God, the One Infinite Mind
Bicknell Young, C.S.B., of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
We live in the most interesting age in human history. Many things are happening hourly, any one of which in former times would have been considered an event for a century. Wonders pile upon wonders until they excite little more than passing interest in a world which has been thrilled so often that it seems no longer capable of experiencing enthusiasm. Comforts and conveniences have literally made a new material earth, but the spiritual earth, "wherein dwelleth righteousness," though often declared to be the greatest need of mankind, seems as distant as it ever was, so that fear is entertained and expressed that civilization itself, notwithstanding its striking and inspiring material progress, may collapse under the strain of its own moral turpitude and consequent mistakes and misfortunes.
In the face of all this it is beginning to be generally believed, and to discerning people it is clearly obvious, that the world stands at the parting of the ways. Material thoughts expressing themselves in material methods have failed to bring peace, and yet peace and happiness constitute the aim of all endeavor, and thus mankind is being forced to the conclusion that a path different from those commonly pursued must be found and followed, if peace and happiness, individual and universal, are ever to be anything more than a mere hope.
In this uncertainty, in all this turmoil of fear and difficulties innumerable, stands Christian Science unmoved. It has already justified itself and its Discoverer by healing inveterate and so-called fatal diseases, by redeeming men and women from vice and sin, and by binding up the brokenhearted in thousands of instances.
Known chiefly as a spiritual system of healing, and nowadays almost universally respected as such, still the sublime meaning and divine possibilities of Christian Science are but slightly apprehended. To grasp something, of the true import of this Science, not only to yourselves individually but to all mankind, it is necessary to extend thought beyond the limited frontiers of ordinary material perceptions and beliefs, to recognize and consider the false mental influences which bring suffering, sorrow and death, and to permit Christian Science to explain the availableness of that divine power which annuls such influences and which the Bible says will, not only "bear thee up, . . . lest thou dash thy foot against a stone," but will heal "all thy diseases."
For these reasons, and for many others which might be enumerated, we have not invited you in order to make any kind of an appeal to your credulity. We do not ask you to believe anything. We would not excite your emotions or your religious feelings, by a single word, even if the lecturer upon this occasion possessed the power to do so. We propose to make no assault upon your intellectual integrity, but rather to permit you to call forth all of its powers in order that you may consider what is said, uninfluenced by anything other than pure reason and good sense.
In the great dramatic poem called "The Book of Job," in the Bible, Eliphaz, after recounting the glory, majesty and power of God in many striking and noble figures of speech, admonishes Job in the words: "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." This is exactly the call of Christian Science to every human being. There is nothing in it or to it unlike peace, because by its very name it is both a promise and a fulfillment, and it is necessarily a joyful way of becoming acquainted with God. At the very outset, it removes the fears and superstitious beliefs which have been associated so frequently and so erroneously with mankind's thought of Deity. It announces fundamentally that nothing fearful, afflictive, severe, condemnatory or destructive ever had origin or being in God, and it establishes this fact irrefutably so that we learn to love and trust God spontaneously, thereby taking the first great step towards loving our neighbor as ourselves, two commands which Jesus said were the greatest of all.
The wise men wrote: "Get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding," Understanding implies thinking. We can all think, but we scarcely realize that we can all be great thinkers in the sense of being good thinkers. We can all gain thoughts which are purely spiritual, and we can make them practical in our lives through Christian Science, which enables us to recognize their origin and prove their power. Prior to the advent of Christian Science no such thing was scientifically possible, because uninstructed by Christian Science the natural ability which we possess to gain and exercise spiritual power lies dormant.
Though rarely considered by the everyday man or woman, yet our ability to think is the greatest of our possessions and the only means by which we can know the truth which Jesus said would make us free. We accept this supreme possession merely as a matter of course, but none of us would voluntarily part with it, and if some one were to come here and offer any of you a million dollars in exchange for it, under the strange and fantastic impression that he could improve his own intelligence by acquiring yours, not one of you would consider the offer, and even if he could lay the whole world and the wealth of the world at your feet in exchange for what you call your mind, or your capacity to think, the proposal would not even tempt you, but would instantly bring some such response as: "Thank you. Much obliged, but if I had the world and the wealth of the world, and could not think, I would not know that I had it."
Thus it is easily seen that each one of us already possesses that which outweighs the wealth of the whole material world, and when one awakes to this fact the questions naturally arise: Am I using this priceless possession in a manner commensurate with its value? Is it doing everything for me that it might do if properly cultivated? Is it enabling me to do for others all that I would like them to do for me? Am I heeding the admonition, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace?"
When you find people here and there, and, in these days, more or less everywhere, who can answer these questions with some degree of satisfaction to themselves and of usefulness to others, you will find that they belong to that class known as Christian Scientists. You will find too that the measure of peace which they have attained has been gained through Christian Science, which explains the true standard and true rule by which to gauge and carry on both thought and action, because it is the Science of righteous thinking, which means accurate and correct thinking as well as moral and holy thinking.
You will also find that Christian Science has fulfilled all the legitimate requirements of science every step of the way. This is strikingly true in regard to the discovery of this Science, for in modern times research is inevitably associated with science, and research was not wanting in the preliminary steps which led to the establishment of this religious and scientific system. That research, however, was not material. It appertained exclusively to Mind, and consequently all the phenomena involved in such research were mental. They were thoughts, ideas and even beliefs, for nothing important that can be classified as mental escaped the searching analysis of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, while carrying on for many years the remarkable intellectual and spiritual investigation that resulted in the discovery of the true system of Mind-healing, which she so aptly denominated Christian Science.
Her discovery sprang from a right concept of God. This concept satisfies reason and agrees with revelation. It adds grandeur as well as practical helpfulness to the Christian religion. It especially associates immanence with God, and thereby makes the divine law available to mankind. In so doing it exposes the erroneous nature of many religious opinions. Mrs. Eddy saw that the infinite cannot be included or encompassed. Neither can it be outlined or imagined. Moved by profound sincerity and sustained by the deepest spiritual conviction, she was obliged to point out the error which depicted God as a form, and she showed that the all-inclusiveness of Deity, while embracing everything which is true, could not possibly be embraced by or encompassed in a personality, or in anything whatsoever.
For this reason and for others equally cogent, she announced the great primal fact of all science and of all religion in the words: "God is Mind," arid she proved this statement to be both true and available during many years of actual practice, by healing through the power of the divine Mind alone many cases of diseases that are regarded as incurable by the prevailing material methods of healing.
In the same way Mrs. Eddy's followers, Christian Science practitioners throughout the world, in the exact proportion to their understanding of the power of the divine Mind, gained through the study of her books, and more particularly "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science, are doing the same work that she did. This fact illustrates and accentuates the practical value of this Science. It is the thing that at first calls attention to Christian Science. Most of us are here to-night either because we have been helped or healed by this Science, or because we have heard of instances of such help or healing.
I have no excuse to offer, for speaking of this Science sometimes dogmatically and at all times with supreme confidence. If it were of human origin, or if it depended upon personality, this would be presumptuous on my part, but it is the one Science by which we learn to turn to God in the extremity of danger or suffering, or in the hour of happiness and success, as the case may be, and find succor or healing on the one hand, or the poise born of the understanding that all blessings are from God, to preserve us from reaction on the other.
It is the divine Mind which saves and heals in Christian Science, and therefore in order to experience the protection or healing power of Christian Science, one must seek to understand and demonstrate the divine Mind. Mrs. Eddy writes in her book Science and Health (p. vii), "The time for thinkers has come," and one who reads her books attentively can scarcely fail to observe that she is equally insistent upon the fact that the time to think has come.
The general opinion of mankind is to the effect that the ability to think is dependent upon matter. So much is this the case that if you speak to a person about his mind or yours it is more than likely that he will answer in terms of matter. His education and belief tend to make mind and brains synonymous. Christian Science shows that they are not so, but that they are, on the contrary antithetical, for Mind, God is Spirit, and matter is always the opposite of Spirit. As already indicated Christian Science declares that the one infinite God of Christendom is one infinite Mind, which, being infinite, is unquestionably capable of doing all the thinking that needs to be done, or that can really be done. It shows also that human beings are not thinking with their brains even when they suppose that they are, for matter, that is to say, brains, is always nonintelligent. There is no such thing as thinking matter.
I am aware that this point sometimes excites unfavorable comment, not to say offense, and that it merits an elaboration which it is impossible to give in the course of a lecture necessarily covering many points. I therefore offer it to you without full explanation, convinced as I am that further consideration on your part will lead you to the inevitable conclusion that the various material elements constituting brains are no more intelligent as brains, per se, than they are as any other part of the body, and I am led to feel encouragement in your behalf by a remark made by a physician to a friend of mine not long since to the effect that medical science was now ascribing the power to think to the finger tips rather than to the brain. I will add however, that no part of the human body is doing any thinking, not even the finger tips, and it is hardly necessary to say that any such attempts to account for intelligence would involve us in the same old round of being driven from one untenable theory to another.
Jesus declared that he came to fulfill the law, that he came to save that which was lost, that he came to save men's lives, not to destroy them. Accordingly Christian Science has not come to destroy anything that is essential to a human being's existence or welfare. While it repudiates the proposition that such a glorious thing as the power to think could spring from or be dependent upon nonintelligent matter, it does not teach that we are to be deprived of our brains. On the contrary it shows us that in the measure that Christian Science is understood and demonstrated, the human body, including brains, is improved in health.
This is accomplished just so fast as we understand the source of all true thinking. What is that source? Seeing that human beings are not thinking with their brains, how is it possible to explain thinking? The comprehensive and originating power and presence of Deity is set forth in the statement "God is Mind," that is to say, real Mind is God. In that statement we find an explanation of our ability to think. We can never find it in matter or in material theories. The divine Mind, God, ever conscious, ever knowing, must necessarily be the origin and true activity of our thinking capacity. Therefore we must conclude that our ability to think is originally a divine gift and without question should be exercised only in a divine way. This is a moral and spiritual awakening and all the deeper and truer feelings of our nature respond to it, but the demand that we learn to think divinely would overwhelm us, were it not for the simple and profound teaching of Christian Science by which the course is pointed out and rendered practicable.
Therefore in common with all other Christian teaching and in accordance with the Bible, Christian Science admonishes us to have only one God, one Mind. Also in common with the generally accepted doctrines of religion and philosophy, it maintains the eternality of God and the consequent perfection of God. From this standpoint it proves that no destructive thing could emanate from God, the divine Mind, for destruction is utterly unknown to eternality. Thinking, therefore, accords with its original and only real source when it is good, and it is good only when, admitting that it has power to affect the thought and lives of mankind, it is equally good for all mankind in both intention and result.
Clearly the more our thinking conforms to such a standard, the more helpful and beneficial it will be. Jesus said to his disciples, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." It would be foolish to suppose that he expected them to become suddenly perfect; he was teaching them how to think. There are no short cuts to this way. You cannot find it through belief or emotion or sentiment or anything different from actual education, and that too of the highest nature. This way of deliverance is universal. Hence it is appealing to the intellectuality and morality of the age as no other system has ever done. Therefore the most that I ask of you on this occasion is that you shall think, and yet in saying this I am aware that I am asking you to do the greatest thing that any human being can ever do, and the only really important thing that he ever does.
Incidentally the slipshod ways and immature conclusions which most of us have called thinking may easily be made to give place to the correctness in method and judgment which characterize real thinking. By this I do not mean to imply mere intellectuality. If the race could have been saved by intellectuality it would have gained both happiness and holiness centuries ago. Jesus repudiated the intellectuality of his time, and yet as a philosopher, and Christian Science shows, as a Scientist, he was superior to all the intellectuals of his own or of any other age.
There can be no question but that divine results must ensue progressively as step by step we learn to think divinely, for the simple reason that thought is doing everything and that matter of itself can do nothing. Such thinking is prayer in the highest sense of the word.
Prayer has been frequently construed to mean mere petition to a distant God. Results individual and collective have not justified such interpretation. In Christian Science prayer is not petition to God but is communion with God, the one infinite Mind. Such prayer by its results inspires and justifies increasing confidence in God.
That such prayer can heal the sick a doubting world has been forced to acknowledge through overwhelming evidence. As you seek to gain the prayer which heals, you will see that it rests upon an understanding of God, and you will also see the necessity of an unremitting endeavor to gain this understanding. The recognition of the divine Mind as the source and substance of true thinking will begin first to improve then utterly to reform all your habits of thought. At the same time, you will ascribe more power to good and less power to evil than you have been in the habit of doing. This good habit will grow upon you and will advance from intention to spontaneity, so that you will have the satisfaction of observing the transformation of both character and life day by day through the prayer which is both scientific and Christian.
The Bible is full of this prayer. When St. John wrote, "God is love," he stated not only a most beautiful religious doctrine, but also an incontrovertible or scientific fact, for the eternality of God requires perfection and no Christian doubts the eternality of God. This universally accepted idea involves us in the conclusions set forth in Christian Science. Some of these conclusions are more or less known to the public, but often are only considered superficially or thoughtlessly, and are sometimes on that account rejected as absurd. This is particularly noticeable in regard to the Christian Science explanation of disease. Every other system that claims to heal disease, or that attempts to do so, holds disease to be natural and real. Christian Science declares it to be unnatural and unreal.
The reason for this attitude, however, is not whimsical, nor foolishly optimistic, it is purely scientific and Christian. It is scientific because reason shows us that the Eternal could not be the author of anything destructive, nor even conceive of destruction or of a destructive element. It is Christian because even an ordinary human being influenced only by the common standards of ethics and morality, supposing that he could be elevated to deific power and could launch a universe into being, could not be induced to put in it such experiences as sin, disease, war, disaster and death. Consequently it is inconceivable that the infinite Mind, the God who is Love, perfection, could do any such thing.
Because of this Christian and scientific conclusion drawn from the undoubted, unquestioned and unquestionable eternality of God, Christian Science classifies all destructive agencies under one heading. It calls them all error, a purely scientific classification. Of course in the last analysis, all error is unreal, otherwise it would not be error. Twice two is five is not the science of arithmetic but a mere statement of error in regard to arithmetic. Just as in all other sciences, so in Christian Science proper classification of all phenomena is for the sole purpose of bringing about the destruction of error, a mission which Christian Science is fulfilling in such a striking way as to arouse the expectant hope of mankind.
Therefore the belief that disease or any other evil could originate in Deity in some inscrutable way, or in any way whatsoever, or be any part of God's plan, purpose or permission, is shown to be false and is utterly repudiated in the teaching of Christian Science. In this connection it is encouraging to observe that many honest earnest men and women of differing denominations are in full accord with Christian Science in this respect. Most of them, however, in common with the rest of mankind, believe that disease has its inception and being in the human body, and that in consequence it can only be successfully coped with through material methods of healing, but Christian Science takes radical issue with this conclusion also. It shows that the material body is not the seat of disease.
Almost everybody knows that the material body is mostly water, that is to say, it is between seventy-five and eighty per cent water. Now without going any further we can see beyond all question that at least seventy-five per cent of the human body cannot suffer, for water is devoid of sensation. If you should take the pains to look further into the chemical analysis of the material body you would find that the other twenty-five or twenty per cent consists of elements equally devoid of sensation, and you would be therefore forced to conclude that the human body of itself cannot originate, evolve, sustain or perpetuate, disease of any kind whatsoever.
The only conclusion that can be drawn logically or consistently from such facts is that diseases have their seeming cause, existence and activity in the realm of erroneous human opinion and belief.
I know the objection that is likely to come up at this point. Some one is pretty sure to feel or say that my remarks only serve to confirm what he has already heard, which was that when one is ill Christian Scientists are in the habit of saying that he only thinks or believes that he is ill. Now while this is often said in the way of ridicule, it is more or less true, because anybody can see that one who is the victim of so-called illness is very apt to think that he is ill. If, however, he should fail to do so, you may observe that some friend, neighbor or some member of the family will quite likely perform that kind office for him. Somebody, somewhere, is pretty sure to think that one is ill when there is the least opportunity for so thinking, and when the affliction is of such a nature as to be considered incurable, then it may be said that the whole human race, with the exception of a few million Christian Scientists, stand ready to think that one is ill. Now when you want to heal a person, are you going to do nothing at all to all of that thinking, and devote your whole attention and effort to the material body, which does not know enough to suffer or to believe that it is suffering?
When you examine all sides of the question, the only conclusion that can be logically drawn and consistently maintained as to the origin or place of disease is to be found in Christian Science. Of course some one may object to this conclusion on the ground that he had a disease that he had never heard of, and therefore did not believe in it or think of it nor think about it. Offhand one might conclude that such an objection more or less nullifies the statement that disease exists only in the thought or belief of human beings; but it does not nullify that fact nor even threaten to do so. For observation serves to prove that a person educated in the thought of disease, and believing it to be natural and more or less inevitable and lawful, reading descriptions of diseases and accepting them, entertaining mental images of diseases and retaining them, and perhaps reading the daily disquisitions which appear in many newspapers under the caption "How to Keep Well" has already provided himself with the elements of disease. He is mentally inoculated with disease as a general proposition, and for that reason he could easily have any disease that is going on whether he ever heard of it or not.
Christian Science offsets and gradually obliterates such mental inoculation. It awakens a higher ideal which serves in turn to impel a more ethical endeavor. It stimulates and strengthens thought in the direction of health; and thus establishes health scientifically.
Showing that disease exists primarily only as belief and that all of its symptoms and laws are but the erroneous effects of belief, Christian Science gets at the root of disease as no other system has ever done. It shows that the belief in disease and the fear of disease go hand in hand. It removes the seeming effects of the fear of disease and thus destroys the chief element in the inception and perpetuation of disease. This is particularly noticeable in so-called hereditary diseases. They are supposed to be transmitted from one generation to another by means of matter or through the blood of human beings, yet the fact, already pointed out, is that matter of itself can neither originate nor transmit a disease. So-called hereditary diseases, like all others, exist only in the realm of erroneous belief, and when they seem to pass from one generation to another, it is only because of belief in them. Careful analysis proves beyond question that the belief in hereditary or other diseases is all there is to them, and there are many people who can testify that they were healed of such diseases and of others the moment they ceased to believe in them, a point of mental and spiritual culture attainable only by means of Christian Science.
Jesus gave the true idea of heredity in the words: "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." In just the measure that you understand this statement you find yourself freed from so-called hereditary complaints.
The human race, until touched by true Science, tries everything except the right thing. All the superstitions that belong to ignorance, all the fears that predict and invite disaster press upon the attention. Believing that sin, disease and death are natural, human beings have clung to the very things which they dreaded. It ought to be clear to everyone that in order to get rid of anything objectionable, we should cease to cling to it and should find some means by which to loosen its hold on us.
Material systems of healing cannot fulfill this requirement. They lead us to accept evil rather than good. According to the testimony of the material senses, about everything in human existence seems to indicate if not the certainty, at least the possibility of trouble for everybody. Some high medical authorities aver that there is no perfectly healthy human being, and then they importune us daily to come and be examined materially for no other purpose, it may be assumed, than to convince us that we belong to the overwhelming majority.
Material theories are predicated upon the supposition that nothing is actually right. They may be temporarily interesting sometimes, but they inevitably lead to — what is it the poem says? — they "lead but to the grave." They all lead there for they all declare that whatever you may do to a human being, or however much you may help him, there is only one thing sure about him, which is that sooner or later he will die. Is there anybody in the whole world who actually likes to have his existence subject to no certainty except to the one doleful incident? There is not. Instinctively a human being desires to live, and so universal is the dissatisfaction with a career with no certainty in it except extinction, that practically the whole civilized world has hoped or believed that there is in store for mankind another and more satisfactory existence, and religion inculcates the doctrine that eventually we shall live forever.
Christian Science is in strict accord with both reason and revelation. Above all it is divinely compassionate. It would ill accord with Christian Science if I should fail to make it clear that through the practice of Christian Science broken hearts are bound up and the sense of loss and separation is made to give place to a realization that neither one nor the other of these sorrowful experiences is known to divine Principle, Love, and that consequently they may be and frequently are entirely displaced with the higher and nobler view of man's escapeless immortality. This immortality is a fact now. It only remains to be demonstrated, and the way of demonstration is always a way of Science, a way of Principle and rule.
Consequently the way of eternal life is a way of knowing, not dying. The image and likeness of God, Mind, good, necessarily lives forever. True education enlightening us step by step enables us to approximate that likeness. Jesus made this unmistakably clear in the statement: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." He thus pointed out the exact way to live, a way of education, of thinking and knowing ascertained facts. There is something wonderful about a fact. It will never die, it cannot be killed, will never grow sick or troubled, or decrepit nor will it ever have any complaint. A fact will never fear any difficulty; a fact will never suffer because business is depressed or bad; nor will a fact become discouraged even if there is no business for a whole year. A fact is right there or right here all of the time, for it does not know anything else but Truth, the divine Mind in which it has its being.
However, it should be made clear that no superficial optimism can be properly associated with Christian Science. Real Christianity does not mean either mental exaltation or mental depression. It is neither ordinary optimism nor pessimism. It is pure Science and it therefore exempts people who carry on the ordinary affairs of life from the waves of belief in either direction tending to obscure or upset legitimate judgment and resourcefulness.
Consider for a moment the almost reverential respect which is unthinkingly accorded to statistics, and the fear engendered thereby. Few people stop to ask whether they are true. Generally speaking it is enough that they are marked "statistics," and they serve to frighten the average human being about his business, his own ability, his chances of success and even his own life. They consist of figures, and the average person has heard that figures do not lie, whereas as a matter of fact nothing lies so much as figures, because when they lie they lie with such accuracy.
Figures always lie when they are based upon averages drawn from human experience. Christian Science destroys the fear incidental to such beliefs and shows and proves, just in the proportion that it is intelligently and sincerely practiced, that success, happiness, health and life are dependent upon nothing less than the true idea of God, the idea which reveals the presence of divine Love, the impelling and protecting Principle of all true activity. In order to acquaint ourselves with eternal Principle what must we do? Is the way mysterious or open, evil or good?
Out in Colorado a few years ago one found staring him in the face on the great rocks of those grand canyons the words, "Prepare to meet thy God.'' A sinister thing designed to frighten people, and thereby it may be supposed to induce them to be good. Nothing could tend further from the desired end, for nobody can be good so long as he is frightened, because to be good means to be like good, like God, like the divine Mind, Love, which is never frightened. Paul says: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." If He has not given us the spirit or belief of fear, then it is not legitimately ours, but is imposed upon us by falsehood. Love, God could not make us afraid, and nothing should, for Love cannot cease to be Love, either as cause or in effect. We are to meet good, to meet Love continually and by such meeting rejoice in improved health and greater happiness.
The tendency to mix evil and good and to believe both to be equally real and natural has darkened the way of both religion and science. After hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years of such endeavor, the world is neither saved nor healed. Christian Science shows that the belief that sin is real, accepted as it has been generally by mankind, has kept sin alive in both thought and action. The same belief in regard to disease has perpetuated and even created diseases, and as a result you can hear the groans of a suffering race coming down the centuries and, resounding more than ever in our own enlightened age.
The Christian Scientist, seeing that disease and sin are unreal, from the standpoint of God, avails himself of Christian Science and day by day is proving to himself and for others the unreality of sin and disease; and thus eliminating them from his own experience, he is in that measure reducing the fear and weight of these burdens for all mankind.
About this point some one says: "Oh, you Christian Scientists mean, do you, that sin and disease and death are unreal from the standpoint of God? Well, if such is the case I am in sympathy with that, I am willing to acknowledge that they are unreal from the standpoint of God." And then we can only respond with the question: "Is there any other standpoint?" Is it possible that any Christian man or woman would be so presumptuous as to say that there could be any other standpoint than the standpoint of God? And aside from any doctrinal discussion, does any one really want illness to be real? Believing in material remedies and the aid of a physician as many people do, when such a person feels ill does he take up the telephone receiver and call the doctor and say: "Oh, doctor, please come over as quickly as you can. I am very ill, and I want you to make the illness more real?" Does he not on the contrary ask the doctor to come over and help him, and does he not virtually say that he would like to have the trouble banished or made unreal? If then the object of all so-called healing practice is to mitigate or destroy disease or finally to make it unreal, is there any objection, or can there be any objection in the first place, to the proposition clearly established in Christian Science that in the sight of the one and only Cause, disease is unreal?
Neither science nor religion depends upon the testimony of the material senses. Why should the human race bow before that testimony when the conclusions of pure logic are contrary to it, and when, as Christian Science shows, such a course tends to perpetuate suffering? One may say that he feels pain in the body. He is stating the case more accurately than he realizes, because the body left to itself could not feel anything. In this connection it is well to remember that one can think of his body, but there is not in the whole world a person who has a body that can think of itself, or think at all, as far as that is concerned.
The science of optics as well as ordinary experience shows the error of the seeming convergence in the distance of two parallel lines. One may answer, "That is only an optical illusion." Christian Science rejoins with equal logic, "Is it not to be supposed that there are other illusions besides optical illusions?" As a matter of fact, there are millions of illusions. The human race is largely influenced by illusions and the progress made thus far even along lines of mechanical improvement is due to the fact that here and there men and women of genius, that is, of unusual mentality, have looked beyond accepted illusions and prevailing beliefs and superstitions, and have discovered, in what Mrs. Eddy so aptly calls (Science and Health, p. 264) "the unsearchable realm of Mind," certain facts which, though perceived but dimly and applied only to mechanical science, have served to advance both mechanical science and mankind. It should not therefore seem strange that the Science of true healing requires the rejection of erroneous testimony, however real or true it may seem to be according to the personal senses.
This does not mean stoicism or the mere ability to endure pain or disease. Neither does it mean martyrdom, which among the ancient Christians was sometimes thought to be the way of gaining salvation. Christian Science shows that sin or suffering is always error, and that Science alone corrects either or both. It does not merely enable a person to endure suffering or disease. It does something far more important and vital. It prevents suffering and heals disease.
Now it is Truth which disposes of error; personality has no part in the transaction. Even according to human standards and experience, material personality need not be considered in the just estimate of man. Walking along the street with a friend you perchance meet a mutual friend of whom your companion speaks with the greatest enthusiasm, declaring that he is honest, kind, just, noble-minded, self-sacrificing, patriotic, and altogether a wonderful man or woman, as the case may be. Yet the fact is that none of the characteristics named are personal in the sense of materiality. You cannot see honesty, kindness, love, justice, nobility, self-sacrifice or patriotism, nor can you know them through any or all of the material senses, and by the time you and your companion have thoroughly analyzed your mutual friend, you conclude that he is mostly invisible, and yet the better part of him is not intangible, for because of those qualities which make and constitute character, he may well be one of the most valuable members of the community.
In this way you will understand more nearly what Christian Science means when it declares that God is Spirit and man is spiritual. It brings to light the tangibility of Mind and idea, of God and man, and you will see how it is that Christian Science instruction tends to raise the estimate which human beings can properly place upon each other, and thus eventually to exalt the standard of existence all along the line.
Now we don't pretend to have attained perfection, — very far from it; but having rid ourselves of some imperfection through Christian Science we have a vision of a world governed by God, by the divine Mind, the self-existent Principle of all being, and of all phenomena.
To establish his government on earth is our hope and purpose. More and more mankind will take part in this endeavor. It seems that almost anybody ought to be willing to do so. It is provable that the diseases, sins, sorrows, afflictions, wars and death which human beings encounter and accept have no origin in God and no place in His creation. Matter is nonintelligent, and could not originate these things nor carry them on. The conclusions drawn by Christian Science that they all have their seeming existence and activity in human opinion and belief, and that they are perpetuated by human fear, is inevitable. They have no power or law except that given them by human belief and opinion. It follows that whenever we think of disease or sin or any other destructive element as being actual, or real, we are giving power to it and thereby tending unconsciously to perpetuate that afflictive or destructive element.
Morally minded people would never think of causing disease, and nothing could induce them to perpetuate human suffering consciously, yet every time they add the weight of their own thinking on the side of disease or sin, every time that they conform to the general belief, that these things are real or inevitable or lawful, they do thereby add to the sorrows and sufferings of mankind, and the question is: Is it not about time that the Christian world should awake and cease this offensive habit? Would it not be better in any given case to recognize that God did not make anybody sick nor make any provision for evil of any kind, and that consequently evil is no part of His creation and does not exist nor act according to law? At most, disease is but a human experience which can be overcome by divine power. Almost any one would admit that it could be overcome by Christ Jesus if he were on earth today. How would he heal a case? How did he? Was it his personal appearance, his personality, that healed disease and saved sinners? It could not have been, because personality is material, whereas all Christians admit that he healed and saved by the power of Spirit.
Personal views involve the world in the old round of personal efforts, even though they assume new shapes and take on unfamiliar names. The religious theories have inculcated the doctrine that the personality of Jesus is the Saviour, and such a theory would consequently mean that we could not be saved, for we can know nothing of his personality. We can, however, know his thoughts. They are to be found in the Bible. They are unquestionably divine. They constituted his sonship in Mind, God. They made him the Christ, for those thoughts came from God. In the measure that they come to us they reveal the same healing and saving Christ, Truth, and they will save and heal us just so fast as we learn to think them and trust the divine presence which they make real and available.
Now we ordinary, average men and women are not likely to overestimate ourselves, especially in a spiritual way, and we are apt to ask: Is it possible that God is so near that everyday human beings like ourselves, living the ordinary human life, not unusually spiritually minded, not distinguished nor great, but just people, so to speak, can realize God's presence and help? The answer is: Yes, it is not only possible, but it is the only real natural thing, for you and I are not really natural except in the measure that we seek and find our sonship in God. Jesus was the only natural man; the only human being who ever walked the earth in the dominion of infinite Principle, Love. He spontaneously thought and acted divinely. He knew that divine Love is divine power and is infinite, therefore ever present, instantly available, and immutable in its law to dispel sorrow, sin, sickness and death. It was therefore not his personality but his understanding which said to the man with the withered hand, "Stretch forth thine hand," and it was restored whole like the other; and to the man who had lain sick for many years, "Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house," and he was healed; and to Lazarus who had been dead for many days, "Come forth" and he came; he had to come.
All this is possible because it is divinely natural. Jesus proved it to be so beyond question. Therefore everything unlike this way is an unnatural way and an unscientific way. All the power that we give to disease and sin in our thought and education is all wrong and is to be changed for the right way, for the way by which we give power alone to God and to His law, which is Truth itself. The Bible teaches us not to glorify evil, but admonishes us that we should "with one mind and one mouth glorify God," good.
Omnipotence is not conceivable as personality, but is conceivable as immutable Principle, Mind, and it is the same with omniscience and omnipresence. The Christian world teaches the omnipresence of God theoretically, but prior to the advent of Christian Science, omnipresence had little acceptance and little practical value. There cannot be any absence to omnipresence. The only reason that can be found for the seeming absence of God is the darkness of belief.
Revealing the divine origin of our capacity to think, and enabling us to understand the prayer by which our thinking approximates more nearly to that divine source day by day and hour by hour, Christian Science dispels that darkness.
Jesus gave the great promise of permanent help, and healing power in the words: "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." Mary Baker Eddy was the one and only person to discover the promised Comforter, which is pure Science emanating from Principle and operating by immutable law.
Anything helpful that has been said here or that might be said, any comfort or health or peace that has been gained by anybody through Christian Science, is primarily due to Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered this Science and gave it to the world in such a manner that we ordinary people in the world can understand it and learn to demonstrate it in our daily lives.
Living in the most remarkable age of the world, we can, if we will, take part in the most remarkable event of this age, which was the discovery and establishment of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy's spiritual perception, her high and sustained courage and noble character made this privilege possible to us.
If there is anybody here who has been troubled; anybody who has feared disease, or who has experienced the pangs of suffering; anybody who has been the victim of sin or vice, and in consequence has tasted the bitter dregs of remorse and shame, or endured the cumulative penalties of wrong action; anybody who mourns because of bereavement; I would say to any or all of you, there is deliverance for you in Christian Science, for none of these things ever came to you through truth or justice or any other God-ordained means. Not one trouble that ever came your way was legitimate or normal, and here is the Science of Christianity with which to mitigate and banish such evil beliefs, together with their seeming effects.
Open the door to the divine Christ, the Truth about God and man. Let in the thoughts which reveal God. Let them gradually or quickly become habitual with you. They will give you a new outlook upon life. They will make God's omnipresence real to you, for they spring from the divine Mind, the one God, who is Love, and who blesses His own creation eternally, and has nothing to bless them with but love. They will give you a new heaven and a new earth, a better mentality and a better body, and they will show you the way to make heaven desirable and practical and present; for they constitute the means by which to obey and experience the blessings of the admonition given to Job, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace."