Christian Science: The Power of Good Over Evil (1)

 

Bicknell Young, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Mr. Young was briefly introduced by Hon. F. D. Kilburn and spoke as follows:

No problem contains within itself the means of its own solution. This fact is quite as true of life as of business or any other human endeavor. In the effort to solve the difficulties in human existence, generally accepted theories of religion and science have considered afflictions legitimate and inevitable. Christian Science boldly declares that they are not legitimate and consequently not inevitable. It takes a new standpoint. It asserts that a solution of the problem of life becomes possible only through such scientific education as will lift observation and thought above mere material experience to the discernment of a permanent basis and an absolute rule by which solution becomes possible.

In line with these logical conclusions it is seen that the old constraining method of watching for the material phases and symptoms of diseases, instead of searching for their causes, has not tended to decrease them. On the contrary, they have increased, many new diseases constantly appearing. Christian Science, on the other hand, tends to decrease the number of diseases, and it is universally acknowledged that it has never invented any new ones. Indeed, careful investigation shows that it both discloses and destroys the roots of disease.

 

History

As a scientific system of healing it has a history extending over a period of more than forty years. It has passed successfully through the early preliminary stages, encountering much opposition and prejudice and largely overcoming both. Its record, which is open to all, reveals wonderful works accomplished, for it has healed thousands of people who were hopelessly ill with diseases which baffled all other methods of healing, and has reformed thousands of sinners who were thought to be beyond redemption. Whatever may have been the criticisms of the past today, in the sight of all well-informed and just people, the Christian Science movement stands vindicated and respected.

 

Investigation

Investigation convinces any reasonable person that Christian Science rests upon absolute facts. These are not touched upon or even recognized by concurrent systems of eduction, either religious or scientific, which shows the utter inability of such systems to explain either the basis or the modus operandi of Christian Science. Yet the facts themselves, though purely spiritual, are easily understood and, through right education, can be made more practical in every-day life than any mere human knowledge. In order to apprehend those facts and use them, sincerity above all things is required; and with that, an altitude of thought afforded only by Christian Science itself.

 

Scientific Basis

Indeed, as a system of education Christian Science is unique and original. It explains itself and nothing else explains it. It can be approached, however, from a common standpoint which is universally acceptable. That we exist is incontrovertible. It is a fact so absolute that no one questions it. Upon that fact depends all achievement in science, art and general progress. That universal fact involves correlative facts which are not at first so easily perceived, but which are just as absolute. Man is not self-existent nor self-creative. He is effect, not cause. In such analysis, however, it is not pretended that human existence illustrates the truth concerning man. Indeed, material life is generally regarded as more or less unsatisfactory. Some may say it is largely a mistake; and in moments of great discouragement, some have even declared it to be wholly a mistake. But it matters not what view may be taken of human existence. Even if it be regarded as a mistake, it would be admitted as a mistake about something, since it could not be a mistake about nothing. Therefore, whatever one believes or disbelieves, merely by existing, he is constantly proclaiming a first great Cause, the Divine Principle of being whom Christians unite in calling God. The nature of Divine Principle is necessarily continuous. No logical thought concerning God is possible without the acknowledgment of His eternality. As He is eternal, God is exempt from any characteristics or qualities that might tend to interrupt Being. Disease is universally acknowledged to be destructive in its nature. Sin is equally so, for it tends to tear down both character and body. Neither sin nor disease ever build up or construct. The first great Cause or Creator is constructive, upbuilding. Consequently, Christian Science reasons inexorably that sin and disease are not of God; that they do not originate in Him, that they are not sustained nor in any way sanctioned by Him. It declares that God does not permit them for any purpose whatever, for in order to do that it would be necessary for Him to be conscious of them, and to be conscious of an element of destruction is to have that element. Christian Science. therefore, disclosing the fact that God cannot be conscious of any evil element or quality, crystallizes that fact into the statement, God is good. This deduction has been generally accepted, but not generally understood as scientific. Christian Science enables one to understand it by logical reasoning producing scientific conclusions, and such conclusions show that the word "good" cannot be used in any comparative or limited sense, but that it means all that the word God means, and we understand it more clearly by using the statement God is good conversely, saying Good is God.

 

Right Knowledge of God

The word of God carries with it an association the most sacred of any to be found in any language, and yet, because of inadequate education, right ideas of God do not generally prevail. Not infrequently mental pictures are entertained in the endeavor to understand God's personality, and yet no one believes that it would be possible to make a mental or other picture of infinity. Christian Science is scientific teaching. It involves right ideas and shows that they are not less scientific because they are purely spiritual. It employs many expressions to clarify our thought of God. It is not pretended that any or all of them are sufficient to represent Him. No combination of words could do that, but these statements tend to arouse correct thought concerning Deity and thereby improve the conceptions entertained of Him. To say God is good is always helpful, but to say Good is God arouses a more definite idea and enables one to perceive that a knowledge of Him is natural and intuitive, since, although ordinary systems of education have not taught us that the first great Cause or Creator could be known, yet we perceive that we have always known something of Good and therefore have always known something of God.

The progress of science has brought to light facts which the physical senses could not reveal. Astronomy makes known the movements of the solar system. What moves it? Theoretical science replies,"force or energy." But force and energy are words which denote effect, not cause. Mind is a word which stands for cause, therefore Christian Science employs it in the largest and noblest sense, and shows that nothing less than the Mind which is Infinite Good is the Cause, Creator, and Action of the universe.

It is not enough to think of God as intelligent, or to speak of the mind of God. Such conceptions although in the line of truth, are misleading because they are limited and finite. They tend to perpetuate the wrong notion of God's personality by giving an impression of some kind of a creature with a mind inside. God is not a creature. God is the Creator and is infinite. Consequently it is far more educational to think and speak of God as divine Intelligence, infinite Mind, rather than to think or speak merely of the intelligence or mind of God. Mind is the broader word and so Christian Scientists use it frequently to declare a sublime and incontrovertible fact, saying God is Mind, a statement which is, also, more helpful used conversely, Mind is God, meaning the divine Mind always.

 

Pure Science

In order to appreciate still more the value of Christian Science teaching, we must look more deeply than is common into the word "Science." I do not mean the definition of the word; that can be gained from any dictionary. Science means more than dictionaries set forth, although they are useful in disclosing its grander meaning. Generally speaking, science is associated with materialism. Very few people stop to consider that the association is wholly incorrect, for although so-called material sciences may involve, and indeed must involve, the observation of material things, yet science, whatever its nature, cannot be found in things. The most that can be said along this line, even of so-called material sciences is that the observation of material phenomena results in certain conclusions, but those conclusions are wholly mental. Therefore, even so-called material science involves correct thinking rather than matter. It consists of ideas rather than things.

Christian Science is not unlike other sciences in this respect. The ideas which reveal God as Basis, as Divine Principle of all true existence, are fundamental in this science. We have seen that these ideas are absolute facts. Though they have not been generally recognized, they are unquestionably true, and furthermore, they are found to possess practical value of an unusual nature through the method of Christian Science which shows how to use them. Without doubt they are the most important facts to be associated with education since they are basic and eternal, and through Christian Science these facts are recognized as scientific in all their relationships.

Reviewing some of the conclusions already reached we see that our existence is evidence of Cause or Creator. That Cause must be acknowledged as Power; it is not enough to say that God has power. In an infinite creation there can only be one Cause, therefore the conclusion that there is only one Power is inevitable and that one Power is All-Power. We see, therefore, that the omnipotence of God is not merely a religious belief but a scientific fact. It comes home to us, however, with added force and understanding when we remember the statement "God is Good." And if we recall St. John's words "God is Love," the understanding of what Omnipotence actually is grows still clearer; for admitting that we exist we are logically forced to admit that God exists and is Power and there follows inevitably the conclusion that God, Good, Love, is the only real power in the universe.

 

What is Required

In the demonstration of Christian Science we are called upon to recognize the omnipotence of Good and to assert and maintain this omnipotence unswervingly in the face of all human difficulties. We are encouraged in the endeavor by a perception of the spiritual facts; a perception which is, at first, largely intellectual or scientific in the ordinary acceptation of the word; but through study, practice and faithfulness over the few things which we discern from time to time, a more truly scientific appreciation of those facts begins to dawn upon human understanding.

Christian Science teaches logically and scientifically that God has created man and the universe after His own nature. Indeed, in order to reason correctly, we must remember that an infinite creation is like its Infinite Cause and therefore, speaking scientifically, the creation is Good like the Creator. It is not, however, pretended that human experience justifies such a conclusion. If it did, there would be no occasion for the Christian religion as a means of salvation, since everything would be already satisfactory. To recognize that human life is unlike the divine facts revealed in Christian Science in no way controverts those facts, but shows the need for their practical application. Sometimes the ordinary psychologist objects to our reasoning. He says to aver that God does not know sin or disease, is virtually to say that we can know something that God cannot know. Christian Science replies that manifestly Truth could not know error. The appearance of Truth is the disappearance of error. Error may be experienced because of wrong education or fear, but it cannot be known. We may experience twice two is five, but we can never know it for it is not true. We simply experience a mistake. So are sin and disease and all evil classified in Christian Science. They cannot be known because they are no part of Science or Truth or God. When they are experienced they are still no part of real knowledge, and real knowledge in Christian Science removes them. The whole world tacitly admits this contention of Christian Science, for the race is engaged in a ceaseless effort to change undesirable human experience.

Whenever scientific truth appears, a change is first required in human thought in order that experience may begin to correspond with the new discovery of truth. Truth, itself, cannot change and, being the very nature of God, truth is harmonious. Clearly, therefore, whenever human experience is inharmonious, it must be rectified that it may correspond more nearly to the divine facts. These facts as set forth in Christian Science may appear simple and the system which employs them may not be regarded as scientific by ordinary educational methods, yet the wisest and most exalted being who ever lived upon the earth taught that these facts ought to be understood simply and naturally and illustrated his meaning in the words "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

 

Conforms to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Christian Science is in strict conformity with the gospel. Indeed its scientific value rests upon this fact, for unquestionably, Jesus taught the truth, since all scientists and philosophers have agreed that his gospel is of the highest ethical value, that it is, indeed, eternally true. Being true, it is unquestionably scientific, since nothing could be more scientific than that which is eternally true. Christian Science not only rests upon this proposition, but proves it, for it shows that spiritual truth can be applied with certainly to human problems. It need hardly be said that the object of all scientific study is to bring to light truth in such a way that it can be practically demonstrated in human affairs.

 

The Way of Science

True scientific study always has a tendency to lift thought above the mere evidence of the senses. So universal is this that the evidence of the senses in the course of scientific investigation is not generally accepted without some verification. We are all familiar with instances where one is accustomed to accept truth which the senses can in no way indicate. The rotundity and movement of the earth and many other phenomena are familiar examples to illustrate this point. The question then of whether it is reasonable to accept the evidence of the senses without protest when such evidence is painful or afflictive is one to be considered by every thinking person. Sin and disease appear wholly as the evidence of the senses. If they are ever to disappear, that evidence must be taken into consideration. Christian Science shows conclusively that harmony including health and life, is the naturally divine provision established for man and all creation. Sin and disease do not appear and cannot be known through God or through anything that He ever said or did. Listening to the Divine Mind by entertaining the ideas which reveal and express God, good, one would never learn or experience anything of disease or sin. These are known to and through the material senses alone. Christian Science does not demand that we shall ignore this testimony or that evil experiences can be overcome in that way. Its teaching is truly optimistic, but also scientific. Its optimism rests upon Divine Truth and carries with it a demand that truth shall be proved as all-powerful in human experience. By lifting human thought above the mere evidence of the senses a scientific attitude is attained and, when maintained, is found to produce practical results. The evidence of the senses is constantly changing under improved conditions of education. Many things which were formerly considered impossible, according to such evidence, have been found not only to be possible but common every-day experiences. Christian Science is therefore in consonance with the most progressive and uplifting tendency in requiring that the spiritual facts shall be accepted even though contrary to the evidence of the senses, and especially when such evidence appears as disease or suffering.

 

No Denial of Existence

Persons unaccustomed to Christian Science teaching, however, and the uplifting experience growing out of it, are apt to think that a denial of the material sense of things is equivalent to the denial of our own existence, but that such is not the case is clearly shown when we remember that sometimes in the contemplation of something very beautiful, or when absorbed in some interesting subject, we forget our material existence and live in a realm entirely above it for the time being. Such experiences give a hint of Christian Science teaching concerning the real man and his relation to God, and show conclusively that a discernment of immortality is to be gained by rising above the evidence of the senses. If it be scientific along the lines of human endeavor to expect that the evidence of the senses concerning the outside world will change because of science, and this is the expectation as the result of experience, is it unscientific to expect that such evidence in relation to the human body may also change? Is it less scientific for Christian Science to change the evidence of the senses in this regard than for other sciences to change other evidences of the senses? Though the ways by which such changes are accomplished in Christian Science are different is it necessarily less scientific? Since all science involves the recognition of ideas and their use, shall that not be legitimately called science which brings to light right ideas concerning God and shows how to employ them?

 

The Christ Way

Unquestionably this is the Christ way even though it be not generally recognized as such. The works of Jesus have generally been regarded as miraculous; no doubt they were so to human sense, but they were not unlawful. It is generally believed that the whole course of nature was interrupted and the laws of nature set aside in order that he might do those wonderful works. Christian Science inculcates other and better views. It shows that the works of Jesus were miraculous alone to those who did not or had not understood them. To him they were natural and lawful. He did not set aside the law of God but fulfilled it just as he said he came to do. Anything unusual is apt to appear miraculous and especially so to ignorance. If a savage were to appear among us he would find that we were doing many things which would seem to him inexplicable and therefore miraculous, but they are to us scientific and perfectly natural. So it is with the works of Jesus, the power which he exercised has been misunderstood and ascribed to his personality, but, to put it in a homely way, it was not what he looked like, it was not mere appearance that enabled him to do his works, but what he understood, what he thought. What he thought we may think and he declared that we must, for he said "I am the way." There is no other way of doing anything. Do Christian Scientists love Jesus less because they of all people recognize most clearly the character of his works and means by which they were accomplished? He did not say "Grow emotional over my memory or shout my names with hallelujahs," but he gave one rule by which men should prove their love for him saying, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Christian Scientists are striving to keep them all including the one to heal the sick. They believe that all Christians will ultimately awake to discern this manifest duty and to avail themselves of their natural privilege to heal the sick by spiritual power as taught in Christian Science.

In showing that the scientific way to overcome disease is to resist the evidence of the senses whenever such evidence testifies to the presence of disease, Christian Science is indicating the Christ way. Jesus, himself, said at the tomb of Lazarus in the face of all the evidences of the senses, "I knew that Thou hearest me always," and this recognition that God is the creator of man and that therefore man's life is immortal and uninterrupted in spite of the evidence of material sense to the contrary, raised Lazarus from the dead. This resistance, however, to material sense and its inharmonious evidence is not made from the standpoint of the human will, and it is the duty of a Christian Scientist not only to point out the right way, but also to warn against the wrong. If the Christian churches, which are striving to emulate the success of Christian Science, will proceed according to the methods of Christ Jesus, no objection can be offered, but rather encouragement for everyone to strive to do good in the only right way, but to combine medication with mental suggestion and hypnotism and mesmerism, and the exercise of will power and call the whole thing "Christian Therapeutics," is a travesty upon religion and science. Will it be claimed by any Christian that Jesus was a hypnotist? How then can it be admitted that methods such as those above indicated, and which may be as readily used for evil purposes as for good, can possibly form any legitimate part of the endeavor of a Christian church or of Christian ministers? These notions as to what constitutes Christian healing include the oft-reiterated statement that only functional diseases can be properly treated through the power of God and that organic diseases are virtually beyond God's power, a strange idea to be promulgated by organizations which constantly declare the omnipotence of God. It might be asked in this connection, in the words of the Bible, "Is the Lord's hand shortened, that it cannot save, his ear heavy that it cannot hear?" (Isaiah 59:1)

Christian Science maintains a consistent attitude; it is invariable both as to principle and rule, and it shows that the ideas which reveal God originate in Him and can be employed through the scientific method of Christian Science, the Christ power, which operates to change the inharmonious evidence of the senses.

But it may be asked when Christian Science heals a case of disease, does not the evidence of the senses say that the person is well and if one cannot accept such evidence when it testifies of disease, how can he do so, when it testifies of health? Christian Science replies that harmony is the natural status of man and is God's law to man. When disease is overcome through the application of that law, it is Science which has achieved the result and the result is scientific. The material senses finding their master in the Christ, Truth yield to that law and testify to health, were it otherwise they would be greater than God, but the healing is not merely sense testimony; it is the evidence of scientific truth.

 

Disease

The race has been striving for centuries to mitigate or eliminate the ravages of disease. Indeed, it is admitted that disease is wholly abnormal and undesirable. Every sane person is willing to part with it. Christian Science classifies it correctly. It shows that disease cannot be any part of God and that the Creator could not create anything harmful or inharmonious. Disease is therefore seen to be no part of science or Truth and the conclusion is inevitable that it is wholly in the nature of error. This analysis, however, while absolutely scientific, is not immediately satisfactory, it requires proof. The one who hears it, however, will admit that although he may object to the teaching that disease is error, yet he would be glad if it were. Indeed, all the world would be glad to recognize the erroneous nature of human suffering. It is then, worth while to find out that we are all agreed in the wish that disease might be only a mistake. The question naturally arises then how does Christian Science classify disease more specifically and the answer is that as disease does not exist in Truth or God, it only exists in belief and that, in the last analysis, mankind is not contending with disease per se, but with the belief of disease which on account of wrong education as old as the history of the race, along the lines of superstition and fear, appears more real than Truth itself. But it may be contended, if it is admitted that the race is suffering, what difference does it make to classify disease as belief since the experience is the same whether it be called disease or belief. Christian Science answers that it makes a vast difference. Recognizing disease as belief there is less fear of it and there immediately appears the possibility of overcoming it if the teaching in this respect is understood. With the old idea that disease is natural and perhaps God ordained, that it has inherent power and exists and continues according to law, we are hopeless; but with the understanding that such is not the case and that disease, not originating in God, has no real origin nor inherent power, one sees the possibility of destroying disease, even when it is called incurable.

It may be asked in connection with this point, how is it that disease has power if it is only a belief? And an illustration may serve to answer the question. Suppose a large number of people should take some person and crown him as a monarch, investing him with all legislative and executive function; suppose they should all bow down to him and ascribe power to him and virtually say, you may rule over us; your every whim is law to us, you may afflict, enslave or kill us without protest; the situation would illustrate the power of disease in human experience. That supposititious person would have no inherent power and so it is with disease, not having any origin in the only real Power, not having any sanction from Divinity, it is without power and its seeming power is but the fear and respect which mortals have been taught to feel and ascribe to it. The realization of this begins to break that seeming power of disease, to set aside all the laws, beliefs of laws, which relate to it, and a human being who had been thus ignorantly enslaved, begins to find himself free and well in consequence.

To place disease thus in the realm of belief where it belongs is the truly scientific way. Mrs. Eddy illustrates this in a very striking manner in her book of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on page 416. She calls attention to a hypothetical case which is, however, quite common in medical experience. She supposes a person suffering intense pain to whom a hypodermic dose of morphine is administered and who in consequence of the generally accepted belief in regard to that drug is presently asleep. The brain, the nerves and all the material conditions which are considered to be the root of the pain or which are associated with it, remain unchanged and all material systems of healing expect that the pain will recur when the patient awakes. She asks most pertinently "Where is the pain while the patient sleeps?" This suppositious case illustrates clearly that pain requires some sort of mentality in order that it may be experienced, and that fundamentally, it is not in matter but in thought or belief as has been already indicated. The remedy then is not a condition of belief but understanding, which avails itself of the Divine Mind. And true mental healing is consequently not the influence of one mortal over another, but the presence of Divine Mind made available through Christian Science.

It may occur in human experience that one who is suffering is so absorbed by it as to be unable to apply the facts of Christian Science in his own behalf. He is not however hopeless or helpless, for the understanding which heals oneself may be exercised to heal another; were it otherwise the efficacy Christian Science would be limited. There are thousands of Christian Science practitioners today, engaged in healing the diseases of other persons. They accomplish this work by means of Christian Science treatment, which may be justly described as the highest form of prayer. Often the realization of God's presence and power and His availableness through Christ serves to heal serious cases instantaneously, but lacking the immediate realization one may still employ affirmation of the truth as taught in Christian Science to achieve that realization. No greater gift has come to mankind than can be found in Mrs. Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.'' Therein one learns of the divine Principle of Being, the God who is Love, and of His saving Christ and of the prayer or treatment whereby Christ heals the sick. This prayer is not merely desire or importunity, but is in the nature of affirmation of the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of good and the consequent denial of any power, presence or manifestation to evil. Just as light does away with darkness so, by means of Christian Science treatment, truth operates to do away with conditions unlike God and unsanctioned by Him. "Science and Health" is a book so far reaching in its usefulness that everyone can find a point at which he may begin to understand and from which he may begin to practice Christian Science.

 

Difficulties Considered

No Christian Scientist would belittle the difficulties that may be encountered in working out our salvation, but we shall never be bettered by yielding to them. We have many old educational notions to overcome in accepting the explanation which Christian Science gives of disease and sin but without such explanation there is little else than despair for those who are in trouble. When a person is ill and turns to Christian Science for healing, he may not understand all the explanation which it gives of disease and suffering but he should not hesitate on that account, since it is not so much explanation that is needed in his case as relief. When relief is obtained, explanation of the nature of evil is, in a large measure coincident with the relief. For a person to hesitate to accept the help which Christian Science offers because he does not at first understand its teaching in regard to the illusive nature of disease and suffering, is to retard his own deliverance. It is as though one were to approach the gate of heaven and refuse to enter until hell should be explained to him. If he would have all explanation, let him experience that satisfaction which Christian Science offers in its healing mission among men. The beginner in Christian Science cannot have all of his questions clearly answered, simply because he himself is not able to understand the answers given. This is equally true of all other sciences and of all arts. There are many things in music for instance, which cannot be understood by the beginner; he must plod along from day to day, accepting the principle or basis of harmony and working out its rules. Through diligent practice, in due time, be may understand as much as anybody else understands about music, and will no longer trouble himself concerning the discordant effects of mere noise, for he knows that they are not any part of music. So it is with the practice of Christian Science for it provides for a satisfactory answer to every question that is troubling the human heart. When a mistake occurs in arithmetic what corrects it? Why the truth in arithmetic. If the mistake "twice two is five" occurs, the fact that twice two is four, causes the mistake to disappear. How foolish it would be to spend time and retard progress with inquiries as to how "twice two is five" began or why it seemed to exist! Does not this illustration serve to answer the question as to the origin and existence of evil?

 

Prevailing Education

Prior to the advent of Christian Science, education has been exclusively material. The consequence was that the race has neither understood the root of its troubles, nor discerned a principle or method by which they could be obviated. No doubt humanity would have been glad to avail itself of the Omnipotence of good, if it had been taught a method by which it could have done so. Not recognizing the power of spiritual truth and not knowing of any other means of relief, it has continued to turn to material remedies, and has virtually stood with its mouth wide open for thousands of years, swallowing everything that was thrown in the name of medicine.

We cannot blame ourselves or others for this ignorance, however much we may regret it. Indeed, the way of wisdom would not indicate any useless regret or recrimination, but demands allegiance to the better way indicated in Christian Science. A careful consideration of matter shows that it possesses no intelligence whatever. In and of itself it is dead and mindless. It could not accomplish anything of itself and of itself is utterly incapable of healing disease. To put it briefly and perhaps somewhat roughly material remedies do not know enough to heal disease or anything else. How then can we account for the relief which people, who believe in material remedies, experience through the use of them? There can be but one answer, which is obvious, when we see that material remedies are of themselves unintelligent. It is not, and cannot be, the material remedy which heals or reduces pain or disease. It must therefore be the belief in material remedies which accomplishes all the results generally attributed to the remedies themselves, and this belief, or blind faith, is not merely on the part of the patient, but on the part of the whole race. It is a universal belief that matter has healing power although scientifically it is not hard to discern that matter has no power.

It seems strange that systems, which by careful analysis are seen to rest wholly upon the false belief in the efficacy of matter to heal disease, should look with derision upon Christian Science and speak of it as faith cure, when they themselves are but systems of faith cure and that upon the very lowest plane, mere faith in matter. Christian Science is scientific, bringing to light and applying the Divine and Eternal facts of Being. It involves knowledge of God and His laws, which may be defined as faith in the highest acceptation of that word. Which is more scientific, faith in God or in matter?

 

The Seat of Disease

Disease seems to be in the material body and because of insufficient education, it is supposed to originate there, yet, any person can see that he can think of his body, but that his body cannot think of him, nor think at all. If suffering therefore, appears in his body, it is manifestly a part of what he is thinking and it would seem clear that this fact must be taken into consideration in the attempt to do away with that suffering. Thought in relation to disease cannot be touched by material remedies. It must be reached only through that Divine Influence indicated by the Apostle in his admonition "Let that Mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

 

God is Life

As God is Cause and Creator, He is, unquestionably, Life, and as Life, is wholly uninterrupted, or perfect and immortal. This fact is perceived in Christian Science, although, of course, not wholly proved as yet. It appears, however, in every Christian Science demonstration. Even a partial realization that God is Life and that, therefore, Life is immortal, has a tendency to produce the effect of improved health. Jesus said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death;" and manifestly the duty of his followers is to accept and follow as clearly as they can his implied admonition. They should look for life and strive to manifest its immortality. Human existence, as associated only with material life and uninstructed by Christian Science, is largely an anticipation and fear of death. That our statements in this respect should appear so striking is inevitable, and that they should be misunderstood is perhaps equally so, but they are meant to be helpful and they have a tendency to sustain and prolong the life of human beings.

 

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

The world cannot fully understand the debt of gratitude which it owes to Mrs. Eddy. The perspective of history will alone reveal it and even then perhaps only partially. When she discovered the Divine Principle of Christian Science, if she had stopped there, merely applying her discovery to her own needs, the world would not have been benefited. She went much farther than that. Impelled by an irresistible longing to help mankind, she saw that the method of Christian healing must be stated in such a way as to be understood and practiced. Through years of experience, she gradually formulated the statements of Christian Science, both as to its Divine Principle and Rule, and the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health," is consequently not a theoretical work, but a practical, scientific exposition of the Christ Science. The statements which it contains constantly grow in beauty and sublimity the more the book is studied. The book enables one to understand the spiritual import of the Bible and love the Holy Scriptures. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" discloses the infinite Science of infinite Life. It declares what the Bible declares in relation to God and His laws and makes the teachings of the Holy Scriptures practicable and applicable to all human needs. Through Mrs. Eddy's teachings, thousands of people have been healed of diseases generally regarded as incurable. Innumerable cases of sin and [sinful] tendencies have been utterly [changed]. Drunken and debauched people in hundreds of instances have been made useful Christian men and women through Mrs. Eddy's teachings. Many of us have come out of great [tribulation] and discouragement through gaining some understanding of those teachings. Is there any wonder that this great army of beneficiaries should be grateful to Mrs. Eddy? Our attitude toward her is not always clearly understood. It may be, indeed, that in the exuberance of new-found hope and in the enthusiasm of regained health, the Christian Scientists do sometimes themselves give a wrong impression concerning their attitude of love and gratefulness towards Mrs. Eddy. But better this than that they should be ungrateful. Sometimes it is asked why was it Mrs. Eddy who found out about Christian Science? Of course, no satisfactory answer can be given to a person who asks a question of that kind. Education must show him that truth always appears where there is opportunity for its appearance. Undoubtedly Mrs. Eddy through years of experience and trial with a constant importunate desire to know and do the will of God, was spiritually prepared to receive the truth which came to her; to recognize its scientific nature and to discern and set forth the rule by which it could be proved among men. But this is not the whole of the debt of gratitude which humanity owes to Mrs. Eddy. During over forty years, she has stood and maintained her teachings of Christian Science in their integrity. In the early years of this experience, she was opposed by all the existing theories of religion, science and education. Derision and contumely, not to say malignity, were heaped upon her. Through it all she stood. We read that in ancient times, a certain prophet had a friend on either hand who held up his hands in an hour of peril and trial to himself and his people, but in those early days Mrs. Eddy had no such friends. She stood alone, sustained by her knowledge of the presence and power of the God Who is Love; one of the sublimest examples of exalted courage to be found in the history of the race; and she still stands as the Leader of this great movement, but now, through faith and faithfulness no longer alone for thousands of friends and followers stand with her.

 

Closing Remarks

The problem of life cannot solve itself. Prevailing educational methods are so involved in the phases of the problem and in the acceptance of those phases as reality, that they are incapable of solving the problem. A science which lifts thought above the mere evidence of the senses to a perception of the divine facts and a knowledge by which they may be maintained and made practical, is the only possible means of solution and the hope of the race. Nothing less than Divinity revealed and made available can be the basis of such a science, and such a science is unquestionably Christlike and properly called Christian Science. Material systems are rich in the history of men and women of genius who have devoted their lives ungrudgingly to the investigation of material things. Their unselfish efforts to benefit the race arouse the spontaneous respect and admiration of mankind. Their example is sublime, but regret is inevitably associated with the thought of their work for the deliverance of this race cannot be achieved merely through the study of the phenomena which constitute its problems. Such deliverance, indeed, is manifestly the mission of spiritual truth made practical through Christian Science.

Christian Science practice then requires recognition of the absolute Principle, Love, Good, the one God, "With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." It further requires the recognition of the fact that disease and sin and suffering, and all other forms of error, including death, are not divinely provided, nor divinely required. It demands a conscious recognition of the fact that Life is God and is therefore primarily and naturally harmonious. It enables us to see in the light of Science that His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are practical facts. It shows that the creation, including man, must be good like the Creator; that consequently disease and sin have no authority nor law to sustain them and that, as God is not their origin, they have no origin at all and consequently exist and operate wholly in the realm of belief and are sustained merely by belief and fear. Christian Science enables one to perceive these facts and in proportion to his understanding to demonstrate them in his own life, overcoming sin and disease for himself and other people. In this practical application of Christian Science to human needs, thousands of authenticated cases of disease generally regarded as incurable and fatal, have been healed, and there are as many well-known instances of sin overcome.

These good works, however, do not constitute all of the activity of Christian Science, for it is establishing good will among men, unity of purpose and the realization that we are all engaged in one and the same thing, the endeavor to reach heaven, satisfaction and happiness, harmony. We see, therefore, that we are really seeking the brotherhood of man, though it has seemed so remote as to be almost impossible. Within the hour we have experienced something of that brotherhood for we have been here together communing in the One Mind. Why should not this experience continue and establish for us, at least, that brotherhood, and gradually through our effort spread it over the whole world.

In traveling in foreign countries, I have on more than one occasion, seen the Stars and Stripes unfurled to the breeze, and never without realizing more fully and with a thrill of emotion the deeper meaning of its suggestive symbolism. It stands for the grandest thing in the universe under God a pure idea, the idea of universal freedom. We long ago achieved a free government, but everything is progressive including freedom, and seeing its larger meaning, we are beginning to awake to the fact of man's natural God-given exemption from sin, disease, sorrow, want, worry, woe and death. Although these sublime facts remain to be fully proven in human experience, yet they are nevertheless true, for they all rest upon the universally acknowledged fact of existence.

All that is noble, pure, secure, sublime and indestructibly beautiful, is a part of eternal truth. Christian Science declares that the real man is the perfect image of Good, is exactly like Divine Love, and is complete and immortal. It will be seen that real Being does not need to be saved; even a partial sense of it achieved by Christian Science is evidence of salvation, and salvation is but a discernment and a proof of the perfection of man, who is the image of God. Anything unlike perfection in man or his experiences, cannot be ascribed to truth or Science and must be consequently relegated to the realm of mere belief or illusion. The Discoverer of Christian Science likens material existence to a dream and one who studies Christian Science will understand her meaning and cannot fail to be greatly helped. What is needed, therefore, by way of salvation is active knowledge, through which the fictitious substance of this dream is first seen to be unreal and is then gradually and scientifically discarded for the real substance of Life eternal.

 

[Published in The Malone (New York) Farmer, June 16, 1909. Where in three cases words were not legible in the original, candidates have been suggested in brackets. The title of this lecture has been supplied by reference to the later versions published in The Christian Science Monitor and The Christian Science Journal.]

 

 

HOME PAGE INDEX OF LECTURES