Christian Science: The Science of Reality (2)
Dr. Hendrik J. de Lange, C.S.B., of New York City
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Reality is that which actually exists. Like truth in its highest sense, reality is unchangeable, existing forever. We can never rid ourselves of reality. We can be freed from that which is unreal, untrue. In order to do this, we have to understand what reality is.
Hence reality is a subject well worth our consideration. In fact, thinking people have been pondering this great subject from time immemorial. In determining the nature of reality, we have to use a standard, the right standard. Are we using the right standard?
The Fishes in the Pond
Suppose a fisherman desires to find out the size of the fishes inhabiting a certain pond. He happens to have a net with meshes of six inches, and begins his experiment by catching a great many fishes with that net.
Naturally, those fishes smaller than six inches are slipping through the meshes. After a his day of painstaking work, his conclusion that the lake contains only fishes larger than six inches is obviously wrong. The mistake was not caused by a lack of accuracy in using the means at his disposal. The error was made as the result of applying an inadequate instrument for ascertaining the facts.
The Measuring Rod
In considering the nature of reality one should not overlook this necessity: the necessity of utilizing the right means wherewith to cognize the nature of the thoughts and things one wishes to consider. Otherwise, certain important data might slip through — like the little fishes — and spoil correct conclusions.
It is strange and sad that, as a whole, humanity acquiesces in accepting human sense testimony as correctly interpreting reality. Hereby it makes a mistake analogous to the one of our fisherman.
Mankind's Misconception of Reality
The results have been disastrous. Disastrous is not too strong a word, if it is true that humanity's present plight, its past tragedies, and its possible future sufferings, are basically due to a misconception of reality.
The advancement of human knowledge has increasingly exposed the restrictions of the human mind. There is a growing recognition of its inaccuracy.
[However, humanity in general attempts to rectify the mistakes from within the observation and scope of the human mind itself. In this manner, mankind cannot outgrow the limitations and errors inherent in the human mind. History presents a pitiful picture of past mistakes repeated with certain variations over and over again.
[At this point you may interject: Is this not only natural, but also inevitable?
[By what other means than the human mind can we find an answer to Pilate's question, "What is truth?" and from that answer derive the enlightenment to judge righteous judgment and to prevent crucifixion?
[Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, declares in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," with an assurance transcending the human mind (p. 49): "The women at the cross could have answered Pilate's question. They knew what had inspired their devotion, winged their faith, opened the eyes of their understanding, healed the sick, cast out evil, and caused the disciples to say to their Master: 'Even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.'"]
[Note to the reader: A large part of the left-hand side of an entire newspaper column of the present report of this lecture is missing; the preceding text in brackets — from another, much briefer, account of the lecture — supplies some of the missing content.
[From the text that was not clipped off of the remainder of the column in question, it is evident that, in continuing his discussion of the misconception of reality, the lecturer called attention to pp. 13-15 of Mrs. Eddy's autobiographical book Retrospection and Introspection, where she writes of her struggle in early childhood with the then-prevalent doctrine of predestination. She wrote that she was so perturbed over this teaching that she became ill; the family doctor pronounced her to be stricken with fever. She goes on to say that she was healed as a result of her own prayers, which her mother lovingly encouraged her to offer to God. (Mrs. Eddy notes, "The physician marvelled; and the 'horrible decree' of predestination — as John Calvin rightly called his own tenet — forever lost its power over me.")
[The rest of the lecture report reads:]
Mrs. Eddy, in her early days, had more than her share in the difficulties which the average person who thinks in terms of life as mortal encounters. A recovery from a grave injury experienced in 1866, without medical assistance, but by recourse to her Bible, led to an even greater understanding of, and thereby reliance on, God. She had found the way of deliverance.
Christianity, in the original sense of its Founder, was re-discovered. A personal concept of God as knowing both good and evil and sending punishment to man was rejected. The all-goodness of God, as both the mighty and loving Father-Mother, or divine Principle of the universe, became a tangible reality. Suffering, sickness, sin, and death were seen to be but effects of ignorance of God. Consequently, discords last only as long as one identifies oneself with that which is not divine.
The Christ Realm
Because of this revelation, reality and truth are now scientifically understood in terms of divine Principle, not in terms of human sense testimony. The question asked before, What other means of cognizance is at our disposal than human sense testimony? can now be answered. In the understanding of God as Truth and reality we have found a realm of knowledge exact beyond any human reckoning and fraught with breathtaking possibilities for good.
Since God, Truth, is infinite and eternal, knowledge of this fact overcomes the limitations, imperfections, and contradictions of human sense. This truth of God operates as the law of annulment to whatever is untrue, although, to human sense, seeming to be real. Moreover, this realm has never been touched by human sense and cannot be comprehended by it. In the well-known words of John (1:5), "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
It is the realm, or consciousness, of Christ, constituting man's real nature, that was so divinely natural to the Nazarene that he became known and loved as Jesus the Christ.
What Mrs. Eddy had found, and had healed her, she called Divine Science, Spiritual Science, Christ Science, Christian Science, or Science alone; terms synonymous and interchangeable in use. (See Science and Health 127:9-14.) Hereby the scientific, logical, lawful nature of Christianity was stressed. The fear of death and hell-fire, precipitated by "the horrible decree," was seen as an aberration of the carnal mind, a misconception of God.
Many nowadays, under the impact of terrifying experiences that recently confronted them, may be inclined to think of war and its hell as a historical necessity or as a divinely imposed, inevitable punishment of sin. Owing to the enlightenment of Christian Science, they can now change these views which brought about the thing "greatly feared" (Job 3:25). If there exists any predestination, it must be the predestination of divine good that knows no evil, war, destruction.
This fear-abating, tempest-stilling Christ, Truth, is available for all, without any exception! Mrs. Eddy's humility and love which sometimes have been questioned, are in no way more clearly shown than in the fact that she understood her discovery to be Science. Science, in its highest sense, is as impersonal and impartial as divine Principle itself. Moreover, she emphatically ascribes no exceptional ability to herself and her followers. In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 3) she points out, "We (meaning all Christian Scientists) shall claim no especial gift from our divine origin, no supernatural power."
The Discoverer of Christian Science became the first Christian Scientist. Christian Science had a revolutionary effect upon her. Countless others after Mrs. Eddy can declare the same. Many of you present here can gratefully testify similarly.
What a difference between her first forty odd years and the second span of almost equal duration after her discovery. Her health was restored. She found strength, happiness, honor; she became the author of the most prayerfully studied book ever written, with the exception of the Bible.
The work referred to is the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." It contains the complete statement of Christian Science. The author warns (see p. 147:14-20) that in order to earn its rich fruitage "a simple perusal of this book" is not sufficient. It "needs to be studied, and the demonstration of the rules of scientific healing will plant you firmly on the spiritual ground-work of Christian Science." The next sentence on the same page, in its rhythmic flow of choice language, promises: "This proof lifts you high above the perishing fossils of theories already antiquated, and enables you to grasp the spiritual facts of being hitherto unattained and seemingly dim."
Reasoning from Truth
With the originality and fearlessness that characterized her, Mrs. Eddy discerned that the spiritual facts of being constituting reality can be comprehended only by reasoning from the standpoint of Truth, not from any human concept. On Page 370 of the textbook we find this arresting statement which, when heeded, will be a lamp to our feet: "To be immortal, we must forsake the mortal sense of things, turn from the lie of false belief to Truth, and gather the facts of being from the divine Mind." Note that we forsake only the mortal sense of things, not the things themselves, the verities they divinely are!
An entirely new set of values emerges when we forsake a mortal sense, and "gather the facts of being from the divine Mind." Life, Truth, Love, Soul, which used to be considered as limited, temporal, fluctuating, destructible, are now understood as infinite, eternal, constant, everlasting, and thereby ever available for all as divine Life, Truth, Love, Soul. Sin, disease, death, war, and all the paraphernalia of Satan's synagogue, formerly accepted as real, and thereby upheld, are now classified as unreal, and thereby amenable to total obliteration.
Individuality appears also in a new light in this revaluation.
Naturally we cherish our individuality; it constitutes our freedom to be and to act rightly, independent of others. Christian Science does not teach that in recognizing that there is but one God or Mind one's individuality is absorbed in Deity.
On the contrary, when looking for our individuality in God, we are sure to find it there, far beyond a personal sense about it. As we find our individuality in God, it is divinely safeguarded and perpetuated in a way infinitely superior to human endeavor. God, Spirit, is individual; therefore the individuality of each of us is spiritual.
The textbook declares (p. 513), "Spirit diversifies, classifies, and individualizes all thoughts, which are as eternal as the Mind conceiving them; but the intelligence, existence, and continuity of all individuality remain in God, who is the divinely creative Principle thereof." In the recognition of this spiritual individuality, every man, woman, and child can know that he is God-conceived and God-expressed, and thereby humanly appears more and more outstanding in divinely derived qualities. In her book "No and Yes" (p. 11) Mrs. Eddy stresses that "man has perpetual individuality; and God's laws, and their intelligent and harmonious action, constitute his individuality in the Science of Soul."
The Mother Church
Because Mrs. Eddy understood Truth profoundly and also clearly saw the unreality of evil, she was an excellent Christian Scientist. Her healing work aroused wide interest in Christian Science. Boston, the center of learning and intellect in those days, was chosen as the headquarters of the movement. In 1879, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, came into existence. At a meeting of the Christian Scientist Association, its purpose was set forth as follows (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 44): "To commemorate the words and works of our Master, a Mind-healing church, without a creed."
The Manual's Wise Provisions
The Manual of the Mother Church was written by Mrs. Eddy that the movement might proceed and develop in an orderly and divinely inspired way. Literature, lectures, teaching, healing, were given loving consideration and guidance. Provision was made for Reading Rooms; also for Committees on Publication, who correct misconceptions about Christian Science on the part of the public.
This unique codification deserves the world's attention. Its form of government is a theocracy, rule by divine inspiration and insight. Christian Scientists can do much in favorably impressing mankind with the advantages of Christianity practiced in government. The day may not be distant when the Manual will be ranked with Magna Charta and the Constitution of the United States of America, as a British ambassador once intimated to the speaker.
Vital Christianity Needed
For the peace of the world, for the safeguarding of freedom, for the further breaking up of a dictatorship, Christianity is prerequisite.
However, it must be a Christianity that is pure, not adulterated; that is practical, not evasive; that is strong and appealing in its logic, satisfying the relentless research of the thinker. It must be a Christianity that is honest, requiring of every man, woman, and child as a first essential to reject a human, mortal sense of self; and thus to be enabled to behold "in Science the perfect man," "where sinning mortal man appears to mortals" (Science and Health, pp. 476, 477). This primal essential of scientific Christianity should not be omitted or overlooked. A Christianity that advocates repentance and reformation first of one's human sense of self disarms much antagonism. It must be a Christianity that is simultaneously loving and tender, but never emotional and sentimental; that is healing the wounds and restoring in a higher sense that which seems to be lost to the victims of war; that is awakening the heart to the possibilities of Christ as present reality. In short, it must be a Christianity in strict conformity with the teachings and works of its great Founder, Christ Jesus.
Christian Science the Comforter
Heralded by the Hebrew prophets, confirmed by Christ Jesus as the "Spirit of truth " (John 16:13), the Comforter has appeared, thanks to the genius — tireless, humble, inspired — of Mary Baker Eddy, as the Science of Christianity. In this Science the foregoing requirements are met. Her writings vouchsafe that this living Christianity cannot be lost or even obscured. They stress "the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life " (Science and Health, p. 497). They do everything to enlighten the reader. They awaken him to the recognition of that which originally, divinely, eternally, really exists. They explain that such must be man's nature as God's likeness.
These writings reveal the Christ-method whereby one can liberate oneself, and that which seems to be one's world, from the misconceptions due to using a faulty means of cognizance, called material sense. Consequently they procure restoration of good and far greater possibilities for security, freedom, health, and happiness than ever could be wistfully dreamed by human imagination.
Christian Scientists have to live their Science. They owe this to their Leader, to the world at large, and, last but not least, to themselves; a grave and joyous responsibility not to be shirked!
"The lens of Christian Science"
Humanity is so unaccustomed to think in terms of reality, and human education is treading paths so devious from it, that Mrs. Eddy had to make use of all kinds of similes for the enlightenment of the student; above all, for showing him the right approach.
In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 299) she admonishes: "Let us look through the lens of Christian Science, not of 'self.'" Here is definite warning not to make the mistake of our fisherman with his inadequate net!
Looking at reality — existence as it is from the standpoint of Truth — through the lens of "self," or material sense, produces that highly unsatisfactory, perplexing, perverted picture of existence with which we are all only too familiar. Looking through "the lens of Christian Science," a new, strikingly different, satisfying, even thrilling, panorama unfolds.
Stepping through the Looking Glass
In order to enjoy this panorama of reality, more and more continuously and understandingly, it is very important in what mental attitude we are looking through "the lens of Christian Science." May I remind you, at this juncture, of Lewis Carroll and Alice, in her adventures described in "Through the Looking Glass." At first this sounds perhaps a little flippant. However, it is done to bring out an essential point of illustration. In order to enjoy all the interesting and breath-taking adventures described in Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice had to step through the looking glass.
Figuratively speaking, we must step through "the lens of Christian Science" for the experience of reality. It is not sufficient that we, in the sense of being human persons, are looking at the divine facts constituting reality. Accordingly, in his rich and graphic language, Isaiah urges (62:10), "Go through, go through the gates (of reality); prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people."
"Standard for the people"
What is the "standard for the people"? Basically, it is the understanding of man in terms of the realism that is Science. In order to come to this right understanding of existence, the average person goes through a series of experiences which, for the sake of clarification, may be divided into three stages.
In an illuminating treatise called "Pond and Purpose" (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 203-207), Mrs. Eddy refers to these three stages as baptisms: 1. "the baptism of repentance;" 2. "the baptism of the Holy Ghost;" 3. "the baptism of Spirit."
The Three Baptisms
In the first stage, one feels dissatisfied with a mere human sense of existence; one begins to discern the darkness of error; one asks God to help and save.
As a result of becoming interested in reality, one looks as a human person through "the lens of Christian Science," discovers that man is made in God's likeness, and hopes to attain this heavenly status some time in the future. This is the second stage. Mrs. Eddy says of it (p. 204), "By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs."
One cannot rest in the second baptism. One is forced to advance. This is the immutable and irresistible law of God. Sometimes an unsolved problem, defying one's best effort, forces one to step into the "baptism of Spirit." It is the "final immersion of human consciousness in the infinite ocean of Love" (p. 205); and the inspired writer continues: "This omnipotent act drops the curtain on material man and mortality. After this, man's identity or consciousness reflects only Spirit, good, whose visible being is invisible to the physical senses." It is the kingdom of heaven.
Nazarene Included Heaven
Christ Jesus insisted that this kingdom "cometh not with observation," in other words, by looking at reality; "for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (See Luke 17:20, 21) Divine inclusion was his attitude. He knew himself the Christ, the Son of God, or, in modern language, "the divine idea of God" (Science and Health, p. 332).
Crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, illustrated in Christ Jesus' life, compare with the three baptisms of "Pond and Purpose. " His was the progressive spiritual understanding that survives crucifixion, that is, the material, personal sense of self; goes through the resurrection, that is, "a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence" (ibid., p. 593); and finally finds freedom, bliss, heaven, in the ascension, by knowing himself as he is known by God.
Christian Science emphatically teaches that while Jesus' works have been hitherto unsurpassed, his Christ-method is available for all, without any restrictions as to its results. This is in accordance with the Master's own prediction of the "greater works" (John 14:12).
In a Christian Science treatment this method is set forth with scientific clarity. Affirmation of truth and denial of error are its component parts. He who gives the treatment must step through "the lens of Science." The suggestion must be rejected that one is a human person giving a treatment.
When declaring the truth, one has to recognize that it is divine Mind declaring itself in all its might, directness, fullness, and understanding. In the Preface of the textbook (p. x) it is pointed out that the human mind is "not a factor in the Principle of Christian Science." The Christ enables one to recognize this.
The supposition that one is a person denying error is equally unsatisfactory. As a mortal person, one inevitably partakes of error, or mortal mind, since the personal, mortal concept of man is erroneous. Obviously that which partakes of error cannot entirely deny it. Referring to error, or sin, in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 Mrs. Eddy states (p. 13), "Christian Science lays the axe at the root of sin, and destroys it on the very basis of nothingness."
If you wish to make a sweeping, impersonal negation of evil, turn to pages 12 and 13 of the same Message, and declare, "Evil is neither quality nor quantity: it is not intelligence, a person or a principle, a man or a woman, a place or a thing, and God never made it."
Some time ago a Christian Science practitioner received a telephone call for help. The picture presenting itself was of a woman who had fallen down five stone steps onto the pavement, striking her right shoulder on a jagged piece of ice. A fracture of the shoulder bone at the juncture of arm and shoulder was the result, causing violent pain and incapacitating the use of the arm.
It was realized that man's true being as divine idea exists regardless of a material concept about man. After a day or two the practitioner became aware, as a result of spiritual intuition, that there was discord in the home caused by someone temporarily living there. A clear realization of divine Love's unbroken, ever-present harmony as man's spiritual status, and of the nothingness of the suggestion that man has an imperfect, antagonistic, material nature, brought bountiful fruitage. Not only was the broken bone healed within five days and the use of the arm restored, but also the suggestion of discord changed to the very opposite.
Half a year later, a physician was called to treat a week-end guest who was not a Christian Scientist. This doctor happened to state in the presence of the Christian Scientist that one of the most painful fractures was a shoulder break, and one which caused the greatest permanent disability. When the guest related the experience of the previous winter, the doctor asked if he might examine the arm of the hostess. His comment was: "You certainly had a marvelous surgeon!" He was told that the great Physician had been the surgeon. The doctor found it difficult to believe that there had been no casts, no bandagings, no immobility of any kind.
At this point you may ask, How are thoughts going to alter my material circumstances? The answer is: Everything is mental, even that which customarily has been called matter. Human life is mental experience. Therefore, the quality of thought has much — yes, everything — to do with your experience.
Mortal mind claiming substance for its phenomenon, matter, cannot thereby make matter substantial. It is a pretense only. "The scientific statement of being" (Science and Health, p. 468) starts out, "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation."
If matter were an entity of itself, if it were real and possessed the properties of feeding, clothing, heating, sheltering, the statement that there is no substance in matter would deserve the derision with which it has often been received. However, if the belief of substance in matter is the very cause of the hunger, depletion, cold, and exposure to inclement weather conditions, so rampant nowadays, then, of course, the understanding of the allness of Spirit and of matter's insubstantiality has saving power. Matter seems to be substantial and real according to the lens of material sense. And so do death, war, sin, disease. The Christian Science textbook recognizes that (p. 460), "Sickness is neither imaginary nor unreal, — that is, to the frightened, false sense of the patient. Sickness is more than fancy; it is solid conviction."
Matter a Misstatement
Let us now look through the lens of Science. Starting from Mind, we find Mind's allness the only reality. Mind being perfect, eternal, infinite, matter, its very opposite, is unreal. Consequently matter must be classified as unreal. "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 174) calls matter "a misstatement of Mind; it is a lie." All there is to matter is a false concept.
The conclusion arrived at is of truly tremendous importance. Matter being "a misstatement of Mind," the nourishment, warmth, protection, satisfaction, and ease of living are not ours through or because of matter. On the contrary, it is always in spite of material sense. Well-being is ours and so is security, because they are the divine, indestructible, inexhaustible nature of spiritual ideas composing man as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475).
Food in Dream without Substance
Considering matter as an entity which you need as a material person, places you at the mercy of mortal mind. You have ascribed substance to matter, and you have denied substance to yourself!
Note that the food which seems to satisfy you in a dream is not real. Neither is the gorgeous palace that the dream has assigned for your princely abode. Note, too, how rapidly the palace dissolves upon awakening; even more quickly than a material house is annihilated by an atomic bomb!
One Universe Only
Reality has not assigned to you both an indestructible, spiritual abode and a destructible, material one. Infinite Mind's allness postulates one realm, one universe only, the infinite idea of infinite Mind.
In the second stage of looking at reality, one may be susceptible to the suggestion that one is temporarily living in a material universe, created by mortal mind and existing in belief apart from the real or spiritual universe.
It is in this second stage of spiritual development that one might wish to use Christian Science for improving the mortal as an entity. In this stage, people are wrongly tempted to demonstrate material, personal things, and to improve their human minds. While Christian Science definitely is helpful to those looking at reality, its full efficacy is seen and felt in the final stage. Stepping through "the lens of Christian Science," we "see the allness of Spirit, therefore the nothingness of matter " (Message for 1901, p. 12).
Discerning scientifically the nothingness of matter is not comparable to the terrible, sickening sense of a country looted and utterly depleted by its ruthless conquerors. On the contrary, it is the experience of freedom from want and fear, the positive consciousness of reality, the universe of Spirit, or "kingdom of heaven."
"The shrine of Love"
In order that our church may fulfill its scientifically Christian function, the membership should be acquainted with the correct use of the lens of Science. The material church building with its human members, their frailty as well as their fortitude, is seen as a human approximation of "the temple of the living God" (II Cor. 6:16), referred to by Paul.
Mrs. Eddy has given added light by defining "temple" (Science and Health, p. 595) as "body; the idea of Life, substance, and intelligence; the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love." Hence, as stated on page 35 of the textbook, "Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love." Consequently, quoting from the same page again, "We can unite with this church only as we are newborn of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick."
In "the baptism of Spirit" we unite with the church. Lack, hunger, cupidity, vanish away. Atonement is understood as at-one-ment with all that is real. In the Eucharist one partakes daily and hourly of the Christ-body. Salvation ensues. Spirituality prevails.
What appears as church organization is blessed by spirituality. The organization prospers without too much encumbering material detail. Simplicity and efficacy attend its proceedings. Love and compassion form its crowning characteristics. Healing, regeneration, restoration, follow in the wake of its sacred ministrations.
Spiritual abundance covers every field where material sense would have sown the seeds of barrenness and want. For the church member, Christ Jesus' life is one majestic exemplification of abundance appearing. With Christ Jesus the abundance of spiritual health healed the bodily penury expressed as sickness. The abundance of spiritual life overcame the withering fear called death. The abundance of spiritual self-completeness stilled the desire for matter-satisfaction, whereby sin was effaced.
Loaves and Fishes
A crowd, hungry for the satisfying truth the Master expounded, followed him three days. Finding themselves in the desert at eventide, they felt the need for what they interpreted as material food. Jesus was told about it. He gave thanks, gratefully recognizing the all-sufficiency of Spirit as reality, and man's satisfied status as Spirit's idea. The few available loaves and fishes became sufficient by being multiplied in what seemed a miraculous way.
Later on, the disciples, eager for explanation, gathered around their Master, and he simply said (John 6:51), "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever."
Unenlightened mentality has been exasperated by this illustration of overcoming the lack attached to a material concept with the truth that is infinite reality. Did the multitude eat "real" bread, or was it all taking place in their easily impressed Oriental imagination? is the question often asked.
Mortals Aghast at Spirituality
Spiritual phenomena cannot be explained by material sense. In fact, their explanation comes in proportion to one's willingness to let the human mind yield to the divine. The Message for 1901, already quoted, declares, on page 18, "Christian Science seems transcendental because the substance of Truth transcends the evidence of the five personal senses, and is discerned only through divine Science."
Multiplication of the loaves and fishes was in accordance with God's law. The manner in which human supplies appear may change, but the spiritual method remains unaltered. The inexhaustible nature of reality, understood and maintained in the face of the suggestion of its opposite, provides lack-effacing evidence.
A recent illustration of the availability of immense power in almost unlimited quantities is furnished by the atomic bomb. Lately its force was used destructively. However, it will soon be applied to constructive purposes. According to the physicists, by breaking up certain elements of the atom this force is set free.
Interesting, is it not, that the unit of matter has to be split and smashed in order to release energy! Does this not show up matter's negative nature? It has no substance and force within itself; it only attempts to counterfeit the substance and omnipotence of Spirit.
Restoration to be Accelerated
Restoration may come more rapidly to a stricken and devastated world, and in many more unexpected ways, than the orthodox political economist imagines. In reasoning from the premise of spiritual reality, you and I can precipitate into present experience that which, according to material sense, seems a far and future — perhaps impossible — Utopia of world peace and plenty.
Nations can attempt to unite and to banish war, because reality is utterly one and harmonious, and war entirely foreign to it. The urge on the part of mankind to banish war can come only because its very opposite is natural, lawful, real.
To live reality is the greatest service we can render our world. Our textbook exhorts (p. 129), "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things." Nothing else can contribute more to simplifying and shortening what appears as the process of attainment, and thus lessen the mistakes made in this sincere human endeavor.
City of God
On the Isle of Patmos, John had a great experience of reality, so majestic, tremendous, dazzling, that it was difficult to describe. He needed the names of precious stones, of things transparent and effulgent, like glass and crystal, in order to give a faint idea of what he felt. Thus he discerned the city of God, the city indestructible, needing neither solar nor lunar light, because it was the light spiritual itself, not comprehended by darkened human consciousness.
In recent years, many noble and proud cities have been demolished. Let the inhabitants of these cities, and all others, be aware of the fact that destruction was invariably attached to the material concept of city. The real city, the city of God, or divine consciousness, stands untouched, even unchallenged. Let our realization proceed from reality, and include this city as divine idea. In divine activity are both protection and restoration. The evidence will be that these cites will reappear more beautiful and stately than ever before!
Material sense may seem to suggest tiredness and discouragement. So much appears as being in need of rebuilding, so much wrong to be righted. A similar sense assailed the disciples after their great Master's crucifixion and resurrection. Left alone, they felt overwhelmed by the burden of Christianizing the world. So they went back to their former manual occupation. This proved to be a retrograde step, and "that night they caught nothing" (John 21:3).
The very barrenness of merely material occupation awoke them from this mesmeric dream. With the dawning of a new day, "Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus" (John 21:4). However, when the demand came to "cast the net on the right side" (verse 6), with promise of bountiful results, they willingly obeyed. The reward was amazing. It was at this moment that John, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" (verse 7), recognized the stranger as the Lord.
Reality's Rich Reward
Willingness to give up outgrown modes of thought and incorrect approaches to Truth; readiness to step through "the lens of Christian Science" into the land of reality, does not only do away with the toil and tiredness of trying to reach out for something good. It also shortens the process whereby the burden grows light and abundance becomes one's natural, effortless experience.
John relates of the disciples (21:9), "As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread." The bread symbolizes "the bread of God . . . which cometh down from heaven" (John 6:33) — the inexhaustible, ever-available substance of reality, constituting the true and only body, or temple of God.
In the early days when Christians were persecuted, the fish became the symbol whereby they identified themselves. The Greek word "ichthus," meaning fish, contains the first letters of words which, when translated into English, stand for "Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour."
The Land of Christian Science
From the sea of material uncertainty with its frightful waves of evil predestination and fatalism, we must come to the land of spiritual understanding where process is eliminated and completeness recognized. Affirmation of the truth, denial of error, acknowledgment of man's present spiritual status, constitute the gracious Christ-method. The net of spiritual cognizance has such fine meshes that no essential detail can slip through unobserved, and thus cause incorrect conclusions.
In one monumental sentence, with the clarity of spiritual analysis and the depth of her warm love, Mrs. Eddy describes in the textbook (pp. 226, 227) the world's present plight and the way of scientific solution: "I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged."
[Delivered May 28, 1951, at the High School Auditorium under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Silver Creek, New York, and published in The Lake Shore News of Silver Creek, June 7, 1951.]