George Shaw Cook, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science has come to reveal that God is divine Principle, Love, and to show mankind that knowledge of God is demonstrable. Thus Christian Science is reinstating the teachings of the master Christian as demonstrated by him and by his early followers in the healing of sickness and sin.
In any audience of this kind there are, without doubt, those who entertain widely divergent views on the subjects of religion, of philosophy, of medicine. Some of those opinions are, doubtless, opposed to the teachings of Christian Science. I trust, however, that as this lecture proceeds we shall find that there are many points on which we can agree, and some points, at least, on which we are already in agreement. For example, we are all agreed that we exist. Every one present admits without argument, the fact of his conscious existence.
Since we are agreed that we exist we can easily proceed to the next point of agreement, namely, that there must be a cause for our existence. The premise of existence leads unavoidably to the conclusion that there is a cause for existence. We may, however, differ as to the nature of that cause.
Writing on the subject of causation Mrs. Eddy says on page 544 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Man exists because God exists." And Jesus said: "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." The Lord's Prayer is addressed to "our Father which art in heaven," and at one time Jesus said, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
Causation, as understood by Jesus and as taught by Christian Science, is spiritual. This spiritual case is the one infinite, heavenly Father whom men call God. The Scriptures not only declare God to be Father, but to be the Almighty, the Everlasting, I AM, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love. Christian Scientists accept these Scriptural definitions of God without reservation, but they also think of God as being infinite good, as supreme intelligence, or Mind, the one self-existence and eternal Life, or consciousness. God is thus seen as the only source, origin, cause, or creative Principle.
These Scriptural and Christianly scientific synonyms for Deity give us a better understanding of the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God.
From the standpoint of spiritual causation it is readily seen that creation must be spiritual, since effect must always be like cause. If God, the only creator, is Mind or Spirit, then His creation must be mental or spiritual. Since God is infinite consciousness, or divine Mind, His universe must be a conscious universe. The office of Mind is to think, and the effect of thinking is thought; hence the universe of Mind is a universe of thought consisting of ideas which perfectly express their divine origin. The only real and enduring universe, then, existing in Mind, partakes of the exact nature of its Principle, or creator. It, therefore, reflects all the divine attributes, including permanence, immortality, beauty, order, harmony, health, joy, peace, purity, perfection. The universe of Spirit is governed by absolute law, and is held forever in safety and security by the power that created it. This universe, being infinite and all inclusive, lacks nothing — it is complete. All things in this universe are the expression of perfect Mind, or God, and for His pleasure "they are and were created."
The Scriptures tell us in the first chapter of Genesis that man was created in the image and after the likeness of God. A true likeness is that which perfectly expresses its original. If, therefore, man is created in the likeness of God, he must be exactly like his creator. If God is Spirit, man, in His likeness, must be spiritual. If God is Truth, man, as the image of God, must be truthful, honest, sincere. If God is Love, man, in his true nature, must be loving, gentle, kind, compassionate. If God is Life, man must be and is the living image of Life. This man, the true man, the only real man, is not subject to chance nor change. He is as changeless as his eternal Principle. He is not the victim of lack nor of limitation. He reflects the infinite abundance of Spirit or God. He is not doomed to decrepitude and dissolution. He exists forever at the eternal noontide of being. He is always at the standpoint of limitless opportunity, activity, and supply.
In the second chapter of Genesis there is, however, an account of creation which presents a very different picture of man. It says, "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Later it states that the Lord made woman out of a rib which He had taken from the side of man; and this, in spite of the fact that in the first chapter it says "God created man in his own image. in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Both of these accounts of creation could not, of course, be correct, for they are contradictory. Viewed from the standpoint of spiritual creation as it is recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, the story beginning in the second chapter is seen to be entirely inconsistent and illogical. Christian Science shows this second account to be an allegory written for the purpose of describing a false, materialistic sense of the real spiritual creation. This, however, is the account about which we hear most frequently, even from theologians, probably because it seems to coincide with our everyday experience; that is, if we view existence from the standpoint of material sense.
From the material point of view man seems to be nothing but an organism, with a mind inside of it, a mere machine controlled by a supposed intelligence, which is invisible and which has never been satisfactorily explained by human philosophy. Some one may be thinking, "Why, the explanation is very simple. The brain is the seat of man's intelligence, and it, through the nervous system, controls and regulates the functions and facilities, the movements and actions of the human body." But what made the brain intelligent? What gave it the power to think and to direct activity? Who has ever seen the intelligence that is supposed to be in the brain, and how do we know that it is there? Many people in the Orient believe the seat of intelligence to be in the stomach; and it might just as well be there as in the brain for there is no essential difference between the kind of stuff that constitutes the stomach and that which constitutes the brain. Under chemical analysis they would both yield exactly the same product. The difference, then, is one of belief only; and the fact is that neither the brain nor the stomach can originate the least bit of real intelligence.
On page 468 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all." This statement may seem startling to some of you, but it is no more startling nor radical than the declaration of Jesus, "it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." To the physical senses matter seems real and substantial, but these senses cannot testify truly even of things in their own realm. Paul evidently knew this, for he said, the "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear," and a modern college professor has said of material objects that all we know about them is that they are not what they seem to be. Mrs. Eddy agrees that matter is not what it seems to be, but she does not leave the subject there and say that is all we can know about it. She explains what matter is, that it exists only as a false, fleeting concept of the human mind, as a subjective state of mortal thought, or belief. But Christian Science does not take matter away from us and leave nothing in its place, for on page 269 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says, "Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul. These ideas are perfectly real and tangible to spiritual consciousness, and they have this advantage over the objects and thoughts of material sense, — they are good and eternal."
Even slight recognition of the unreality of matter is of great practical value in everyday, human experience. Take, for example, the question of disease, which occupies the attention of so many people so much of the time. In treatment of disease, knowledge of the unreal nature of matter helps one to see that pain and suffering are not conditions of matter, but of thought. To know this is to take the first step in the direction of the permanent eradication of disease. If, as Mrs. Eddy says, there is no sensation nor intelligence in matter, it is obvious that matter cannot be sick or in pain, and that if there seems to be a sense of pain or illness, it must be in thought, and not in the body. This fact having been discerned, the futility of treating thought conditions or mental states with material remedies becomes evident. How impossible it would be to remove an erroneous mental condition by the use of drugs, mineral water, mud baths, or even by means of a surgical operation. Yet every day adds to the list of mental causes for disease admitted by physicians. Among the mental causes for sickness that have been recognized by physicians are fear, worry, hatred, and anger. To these Christian Scientists would add envy, jealousy, greed, dishonesty, and all flagrant and subtle phases of sin.
Chief among the mental causes for disease is fear. Fear is mankind's worst foe. Consideration of some of the many things of which people are afraid will convince you of this fact. They are afraid of food, of climate, of germs, of criticism, of failure, of poverty, of disease, of death. Many other phases of fear, too numerous to mention, are familiar to us all. And, it may be said that sometimes we just fear "fear."
Christian Science removes fear by first removing the ignorance which causes fear. A really intelligent or truly enlightened individual could not possibly be afraid. True spiritual enlightenment shows that God, infinite good, is the only real presence and power, and destroys the ignorant belief in an opposing power called evil. It is impossible for one who is really enlightened to believe that divine Love, the only creator, would create man in His image, and make evil conditions to frighten and overpower him. The universe of Mind, Spirit, includes only those ideas that express Love. It does not include anything that man could fear. This universe of God is the only real universe. There is nothing in it of which man could be afraid; hence fear has no real basis, and, absolutely speaking, there is no fear.
The process employed by Christian Science in overcoming fear is the same as that used by them in destroying all discordant, sinful, and erroneous beliefs of the human mind. It is a process of education, or spiritual enlightenment, which substitutes as consciousness, right or true ideas for wrong beliefs. This process is a liberating one, and, eventually, it will bring complete freedom from all ills. Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," — free from ignorance, superstition, fear, and sin, free from the false, material beliefs, or man-made laws which seem to hold humanity in bondage.
That the asserted laws which are believed to result in sickness, accident, failure, poverty, and distress are not real laws, was proved conclusively by Jesus, as it had been proved to a great extent by the prophets of old. When Peter's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, Jesus rebuked the fever (rebuked the fear) and she was well. In so doing, Jesus not only freed this woman from fear and from consequent fever, but he also demonstrated that the medical belief that a fever must continue for a certain time is not a law. If it were a law, Jesus could not have healed this woman instantaneously.
At another time, Jesus was approached by a leper, who said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," and Jesus stretched forth this hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be thou clean," and the man was instantly healed. Thus Jesus proved, at one and the same time, his fearlessness of contagious disease, and that the so-called law of contagion is not a law. When Jesus raised Lazarus, he overcame for him the asserted laws of mortality, dissolution, and decay. When he walked on the water, he overcame for himself the so-called law of specific gravity, and proved it to be a theory. When he fed the multitude, he set aside the material laws of production and of demand and supply. He revealed supply to be the ever-present fact, and showed that supply is mental. It was as easy for Jesus to multiply loaves and fishes, as it is for us to multiply figures. He understood the process to be metaphysical, not depending in any way upon matter or material laws. It is neither irreverent nor inaccurate to say that Jesus of Nazareth was at once the world's greatest metaphysician and its best business man. He was engaged in the most important and exalted business there ever was — business of knowing good and doing good, the "Father's business." Jesus was absolutely successful in his business. He neither faltered nor failed. He always had what he needed when he needed it. When money was needed for tribute it was found in the fish's mouth. When he needed to be on the other side of the lake, he was immediately there. His rules of business conduct were golden: "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise;" "Love thy neighbour as thyself;" "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
The works of Jesus were not miracles in the sense of being infractions of law. They were marvelous to human sense, because it is difficult for the human mind to grasp the divine naturalness of the operation of spiritual law in human experience. But for the very reason that these works of Jesus were divinely natural and lawful, they can be done today by those who understand spiritual law and its application to human needs. That is why Jesus could say, "He that believeth on me (he who understands Christ), the works that I do shall he do also." And it is a fact that these works of healing through spiritual law are being done today by Christian Scientists, in a very considerable extent. Through this work of spiritual healing and regeneration Christian Science is gradually displacing the carnal mind which Paul said is death, and is establishing the Christ mind, which is Life. Jesus said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent." So the attainment of immortality does not depend upon dying and going to a far-off heaven or to any other place. It depends upon knowing the truth, right here and now, the truth about God who is Life.
It is probably true that thousands have approached the transition known as death in doubt as to whether they would reach heaven, if not in positive fear that they would go to hell. This doubt and fear were due to the belief that both heaven and hell are places to which one may go after passing through the experience called death. Christian Science teaches that the experience of death is only a moment of extreme fear, and that one does not necessarily become less material or more spiritual by passing through that experience. Even after that he will have to go on working out his salvation until, through education and enlightenment, he is gradually freed from the illusions of matter and evil. Christian Science shows that the only hell is belief in the reality of evil, matter, disease, and death. This hell, obviously, is not in one place more than another, and the way for one to keep out of hell is to keep hell out of him — out of his thinking.
Heaven, Jesus said, is "at hand." If this is true, then it cannot be a place to which one may go through the "valley of the shadow." Jesus said again, speaking of heaven, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." If it is true that the kingdom of heaven is within, then it must be a condition of thought or consciousness, and not a place. Christian Science teaches that heaven is harmony, and that it is wherever divine Principle is understood and demonstrated. It cannot be attained by dying and going somewhere or anywhere. It can only be realized as a state of divine Mind. Thus Christian Science establishes, through right thinking, the kingdom of heaven, and destroys the only hell that ever existed, even to human sense, — the hell of wrong thinking. "There is nothing either good or bad," said Shakespeare, "but thinking makes it so." And even before that the writer of Proverbs said, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Mrs. Eddy writes, "Sin makes its own hell, and goodness its own heaven" (Science and Health, p. 196).
Christian Science brings health and happiness to mankind by removing from human consciousness the belief in disease and sin. Jesus said, "If I with the finger (the power) of God cast out devils (evils), no doubt the kingdom of God is come unto you." The "finger of God" has not, in the centuries that have intervened since the time of Jesus lost its power to cast devils (evils) from the human mind. Therefore, the kingdom of God is brought nigh unto us in Christian Science. Jesus healed all manner of disease nineteen hundred years ago through the activity of the Christ-mind. He paid no attention to physical symptoms or conditions, but confined his attention entirely to the mental state of the one who was in need of healing. To the man sick of the palsy, he said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee," recognizing that this man's disability was due to an evil mental state, and that when the sin was forgiven, or destroyed, he would be well. And so he was.
To-day, Christian Science, the Christ Science, disregarding matter and its supposed laws, heals sickness and sin through the power of this same Christ-mind. The work of healing, reformation, and regeneration which Christian Science is accomplishing, results from Truth's appearing and error's disappearing. It is natural and beautiful. It is spontaneous and harmonious, like the appearance of light dispelling darkness. Real Christian healing does not, therefore, involve a fight or struggle. In order to demonstrate the reality and power of good, and the consequent unreality and powerlessness of evil it is not necessary to mentally "beat the air." Indeed, it may be truly said that the more struggle there is in a prayer, or treatment, the less real Science there is in it.
Because the practice of Christ's Science is identical with primitive Christian healing, it is not like mesmerism, hypnotism, mental suggestion, or any form of so-called "drugless healing." Christian Scientists do not depend in healing upon the use of human will-power, or upon any kind of mental manipulation. There is no effort on the part of the Christian Science practitioner to "control" his patient mentally. On the contrary, his effort is to convince the patient that there is in reality but one controlling influence or power — that of divine Mind. Jesus said: "I can of mine own self do nothing;" "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Christian Science claims no other healing power but this eternal Christ-mind, which healed sickness and sin in the early Christian era, and is healing to-day, and will continue to heal so long as there is need of healing.
In the Christian Science textbook, there is a chapter of one hundred pages, called "Fruitage." This chapter consists of letters written by those who have been healed of chronic and acute disease, and of various kinds of sin and vice, by the reading and study of Science and Health. Countless others are continually testifying that they have been healed by the study of the Bible in the light of Christian Science. Others tell of being healed by the spoken word at Christian Science church services and at the authorized lectures on Christian Science. The healing has come to them from nothing less than Christ, Truth. Spiritual enlightenment has revealed to them the divine facts of being. These eternal facts, displacing temporal falsities, have transformed their thinking, and what is known as a normal state of health has resulted. But just in proportion as they have become spiritually enlightened, they have discerned the fact that real health is not bodily but mental. It is spiritual wholeness or perfection. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 120 of Science and Health, as follows: "Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health."
After Mrs. Eddy discovered this Science of Christian healing she demonstrated its truth in many wonderful instances of healing through spiritual power alone. She then wrote and published the great textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and other books on the same subject. She later established the system of spiritual teaching and healing which is rapidly extending into all parts of the world. She founded The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, which includes all the activities of this world-wide movement, and of which all other Christian Science churches are branches. She provided this church with a Manual of By-laws which, she says, if followed in letter and spirit, will prove adequate to guide this great movement through all time. The wisdom, courage, faithfulness, consecration, and inspiration of Mrs. Eddy's leadership are daily becoming more apparent and better appreciated.
On page 128 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says, "The term Science properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His government of the universe, inclusive of man." Further on she says, "A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity." Christian Science, then, is the Science of true living, of real being. For this reason it is equal to the solution of every human problem. Earnest thinkers — teachers, philosophers, economists, and statesmen — are deeply concerned with the solution of the many problems which confront us at this time. The correct solution of these problems is of the utmost importance to mankind; and it is a cause for rejoicing that this solution is at hand. In the Science of Christianity will be found the right way out of all forms of human discord. Jesus of Nazareth knew more about true economy and harmonious government than any man who ever lived.
To-day we find discord and unrest on every hand. The world is in an unprecedented state of turmoil. Strikes and lockouts, conflicts and controversies, are raging all about us. This is due entirely to the inherent selfishness of the human mind and nothing will still the tempest but the Mind of Christ. Many are looking forward — some hopefully and expectantly — to the establishment of permanent peace. But we cannot overlook the fact that there are in all human organizations the elements which make for war and strife, because in all human institutions, whether known as governments, churches, labor unions, employers' associations, schools, or families, may be found the injustice, dishonesty, avarice, and fear which generate war. These evil mental traits obtain to some extent in the consciousness of every individual human being. And obviously, an organization can be no better than the individuals who compose it. Thus it will be seen that the conflict in thought between good and evil, right and wrong, must continue, under the guidance and direction of divine Principle, until every vestige of evil thinking has been displaced by the Mind of Christ; and then shall the world have peace.
There is one thought in particular, which if you will carry it away with you from this lecture, will be found most helpful in your experience, whatever the nature of your occupation may be. The thought to which I refer is this: there is a power always available to you that is greater than any human power, bigger than any person or set of persons, superior to any circumstance or combination of circumstances. This power is the law of Love, the law of divine Principle. It is not necessary to go anywhere to find this law, for it is ever present. You need not wait for it to become operative, for it is always operating. You can rest in the assurance that this law of divine Principle will turn and overturn, adjust and re-adjust, until the conscious harmony of your being is revealed as an established fact.
Near the beginning of the lecture I quoted one sentence from what is known as the "Scientific Statement of Being," which will be found on page 468 of Science and Health. This statement is the essence and epitome of Christian Science. It may be amplified and commented upon indefinitely, but nothing essential can be added to it. I should like in closing to read the statement in full. It is as follows: —
"There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."