Christian Science: The Science of Right Living

 

Arthur P. DeCamp, C.S.B., of St. Louis, Missouri

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Mr. Arthur P. DeCamp, C.S.B., of St. Louis, Mo., a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Science of Right Living," last evening, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in the church edifice, Falmouth, Norway and St. Paul Streets.

 

The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Elisabeth F. Norwood, C.S.B., Second Reader in The Mother Church, who said:

Friends:

You have come here to listen to a lecture on Christian Science, which points men to the Scriptures for inspiration and healing.

Our great Master, Christ Jesus, continually turned his disciples to the inspired Word. The Gospel of Life tells us that the Master, even in his final instructions to his disciples before his ascension, opened "their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures."

Christian Science illumines the Scriptures, and teaches men how to follow the admonitions therein and this obedience to the Scriptures enables them to solve scientifically whatever problems may confront them. Christian Science teaches men now to obey the law of Love, to which Paul referred when he said, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."

The lecturer this evening will speak to you on "Christian Science: The Science of Right Living." I have the pleasure of introducing to you a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, Mr. Arthur P. DeCamp, of St. Louis, Mo.

 

The Lecture

The Lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he," we read in the book of Proverbs. In other words, we live in our thoughts; one's living is in accordance with his thinking. For right living there must be right thinking. There is a word which goes deeper than thinking; it is knowing. In any human activity thinking must be united to knowledge in order to be successful thinking. For instance, there was a man who thought he could make an apple pie. He had casually observed the process and thought he could easily produce an acceptable pie. The result proved that knowledge did not fully govern his thinking. His pie had quite a grand appearance, but the crust was of the nature of adamant. Probably the great majority of mankind, in a general way, and with differing standards, desire to live rightly. Some are fairly well satisfied with living as they find it, and there are those who are quite well satisfied with themselves. But there are great numbers who are not satisfied with living as they find it, and not at all satisfied with themselves. Fear, doubt, discouragement, self-condemnation, and even despair underlie their thinking, and what they call life often seems a dreary affair. Is life worth living? is the thought in many hearts. Christian Science enables the weary and heavy-laden to find the only real satisfaction, that to which the Psalmist alluded, when he wrote, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Many have wondered what Jesus meant when he said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Christian Science has come to the world to enable humanity to lay hold of the peace, the joy, the health, the holiness, the wholeness, of that abounding and abiding life. For such right living such great living knowledge is needed. This knowledge is spiritual knowledge, true knowledge of man's real being, of his spiritual nature and origin. The Holy Scriptures, when rightly understood, reveal this knowledge, the true understanding of God and man. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Is mankind generally searching for this knowledge, this light, as one would seek for hid treasure? Considering the amazing success of Jesus' unparalleled career, and the proven value of his teachings, might not anyone reasonably expect to find that after twenty centuries of opportunity, only his standard of right living was being held aloft throughout Christendom, which takes its name from Christ Jesus, of Nazareth? Might not one naturally assume that the words and confirming works of the master Christian were being assiduously studied by all mankind, his precepts obeyed, and his example meticulously followed? Sad to say, such an attitude toward the religion of the Bible and the Christianity of Christ Jesus is not universal. Millions have found and are finding comfort and inspiration in the Christian religion, but to a considerable degree the expectancy of its blessings has been deferred to a period of perfect bliss to be experienced after what is called death. A veil of materiality hides the practical spiritual import of the Scriptures to many of it readers. That inexhaustible depository of the spiritual wisdom needed for right living, the Bible, has been largely neglected because its readers have not known that it is written from a spiritual basis and can be understood only from that basis. In consequence, mere acquiescence in growing indifference to, or entire repudiation of Biblical teachings have characterized the attitude of many people.

 

The Coming of Christian Science

A close inspection of religious conditions would, however, disclose the fact that in the last half century or a little longer, a great revival, renewal, renaissance of the religion of Christ Jesus has been spreading over the earth. Its beginning was so modest it was scarcely noticed, and when noticed was mostly ridiculed, but, nevertheless, it has steadily grown. It has come to humanity in the name of Christian Science. It has come through the work of a woman. The system of Christian teaching and practice known as Christian Science was so named by its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, who is also the Founder of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy was a New England woman of excellent family and cultured antecedents. She was of a deeply religious nature, an earnest student of the Scriptures from early childhood. . . .When in the year 1866 Mrs. Eddy's physical condition, resulting, from an accident, was pronounced by an attending physician to be most serious, she turned to her Bible, as was her habit, and reached out to God. It was then that she caught her first clear glimpse of reality, of man's spiritual being. That glimpse immediately produced a marked change in her physical condition. She was able to arise and dress herself, and Mrs. Eddy states that thereafter she was in better health than she had known before. That first glimpse of spiritual reality grew in her thought until she gained a demonstrable knowledge of the great truth of spiritual being. She found herself able to heal others by what she then was able to see was the method of healing used by Jesus, and taught in the Scriptures and then, as the greatest of boons, she found she could impart the understanding of spiritual healing to others, by which they also could heal the sick. After nearly a decade devoted to searching the Scriptures and in testing her system through healing and teaching, Mrs. Eddy published in 1875 the Christian Science textbook, entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The healing of sickness, the reformation of sinners, the knowledge of and confidence in God, and the true knowledge of Christ Jesus which the study of this wonderful textbook has brought to humanity throughout the world, proves it to be preeminent above any other book or writing published in modern times. It has unlocked the Scriptures and enables its devoted students to read the Bible in the spiritual language in which it is written.

 

Discovery of the Christ

When in Mrs. Eddy's experience she knew with scientific certainty that Spirit only is real or true, and that therefore its so-called opposite, named matter, is unreal or untrue, being but a false concept of false material sense, then it was that the eternal Christ was born anew in human consciousness. Humanity's deliverer, the spiritual idea of being, had come again to earth. Centuries of speculative theology, philosophy, psychology, based upon the belief in the coexistence of Spirit and matter, of good and evil, had failed to find the Christ. "Christ," Mrs. Eddy explains on page 583 of Science and Health, is "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." It was Jesus' transcendent knowledge of the spiritual idea of being and his proof that it is the true and practical idea of being which earned for him the title of the Christ. All right thinking, all true knowledge, all scientific reasoning, all real service to our race, humanity must learn, is based on the Christ-idea, the spiritual idea of life. It bases Christian Science, the Science of right living. It is the way of salvation from all evil, from sin, disease, and death. Mankind greatly needs this present-day salvation. By reason of its wrong thinking, it is in sore straits.

 

The Road Between Jerusalem and Jericho

In one of his wonderful word-pictures, called parables, found in the tenth chapter of Luke's Gospel, Jesus graphically depicted this state of human need. He said, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." The road between Jerusalem and Jericho needs not to be located geographically. It may be considered mentally, as standing for what is called the human consciousness. It is the road where humanity seems to travel in its wholly erroneous thinking or false believing as well as in its brighter and clearer mental processes. Happily this way of the human consciousness leads not only from Jerusalem down to Jericho; it also leads from Jericho up to Jerusalem. Throughout the Scriptures Jerusalem stands for spiritual consciousness. This is the eternal Christ-consciousness, the demonstrable knowledge of Truth. Christian Science teaches us of man's true mental or spiritual state whereby he reflects the infinite divine Mind, the one God. This is, in Bible language, "the secret place of the most High," the "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," the "Jerusalem which is above [and] is free, which is the mother of us all." Mrs. Eddy, on page 575 of Science and Health, refers to the sacred city, New Jerusalem, as representing "the light and glory of divine Science." Well for him who is learning to take the road from Jericho upwards, and has the light of the Holy City shining in his countenance. It means climbing. Moses had to climb to reach Mount Horeb where God was revealed to him. The great Leader of Christian Science tells us in the lines of one of her much loved hymns (Poems, p. 14) of "the hillside steep" and of "the rugged way." Christian Science gives definite instructions in right thinking, spiritual thinking, to those who would pursue the upward mental path. There is much of mental meandering in what passes for human thinking, much of dreaming by the roadside. One who undertook a journey across the country would make no progress in such a state of uncertainty. He must be fully aware of his starting-point, know the waymarks, and have his objective continually in view. This is true of one who journeys mentally from true premise to right conclusion. Christian Science teaches us how to start aright in our thinking and to keep continually in the way of right thinking. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 275 of Science and Health, "The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle." There is the right way to think concerning any human situation. Christian Science teaches us how to discern true thoughts, real spiritual thoughts, and hold to them, and how quickly to repudiate evil suggestions.

 

The Road Down to Jericho

The inclination of mortals, until better instructed, is down towards Jericho. They rarely think of anything which does not begin with material sense and end there. The name Jericho means "a pleasant place." Sooner or later in human experience the so-called pleasures of material sense eventuate in its so-called pains. Both the pleasures and the pains are but dreams of life in matter, whereas real living is wide-awake spiritual thinking and knowing. The Jericho of old was located in the Jordan valley, not far from the Dead Sea. Dead Sea fruits are said to be of alluring beauty, but it is also said of them that when they are grasped, they fall into dust and ashes. Mortals have found the same result when following the allurements of sensuous pleasure. Ashes! How often in so-called human experience has life seemed to be nothing but an ash heap! Sensuous pleasures burned out nothing left but ugliness, disillusionment, remorse! Even human living which follows accepted lines of morality and rectitude, but which is based in material sense, comes to the place of hopelessness, disappointment, despair ashes. To human sense, one may be living in luxury, with a material environment which would seem to provide everything that heart can wish, and yet, mentally, may be lying half dead on the Jericho road, stripped of his raiment, his garment of praise, wounded by sin, by selfishness, by pride, by fear, by resentment, by thwarted ambition.

 

The Man on the Jericho Road

Who is the man "stripped," "wounded," left "half dead" on the road from Jerusalem down to Jericho? Can we identify him? Does he have a familiar look? Have we not all traveled the road of material sense and suffered its defeats, its disappointments, its illusions? When our faces are turned toward Jericho instead of toward Jerusalem we are robbed of our ability to think rightly, because it is impossible to think rightly or to reason rightly from a material standpoint. The road down to Jericho is a perilous way. It is infested with thieves; not persons, but erroneous thoughts. What are the thieves on the Jericho road? They are fear, ignorance, and sin. In one sense, these three are but one ignorance. Someone may say, "I cannot agree that sin is ignorance; I have done wrong when I knew perfectly well I was doing wrong." Surely sin is ignorance of God. If one really knew the infinite God, and knew himself to be what he really is the perfect child of God he not only would not but could not commit sin. Fear and hatred and envy and all wrong thinking concerning one's self and others, with the sicknesses and sorrows these carry in their train, all spring from ignorance of God and man. Someone may say, "I do not know whether there is any God." Responding to that sense of doubt, may not one ask, "Since some states of consciousness are better than others a fact which everyone will admit does it not follow that there must be the perfect consciousness, the divine Mind, which we name God?" Spirit is the perfect consciousness. Let it be clearly understood that Christian Science does not deify what is called the human mind.

 

The Right Concept of God Must Be Gained

It is well that so many people have doubted the existence of that which the utterly false sense of God has presented to them a vague far-off God, a limited God, a manlike God, supposed to love and to hate and to be equally conscious of good and of evil. Such doubt is progressive. The infinite One could not possibly be a God like that, and to doubt the existence of such a God has prepared humanity to learn the truth concerning the only true God.

 

Synonymous Terms for God

In the Scriptures God is spoken of as Spirit, Life, Truth, Love. As names for the one God Christian Science spells these words with capital letters, and in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy adds the names Mind, Soul, Principle, and states that these seven terms are synonymous. She also further indicates the nature of the one God by using the adjectives incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite. By simple reasoning it is readily seen that each of these seven great names for the one God must be synonymous with all the others to bring out its full meaning. Truth must be true consciousness. Mind must be consciousness which is Truth, so that divine Mind and divine Truth are plainly one. Consciousness is the primary meaning of life; therefore divine Mind, or divine Truth, must be divine Life. The infinite Mind, Truth, or Life could not be less than divine Love or it would cease to be infinite. Human thought does not always so quickly grasp the oneness of Mind or Truth with Spirit, and Soul, since Spirit essentially repudiates what is called matter, and Soul utterly denies reality to corporeal sense. The oneness of Mind and Spirit indicates that all of Mind's knowing is spiritual knowing. Mind can know only its spiritual ideas. Matter cannot possibly be known. It can only be believed. All that is called matter is a supposititious material mentality. Usually this fact must be brought out through demonstration, to be accepted. Someone may say, "Surely I know matter; I know that I am made of matter, and that matter is sometimes sick matter, and I know these things through my senses. How can you prove to me that matter and its conditions are not facts to be known?" This very natural question is answered by healing. The healing process is not one by which sick matter is changed into well matter. What one calls his material body is a state of thought, a material belief concerning man. In the process of spiritual healing, this discordant belief is replaced by the true, harmonious idea of man; the so-called material mind yields to this truth, and what seems to material sense to be a well material body makes its appearance. If matter were substance, if there were any such thing as matter, the material body would not yield to thought.

This fact can be proved and has been proved many times in Christian Science healing. A case in point is that of a man who was treated with material remedies for many years in the unsuccessful effort to overcome what was diagnosed as an incurable disease. Finally turning to Christian Science for help he was healed in a short time, and while this healing was going on he saw for the first time that the envious, jealous, hateful thoughts which he had been entertaining for others must be cast out and replaced by thoughts of loving-kindness and generosity toward others: in other words, that his thought must have a spiritual or divine basis. Drugs could not possibly purge his mental system of hatred, but spiritual Truth could do it and did do it, and he began to manifest a very different quality of life. As conscious thought became spiritually harmonious, harmony was made manifest in the mental state called the physical body. Such an experience also proves that Mind is synonymous with divine Love, and that man in his true nature is the offspring of Spirit, divine Love.

 

Application of True Knowledge

What will the true knowledge of God and man do for the type of sinning, sick, suffering humanity lying "half dead" on the Jericho road of material sense? It will meet his every need as the need appears. He is not suffering by reason of any law of matter, any law of disease, or of heredity; nor by reason of the activity of any material or evil causation. He is there because he has believed, and others have believed concerning him, that to be cause which is not causative, and that to be law which is not law. Christian Science explains that all law, government, cause, proceed from God, good, the divine Principle, and that there really is no evil or material law or cause. All human suffering arises from some false belief entertained as true. All sin and all sickness are illusions which must be dispelled. The immense value to human weal of this scientific fact becomes more and more apparent to those who make use of it. All that humanity needs is to have its thinking corrected to acquire true knowledge.

The parable continues, "And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." In picturing the compassionate rescuer as a Samaritan Jesus taught a lesson which religionists in all ages should ponder. From the lips of the religious hierarchy of that day "Samaritan" was a term of the most scornful opprobrium. When his opponents could not answer Jesus' clear presentation of Truth they had called him a "Samaritan." The same thought had said that "he casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils." On that occasion Jesus asked the incisive question, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out?" And he said, "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." Unreasoning opponents and critics of Christian Science and its remedia1 activities may well consider whether this new-old Christian teaching of therapeutical theology is not meeting the need of humanity for the healing of mind and body far more successfully than are the older Christian denominations and allied systems of material medicine responding to this Christian demand.

 

Spiritual Preparation

We need not seek any denominational analogies from the failure of priest and Levite to minister to the sufferer. Let us turn rather to the thought of universal Christian priesthood, spoken of in the book of Revelation, where we read of Jesus Christ who "hath made us kings and priests unto God." Every Christian, responding to the Master's demand to "heal the sick," must learn that in order to be a minister of Love's bounty to the spiritually starved he must have gained much of the kingly virtue of self-government, and of the sovereignty, the majesty of unselfed love. Lack of love is the chief cause of such unpreparedness for service as illustrated by priest and Levite. No Christian should ever be anywhere "by chance." "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord," wrote the Psalmist. The Levite was a busy person in his temple service. Healing the sick he evidently considered to be no part of his religious duty. Perhaps he said within himself, "I am not a practitioner," or words to that effect. Some of us may have seemed to be so very busy "serving the temple" "that we have thought we have had no time left for due preparation for ministering to the heavy laden. But with the healing Christ present in all hearts wisdom will quickly and simply arrange all necessary details and there will be no neglect of the "weightier matters of the law," justice, mercy, impartial love. Then there always will be readiness to "give a cup of cold water" to him that is athirst for spiritual things.

 

The Compassionate Rescuer

In contrast to the types of thought which, are wholly unprepared to meet the needs of humanity, or quite indifferent to that duty and privilege, comes one of the type of the Samaritan, perhaps a man of affairs, a business man on a journey, ready to meet any emergency. Someone may say, "What would become of the world's business if busy business men hurrying to take part in important conferences, were to stop to attend to the needs of every needy one by the roadside?" What would become of the world's business if, instead of self-interest, love of Truth and of humanity were the impelling motives at every conference between individuals, great business and political organizations and between the nations of the earth? Surely there would be more of fair dealing, more harmony, more joy, and more of real prosperity throughout the world. What is the real business of the universe? It is Mind, Love, expressing itself. Man's business is to manifest the Mind which is Love. That is the sole reason for his being.

When the Samaritan saw the sufferer, "he had compassion on him." True compassion does not mean to suffer together, in the sense of making another's suffering real to one's self. A Christian Scientist is tenderly sympathetic with his patient, but his success in bringing relief lies in knowing the unreality of evil and in pointing out the unreal cause of suffering. To judge any human condition by the testimony of material sense, no matter how well established that evidence may seen to be, is to judge wrongly. No situation can be rightly and helpfully looked upon except from the basis of God's allness and of the real man's inheritance of the qualities of God. When this is done, sin and fear are cast out, and healing follows. Someone may say: "There is nothing of the real man about me. I am sunk to the depths of sin, fear, sickness, discouragement, and now see that I have lived only for self-gratification." Jesus depicted the sufferer on the Jericho road as being only half dead. There is always hope for everyone, and recovery from sin is more rapid when the sinner begins to see his sin. We should never be dismayed at so-called conditions of sin or sickness or inharmony of any kind, appearing in the experiences of others or of ourselves. The remedy for all evil is in the divine Mind, universally available for human use.

 

Pouring in Oil and Wine

The eternal Christ, wholly separate from material concepts of life, has come anew in Christian Science to bind up humanity's wounds, "pouring in oil and wine." Jesus, whose sole dependence was the Truth which makes free, could have had no thought of material oil and wine as remedies. Could it ever have been thought remedial to pour wine, an acid, into an open wound? The remedies Jesus used, which are the remedies Christian Science uses, were prescribed by Isaiah centuries ago: "Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." These are poured into the troubled heart and confused mind, and the wine of inspiration and of spiritual understanding transforms human thought. The beauty of spiritual thinking and living, joy and gratitude based upon the rock of spiritual truth, instead of on the shifting sands of material beliefs, are available for all.

It is not sin, nor sickness nor disease, nor lack, nor evil dispositions, nor old age, as realities, that we need to get rid of. The entire work of meeting human need lies in replacing material falsities by true spiritual concepts of God and man. To illustrate: consider the case of a man who for years has suffered from a complaint which troubled his father or mother. When the same ailment has appeared in his own experience he has accepted it as inevitable; one does not really honor father and mother in perpetuating family complaints. He has sought material remedies in vain. This condition becomes complicated with an ailment said to be due to local or climatic conditions, and his physical system is said to be poisoned. He has reached a point of desperation. A change of climate is advised, but he sees no possibility of making a change. I know of such a case which was quickly healed. The man had turned to Christian Science for help and had for several days been reading passages in Science and Health to which his special attention had been called. There came a telegram requiring him to undertake a long railroad journey. The physical conditions were much aggravated, and at first thought it seemed impossible to make the journey. But he had gained in the few days of his reading in the textbook some thought of divine help being at hand, determined to go, and started for the railroad station. He felt so badly he had to stand still on the sidewalk, and then his thought turned to one of the passages in Science and Health he had been reading. It was this: "Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (p. 393). Instantly a condition of fever and headache was dispelled, he took the train, went into the dining-car, ate a meal which the day before would have appalled him, suffered no discomfort from it, had the best night's sleep, though on the train, he had known for years. He has not since suffered from either of the ailments which had seemed to be fastened upon him, has continued in good health, and still lives in the same climate. What was it which changed the so-called physical condition? Not mere repeating of words. Behind these words was the eternal Christ, the spiritual idea of life. The man himself was getting a glimpse of the Christ-remedy for human need. The practitioner who was endeavoring to aid him was no doubt clinging steadfastly to the truth of man's being; the spiritual understanding of the great woman who wrote the words was behind them. All these and every overcoming of evil falsity by spiritual truth in all human experience represented the power and governing law, the law of God, the law of good, behind the words the man repeated. Could a mere illusion of sickness withstand that power? The man's healing proved that it could not. This instance may be regarded as one of healing a simple case of sickness which was not complicated with marked conditions of sin. A turning to God, the thought of God's omnipotence and omnipresence, and that He does not send sickness to His children such thoughts as these, as presented in Christian Science with the spiritual understanding which sends them forth, giving a cup of cold water truly in Christ's name, have brought healing of so-called physical ailments in millions of instances.

 

Overcoming Lack

How does Christian Science overcome a sense of lack, as lack is generally understood? Many people believe that what they lack is money or material possessions, that if they only had more money life would be joyful indeed. Much human experience points to the fact that an increase of what is called matter does not add to true happiness. One who is learning to distinguish between a want and a need will often discover that the thing he has greatly desired is not a thing he actually needs. But if one seems to lack the ordinary necessities of human living, then he should take an inventory of his stock of spiritual oil and wine. How much of unselfish love and of spiritual understanding has he in his house, his consciousness? The lack of these is poverty indeed. The supply, always available, is unlimited if one will work, in his prayer and in his daily avocations, not for material possessions, but will strive moment by moment to increase his store of impersonal, impartial, selfless, spiritual love, or as Jesus said, will seek "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," all necessary things for normal human living will inevitably come to him. One must awake to a conscious possession of his real possessions right ideas proceeding from infinite Love and use them, make them the basis of multiplication of good in every avenue of his experience. Jesus did not belittle the apparently scanty supply of bread and fish when it was necessary to feed a multitude. He gave thanks for it and used it. And his understanding became a law of multiplication which proved the supply sufficient to meet the need.

 

Nullifying the Belief of Age

What is to be done about the condition called old age? It should be met with truth, with clear spiritual recognition and positive declaration of real being, with realization that man is as eternal as Truth, the divine Spirit, the source of his being; and the denial of the corporeal sense of man as having material beginning and ending birth, growth, maturity, decay, death. "The fetters of man's finite capacity," we are told on page 223 of the Christian Science textbook, "are forged by the illusion that he lives in body instead of in Soul, in matter instead of in Spirit," whereas we learn in Christian Science that "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" (Science and Health, p. 258). The belief of aging manhood should be overcome through scientific thought, with the same confidence in the power of spiritual truth to destroy error as we feel and know when meeting the beliefs of sick and sinning manhood. Hear the wisdom of the book of Job on this question, "If thou prepare thine heart, . . . thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning." If one agrees with the false testimony of material sense that he is getting too old to work and says, "No one wants to employ a man of my age," he may have difficulty in finding suitable employment, but with the true sense of spiritual identity governing his thought, knowing himself to be the son of eternal Life, and Love, eager hands will reach out to obtain his services. One must know for himself that man's spiritual endowment of strength, intelligence, wisdom, executive ability, is fadeless. Then his human demonstration of these qualities will grow with experience.

 

Provision for Progress

The Samaritan did not simply give "first aid" to the sick and sinning traveler and then leave him to shift for himself. He "set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him. Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." Likewise does Christian Science make full provision for the protection and for the future progress of those whom it rescues from the Jericho road of sin and suffering. Christian Science "takes care" of its beneficiaries. Some receive all the help necessary to put them on their feet mentally and bodily through their own reading of the textbook. Others are taken care of with the help of a practitioner through what is called mental treatment, which can best be described as prayer. This is a prayer of silent communion with our heavenly Father. It declares and realizes the all-power, all-presence, all-action of the one Mind, the Soul of the universe, divine Spirit. This prayer is the knowing of the fact that the divine Mind, our God, is infinite and is good. It affirms the inseparability of God and man in His likeness. This prayer also denies any substance, power, causation, or law to evil or matter. This prayer, or treatment, cannot be a formula. It must pour forth spontaneously as the result of spiritual communion with our omnipresent, omniactive Love, Life, Truth.

 

Study of the Bible

Christian Science shows the student how he may study the Bible in its original tongue of the Spirit. This study is in accordance with the first of the Tenets of this denomination, found on page 497 of Science and Health, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." It is through the study of Mrs. Eddy's monumental work, the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and her other writings, together with the periodical literature issued by this denomination, that one is able to grasp and to prove the spiritual Science revealed in the Scriptures. Attendance at the public church services, making use of the Reading Rooms, consulting when desirable with practitioners, teachers, and other loyal Christian Scientists, greatly aid one who desires to know and to use the Science of right living. One of the most useful and greatly appreciated channels of good initiated by Mrs. Eddy and provided by the Christian Science church is the weekly "Bible Lesson" appearing in the Christian Science Quarterly. It consists of selections from the Bible and from Science and Health. Christian Scientists give daily study to the weekly lesson, and this lesson comprises the Sunday sermon which is read in every Christian Science church throughout the world. An earnest student, in testifying as to the practical value of this study, said that an annoying eruption had appeared on her body some months before. At that time her thought was especially given to the overcoming of what seemed to be a more serious physical ailment. The latter condition yielded to the application of the truth, but the annoyance from the eruption continued. Finally, one day she felt the call to work more deeply and claim the healing. She knew the condition to be unreal, and that it was only a picture of mortal thought, externalized on the body. As a method of lifting her thought above sense-evidence to practical spiritual Truth she chose to give diligent study to the weekly Lesson-Sermon. With confidence, she searched each of the Bible citations and those from Science and Health, expecting to gain the spiritual sense of God's allness and of man's perfection which would cast out conscious or seemingly unconscious fear, and destroy the false picture. As she read each of the references she mentally emphasized the application to her case. "Claiming the promise and knowing that only divine Love governs man, I had every moment during this searching and study been conscious that the discord was vanishing and I knew I was free," she said. "The irritation was gone! The skin was found to be smooth and natural where the discordant evidence had been before."

 

Gratitude for Work of Mrs. Eddy

No fair-minded observer can be left in doubt as to the success attending this new-old Christian system of reforming the sinner and healing the sick. A great multitude in all parts of the world are the beneficiaries of its ever developing ministrations in behalf of humanity. Are they grateful to the woman who in this age has shown how practical and how complete is Christian salvation? They surely are. Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, as has been alleged. Her teaching shows the impossibility of personal worship. But they do revere her. They do appreciate her untiring labors for our race. They rejoice in her courage, her steadfastness, in her spiritual rationality, in her wisdom, and in her love for God and man. They realize that no one on earth today would have known anything of the real Science of Christianity or how to heal a single case of sickness through the application of this Science, except for the work of Mary Baker Eddy. And they rejoice that as time goes on the real Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, is becoming better known.

 

The Perfect Rule of Life

What called forth the Parable of the Good Samaritan? A certain lawyer seeking, though not with an open mind, the solution of the age-old question, had inquired of Jesus, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responded by asking him, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Thereupon the lawyer had repeated the familiar digest of the Mosaic law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." And Jesus said to him, "Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live." But the lawyer was not satisfied with Jesus' simple and direct reply. He entered a demurrer: "And who is my neighbor?" he parried. It was then that Jesus told him the story, pregnant with wisdom, and love, of the man who fell among thieves, and of the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan, the attitude of the latter clearly illustrating obedience to the eternal demand of Truth to love one's neighbor as one's self.

Let us pause to inquire, How are we succeeding in meeting that demand? Many Christian men and women, struggling with the temptation to hate someone, have agonized over the Christian requirement not only to love one's neighbor, but also to "love your enemies." To personal sense it seems impossible to obey this requirement. But the spiritual sense of being, taught in the Bible and made clear and practical through the teachings of Christian Science, enables mankind to obey these injunctions. To love one's neighbor, to love one's alleged enemy, one must first learn to love one's self. One can love himself only as he learns to know himself as the offspring of the one creator, Love. All must be included in the one creation. A neighbor is one who dwells near. It is not possible to get any nearer than by knowing that all are bound together in the creation of infinite Love. Then one will love unselfishly, impersonally, impartially, universally, and refuse to have any sense that another is his enemy, and he will learn, better day by day how to serve mankind.

Evidently wishing to commit the lawyer questioner as to his acceptance of the lesson taught in the parable, Jesus asked, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?" The sense of supercilious superiority and of unreasoning condemnation had melted away in the sunshine of Love understood and demonstrated (the same phenomenon is observable today in the attitude of those who have thought themselves opposed to Christian Science), and the ungrudging response came spontaneously, "He that shewed mercy on him." Then said Jesus unto him, even as divine Love is saying to each of us at this hour, "Go, and do thou likewise"!

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 18, 1931.]

 

 

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