The Hon. William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angeles, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Richmond Hill, opened its doors to the general public on March 14 for the delivery of a lecture on Christian Science, entitled "Christian Science: The Science of Reality," by the Honorable William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angeles, Cal., a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The lecture follows:
I think that we shall all agree that the ultimate goal of all education, study, and research is to acquire the ability to discriminate between the real and the unreal, or that which is true and that which is untrue; in other words, to become conscious of reality.
Weary with fruitless search for the truth concerning human existence, confused and troubled, mortals have felt as did Pope, who wrote of mortal man:
"Chaos of thought and passion, all confused; . . .
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled, —
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world."
The Bible sums up this condition by declaring that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."
In addition to wondering what it is all about, a tendency of mortals is to be afraid — afraid about many things: the weather, their food, their clothes, their business, their children, and their health. Then, if occasionally they have a few minutes of peace they are apt to wonder what is wrong with them and immediately proceed to find something about which to worry.
After a few years of wonder, worry, and disappointment, mortals try to console themselves with the belief that they may receive happiness and reward in a post-mortem experience. But, when the time for this expected happiness and joy is apparently drawing nigh, every endeavor is made to postpone this experience.
To this miserable and apparently hopeless situation come the glad tidings of Christian Science to those who are listening for Truth, giving them the ability to solve these perplexing problems and assuring them that they may attain, here and now, the spiritual understanding which will enable them to declare with rejoicing that it is a pleasure and a privilege to live.
Inasmuch as we are to spend an hour together in the endeavor to learn how to distinguish between reality and unreality, it is essential that we should start out together with some measure of agreement as to the source of all reality. Is not this source God?
In Mrs. Eddy's definition of God, she gives us two synonyms which are very helpful in acquiring a right conception of Deity. The first of these is infinite Mind. A right conception of this comprehensive term immediately accomplishes two very important things: it dispels the incorrect concept of a personal and limited God and simultaneously gives us an understandable idea of an omnipresent God. When one perceives that God is infinite Mind the omnipresence of God is naturally and logically established. The second is the term which, until understood, is thought by some to seem cold or distant, that is, divine Principle. The moment it is understood that this term is employed to signify or emphasize the unchanging character of God, it immediately loses its seeming coldness or abstractness, and the joy of understanding that God's life, love, and mercy are changeless, forever the same, illumines consciousness. Christian Science, therefore, maintains that God's universe unseen to the senses is, ever has been, and ever will be perfect, harmonious, and eternal.
Of this Mrs. Eddy writes on page 6 of her "Miscellaneous Writings:" "Mind governs all. That we exist in God, perfect, there is no doubt, for the conceptions of Life, Truth, and Love must be perfect; and with that basic truth we conquer sickness, sin, and death." Here the question naturally arises, "If all this be true, what about the discord which seems to engulf humanity?" But before answering this question let us return for a moment to our original premise — the allness of God. Standing on this primal fact, we instantly see that a perfect God could not be the author of human discord, and as He is the only cause we are forced to conclude that evils of every kind are without true cause or origin; hence are but illusions, the vagaries of a supposititious carnal mind which disappear as soon as their unreal nature is disclosed.
For instance, when in the early centuries the world was believed to be flat the mariners were afraid to sail out beyond certain limits because of their belief that they would fall over the edge of the earth to destruction, but when the truth about the shape of the earth was discovered and proved, the former idea and its groundless fear disappeared forever.
The belief in evil and its varied manifestations is all that hides the real or perfect universe from our vision, so we see the all-important thing to do is to dispel the mortal illusions so that we may behold the universe as God beholds it — changelessly perfect and eternal; in short, the only reality.
As Christ Jesus is the founder and great expositor of Christianity, and since his religion is the sole foundation of Christian Science, it will be helpful to consider the nature of his teaching and practice. Concerning that which is real in this connection Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 269): "The testimony of the material senses is neither absolute nor divine. I therefore plant myself unreservedly on the teachings of Jesus, of his apostles, of the prophets, and on the testimony of the Science of Mind." The mission of Christ Jesus is best set forth in his own words, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." It remained for Mrs. Eddy to interpret the spiritual meaning of this text and to show mortals how to apply this truth in the destruction of sin, disease, and death. This, indeed, is the mission of the Christian Science textbook, to set forth and explain the words and works of the Master. It does not attempt to teach a new religious doctrine nor to improve and change in any way the teachings of Christ Jesus. It is a spiritual searchlight on the Scriptures, making plain the spiritual import of the Master's teachings and stressing the point that his way is the only way.
A careful reading of the words of Jesus clearly indicates two helpful things: first, he made it quite plain that he of himself could do nothing and that his ability to abolish mortal discord came through a spiritual understanding of God; and then he made it equally plain that all who desire to follow him must acquire his understanding and use it as he did. Of this he said. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." Christian Science does not regard Jesus as the "man of sorrows;" indeed, Christian Science stresses rather the joyous view which Jesus himself emphasized in his declaration, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you."
In considering the mission of Christ Jesus it will be well for a few minutes to dwell upon the meaning of the words Christ and Jesus. Usually these terms are regarded as synonymous, but as Mrs. Eddy points out, this is wholly incorrect, and she defines the difference thus: "Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God, healing the sick and the sinning and destroying the power of death" (Science and Health, p. 473).
Jesus did not claim that he, exclusively, possessed any special knowledge or ability, but on the contrary urged all to acquire this understanding and to possess this ability in healing sin and disease and in destroying death.
The Christ, then, is not a person but a term for spiritual understanding. The impersonality of this term is well illustrated in the twenty-second verse of the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians, which reads, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." This verse plainly declares that if we dwell in the Adamic or mortal condition of consciousness we shall die, but if we forsake this and gain the Christ or spiritual state of consciousness — the consciousness that knows the truth about God, man, and the universe — we shall live.
Jesus became the Way-shower to this spiritual understanding. You will recall that in the third chapter of I John we are told, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be." It was the mission of Jesus to make this fact appear in the first century and it is the mission of Christian Science to make it appear today. Truth is eternal and ever present; it only requires discernment to make it available. The appearing of these facts manifested in better health, better morals, increased happiness and prosperity is what the apostle referred to in his definition of faith, namely, "the evidence of things not seen."
In this process of spiritual awakening Christian Science gives us most helpful and fundamental aid by pointing out that heaven and earth to the human consciousness seem material, while to spiritual consciousness their spiritual nature is revealed.
Jesus taught his disciples that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but while having eyes they saw not; in other words, he declared that they were not yet conscious of the divine perfection that surrounded them.
So, then, salvation means to awaken so that we may know ourselves and the universe as God knows them, eternally harmonious, complete, and indestructibly perfect.
Much that I have told you about salvation will receive assent from those who do not yet know of Christian Science, and who do not realize that the healing of sin, disease, and all mortal discord is inseparably linked with true salvation — indeed this healing constitutes the proof and assurance that we are working out our problem along correct lines. If one is in doubt as to the soundness of his spiritual convictions, all that is necessary is to ascertain what the Master declared upon this subject in his final instructions to his disciples, as recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Mark. Jesus said to them when speaking of the healing of sin and disease, "And these signs shall follow them that believe." Please note that he did not say that these signs might follow, or may follow, or occasionally follow, but that these signs shall follow, imperatively, definitely, and unequivocally. These signs are to follow them that believe. Now is it not logical that if such signs do not follow religious belief that there must be something inadequate or incomplete about such belief?
This measure of proof established by the Master is supplemented by a vigorous declaration of James, who said, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. . . . Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
Having convinced ourselves that not only does the Bible indicate the possibility of healing through prayer, we find that it actually demands it as a proof that we understand the teachings of the Master. At this juncture some of you may be recalling a few of the stock arguments of those who do not understand Christian Science. First, that the teaching of Jesus regarding healing concerned only his immediate disciples and then that the age of miracles is passed.
These mistakes are instantly dispelled by the command given the disciples by Jesus in the last chapter of Matthew, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things [mark this "all things"!] whatsoever I have commanded you." Inasmuch as his command to his disciples was to preach the gospel and heal the sick it is evident that all nations are to do likewise.
One of the most important problems which has ever confronted mankind is that of healing, or as the word clearly indicates, to be made whole. Logically, the first question to be considered is, Is there any disease in reality? and then, What is the cause of disease? Let us see what the Bible says of this. The Psalmist plainly declared as a cause of disease the following: "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted." You will recall the significant declaration of Jesus to the man whom he had healed at the pool of Bethesda, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
In turning to this same authority, the Bible, we find the remedy for all disease stated as follows: "Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." In other words, much of the discord experienced by mortals, in a general way, may be summed up by the term "disobedience to God." By this I do not mean that all disease is directly caused by conscious or willful disobedience; for frequently mortals ignorantly disobey, or are at variance with God's laws, and broken law always brings trouble of some kind. The remedy, of course, is to know God's laws and obey them, or, as the Bible puts it, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." Right here let me correct an erroneous impression that because Christian Science insists that sin is not of God, hence unreal, it removes the necessity for overcoming sin. The utter absurdity of this fallacy is immediately disclosed by the self-evident proposition that one could not make sin unreal by indulging it. Of this Mrs. Eddy teaches that only he who forsakes sin can prove it unreal and thus escape its torment.
With clear and convincing logic Mrs. Eddy points out that the seeming cause of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin, and then she offers humanity her demonstrable remedy, Christian Science. This Science teaches mortals how to overcome fear, ignorance, and sin through an understanding of infinite Love, intelligence, and law.
Sometimes the process of destroying sin and disease in the stubbornness and self-will of mortals may not be a pleasant experience, but there is no question as to the final outcome. In speaking of this experience Paul told the Corinthians, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." It is sometimes said that Christian Science practice is unsympathetic in its nature because it does not mourn with the patient over his troubles. As practical, thinking people I should like to ask you which you would prefer, someone to mourn with you or someone to heal you? Is it not evident that healing is the most practical kind of sympathy?
It is important to note that the healing which occurs under Christian Science treatment is entirely different in nature and quality from that of any other kind; it does not employ hypnotism, suggestion, or the human will in any way. These agencies are directly opposed to the practice of Christian Science, and Christian Science frees the patient from their pernicious influence. It is also important to know that while hypnotism and suggestion claim to heal physical ills regardless of the moral status of the patient, the Christian Science practitioner cannot heal his patient without improving him spiritually and morally. Moreover, it imparts to the patient the ability to preserve his own sense of harmony through spiritual thinking and living.
In the year 1866, Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, declared for the allness of God and the nonexistence of matter. By a world consciousness steeped in materiality this great discovery was not understood and hence became a target for ridicule and misrepresentation. Mrs. Eddy, reasoning from the Scriptural premise of the allness of God, infinite Spirit, was forced to the conclusion that infinite Spirit must necessarily express itself in a spiritual universe and that it must all be spiritual in its nature, not part Spirit and part matter. When Mrs. Eddy declares that all is the expression of infinite Mind, God, she is not denying the existence of the universe but declaring that it is wholly spiritual and not a mixture of Spirit and matter. She sums up the entire situation by declaring that "what the human mind terms matter and spirit indicates states and stages of consciousness" (Science and Health, p. 573).
It is interesting to know that after a half century of ridicule the leading material scientists are now, in substance, agreeing with Mrs. Eddy's original announcement concerning the non-existence of matter. The modern physicists are teaching that what is termed matter is, in the last analysis, an expression of energy. As there is no action apart from Mind this is equivalent to declaring that matter is mental in its cause and nature; or as the philosophers say, made of mind-stuff, and this is exactly what Mrs. Eddy said in 1866. In other words, Mrs. Eddy led the world's foremost thinkers and scientists by approximately half a century.
The importance of realizing that what is called material is really mental resides in the fact that when this is understood it shows the possibility of harmonious control through spiritual thinking and of understanding what Paul meant when he said, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.'' When we realize that what we call our physical body is mental, wholly governed and controlled by thinking, we can readily understand that whether it is to be harmonious or discordant will be determined by the nature of the thoughts we entertain. Moreover, this knowledge frees us from the belief that man is a victim of circumstances, for it is self-evident that if all things are mental then what we call our environment or experience in life is also mental. As we learn that what we call our everyday experience is but a reflection or expression of what we are thinking we see the possibility of changing our environment and begin to understand the meaning of the Scriptural statement concerning mortals, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." From this viewpoint it will be seen that in the last analysis we are not the victims of circumstances but really responsible for them. Then, with Paul, we should decide to become transformed through the renewing of our mind.
The teaching of Christian Science in regard to the allness of Mind and the nonexistence of matter does not deny the existence of the world about us, nor does it rob us of the beauties of Nature. Of the misconception called matter Mrs. Eddy has this to say, "Every material belief hints the existence of spiritual reality; and if mortals are instructed in spiritual things, it will be seen that material belief, in all its manifestations, reversed, will be found the type and representative of verities priceless, eternal, and just at hand" (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 60, 61). Paul puts it in another way when he declares, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
In place of losing anything that is worth while we are enabled through Christian Science to perceive the true nature and qualities of God's creation in their indestructible glory.
After one has been convinced of the truth of that which has been said concerning the cause and cure of disease, one may be under the erroneous impression that all that is necessary is a resolution to obey God. But one soon finds that this plan will not suffice for two reasons: first, one cannot overcome the proclivities of the carnal mind through will-power; and, second, one must understand the nature of God and that which constitutes obedience to God. Sinful activities cannot be destroyed by mere resistance of the human will, but by knowing their falsity. This understanding can only be gained through spiritual consciousness, and this can only be acquired through the teachings of Christian Science.
A glimpse of the fact that real consciousness is spiritual and that man abides ever in this consciousness, as revealed in Christian Science, enables the student to begin the work of correcting a belief in a false or material consciousness. Just as the truth about anything dispels the misconception about that thing, just so does the realization of the truth about real consciousness expose the falsity of mortal consciousness.
Spiritual consciousness, therefore, is the way out of all mortal discord. Before one is instructed by Christian Science, he seemingly dwells in a state of mortal consciousness; and that of which he is aware seems substantial and real. But the inability of mortal consciousness to apprehend that which is really true is emphasized by the Scriptural declaration, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
Here the question may be profitably asked, If a spiritualized consciousness is requisite to escape the evils of materiality, how is it to be cultivated? Of this Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 201): "The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love. Christian perfection is won on no other basis."
Since the world we live in is an expression of human consciousness, the most important thing is to safeguard our consciousness. Consequently, if we are wise, we shall avoid all which will becloud or contaminate consciousness. Unwittingly we permit many things to do this, such as unwholesome plays, sensational newspapers and periodicals, and gossip concerning the imperfect and impure. Protection is assured by closing the door of our mentalities on this evil brood. This practice gives us mental protection from the arguments and suggestions of evil of all kinds. Mrs. Eddy admonishes us thus (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210): "Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them."
What a parody on genuine Life is the unreal experience which we call mortal existence! It has been described aptly as not life at all, but a preparation for death. It is unquestionably true that much time is devoted to the supposed necessity for growing old and passing on, and it is more or less generally conceded to be in accordance with prudence and foresight to acquire health insurance, accident policies, and cemetery lots.
When one considers the average human experience; its multitudinous fears; its seeming inability to find contentment; its vain reaching out for wealth, fame, and position, only to have these turn to ashes when they are acquired; its futile effort to circumvent old age and decrepitude; its constant fear of death — one is not surprised that such experience should find graphic description in the Spanish poet's verse quoted by our Leader:
"What is life? 'T is but a madness.
What is life? A mere illusion,
Fleeting pleasure, fond delusion,
Short-lived joy, that ends in sadness,
Whose most constant substance seems
But the dream of other dreams."
It is with a spirit of profound gratitude that I am enabled to say to you that Christian Science brings to us a way of escape from this nightmare of materiality. It shows and, moreover, proves, that this dream of madness referred to by the poet is truly a dream or unreal mortal medley which God neither creates nor knows.
What is commonly termed life, beginning with birth and ending with death, is graphically described by Job when he says, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble," and if one were to judge by the evidence from the material senses it would be difficult to disagree with our patient ancestor. Mortals come into this existence without being consulted as to their wishes, and soon find themselves striving to maintain a sense of existence which they believe may be terminated unexpectedly at any time. Here Christian Science comes to the rescue, and declares that this view of existence is entirely wrong, simply a mortal illusion which may be dispelled through a correct, or spiritual view of things. Even our afflicted friend, Job, finally saw the light, for he tells us, "Yet in my flesh shall I see God."
In surveying the inconsistent and transitory medley known as material existence one is impressed with the universal conviction that no one is completely satisfied or happy, and that in the last analysis all mortal effort is directed toward the goal of achieving satisfaction and happiness. The plans advocated and championed are legion. Some have been in vogue since time began to be measured, and new methods are always in the making.
After uncounted centuries of application these mortal plans have failed to give the effect intended; so in helplessness and despair, mortals are crying in the wilderness, "Is there no balm in Gilead?" To this cry for help Christian Science, with the calmness and assurance born of spiritual revelation, answers, Yes! On page 227 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy says, "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right."
Christian Science shows clearly that the mission of Christ Jesus was to aid mortals in dispelling the false conception of life so that they might understand true Life and have it more abundantly.
That death is abnormal is clearly taught by Christ Jesus and by many Scriptural writers. The Master emphasized the fact that the process of death is unnecessary and not in accord with God's will. He pointed out the way of escape by declaring, "and this is life eternal" — or life continuous — "to know thee." The Bible also refers to death as an enemy to be overcome, while the Revelator declares that "there shall be no more death." Aside from all this unquestioned authority it can be proved logically that death is an abnormal condition, without any reference to the Bible, by the following simple bit of logical reasoning: If what we term death were a part of God's harmonious creation it would be a normal condition, and man would go to his grave as naturally as he does to his couch at night, for man accepts the inevitable as he does the change of seasons. The fact that he rebels at, and fears death, that he has ever hoped to escape and overcome it, proves its abnormality.
In looking over the pages of history we find that there has always existed in the hearts of men a latent hope that the way to elude death would finally be discovered. This hope has expressed itself in expeditions to find the fount of eternal youth, or in research activities of medicine and theology, all of which have failed in their chimerical pursuit. Yet the actual solution of this fearsome problem has always been with us. Listen! The great Master declared, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
The Master not only taught the way to overcome death, but he proved it. Prior to his crucifixion he had been teaching this great truth to his disciples, and in the crucifixion he found an opportunity to prove it. Of his experience on the cross he said in substance, "Of my own self I lay down my life," then he tells us why, — "that I might take it again."
The function of the Christ, so well demonstrated by Jesus, is comprehensively set forth on page 316 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which reads as follows: "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs. Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth."
The teachings of Christian Science show us how to acquire this Christ knowledge of the allness of God and how to utilize it in the demonstration of Life eternal, or Life continuous, without the change called physical death. In this connection the Bible declares, "I am . . . not the God of the dead, but of the living," and the prophet said, "The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee."
We owe everlasting gratitude to Christian Science for many things and among them is the fact that Mrs. Eddy has given us a method whereby each one of us can prove that the teachings of the Bible are in every way practicable and usable in all the affairs of everyday life.
It has been generally conceded that if the teachings of Christ Jesus were practicable, the affairs of earth would be very much improved. Whenever this question arises the materialists and so-called hard-headed, common-sense individuals dismiss it with the statement that while these teachings are beautiful and idealistic, they are entirely impracticable, and that the world must look to other sources for the remedy for world evils. Concerning this, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 9 of her work entitled "Unity of Good": "The talent and genius of the centuries have wrongly reckoned. They have not based upon revelation their arguments and conclusions as to the source and resources of being, — its combinations, phenomena, and outcome, — but have built instead upon the sand of human reason. They have not accepted the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution of the perplexing problem of human existence." It is true that, when considered from a material standpoint, the teaching of the Master regarding the Golden Rule and the brotherhood of man does seem impossible of practical application, but when viewed through the lens of Christian Science its intense and wholly practical nature is immediately disclosed; not only this, but one is instantly convinced that there is no other solution of the world's problems.
As the mortal, or carnal mind is inherently and basically wrong, or as Jesus said of it, it "is a liar, and the father of it," and the evils which it seeks to remedy are its own blunders, it naturally cannot see any virtue in a plan which seeks to abolish all evils by annihilating their source; or, in other words, itself.
With straightforward and simple logic and directness of method Christian Science insists that the work at hand is to abolish the cause of all mortal discord and not to fight its illusionary effects, the method employed by ecclesiastical workers for centuries past with but negative results — fighting darkness without light, as it were.
One of the many valuable things presented to the world by Christian Science is the ability to interpret the Scriptures spiritually. The book of Genesis, for example, is not, as is commonly supposed, recording the creation of a material universe, and that is why the accounts in the book of Genesis do not correspond with the material theories of evolution, biology and geology. That is why some declare that the Biblical account is mythical. In place of being an account of the creation of a material universe it is, as Mrs. Eddy puts it, "the history of the untrue image of God, named a sinful mortal" (Science and Health, p. 502).
In describing the coming of spiritual ideas to the consciousness of men the Bible frequently employs everyday phenomena by way of illustration. For example, in the first chapter of Genesis the orderly and progressive coming of truth to consciousness is described as consuming a number of days — a term which simply means periods of spiritual illumination. The term day is used throughout the Scriptures to indicate spiritual understanding. For instance, many things are to happen "in the day of the Lord." Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day."
Again let us consider the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the promised land, from darkness and ignorance to spiritual understanding and peace. This is the mental journey of all who seek Truth. The experiences of the Israelites when interpreted spiritually are extremely helpful to all who desire to leave the Adamic consciousness and to enter the Christ consciousness. Egypt, the Red Sea, the wilderness, are but typical of mental stages of growth through which we pass on our journey from a material sense of things to a spiritual.
In the allegory of the garden of Eden, Adam was warned not to eat of the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." In other words, Beware of believing in the supposed mingling of good and evil, for such conjoining is impossible, since God, good, is all. Here then, in belief, is the supposititious cause of all discord — the illusionary claim that there is a power opposed to God when it is self-evident that God is the only power. In this connection, an opponent of what he believed Christian Science to be was impelled to make this statement, "If we concede Mrs. Eddy's premise that God is all we must concede everything that she has said," and still another one has declared, "There is this to be said about the Christian Scientists, they teach that God is all and then go out into the world and act as if they believe it."
A spiritual understanding of the Bible is a very practical guide and mentor in our everyday affairs bringing us life, peace, and joy. All the activities of life are mental, and since this is true it follows that, as our own lives are attuned to the divine Mind, all our actions become more and more harmonious and intelligent, and this of course means the progressive elimination of ignorance, misjudgment, and mistakes.
One of the most practical and helpful sayings of the Master occurs in his admonition to his followers, prior to their going forth to carry to a stricken world his message of freedom. In enumerating the difficulties which they would encounter, he warned them that they would be taken before magistrates, but he counseled them not to premeditate what they should say, for, "It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak," he said. One of the most wonderful and helpful messages in the Scriptures! What comforting and reassuring knowledge is this, to know that it is possible so to live in harmony with infinite Mind that we have this infinite source of all good upon which to draw! What relief and deliverance from the supposed necessity of anxious and fearful outlining! Said David, "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."
This understanding is the only thing in the world which will permit and enable one to do the thing which thinkers and philosophers are agreed upon as one of the greatest of human achievements — that is, to live one day at a time. "It shall be given you in that same hour," understood through spiritual thinking and living, will enable one to do wholeheartedly and efficiently the duties of today, and thus calmly face the future with the assurance of practical aid from God, infinite Mind. This condition is well portrayed by Isaiah, who writes, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it."
This relationship not only brings peace of mind, with its divine calm, but also supplies the intelligence and judgment which make all one's acts productive of success, and bless all who may be connected with one under this divine guidance. This desirable mental attitude is described by Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 204) as "deep-toned faith in God," and makes life indeed sweet and satisfying.
Christian Science has come to reestablish the Christianity of Jesus with its healing and redemptive work. The proof that it is doing this is evidenced by the ever-increasing numbers of erstwhile suffering and discordant mortals who now rejoice in health and freedom.
Christian Science is now leavening thought in all the varied activities of earth — in business, art, commerce, and government. It is correcting and improving all the affairs of men; making better men and women, causing them to conduct their lives in accord with divine Principle. In so doing Christian Science is not only benefiting the individual, but also rapidly laying a foundation for the universal brotherhood of man, a prolonged process possibly, but after all the only way to permanent harmony in world affairs. When a sufficient number of individuals are striving to live in harmony with God, international, national, and state problems are solved before they become inimical.
Christian Science is an exact, deductive Science, susceptible of proof, and all who so desire may obtain this proof. A bit of my own experience may be helpful to those seeking logical proof of the statements of this Science. Being somewhat of a doubting Thomas by nature and of an analytical turn of mind I began at the wrong end of the subject and spent considerable time searching for the origin of evil. This, of course, led nowhere and only resulted in confusion. I took up this matter with my practitioner and she lovingly reminded me of the invincible logic of Christian Science, that if God or good is and is real and omnipresent, then evil, the opposite of God or good, must be the opposite of the omnipresent real, which necessarily makes it unreal, having neither place nor existence. She then called attention to Mrs. Eddy's helpful advice in connection with this logical deduction as to the existence of good only, namely, that if the allness of God be conceded as a premise its correctness may be proved.
When I began to work from the conceded premise of the allness of God and to deny the reality of all else, I then began to get some satisfactory results which proved the truth of the premise. Let me earnestly recommend this method, as it will save you much wasted time and disappointment. Never attempt to search for the origin of evil, for at that moment you admit that it is an entity.
The consideration of life, peace, and joy leads naturally to that universal goal, liberty. Liberty! What endless panoramas of struggle, self-sacrifice, and heroism the word conjures up! Liberty! the desire to be free! The pages of history are laden with glorious records of national and individual efforts to be free; yet, like all other great and desirable goals, it can only be found in a spiritual understanding of God. The Bible declares, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Liberty, like all else that is worth while, is primarily expressed by the individual, and it is self-evident that when a sufficient number are expressing liberty, then groups or nations will be free. Nations do not become truly free when they simply change forms of government, through war or otherwise; true freedom comes only through individual obedience to God. When the individual becomes obedient to God's law, his every endeavor will be to improve, build up, and conserve all that is best in human activities.
The freedom, or liberty, which comes to one as a result of acquiring "the Spirit of the Lord," is far greater than the mortal or human conception of the word, and one begins to express one's own individuality entirely free from the entanglements of mortal ties and domination. In other words, each individual has his own place in the divine economy and each expresses divine activity, abundance, and completeness; hence there is in reality no strife, competition, envy, jealousy, nor covetousness.
Now, as the individual begins to acquire "the Spirit of the Lord," he begins to express his true self and its spiritual activities, and this relationship with God, freeing him from all earthly or material fetters, is indeed freedom in the largest sense.
The early life of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, shows step by step how she was prepared through spiritual experiences to receive the revelation of what she later named Christian Science. Carefully reared and educated in a Christian environment, she early became an earnest student of the Bible, and had often wondered why its promises concerning healing were not being fulfilled in this age.
In after life, while suffering from the result of an accident pronounced by the attending physician as fatal, she turned unreservedly to God and His promises and was instantly healed. This experience convinced Mrs. Eddy that the Principle of Christian healing is ever operative and needs but to be understood to utilize it in this and every age.
We are accustomed to hear the declaration of many that we are living in a wonderful age; and so we are, but the chief thing that makes this a wonderful age is the discovery of Christian Science. Enumerate, if you will, all the great inventions of the age, carefully tabulate all that the material sciences have achieved. Important as they are, and not to be belittled in any way in comparison with Mrs. Eddy's discovery which imparts the ability to overcome sin, disease, and death they, indeed, sink into insignificance.
Mrs. Eddy has provided the way in this age not only for individual redemption, but world salvation as well. She calls the attention of the world to the two simple commandments emphasized by Christ Jesus; two rules, which, if practiced, will inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth. You will recall that a lawyer questioned the Master as to the greatest of the Commandments, and you will remember that masterly summing up of all law and procedure in the following immortal words: "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." How simple and how efficacious! Yet up to this age they have fallen on deaf ears.
If these two fundamental rules were understood and practiced there would be no need of the multiplicity of human schemes — world courts and diplomatic parleys — to bring about universal peace.
After several years of legislative experience I have been greatly impressed with the futility of creating a never-ending procession of new laws to thwart a like ceaseless occurrence of new evils. Christian Science reverses all of this and seeks to unite all activity with the one divine Principle, God, from whom radiates all law, order, and harmony.
Mrs. Eddy, with clear spiritual vision, writes thus of the world's problems and their one and only solution (Science and Health, p. 340): "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."
The knowledge of this glorious possibility is the great gift of Mrs. Eddy to a world in bondage to sin, disease, and death. Is it not self-evident that as mankind learns to know God and His laws and live in harmony with them, not only is the condition of mankind being improved, but the reign of universal and permanent harmony is being ushered in correspondingly? And since this is true let us begin at once to acquire this knowledge so that we may aid in hastening this glorious day — a day so well portrayed by the Revelator, who writes: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away,"
Doubtless some of you will desire to test that which you have heard tonight; and there is nothing that can prevent you. A copy of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, can be obtained or read in the Christian Science Reading Rooms and at the public libraries. A careful study and application of the teachings in this book will convince you of their correctness and practicability. I am sure that your experience will be a revelation to you and that you not only will be more harmonious yourself, but you will have the joy of knowing that you have become a real factor in establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth.
If we dwell in the basic truth of the allness of God and His perfect universe, persistently rejecting all suggestions to the contrary, we shall receive the proof of the truth of this premise in overcoming discordant conditions, whether they be called mental, moral, physical, or financial.
By maintaining a stand on the platform of a perfect God, perfect man, and a perfect universe and endeavoring to realize the truth about yourself and your neighbor, you will experience a new joy; you will maintain your own equilibrium and improve all conditions that surround you. In this activity all sorts of discords begin to disappear and among the first to go is one that is the source of much misery and unhappiness, that is, criticism. When the student of Christian Science is confronted with the belief of evil, seeking to express itself through some fellow mortal, he does not condemn the individual, but knows that the evil belief is not of God, that it is therefore unreal, and that the real man reflects only infinite good.
Picture to yourself a community in which a majority of its members constantly strive to know the truth about one another; this would certainly be a foretaste of heaven. Let us, therefore, resolve with Paul, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh," that is, from now on we shall not think of man as a fleshy or material being, but shall endeavor to see him as God sees man, spiritually perfect. This practice is the fulfilling of the Scriptural commands to love your neighbor as yourself and to refrain from bearing false witness.
When we realize that the most important thing in life is to know the truth about ourselves and our neighbor and to refuse to declare or be a witness for aught that is evil or false, we not only shall be working out our own salvation but we shall be doing our share toward redeeming the whole world.
"O God, our Father-Mother, Truth,
Send forth Thy light sublime,
That in its pure and cleansing rays
We may, with thought attuned to praise,
Hymn 206, C. S. Hymnal
[Delivered March 14, 1936, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Richmond Hill, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Brooklyn, New York, March 28, 1936.]