sort.
What is at the bottom of all unjust, envious thinking but the belief that God is partial; that He gives to some and withholds from others; that some people are gifted and that some are limited; that good is limited and is not accessible to all? What is at the bottom of jealous fear but the belief that one can deprive another of some form of good? What is it that starts factions and strife but the belief that the interests of some are opposed to the interests of others? The vision of the Christ does away with all this. The Bible tells us that it is the "Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." The function of God's creation is to glorify Him. God's creation is a complete whole of which every idea is a constituent and necessary part. Every idea of God complements every other idea. Injustice, unfairness, and contention are no part of God's kingdom, and as this fact is realized we shall dwell together in contentment and peace.
Let us suppose that a number of people live near the shores of a beautiful lake. The situation is ideal except for one thing, and that is the fact that one of the most beautiful views of the lake is obstructed by a high piece of land. One of the landowners determines to remove the obstruction. Is it not patent to all that if every neighbor joined with all the rest and united his efforts with those of the others to remove the obstruction, the beautiful view would be obtained more quickly by all? Every blemish which is removed from human consciousness by true thinking is enhancing the very highest interests of all and blessing everyone. What a glorious day it will be when we see that God's blessings are impartially bestowed on all!
Purity is a great help in gaining the vision of the Christ. While Christian Science insists upon the very highest moral rectitude, still it goes much farther in its standard of purity. Mrs. Eddy states on page 510 of Science and Health, "To discern the rhythm of Spirit and to be holy, thought must be purely spiritual." Holy, holiness and wholeness are synonymous terms in Christian Science. Indeed, they all come from the same root word. The vision of the Christ reveals God's creation as wholly good, wholly pure, wholly right, entirely free from every taint or belief in matter, evil, sin, disease, or wrong — that God's universe is perfect, right, spiritual, complete. Christian Science shows us that we must not depart in the least from the pure, unsullied, immaculate conception. We must have ever before us this perfect model; we must not in any degree depart from this pure and wholly good vision of God's handiwork. As we hold this perfect concept ever before us, perfection and loveliness are manifested in our lives; beauty, symmetry, grandeur, and health are manifested in our experience.
How does one become a musician? Is it not by ever keeping in mind that there is a principle of harmony which if understood and applied brings concord? How does one become an artist except by embodying beautiful ideas and concepts in his thinking and then transferring them to canvas? How does one become a sculptor, except by first holding in thought beauty, form, outline and symmetry, and then bringing out these qualities in his completed work? As one of our hymns beautifully puts it (Hymnal, No. 50; Old Hymnal, No. 383; New Hymnal):
"Whatever dims thy sense of truth,
Or stains thy purity,
Though light as breath of summer air,
Count it as sin to thee."
The Christ Vision Practical
If the artist, the musician, the sculptor ever strives to conform his efforts to the perfect, can we do less as metaphysicians and Christian Scientists? But perhaps someone may say: I am a very busy person, with many material duties to perform. I cannot be thinking about spiritual things all the time. Now let us see. We are always thinking something. Whatever we are doing, we are thinking about it. Then it is just as easy to think correctly or rightly about it as to think incorrectly. There is a right way to do everything and why not conform to the right or perfect way? It entails no more effort to entertain a right, spiritual concept than an imperfect belief. The vision of the Christ uplifts and ennobles everything that we do or say. It is not something visionary or impractical, but it is transforming and enobling. Surely its greatest value can be and must be proved in our everyday walk and conversation.
Love and Loveliness
The vision of the Christ is most clearly revealed to him who ever entertains in thought that which is lovely. A lovely heart will expand into a life of beauty and grace. It is proverbial that flowers will grow better and express more beauty for the one who loves them. Life has been well likened to a garden. Human lives thrive most vigorously when grown and nourished in the soil of love. We are all striving for a more expansive and fuller life. Everyone, no matter what his station in life may be, is trying to improve his affairs. All are seeking a better sense of things. We are seeking to overcome limitations of various sorts. In Science and Health we read on page 57, "Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it." How simple and practical Mrs. Eddy has made the way in this beautiful passage! But this love which she so highly recommends to us is far removed from the ordinary concept of love. Many times what is called love has no connection with love whatsoever. Upon close analysis we find that much of what we call love is only self-love; that is, we love the other fellow in so far as he can do something for us. This is not the love which the vision of Christ brings to us. The true love is that from which every form of selfishness has been eliminated and because it loves God supremely, loves because it reflects the great love of the Father.
There is a legend of one whose life was filled with good deeds. He performed those deeds so quietly and unselfishly that oftentimes the doer of the deeds was lost sight of, so he was called "The Holy Shadow." He who has gained the vision of true love, as revealed in Christian Science, loves only as the Father loves and self is forgotten.
The injunction of the apostle to think only on those things of good report is indeed a most valuable one in gaining the Mind of Christ. If we reported or repeated only that which is true and lovely, silence profound would reign many times. Infinite good is the All-in-all. The only valid testimony is that which declares the infinitude of good. A belief of evil is only a false report, an utter delusion. It gains credence when someone accepts it. You will recall that in the Book of Job, when the question was put to Satan, "Whence comest thou?" he answered, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Christian Science shows that the only Satan of evil there is, is so-called mortal mind, which is nothing but an aggregation of false beliefs, or delusions. These false beliefs are groundless, without foundation. In and of themselves they are false and baseless. They only seem to have power when they attach themselves to something, or when someone gives them credence in his thinking. Then if we refused to give credence to, believe in, or harbor any false report, it would find itself without support. A false report may seem to disturb greatly, but once its falsity is learned, it no longer has any semblance of reality.
To gain admittance to a foreign country we must have a passport and the proper credentials which give proof that we have a right to enter the country. Should not our mental home be as well guarded? When any report comes to us, let us be sure that it bears the credentials of our Father, infinite Love — that it comes with his approval and stamp.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
As we gain this vision of the Christ, our hearts will be filled with gratitude to her whose great love and steadfastness has made the Christ-way so plain for us all. To bring more of the Christ into human lives was Mrs. Eddy's constant and absorbing aim. No sacrifice was so great, no task so laborious, no work so difficult that it could keep her from her life's goal, namely, to bring this vision of the Christ into the hearts and lives of men. Her work was founded on unselfed love and the very loftiest motives. She was guided by divine wisdom and she built on an immortal basis, the true understanding of God and man.
What a great reward will be ours as we pay our debt to her in the coin of unselfish service and holy living! It should be our constant endeavor to follow her precepts and noble example. One of the ways which she employed in bringing this vision of the Christ to humanity was the founding of the Christian Science church. Its entire purpose is to bring to mankind the healing Christ. What a privilege it is to work for this church, attend its services, support faithfully its every activity, and help carry on its loving mission!
As we are faithful to the vision of truth, to the vision of the Christ, we shall, as Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 125), "press on to Life's long lesson, the eternal lore of Love; and learn forever the infinite meanings of these short sentences: 'God is Love;' and, All that is real is divine, for God is All-in-all."
[Delivered March 30, 1933, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, New York Avenue and Dean Street, Brooklyn, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 31, 1933. The title of the lecture was supplied from another copy.]