Christian Science: The Science of Harmonious Being

 

Dr. Hendrik Jan de Lange

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

There is, in the world today, an unmistakable tendency to widen and enlarge one's scope of thought, notwithstanding mankind's manifold problems and perplexities. There is a growing readiness to test new methods, and a keener willingness, on the part of human opinion, to accept almost infinite possibilities. Faster air service, radiocasting, television are but a few evidences of that expansion of thought leading to these inventions and discoveries which in their turn are further contributing to a broader outlook.

Those who have been studying and practicing Christian Science, and who have seen and proved the actual truth of its teachings, welcome this expansion of thought and action as coinciding with the discovery of the Science of Christianity, and its growing influence upon human existence. They discern that their individual practice of this Science will progressively reveal to them existence as it originally and fundamentally is meant to be, and is absolutely and everlastingly harmonious, without any of the harassing and discordant experiences which so frequently seem to beset the lives of individuals and nations.

It is the purpose of this lecture as far as it will be possible in the short span of time allotted to acquaint you at least with a few of the basis elements of Christian Science. It is my privilege to speak to you of the practical possibilities that Christian Science opens to you for a happier, healthier life. However hopelessly involved your problems may seem to you at the moment, the divinely scientific method of Christian Science has proved available for many after all merely human endeavor had failed.

 

Elevation of Thought Essential

"I will left up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help," said the Psalmist. Aspiring thought, such as this, is very essential for understanding Christian Science and reaping its benefits. There needs to be a willingness on the part of the seeker to gradually cease from a material contemplation of things and their conventional routine, and at the same time a preparedness to lift his mental eye to the loftier, more spiritual aspects of being. Your presence here implies such an openmindedness.

Christian Science, being Christian as well as scientific, is deeply concerned with th e Bible and its true interpretation. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states (p. 320), "The one important interpretation of Scripture is the spiritual." In like manner the words of Christ Jesus, the Founder of Christianity, need to be discerned spiritually in order to be rightly understood. This necessitates a certain elevation of thought already alluded to. W h e n spiritually understood, the Master's words become simple, then clear, then practical, because they receive additional meaning by his mighty works. In the same way, you will find increasingly that Christian Science becomes simple, clear and practical when you are willing to take its word, not from some human opinion about it, but, so to speak, from within its own revelation. This spiritualization of thought will enable you to experience the healings and blessings which are the inevitable outcome of a better understanding of the divine realities of being, called by Christ Jesus in his graphic language, "the kingdom of God."

 

The Kingdom of Heaven

The Master spoke repeatedly of this "kingdom of God" or "kingdom of heaven." In the past, his teachings have often been misunderstood by a material instead of a spiritual interpretation being given to these words. Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" has been considered a material realm or a material rule. Studying the great Nazarene's precepts in the New Testament we discover nothing which justifies such material depicting. He declared, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." The most matter-of-fact person must admit that these statements do not mean a material kingdom or a material locality. The only kingdom that ever can be within must be in the realm of our thoughts, our consciousness. It was Christ Jesus' intention to convey to the people of his time, and those in all time to come, that the only heaven of harmonious being, the only rule of God or supreme good, cannot be established anywhere else than in the realm of individual consciousness.

 

Consciousness Primal

After all, our consciousness is a factor of the utmost significance for our existence. Indeed, without consciousness there would be no existence. This is such a self-evident truth that one might almost call it a mere commonplace. At the same time, it is a profound truth, the spiritual understanding of which is of great practical value.

We are conscious of a number of thoughts and things which together constitute what we term our world. It is an individual world; no two people, even living in the same spot, have the same life. For instance, the world of an optimistic person is different from that of a pessimistic one, even if they are sitting day by day in the same office and are doing the same kind of work. Hereby is indicated that consciousness is not only primal but that it is also the deciding factor in the course our lives are taking.

Mankind has recognized this, to a certain extent at least. The great desire for education, for knowledge, is the direct outcome of this discernment. In the measure that our knowledge increases, that we acquire the faculty of thinking and reasoning more consistently and fearlessly, our world is expanding. Astronomers, nowadays, have attained a great deal in this respect. They tell us about a vastness of a physical universe which surpasses even the most daring imagination. However admirable all this expansion of human knowledge may be, it is not capable of conferring real happiness or of comforting a single person burdened by grief. Such a blessing is only possible with the knowledge which is both Christian and truly scientific. The humility of the Christian becomes in this way a greater asset than the brilliancy of human speculation.

 

Effect and Cause

True humility makes us readily perceive that we have not created ourselves, nor is the universe our knowledge of which is constantly expanding self-created. This conviction has pervaded all history. Many centuries ago, the Psalmist stated it in these well-known words: "Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." We find here expressed the true sentiment that our existence is entirely from the standpoint of effect.

An effect is always the emanation of a cause. Otherwise it would not be an effect at all. Then there must be a cause for all existence, a primal cause enabling us to exist, that is, to be conscious. This primal cause maintains and unfolds everything in its natural order, at least in so far as it belongs to and expresses the nature and character of this primal cause. The primal cause maintains nothing unlike itself. Whatever is contrary to its nature does not belong to it, even as in mathematics only mathematical truths belong to mathematics not the mistakes and falsities about mathematics.

By recognizing the universal and primal cause and every normal person is willing to do this he has acknowledged God. God is the name generally given to this original creative power.

 

Atheism a Fallacy

Nowadays we hear of many people and also some nations declaring that God does not exist. What is it that these people, these so-called atheists, mean? They really want to say that they deny the existence of a God in the way they imagine God to be. This is natural; because, as a result of a wrong education, motives and characteristics have been ascribed to God which do not belong to the divine nature at all, but are objectivations of mortal misconceptions.

One has to admit that reading the Bible without the necessary spiritual understanding, enabling one to discriminate between the divinely inspired and mere human opinion, one might be misled as to the true nature of Deity. The Christian Science textbook declares as the first of the Tenets to which a Christian Scientist subscribes (p. 497): "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." The Bible shows us that God is Love, Truth, Life, Spirit. As there appear both the literal and the spiritual meanings in the Scriptures, they must be spiritually understood. The uninspired statements can never change the unalterable nature of Deity as revealed by Christ Jesus and others when they saw the perfection of the great First Cause and its eternal, immutable, continuous operation.

You will find that the atheist is not opposed to divine logic, but only to the human misconceptions about God. Thus, if he holds to logical reasoning, he cannot be consistently opposed to God as understood in Christian Science.

 

God's Real Nature

Particularly interesting is it to acquaint the atheist with the definition of God as found in Science and Health (p. 465): "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." If not devoid of all that is reasonable, he must admit the existence of mind, spirit, soul, principle, life, truth, love. Then, by divesting these concepts of everything which is corporeal, mortal, subordinate and finite, one arrives at the right concepts which are synonyms of God.

Christian Science maintains throughout its teachings the self-evident truth that like produces like. God's love, truthfulness, aliveness, spirituality, perfection preclude forever anything contrary to these eternal characteristics. Here you have the reason why Christian Science is giving mankind a constructive message, a message of hope and encouragement based upon the teaching and example of Christ Jesus, who said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And here you begin to discern the great and lasting merit of the work of Mary Baker Eddy as the Discoverer and Founder of the Science of Christianity. She saw that the spiritual understanding of God's immaculate perfection must be of the utmost importance for the happiness, prosperity, satisfaction, and harmonious being of all mankind.

As perfection does not allow of imperfection, and as eternity excludes the temporal and finite, there cannot be any knowledge of the imperfect, finite, sinful, sick, and mortal in God's being. This means that good and good alone constitutes the real. We take "real" in its original meaning, as belonging to and according with the great First Cause. In order to be eternal and perfect, this First Cause alone can be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, as the Bible declares it to be. Only the omnipotent, the omniscient, the omnipresent can rightfully claim to be the reality. Christian Science is truly original that is, being in agreement with the origin of all because it is the exact opposite of the human standpoint, which calls real that which belongs to the testimony of the material senses. This testimony, being far from perfect, loving, harmonious, must of a necessity be styled as unreal, that is, not proceeding from God.

One must not be inclined to think that these points are merely of theoretical value. If that were so, it would not be justifiable to discuss them at some length in the presence of many who are in need of practical and immediate help. However, they are eminently practical, because in this way we are helped in the effectual solution of our problems. The key for this solution is the understanding that God does not know or create the finite, sinful, diseased, problematic; and therefore matter, sin, disease, lack are unreal, wholly unreal. If divinely real, there would be no hope or salvation for us, and the harmony of being could then be compared to the horizon which is always receding during a sea voyage, however much the ship advances.

The actual harmony of being, which Christian Science is disclosing to you and me, is not something outside of ourselves, that is, outside of consciousness. This harmony is found right where we are thinking. We are learning, by means of Christian Science to control that thinking, and to admit only those thoughts originating in the perfect First Cause, the great unalterable Truth. When we allow Truth first to operate in consciousness and then more and more as consciousness, our thinking, and thereby our existence, is being freed from the unnatural and unnecessary beliefs and experiences of discord, lack, sickness, sin, and ultimately death.

A gradual but steady change in our views and standards is brought about by this spiritual discernment unveiling the fundamental and eternal facts of being. False education has beclouded our outlook and starting point. Now we may begin to see how simple are the things of God, and how complexities and perplexities set in when we attempt to explain existence through the medium of the material senses or by merely human knowledge. A large stream of books is being poured out upon benumbed humanity, books trying to solve the world's problems from within these problems. The only possible and practical way of solving the ills of mortal existence is by individually rising into the altitude of divine understanding, wherein the difficulty is recognized as unreal, as lacking divine authority and divine consent. Harmonious being is experienced in just this way; that is, in the measure that one enters upon his individual mission of self-reformation.

 

Healing of Business

Let me cite an instance of how the redemptive power of Christian Science solves the problems associated with business. The managing director of a company asked a Christian Science practitioner for help. The wife of this man had been healed in Christian Science of a chronic ailment, and this healing had opened his eyes to the desirability of seeking the same aid for his business ills. He told the practitioner that his company was on the verge of failure. The very first thing the practitioner did was to point out the importance of reading and studying the Christian Science textbook in connection with the Bible. The inquirer opened Science and Health on the first page of its Preface, and read these words (p. vii): "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings." Counsel was given him to banish, with this fundamental verity, suggestions of fear and despair whenever they might try to enter his thought. All human means having failed, our business friend resolved to follow this advice just as conscientiously as if it had been some form of instruction for a commercial transaction.

In the beginning, the words, "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings," did not mean much to him. They appeared vague and distant, as not having any apparent connection with his pressing business problems. However, he clung to the advice. After three days or so, he began to notice that matters did not become worse. On the contrary, they somewhat improved. Some unexpected solutions came. Fear began to decrease. His thought was losing its overanxious concern. It became clearer and more confident, better conscious of the allness of God, more sustained by infinite good.

In short, a new power had appeared in his consciousness, and thereby in his business, as a result of the Christian Science treatment and his own steadfast reliance on divine Truth. This power for good he found never to be cruel or unjust, although often working in quite a different way than he had humanly outlined. Grateful and happy, he entered the office of the practitioner one day and told how, at a meeting with the directors of his company, the whole situation had been changed. An unexpected solution had been brought about that entirely did away with the possibility of failure. He related that during the meeting, in a short interval, he had used that opportunity to read Science and Health, and had been strengthened by its definite statements of truth and its vigorous denials of erroneous belief.

That divine encouragement and assurance which became this man's conscious experience may be that of every one of you here and now. He had allowed and you may allow at any time the law of Love, the Love which is God, to operate in thought, as he did. Thereby much fear, and finitencss, and materiality were effaced by affirming the divine facts of eternal, harmonious Being. Spiritual understanding, the spiritual, immaculate knowledge of God, becomes thus the strength and law of our lives, solving our problems, sustaining and regenerating us with loving wisdom.

 

Love Indispensable

Thus we learn that the infinite is not a vague abstraction, but a tangible and present reality. We lean on "the sustaining infinite" in the measure that we understand God's loving all-power. Through the Science of Christianity we awaken to the fact that our real being originates in divine Love, and is therefore one with divine Love. The practical proof of our new-found knowledge is assured when we act lovingly, considerately, and understandingly toward others. Since every act is prompted by and in thought, the loving act is of true worth only when it is based upon the recognition of our fellow beings as having their source of existence in the same infinite Love by which we know that we "live, and move, and have our being." At the same time, let us be alert in not accepting the way of depicting our neighbor as offered by material sense; that is, as being for the greater part imperfect and actuated by inferior motives.

The practical value of the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," is in this understanding. "To love one's neighbor as one's self, is a divine idea," as the Christian Science textbook points out (p. 88); and a divine idea is a part of one's true selfhood, since we find also in the textbook (p. 475) that man "is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." The true nature of Love being neither personal nor limited, our true sense of Love expands our sense of our neighbor as well as our love for him. This idea constitutes one of the elements of all-inclusive, all-concordant, all-harmonious Being, the understanding of which is promoting practical good will among men and nations.

 

Christian Science Treatment

In order to accomplish these and other results in Christian Science, it is essential that we definitely work in accordance with the teachings of this Science. Whether we call this activity prayer or treatment does not make so much difference. The main point is that the work of spiritual realization is being done. The student will experience that there is a progressive way to do it. In the beginning he may put his statements more or less in the form of petitions to our loving God. When, as a consequence of further study and greater understanding, he begins to realize better that God has already done all things, that true creation is already complete and perfect, these petitions may be partly or wholly exchanged for declarations stating the divine facts of God and His expression, man, and denials of everything that is not in agreement with the divine perfection.

By reason of the allness of God it is readily discernible that whatever is portrayed as finite or material, imperfect or discordant, whether we call it a man or a beast or a plant, does not belong to the divine realm, and therefore is an unreal, temporary, false concept. On the other hand, the truth concerning man and everything else is here and available for us all through right ideas, the spiritual concepts of God. Since they are the reflection of God, it is our privilege to make use of these divine ideas constituting our real and only individuality as God's likeness.

The Christian Science prayer or treatment is devoid of a finite, willful element. This Christianly scientific treatment being sometimes wrongly called a form of suggestion or human will-power, it is well to correct this misunderstanding. Any personal desire to bring about certain conditions by humanly outlining is always done through believing that matter is real. For example, the attempt to create a state of good health in the place of bad health, but with no basic, spiritual understanding as to what health really and divinely is, will not bring genuine healing. In its desire to create, human will-power sins against the fundamental Scriptural commandment that God must be honored as the only creator, and that man exists wholly as creation. Christian Science treatment conforms entirely with this command. It brings to light only that which already divinely exists but which has been hidden from our view through a multitude of misconceptions.

Real health is discernible by understanding the completeness and perfection of God's creation. To this perfection and completeness belongs everything essential, for man's natural, joyous, harmonious existence. It includes of course good health, but not a health-belief or health believed in merely as a satisfactory condition of a material body. Real health, as understood in Christian Science, is spiritual, a conscious realization of man's perfection, a state of divine harmony, hence unchangeable and eternal. Science and Health emphatically declares (p. 120): "Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind." Every healing in Christian Science proves this to be a practical reality.

The Christian Science treatment, being wholly a divinely mental activity, how is it possible then, you may ask, that it heals physical disease? If matter were something wholly apart from mortal mind, such a healing would be impossible. However, there are countless specific instances in which this kind of healing has been accomplished in Christian Science. Moreover, that which we call matter cannot escape the fact that we only experience it in so far as we allow ourselves to be conscious of it. This shows that matter is not what it appears to be, but that it is primarily mental. Physicists, nowadays, have quite generally accepted such a changed view of matter as the result of laborious tests during many years. Mrs. Eddy, by her spiritual intuition, could write over fifty years ago (Science and Health, p. 293): "Matter and mortal mind are but different strata of human belief."

The so-called material body, being just as mental as any other belief, we need not wonder that it is responding to the Christian Science treatment. All human belief, when informed about its unreality, will yield to the absolute of the all-pervading divine Mind. Real treatment means that the divine truth of man as God's likeness is clearly and persistently maintained. It means also that the lies about man obtaining in and as a material body with its imperfections and limitations are consistently and fearlessly denied. Through the spiritual activity of thought more of the divine substance is discerned, and thereby something of the truth set forth in Paul's words, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" "The temple of God," the consciousness of divinity, not only constitutes our real individuality, but is also our place of defense from fearful suggestions attempting to disturb our harmony of being. Should a physician declare that you are suffering from an incurable disease, you need no longer fear such a verdict when you have discerned man's indestructible being. You have simply to refrain from entertaining a material sense of being, and find your abode in this "temple of God." In this spiritual realization, false suggestions are silenced by divine Truth.

 

Man Not Physical

The spiritual concept of man, as revealed in Christian Science, is the antipode of the material concept of man. Without much critical sense, humanity has accepted the theory that man is material with a mind somewhere in his material body. Curiously enough, the supposed seat of man's thinking faculty has changed during the centuries. In very early days it was deemed to reside in those parts which physiology identifies with the stomach (Homer). Later on, the heart was honored by being reckoned as the right location. Expressions such as "to learn by heart," which we are still using, show that this belief is of fairly recent date. Finally, in a further rise at least geometrically the head, and more particularly a certain portion called the brain, has been considered the source of thought.

Interestingly enough, nobody has ever found a single thought in the brain. Let me add that, however painstaking the investigation may be, no one will ever find it there for the simple reason that there is no thinking in the brain, or by the brain, or through the brain; there never has been, and never will be. Where, then, is thought or consciousness? It is unlimited, it is everywhere, and therefore not to be located at all. That which we call matter, being only mentally experienced, whatever there seems to be of matter must be in mortal thought.

Then, the time-worn opinion, due to a false education, that our thinking capacity is something that can be submerged in matter is undergoing a radical change. Christian Science makes this change natural and simple. It tells you that your material body, and everything else you are aware of, is in thought. By setting thought right first, the Christian Science treatment makes that which we call the body accord with right thinking. This treatment, being not a human agent, but the utilization of the law of divine Mind, demonstrates man's divine perfection here and now. The escape from the flesh, and from mortality, lies in your willingness to cease believing that you were ever really in the flesh. Then where are we, some one may ask, if we are not in the flesh? The plain fact is that we are just where we are intelligently thinking, spiritually understanding, lovingly knowing: that our only being, real and harmonious, is comprised of divine ideas. These ideas by expressing God actually are God's presence or manifestation.

 

Christ Jesus

The Science of Christianity gives us also a better understanding of the Founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth. It disposes of the doctrines ascribing to him elements of a miraculous personality, doctrines wrongly instilled at times when material sense has darkened spiritual vision. Christian Science explains that the works of Christ Jesus were not the result of a special dispensation extended by God to him, and for no one else, save a chosen few, to imitate or emulate. Hence these works are not to be considered as miracles that is, as acts contrary to law and order. They have to be discerned as the operation of God's natural law and order. Divine law is perpetually and spontaneously in operation. It can be applied proportionately as the right understanding of God is gained and maintained unswervingly even in the face of suggestions and beliefs of discord and imperfection.

In this connection, it may be well to point out that, in Science and Health, "Mother," as well as "Father," is used to designate the nature of Deity. "Principle" is another synonym for God to be found there. Herein is shown the affectionate, strong, and unalterable character of Deity so beautifully exemplified in the life of the Master. The right understanding of God is not to be found in a wrathful, punishing Jehovah bent on condemnation, but in the great heart of Love which just loves and knows nothing but loveliness, because, in the infinite wideness of divine Love, all is loving, and there is no room for any unlikeness. To understand this, as the New Testament shows Jesus did, brings renewedly into fulfillment the prophecy of Isaiah, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder." This is the true idea of God, the true knowledge of God, the Christ, which Jesus showed forth more than any one else.

 

Christ-Knowledge Unrestricted

Jesus bears fittingly the unique title of Christ by unfolding the Christ to all mankind. It is clear that the very nature of God as our Father-Mother, as divine Principle, as infinite Love, precludes any possibility that this divine power could be confined only to one, or a few, or to a set period of time. Indeed it is a blessing beyond time and place and personality. Christ Jesus understood and taught this when, in his work for humanity's enlightenment, he saw (as Mark relates) that "the gospel must first be published among all nations." And the Apostle John, in the most spiritual portrayal of the Master to be found in the Gospels, records the promise of the "Comforter" or "Spirit of truth" to be made manifest after his ascension; that is, after his unprecedented example of rising above a material sense of existence.

The "Spirit of truth" is here in our midst. Where could it be otherwise, since it is infinite and spiritual? It is the Spirit of the healing Christ, the Comforter, ever available and abiding with us in the measure that we are willing to lay off a finite, personal material sense of self. The Christ which the real man expresses is found in just this way of reckoning ourselves not as material personalities, but as representing God's spiritual and infinite nature. This Christ reveals everything to us that is good and happifying and blessing. Claiming this Christliness by reflecting it we are aware that there is an abundance of good available for everybody. It is a kind of good that does not diminish by using it but which is thereby enhanced in spiritual value and fullness. This Christ shows forth harmonious being as our rightful inheritance, to be joyfully recognized and possessed without fear or hesitation. This Christ liberates us from finite, fearful beliefs, the bane of wrong education so evident in the anxieties, the complexities, and the failures of the present day.

 

Salvation Individual

While a wrong kind of education would keep us in the discords of a material sense of existence, the right kind of education is liberating us and leading us home into our original and natural state of harmony and immortality. This kind of education is given in the study and practice of Christian Science. It is a salvation which, in the measure that we are faithful and unswerving, is constant and progressive, and is here and now. All education being individual, there must be an individual desire and individual work in order to receive its benefits. The education which Christian Science offers for our salvation is not an exception to this general rule. One has to do his own mental work, but that work is a joy and a benefit every step of the way.

The only place to experience salvation is necessarily in one's individual consciousness. The method consists in self-reformation, that is to say, the exchange of finite concepts about ourselves and existence at large for the divine ideas constituting our real individuality and that of every one else.

Doctrines teaching that salvation can take place only after undergoing death are definitely misleading. Were they right, death would be our greatest friend, and not "the last enemy that shall be destroyed." In fact, salvation as taught in Christian Science is the educational method whereby we individually may overcome death. Death, not being a part of the essence or knowledge of God, is not a legitimate experience for man as His image and likeness. Since everything is mental, death cannot be a state of extinction, but must be a state of mental ignorance of God's real nature as eternal Life and man's power to express it uninterruptedly. Christian Science education is taking away this ignorance. Thus we progressively find our salvation in a continuous realization of harmonious, deathless being.

 

Mrs. Eddy's Revelation

In the measure that we become conscious of the infinite possibilities for good which are opening for us in Christian Science we become increasingly reverent to and grateful for Mary Baker Eddy. The inspired seers of the Old Testament had glorious glimpses of existence as it divinely is. Christ Jesus, the disciples, and Paul preached and practiced it, as we learn in the New Testament. However, later on a multitude of human doctrines had so overshadowed these pure teachings that humanity at large had become incredulous about Bible promises and healings. Then, in the second half of the last century, Christian Science was discovered by Mrs. Eddy, and as a result of her unselfish life-work firmly established in human consciousness. Those among mankind who were willing to see and to hear were given the possibility to live scientifically as Christians, in intimate and growing imitation of the life and works of Christ Jesus. Increasing numbers owe this joyful privilege to the love and spiritual-mindedness of the most remarkable woman of modern times.

Mrs. Eddy was a devout student of the Bible. She studied the Bible scientifically, that is, spiritually, for three years after the revelation of Christian Science came to her. To this end, she withdrew from society. She found the inspired Word of Holy Writ to be her guide in writing the textbook which embodies the Key to the Scriptures. The inspired logic and revelation of this book are releasing the world step by step from the throes of material bondage. This is being more rapidly accomplished today than ever, even in face of the criticism that certain statements in Science and Health are sometimes difficult to understand.

In answer to such criticism, it is well to emphasize the fact that Christian Science is a revealed Science, not a materially or humanly thought-out process or system. Here it is interesting to note that in explanation to a literary critic who was making some argumentative statements regarding her teachings Mrs. Eddy replied (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 318): "I do not find my authority for Christian Science in history, but in revelation." Thus Christian Science stands as a revelation of Truth, unbound by human opinions and doctrines, because it is true. Revealed truth is true because of itself. Truth knows no age, no distance, no limits, no past, and no future; Truth is infinitely, eternally now. This truth is doing something very vital to us all this moment, because, by understandingly giving it heed and attention, we participate in it, and are being freed from the misery of a material sense of existence.

 

Textbook and the Movement

To those who are approaching the study of the Christian Science textbook one feels inclined to relate the advice given by John Ruskin regarding the reading of a book. He counseled that a book should always be read from the standpoint in which it was written. In connection with Science and Health this standpoint is spiritual-mindedness. To understand Christian Science and to reap its full benefits we have naturally to become more spiritually-minded. What does this mean? It means that we increasingly discern the divine nature of all things. It means that man as "God's spiritual idea, individual, perfect, eternal" (Science and Health, p. 115) reflects all that God is. Consequently, the spiritual ideas revealed in the Christian Science textbook are actually a part of our conscious being. It is well that we familiarize ourselves with these ideas by reflecting divine Mind. Spiritual ideas are actively changing conditions, are opening up new vistas, new opportunities which formerly were shut out by material sense.

The greatest opportunity is to help others. If it were our intention just to become harmonious ourselves, without much regard for our fellow beings, we would have missed one of the greatest and noblest inspirations of life: our compassionate interest in the welfare of all mankind and its promotion according to our most lofty vision. Christ Jesus said: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth."

Mary Baker Eddy surely understood this very clearly, and exemplified it by founding the Christian Science movement. Accordingly, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., which she tenderly called The Mother Church, came into existence with its branch churches, societies and reading rooms spreading over the civilized world. Thousands of Christian Science practitioners are devoting their lives to the healing and redemption of mankind. The literature of Christian Science, published as a result of Mrs. Eddy's loving care to keep Christian Science pure and unadulterated, is being mailed from Boston to all parts of the globe. Nowadays this literature contains translations of articles in many languages. Another provision of Mrs. Eddy is a Board of Lectureship, preaching the gospel at an average of nearly ten lectures a day throughout the year. There are a number of other means, such as the sanatoriums, whereby Christian Science is brought to the attention and help of a hungering world, and all as a result of the great love of this unique pioneer of scientific Christianity.

 

The Greater Works

Christ Jesus has spoken of the "greater works." He said: "He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." We may recognize that these works are now taking place in the worldwide activities of the Christian Science movement. By uniting Christian Scientists of a great number of nationalities into one concerted purpose, and thus promoting Christian peace and good will among individuals as well as among nations, this movement is surely entitled to claim these "greater works" as its own. Since the movement intrinsically consists of the aggregated understanding of the individual Christian Scientists, an imposing task is theirs! Their aim in co-operating is not alone for healing individual cases of disease, but also for altogether better world conditions.

At the first moment such a universal aim and demand may seem far beyond one's personal power and vision. Indeed, this is so if one considers it personally. However, Christian Science teaches us to lift our thought out of the personal realm of matter into the impersonal realm of Spirit. When we are willing to lift up our eyes unto the hills, from whence is coming our help, when we are willing to look out from the spiritual heights of harmonious being, we begin to discern the boundless nature and power of divine ideas individually realized. When we see that "the government shall be upon his shoulder," that the divine idea asserts itself by the very presence and omnipotence of God, discords and limitations dwindle away. Clear as a snow-capped mountain peak remains the divine conviction, born in spiritual understanding, that God is indeed, All-in-all, and that nothing can withstand divine power.

Our growth in the understanding of Christian Science and the demonstration of thinking in accordance with its spiritual, scientific method is the only satisfying solution of the world's problems, its fear and lack and wars. With authority, the Discoverer of Christian Science declared (Science and Health, p. 494): "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." The greatest of all human needs is to yield to the divine. Then let us all of us do it without reluctance, without hesitation. Let us do it joyfully, confidently. In this way, and in this way alone, we shall experience more and more our original and harmonious being, and thereby we shall be a blessing for all mankind.

 

[Delivered Oct. 4, 1935, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, New York, New York, and published in The Brooklyn (New York) Eagle, Oct. 12, 1935.]

 

 

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