Christian Science: The Science of Life Abundant
Dr. Hendrik J. de Lange, C.S.B. of New York, New York
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) was the stirring assurance wherewith the Founder of Christianity confirmed his mission to the receptive heart. Many centuries before, a God-fearing man called Job had received a similar message, "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty" (Job 40:10).
Job's Dualism and Troubles
At the time, these words might have sounded rather outrageous. Although Job was honest and devout, his troubles had not lessened, but rather increased, in the course of his earthly years and service of the Lord. When reading the book devoted to him in the Bible, we receive the definite impression that Job did not like this. Occasionally his anger was kindled against the Lord — that is, his own personal concept of God.
Before the days of Job, untold numbers of people had approached life in the same attitude that he had taken; and millions of Christians after him have followed a similar pattern. He thought of himself as a reasonably decent person believing in the existence and worship of God. He, Job, was willing to serve God and to fulfill his spiritual obligations. But equally he expected the Lord to do His part by extending to His faithful servant a fair amount of blessings and exemption from calamities.
The book of Job, until its last or forty-second chapter, is a vivid portrayal of the inadequacy of such a dualistic, personal approach to existence. The Hebrew word "Job" stands for desire and affliction; it characterizes Job's mental attitude and experience. This explains why Job was in turmoil most of the time. Even when God spoke to him, that is, when he felt truly inspired and wisdom asserted itself as his very own thought, even then it seemed to come "out of the whirlwind"!
The Day of Christian Science
May I repeat to you, my friends, today, "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty." And may I add, in all humility, that the message of this lecture — the message of Christian Science — is come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.
To some among you who feel fearful and afflicted or sad and impoverished, this may sound just as impractical as it did to Job. However, remember that when Job ended the vain contentions with his personal, vindictive sense of God, when he understood better the true nature of the primal cause, and of himself as the expression of that cause — all his losses were wiped out, and he received "twice as much as he had before."
This can be your experience, because today is the day of Christian Science. Today is the day for all the good, which the Bible prophesies as a future attainment, to be made manifest. Christian Science, as the Science of Life abundant, makes it possible for you and me to become acquainted with our own true nature by knowing God; to have the experience of existence as it is, directly from its ever-flowing fount or divine source; and not in the way life seems to be as channeled through the narrow, leaking pipe line of personal sense.
The invitation to partake of life abundant is extended to all, notwithstanding the manifold appearances of inequality around us. In spite of religious doctrines to the contrary, Christian Science reveals the method whereby everyone, without a single exception, here and everywhere, can deck himself now with the majesty and excellency, the glory and beauty that are divinely derived, not personally generated, and thus live abundantly.
The Importance of "I"
Majesty can be derived only from majesty, and excellency from excellency. Glory and beauty could never spring forth from anything less than glory and beauty. To surmise then that these highly desirable qualities, culminating in the abundance of being, could originate in a material person, or could be cultivated and experienced through a material sense of oneself, would be sheer folly. The stream cannot rise higher than its fount; and in Christian Science it is seen that that which receives must have its capacity derived from that which gives, in order to receive.
When Christ Jesus announced, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," his concept of "I" must have far transcended the customary sense of it. The proverbial "man in the street" thinks of his "I" as referring to a human mind inhabiting a material body. The adjective "human" denotes imperfection, restriction, fallibility; while "material" points to the destructible and exhaustible.
Even if the average person experiences something approximating love, joy, beauty, and abundance, it is often marred by a painful element of uncertainty. The happy sensation can fade out almost at any time, without any apparent rhyme or reason. He ascribes this to fate or bad luck coming from the outside. If he knew better, he would perceive that it is due to his own sense of limitation and inferiority. How can perfection and continuity, happiness and fullness be forced through the narrow medium of a human mind that spells duality, division, disintegration?
The Fundamental Nature of the Infinite and Eternal
The ideas of infinity, eternality, perfection, and the like, exist incontrovertibly. They are rightly identified with the primal cause of all existence, which, in religion, is called God. It should be anomalous to attribute infinity, eternality, perfection, to anything unlike God, since these ideas do not permit identification with that which is relative.
When he cried out, "Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!" (Job 23:3) Job was awakening to the fact that there was something to himself that was identified with majesty and excellency, glory and beauty, which could not be within his human and material sense of self. Otherwise there could not have been that yearning to come to the seat or source of Life abundant and everlasting.
There is an enduring interest in the Bible on the part of humanity. How is this explained? It is innate in oneself. As God is Truth, one finds in one's understanding of God the truth about oneself. In this understanding of Truth one can avail oneself of God's power to be freed from anything un-Godlike or untrue. The Bible is the inexhaustible storehouse for the knowledge of God.
The Bible's Two Approaches
Generally speaking, the Old Testament presents this endeavor — the endeavor to understand God and oneself — from a personal point of view: that of a human person having a glimpse of God's fullness, assuming the material world to be an entity of itself, and attempting to materialize and humanize the divine by channeling it through the pipe line of personal sense. The results thus obtained, although sometimes gratifying for the time being, have nevertheless elements of uncertainty and lack of continuity.
Here is the reason for the cross much well-intended thought has to bear, until the day it sees its mistake. Starting out from a material person, the attempt is made to reduce the spiritual to the material, the divine to the human. This is not only vain; it also penalizes the one who is trying to do it, being an attempt to dethrone Deity.
The New Testament exemplifies the Christ-method of finding God. Christ Jesus saw the mistake of a personal, material approach. He rectified it by letting a personal, material sense of existence yield to the divine. Hereby he was enabled to see the fallacy of a material world as an entity in which God's goodness and fullness must be reduced to terms of matter and person in order to be experienced. While admitting that the real universe, or kingdom of heaven, was outside of material, personal sense, he knew that it was within the spiritual or real sense of oneself.
Exemption from Inferiority Complex
The suggestions of human personal restriction and inferiority, which might be called "the prince of this world," did not bother him. They found nothing in him, because he discerned that they referred to a human concept about himself, not to his true and only selfhood. He looked out from the source of all existence and found himself in and as divine knowledge, or son of God. Inevitably this gave his "I" an entirely new meaning.
He knew himself identified with the Christ, the "I" that was "before Abraham was." He did not hesitate to declare that he was "the resurrection and the life," the life that never will die. Therefore he could raise the dead and heal the sick. He knew himself one with the Father, the source of all wisdom and intelligence. Thus he was able to teach "as one having authority, and not as the scribes." He acknowledged that he was "the bread which came down from heaven," and this enabled him to feed the multitudes. His "I" was his understanding, loving, constant selfhood, forever the experience and expression of the abundant, infinite, inexhaustible, divine Life or God.
He exemplified that one can attain and show forth only that which one already spiritually is. The acknowledgment of oneself as the true idea of God, rather than the endeavor as a human person to attain it, is the Christianly scientific method constituting the soul and substance of the New Testament.
Decline and Rise
Sad to say, after some centuries, the healing evidences of primitive Christianity disappeared almost entirely. It was not God changing and withholding a precious gift, as has been averred. "The Father of lights" is indeed invariable and immutable, as James had perceived. The corruption of the church was the culprit, whereby the Master's teachings were misinterpreted along the lines of the Old Testament's personal approach.
With the discovery of the Science of Christianity, a truly new era has arrived, comparable in importance only with the advent of Christianity itself. It happened, according to human reckoning, in the 1866th year since the Nazarene's birth; the person who brought the revelation was called Mary Baker Eddy; and the place was the United States of America.
There is reason to believe that the changes brought about in the world during the eighty years after the discovery of Christian Science are at least as important as during the eighteen centuries before this truly world-shaking event. Also, the world's concept of Mrs. Eddy has notably altered from thinking of her as the head of a small religious group, to the revered Founder and Leader of a worldwide movement gathering in impetus continually. It is not accidental, either, that the United States of America, in 1866 still a second-rate power mainly concerned with caring for its own vast and greatly undeveloped territory, has risen to a unique world prominence.
Impetus through Reconciliation of Science and Religion
In the second half of the nineteenth century, material rationalism, expecting to explain and solve everything from a material basis, was reaching its zenith and nearing its decline. At the same time scholastic theology had lost much of its appeal. In this transitional period for both science and Christianity, suddenly shone forth with apocalyptic effulgence the Science of Christianity, heralded by a noble, cultured, and deeply religious American woman.
With her discovery, and especially with the publication of her main work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the atmosphere cleared. The Master's healing and redeeming ministrations reasserted themselves with irresistible urge. As a result, health and release have been brought to countless thousands who had been given up, either by the medical faculty as incurably ill, or by the clergy as hopelessly sinful.
Religion and Science were reconciled, whereby both gained in clarity and efficiency. Through discernment of the scientific nature of Christianity, prayer was lifted from the realm of faith to that of spiritual understanding, where healing operates according to divine law. Christianity's infinite possibilities were stressed. The promise of "greater works" given by Christ Jesus showed signs of fulfillment. Is it not possible to conceive of these "greater works" as the action of the Christ in the healing of the world's international and interracial relations?
The understanding that all true Science must be and is Christian is equally significant. The material concept of science has more and more brought out the misuse of modern inventions. Think of the airplane and atomic force. How beneficent they could be if their use were not perverted for the most destructive of purposes! Understanding that in such instances it is dealing with perversions of the only true Science that is Christian, mankind will arise in protest against being subjugated to the infamies of the carnal mind under the guise of science. Humanity's thought will be permeated more and more with the love and power of Christ. And the result will be adequate means of protection against such destructive tendencies, until they fade out altogether.
America's Spiritual Value
The United States of America will be evermore cherished as the cradle of the Christian Science movement. It is more than a vast and rich territory, peopled by a teeming population which has preserved, to a remarkable degree, the enthusiasm of youthfulness and the true sense of adventure, leading to breath-taking inventions and enterprises. Yes, there is far more to America than you can see with the human eye and hear with the human ear!
America is a state of thought, liberated to a considerable extent from the restrictions of a material, earth-bound sense of existence. This is the way its riches and its capacity of generous giving, so conspicuously displayed nowadays, should be interpreted. America was born of an ideal, the American Dream, as it has been called — the ideal of freedom and equality of opportunity, dreamed by oppressed people in many nations. The Christliness and fortitude of the Founding Fathers still permeate and inspire that state of thought we call America. Here, and it could not have been anywhere else, were sufficient originality of thought, Christian animus, and soaring vision, not only for Christian Science to be discovered and founded, but also to be spread with active, loving, generous support all over the civilized world.
The Mother Church and Manual
Here it was that Mrs. Eddy, in 1892, could found The First Church of Christ, Scientist. The Mother Church, as she tenderly called this church, is the outcome of her understanding of God's motherhood. God's motherhood reveals the unreality of evil. It is one of the greatest contributions, if not the greatest, to the understanding of the scientific nature of Christianity and the life abundant it discloses.
Even a human mother, as best she can, keeps the concept of her beloved child clear from any sense of imperfection, lack, evil. Our Mother-God, the fount of existence, takes cognizance only of its own infinite, eternal, and thereby indestructible, inexhaustible nature, and of nothing else.
The understanding of this fact makes us see that evil and restriction are deprived of power, intelligence, or presence. What then remains to evil and restriction, that which is unlike God or infinite good? Nothing but an illusion. And Christian Science disposes of the illusion in no uncertain terms (Retrospection and Introspection by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 64): "Since there is in belief an illusion termed sin, which must be met and mastered, we classify sin, sickness, and death as illusions. They are supposititious claims of error; and error being a false claim, they are no claims at all."
The Manual of The Mother Church, which Mrs. Eddy gave for its guidance and for the development of the Christian Science movement, was the result of her ardent prayers to bless humanity. This codification is of singular significance not only for the movement itself, but also for the world-government that the United Nations are endeavoring to establish.
The government of The Mother Church evidences in a unique manner the self-perpetuating nature of divine Principle. This is illustrated by Mrs. Eddy's permanent place as Leader and by The Christian Science Board of Directors, a self-perpetuating body appointed by her for safeguarding the Manual's wise provisions and their proper execution.
The branch church government is democratic, exemplifying the equality of man in the understanding that all have equal opportunity to acknowledge and show forth in daily experience their divine sonship.
A combination of striking originality is thus operating in the Christian Science movement, which makes its rules both direct and efficient.
Mrs. Eddy proved herself to be the right kind of Leader. The essence of true leadership is set forth in her admonition, "Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ" — a statement occurring twice in her published works: Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 34) and repeated in the Message for 1902 (p. 4). The Christian Scientist is following her in recognizing himself in terms of divine idea and by letting go a material, personal sense of self that spells poverty, lack, sin, disease, death.
Mary Baker Eddy's leadership was the result of her willingness to subjugate the human to the divine. She was God-chosen, because she humbly chose God to be her inspiration, her origin, her All.
What a contrast between the Leader of the Christian Science movement and those two men who, in the languages of their nationality, perhaps in unconscious mimicry, assumed the same title, il Duce and Der Fuehrer! Their careers were the outcome of the deification of matter. Mrs. Eddy showed forth the operation of the divine Principle that is both Spirit and Love. They brought bondage, lack, war, misery. Mrs. Eddy is reverently remembered as the means whereby Christian Science came to mankind to wipe out the restrictions and pains of material, personal sense and reveal life abundant, poised and secure.
Changing One's Concept
Security, poise, and abundance seem sometimes to be sadly absent. Those who cross the ocean have occasion to observe this when the wind blows and huge waves lash the ship. One is struck by the contrast between the prodigious forces of nature, which seem to be wasted in aimlessly throwing up the water, and what appears as one's own frail self tossed around in the boat.
What can he do about this situation? He is not a god who can will a change of the wind or of the moving of the waters. King Canute found this out when he told the waves to recede. They did not obey, and he got wet feet. However, the one who has discovered the scientific nature of Christianity and its effectiveness can do one thing, if he knows enough to do it. He can change his concept about the wind, the sea, and above all, about himself.
Here we have arrived at an important milestone on our quest to find Life abundant and to get rid of life penurious.
The least one can do is to change one's concept, and this is also the most fundamental thing one can do. Why? Because consciousness is basic to all existence. Without consciousness, no existence. Matter is hereby reduced to a materially mental concept. And matter is brought within the scope of one's ability to change the concept, and therefore the evidence, which claims, as matter, to exist externally and thereby independently. As the concept changes, the evidence changes, for they are one and the same thing.
Everything considered external to oneself, animate or inanimate, is therefore permitted to act either in conformity with or adversely to one's highest interests, as one thinks rightly or wrongly about it. Our experience improves proportionally as our thinking improves. All this becomes plain through the recognition, stressed over and over again in Christian Science, that all is mental and included in consciousness.
Fact and Fable
Of course, the mental nature of existence has been recognized outside of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy saw more deeply than this. Her spiritual sense made her discern that all that is reduced to mentality is not of equal value. She came with the fan of Science to separate fact from fable.
Fact is everything proceeding from the primal fount of being, everything understood as infinite, eternal, ever-present, inexhaustible, and thereby available to all as infinite good. Fable is that which appears as divergent from and contrary to this infinite good, by way of sin, sickness, death, destruction, limitation, lack, fear.
We can intelligently change our concepts in Christian Science, because God's nature is the unerring, unchanging, unequivocal standard for our discrimination. Once the separation is made, once it is clearly understood that infinite good is the only reality, substance, life, and that evil is the spurious misconception about good and not an entity apart from God, then we see that we can leave everything safely in the hand of God.
In the presence of good understood as God, and firmly maintained in the face of evil's suggestion, evil cannot survive. It fades out. The only chance evil has to maintain itself is by being self-deceived in believing that it is real. When confronted with Truth, evil's self-deception becomes impossible.
Briefly stated, the above constitutes the Christ-method of healing, practiced by the Master and nowadays repeated in the Christian Science prayer or treatment. With profound spiritual insight, in "Unity of Good" Mrs. Eddy sums it up as follows (p. 11): "Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind. . . . He annulled the laws of matter, showing them to be laws of mortal mind, not of God. . . . He demanded a change of consciousness and evidence, and effected this change through the higher laws of God. . . . Jesus stooped not to human consciousness, nor to the evidence of the senses. . . . He said that the kingdom of heaven is here, and included in Mind."
Let us, by way of illustration and application, give our especial attention to the episode when Jesus was in a boat with his disciples and "there came down a storm of wind on the lake." See Luke 8:22-25. The situation was serious as the boat filled with water. Evidently undisturbed, the Master slept quietly. When the picture became too fearful, the disciples awakened him, crying out, "Master, master, we perish." They were so engrossed in their own personal sense of things that they disregarded his peaceful resting. Evidently unruffled, "he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm."
An entire devotion to and identification with the Christ, Truth, bore rich fruitage in this case, as in many other cases. Christ Jesus changed his concept. Or, perhaps, to put it more correctly, he had not taken in the human concept which evidently the disciples had accepted. They thought of themselves as persons in a small craft on a boisterous sea, with ominous possibilities. If this mental picture had been believed by the Nazarene as the actuality of existence, he could not have brought about a change.
However, the four Gospels bring out that Jesus knew the eternal facts and values of existence never to be in personal, material pictures. He knew that the power displayed by the wind could not be destructive, because God is all-power, and God never destroys or mars one iota of His creation. In the Glossary of Science and Health, you find the truth about "wind" (p. 597), "That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God's spiritual government, encompassing all things." He knew the truth about water or sea as Mrs. Eddy did when referring (ibid., p. 576) to "the Peaceful Sea of Harmony." Moreover, Jesus knew the real nature of man as (ibid., p. 475) "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." The heaven of all right ideas within has no clashing of elements, no fear of destruction.
Finally, the Master must have realized that with his prayer or treatment he should not make the attempt to change, or to ask God to change, certain material external conditions. He knew that he was dealing with a misconception which had suggested itself as the thought and circumstances of his disciples. They had ignorantly taken in this suggestion, and thus it had externalized itself in the fearful way it did.
The sudden change of the picture from anxiety to calm was both inevitable and natural, although amazing to the immature thought. "What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." Christ Jesus knew that he was God's man, not the offspring of a mortal. Christian Science has revealed that God's man is the only kind of man there is.
The Christ not Crucified
In this sanctuary of spiritual understanding, Christian Science joyously proclaims that we do not have to go through a long-drawn-out process of suffering before we understandingly experience the "manner of man" we are. The Christ was never crucified, because the Christ is (Science and Health, pp. 583, 332) "the divine manifestation of God," "the divine image and likeness." As evil has never touched the inexhaustible fount of Being, the Christ, its divine manifestation, has never been tinged by any limitation, lack, destruction. This is why the fleshly sense of existence, or error incarnate, is destroyed when confronted with the Christ. The Christ, by majestically, lovingly, everlastingly remaining itself in complete integrity, makes it impossible for incarnate error to persist.
All crucifixion is in a material, personal concept of the Christ, or true spiritual manhood, called Jesus or any other human name, then or now. Yes, the material, personal concept is the crucifixion itself. Your and my real selfhood dwells forever in the sanctuary of our Father-Mother God. Resurrection and ascension, in the Nazarene's life, even as in yours and mine, are the divinely ordered steps of progressive liberation from an impoverished and impoverishing material, personal sense of existence. In the culmination of the ascending thought, we know ourselves as God knows us — as Mind's infinite manifestation. Here is salvation!
No Solution within Problem
This leads us to a truth of tremendous practical value: the solution of a problem is never within the problem itself. Every child, consciously or unconsciously, recognizes this when using the multiplication table for solving a problem presented by accepting a mathematical mistake as true. The mathematical principle does not know a thing about his mistakes. These mistakes are not a part of mathematics; they are just mistakes about mathematics. This is why its principle operates unerringly.
We should be reminded of this when dealing with problems presenting themselves as our own personal difficulties and those of the world in which we appear to be living. Mankind has been singularly unsuccessful in solving its problems, although it has displayed a great amount of right endeavor.
The basic problem being the suggestion that man has a human mind inside a material body, the attempt to solve his problems upon this assumption is a failure from the start. In considering himself materially and personally, he has placed himself right inside of the problem.
In Christian Science comes the solution when recognizing that man is infinite idea, the expression of the Principle that never knew of or was touched by a problem. In this recognition of man's true selfhood, the omnipotence of God becomes directly and fully available to heal the problem of itself.
More and more, the Christian Scientist should be able to deal successfully with all problems, whether they present themselves as an indisposition of a person or as a picture of a world in trouble. In both cases, one is confronted with something unlike God, with a misconception which, having no entity at all, is neither small nor great. The prevalent sense that the solution is much easier in the first case than in the second should be handled as a spurious suggestion, not as a fact. In this way, one will be encouraged to know daily the truth in Christian Science about world problems, greatly to the benefit of humanity.
"The day of the Lord"
Such work is most needed at a time when the world is confronted with the prophecy of widespread destruction caused by atomic force. That is the modern name for it. However, it is far from the first time in human history that wholesale annihilation has been envisaged. The material sense of existence has had periodically inklings of its impending doom.
In the past, it has been referred to more accurately as the coming of "the day of the Lord." The Second Epistle General of Peter mentions this in a description which reminds one of what happened in Hiroshima, the Japanese city suddenly turned into fiery rubble. Peter warns (3:10), "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Evidently, "the day of the Lord" is the clear recognition of Spirit's substantiality that has come in Christian Science, and the total unreality of matter. "Matter and mortal mind are one; and this one is a misstatement of Mind, God" (Unity of Good, p. 35) is Truth's verdict about matter.
Christian Science has exposed the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon poor humanity — the vindication of matter's substantiality. This exposure means the end of everything, according to material sense. However, this is far from being the end of anything for those who know better. Peter knew enough to assure, after pointing to the inevitable event of "the day of the Lord," "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Pet. 3:13), that is, heaven and earth not as they appear misstated by material sense, but as they are from the standpoint of Spirit, as infinite, indestructible, spiritual ideas.
The Truth about Atomic Force
As Spirit, Mind, is the only real power, the only reality anywhere, Mrs. Eddy, with her unusual gift for spiritual analysis — surpassing the nuclear-splitting ability of the modern physicist — stated more than fifty years before the so-called atomic era (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 190): "Atomic action is Mind, not matter. It is neither the energy of matter, the result of organization, nor the outcome of life infused into matter: it is infinite Spirit, Truth, Life, defiant of error or matter." Here is the actual and only truth about atomic force and action. The word "atom" literally meaning that which cannot be further divided into smaller pieces, the only actual atomic force is the indivisible power of divine Mind, or Love, which is always constructive.
Where, then, is the danger of atomic force? Not in the force itself. The danger is in the accepted suggestion claiming that you and I are human persons dwelling in a material universe. It is obvious that the idea of eternal Life cannot be annihilated by any force, atomic or otherwise. However, as long as you and I believe we are persons entertaining this idea of Life's eternality, there may be destruction. It looms in the material, personal sense about man; in fact, this mistaken sense constitutes the destructibility from the start. Knowing that man is God's idea, not a person endeavoring to know it, places one in the realm of "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," not fear and war and destruction!
Recent disclosures about nuclear force certainly point to the availability of life abundant, when misconceptions about life and true substance are removed. Matter is a misstatement. The physicist, dealing with matter as an entity, has been splitting its nucleus in order to do away with matter. That is the fact, although he does not know it; and he still believes that the immense force thus liberated was inherent in matter itself.
Mrs. Eddy approached the subject in the only scientific attitude and in the only realm where it could be solved — in the realm of mentality. Her spiritual analysis was the two-edged sword of Truth dividing asunder every material phenomenon, revealing true substance as spiritual, that is, infinite, eternal, inexhaustible, and always at hand for the one knowing this.
The Penury of Matter Substance
Those at the helm of the nations of the world should discern this. Your and my understanding of it will remove the mists suggesting that they cannot or do not see it. Until now, economics has been kept almost exclusively in the impoverishing concept that matter is substance and that man is an animated material entity. No wonder that most nations, with a few notable exceptions, are economically in deep waters!
In order to remedy their shortages, they have followed two courses equally inadequate. Either they have taken away from other nations by force the goods that were needed, or they have been dividing into ever smaller bits whatever seemed to be materially available. The results have been plainly unsatisfactory. We are witnessing the misery and dismal conditions of the nations which practiced the first method, and which are now defeated. But also in many nations which stood for the right. conditions are very difficult. Rations have been reduced over and over again and are lower now in some instances than during the war. And the way out by no means always seems plain to those in authority or the others concerned.
Let the statesmen and economists and others turn to the four Gospels. We find there the only true economy — that of Spirit. The Nazarene was the greatest economist that ever lived, and through Christian Science we are able to obtain similar results to his by following his methods. When confronted with what humanly appeared as severe shortage of food — he was told that there were only five barley loaves and two small fishes available for a great multitude; see John 6:2-13 — he did not ask for a knife, and he did not begin to cut each loaf of bread and each fish in a thousand parts, which never would have satisfied anyone.
No, he looked away from the mortal picture and thanked God for what he knew was the actual, inexhaustible, spiritual substance of existence. Thereby the suggestion of personal, material sense, which is the hunger and lack, was excluded to the vanishing point. Satisfaction reigned and hunger was stilled, not primarily because of the material appearance of the loaves and fishes, but because of the spiritual understanding there demonstrated. When it is more clearly understood that the experience of life abundant does not take place through a material medium, but directly as divine manifestation, the medium will conform more and more to the divine fact, and material commodities will appear plentiful and their distribution equitable.
Drawing to the conclusion of this hour, a few points stand out for being briefly summarized.
First of all, we should see clearly that we are living in a realm of mentality wherein matter represents not substance but restriction. Also, that personal sense is not individuality, only a mistaken sense of it. Unless we discern the mental nature of existence, we cannot bring our so-called material problems under the scope of the Christian Science prayer or treatment.
In the second place, let us remind ourselves often that the solution of the problem is never from within the problem, and that we place ourselves within the problem by accepting the mortal picture about ourselves as human persons. The disciples and their boat filled with water figuratively present the human concept of existence. Why should we place ourselves mentally in that perilous vessel? Therefore, let us declare and understand that man is God's infinite idea, here and now; that man was never anything else; and that this status is intact and universal.
In the third place, as God's infinite idea, man is not separated from the good, the joy, the happiness, the life abundant of others. In its real sense, existence is not personal; it is one and infinite, and allness is its measure. Let us rejoice in the good of others as much as in our own good, because really it is all divine, and therefore inseparable from us. The good we receive, the good we give, does not come from persons and does not go to persons. It is most liberating and enriching to know this, when we give and when we receive.
And finally, let us never believe that anything which is divinely derived needs to be channeled through the narrow, leaking pipe line of personal sense in order that it can reach us. The good that is God, and that is the only good, being spiritual, is both inexhaustible and ever present. It does not have to come from the outside, because man is the expression of this spiritual good already as the son of God. There is not God and I and a channel between; "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe" (Science and Health, pp. 465, 466).
In joyfully, lovingly, understandingly acknowledging our integral spiritual status, we lay down the tatters of fear and greed, lack and division. We gratefully discover that we are already decked "with majesty and excellency," arrayed "with glory and beauty;" and that the "I" proceeding from the Father-Mother God now expresses Life abundant.