Christianity is Science and Science is Demonstrable (1)

 

Mary Brookins, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

The subject of Christian Science is fairly before the people today, and is being investigated and tested in every conceivable way. It is passing through the ordeal of scrutiny imposed upon each and every unfolding germ of truth. "Is it of God?" "Is it reasonable?" "Does it accomplish anything in meeting the general need of humankind?" These are among the queries that greet every "new departure" heavenward, and when applied to Christian Science they are answered with emphatic affirmation by those best qualified to know whereof they speak.

The object of the following brief discussion is to present Christian Science in the light of a practical religion and remedy, showing it to be at once true Christianity and true Science, and that these two constitute one intelligible, demonstrable exposition of the nature, purposes, and works of God. If humanity had no sense of loss, or lack, or limitation, no experiences of dire destruction or distress, there were no need of a remedy. If the reign of health and righteousness and peace were consciously established in the experience of the people today, there were no room for further redemption and no use for the continued offices of a redeemer; but such is not the case, and we are not content "to bear those ills we have," any more than we are to "fly to others that we know not of." An instinctive impulse in the heart of man protests against the heritage of evil entailed upon the race of Adam, and either beats its hopeless wings against the boundaries of its objectionable environment or industriously occupies its time in a more or less intelligent effort to escape. More than this, we have as a race reached a point in progress where we are no better satisfied with a negative good than we are with a positive ill. Through a still diviner discontent, we object to a merely indifferent and passive sense of existence, — a life lived from day to day, — simply to breathe or to tread the narrow round of physical existence. A life lived within itself and for itself alone, however exempt from pain and sorrow and loss it may be, soon condemns itself.

Christ Jesus expounded and exemplified a life that meant power, authority, dominion over the flesh. It was not after the storm had subsided, but in the very midst of its fury that he said, "Peace, be still," and there was a great calm. He did not wait for the ascension before declaring, "I have overcome the world." In view of these assurances of man's God-given dominion over all material elements and conditions, illustrated by what has actually occurred, it will never be found that man can be content with anything less than the conscious possession and exercise of a life that is in perfect consonance with absolute good.

 

Heaven Defined

If all the desires, aims, and aspirations of humanity that are pure and right and upward-tending were collected together and seen at once, it would be found that they are all looking toward one common goal, all converging toward one objective point; namely, harmony. Indeed, it has been the common habit to summarize the realization of all good under harmony's synonym, heaven, and then to group around that name all satisfying conceptions of rest and peace, of freedom and health, of prayers answered, of hopes fulfilled, and of life expanded into immortality. No one has ever thought of associating with his idea of heaven such anomalies as limitation, weakness, want, sin, sickness, or death. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;" hence, none of their attendant ills can be present there.

Laboring under the seeming presence and power of these enemies of peace, mortals are in a constant state of unrest, always wishing and striving for better conditions, putting forth every possible effort, as they suppose, to break the distasteful fetters of evil and gain something of an experience of man's rightful heritage of freedom and dominion. Just here mortal sense reaches the limits of its own self-imposed boundaries. It has placed its heaven away off, to be found and enjoyed at some future time, and while it cherishes a hope of some time and somewhere reaching that beatific estate, it is assured that there is no such possibility this side of the grave. But heaven is not merely a place of abode where one may go and find or make for himself a home. Heaven is the presence of God; and God being present everywhere, heaven must be everywhere too.

According to the teaching of Christian Science, heaven is harmony itself, — the absolute reign of Spirit without a rival power, — that condition of mind in which divine Principle actually does govern and control all, with supreme and undivided sway. This definition has no reference to time or place. John the Baptist, in announcing the Messiah, said, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus preached and demonstrated the kingdom of heaven at hand; and, in sending out his disciples into their field, the world, he charged them: "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God should come, he said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

Even when he taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come," it was to declare the great eternal fact of God's kingdom already come, ever present, universal.

If, then, this kingdom of heaven, this reign of harmony, this complete fulfilment of all promises and pledges of good, is here, even now at hand, what hinders the possession of full citizenship in the heavenly estate, and when may mankind enter into so desirable a heritage? Some thousands of years ago, Eliphaz, the wise friend and adviser of Job, said, "Acquaint now thyself with him [with God], and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" and again, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace." "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." The things which Jesus had spoken pertained to the eternal truth of being, which makes free in an unqualified, absolute sense. He had been preaching and practicing the divine Science of being, making it one with the highest order of religion. Through signs and wonders he had been showing them the Father, and the conduct of affairs under His spiritual laws.

Jesus also said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Life eternal must be life that is good, perfect, all-harmonious, for no one could live eternally in any other sense of life. Discord itself must be mortal, for it has not one element of Life or immortality about it. In this saying of the Master's, "life eternal" is made equivalent to the consciousness of harmony, heaven, — to knowing God and His Son. It is noticeable that Jesus did not say that it is life eternal to know something about God, to hold opinions or theories about the Supreme Being and His creation, but "to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;" that is, so to understand Truth, so to know God and the mutual relation existing between Him and His creation, as to enter into His own harmony and immortality.

 

Vital Questions

The whole problem of human life thus resolves itself into a question of knowing. Given the quality and extent of your knowing, and your individuality and your experience are thereby at once determined. The individual and his ideal are one, and cannot be separated. According to our consciousness of good will we bring its sweet harmonies into our experience.

Is any one satisfied with the amount of knowledge he has? Any quite content with his present conception of being? Are not men, sometimes at least, doubtful as to whether much that they suppose they know, is really true? And would they wish what they believe to be the present facts about man and God, and their mutual relations, to be eternally true? Yet Truth is unchangeable and eternal. Everybody knows that. We may therefore rest assured that whatever is really true now, will be so throughout the endless ages; and whatever is not good enough to be true to that extent, is not true now and never was true. So, then, Pilate's query, "What is truth?" is a question which should not be deferred to a dim and distant future for solution. It is the all-absorbing inquiry of today, and surely a most cordial welcome should await that which offers an acceptable answer.

Those who in any degree are noting the signs of these times, know that a marked and important change in human affairs is pending; that we are standing today in the dawning light of a new era. As to just the nature and meaning of this transitional period, there are many widely divergent opinions and much speculation among thinking people; but the general trend of thought and expectation is in the direction of the hopeful, the optimistic, the triumphant view of things. Moreover, there is a very noticeable tendency away from the old material moorings, and a growing favor for metaphysical interpretation and research. There is also a more general and spontaneous reaching out toward God, and an instinctive longing for closer acquaintance with the divine.

This explains why preachers who expound least of creed and dogma and most of the vital, the spiritual, — who tell of the love of God, — have the most numerous and ardent followers and the best success in their good works of reform. These better thoughts, loosening their hold upon the grosser commodities of the senses, are able to echo somewhat the finer harmonies of the supersensible and ideal. But the highest point yet reached, or that ever will be reached, in the upward flights of the human intellect, must still be as far from the divine metaphysics of eternal Mind "as the east is from the west." And here let us note, as we have seen before, that there is that native element of aspiration, inherent in humanity, that will never, in its hope and expectancy and eager pursuit, stop short of the absolute, the infinite, the everlasting Truth itself.

 

One Sure Way

There must be an exact and unmistakable way to this acme of achievement, this longed-for goal, this "the desired of all nations," and Christian Scientists believe such a way was plainly pointed out and faithfully pursued some two thousand years ago by the master Metaphysician, Jesus of Nazareth; but through the admixture of human theories, dogmas, and politics, this way became obscured and well-nigh lost to human view. We are, however, well assured that this way has been rediscovered and revealed to this age by our revered Leader, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, in what she has named "Christian Science." We are also convinced that the teachings of this Science, once thoroughly understood and rightly practiced, are fully adequate to the accomplishment of even so infinite an end as that indicated by Jesus, when he said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

I am well aware that this is a mighty assertion, and that to many it may seem a preposterous claim. But any who, having ears, will hear, or having eyes, will read, what we have to say, — these will find that we are ready to give many a reasonable reason for the hope that is in us, — and that it is simply and wholly out of deep interest in humanity's weal, and in loving solicitude for its woe, that we offer this doctrine for contemplation.

 

What Is Christian Science?

First of all, be it known that Christian Science is not something which Mrs. Eddy has invented, or manufactured, in some storehouse or workshop of human conjecture. It is not a system of mental therapeutics, in which the muscles, or organs, or elements of mortal mentality are manipulated for the benefit of the sick. Rather it is a deep-rooted, demonstrable understanding of the truth of being, a knowledge that lays hold upon the deep things of God.

To know is the main object in living, provided one's knowledge is genuine and practical in bringing out the purposes of good. Knowledge is generally regarded as the one thing needful, the good part that cannot be taken away. The only thing that can be really known is the truth. We may believe, and for a time think, we know a host of things, but presently, upon further investigation and with larger experience, we may come to doubt and question our supposed knowledge along certain lines, and finally to disbelieve and discard it altogether. Then we see that it was only belief at best which we had along those lines, and not real knowledge, because it was not founded upon the divine rock, Christ, Truth, and did not bring out the desired results. This may be said of all the so-called sciences that are based upon a belief in matter. As the process of revising and rejecting goes on, each one of these material systems undergoes such changes as to be scarcely recognizable from one generation to another. The literature of human knowledge that is in vogue in one generation, is quite out of date in the next. The young medical student, fresh from college, turns eagerly, as to a rich legacy, to the library left by his father of like profession, to find there only two or three volumes that he can use in his practice. Well did the wisest man of his day on the material plane say, "This much do I know, that I know nothing."

Knowing is knowledge, and real knowledge is science; and as truth alone can be known, the only absolute knowing or knowledge, or science, must be that which pertains to Truth and achieves the purposes of good, and it is our purpose to show that Christian Science is just such Christly or Christian knowledge. To us Science, in order to be Science at all, must be Christly or Christian Science; and must always, from everlasting, have been Christian Science, coexistent with "the Ancient of days." The advent of Christian Science at this time simply means this: That the discovery was made through the pure spiritual discernment of Mrs. Eddy; that there is and ever has been available to man a Science so Christly, so unerring, and so comprehensive in its nature and operation, as actually to meet the needs of the race in overcoming all its varied ills; that this Science is the knowledge of God and His eternal laws, impelling obedience to the behests of good, and that coincident with her discovery Mrs. Eddy founded a system of practice, — teaching and preaching a system which is calculated to bring this knowledge within the reach of all who wish to avail themselves of its beneficent offices.

 

Mrs. Eddy’s Position

Thus it is that our Leader is indeed and at once the accredited Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, yet she speaks of herself in the preface of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," as one who is still earnestly studying and patiently working out these great questions of life. This very attitude of humility indicates the absence of pride and personal sense, and shows her fitness to receive a higher message from above. The glory of the sunlight floods the landscape, but it must find freest access to your room through the window that is the cleanest and clearest. The light of Truth is everywhere present and always has been, but it has ever found its way into human consciousness through the thought that was freest from material hindrance. The head of this movement, through whose clear consciousness this most spiritually metaphysical teaching came as a divine revelation, and through whose boundless patience, energy, and faithfulness it has been established, is, beyond question, the greatest teacher and leader of this age. She has amply earned this distinction, because she has broken the error of human belief in bondage to the flesh, and has made known the divine power which, when rightly understood and applied, heals and redeems now from sickness, sin, and death. In her own case, when all earthly hope had failed she turned unreservedly to God for help; then her ear caught Truth's triumphant tone, proclaiming that God is the only Life and that man is His deathless child. Her speedy and complete recovery, and the succeeding years of utmost devotion to her divinely appointed task, amply attest the verity of her revelation. Through wonderful works of healing, through extensive class teaching, and through her written works, chief among which is the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she has impressed upon the thought of this generation the oneness and allness of God as Mind, expressed in His harmonious and immortal creation.

This conviction of truth came to Mrs. Eddy at the point of well-rounded womanhood, characterized by more than ordinary mental and spiritual endowments. Having received a liberal education under the careful guidance of well-qualified instructors, her thoughts found ready and graceful expression in both prose and poetry, and she was a frequent and valued contributor to the papers and magazines of the time. Born of deeply religious parents, and reared in an atmosphere of the strictest morality, she was early imbued with the love of the things of Spirit. From early girlhood she was a consistent member of the Congregational Church, and her whole life has been devoted to the purposes of good. With loftiest ideals ever before her, and undaunted integrity and fidelity of purpose within, she has discerned and made known the divine plan of salvation, by which all may be emancipated from their false and needless bondage to sin and suffering.

 

Attitude toward Mrs. Eddy

Christian Scientists rightly love and reverence Mrs. Eddy for the good she has done and is still doing. The children of Israel loved and reverenced Moses for leading them out of bondage, but they did not thereby worship him. Has there ever been any question or criticism of the fact that the early colonists of our country appreciated and venerated and loved George Washington? that they designated him as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen"? that their filial affection for their loved leader and deliverer, combined with their patriotic zeal, found expression in the endearing name, "Father of his country"? Surely it would be a deplorable state of things if the general impulse were not in the direction of due appreciation and grateful acknowledgment of benefits received, and of just recognition of obligations to the benefactor; and naturally, the depth of gratitude and affectionate regard would be in proportion to the benefaction.

Who, then, shall lift up the voice of protest when only a tithe of the debt of gratitude and reverential love due for such full deliverance, such unbounded benefit, has been discharged; when Christian Scientists, out of the simple sense of the fitness of rendering to all their well-earned dues, or out of their transporting joy at finding their lost heritage of freedom and health and peace, have given unabashed utterance to honest thanks to their wise and loving teacher and guide; and in remembrance of their own childish and ineffectual efforts to find the light, and of her ceaseless tenderness and care and self-sacrifice in guiding them thereto, have voiced their reverence and love accordingly? When mortal thought misjudges or misrepresents Mrs. Eddy, it must be out of total lack of appreciation of her mission, and of the wonder of her fulfilment of it. No one, having any adequate conception of her history, can but be deeply stirred by the unutterable pathos and the unmeasured majesty of a life lived so near to God.

 

One Principle

As a direct result of the advent of Christian Science, more unity of purpose and more concerted action are in evidence along all higher lines of human progress. The teaching reveals one Principle, named Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Spirit, God, infinite Being, hence the only One, underlying and governing all things. In this profoundly simple doctrine of the oneness of Mind, of Spirit, of Life, of power, is found a basis of being and of action that precludes friction and insures harmony and safety.

The claim has been made by those who believe in minds many, that influences for good may be exerted by one human mind acting upon another human mind through mesmerism, or hypnotism, or mental suggestion; but the one divine Mind that is omnipotent must include within itself all the power there is, hence there is no agency, potency, or good that is not involved within this one Mind. Why then look for more than the All, or why expect to find something outside of or beyond the infinite? Besides this, it is a well-known fact that the thoughts and purposes and activities of the human mind are by no means confined to the offices of good. Who would willingly entrust his welfare to hands that might work good or ill at pleasure, when the infinity of divine good is ever at hand, asserting its undivided right to rule and to bless the race?

Spiritualism, occultism, "mental science," and all other systems based upon the theory of minds many, spirits many, have the disadvantages of a house divided against itself, and cannot present the invisible aspect of one omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience, that admits no secondary, hence no conflicting, presence or power. Mental healing is sometimes attributed to the action of mortal minds; but Paul said, "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Then the human mind could never have been the basis of any God-directed cures.

 

Unity of Science and Religion

The scientific unity of all things real is especially noticeable as connecting in one the two great fields of intelligence, science and religion, which are also generally recognized as the chief avenues of progress. In no respect is the inspiration of Christian Science more apparent than in this matter of its identification of science with religion.

At the World's Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, a learned speaker made the statement that the world was waiting for the man of genius who should come forward and establish union between science and Christianity. Little did that good brother know that the woman of genius had already come forward, and had established not only the union but the unity of all true Science with all true religion; that, rightly understood, these two are not antagonistic and destructive to each other, but that they have a common basis, motive, and object. Science is simply knowledge made practical and applied, and all real knowledge must be divine. Christian Science is, then, the practical application of the doctrines set forth by the Nazarene Teacher, explicating by precept and proof the deep and everlasting import of his words and works.

Religion has been defined by one deep thinker as "a daily walk with the eternal;" and by another as "the conscious relation between man and God, and the expression of that relation in human conduct." In answering John's inquiry, "Art thou he that should come?" Jesus rested the evidence of his divine appointment upon his works rather than upon his words: "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Referring to the motives of Jesus' life, so far apart from all worldly ambition for possession and power, it was tersely said of him that he "went about doing good." The one mighty incentive in all his works and words was love for God and humanity, a love so all-absorbing that it controlled his every action. He well knew that real being is God, Spirit, Mind, alone, and that all the illusive belief in material life must be dispelled. He was the highest earthly representative and embodiment of the one eternal Christ, the spiritual and perfect idea of God, who said, "Before Abraham was, I am;" and whose perpetual promise to all ages is, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

The narrow, ceremonial element in the old Judaic religion, with its chilling law and its killing letter, was superseded by the glad tidings of peace and good will, the gospel of love for God and love for man, wherein is found the fulfilment of all law and prophecy. Jesus showed Love to be the divine Principle, the substance of all real being, thus building, in place of the old false structure, the truer temple wherein God is worshiped "in spirit and in truth." So, in conformity with Jesus' teaching and example, Christian Science teaches that the two Christian offices of preaching the gospel and healing the sick are so inseparable, so equal in importance, and so identified in purpose and method, that one's Christian life is incomplete if either of them is omitted. In a system wherein science and religion are one, the theology must be curative.

 

Not a Prayerless People

Christian Scientists have been called a prayerless people, but like many of the statements concerning them, this one is quite the opposite of the fact. Indeed, it is only through the teaching of this Science that we have found it possible to obey the apostolic injunction, "Pray without ceasing." While no one can be continually in the physical attitude of prayer, nor forever repeating its words or formulae, one can and should be in constant spiritual communion with his God. Believing, as we do, that we are created and sustained by the one divine Mind, who gives and does "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think," our prayers assume less the form of petition and more that of grateful acknowledgment and thanksgiving.

Does your child appear at your well-filled table only to beg for bread? Does he ask you every day to love him and care for him? Does he not, rather, thankfully accept your bountiful provision and rest serenely in the consciousness of your protection and love? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" So far from neglecting to pray, the fact is that the Christian Scientists rely so entirely, so absolutely, upon this avenue of the divine favor that they are, on the other hand, often called fanatical on this subject; and even their common sense is called into question because they do not exhaust the resources of materia medica before taking their sick to God in prayer.

But why should infinite and ever-present goodness and love be made secondary to man-made medical theories, that lay no claim to exactness, but are, indeed, self-confessed systems of experimentation and guessing, which often lack the redeeming feature of agreeing with each other? Is the wisdom or the skill of men more reliable than omniscience, that we should give them the preference in time of need? Is human power worthy to be weighed in the scales with omnipotence in the hour of man's extremity? The best demonstrator of God's power was wont to say, "I can of mine own self do nothing;" "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

Thus Jesus repudiated not only all material remedies, but all hypnotic influence and control of human will-power. A habitual declaration of man's unity with the divine and inexhaustible Life, the real and indestructible substance, the infinite and omnipotent Love, is the effectual prayer that availeth much, in that it heals and redeems the sin-sick and bodily infirm, and casts out all manner of evil. A poet has said, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of;" and this is very true. But how are they wrought? Not by changing the actions or purposes of God, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," whose ways are always right and wise and kind, above human power to conceive. Wonders are wrought by prayer, in that one gains a nearer approach to a clear state of consciousness, through which are revealed the infinite resources and blessings of the Divine Being, — the power always present and ever operative for the consummation of the highest possible good.

Through the unique method of our church service, in which the entire congregation is privileged to participate, our people are turned to closer and more general study of the Holy Scriptures. Indeed, it would be impossible to find any class of people more devoted to the study of the Bible than the Christian Scientists are, for they have learned to regard it, not so much a history of the past, nor a prophecy of the future, as a revelation of eternal, unchangeable Truth, which is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," and which consequently applies with full force to the needs of the present hour. So, this Science which is religious because it is of God, and this religion which is scientific because it is founded upon eternal Principle instead of fancy or blind faith, are welded into one sound and demonstrable doctrine, whose verity is attested by "signs following." "My doctrine is not mine," said Jesus, "but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

 

The Substantiality of Matter Denied

Now we believe Christian Science is a rediscovery of what Jesus taught and demonstrated as to what God is and what God does. It is man's discovery of himself in the image, the character of God, — Spirit, Mind, — instead of an effigy in matter which physical sense testimony would have fastened upon him. The only evidence we have of matter is the testimony of the physical senses, which take no cognizance whatever of God. All will admit that God is Truth, as the Scriptures declare; and it is equally plain that the physical senses do cognize what they suppose to be matter and all its apparent conditions. But, as they know nothing of God, Truth, reality, then it cannot be that matter is classified as truth, but quite the opposite. Truth being real, its opposite must be unreal, and that is just what Christian Science says about matter.

Again, spiritual sense, through which we do apprehend and love God, Truth, reality, reports absolutely nothing in regard to matter; another very good reason for placing matter outside the pale of reality. The Scriptures say man was created in the image and likeness of God. Is God made of matter, either wholly or in part? Surely not. What then is there in God that is the basis of, or bears a resemblance to, material man? If God is Spirit, as the Scriptures declare and as we all believe, is not spiritual man really His likeness, hence the only real man? One of the early Christian writers, Origen, writing in the year 125, defined baptism as "an escape from matter, — the Lord leading us into light that is shadowless and is material no longer." From this it appears that the early Christians held this same view of the nothingness of matter.

It no longer rests wholly upon Christian Scientists, however, to prove the non-existence of matter. In these latter days of liquefied air and purified thought, matter is rapidly losing its supposed consistency as substance, and all merely material knowledge is being relegated to its proper place among the superstitions of the past. Even to the sense of the more advanced material scientists, matter is rapidly dissolving under the more direct rays of Truth, and is being resolved into its original element, thought. A learned professor in a German university says, "Matter is a thing of thought, which we have constructed for ourselves rather imperfectly, to represent what is permanent in the change of phenomena." Since God is good and infinite, to know God is to know good only. Were we not from the first forbidden to know both good and evil? "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it." One of the strongest arguments brought forward in support of evil is the claim that God is its author and sustainer; that in some inscrutable way, which nobody undertakes to explain satisfactorily, God has assigned to evil a large and useful place in the divine economy; that His theodicy requires an admixture of two opposite and conflicting forces to bring about an ultimate good.

But it has just been shown that God's creation must be like Him; must fairly express and represent that which is in God to be expressed, as an effect must always be like its cause. Admitting this, if we undertake to give evil a place in God's universe, we find ourselves in the dilemma either of pronouncing evil good or else of considering God capable of originating or at least permitting the opposite of good. It is not likely that any of us would willingly grasp either horn of this dilemma. Christian Science eliminates the false supposition of an element of evil, since evil cannot exist in the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, who is good; and it restores the primitive and unadulterated knowledge of the real creation, pronounced by divine wisdom "very good." That this truth of being, rightly understood and separated from illusion, demonstrates harmonious and unfailing life, is being daily attested by countless proofs; and the Master said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Thus Christian Science comes to be a religion of works. Its adherents must express their overflowing thankfulness and praise and devotion to God in active service in the name of Christ, — in healing and doing good to the erring, suffering, wandering ones. Jesus did those things, proving them to be possible, and he indicated not only the possibility, but the certainty of the repetition of them. He said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father;" meaning evidently that all true believers, in all ages and places, were not only to emulate the wondrous works that he had done up to that time, but were also to follow his further demonstrations of control and dominion, until all personal sense and self were vanquished in the presence of one real Ego, Spirit. That the first part of this prophecy was fulfilled repeatedly for several hundred years following, is a matter of familiar history; and this fact gives fair assurance of the further continuance and completion of these divine works when actually done in Christ's name — that is, after his manner and method.

 

Healing of Sickness and Sin

In all of the more than one thousand organizations of this denomination, weekly experience meetings are held, where at a very low estimate from seven to ten testimonies are heard at each session, of cases which cover every known disease of body and mind and morals, chronic and acute, organic and functional. One can readily see what a volume of evidence as to the curative efficacy of Christian Science is thus all the time accumulating. That the exponents of Christian Science are not yet able at all times and under all circumstances to demonstrate its highest possibilities is not strange, but even now its successes so far outnumber its failures that a reasonably fair-minded public will gladly allow the former to be recorded as well as the latter.

Though not much given to statistics, we can say without exaggeration that many hundreds of thousands of so-called incurable cases of disease have been healed through Christian Science. Notwithstanding this astonishing statement, its work is by no means confined to the cure of physical ills, — rather is this incidental to the vastly greater mission of healing sin and leading in all matters of genuine reform. Christian Science reclaims the sinner, not through fear of punishment nor anticipation of reward, but by the supremacy of Mind that is good, dispelling the illusion of his love of sin, and by so uplifting his sense of good and enlarging his affection for good, that he ceases to find satisfaction in aught but the way of goodness. Hosts of people have been and are being healed of the appetite for intoxicants, tobacco, and opium, through this sort of temperance work, proving it to be a prohibition that actually does prohibit the sin itself, instead of spending its energies in the fruitless attempt to prevent the consequences of continued sin.

Through the knowledge of the reality and allness of Mind, and the unreality and nothingness of matter, the varied vices of the flesh are annulled; the Mind of Christ, the Love that is God, is enthroned as the all-governing Principle of spiritual, universal man, and thus the divine manhood and womanhood of the sons and daughters of God appear. The immediate result is that human affection is purified and exalted above the plane of instinct, and thus rendered wholesome and permanent. Family ties that had been ruptured through the destructive belief in minds many, have been reunited and homes restored to wholeness by the unity of the Spirit, which is the guarantee of purity and the bond of peace. We thus see that Christian Science is not a profession merely, for a few to follow, but a divine order of daily living for all mankind to adopt and practice. It is the message of divine Love, coming to self-afflicted humanity to heal, to redeem, to uplift, to crown with blessings infinite.

One common criticism against Christian Science is that its adherents lose interest in the public weal; that they regard the usual methods and means of reform as unnecessary for the benefit of the people at large; that they do not enter into popular plans for refining and elevating the race. The fact is, however, that the advocates of Christian Science do have a practical and active interest in the general welfare of mankind. They are, by degrees, proving that its Principle permeates and governs every avenue of human experience and is ingrafted into every department of human affairs. While their methods may differ somewhat from those most in vogue, by the absence of outward form and machinery in their enterprises, still the essential elements of true progress are never lost to view, and they heartily aid and endorse all that tends to educate, ennoble, refine, or mold character into closer semblance to the Divine.

It has been said that Christian Science is anti-educational. Not so. It is true we are taught that real Mind does not depend upon the usual means and modes of development, yet we are well aware that this great fact can be accepted only as thought rises to the apprehension of the truth. We know we never can get the perfect flower by ruthlessly tearing open the bud; the tender petals must unfold naturally in God's sunlight and air. We would not close the schools, but we would permeate them with higher ideals; we would foster a preference for those studies and pursuits which enable the learner to be absent from the body, and to devote attention to the purer, more wholesome, more profitable contemplation of deathless, limitless Soul.

In view of the fact that alchemy and astrology, once rated as branches of the higher education, have long since been relegated to the shades of oblivion, we should not hesitate to let anatomy, physiology, hygiene, and kindred subjects, follow in their train, and institute instead a research among the imperishable resources of Mind. The very best training the hand can have to make it skilful in expressing the beautiful and useful in art is the habitual remembrance that God is the only power, who is All and does all. True mental discipline lies not at all in the laborious conjugation of the verbs of a dead language, but in the living consciousness that God is the only Mind, and that divine intelligence, rather than human intellect, is the great thought-force which moves the universe in paths of harmony, health, and success. Surely that knowledge which results in peace and freedom and health and immortality, has a strong claim to the name of the "higher education," capable of bringing into manifestation the noblest possibilities of man.

 

Christian Science Charity

Christian Science inculcates and its adherents practice the broadest philanthropy, — even that implied by the meaning of the term philanthropy, "love of mankind." "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Christian Science has no interest in the cheap charity that lavishes material goods indiscriminately on the so-called poor, thus emphasizing their sense of lack and inability; but it rather endorses that wise saying of the ancient philosopher: "The noblest charity is to prevent a man from accepting charity; and the best alms are to show and to enable a man to dispense with alms."

Divine Love is too wise and kind to pour out unearned benefits upon the unworthy; rather does it, through its profound surgery, remove the abnormal growths of avarice, of dishonesty, of hypocrisy, of all unholy motives and actions, and so saves mortal thought from itself and its self-imposed poverty. Christian Science is broad-spirited. It serves the human race for good, in an ever-ascending scale and in a constantly expanding field of usefulness. The query sometimes arises, Does not this idea breed indifference to human needs, by dulling the sensibilities and checking the sympathies? It dulls the sensibilities only by causing people to become less sensible of evil, as they grow more and more sensible of good; to cease forever looking for a dark side of things, forever prophesying and prognosticating evil; but rather to look up with fearless, blameless glance into the face of the Father-Mother God, and to see the graces and glories of that face reflected in all people and things. It teaches us to sympathize with good rather than with evil; and by that very act it helps to bring good to pass.

The fact that our adherents, though numbered by many thousands, are still few in comparison with the hosts of the earth, is no argument against our Cause, for "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Neither is the fact that our doctrine is sometimes scorned and rejected by the intellectual pride of our day derogatory to our interpretation of truth. The wisdom of the world, which has been denominated foolishness with God, has ever been a barrier to the ready acceptance of the simple logic of the gospel of Christ. It is recorded of its best expounder that he was despised and rejected by this same class, but that the common people heard him gladly.

 

Truth is sure, and can afford to wait

Our slow perception. . . . . . . .

Her essence is eternal, and she knows

The world must swing round to her soon or late.

 

Every advancing step, even along the most material lines of discovery and invention, has slowly to work its way into popular favor, and the more radically new and different it is, the more of human incredulity and prejudice and opposition it has to encounter, until it has had sufficient opportunity to prove itself useful and indispensable to human needs. What shall we say, then, of this revelation, which is at the same time such a revolution, in the realm of mind, the coming of which is the marking of so distinctive an era in the growing conception of Truth? No wonder the thought that challenges each onward movement of its fellows is capable only of disdain, or ridicule, or malice, when by a gleam of the eternal light its own impotence and absurdities are revealed. It is human ignorance that incites most of the opposition and persecution which Truth's advance guards always have to encounter. So in these days people merely oppose and fight their own misconceptions of Christian Science, not what it really is. But persecution usually ceases when the healing touch is felt, and prejudice vanishes as it is shown that Christian Science is among the world's best friends. Meantime our gradual growth has been salutary, as it has insured a firm foundation.

Through the tactics of peace and of good will, Christian Science fights the holy wars, not so much of words as of thoughts and deeds. Its eloquence and its unanswerable logic are in its good works, "for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." The mission of Christian Science is to bring to human knowledge the ever-present, healing Christ, the risen Saviour, reappearing now, not in person, but in idea, to heal and redeem mankind. The magnitude of the work of Christian Science and the boundless scope of its influence are scarcely comprehended, even by its own adherents, much less by the people at large. A needy world cannot afford to neglect such opportunities for obtaining the help it needs, neither can it long be kept from such a boon by pride or prejudice. It is surely awakening in glad response to this practical, demonstrable Christianity, whose divine service is in no way limited to time or place, but consists in daily doing good. What a world it will be, indeed, when uplifted humanity, touched by divine Truth and Love, shall shake off the fetters of ignorance, limitation, and sin, and shall rise to fulness of life in Christ, — when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

What does it all mean? It means that deep down in the human consciousness is being laid the foundation of that eternal truth, the knowledge of which, it was promised, should make men free; and that upon this firm substructure is being reared, with the solid masonry of Spirit, the superstructure of purer thinking, of more righteous living. It means that there is a large and rapidly increasing body (a "peculiar people" indeed) who are really learning how to become as a little child, and to walk in willing, implicit trust and obedience wherever, through their divinely appointed guide, God is pointing out the way. It means that this way of righteousness is proven to be a way of exemption, not only from the snares of sin, but from the pains and frailties of the body as well; a way of salvation, in the fullest sense, from sin, disease, and death, to health, holiness, and life eternal.

Of course it would be useless to attempt to set forth within the scope of a single lecture anything like a full exposition of so vast a theme; one can but point out some of its virtues and possibilities sufficiently to commend it to your favorable esteem, and possibly to incite you to further investigation. If any ray of hope, or comfort, or inspiration has come to you from this hour's discussion, its object will have been attained, for, if remembered and followed, this ray will become the day-star to lead you to the haven of a practical, provable knowledge of God.

Finally, we who have had experimental knowledge of the value of this advice, do not hesitate to recommend most earnest and diligent study of this vital subject, and association with those who have made some progress in its lore. We especially advocate, in connection with the study of the Bible, the daily perusal of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Pondering deeply, and applying so far as possible the wonderful precepts of these two books, thus coming into closer acquaintance and fellowship with this inspired teaching, you will find that you, too, can demonstrate the spiritual power of the undaunted thought of Truth to supplant any and every suggestion of evil, and can prove by degrees that divine Mind is still ever present and omnipotent to heal and to save to the uttermost.

Progression is the inevitable outcome of all honest endeavor. If we are sincerely seeking the truth for truth's own sake, we must all move onward under this impartial ruling, gaining daily a greater sense of peace and of power, "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

 

[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1900.]

 

 

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