How Christian Science Destroys Fear
Otto G. Ziegenhagen, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecture "How Christian
Science Destroys Fear" was given by Otto G. Ziegenhagen, C.S.B. of
The lecturer was introduced by Mr. Karl Hickman, First Reader, of the Second Church of Christ, Scientist of St. Petersburg, Florida.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
It someone were to ask you, "What would you give to have all fear eliminated from your daily experience?" would you not be willing to give up everything that contributes to fear? Just think what your existence, your very living, would be without any fear of lack; without any fear of sickness or pain; without any fear of war and disaster; without any fear of death. All this can be accomplished by turning our thoughts to God. Not only in the name of God must we do this, but in the recognition of His true nature.
Christian Science shows us how to demonstrate freedom from fear by acquainting ourselves with God and His perfect creation. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 410): "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!' " To exclaim boastfully that there is no fear does not eliminate it. Communion with the Father who is divine Love accomplishes the purpose. Hear these comforting words of the Psalmist, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).
Truth Dispels Fear
What is fear? Only the lack of understanding the allness of divine Truth. Christian Science comes to the rescue by getting at the mental cause of all fear, showing that it is baseless because it is void of any truth. In the textbook, Mrs. Eddy gives the following definition of fear (Science and Health, p.586): "Heat; inflammation; anxiety; ignorance; error; desire; caution." Here we have seven negativities that are completely void of any quality of Truth or God. Fear, in the sense of heat, can be extinguished by the cool waters of love and peace. Inflammation can be removed by divine Love's healing balm. The calm, sweet assurance of God's day − the eternal present − dissipates anxiety. Ignorance must melt before the omnipotence of Mind, divine intelligence. Error can never find any abiding place in God, for God, divine Principle, tolerates nothing less than the truth. No selfish desire can ever be entertained in Love's kingdom where all the sons of God, made in His likeness, are satisfied. Caution is eliminated by the scientific knowledge that there is no danger in Mind's infinite universe of good.
Throughout Bible history are accounts of those who overcame fear, proved that it is possible to demonstrate God's government here and now. They usually found themselves confronted with a situation that loomed insurmountable, and provoked a sense of fear. One such outstanding experience was the encounter between David and Goliath. It was David's great devotion to God that gave him courage to meet the enemy and this holds a useful lesson for us now. Today we have many Goliaths facing us which must be destroyed, such as lack, injustice, threat of war, sin, pain, disease and death. All these are accompanied by a sense of fear which Truth alone can destroy.
Fear is generally connected with the possibility of loss, whether it be of health, supply, companionship, some dear one, or even life itself. Merely to be told to forget about fear is not enough. We must rise above it by realizing the baselessness of anything opposed to God, who is divine Love. The only way to honestly rectify a mistake is to identify oneself with the truth. In music for example, if one is expressing inharmony, there is only one remedy, and that is to adhere to the fundamental principle of harmony. Applying this procedure to the working out of our salvation we must adhere to the one governing Principle of the universe, which is God. To recognize the true nature of God, infinite good, and to be governed by Him, is to fearlessly challenge and overcome the negativities of the human mind.
This is accomplished not by merely repeating words but by reasoning from cause to effect. Mrs. Eddy in her book "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 79) says, "If the great cause is perfect, its effect is perfect also; and cause and effect in Science are immutable and immortal."
A lack of understanding the reality of God as causative Mind and of man as Mind's idea, induces fear. And of course a clear concept of reality opens the door whereby mankind can demonstrate the freedom that is truly ours here and right now. Christian Science dispels ignorance by revealing the infinitude of causative Mind, divine intelligence, which allows nothing unlike itself to exist.
God the Divine Being
The first step we must take to eliminate the pitfalls of fear is to acquaint ourselves with God. True communion with God is prayer, but this is not confined to verbal expressions. We need to identity God with His true nature. In the textbook, Mrs. Eddy gives the following explanation (Science and Health, p 465); "God is incorporeal, divine, Supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." These seven synonyms define the fundamental nature of God. It is most helpful to think in terms of one or more of these synonyms whenever we refer to God.
We conquer fear when we turn to God as divine Love. The question may arise, how can this be accomplished? We must acquaint ourselves with the nature of Love − where it is, and what it is doing. Divine Love is that which comforts, blesses, and liberates from all error, for Love is Principle, which tolerates no sickness, pain, lack, or fear. Nothing could more warmly describe the true nature of God, our Father-Mother, than Love itself. Principle and Love are identical. In Principle we see the warmth of Love, and in Love we see the power of Principle. Love expresses the nature of God and embraces all true creation. Love is everywhere. But how can we know this? Because we can become conscious of divine Love wherever we are. As in mathematics, for example − just because someone has no knowledge of its fundamental truths, this does not mean that they are not present and operative. As one acquaints himself with these truths and is governed by them, the right answer is obtained.
God can never be seen through the physical senses because He is infinite Spirit, Life, Truth, Mind. Spiritual sense alone can discern God. What is spiritual sense? In the textbook Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p, 209), "Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God." We must endeavor to translate our thinking into the realm of infinite Mind, divine intelligence, thus adhering to the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3).
I remember the first Sunday School class that I taught in Christian Science. They were lovely little children − four and five year olds. One Sunday we were talking about God in the light of seeing Him. The thought that I expressed was that we can never see God with our eyes, but that we can see Him in thought when we think good things. I repeated the thought that in order to see God, we must think of good things, for all good comes from Him. Evidently I did not make myself too clear, for one of the little boys came up to me and with his cheek pressed against mine, whispered in my ear, "I see a great big ice cream cone."
Are we not guilty sometimes of looking to matter for joy and happiness? What about that new car, or boat, or those mink furs? Whatever we need we should rightfully expect according to God's law. In her book "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 203), Mrs. Eddy says, "All that is worth reckoning is what we do, and the best of everything is not too good, but is economy and riches." But we can prosper only when these things come to us through conscientious prayer that God's will be done, and not through mere personal desires.
We may refer to God many times during our daily activities, but let us remember never to address Him in a casual way, that is without thinking about His true nature such as Truth and Love. Hear Mrs. Eddy's concept of God as Love. She says of Love in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 249): "What a word! I am in awe before it." Whenever we voice His name, unless we stand in awe of His mighty power and presence, we cannot expect the blessings that only Life, Truth, and Love can bestow.
Man Is God's Expression
Wherever God is, man is there too, for man is God's expression and there is no place where God is not expressed. This relationship between God and man must be constantly realized in order that we may continually express His will. Whenever we are governed by Truth our actions are harmonious.
In Genesis we read (Gen. 1:26), "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'' What is this image and likeness of God? Surely it is the full expression of infinite Truth or Love manifested in an infinitude of ideas. Man is the reflection of God so he is at one with God. In this true relationship, we can find right here and now complete immunity from fear and bondage, for where there is unity with Truth and Principle, there can be nothing to oppose the harmony of man's being. In the textbook, Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 336), "Immortal man was and is God's image or idea, even the infinite expression of infinite Mind, and immortal man is coexistent and coeternal with that Mind. . . . The spiritual man's consciousness and individuality are reflections of God.''
The perfect man whom God beholds as His likeness is forever in divine Mind, as Mind's reflected consciousness. Whatever Mind is conscious of is the likeness of God. This can never be demonstrated if we entertain finite thoughts about man as a human personality. We can see the real man and his creator only through the Christ, Truth, the divine ideal. This alone reveals the true nature of God and His reflection, man. Man, the image and likeness of God, is just as fearless as God by virtue of reflecting divine Mind.
As we are conscious of God and His perfect man, right here and now, we can apply this truth to a human experience, whether it be fear, sickness, or sin, and this results in Christian Science healing. Let me tell you of an experience that took place during World War II. The wife of a naval officer telephoned the Christian Science Wartime Minister stationed at the base, and through tears told of the routine medical examination her husband had taken. The X-rays revealed a tubercular condition. The officer was told that he would receive an immediate medical discharge from the service. Christian Science treatments were given which first handled thoughts of fear that were quite prevalent. The minister voiced and held to thoughts about God embracing man as His likeness, wherein no shadow of doubt could enter. Within a very short time all evidence of fear had disappeared. Although the discharge papers had been duly filled out, but not delivered, a request by the officer for another examination was granted. The new X-ray pictures showed no trace of tuberculosis, a fact which astonished the medical men, for all the previous pictures revealed a tubercular condition. The hospital records showed that this was the first time medical discharge papers had been cancelled after being duly filled out and signed.
All prayer should heal, and will heal our human needs when rightly utilized. In the Bible (I Thess. ), Paul admonishes us to "Pray without ceasing." But a constant repetition of appeal without a spiritual sense of what one is repeating is of no avail. Discernment of spiritual good must accompany all verbal prayer − that is, we must think righteous prayer and not merely speak it.
To "pray without ceasing" means to turn constantly to divine Mind for guidance in regard to any human suggestion or proposition that confronts us. For example, in solving a mathematical problem how constantly we must hold to the relevant mathematical principle in regard to every single proposition. We know that if just once we neglect to do so in solving a problem, the answer will be wrong. Prayer heals disease by removing the fear that produces a physical discordancy. Fear is undestroyed materialism that believes in the existence of something besides God. Ignorance and fear are companions that fetter our progress. Only righteous prayer − knowing God as Love and man as Love's fearless expression − can destroy them. Our thoughts must turn to divine Mind in order to determine the legitimacy of any thought. In other words, if someone should tell us that he had injured himself, and that he was very fearful, would it be right for us to reply, "That's too bad, how did it happen?" Would this be prayer without ceasing? Perhaps it would be necessary to take steps to bring human comfort. But our love for our friend would lead us to know that there are no injuries in Mind − that no idea of God was ever hurt, and that man remains forever perfect in the loving embrace of the Father. This type of reasoning is prayer, and results in healing the erroneous suggestion including fear.
Let prayer be spontaneous by turning constantly to the divine Mind for right direction and action.
The Freedom of Man's Being
Man's conscious existence abiding in divine Life is his true being. God expresses His completeness in man's true identity. Herein we can see man's freedom from physical discord and fear. Infinity being one, there is nothing to fear, for what could possibly exist outside of all? In divine Life, man is free to be joyous and healthy, active and intelligent, sinless and immortal. More and more let us see that our true being is being at one with the Supreme Being which is God. As the Bible says (Acts ). "In him we live, and move, and have our being."
Remember, man is not life, but man lives in Life, for God is the Life of man. Even as in the science of numbers any given number is not the principle, but it exists because the principle is expressed through numbers. God, being infinite Life, must express Himself, and this expression is man. Man, in order to exist, must reflect Life. So you see the inseparability that exists between God and man. When we realize that God as divine Love enfolds us, we become conscious of our protection against anything that is not Godlike. As in the science of numbers the principle is forever our safeguard, so in the Science of Life we find divine Principle a constant protection.
In the textbook, Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 269). "Metaphysics is above physics, and matter does not enter into metaphysical premises or conclusions. The categories of metaphysics rest on one basis, the divine Mind. Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul."
Matter cannot really satisfy us nor can it harm us. It is our belief in the reality of matter that gives it seeming power. As soon as we think there is a power separate from God, omnipotent Mind, we run into difficulties. We must relinquish our hold on matter, for matter always involves fear. When we are conscious of the infinitude of Mind, and its spiritual ideas, there is nothing to fear.
The world today is beginning to realize that thought is responsible for the conditions of the material body. In the medical field emphasis is being placed on the effect of emotion upon the body. It is quite plain that a great sense of fear would disrupt normal physical conditions. In this light we can see how subordinate matter is to thought. Just to change from one material thought to another in order to obtain harmonious action is not the answer. But, once having seen that material things are thoughts objectified we can exchange finite material thoughts for spiritual ideas emanating from divine Mind.
Then we shall see ideas that are tangible and real, eliminating fear, and bringing us freedom and joy.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy came from a
From early childhood, Mrs. Eddy was well tutored, and became well acquainted with the Bible. As a child she loved to talk with people, especially with clergymen who frequently visited her home: Even then her thought was quite mature and leaned always in the direction of bringing peace and harmony among those she knew. It is quite evident that God was preparing her for something higher than the generally accepted form of theology.
In Sibyl Wilbur's biography of Mrs. Eddy (p. 26) is a conversation between her and her brother Albert, in which she answers his inquiry as to why she wanted to be a scholar. Her reply was: "Because when I grow up I shall write a book; and I must be wise to do it."
For many years Mrs. Eddy searched for the mental cause of all physical action. In her middle years there came a great step of awakening when she turned to her Bible as she lay on her bed suffering from the effects of an accident from which she was not expected to recover. She realized more clearly than ever that the Christ, Truth, which Jesus demonstrated in healing the sick was ever present and ever available. As a result of this understanding, she found herself suddenly well.
She realized that this healing came through no power of her own, but that the Christ, God's living Truth, was revealed to her. She realized, too, that this healing power of the Christ was not merely for her, but that she must see it in its Science in order to share it practically with all who would seek it. This she accomplished by word and demonstration as more of the revelation of divine Truth unfolded to her. She named her discovery Christian Science. Today this demonstrable religion is doing much for mankind in lessening fear through a Christianly scientific explanation of the Bible.
In the light of her discovery of divine Science, we regard Mrs. Eddy as the revelator of Truth to this age. We cannot separate the revelator from the revelation.
In her deeper search for the healing Truth, Mrs. Eddy turned wholeheartedly to the Bible. In the textbook she writes (p. 110), "In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook. The Scriptures were illumined: reason and revelation were reconciled, and afterwards the truth of Christian Science was demonstrated. No human pen nor tongue taught me the Science contained in this book, Science and Health; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it." She writes further: "Jesus demonstrated the power of Christian Science to heal mortal minds and bodies. But this power was lost sight of, and must again be spiritually discerned, taught, and demonstrated according to Christ's command with 'signs following.' "
The Eternal Christ
There is no better way to progress in Christian Science than to turn constantly to the Christ, God's eternal idea, for in no other way can we learn the true nature of God and His creation. The Christ is the "still small voice" (I Kings ) that speaks to those who are seeking spiritual enlightenment. The Christ destroys fear, and brings healing to the sick and brokenhearted.
Christian Science explains the Christ to be the divine reflection of God, and Jesus to be the human demonstration of the Christ. It is quite evident that the Christ, which Jesus referred to as the way, the truth, and the life, is discernible only to spiritual sense, whereas Jesus was apparent to the physical senses. It is true that Jesus so completely identified himself with the Christ that he was given this title and was known as Christ Jesus. Jesus was so enriched with the Christ, God's living Truth, that he was able to demonstrate complete salvation from material sense existence.
Jesus worked out his own salvation and revealed the way of salvation for us in a short span of time, whereas the Christ is woven throughout the sacred pages of the Bible. Is it not true that although Jesus is not present physically, the Christ, Truth, is ever present, always ready to enlighten our consciousness when we turn to it for our salvation? In the textbook Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 331), "The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence." Elsewhere she says (p. 25), "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus."
The question may be asked, "Is it possible to conceive of our true spiritual status while still clothed in a material sense of existence?" Hear these words of John (Rev. 21:1): "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away." Here, the Revelator has made it quite clear that he recognized God's spiritual creation while he was still living here on earth. He saw God's kingdom to be real, and the material universe to be passing away.
Let me tell you of an experience that took place a few years ago when much human fear had produced a critical condition in a little girl. She had developed a kidney disorder that grew steadily worse. She had been under a doctor's care for some time. He stated that uremic poisoning had set in and that the girl had slight chance of recovery, and then only if she would be taken to a hospital for an immediate operation. It was at this point that the grandparents, who were Christian Scientists, asked the young parents of the child if they would have Christian Science help, which is prayer.
They consented to have a Christian Science practitioner who went to the house immediately and found the members of the home all standing around the sickbed, for the child was in a coma. The practitioner recognized a deep sense of fear, and saw that this had to be met. He asked all members of the family except the young mother to leave the room. Then the mother was encouraged to have no fear since the one perfect God and His perfect creation are ever present. The practitioner prayed, realizing that the child's true identity, as a reflection of Love could in no way be afflicted by a malady. He held steadfastly to the thought that as an idea of divine Mind the child could be influenced by nothing but angel thoughts emanating from God, her Father-Mother. The practitioner was confident that the error would give way to the power of Love, and that this truth would meet her human need right then and there. Within a few minutes the child was completely healed, and began jumping on and off her little bed, and asking for food and drink. An eye correction had also taken place at this time. When the doctor learned of the healing, he was amazed and said that such healing could come only through the power of God.
Christian Science Brings Joy
Christian Science is the religion of Love, for all of its teachings are based upon divine Principle, Love. What could better bring joy into the world than Love? True joy is not confined to occasions where there is mere jollity or merrymaking. As we commune with God through His Christ, recognizing Him to be eternal Life, Truth, and Love, we see His true creation, man, made in the image and likeness of God Himself. This results in our feeling a true sense of joy, accompanied by thanksgiving without bounds. A true sense of joy exalts one to sing praises to God. When this state of consciousness has been reached, any sense of fear that may have been entertained, completely dissipates before the joys of Spirit. A Christian Science healing is not complete unless joy is brought into the experience.
The symbol that Mrs. Eddy has chosen to identify all her writings is not only the cross, but the cross and the crown. This points to the working out of our salvation; as we bear the cross we may wear the crown of rejoicing. This is a good point to remember. In the measure that we bear the cross, we are entitled to wear the crown, right here and now. Generally speaking, when we have accomplished a good work, we expect a commensurate reward or recompense. In our daily application of Christian Science, God does not withhold a reward for well doing.
Fundamentally, is there anything more desirable than a true sense of joy and gladness that divine Love bestows?
Many people think the Bible is a book that emphasizes sorrow and suffering. There are many accounts of hardship and tragedy, but many times these trying experiences are brought out to show the folly of attempting to resist God's laws. On the other hand how full the Bible is of thoughts of joy, gladness, the singing of hymns of praise and thanksgiving, and the turning of mourning into dancing.
The question may be asked, how can I bring this joy into my experience?" Hear these words from the Master: "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John -24). The fearlessness of Jesus resulted in his joy being full.
Mary Baker Eddy brought much joy to the world when she gave to it the Christian Science textbook and her other precious writings. The Holy Bible together with these writings constitutes a guide to salvation from material bondage. To heal in Christian Science we must be in strict obedience to its teachings, without any compromise. Sickness is healed by turning thought wholeheartedly to God, good, the only creator, and realizing that man in the likeness of God is also good and perfect as the reflection of infinite Life, Truth, and Love.
Christian Science heals sin, not by merely saying one must not sin because it is evil, but by getting at the mental cause of all sin as originating in selfish motives unknown to infinite Mind. Sin is often the direct result of fear − the sinner being afraid of the sin that uses him. This can take place only in the human mind, and the only remedy is to fill consciousness with thoughts of divine Love until the very presence of God, good, is felt. Christian Science reveals Love to be divine substance, the very Life of man which alone can satisfy. Herein man finds complete and everlasting joy.
We must be constantly on guard never to let down in performing a work that is set before us. Sometimes a sense of fear may suggest that we shall be unable to accomplish a purpose. So long as the work is legitimate, God has given us the understanding and ability to complete it. Let nothing daunt your earnest efforts to achieve an honest goal. Again, remember Christ's keynote, "Be not afraid."
There is a vernacular English
expression often used in the United States Navy − "Carry on!"
No matter what the odds may be against the fulfilling of an order, a navy man
bends himself to that command − "Carry on!" Is not this the only
way to accomplish a purpose? − never give up, never look back. Taking an
illustration from the life around him, the Master said (Luke 9:62), "No
man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom
Maybe there is some form of disease that has caused much fear. Today heart disease seems to be getting a lot of advertising. Is it heart disease that causes fear, or is it fear that causes heart disease? In either case it is a mental problem, and only by turning to the one Mind can we eliminate the error. As we turn to God, we find divine Love ever present, not tolerating the slightest suggestion of disease. Remember that divine Love is the heart of God's universe. There is in reality only one heart, the great heart of Love which beats for all mankind. Whatever the false claim is − "Carry on!" Job speaks of God, "In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job ).
This thought of Job's should certainly help to overcome the belief of death. Christ Jesus never regarded death as more real than any other error. He knew and proved that anything opposed to God is void of reality. It was Jesus' concept of the Christ that enabled him to do the great works of Truth. In the textbook Mrs. Eddy says. (Science and Health, p 289), "The fact that the Christ, or Truth, overcame and still overcomes death proves the 'king of terrors' to be but a mortal belief, or error, which Truth destroys with the spiritual evidences of Life; and this shows that what appears to the senses to be death is but a mortal illusion, for to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process."
Let us be ever watchful, heeding Christ's keynote, "Be not afraid," whether there be clear skies and calm winds as we chart and follow the course, or dark clouds and rough seas. Let us be fearlessly patient and persevering in our intent to pursue the course that the Father has charted for us, by turning to the Christ, God's living Truth. We must put aside self-will and human planning if we are to avoid disaster. If the suggestion comes to let down or drift, let us be alert to note the deception, and listen to that clarion call, "Be not afraid, carry on, carry on."
How fitting are these words from the Christian Science Hymnal (Hymn No. 290):
Press on, press on, ye sons of light,
Untiring in your holy fight,
Still treading each temptation down,
And battling for a brighter crown.
Press on, press on, and fear no foe,
With calm resolve to triumph go;
Victorious over every ill,
Press on to higher glory still.
Press on, press on, still look in faith
To Him who conquers sin and death;
Then shall ye hear His word, Well done!
True to the last, press on, press on!
[Published in The Gulfport (Florida) Tribune & The Citizen, Feb. 2, 1962.]