Christian Science Healing: Spiritual and Scientific

 

Prof. Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

The healing so universally accomplished through Christian Science is probably the one feature of its work which attracts the most attention and which has been most misunderstood, since its methods are purely mental and spiritual, the direct opposite of those employed by the ordinary schools of therapeutics. That healing has resulted when Christian Science treatment has been applied after all other means have failed, is now quite generally conceded; but the manner in which this healing is accomplished, is so far from being understood that there is still a great reluctance on the part of many to avail themselves of it, and some still question its possibility. This, however, can be just as truthfully said of the healings which are chronicled in the Scriptures, especially in the New Testament, where the spiritual means of healing is plainly referred to and advocated, and where many instances of healing are specifically named.

In Exodus we read, "I am the Lord that healeth thee;" in Psalms, God is referred to as He "who healeth all thy diseases;" and again, "He sent his word, and healed them." In Mark's gospel we read, "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." These citations show that mankind should look to a spiritual source for their healing instead of to drugs. Had God created drugs and given them healing power, Christ Jesus, who came to show us the way of salvation, or deliverance from sin, disease, and death, would certainly have used them himself and recommended them to others. His own success in healing proves that he fully understood a healing art which has no recourse to material means.

 

Instances of Healing

Among the notable instances of the healing of physical disease by Christ Jesus as recorded in the New Testament are these: The healing of paralysis (Luke v. 18-26), of leprosy (Luke xvii. 11-19), of deformity (Luke xiii. 11-17), of blindness (Matt. ix. 27-31), of fever (Luke iv. 38, 39), of dropsy (Luke xiv. 2-4), of hemorrhage (Matt. ix. 20-22), of violent insanity (Mark v. 1-20), and of epilepsy (Mark ix. 14-29). The gospels also record Jesus' work in the raising of the dead, as Jairus' daughter (Luke viii. 41-56), the widow's son (Luke vii. 11-15), and Lazarus, after he had been dead four days (John xi. 1-44).

Many cases are also recorded as having been healed by the disciples and by some of Jesus' followers who were not his personal students. In Acts (v. 12) we read, "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought." Peter healed a man lame from birth (Acts iii. 2-8), healed Æneas of paralysis (Acts ix. 32-35), raised Dorcas (Acts ix. 36-41). Paul healed a cripple (Acts xiv. 8-10), healed Publius' father of fever and hemorrhage (Acts xxviii. 8), raised Eutychus to life after his accident (Acts xx. 9-12), healed himself of the sting of a poisonous serpent (Acts xxviii. 3-6). Philip, who like Paul was not Jesus' personal student, healed insanity, paralysis, and lameness (Acts viii. 6, 7). The seventy are reported as having returned to Jesus to tell of their healing work, saying, "Even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

These cases show unmistakably that Christian healing was effected by spiritual and not material means; they teach that we should look not to matter but to divine Mind for the true healing power, the power which was utilized by Christ Jesus and his disciples. In the case of congenital blindness healed by Jesus, of which John tells us, there was evidently no healing virtue in the clay and spittle, nor in the water of the pool of Siloam, for if there had been, these universally available means would be in use today for the cure of this disease.

 

Skepticism as to Spiritual Healing

To be consistent, all professed believers in the Bible must therefore admit the fact of spiritual healing, which, according to contemporaneous secular writers and historians, continued among the early Christians for about three hundred years; and yet today the vast majority do not believe in it, and many do not even admit it to be historically true, while not a few deny its possibility. Some say that these events may have happened in Jesus' time, but are impossible now. This is neither logical nor reasonable. The power of God is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever," and if this healing took place in the first century, it can take place now, since every divine law and order must be immutable and we have the same conditions to deal with which they had then.

Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you alway," and, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; . . . because I go unto my Father." The Master thus taught that all of truth is always with us, and he came to show us how to make it available. This is the way of salvation, and if this way cannot be found and followed today, then his mission was surely a failure. Think you that Christ Jesus, the great Exemplar, the world's Wayshower, would have taught, demonstrated, and enjoined upon mankind a healing and saving method which was efficient and sufficient in the first century, but impracticable or impossible in the twentieth?

It is not possible to separate Jesus' word from his work: The one is the proof of the other; hence the healing work must be recognized as an essential element of primitive Christianity. The healing recorded in the Bible was no more readily believed when it occurred than it is now, save by the relatively few who were impressed by the evidence presented or who experienced spiritual transformation. The Scriptures record the intense hatred and persecution which the early Christians endured because of their belief in the efficacy of spiritual power. This is corroborated in secular history, and it is noteworthy that the hatred was most intense when spiritual power was most in evidence, especially so at the moment the healing was done.

Judging by its fruits, and by the fact that it certainly stimulates a higher order of thought and living, all must admit that this spiritual healing is a far better method than the use of material means. This being true, we can but ask, Why is it not in general use among Christian people? Evidently because it is not understood, for there exists today a very general disbelief in its possibility, a stubborn tendency to doubt it, in spite of the many authentic records of such healing in the past and through Christian Science now.

 

Causes of Unbelief

Let us then, if we may, examine into some of the causes of this disbelief in Scriptural or Christian healing. What are they? First: It is difficult for most of us to see how physical results can be realized through spiritual means. The teaching of the schools regarding the nature of matter and material existence, produces such a materially biased consciousness that it is very difficult to apprehend spiritual existence and spiritual power. Second: The popular teaching regarding the nature of God and of His relation to all being, together with the belief in the reality of material existence and its asserted laws, is at variance with the Scripture teaching. Third: The inertia of the human mind resists belief in anything which differs from what it has been accustomed to; it is innately opposed to all things spiritual or divine, and it is to this mental attitude that St. Paul referred when he said, "The carnal mind is enmity against God." We thus see that it is material sense which hinders the attainment of an understanding of the spiritual healing of the Bible; this is the fertile soil from which springs the doubt, agnosticism, and infidelity of our times.

 

Mental Causation

One of the most puzzling questions to the lay thinker respecting spiritual healing is this: How can a mere mental effort bring about a physical change; how can it restore health and harmony? This difficulty is largely due to the failure to understand the nature of Mind and the relationship between the inner world of thought and the outer world of phenomena. Let us consider this question briefly, first from a human or material standpoint, then from the Christian Science standpoint.

All are familiar with the effect of fear, grief, and anger upon bodily conditions. Tears flow; the circulation of the blood is altered, as shown by pallor; the secretions are affected, as shown by cold perspiration, etc. These effects prove that physical changes follow mental disturbances. An eminent physician has made a series of experiments showing the effect of the emotions upon the secretions, and has found that under the influence of love and hate, serenity and anger, pleasure and pain, the secretions present marked chemical differences; all of which gives evidence that mental conditions are the real causes of disease. Many physicians will even admit that malignant diseases have been caused by grief, worry, and sin; indeed, it is now becoming more and more evident that the cause of all disease is mental. Even what are termed hereditary diseases and conditions are now believed by many to be of mental origin, as there is no other way to account for them.

Again, we are all familiar with the fact that diseases and distressing symptoms are alleviated when fear and worry cease and the harmonious effects of peace, happiness, and satisfaction prevail. Take a rubber ball, grasp it tightly in the hand, thereby destroying its normal outline; then remove the pressure of the fingers, and when the strain is gone the ball resumes its natural shape. In a similar way, mental disturbances clamp the body, put it under a strain, distort it; but when these disturbances are removed, the body becomes normal, natural.

This effect of thought on the body is readily admitted even by pronounced materialists. Cheerfulness, the habit of looking on the bright side of things, is generally acknowledged to be an aid in preserving and restoring health. Yet he who believes in material causation will say: "I cannot admit that malignant and organic diseases may be caused or cured by thought. Possibly my headache will disappear when I stop worrying or being angry, but how can I get rid of a tumor or of Bright's disease by simply thinking about it?"

This expresses the attitude of mortal thought, and in answer to its questions it is well to bear in mind that the marvelous healing recorded in the Bible, much of which is entirely above and beyond any possible achievement of medical or surgical practice, was actually accomplished through mental or spiritual activity alone, and that Christian Science has in the same way healed every known disease. Admitting these facts, we are the better prepared to discuss the manner in which this healing is accomplished.

 

Nature of Existence

In the first place, it is necessary for us to consider what existence is, and the relation between mind and body. All will admit that to exist means to be conscious. Then individual existence is individual consciousness, and since consciousness is mental, existence is mental. From this it follows that the character of existence depends upon the character of consciousness. It is also evident that hereditary tendency and educated bias largely determine the character of consciousness, and since our mental make-up and perceptive faculties vary greatly, it is manifest that no two people can have the same consciousness or even see the same object alike. For example, an aeroplane viewed by a civilized person and by a savage, awakens altogether different concepts. A flower is a very different thing to a botanist from what it is to an engineer. The impression received of the shape and size of an object depends upon the shape and size of the lens of the eye, and individual lenses are manifestly as different as individual physiognomies.

Again, since human consciousness is acquired largely through the five physical senses, it partakes of the nature of material sense. This sense-testimony is always relative and never absolute. It is dimensional, finite, variable, inexact. Echoes do not locate sound correctly. Distant objects are not small because they appear so. Astronomical phenomena are not what they seem to be. The sun does not move across the sky and the earth is not stationary. Color is not absolute, neither are the reports made to us by the senses of taste, smell, and touch.

 

Matter a Mental Concept

According to recent discoveries in physical science, matter is a form of energy, instead of the indestructible stuff or entity it has been believed to be. Its unit, the atom, is found to be composed of positive and negative electrical corpuscles, called electrons or ions. Through mechanical and chemical processes a material object may be reduced to its ultimate theoretical limit, called atoms. Further separation of these atoms into their constituent electrons or ions, leaves nothing of our material object but a form of energy, a theoretical manifestation of force in which every vestige of the characteristics of matter or the object has disappeared. What the nature and history of a separated, a freed electron may be, is something for the physicist to puzzle over.

Idealistic philosophy and psychology teach that material objects are but objectified mental impressions or concepts, and not substantive entities exterior to consciousness. For example: When we look at what we call a material thing, we experience an impression made upon consciousness by light, which is all we ever see. Light, according to physics, is vibration, or a form of energy which impresses itself upon consciousness, and this impression we have been educated to objectify. We have inherited and cultivated the habit of believing it to be matter, or an object which we see, whereas it is merely the experience of a mental impression we have unconsciously objectified; and this is true also of the phenomena of hearing, taste, touch, and smell.

We never really see, hear, feel, taste, or smell matter or objects, but merely experience sense-phenomena which we call matter. What we think we see is not an object exterior to consciousness, but only an impression in consciousness due to what is assumed to be some form of vibration. Furthermore, according to psychology and philosophy, there is no evidence of any existence external to consciousness; hence existence is measured by consciousness. We thus see that matter must be defined as a mirage, as an appearance of substance rather than substance itself, and it is therefore wholly mental, a state of mortal consciousness.

These are not the teachings of Christian Science, but the conclusions reached through research and discovery in the domain of physical science, psychology, and philosophy, and they show that even from a physical standpoint what we term matter is not what it is generally believed to be, but is wholly a mental phenomenon, and has not been and cannot be accounted for in any other way. Christ Jesus proved what is called matter to be wholly mental when he walked on the water, stilled the tempest, and overcame other so-called material conditions.

 

Material Mentality

Having seen the mental nature of matter, let us now consider the nature of the mind which perceives material things and of which matter is the objectified concept or externalization, the mind which largely constitutes human consciousness. This mind is a consciousness of which the factors are dimensional, variable, destructible, and our concept of the nature of these factors is gained through the testimony of the five physical senses. It is a consciousness of evil, sin, disaster, and death. It claims to be intelligence, but is inherently non-intelligent: it knows nothing of itself, it has to be educated. It claims to be substance, but is really shadow, since it is based on false testimony. It claims to be life, but is really death, since it is not self-sustaining. Recognizing the nature of this so-called mind, St. Paul named it "carnal," and Mrs. Eddy designated it "mortal," since sin, disease, and death are its inevitable products.

Thus we see that all discordant conditions exist solely as phenomena and experiences of this carnal, mortal mind, as states of human consciousness; hence their healing, their correction or destruction, involves a transformation of this consciousness. As existence implies consciousness, and as the body is externalized consciousness, the conditions of existence and of the body depend upon one's mental state. A discordant consciousness results in discordant existence. It is therefore necessary to change the human consciousness if we wish to have changed conditions. How is this to be done?

First, it is necessary to determine whether the mortal or carnal mind with its experiences is true, for we know that the initial step in the correction of any mistake is the perception of the mistake. We recognize an error when we know the truth which it falsifies. When we apply the corrective truth to an error, it disappears, and right, harmonious conditions prevail. If the phenomena of mortal mind were true, they could never be altered. If untrue, they cannot be corrected until we know their falsity. It is impossible to correct an error until it is recognized as such. For example, if we receive a wrongly computed bill and believe it right, we are deceived and suffer for it. Yet we do not perceive that it is wrong until we know what is right. Directly we know the truth about the facts involved, this knowledge corrects or displaces the error, the wrong concept.

 

The Nature of Truth

Let us then examine into the essential nature and character of Truth, of that which really is, and learn whether matter and mortal mind are true and real, for we have seen that matter and material existence are mental, and we must now determine the truth regarding this mentality.

Truth by its very nature is infinite, everywhere. Being that which is, there can be no place where Truth is not; therefore Truth is omnipresent. Truth is intelligent, always knowing enough to be itself and never anything else; being infinite, it is infinitely intelligent; that is, omniscient. Truth is almighty, having power to be itself and to resist being anything else, power to correct that which seems to falsify it. Truth being infinite, the power of Truth is infinite, omnipotent. Truth is indestructible, since it is impossible for any element, quality, or particle of omnipresence or real being to be annihilated.

We thus see that Truth is actuality; absolute, fundamental, independent; without beginning or ending, without dimensions or limitations. It is immortal, forever self-sustained; it is eternal Principle, the source of all true being, harmonious and perfect.

Truth is thus identified in Christian Science as Spirit, Mind, Soul, Life, the supreme Ego, the great I AM, the one infinite God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God whom Jesus called his Father, the God whom St. John defined as Love. This infinite, all-inclusive, all-creating, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient divine Love, is the incorporeal God revealed through Christian Science. Man as the image and likeness of God, the real man of the Scriptures, must be like his Father, not corporeal but incorporeal; not material but mental, spiritual consciousness; not mortal but immortal. The universe created and constantly sustained by God must be like Him, for like produces like; therefore the real universe is not finite but infinite; not destructible but indestructible; not material but spiritual.

 

The Nature of Reality

Thus reality is essentially infinite, without limitations or dimensions, infinite in extent, in presence, in wisdom, and in power. It is unchanging, indestructible, eternal. It is harmonious, perfect, spiritual. Therefore the standard of infinity, indestructibility, and perfection is the test of reality. Whatever has not these qualities or attributes of infinity and perfection does not express Truth. Matter, mortal mind, and the discordant material consciousness being finite, mutable, destructible, are not true, not absolutely real. Perfect God, perfect man, and perfect spiritual being, this is the basis of all Christian Science teaching, analysis, and practice. This is the standard by which Christian Science measures and tests all human phenomena and experiences in order to determine their true value.

Truth, however, cannot be cognized by the physical senses, for because of their material limitations these senses cannot perceive infinity, the finite cannot cognize the infinite. Truth is perceived only through the understanding, which is not dependent upon the testimony of the physical senses. For example, even the truths of the multiplication table are discerned not through the sense of sight, but through the understanding. The physical figures which we see are not the mathematical truth; this truth is invisible to the physical senses, discernible only through mathematical understanding.

Similarly God, the real man and real universe, are discerned not through the physical senses, but only through spiritual sense or spiritual understanding, and this spiritual understanding, the perception and apprehension of divine Truth, Christian Science makes possible to all.

 

Discord an Error

Disease, sin, death, all discords, are therefore to be classed as errors of mortal consciousness as mesmeric, illusory mental conditions. On this basis they can be corrected and healed by Truth, while they cannot be corrected so long as they are classed as either physical or mental realities. Even according to psychology and philosophy they are but objectified sense-impressions. Thus we can begin to separate the wheat from the tares, the actual from the seeming, the real from the unreal in the human consciousness.

Most of us have believed that God sends disease, disaster, and death to His children; but if this were true, we would have no moral right to use any healing means whatsoever, for by so doing we would be interfering with the divine plan and purpose. If God makes us sickly and dying, it is our business to be sick and die. Dominated by such a belief, it is of course impossible to understand Christian healing or to be healed spiritually.

Discordant conditions exist only in that human consciousness which is largely mortal, which is a belief of both good and evil. They are not the products of Truth or Principle, hence they are not divine creations. Realizing this in some degree, their assumed power is at once lessened, and we can begin to free ourselves from them by turning to divine sources in the realm of reality. Then we begin to see that God is not the author of sin, disease, and death, and that we do not have to experience them. The apprehension of this one point often results in healing.

 

Mental Cure of Disease

Fear is admitted to be a prolific cause of disease. The Bible says, "Perfect love casteth out fear." Fear is due to ignorance. Perfect Love is the infinite divine intelligence. When intelligence is brought to bear on ignorance, ignorance is destroyed, and thus does "perfect love" cast out fear, and of necessity its effects. It is readily seen how important it is to let Truth control our thought. When we indulge in thoughts of limitation, fear, sickness, mortality, then consciousness partakes of the nature of these thoughts, and the body likewise. When we engage in thoughts of infinity, spirituality, health, life, our consciousness must partake of the nature of these thoughts, and the body likewise.

Since disease has a mental origin, it is manifest that it must have a mental cure. A man suffering from physical disease produced by hatred, for example, cannot be permanently healed by drugs or surgery. He needs to have the hatred, whether from within or from without, neutralized by its true antidote, divine Love. Then the evil cause is destroyed and its effects disappear. Christian Science explains this clearly and rationally, so that Christian Science Mind-healing can be demonstrated by any one in the degree of his understanding of it. This healing relies on a spiritual method which is both simple and logical.

In answer to the inevitable question, How does Christian Science heal? we need to remember that the truth and error about a given thing cannot exist in a given consciousness at the same time, since they are opposites. We cannot believe that two times two make both five and four. The healing of the error of sickness must be akin to the healing of any other error of belief. Mathematical truth applied to error in computation always removes that error and establishes right results. The truth about God and man annuls false human belief, and this removes the effects of such belief. Human discord and disease exist only as a false state of consciousness, a mistaken sense, a mesmeric dream condition which has no real existence, no relation to the divine Mind and its perfect reflection. When the truth of being is known and applied, it destroys the false belief, and this improved condition is externalized in harmony.

 

Right Mental Action

As the body is an externalization of consciousness, if we change the consciousness, the condition of its externalization will also be changed. How is this to be done? In answer we would say that since Christian Science healing is wholly mental, it must be accomplished through the activity of the truth in human thought, and in this connection it is well to consider what thinking is, in order that we may think aright, may engage in right mental action. A wrong belief cannot be corrected with a wrong thought. Thinking is the exercise of intelligence or mind, therefore real thinking is the activity of real Mind. Real Mind is the divine consciousness, the infinite intelligence, Truth. Real thinking is thus the activity of the divine Mind, or Truth. The activity of Truth in consciousness is the knowing of Truth; therefore, real thinking is right knowing. We can know only the truth, never error. We can never know that two times two make five, because they do not. We can only believe it. We can never know sin, disease, and death, or anything that is wrong, evil, or material; we can only believe it.

Being infinite, perfect, and divine, real Mind is good. Therefore evil is not mind, and evil thinking is not true mind action; and all that is evil and material, limited, discordant, and mortal in human thought, is not intelligence, not mind, but a counterfeit of it; that is, false belief. What is termed the mortal mind is not real Mind. That mind action which is based upon belief in matter and its discordant conditions, is not real thinking, because it is not right thinking, not right knowing. "Gray matter," so called, cannot know; it is Mind alone that knows.

How can Truth be brought to bear upon consciousness in order that the belief of disease and its cause may be destroyed? When we think rightly of any truth, this truth is present with us in consciousness, is active there, just as when we think rightly of the multiplication table the truth of mathematics is with us in thought or we could not think mathematically. Likewise when we think rightly of divine Truth, Life, Love, God, which Christian Science makes possible today, Truth is present with us in consciousness, "God with us." St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians of the one God who is "through all," that is, omnipresent. Thus He is already present and has but to be known. And as by knowing Truth we reflect Truth and bring it into action in our consciousness, so by knowing God we reflect Him, and it is by this right knowing of God that divine Truth and Love are reflected in consciousness and brought to bear upon our human problems.

The spiritual knowing is real consciousness, the consciousness of the real man; it is communion with the infinite Father-Mother God. It is true Christian prayer, "Not my will, but thine, be done." Such prayer, "in his name," is answered in healing the sick, reforming the sinner, and in supplying all our needs.

 

Healing Not Through Suggestion

The healing power which Christ Jesus utilized in his wonderful healing work was not understood by the people who witnessed these works. Some who recognized the fact that this healing was brought about through mental means alone, refused to believe that the healing power was divine, and said that it was evil, acting through the human mind; namely, through hypnotism. They cried out, "This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." So also today many admit that Christian Science heals mentally, but they insist that this healing is accomplished through hypnotism. They do not understand the nature and power of divine Mind. Since Christian Science healing involves a knowledge of spiritual truth, a recognition of material error, and the application of this truth thereto, this healing is not effected through mental suggestion, or the influence of one mind over another. It is not mental domination, nor the exercise of the human will, and it is essential to a right apprehension of Christian Science that this should be clearly understood.

For example: When a mathematician corrects a mathematical error, it is not his will which makes this correction, but the mathematical truth which he knows and applies. The power is inherent in the mathematical truth and not in the will of the mathematician. When an ill or sin is healed in Christian Science, it is not the will of the Christian Scientist which does the healing, but the spiritual truth which he knows and applies to the human error. The power is in the truth itself, not in the human will. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This definitely distinguishes Christian Science from hypnotism, magnetism, or mental suggestion of any form. The hypnotizer endeavors to secure control of his patient's mind, to dominate it, and to superimpose upon it his own thought and purpose, be it good or evil. Hence the danger of this method.

Knowing the nature of God and the real man to be spiritual and perfect, the Christian Scientist recognizes the fact that the diseased or sinful conditions are but false mesmeric states of consciousness, and he applies his understanding of divine Truth as the remedy. He knows the unreality of the appearance called a sick man, just as the mathematician knows that two times two do not make five, even though he sees it written out. He knows that they make four regardless of appearances. Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

 

Absent Treatment

The healing of patients who are at a distance from their practitioners has frequently been misunderstood and pronounced impossible, notwithstanding that Jesus healed the centurion's servant and the nobleman's son without being present with them. This misjudgment arises from the mistaken belief that the healing is accomplished through the transmission of thought, and that distance hinders this transmission. In Christian Science healing there is no thought transference, for mortal mind is not a factor in the healing. The divine Mind being omnipresent, the human knowing of the truth regarding a sick man at a distance brings Truth to bear on the case the same as if he were near by. In the realm of Spirit there is no space, no time, and no sick man. All is infinite Mind and its perfect, ever-present ideas.

It is important to see that Christian Science healing includes a denial of error as well as the affirmation of the truth, the reason for this being that the belief in matter, sin, and disease is so fixed in the human consciousness that a specific denial helps to weaken and destroy that belief. This denial can be made only from the basis of spiritual truth; it is but the reverse side of the declaration of truth, and it is the truth alone, not the denial of error, which heals. Indeed, the keynote of Christian Science healing is the knowing of the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of matter.

 

Summary

To epitomize: In Christian Science healing we must first know the nature and character of divine reality, then see that what is termed material existence is wholly mental, and that sin, disease, and death are not of God, but are manifestations of erroneous states of human consciousness, and therefore neither true nor authoritative. We thus perceive that we do not have to be sick, for God did not make us so. When spiritual knowing dominates consciousness, the error-banishing influence of divine Truth and Love establishes harmony.

As with the healing of sickness, so is it with the healing of sin, the overcoming of evil. We must see that it is not of God, divine Mind; that it is therefore unreal and powerless and no part of man. This correction of thought with spiritual truth destroys the error, the impulse to do wrong. Sin causes suffering so long as it is believed and indulged in; but when sin is mastered and the evil thought destroyed, man is set free from this bondage and begins to experience the promised liberty of the sons of God.

Christian Science is thus seen to be reformatory and regenerative. It uplifts consciousness, brings man nearer to God, and makes him better acquainted with his own true selfhood. It improves him morally and physically, which improvement continues as his spiritual development progresses. To the Ephesians, St. Paul writes: "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: . . . that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man [material consciousness], which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man [spiritual consciousness], which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Christian Science makes it possible for us all to begin to do this today.

Finally it must be understood that Christian Science healing is not a mere mental method, requiring simply the entertainment and repetition of certain thoughts. Being scientific, it calls for accurate, logical, metaphysical reasoning and analysis, a correct mental application of divine Principle. Above all, it demands a clear realization of the allness of God, Spirit, and the nothingness of His opposite, evil and matter. Divine Love alone makes this spiritual illumination possible, for Love is the real healer in Christian Science.

 

Mrs. Eddy's Discovery

It is important to recognize that Christian Science, the demonstrable knowledge of the Christ-teaching, is a discovery, not an invention. This notable discovery was made by Mrs. Eddy in 1866, and it was proclaimed to the world in her great work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which was first published in 1875. This book contains a complete statement of the teachings and practice of Christian Science. It interprets the Bible so that it can be understood, its redemptive truth be practically utilized. Very many have been healed of organic, structural, and functional diseases, as well as of sin, while reading this book. I know this to be true, for I have personally investigated many such cases.

This healing is explained by the fact that spiritual truth, touching a receptive consciousness, and perchance entertained there, brings about a change in thought by correcting erroneous concepts. It thereby establishes harmony on a spiritual basis, and this harmonious consciousness is externalized as a well body.

Mrs. Eddy was a woman of great moral courage and possessed a very unusual degree of religious feeling. From childhood she was deeply interested in religious and philosophical subjects. She was an earnest seeker for spiritual truth, and in her search examined all channels which promised to lead her into the light; but without avail, for the truth was not to be found in human theories and systems. Finally, when on a sick-bed, suffering from a supposedly fatal accident, she was suddenly made well as the truth of God's ever-present healing power dawned upon her. She realized that she had been healed through divine influence, and at once entered upon a careful study of Christ Jesus' words and works, that if possible she might apprehend the Science underlying this healing truth, with the view of giving it to a long-suffering world.

My acquaintance with Mrs. Eddy for many years, besides my association with her on many occasions, enables me to speak of her exalted Christian character. Tenacious adherence to her highest concept of spiritual truth, consecration to the work of establishing this truth, spiritual wisdom in leading and directing this great Christian movement, unfeigned love for God, for His Christ, and for all mankind, these were dominant traits of character in the great yet gentle woman who discovered and established Christian Science. The modern wise men should say of her as was said of old: "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. One of Mrs. Eddy's greatest achievements was this: she proved the Bible to be true by demonstrating that its teachings are applicable today; and for this scientific illumination of the divine Word the whole world owes her a lasting debt of gratitude.

 

Conclusion

Those who question Christian Science healing should ask themselves whether they really believe in the healing work done by Christ Jesus and his disciples. If they do not thoroughly believe in the spiritual power exercised over material conditions, and its possible availability for all time, as declared in the Bible, then their opposition is not to Christian Science, but to the Christianity which Jesus taught and practiced. Christian Science stands ready to come to their rescue and to bring an elucidation of Jesus' teachings which will result in blessings such as they have never before believed possible. Those who have not read the New Testament recently, will do well to do so. Let me ask them to read at least one of the gospels, also the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which record the healing done by Christ Jesus and his followers of that day, and which are verified by the works of Christian Science today.

The fact that Christian Scientists do not yet do all the wonderful works that Jesus did, is a cause for regret, but not for discouragement or criticism. We are glad that Jesus' work proves Christian Science to be true, and that Mrs. Eddy rediscovered the Science of Christian healing and has given it to the world. This healing is possible in proportion to our spiritual understanding.

In Science and Health (pp. 42, 44, 45), Mrs. Eddy writes: "The resurrection of the great demonstrator of God's power was the proof of his final triumph over body and matter, and gave full evidence of divine Science, evidence so important to mortals." "He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate. He met and mastered on the basis of Christian Science, the power of Mind over matter, all the claims of medicine, surgery, and hygiene." "Jesus' deed was for the enlightenment of men and for the salvation of the whole world from sin, sickness, and death."

Do medicine, surgery, physiology, chemistry, and physics aid us in understanding Jesus' great work for humanity? Do they bring us such enlightenment and salvation? Do they show us a better way? If not, where should we place our faith?

In closing, let me recommend that when the temptation comes to believe the arguments of suffering or sin, it is well to stop a moment and think; well to know that they do not come from God, that He does not cause or support them, therefore they are not true, and we do not have to believe in them or be governed by them. When we recognize disease as mental and false, and realize that man is God's spiritual idea, governed by His love, we begin to experience harmony, something of the peace "which passeth all understanding," and this will increase in proportion as our understanding increases. Christian Science makes this possible today.

 

[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1914.]

 

 

HOME PAGE                INDEX OF LECTURES