Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (2)
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
As Christian Science is based upon eternal truth it cannot be considered new in principle, but as the Christian and scientific method by which spiritual truth becomes applicable to human needs, Christian Science is unique and wholly original. No other system of religion or science can explain it or its method. No other system of education equips one with knowledge by which to judge it. It is explained only by itself, and even then not theoretically, but scientifically through demonstration.
Therefore before one even attempts to judge this science he should not only study it, but test it according to its rule. The prevalent tendency to criticize any subject from the standpoint of information promiscuously obtained is wholly unjustifiable. From such standpoint, however, it is not strange that one should gain a fantastic notion of Christian Science and be opposed to it.
Christian Science Education
No ordinary system of education has ever given a knowledge of God. Indeed, prevailing educational methods are based largely if not wholly, upon matter. Even religion has not generally assumed or taught that a knowledge of God is possible. Christian Science is educational in the highest sense, and from the highest standpoint. It is a ceaseless protest against ignorance. It declares a knowledge of God to be fundamental, natural, intuitive. It awakens thought to the recognition of this intuitive knowledge and provides a rule by which such knowledge may be proved when recognized.
That we exist is a fact which all are forced to admit. Yet no one will claim that he is self-existent. Man exists as effect, and the admission of existence involves the admission of a cause, basis or principle of existence. Everyone, whether he knows it or not, is, merely by existing, proclaiming that cause, basis or principle, that self-existence whom Christians unite in calling God. Christian Science brushes aside the finite conceptions of Him, removes the superstitions and fantastic beliefs pertaining to His personality, and in their stead, awakens and establishes ideas which, coinciding with revelation and sustained by reason and logic, reveal God aright. All scientific knowledge consists of ideas. The Bible declares that to know God aright is life eternal. Christian Science enables one not only to believe in the Bible but also to understand it. God is eternal. To believe otherwise would be to deny one's existence and admit the possibility of chaos. Because He is eternal, He is without taint or suggestion or knowledge of any destructive element. Sin and disease are admitted to be destructive. They never build up. They, on the contrary, always tend to tear down or destroy. They cannot, therefore, be any part of the consciousness which is infinite and eternal. The words infinite and eternal exclude everything that is finite or destructive or destructible.
The Basis of Right Thinking
The basis of prayer, which in Christian Science means the method of demonstrable understanding, is, then, to see that because God is eternal He could not have cognized anything destructive, since to know sin and disease would be to have them in consciousness. Christian Science crystallizes this fact into the statement that God is good; and being unlimited and infinite, He is therefore unlimited, infinite good. This statement God is good is unquestionably true and wonderfully helpful. It is brief, positive and scientific, and when conversely used, it is not only equally true, but even more helpful, for it gives a clear idea of deity.
Cause, basis, principle must be intelligence or mind. There is only one cause, one God. Therefore, speaking scientifically, there is only one Mind. This one Mind as cause, creator, God, is unquestionably power, and as there is only one God, there is only one power, which as Mind, as Good, is all-power or omnipotence. The omnipotence of God is thus seen to be a scientific fact, and His omnipresence and omniscience are discerned in the same way, and we best understand these facts and their practical value by using the word Mind, Good, Love, to explain to ourselves and others the true meaning of the word God. In an educational endeavor, words may be used in any correct way to improve thought. Upon the unquestionable basis of self-existence we are, therefore, led to acknowledge the existence of God and His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, and such facts become more real to us when we see that they inevitably mean the omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience of Good, of divine Love, of the one Mind.
These facts, when first apprehended, however, often produce something of a mental dilemma. The science is clear and beautiful and satisfactory, and is supported by irrefutable logic, but the every day experience is unlike this science, and seems to set aside its logic. Indeed, human experiences do not generally confirm the divine facts but are often contrary to them and an explanation is naturally demanded. Yet no "sign shall be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah" — the sign of obedience. This is the same sign or explanation demanded by music or mathematics obtained only by faithfulness over a few things. No longer able to ascribe sin, disease, and death to God, the mind which is holiness, health and life, one at first is apt to hesitate in his progress and ask how they can be explained.
Now, Christian Science answers satisfactorily every question that is troubling the human heart; it is not, however, theory, but demonstrable science, and its explanations are fully obtained only through the demonstration of its facts as they are understood.
Truth needs to be accepted since it is seen to be absolute and irrefutable, although wholly spiritual. Afflictive human experiences will be explained as science is more practically applied. For one who is suffering to refuse to avail himself of the means of relief until the evil is philosophically disposed of is as though one were to approach the very gate of heaven and hesitate or refuse to enter until he should have hell explained to him.
When one has a pain or disease it is not so much explanation that he needs as relief. Let the relief come through unswerving allegiance to divine facts, and with it comes the explanation, for God, as Cause or Principle, is infinite Good, the one Mind. Disease has, therefore, no cause, no creator, no origin, no mind, substance, or being, or law. This is the truth about disease and it corrects the error which has taught mortals to believe that disease is natural or lawful. When either disease or sin is overcome by such understanding, it is explained, for it is seen to be no part of God, or science, or truth and the conclusion must follow that it exists in human experience because of ignorance, which sometimes may associate itself with legitimate learning, but which taints that learning and, producing fear, supports disease because of a wrong concept of Truth, and a consequent blindness as to the naturalness and lawfulness of health.
It is not pretended that a full realization of the sublime facts of Christian Science has been attained by Christian Scientists, but Mrs. Eddy, discoverer and founder of Christian Science, has helped humanity incalculably by lifting up the Christ, the pure and exalted way of salvation, the sublime truth about God and man and law, which Jesus taught and demonstrated. While striving for realization she has shown us that one may legitimately declare the spiritual facts which inevitably deny any appearances unlike them. This is, briefly stated, the nature of Christian Science treatment, and it may be, and is legitimately applied, not only in one's own behalf, but also for others who may call for aid. People are sometimes in such great fear and distress as to be unable to comprehend or even think of the facts which would help them, and in such instance Christian Science practitioners are often appealed to, and Christian Science treatment, being in the nature of prayer, may be used to relieve or heal those who are absent as well as those who are near at hand. As to the true nature of such treatment, let me say, that those who have learned to heal by means of it, can hardly describe it in words. It means God with us, Mind, presence, power, health with us. It is communion with Good, the one God.
Mrs. Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," uncovers the roots of sin and suffering and it stands alone in this respect as well as in the teaching of the principle and rule, or metaphysical process by which they are to be obliterated.
The Discoverer and Founder
"Why was it Mrs. Eddy who discovered it?" someone asks, and I can only answer, I do not know. I have long since ceased to question divine wisdom. I do not know why it was Mrs. Eddy, but I know that it was she who discovered Christian Science and gave it to the world, and I am unspeakably glad that some one was found who could do it. I can see that it had to be some one who was fitted for it; some one who had risen mentally and spiritually above other thinkers. None other had been able to perceive these sublime facts; none other could have made them practical and available to mankind. I am grateful to Mrs. Eddy, in common with probably a million other people because through her teaching I have come into a large measure of health, peace and happiness. I perceive as all thinkers must, that a knowledge of Christian Science leads one to appreciate the individuality of its discoverer, and something of her purpose in founding this Church and in directing the phenomenal growth of this movement.
Utterly misunderstood by the votaries of systems which give no clew to Christian Science and no knowledge by which to judge it, criticized and even maligned, Mrs. Eddy has gone on steadily and calmly teaching the pure principle and the absolute rule of all science, through all these forty years, presenting one of the most striking examples of exalted courage to be found in history.
The healing work naturally attracts attention, and yet it is but one of the beneficent phases of Christian Science endeavor. Regeneration in the most complete sense, salvation from all evil here and now, constitute the mission of Christian Science. That this means one mind for all men, a unity of power and purpose and the consequent practical exemplification of the brotherhood of man, is self-evident. Even within the hour you and I, communing in the one Mind, have found that brotherhood for the hour, at least. This proves the possibility of it for all eternity. Every right idea declares it; and universal compassion, the highest human exemplification of divine Love, will yet unite all men in the practice of the one satisfactory healing method, Christian Science.
[From accounts of the lecture published in the newspapers of six cities in five states between 1908 and 1910.]