Christian Science: The Science of Spiritual Understanding
Hendrik J. de Lange, C.S.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecture in full follows:
Mary Baker Eddy was in nothing more certain than in the conviction that her discovery, Christian Science, was divine in origin. This sacred certainty gave her the courage and ability to found the Christian Science movement.
This eminent woman was born at a time when the Bible was still the main source for spiritual and moral education in almost every New England family. The study of the Holy Scriptures early made young Mary Baker a searching thinker. In "Retrospection and Introspection," an autobiographical study, she declares (p. 31): "From my very childhood I was impelled, by a hunger and thirst after divine things, — a desire, for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it, — to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe."
This prayerful desire gave to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science the "pearl of great price," spiritual understanding, with which to discern the real meaning of existence. Her mother became an edifying factor in the Bible study. So understanding was this wise and loving parent that, when the little daughter heard strange voices calling her, the mother bade the child reply in the words of Samuel: "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." When the same spiritual intuition came again by the way of an impersonal voice, she obediently and devoutly answered in Biblical wording. After this response the call came nevermore in that specific manner, but the whole life of Mary Baker Eddy has been the exemplification of spiritual intuition ripening into spiritual understanding.
Her intuitive perception became so sure and definite that it gave birth to a new and higher aspect of Christianity: its Divine Science. Christian Science, as Mrs. Eddy called it in its application to humanity, is clearly defined in her chief work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," based upon the spiritual interpretation of the Bible. "The elucidation of Christian Science," this textbook declares (p. 349), "lies in its spiritual sense, and this sense must be gained by its disciples, in order to grasp the moaning of this Science."
The Christian Science movement is intended to perpetuate the Science of Christianity upon the spiritual rock of the impersonal Christ-understanding; not upon the shifting sands of personal opinion and material sense. This movement is indeed the perennial monument to Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual understanding. The divine ideas revealed in her books constitute her true biography.
The Fundamental Facts of Being.
What is this spiritual understanding revealing to us? It is revealing the fundamental facts of being. It is widening our outlook, and awakening us to true self-knowledge. However much our views may differ, we cannot help agreeing upon at least one of these fundamental facts, that we are conscious. We are conscious of a universe which is enduring. Recent astronomical discoveries point to the understanding of this fact together with giving a wider concept of the immensity of the universe.
We can think, and since thinking is an infinite capacity, we can think of the universe, and thereby encompass it in our thinking. We not only behold material objects, such as a table, a city, a star, but we are also conscious of spiritual ideas such as love, goodness, wisdom, infinity, eternality. That is to say, we can think intelligently, spiritually; we are intelligent, spiritual, in the measure and to the extent we are doing this.
Since we exist, there must be a basis or source of being. Christian Science affirms that one conscious, all-intelligent, spiritual, infinite entity is the sole cause of all actual existence, and alone entitled to be designated as God. In theology, God has been rightly called all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, eternal. Christian Science amplifies and clarifies these statements by declaring that God's infinite nature necessarily prohibits the inclusion of anything finite, material, evil, or in any other way contrary to infinity and eternality. Thus, Christian Science sets forth the infinitude of good, Spirit, Mind, as the All-power, the All-presence, and the All-knowledge.
Hereby is positively and emphatically excluded the supposition that God, in any way or manner, knows or admits or co-operates with finity, matter, evil. Spiritual understanding, as revealed by Christian Science, confirms the complete integrity of God as absolute, infinite, ever-present, all-powerful good without the slightest element of evil or imperfection. A very important point, because in this respect Christian Science is fundamentally different from all other religious teaching; and it is basing its healing and redeeming mission upon this very statement of divine fact. God has not instituted or procured any law, or decree, or punishment causing man to die, be sick, suffering, or sinful. God has not produced any power as an intermediary or agent whereby legitimately can be brought to pass the sickness, depravity, or death of man.
The almightiness of God, good, as understood in Christian Science, is not a theoretical statement of little or no practical value. It actually means that God as divine Mind or Spirit is supreme and the one exclusive potentiality or power of the universe, ever present and thereby ever available to man. Divine power becomes available through law, divine law which is the law of life, love, health, holiness, perfection, completeness, and continued existence to man. This spiritual law can be perceived, understood, and used to dismiss anything which is not in accordance with divine perfection. This ever operative law is utilized through our correct knowledge of God as the divine Principle of His creation; just as in mathematics the correct knowledge and application of mathematical law solves the problem.
In mathematics we find that the mathematical law does not in the least know about the problems and mistaken notions concerning mathematics. This very fact insures the flawless operation of that law as a result of our correctly understanding It. Exactly in the same way do we recognize that our correct spiritual understanding of God as divine Principle, without a single element or admittance of imperfection, reveals the flawless, continuous, boundless operation of divine law with its beneficent influence in human affairs.
The Man of God.
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" mused David, centuries ago. We also may ask, What place has man, what place have we in the realm of God, the infinite, ever-present, and perfect Principle of true existence?
Yes, let us take an inventory of ourselves. For the average person, the most obvious part of himself is his human body. Of what does it consist? Of matter, the ready answer may be. Very well; let us grant that for a moment. But what is matter? The most recent theories of physics — and these theories are changing all the time — suppose matter to be built up of negative and positive electrical charges, called electrons and protons. Every atom, for some time considered the smallest unit of matter, is supposed to contain between two and a few hundred of these electrical charges. In the Nineteenth Century, atoms were deemed to be solid matter-specks.
More recently, this theory has been abandoned for the now generally accepted one forwarded by Rutherford that the atom contains, comparatively speaking, vast voids, so vast that they may be likened — again relatively, of course — to the voids of space in the stellar universe. Although we see great multitudes of stars glistening in the sky, they are apparently very sparsely distributed in space. The density of distribution of stars in space has been compared by Eddington to that of twenty tennis balls roaming the whole interior of the earth. "The atom," this modern expert in physics postulates, "is as porous as the solar system. If we eliminated all the unfilled space in a man's, body and collected his protons and electrons into one mass, the man would be reduced to a speck just visible with a magnifying glass." In other words, the matter of a human body is supposed to be one million billionth part (1/1,000,000,000,000,000) of the bulk of that body! You see, in terms of physics, there is not much matter left of you and me! Even this infinitesimally small speck may be entirely eclipsed by the next theory.
Happily, there is something more to us than what is called material bulk. You cannot measure this something with a yardstick, nor can you weigh it on a pair of scales. One is inclined to think that, for this very reason. it is so much the more important, What is it? It is thought, consciousness. Although consciousness is not measurable, it is all the same very definite and individual. It constitutes our individuality. Your individuality is different from mine and everybody else's. We may behold the same things, but we take cognizance of them in our individual way. This individual way is of far greater significance than the fact of merely observing an object. You and I may look at the same picture. It may mean a great amount of artistic enjoyment to you, and nothing to me. An art connoisseur might be called in to verify the authenticity of that picture. His individual way of looking at it may result in his receiving a check for a thousand dollars.
Aside from its individuality, consciousness is for another reason of more importance than matter. Consciousness is far less limited. You can think almost at the same time of Boston, London, and Capetown, although, according to the space restrictions to which the human body is subordinated, it is impossible for this body to be in two of these cities at the same time. Moreover, you can think almost simultaneously of David, Shakespeare, and George Washington, although according to the time limitations to which the human body is subjected, it is 'impossible for this body to be contemporaneous with those historic persons.
Except for the most elementary forms of work, the physicality of an individual is of little value. There is scarcely a stage of existence wherein the condition of consciousness, the state of knowledge and erudition, the moral and spiritual capacities, do not count first.
How do we take cognizance of a material body? Through material sense or material mentality. Indeed, if we were not equipped with some sort of mentality, we should not be able to take cognizance of anything. Descartes, a well-known seventeenth century philosopher, wrote, "I think, therefore I exist." Whatever there is of matter, of the material body, is included in mentality as far as one apprehends it. However, through spiritual enlightenment we are learning that we are living in a wholly mental realm, not a realm consisting partly of material, and partly of mental things. That is to say, the experiences which constitute our existence are solely mental, because the mental way is the only way of apprehending anything at all.
Let us connect this conclusion to the one we arrived at some moments ago. As a result of using our spiritual understanding, we became conscious of the fact that God is not only All-in-all, but also that His allness does not contain an element of imperfection, evil, matter, or finity. Consequently, we cannot fail to recognize that what we have been accustomed to call matter is but a finite, heavy, imperfect, unintelligent sense, or misconception of things spiritual; divine ideas, as they are called in Christian Science.
Material education has stressed the all-importance of material objects so called, because it is unable to value things spiritual. Spiritual understanding, or the testimony of Spirit, God, is changing all this by the way of true, spiritual education. It reveals things spiritual not as hazy, vague, and secondary, but as tangible, definite, and primal, as being the original essence and true substance of man's being. If there is anything real to man, if there is any being to man, it must be this divine Being, divine Mind, because it is infinite, therefore the one and only Mind. False education, for centuries, has endeavored to hide these eternal verities constituting man's real existence. Spiritual education is restoring them to their rightful place and classification.
You see, in your real being, you are a reflection of Spirit, Love, and have eternal or enduring existence. These concepts, or divine ideas, will exist forever by the very nature of their infinite Being. They will survive whatever finite, material perversions or beliefs at the present time may claim to be a part of your consciousness. Allow these divine ideas to possess you, rather than to be possessed by finite, material beliefs! Divine ideas constitute, anyhow, your real and only individuality, Here they are, inexhaustible and ever available, to free you from conflicting and afflicting material misconceptions. Moreover, you are right here in your real being because all real being is ever present and infinite, therefore necessarily always where you are.
The oneness and allness of divine Being mean that man is God's inseparable expression. By a more correct and profound spiritual understanding of God you enlarge and substantiate your own individuality. It is eternal, spiritual, loving, infinite. Man is the conscious expression of divine Principle in the fullness of eternal, spiritual, loving, and infinite ideas. These ideas are your divine inheritance as man, God's image: They mean life, freedom, bounty, beauty, satisfaction, dominion, infinite blessings for you instead of slavery, lack, fear, disease, death. You do not deprive anybody else by enjoying the bliss of spirituality. On the contrary, by demonstrating your God-bestowed fullness you are making it easier, more natural, for others to recognize spiritual reality. Thus, the darkness of ignorance and fear is fleeing before the radiant light of spiritual understanding, and thereby benefiting all.
In this way you become conscious of your real, ceaseless, birthless, deathless existence. You are learning the Science of Life. To that extent you are really alive. To be really alive is to be spiritually minded. Your spiritual existence, then, is a scientific fact. A scientific fact cannot be changed, either in its source or substance, by any testimony that appears to be contrary to it. We have simply to live the meaning of that fundamental statement in the Bible, "Now are we the sons of God." The Christian Science text book declares (p. 428): "The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal." To stand by these divine expressions, to live in obedience to their spiritual import, we must know ourselves as we are known by the divine Mind, God. .
David surely understood this in a great measure. The same psalm containing the question, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" concludes with these glorious, jubilant revelations of the poet's spiritual understanding: "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. . . . O Lord our Lord. how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
The Saving Spiritual Understanding.
The understanding of God's excellency and perfection as an ever-present and demonstrable fact and the consequent recognition and recuperation of man's original perfect state of sonship constitute salvation. Ignorance of the nature of God and man has led humanity to assume that salvation must be a future, transcendental experience supposed to take place in a locality called heaven, and accorded to those few selected ones who believe in certain religious doctrines. Christian Science makes it clear that salvation is free to, all, not one excepted. In order to realize this, we must be willing to learn the true nature of God and live up to our highest spiritual understanding, Sin, disease, and hell are but ignorance of God's true nature.
Such ignorance is not at all a part of the spiritually real. If conditions constituting humanity's woes and fears were a part of divine knowledge, therefore a part of the divine Mind, God, it would be impossible to discard them. The attempt to do so would be irreverent toward God, irreligious, even sacrilegious. It would be questioning divine wisdom and Love. However, from the moment one begins to understand that sin, disease, matter, imperfection, limitation, death never are nor were a part of the divine order, one discerns the possibility of a scientific cessation of these ungodlike conditions. This discernment reveals spiritual sense dawning upon the human thought. A very important experience, because through it salvation. is starting its regenerating activity in that individual's thinking, and thereby in his whole life.
In this line of thought, Christian Science decidedly declares that sin, disease, death, lack, discord, matter are unreal. This does not mean that they are unreal according to the testimony of material sense. They appear to be a constituent part of that which comprises material existence. However, from the standpoint of divine Mind — scientifically speaking, the only standpoint — they are unreal, being no part of the nature and knowledge of God. It is impossible to discard something real, that is God-ordained or God-bestowed; but it is possible and practical gradually to become immune to the unreal, in the proportion that one perceives and understands reality. Hence the great need to realize divine perfection as the only reality, and to classify material sense and its accompanying evils as unreality or misapprehension of the real.
The spiritual understanding of God as the perfect All, and of evil as the unreal, temporal, and finite, places salvation at the point of being a present possibility, and not a future, far-off event. Individual salvation is not a question of time and locality, but a state of Godlike consciousness which everyone can demonstrate, because perfection constitutes his original, real self.
"Spiritual understanding" is a term used only by Paul in the English translation of the Bible. It was spiritual understanding which revealed to this great Christian lecturer that "to be spiritually minded is [not shall be] life and peace" and "to be carnally minded is [not shall be] death," "because," he added, "the carnal mind is enmity against God." This being so, to become spiritually minded is the resurrection from the dead. The Christian Science textbook puts it in this way (p. 593): "RESURRECTION — Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding."
In seeing this, there is great practical value, because it tends to take away the fear of death or a desire to die. Fear of death is one of the greatest impediments to spiritual progress. To hold, more or less unconsciously, that, whatever we may do, death will some time overtake us, is crippling our possibilities and limiting our achievements. Although it may sound presumptuous to material sense that death may be overcome, such is, nevertheless, the emphatic statement of Christ Jesus, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
Have we any definite proof that anybody in his real being ever actually died, that is ceased to exist? No! All that we can say is that, according to the limited testimony of the material senses, the physical aspect of some beloved one has disappeared from the field of that material observation. This does not mean annihilation. In music we can hear only a very limited range of sounds; higher or lower than that range we do not catch. Some persons seem unable to hear very high sounds. For instance, it is said that the chirping of a cricket cannot be heard by certain people. This does not imply that such sounds do not exist. These illustrations may be helpful in showing the illusory nature of death.
The Bible declares that carnal-mindedness or the testimony of the material senses is death. In the enlightenment of Christian Science we begin to understand that death is a wrong or material concept of Life divine or God. Death, therefore, is but a condition of finite, material mentality. Life is a state of spiritual understanding. Then, in order to experience the ever-presence of eternal Life, we have not to die but to live a more abundant spiritual life. Giving up the fear of death, by the right understanding of Life, as the inalienable characteristic of man, will do far more for our resurrection than anything else.
In the words of the Discoverer of Christian Science (Unity of Good, p. 41): "The sweet and sacred sense of the permanence of man's unity with his Maker can illumine our present being with a continual presence and power of good, opening wide the portal from death into Life; and when this Life shall appear 'we shall be like Him,' and we shall go to the Father, not through death, but through Life; not through error, but through Truth."
The ApostIe John proved this present experience of exalted bliss to be true, while sojourning on the Isle of Patmos, when he discerned in spiritual vision "a new heaven and a new earth," that is, heaven and earth as divine ideas. It was the unfolding of spiritual understanding as imparted by Jesus to the beloved disciple.
The Master's Spiritual Understanding
Christ Jesus' career is also of vital importance for us, both for his teachings and his works, His teachings are valuable beyond words. He showed their practicality by the way he lived, and wrought a final freedom from all material sense in the ascension. Jesus was the highest human exemplar of the Christ; that is, of the spiritual understanding of God and its redeeming power in the flesh. By making this statement, Christian Science definitely proclaims that the Nazarene's life and works do not contain a single element of special dispensation or exceptional divine intervention. The Master's mighty works show forth how the Christ reveals the operation of God's law in humanity's behalf. To material sense, such activity and its results seem miraculous and abnormal. To spiritual understanding, they are entirely natural and in agreement with all that is divinely lawful and normal.
By this interpretation, Christian Science does not take away the divinity of Christ Jesus, as has been averred in some criticisms. On the contrary, Christian Science enhances it. We do not honor God by considering Him — the All-in-all — as unnatural and beyond His creation. We do not dishonor God by denying that imperfect, sinful sense and its material world are a part of His creation or knowledge. Neither is Christ Jesus dishonored by recognizing that the spiritual understanding which made Jesus the Christ is universally available for us in the present day, and in all time to come.
Indeed, the deep significance of Jesus' work lies in the fact that he unequivocally understood that the healing and redeeming power as manifested by him was not his personal and exceptional privilege. The Master said, 'He that believeth on me [that is, he that understandeth my Christ-identity]; the works that, I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." If these words had been meant only for his immediate disciples, the Master would have used "ye," not ''he."
Were this not so, Jesus could never have prophesied the advent of the impersonal Saviour, when he announced the Comforter, or Spirit of truth. Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual. perception discerned this Comforter as the ever-available and universal Science of Christianity.
The Impersonal Preachers.
The written word of the Science of Christianity has been wisely preserved. The Discoverer of Christian Science has given its full statement to the world in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This textbook, published in 1875 for the first time, has been carefully revised by its author. It has been published and will be published in Boston, Massachusetts without any alterations.
The Christian Science textbook is based upon the divinely inspired Word of the Bible. Studying Science and Health together with the Bible reveals to us the spiritual understanding whereby to recognize in the Scriptures the Word of God. It is an individual and highly illuminating study. A wonderfully new light upon the Book of books appears when one sees its spiritual meaning, and thereby its practical import. In Science and Health we read (p. 275): "Truth, spiritually discerned, is scientifically understood. It casts out error and heals the sick." When human consciousness awakens to the fact that the exalted experiences of the prophets may be ours, when it becomes evident that the mighty works of the Master may be emulated by us, — in the measure that our spiritual understanding increases, — the Scriptural narratives grow more vital to us. Discerning through these records the operation of divine Principle in human affairs, we disassociate them from time and place, and we see their universal significance.
Mary Baker Eddy ordained the Bible and the Christian Science textbook to be the only preachers in the Sunday and Wednesday services of the Christian Science denomination. Hereby is shown forth the impersonal character of the services in this church. Also, it becomes possible for Christian Scientists all over the world to hear the same Lesson-Sermon from these two books every Sunday. A beautiful illustration of the oneness and infinite nature of God's Word!
The Healing Effect of Spiritual Understanding.
The value of the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's works lies in the unfoldment of the divine ideas these books present, that is, the statements revealing the true essence of God and man. In the beginning of our study, declarations such as "God is divine Principle," and "man in God's image is perfect," may sound foreign, vague, and impractical. However, when as a result of continued study and application our spiritual understanding increases, we see that the truth contained in these and similar statements is divinely derived, and is thus conveying something of the true nature of God. As spiritual expressions of God who is Truth, Life, Love, these ideas are endowed with all the power and presence of God as Truth, Life, Love. Whenever these ideas are being voiced, understood, and realized, as is the case here to-night, something is happening to everybody present. It is inevitable, because the presence and activity of divine ideas are doing something very definite in lessening false beliefs about God and yourself. Such beliefs constituting your troubles, the presence and activity of these divine ideas operate as God's law in your behalf.
False beliefs cannot continue to maintain themselves as your thinking when the spurious basis whereupon they imposed themselves, even your mistaken trust in them, is being superseded by spiritual understanding. Thus fear, anxiety, hatred, lusts, confusions, limitations, are being supplanted by a greater measure of confidence, assurance, love, spiritual satisfaction, clarity, freedom. Spiritual understanding is showing forth the divine reality consisting of indestructible, spiritual, substantial, perfect, infinite, eternal, divine ideas which constitute your real being.
Spiritual understanding, being intrinsically one with divine Principle, which expresses itself in divine ideas, is not only the means of revealing these ideas to you, but also it constitutes your actual individuality as God's expression. This divine knowledge enabled Christ Jesus to say, "I and my Father are one." When we are conscious of our true identity, we are entitled to make this same glorious statement with the infinite possibilities it entails.
The understanding, "I and my Father are one," is the basis for every Christian Science treatment. There is nothing mysterious about the divine method of healing, except to the materially minded. Many centuries ago Paul saw that divine ideas were foolishness to him who is not ready to receive "the things of the Spirit of God: . . . because they are spiritually discerned." A Christian Science treatment is the prayer of spiritual understanding, not of human petition. It affirms the divine perfection already existent at the very place (in thought) where the carnal or mortal mind attempts to picture imperfection. It denies any suggestion which tends to conceive of God as knowing and admitting sin, sickness, and death, and of man as material, fallen, or diseased.
In times when things are going on smoothly, there is a tendency to slacken in one's mental work, particularly in denying and nullifying the latent errors of mortal mind. Whether appearances are humanly right or wrong, you must never forget that what asserts itself as the human body, with its various limitations, constitutes in itself a claim of mortal mind needing specific denial, by affirming the truth of man's spiritual nature.
Christian Scientists are sometimes criticized for using the expression "animal magnetism," a specific term for the claims of mortal mind. Unjustly so, for this term was not coined by Christian Science, but about one hundred years before its discovery. Moreover, the successful practice of Christian Science has proved it necessary to understand the nothingness of animal magnetism. God, infinite Spirit, being the only real presence and power, everywhere and always, one must deny and thereby nullify the claims of thought transference, human will-power, suggestion, hypnotism. One must see as nothingness the beliefs that heredity, climate, and stars are influencing human destiny. The claims of mortal mind, in all of its machinations, known and unknown, have to be met with the assurance of its utter nothingness. By handling these phases of evil and forestalling them, one is promoting the world's welfare, and thereby one's own. Prevention is always better than a cure.
It becomes clear that Christian Science treatment is never a system of thought transference or suggestion. The Christian Science practitioner does not send good thoughts to be received by a patient in need of such thoughts. A Scientist is never a mental broadcasting station, nor can he ever be properly compared to it. Divine ideas, being the expression or elucidation of God, are as infinite as divine Mind itself. Infinity precludes transmission; it means ever-presence.
A real Christian Science treatment has nothing personal or human about it. It is spiritual understanding, the Christ, Truth, announcing itself, maintaining itself, and operating as the law of God in the effacement of finite beliefs hiding the splendor of spiritual perfection. The Christian Science, treatment is Immanuel, "God with us;"' the Word of God rather than a statement about God by a human person. The Christian Scientist has to rise to the highest summit of reverence for the treatment. This he can do only by letting it be the very best treatment of which he is capable.
The Universal Nature of Spiritual Understanding.
In your endeavors to better world-conditions, the most helpful treatment is the kind which is all-embracing in its scope, thereby approaching the infinity of divine Mind. There is a great need to do this, since the expansion of transportation and the internationalization of commerce and culture make the world's welfare the individual's concern. Christian Science is promoting this recognition by teaching the universality of God as the infinite, divine Principle of all. God is not a super-lord of a specific nation or group of nations. All individuals, in their real being, are expressing the infinite nature of the same divine Principle, God.
Thus we are forced to become citizens of the world, in the real meaning of that expression; that is, to think in terms of infinite Spirit, beyond civic, national, and racial limitations and prejudices. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" does not mean that we shall limit our sense of neighbor or outline him in terms of birthplace, nation, or race. The very nature of Love is infinite. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" extends love to every creature, embracing all mankind, all nations and races having a place in the sacred sanctuary of our conscious interest and compassion.
For this reason we cannot afford to continue in the old way of thinking about nations and races as being antagonistic to each other and harassed by destructive competitions, Such attitude has led to wars and inevitably will lead to wars more fatal and cruel than ever before. Spiritual understanding reveals that all men unite in having one God, one Life, one Spirit, one substance. God, Mind, Life, Spirit, substance, being infinite, there is sufficient good for everyone individually, as well as collectively for nations and races. In the realm of the spiritually real there are no conflicting interests, no fear, lack, hate, or jealousy; because boundless, ever-present, everlasting Love is the only center and circumference of being.
In reality, nations do not stand for unrest, division, enmity; neither do races. They stand for the diversified expressions of the one divine Mind. Humanly speaking some nations are still in the inception of their development, and need the guidance of the more advanced ones. Those may be called more advanced which, generally considered, have a better understanding of God, and a higher sense of love and justice.
The saying that there is not room enough for all nations to have a place in the sun loses its validity in the liberating light of spiritual understanding revealing the infinity and superabundance of Being. Every individual, nation, and race may have everything essential for the promotion of its progress and well-being by attaining a more spiritual perception of the essentials of existence. Such attainment is not secured by the mere acquisition of material possessions, but by the understanding of spiritual ideas, which, in turn, provide ample sustenance and plentiful supply.
Humanity has been tempted to think that the acquirement of matter and material power, is one of the main objects, if not the chief aim of a nation or of an individual. Here is an imperative task to be fulfilled by all who posses some measure of spiritual understanding. It is to realize daily spiritual satisfaction; the allness and perfection of God and His creation; the true brotherhood of men as ideas of one common Father-Mother Mind. It is to recognize the new heaven and the new earth as a present possibility. It is the denial and annihilation of the false claims and suggestions of "the accuser," or carnal-mindedness.
This spiritual activity on our part is permeating all strata of human thought; it is being felt more and more at the meetings of statesmen, in the parliaments of the peoples, in the offices of industrial leaders, in the classrooms of educational institutions. Thus, our spiritual understanding will promote a higher, more stable sense of prosperity, based upon spiritual values. It will form a better basis for the organization of peace, and thereby a guaranty against wars. It will mean individual and collective health and happiness, since "to be spiritually minded is Life and peace."
[Delivered at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Brooklyn, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Eagle, Dec. 21, 1933.]