Mary Brookins, C.S.B., of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
On this subject of Christian Science there is so very much to be said that I can aim to give you at this time only the briefest outlines, with the hope that these may serve as an incentive to further interest and investigation later on.
There are two classes of people, namely, honest investigators and unsparing critics, who today are taking note of this new and marked departure from the beaten paths of theology and medicine — and who are plying its representatives with many and varied questions.
Considering the popular distastes for and distrust of innovations of whatever description, it is not at all strange that a clear understanding of our doctrine is not more general, but to the honest investigator and to the exacting critic as well, Christian Scientists are generally ready to give reasonable explanation of the hope that is in them, and are glad to furnish helpful information on this vital subject. The fact that so much gratuitous comment, both pro and con is offered, would indicate that this new departure is not without interest to a very large number of thinking people.
Wherever thought has been sufficiently liberated to form unbiased judgment, and to pass upon the merits of the question with untrammeled conviction, the growth of this movement is nothing less than phenomenal. By all right and logical reasoning, by many unanswerable proofs, and by the witness of the spirit, Christian Science appeals to the fair minded thinker as the one authentic and reliable interpretation of being.
There is a somewhat prevalent notion that Christian Scientists look upon the ills of the present state of existence with lofty unconcern and content themselves with saying: "There is nothing the matter with the world. God is all and everywhere and the only reality, hence we need not trouble ourselves over the flimsy appearance of that which is not real." But this is a mistaken estimate of our attitude. We are more than ever keenly alive to the needs of mankind — the more so because we believe that through the understanding of Truth, as revealed in Christian Science, we have found the divine and all-sufficient remedy for every ill that flesh is heir to.
This is not a Eutopian dream, but a simple recognition of the Scriptural teaching that these fleshly ills are the outcome, either of dense ignorance or to some misconception of being — and that they may be and are dispelled, like mist before the morning, as the true idea of being supersedes the false. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: . . . for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, is beyond question the prophet of this age, who through rarely pure spiritual discernment sees the incoming Christ, the divine idea of being taking possession of human consciousness, and so dispelling all illusive sense testimony about being. Through her text book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and other published works, she is heralding the glad tidings to an awakening world, rousing thought from the mesmeric slumber of generations past and reinstalling the gospel of healing and the reign of righteousness and peace.
It is now something more than forty years since Mrs. Eddy, then supposed to be at the door of death, on account of a serious accident which had befallen her, so far grasped the Truth of being that she was brought back to life and health; and threw the radiance of Truth's healing power adown the coming centuries, revealing a universal law of cure — an all sufficient balm for every human ill.
By nature, education and experience Mrs. Eddy was eminently fitted for the vast work of reform that lay before her. Beginning in a quiet way to demonstrate the efficacy of the Christ method in the treatment of disease, and to teach a few students the rudiments of this system, she went on to teach more students and to qualify them to heal and teach, until now the adherents of this living, healing, redeeming faith are numbered by hundreds of thousands and Christian Science is known to some extent all over the inhabited world.
Knowing is knowledge, and real knowledge is science; and since 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 intention to show that Christian Science is just such Christly knowledge 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, coexisting with the Ancient of Days. Then the advent of Christian Science at this time simply means 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, and that coincident with her discovery, Mrs. Eddy founded a system of practice, healing, teaching and preaching which is calculated to bring this knowledge within the reach of all who wish to avail themselves of its beneficent offices.
The world has before it a perpetual object lesson in the practical work of healing the sick and reforming the sinner. Churches in which the Gospel of healing is taught and practiced are multiplying with marked rapidity.
It is primarily the mission of Christian Science to bring into view that truer conception of God and his creation that dispels the errors and ailments of sense.
Beginning at the very foundational Principle of all that exists, this later unfolding of Truth reveals God as supreme Spirit, intelligence, substance, the one and only Life of the universe, without beginning or end unfettered by matter, sin, disease or death. It reveals God as the one truth, unalterable, permanent, eternal, absolutely the same "yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." It reveals God as the one Love — tender, compassionate, all wise, almighty — the one Father and Mother of one universal family of man.
All will agree that God is good — also that God is infinite. To follow out these two premises to their only logical conclusion we arrive at the unavoidable and all satisfying fact that good is infinite. But here comes in the equally unavoidable, but heretofore unrecognized correlation, namely, that the infinite good is all. The infinite has no limits, hence the infinite leaves no room for an opposite, or a competitor. The good then shares not its realm nor its dominion nor its authority nor its power with any conflicting being.
So far from losing our hold upon the faith of our fathers, we believe in God more than we ever did before, and more than do most people, because we do not acknowledge the presence and power of any other being. Affirming the omnipresence and omnipotence of Deity there is no room or opportunity for a rival or a secondary power or presence.
Belief implies the possibility of a change of opinion, but so firm and fixed is our conviction on this point that we can say with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth."
Christian Science does not deny the personality of God, but enlarges upon the theme though we usually prefer the term "individuality," as less likely to convey the erroneous sense of limitations or outlines as applied to the Deity. Devoutly cognizant of the immanence, the ever presence of God as Life, Mind and substance, we heartily join with the most orthodox in declaring God to be the one and only creator and sustainer of the universe and man; that he never loses his own individual or indivisible identity, nor enters into his creation, but is forever reflected and rightly represented by his creation.
Christian Science does not deny the immortality of Soul, but holds it as a fundamental truth based on revelation and all right reasoning, and proven beyond cavil by the life and resurrection of our Master, Christ Jesus.
Through Christian Science we come to understand and love our Savior more than ever before — to see in the example of his blameless life, in his rebuking and dispelling the errors of mortals, overcoming sickness, sin and death, and simply "going about doing good" — to see in all this the pattern for all human motive, action and conduct. Jesus himself 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."
In the matchless sacrifice of his daily death, to all sense of error, in his perfect demonstration of immortal life and unfailing love, we find the proof of his atonement with God, who is all Life and Love.
We believe in Christ Jesus as the highest earthly representative of the truth, the one faultless example of the true life, the very embodiment of infinite love, the divine teacher of men. Always in unison with the Father, he did many wonderful works — not in violation of law and order, but in perfect consonance with the higher code of spiritual law, that cannot and need not ever be changed. A miracle is not a setting aside of law, not the least infraction of God's law, which is incapable of being broken. A miracle is simply a marvel or a wonder, and in trying to designate the complete fulfilment of all true and perfect and eternal law, the human sense is overwhelmed with the wonder of it all, and counts the unwonted disclosure as nothing less than miraculous.
Jesus himself demonstrated the supremacy of Mind over every material condition and he commissioned his disciples in all ages to carry on their warfare against error upon this basis alone. Jesus' constant occupation was overcoming evil in all its forms; not one or two phases of it, but all. He healed the sick, he reformed the sinner, he raised the dead, all through Mind alone, independently of material means or methods.
Objectors sometimes call attention to the fact that Jesus once used material means in the form of clay and spittle in healing the case of the man born blind. But a thoughtful review of this incident shows that the great teacher was simply making use of a typical Oriental custom for the purpose of expressing his supreme contempt for matter as a curative agent, and at the same time was proving the utter futility of the material application, for it was only after the patient had washed it away — had rid himself of this encumbering and useless element — that the wonderful cure was effected.
Neither was this unique Physician dependent upon any of the so-called forces of the human mind, as accessory to his healing work, but insistently declared: "The Father (infinite Mind) that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" — in like allegiance to the divine.
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 the effigy in matter, that 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. It is 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, then it cannot be that matter is Truth, but quite the reverse. Truth being real, its opposite must be unreal, and that is just what Christian Science says of matter.
Again spiritual sense through which we do apprehend and love God, Truth, reality, reports absolutely nothing in regard to matter; another good reason for placing matter outside the pale of reality.
The Scriptures say man was created in God's image and likeness. Is God made of matter either wholly or in part? Surely not. What then is there in God that is the basis of or resemblance to material man? If God is all Spirit, is not spiritual man really his likeness, hence the only real man? Origen writing in the year of 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.
But it no longer rests upon Christian Scientists 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 foreign 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 of 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 mistaken claim that God is its author and sustainer; that in some inscrutable way, that nobody undertakes satisfactorily to explain, God has assigned to evil a large and useful place in the divine economy; that his theodicy requires an admixture of the two opposite and conflicting forces, namely, good and evil to bring about an ultimate good.
It has already been shown that God's creation must be like Him; it 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 of either pronouncing evil good, or else considering God capable of originating or permitting the opposite of good. It is not likely that any of us would willingly grasp either horn of the dilemma.
Christian Science eliminates the false supposition of an element of evil that cannot exist in the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, who is good; and 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 "by their fruits ye shall know them."
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 astounding 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 bribery 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 that, 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, opium, and other drugs 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 fruitless attempts to prevent the consequence of continued sin.
Christian Science eschews hypnotism, mesmerism, spiritualism, animal magnetism, suggestive therapeutics, and all forms of occultism, both ancient and modern and stands out distinctly by itself as a definite demonstrable knowledge of God and of man. No one should willingly surrender his self-government and surely one could not choose to be at the mercy of mental influences, secretly exerted without his knowledge or consent. Here again is Christian Science a rock of defense. True self-government consists in acknowledging the divine Mind, God as the one and only power and presence — and one is freed from the general mesmerism of mortal thought, and from its special forms, only by seeing the utter falsity of its baseless claim to power, and knowing God as the infinite, hence the only Mind. When thus liberated from the fatal effects of the belief in minds many Christian Scientists are able to demonstrate successfully over error in all its forms.
Christian Science begins the explanation of creation, not from what is apparent to a set of totally unreliable physical senses — but from its foundational Principle of basis, God.
We believe in the literal truth of the scriptural statement, "There is no power but of God." Omnipotence must be the one and only power that actuates and sustains all — whose action is so constant, so regular, so invariable that men call it law. God is not a remote personality who tells the truth or who sends out life, but He is Truth, Life itself — "God is Love." How plainly that is stated! Not somebody who deals out love as a commodity but Love itself, the whole infinity of Love, broad and deep enough to include all his children, perfect and comprehensive enough to cast out all fear. We "have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear" but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry "Abba, Father." This word "Abba" is, in the original, the most specially endearing term for Father, and, as there is no English word that exactly corresponds with it, it was simply transplanted instead of being translated into English.
Mortal sense that sees not God sees not His likeness, which is the real man, so it is not competent to testify — and its false testimony must be denied and reversed, in order to get the true sense of man as the divine image, the expression of good.
Christian Science has revealed many inconsistencies in our former habits of thought. It shows that we cannot, as was once supposed, believe in an imperfect creation and a perfect creator at the same time. Faulty work implies a faulty worker. If we see error and deficiency in that which is made, does not that cast a like reflection upon the wisdom and power of the Maker?
Paul said: "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." The Revised Version gives it even more strongly. It says: "He that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God." Would any one wish to admit that by holding fast to the thought of an imperfect or wicked creation, he is rejecting God? Yet, this is just what virtually, though perhaps unconsciously, he is doing. To dishonor the creation, dishonors the Creator. So at the very outset, our allegiance to God requires that we see his work to be indeed His image and likeness, the exact representation of His very Being "perfect, as the Father in Heaven is perfect.''
If one would claim to have the Mind of Christ and to be a child or expression of God, he must substantiate the claim by admitting only such thought motives and feelings as have place in the Christly consciousness.
Christ Jesus, by keeping his thought pure and free from all taint of sense testimony, really did express the divine Mind, and he was thus enabled to fulfill his beneficial mission to mankind. He could heal the sickness, sin and death of mortal sense simply because he knew God aright, and because, knowing man to be God's spiritual child or reflection, He refused always to know him in any other way. It was said of Jesus that he "needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." Viewing man always from the standpoint of the science of being and admitting no false testimony concerning him, Jesus insisted upon man's divine nature as the real, and he was thus able to bring it out in demonstration, proving man to be whole, righteous and happy.
Thus each and all should keep in mind the perfect model, keep a sense of trust, of confidence, of assurance concerning the true character of man, and let this true sense govern his estimate of and attitude toward all.
It is related that in a poor district in one of our large cities there is a certain hall, in which mass meetings for temperance and other reformatory works are held. Among the decorations of this room is an illuminated motto which says, "Trust in the Lord," and immediately under this is another framed inscription which reads, "Beware of pickpockets." This mixture of trust and distrust is hardly in harmony with the teachings of the Master, whose eye was always single to the discernment of the one good, everywhere present and expressed in all. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." We believe in God as Truth, Life and Love, as the perfect and only Mind. Let us, then, believe also in man as expressing such Mind, as manifesting only Truth and Love. No matter what sense testimony says to the contrary, we should hold to the true estimate of man, and act accordingly. Having two coins, one genuine and the other counterfeit, and knowing the difference in value, it matters not to us what the supposed history or destiny of the spurious, but we carefully preserve the true metal. Thus, while denying the false, the unreal man, we carefully contemplate the real status of man, in order to bring it more fully into our experience.
The real man, the child of God, by origin, nature and destiny is divine like unto his heavenly Parent. Deriving his qualities from no other source, he must be pure, whole and indestructible — not liable to fall into disease, discord or decay. For the same reason he must be unchangeable and immortal. "Because I live, ye shall live also,'' said Christ Jesus. If this, at one time, is sufficient reason why man should live, why not at another, and why not for all time and eternity, as long as Christ does live?
The assertion that life results in death, and that death in turn gives place to life eternal, seems a most extravagant paradox, since death is the direct opposite of Life, and can by no stretch of credulity have any cooperation or connection with it. Does the sun ever send out darkness? Or heat ever produce cold? Can Life, the all pervading, never changing Principle of being, end in death?
Christian Science reveals the grand capabilities of man as the wholly spiritual child of God, having no element or quality or power underived from Deity. It shows man is not the slave of a mortal body, of materia medica, climate, heredity, temptation, sin — as the victim of weakness or wickedness, danger or death, but as God's free born child, rejoicing in the liberty and immortality of the spiritual and eternal kingdom of His dear Son. We believe this heavenly kingdom to be "at hand," even as our Master and his herald and his followers all proclaimed; and we further aver that in the understanding or the knowledge of Christian Science revealed in this age by its discoverer and founder, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, we believe that we have the key to its inmost treasures.
We are well aware that this is a very large claim, but we are ready to substantiate it by what has already been and is being unfolded in this direction.
The gospel of Christ was announced as ushering in a dispensation of "peace on earth, good will toward men." But, however gratifying may have been such a prospect to the weary human sense, nearly twenty centuries have passed, according to the reckoning of mortals, and yet the race as a whole seems to be far from an adequate realization of that promised boon.
Among the most practical lessons that Christian Science is teaching today is the fact that we are not to look outside of ourselves for the cause of our discord or deficiency, but that we are to find and master whatever it is in our own sense of things that militates against the true and abiding consciousness of good.
Turning thus in the right direction, we find that, without exception, the most insidious and ever-active enemy to peace is fear, bringing about almost ceaseless apprehension of harm, of loss, of change, of disaster.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth (of materiality) be removed, and though the mountains (the high places of mortal belief) be carried into the midst of the sea."
It is a fundamental fact in Science that God — "too pure to behold iniquity," too perfect and holy and eternal ever to know sin, disease or death, — is the very Mind, Life, substance of all the vast creation. And because this is so, his countless children are forever held in his omnipotent care, free from all bondage, safe from all harm. "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God," since liberty is the normal and universal condition of man.
Rebuking the Athenians for their ignorance of the true God, Paul said: "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious," for ignorance begets superstition, which in its turn, breeds the multitudinous phases of fear, made manifest in the beliefs of sickness, sin and death.
In submissive obedience to this terrible taskmaster, mortals are in constant dread of imaginary foes on every hand. They are afraid of the weather, whatever its condition, being equally terrified by its opposite freaks. They are afraid of food and of the lack of food, they are afraid of too much exercise and almost as much so of too little exercise. They are afraid of contagion, of heredity, and every material condition that varies from a nicely adjusted balance is looked upon with suspicious and superstitious dread, as being conducive to sickness or calamity of some kind.
They are afraid of temptation lest it overpower them, and lead them into sin — and finally all these fears culminate in a nameless terror of the last enemy, death, though more properly speaking, the fear of death is the sum total of all the unwholesome brood of fears, since death is the synonym for all that is unlike the perfect Life. A knowledge of true life or the knowing of the truth and implicit obedience thereto, would, as the apostle says: "Deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." And herein is answered the frequent question: "Why are so many noble, saintly people found in bondage to physical suffering?" Simply because they do not understand the strength and freedom and dominion to which they are entitled by reason of their divine nature and of their earnest efforts to be good and do good.
Being more alive to the law than the hardened sinner, they are more liable to bodily suffering, until they learn the futility of material so-called law, and know that God is the only lawmaker and that in the divine government there is no provision for sickness or suffering so long as man is submissive and obedient to the holy will of good — "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
This thought once grasped and held as truth, breaks the flimsy shackles of human bondage, wherein man has entangled himself and sets the captive free. This is preaching and practicing deliverance to such as are bound. This is the great illumination of truth that has appeared "to give light to them that sit in darkness" — that is, in ignorance of man's real being, "and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
To show that man is not the helpless victim of temptation, nor the bond servant of sin, Paul said: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?".
Perhaps more distressing than the dread of any physical danger or harm, is the subtler form of fear of unseen mental agencies, of personal influence, control or power. A prolific source of fear is the belief in many minds, holding attitudes of criticism or antagonism toward one's cherished plans, and presenting many conflicting interests and purposes and activities to oppose one's own.
"What will people do or say or think?" How often is this question allowed to weigh in the scales of human affairs! And how often it hinders the exercise of one's best impulses!
Even in the event of comparative prosperity and peace there is still a lurking fear that these desirable conditions will not last — that the unwonted happiness is too good to be true, or at least too blessed to continue to be true.
Nor does the mortal mind stop with its dark forebodings, but shadows them forth in corresponding experiences of ill. For "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If he is constantly thinking thoughts of fear and misfortune, these thoughts will take definite shape and significance to his sense in like experiences of evil.
It has often been noted how a sudden fear unnerves the arm, pales the cheek or bewilders the thought. In like manner may all the claims of mortal weakness or sickness or disorder of whatever sort be traced back to the indwelling fear. Job candidly admitted, "The thing which I greatly feared has come upon me."
How shall we account for this condition so unlike and antagonistic to the joy, the peace, the freedom, the dominion promised to mankind? What is the reason that the human mind should be so tortured by an ever-present foreboding of ill — disturbing its rest, hindering its higher aspirations, destroying its peace?
From this standpoint of absolute Science, there is no support for such a false condition, there is no reason why it should exist. Therefore in any sense of truth or reality, it does not exist, and this declaration, revolutionary though it may seem at first thought, is in perfect accord with the Scripture teaching: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear." The beloved disciple states and reiterates, "God is Love." Then if God is infinite and everywhere present, Love is infinite and everywhere present — now Love is not a sentiment, an emotion of the human mind; it is not even a quality or attribute of God, for Love is God. So, if there is no fear in Love, as the apostle declares, there is no fear anywhere, for there is nowhere else to be.
Rotherham in his literal translation renders the passage even more forcibly and no doubt more correctly as fellows: "Fear exists not in love, nay — complete love casts fear outside." Complete love is the Love that is God, hence infinite — and to be outside of the infinite is to be in the realm of nonentity, nothingness. So that which exists not in Love, the omnipresent, exists not at all, and in only illusion, hallucination without any sufficient reason for being.
Now and then the human thought has at least approached a solution of its difficulties and has caught a glimpse of its own folly, as when one of our poets ingenuously said: "Our fear is all we have to fear" — and in the higher thought of Christian Science, fear is indeed abolished, for only one Mind supremely reigns and that Mind, knowing its own omnipotence, knows no fear. Seeing Spirit as the only substance, Life, Mind, power, saps the supposed foundation of fear, and annuls its baneful effects.
Is it not a species of insanity to believe in and be governed or controlled by that which has only a fabulous seeming of existence? But "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." It is certainly a phase of mental unsoundness to be the slave of hallucinations that have not a shadow of verity in the eternal realities of being — and this unsoundness results either from ignorance of the Truth of being, or from willful sin against one's best understanding of this Truth.
In mortal ignorance of God's all power, and of man's relation thereunto, the human sense is like a child, separated from its parents and lost in the dark. In its bewilderment and terror it pictures to itself all sorts of danger, until it actually thinks it sees and feels the image of its alarm — or it is like an abject slave, bowing down to the merciless decrees of a hard taskmaster in constant anxiety and alarm, lest some mandate might be overlooked or disregarded. But the child of God is no longer a servant but a son, and he is never separated from his Father-Mother Love to be lost in the dark, for he knows that the Divine Presence fills all space, and is itself the light and life of all that exists. Of course nothing we could do or fail to do could hinder the beneficent activities of the infinite Mind — but if we allow a false sense to interpose, we shade God's window and fail to get the benefit of His light.
If one holds a smoky glass before his eyes that does not hinder nor change the clear, bright shining of the sun, but to his sense the light is obscure and imperfect so long as he sees it through the glass. So to get the clear radiance of Eternal Truth we must cast away the distorted glass of material sense testimony and admit only the pure direct rays of divine light and love.
So variable and transitory is all human knowledge that one is often reminded of the humorist's query: "What is the use of knowing so much, if so much of what you know is not so?"
It is not our intention to criticize popular ideas on the subject of education, nor to decry present methods. Nobody knows better than educationists themselves the utter futility of many of their efforts, and no one is seeking more devotedly to advance and perfect a cause. There is no field in all the great work of the world where there is more need of a better opportunity for the most earnest and active cooperation of the best thought and effort.
In its own quiet, unobtrusive way Christian Science is specifically doing its full share in this work. It has been sensibly felt in the radical and rapidly increasing change from a material to a spiritual basis in all lines of reasoning, in the general uplifting of thought, noticeable in the professions, in the pulpit and in the press.
Christian Science establishes the one great essential of all true progress, namely, the union of science and religion. As the name indicates, it is primarily knowledge of the divine. It classifies all science or true knowledge as divine, and so the two great avenues of intelligence, science and true religion, are merged into one.
One may be ever so learned in the wisdom and ways of the world and yet lack the very fundamentals of true education, namely the awakening of lofty aspirations, the purifying and exalting of the affections. The college-bred man may perchance be an intellectual, as well as a muscular athlete, but if the higher qualities shown in reverence and love of the good, in uprightness, unselfishness, purity and fidelity of character, have not been called forth and exercised he is still in dense ignorance of the essentials of life. Is that then an insignificant phase of education that discloses the illusive character of evil and its operations and unveils the exhaustless and eternal harmony of the one divine Mind, good — thus awakening mortals to man's God given dominion over sin, disease and death. "Acquaint now thyself with him (God, good), and be at peace." In humble, willing, loving obedience to this benign presence and power, teachers and pupils may go into the schoolroom sans headaches, sans chills, sans nerves, sans bad tempers, sans everything that would retard the highest, fullest expression of Life and intelligence.
Ours being a Christian nation, we may well ponder the precepts of the book of books, the Bible, and give it a prominent place in our study.
Christian Science having been founded upon the spiritual teachings of the Bible, its adherents do believe in and diligently study the Bible, the same identical time-honored Bible of our fathers. It is first and most revered among our books and upon it our Science is based and our churches are founded. The first tenet of our church is "as adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." Moreover, we take the Scriptures as a complete whole, believing that, spiritually interpreted, they are consistent and free from contradictions throughout. Besides, we take the statements of Jesus as meaning literally just what he said. When he commanded his disciples to "preach the gospel and heal the sick," [Luke 9:2] we say he meant the first half of the injunction no more than the second, and whoever is neglecting either half is only half obeying him.
With the aid of the "Key to the Scriptures," or commentary which Mrs. Eddy has provided in our text book, "Science and Health," we are enabled to unlock and make practical the sacred teachings of the Bible, and thus avail ourselves of its priceless benefits.
When "Science and Health" was first published by Mrs. Eddy in 1875 the verdict was: "It is decidedly original but it will never be read." Suffice it to say — through its healing and inspiring and redemptive power, this book has so won its way in the esteem and love of the people that it has had a phenomenally large circulation and rapidly increasing influence for good. It has been the direct means in unnumbered instances, of healing inveterate disease and of annulling sin. Those who are incapable of writing such a book, that is known by its fruits, should be equally unwilling to criticize or condemn it.
Christian Science has taught the world how to pray, even to obey the apostolic injunction: "Pray without ceasing," in constant, silent communion with God to offer the effectual fervent prayer that really does heal the sick and sinning and casts out all manner of evil. "The prayer of faith shall save the sick," saith the Scripture, and the Master who gave to the world one all-inclusive prayer, showed by precept and example that this healing, saving prayer was not an attempt to dictate to infinite wisdom and Love, but was rather the exercise of understanding and ability to demonstrate man's unity with God, the divine and imperishable Life and substance.
A man of middle age, of sound morals, a good man, as the world would say, was healed in a few treatments of a serious and long standing illness. He was at the same time spiritually awakened and uplifted, so that he said: "Would you believe it? I never really prayed in all my life before." Many who have learned the new tongue of Science say: "We have prayed all our lives and have not discovered until now that we never knew how to pray." So far from neglecting to pray, the fact is 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 upon this subject; and even their common sense is called into question because they do not exhaust the resources of the 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 experimenting and guessing, which often lack the redeeming feature of agreeing with each other?
Is the wisdom or skill of men more reliable than omniscience that we should give them 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. An 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 power that availeth much, is that which heals and redeems the sin-sick and bodily infirm and casts out all manner of evil. To the extent that all prayer ceases to be an attempt to inform omniscient wisdom or to petition infinite Love, it becomes the prayer of faith that shall and does save the sick. A poet once said: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” and this is true. But how are they wrought? Not by changing the actions or purposes of God, who is without variableness or shadow of turning, whose ways are always right and wise 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 infinite resources and blessings of divine being — always present and ever operative for the consummation of the highest possible good.
Christian Science teaches how to live the life which alone is worth living: above the range of material pleasure or pain, on the tablelands of peace, which the world neither giveth nor taketh away — the peace that passeth (that is that resulteth from) understanding.
How many would quell the ravages of pain, of weakness or disease, if they only knew how. Who would not curb the angry word, the hasty deed, the passionate thought, if he only knew how. Who does not long to throttle the demons of temptation, of appetite, of wrong desire, which threaten his happiness, his health, his sense of life? But he does not know how, and mankind in general, through ignorance and fear, yields itself, a hapless, hopeless victim to such severe taskmasters. Christian Science teaches how to grapple with and conquer the besetments of evil, physical, mental, moral, social, political — evil in all its multifarious forms knowing that immutable right can and must and does triumph all the time.
It is not unusual for our critics, even, to admit that hundreds of people, supposed to have been victims of incurable disease, have been healed; that other hosts have been reclaimed from agnosticism and even atheism to a living faith in God; that by this mental method fear and anxiety and sin have been to a very great extent abolished from the experience of the adherents of this faith.
It is conceded of our ranks that Christian Science is awakening the churches to a sense of their duty, long badly neglected — that of preaching the immanence of God and His absolute power in His own universe, and the consequent triumph of good over evil. In short, it has been said in the same column with some scathing criticisms of our work, and workers, that we undoubtedly have brought back the churches at large to a practical belief in the teachings of Christ and his apostles, that then and now result in healing all manner of disease among the people.
We look upon this work not as a self-assured mission, but as the fulfillment of the divine commission of our Master, spoken into the ears of the early Christian era and extending to every true follower wherever and whenever found: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . Heal the sick." Go ye into all the avenues, the highways and byways of human thought, and tell the glad tidings that good is supreme and that consequently evil is without entity in the divine economy; that man is the free born spiritual expression of the supreme good, and that in the eternal unchangeableness of things he always has been and always will be so. Then you may heal the bodily sick and the morally infirm, and practically preach deliverance to all captives of sense, under whatever type of servitude they may be found.
We do not claim that all the grand possibilities of this Science have been demonstrated, or even discerned, by this generation; but there is a general awakening of thought and an instinctive reaching out for the absolute and available Truth. There is also a growing recognition that Christian Science is the true explanation and application of Truth. Hence it is wanted in all its profound simplicity, naturalness and power.
The world has long been sick of sickness, and it is rapidly becoming sick of sin. The pendulum of human desire and expectation is swinging far out toward the purer, more spiritual planes of consciousness where Christian Science meets every legitimate want, satisfies every worthy aspiration for good, and helps humanity physically, mentally, morally, spiritually.
We are already in the midst of eternity, and whoever would enter into and enjoy its peace and harmony and freedom, its abounding and abiding health of mind and body, finds an ever-open door in the contemplation and application of the teachings of Christian Science.
[1909. The title for this lecture was provided from the version delivered May 27, 1909, at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Pittsburgh, and published in The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 28, 1909; that report, however, was brief, including only the content of paragraphs three through six, given above. Some of the language used in this lecture appeared in "Familiar Talk on Christian Science," The Christian Science Series, Feb. 15, 1890, published by The Christian Science Publishing Society; "The Mission of Christian Science," The Christian Science Journal, March 1898; and "The Brother's Keeper," The Christian Science Journal, March 1905, the latter two articles attributed by name to Mary Brookins. More than 12 paragraphs in this lecture were borrowed by Miss Brookins from her previous lecture "Christianity is Science and Science is Demonstrable".]