Christian Science: Humanitys Helper
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
To any observant person it must be very evident that humanity, with all its misery, sin, sickness, disappointment, and failure, is in sore need of help, and that this need is for something that will not merely promise a solution of life's problems, but that will actually lift humanity out of these abnormal conditions, set them free mentally and physically, and restore to them their God-given health, happiness, wisdom, and strength.
If any one does not perceive this need let him note the faulty moral, mental, and physical conditions, the unprincipled motives and aims, the increasing agnosticism and infidelity, the disappointed hopes and ambitions of those about him, and the results accruing from their effort or lack of effort. He will find these conditions to obtain in a degree among all classes, the educated, the uneducated; the worker, the idler; the physician, the patient; the clergyman, the parishioner; the religionist, the infidel, all are more or less dissatisfied and unhappy, even in their apparent success; all have inexplicable failures and uncertain hopes, and all bow down to the domination of matter, evil, disease, and death as inevitable.
Even Christians, to whom has come the strongest evidence of a universal saving power, to whom the most wonderful teachings and rules of life have been delivered, to whom the most blessed promises have been given, even they meet with failure in their efforts at well doing.
And why? Largely because they believe in the naturalness and necessity of the world's sicknesses and disasters, submit to the present decrees of evil destiny, and thus limit the application of Christian teachings and promises to an uncertain future life; and also because they do not see the possibility of the present application and fulfillment of these teachings, believing that they are only intended to encourage men to look for a future-world blessedness.
It will be my purpose to endeavor to show you how this need is met through Christian Science, and why it has not been met before; to make an appeal for the reasonableness and simplicity of Christian Science teachings, and also to correct some of the current misconceptions regarding them.
It is impossible, in the brief space of time at our command, to deal with so great a theme in its fullness, but enough can be said concerning some of the essential truths of Christian Science to encourage the hope that if there be those present who are in distress and have not found comfort and healing elsewhere, or who are looking for a higher and more satisfactory explanation of life than they have had, they may receive this cup of cold water in Christ's name and perchance feel that healing touch of God's truth which alone brings hope and health.
At the outset it may be well to state that I speak from quite a wide experience in Christian Science work and from a very deep conviction of the truth of its teachings. I gave Christian Science a most careful investigation before I accepted it, and I demonstrated it sufficiently to become entirely convinced of its truth. Yet I do not ask or expect any one present to accept what I say simply because I say it. I would like you to bear in mind that you may prove for yourselves the truth of every statement of Christian Science.
When I first heard of it, its doctrines seemed very wonderful to me; and for the reason that as a philosophy it presents a theory and analysis of the problem of mortal existence that not only is logical, consistent, and satisfying in every detail, but that can be at once applied to the solution of that problem; a philosophy which, founded exclusively upon divine Principle, makes God its very center and circumference. As a science it furnishes a complete, definite, and demonstrable statement of truth, free from speculative hypotheses and without any missing links in its system. It is based upon a fixed Principle and rules with no exceptions or variations. As a religion it reveals an interpretation of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation which is wholly consistent and demonstrable; it explains satisfactorily the miracles, and expounds the teachings and methods of Jesus and the apostles in a way which makes them entirely practical today; it reinstates healing as an essential element of Christianity and a necessary outcome of spiritual understanding.
This remarkable presentation of a satisfying philosophy, a perfect science, and a demonstrable religion impressed me greatly, and I questioned, Is it true? If true it is the most wonderful and most valuable discovery ever made, for when fully apprehended it must settle every question that confronts mankind in religious and social life, in business and in morals.
After three years of very careful investigation and demonstration, I came to the conclusion that it was indeed true and that at last there had come to the world a salvation which would bring "the glorious liberty of the children of God," the Comforter whom the Father was to send in Christ's name to lead us into all truth.
The world's interpretation of the Scriptures has obviously been unsatisfactory, for it has given rise to hundreds of religious sects, and there are in addition numbers of intelligent people who do not accept any of these interpretations as true or satisfactory, many of them having formulated religious beliefs of their own, while many more are agnostics or even infidels. Too often an appeal is made to blind faith in a mysterious God and a future world, and too little evidence is given of the present efficacy of the teachings of the Master.
What difficulty Moses had in leading the children of Israel away from their beliefs in material things to faith in the one invisible God! Had he not repeatedly given them evidence through signs and miracles of the existence of such a God, they could never have been led into the land of promise. Many of the prophets and apostles had demonstrations of the presence of a divine saving power, and the life of our blessed Master, Christ Jesus, was full of good works which he did to prove what he taught. The Apostle James said, "Faith without works [results] is dead." In every department of life we look for results. Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Why is it that so many of the Scriptural teachings and promises are not believed to be applicable today? Why are the various interpretations so contradictory? Why cannot better results or works be obtained? Why should so much be left to blind faith? And why is there such an increase of infidelity among Christian peoples? Would not misunderstanding or a lack of understanding account for all this?
The discovery of Christian Science revealed the fact that there is a Science underlying not only the entire Scriptures, but also the entire universe; that this Science is accurate, intelligible, demonstrable, and complete, and that it furnishes an interpretation of existence which is uniform, consistent, logical, and hence capable of proof. This Science is Christian because it is based upon the teachings and works of Christ Jesus and is a fulfillment of his mission. It is scientific because it has a fixed and unvarying Principle and rule.
Christian Science is the outcome of orthodox Christianity, not its perversion. It concludes healing, the lost element of primitive Christianity, and thus seeks the undivided garment and enjoins obedience to all the commandments.
It should be clearly understood that Christian Science is a discovery and not an invention. Its truth, its power, its law, have always existed and are contained in the Holy Scriptures, but they have never before been fully perceived or set forth as a demonstrable Science, attesting the truth of the sayings of the great Teacher, Christ Jesus, delivered centuries ago and handed down to us in fragmentary form. Thus Christian Science proves the truth of the Bible and saves it from atheistic and destructive higher criticism. Jesus demonstrated his teachings by healing the sick, casting out evils, raising the dead, and performing what the world called miracles, and taught his disciples to do the same, yet the Scriptures contain no fixed rule or statement of the scientific process by which this power can be acquired and applied by students. Jesus practiced the tender, God-inspired art of healing, which through the providence of God has been restored to the world today as a Science of healing with Principle and practice that cannot be lost.
The human mind, in philosophic reasoning and poetic vision, has seen dimly the insignificance, the nothingness of material and mortal things. But these occasional glimpses have been put to no practical use, have never been applied in the working out of the problem of the salvation of man. These glimpses of truth have never revealed God alone as the great reality; only through the discovery of Christian Science has the unreality of matter and evil been seen as an imperative corollary of the teaching of the allness and goodness of God.
Philosophers and religionists have never been able to determine what evil and matter are, what to do with them, or how to account for them. The theory of the unreality of matter held by some of the old philosophers was erroneous because they did not know what real existence is, nor what is back of the material manifestation, therefore a denial of matter seemed to them, as it does to many of us, a denial of all that is real, hence a denial of existence. The admission of the existence of an infinite, almighty God compels us, in the face of the awful manifestations of evil in the world, either to credit them to Him or to deny them any place in His universe. Which shall it be?
Never has so sharp and definite a line been drawn between truth and error, never has so accurate a differentiation been made between the real and the unreal as now. And what has brought this to pass? The discovery of what reality is, the true nature and character of God as Spirit, and of His creation as wholly spiritual, which discovery revealed the fact that evil and matter are not real, are not manifestations of God, because they have nothing in common with Him. From this standpoint we obtain a satisfactory interpretation of the Bible and of the universe, and perceive that the cause of the sick, sinning, and discordant conditions of humanity can eventually be eliminated.
This great discovery was made by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. It has proved to be the solution of every problem of life, and has culminated in the revelation of the Science of being, of which Christian Science is the human application.
This discovery has made it possible to get a correct view of things, to see them in their proper relation to each other and to give them their right values.
For example: Prior to the sixteenth century it was believed that the earth was stationary and that the sun moved around it in some mysterious way. Copernicus discovered that the sun was stationary, or nearly so, and that the earth moved, rotating on its axis and also circling around the sun as a center. This astronomical discovery completely reversed the former theory; yet it did not alter the sun nor the earth nor bring about any change in the actual relation of things. It merely revealed the truth about the solar system, removed the previous false concept, showed the true relation between the earth and the sun, and made correct computations possible.
In a similar way Christian Science reverses the testimony of the material senses, the conception that matter is supreme and Spirit subordinate; that matter is the surely real and Spirit the doubtful; that matter is the knowable and Spirit the unknowable. It takes the ground that Spirit, Mind, is all and is supreme; that Spirit is the real and matter the counterfeit or unreal; that Spirit, God, the infinite intelligence, is the knowable, while matter, the non-intelligent, is unknowable. Jesus said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Therefore, God, Spirit, is not unknowable but knowable, which knowledge is essential to our harmonious existence now and forever. But God cannot be known aright when approached through matter. God is Spirit and can be known only spiritually or mentally.
The doctrine of the unreality of matter and evil, so often misunderstood, does not imply, involve, or require the annihilation of existence or consciousness. To illustrate: Suppose you were to wake up some morning and find that all sickness and sin had been destroyed. What kind of world would it be?
All business and pursuits connected with sin and sickness would have vanished, but those associated with the legitimate and sinless needs of man would still continue, under the government of good; and truth, honesty, justice, and love would be manifested, unhampered by any discordant elements. Such a condition would be a present possibility if all men had a true understanding of the teachings of Christian Science and were demonstrating them. This but faintly pictures the heavenly condition described by St. John in Revelation, where he says concerning the new heaven and new earth: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. . . . He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
Mrs. Eddy writes in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "In Revelation 21:1 we read: 'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.'
"The Revelator had not yet passed the transitional stage in human experience called death, but he already saw a new heaven and a new earth. Through what sense came this vision to St. John? Not through the material visual organs for seeing, for optics are inadequate to take in so wonderful a scene. Were this new heaven and new earth terrestrial or celestial, material or spiritual? They could not be the former, for the human sense of space is unable to grasp such a view. The Revelator was on our plane of existence, while yet beholding what the eye cannot see, that which is invisible to the uninspired thought. . . . This shows unmistakably that what the human mind terms matter and spirit indicates states and stages of consciousness. . . . This is Scriptural authority for concluding that such a recognition of being is, and has been, possible to men in this present state of existence, that we can become conscious, here and now, of a cessation of death, sorrow, and pain. This is indeed a foretaste of absolute Christian Science. Take heart, dear sufferer, for this reality of being will surely appear sometime and in some way. There will be no more pain, and all tears will be wiped away. When you read this, remember Jesus' words, 'The kingdom of God is within you.' This spiritual consciousness is therefore a present possibility" (pp. 572, 573).
Thus the denial of matter does not mean the destruction of human existence, but its transformation, reformation, and regeneration on a spiritual basis. Jesus said, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." This doctrine gives us a true interpretation of all things, enables us to become aware of the truth of any situation and to forestall the deception of appearances. For instance: Suppose yourself looking through blue glass at a white horse. You would not believe it to be a blue horse, although it looks blue through the glass. You know that the blue glass gives an incorrect impression and therefore you are not deceived. Again, suppose you look into a curved mirror and see your much distorted reflection. Do you believe that it is the true reflection? No, you know better, you know that the mirror distorts, and therefore you are not deceived. Suppose, however, that you had always looked through blue glass or into a mirror which distorts, and had been educated to believe what you saw to be correct. You would be in a position analogous to that of all mortals who are believing in sense testimony. You would have a conception of the universe very different from the normal. Yet you might go through life like any other person, gaining an education, doing your part of the world's work, joining in all the activities of daily living, yet not knowing any vision but that which these misleading things gave you.
The only evidence we have of material existence is through what are called the five physical senses, and from infancy we have been educated to believe them, no matter what they say.
But are these senses reliable and do they always tell the truth? How about the illusion produced by perspective? Do the eyes see the truth? Is the street really narrower at the farther end or does it only seem so? Is it a fact or an appearance? How about the mirage or any of the numerous optical illusions? Are they true or false? Do they not all need some correction, and have not theories had to be devised to account for them? So also with hearing. Do we not often mistake the source or location of sound? Are we not likewise at times deceived by the senses of taste, touch, and smell? Indeed, every one of the senses can be proven to be unreliable, and why should we give them credence?
Have you ever thought of this point, that the physical senses give no direct evidence whatever of anything that is indestructible, permanent, immortal, and that they do not perceive truth? All asserted material substance, structure, and extension, change, all can be destroyed. Any material object can be disintegrated and destroyed by means of mechanical and chemical processes until nothing remains but what are called elementary substances. These are said to be composed of molecules, which have been assumed, but which have never been seen. These molecules are theoretically subdivided into what was formerly considered to be the fundamental infinitesimal unit, the atom, but which is now believed to be what is called the "ion," many thousand times smaller than the atom. And what is this "ion"? A supposed center of energy or force, in other words, a mere theory. Therefore, even according to physical science, any material object can be reduced to a mere theory. Can there be permanence or immortality in anything material? Not a particle. Yet the physical senses are cognizant only of that which is material.
Now take the case of a truth like two times two are four. That mathematical idea is an actual fact, it can never be changed or destroyed, can never decay, never lose its power, truth, or life, always has been true and always will be. Neither is its existence or truth dependent upon the figures with which it is expressed, or upon the schoolboy who sincerely believes two times two are five instead of four.
This mathematical idea illustrates the indestructible and eternal nature of an idea of truth.
Now, can this idea be perceived by any of the physical senses?
No. They see but the symbols which represent it, not the idea itself. If the idea were in the figures, everybody could see it who sees the figures, but to the ignorant these do not reveal the idea. Thus truth is not seen with the physical eyes, but with the understanding, which is a faculty of being entirely apart from the five senses. For the same reason, the fact that two times two are four cannot be felt, heard, tasted, or smelled. The material senses do not perceive it, nor can they perceive truth in any form. They are conscious only of their own material beliefs, and nothing else. If these senses are so unreliable and are incapable of perceiving truth, why should we place such confidence in them? The sooner we stop believing them and base our understanding of things upon absolute truth, the better.
Even physicists and chemists do not know what matter is, or what force is. They are acquainted only with phenomena, from which they build up their theories. These theories are constantly being changed, so that they may agree with newly discovered phenomena, and this shows that the theories are not true, for Truth never changes. The phenomena of the X-rays and radium, and the discoveries in electro-chemistry have produced a revolution in physics and chemistry, necessitating radical changes in theory; and this revolution has not yet subsided, for no satisfactory explanation of the action of radium has yet been found, and current theories as to the nature of matter are completely upset thereby. Again I ask, Why place such implicit confidence in these changing uncertainties? The epitome of all this argument is given in the familiar "scientific statement of being" found on page 468 of our textbook, Science and Health.
It is inevitable that a teaching which is so fundamental to thought, and so revolutionary with respect to many prevailing opinions, should raise many questions in the minds of those who have not yet given the subject careful consideration, and it may be well for us to consider some of them at this point. Some people object to Christian Science on account of its positive teachings, its fixed rules and rigid requirements. They say they want freedom to think as they please, believe what they please, and do as they please. How would this idea work in the exact science of mathematics? Would they object to being limited and confined to the statements of the multiplication table? Would they say, "The idea of being obliged always to think two times two make four! We want to be free to think what we please about it; that two times two make five, seven, or anything else. How narrow always to think two times two make four! This admits of no individuality of thought, makes one a mere slave, and prevents all originality, development, and growth!"
Many of you will recognize these arguments. What chaos would result from such thoughts in business life, for instance. Instead of liberty, success, and order, there would be nothing but slavery, failure, and confusion, resulting from misguided judgment and the domination of human will. The chaotic condition of much of the religious and secular teaching, the misery and wretchedness, the sin and sickness of the world, the fear, the slavery of false beliefs, all result from thinking what we please instead of thinking what is true. True knowledge, liberty, happiness, health, success, the attainment of the largest dominion, all result only and always from the strict obedience to Truth, adherence to Principle. The resources of infinite intelligence are then at our disposal, and not until then. No man ever had such power as Christ Jesus our Master, and no one was ever so obedient to divine law or the will of his Father, divine Love, as was he.
A distinction must be made between Mind and will-power. Being capable of evil, will-power cannot be Mind, for Mind is God, good. Will-power cannot work out problems in Mind any more than in mathematics. Only through the operations of Principle, Truth, and strict adherence thereto, can right results of any kind be obtained in the Science of Mind. Mere thinking or willing or suggesting cannot do it, any more than it can in mathematics. Christian Science teaches that there is only one Mind because there is but one God, one intelligence.
Thinking is the activity of intelligence, hence the only real thinking is the activity of the divine Mind, or Soul, infinite Love; and the only real thoughts are ideas of God, God's thoughts.
Hypnotism, the mental endeavor to control and influence one human mind by the effort of another, is a growing evil and a most dangerous one.
It is not of God, being capable of evil, hence is not the manifestation of Mind, and is not good, but is essentially and entirely evil. It is the exact opposite of Christian Science, depending as it does upon the assumption of the reality of matter, while Christian Science takes the contrary view, being an emanation of divine Mind, God.
The human mind must be instructed out of itself by the divine Mind, or Truth, and Christian Science makes this possible.
It is claimed by some opponents that because Christian Scientists do not walk on the water, turn water into wine, multiply loaves and fishes, as did Jesus, and because they still have to do with matter at every turn, the doctrines of Christian Science, especially that of the unreality of matter, must be fallacious. Such an argument is like that which declares that because a schoolboy who is just learning to add and subtract, cannot work out a problem in cube root, therefore the claims of greater possibilities in the science of mathematics are fallacious, and the schoolboy is badly deceived by the promise of being able eventually to solve such higher problems.
Christian Scientists are grateful if they can but touch the hem of Christ's robe, in their demonstrations of today, for they well know the great material sacrifice and spiritual growth necessary to obtain the understanding of Truth that Jesus and the disciples had. While thankful for even small beginnings, they are striving earnestly to grow toward that measure of faith and understanding which Jesus referred to when he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." That Jesus believed it possible for his followers to do these things is evident from this saying, but he also knew the requirement better than any one else, and likewise the sufferings resulting from the world's hatred of his teachings. The simpler demonstrations must be made before the higher ones are possible, and the immediate need of the world today is to be healed of sin, disease, and misery.
Is there any justice in the effort made at times to compel the followers of Christ Jesus who are endeavoring to be obedient to his commandments, to pass a medical examination in order to determine their qualifications to reflect enough of the divine Love to heal the sick and sinning through spiritual understanding? The knowledge of all the material anatomy, physiology, and drugs on earth would not aid this Christ-like consciousness one iota, for it is its exact opposite, and Jesus said, "Ye cannot serve two masters."
The teaching of Christian Science that sickness is a false belief, that it is due to a mental cause and therefore that it can be healed through Mind, has been much misunderstood.
Those who believe the Biblical teaching that man is the image and likeness of God must admit that as an image or likeness reflects the original, it can include nothing that is not in the original.
Therefore if man, God's reflection, is sick, then it must be because God, the original, is sick. It will not be admitted that God can be sick, and some may therefore say that man is sick because he has broken one of God's laws.
The violation of any law of Truth is always a mistake, and results in ill; therefore, if one is sick as the result of a broken law, he is still suffering from a mistake and not from that which is right and real. This error, from its very nature, can be only a false belief, and not an entity; hence it is to be corrected through the perception of the truth, and the corrected sense will prevail in proportion to our belief in Truth and disbelief in error.
Christian Science does not say that sickness does not seem real to the sufferer, even as real as the rest of his body, but Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment," and Christian Science teaches that if sickness be recognized as a mistake or error it can be healed by applying the truth. No mistake can be corrected unless it is recognized. The recognition of an error is the first step toward its correction. But this recognition alone is not sufficient; the truth must be applied. The knowing of the truth and its application to the error destroys the error and establishes a truer and more harmonious sense of things. It is only by knowing the truth that we can recognize error as error. If we do not know a genuine dollar we cannot recognize the counterfeit as a counterfeit.
To illustrate the relation of belief to sickness: Suppose that two persons were to listen to a harrowing story, calculated to induce fear. One of them, believing in the truth of the story, will manifest various physical disturbances. The other listens to what is told, but is not impressed at all and only smiles incredulously and feels as well as before the story began. Both of these persons heard exactly the same story at the same time. Why did it affect them differently, and why was one of them made ill? Simply because one of them believed it true or possible, and the other did not. In the one case the believing induced the fear which caused the symptoms. The other had no bad symptoms because he had no fear, and there was no fear because there was no belief in the truth of the story. We suffer solely on account of erroneous belief. When the belief is destroyed, the ill effects vanish. Belief in error brings discord, the understanding of Truth produces harmony. What we positively refuse to believe, knowing the reason why according to Science, cannot make us suffer.
The frightened invalid and despairing sinner can be saved and healed if they but listen to the voice of Truth and Love which brings them the comforting assurance that the cause of their sufferings is not true and they need not believe it that God is really the Life of man, His child, and hence that man is not material but spiritual. If they believe and understand the truth, they will manifest peace and harmony, be healed.
Some day it will be seen that man and the universe are wholly mental and not material, that the limited discordant appearance is not the real and that the only reality is infinite Mind and its infinite reflection as ideas; then Truth will reign, will transform the body by the renewing of the mind, as Paul says, and man will realize his rightful consciousness and dominion as a son of God. A sick, sinning, discordant, unhappy, dissatisfied mortal is not God's man, but only a counterfeit of him. He is simply the distorted image produced by the erring material senses, which can be corrected by Truth. This mortal sense of man has no more connection with the real man than had the blue horse, seen by one wearing blue glasses, with the white horse at which he was looking. There was but one horse, not two; and there is in fact, but one man, God's man; of whom Mrs. Eddy says, "man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468).
The problem of evil and sin, its origin and nature has puzzled the ages, and the great stumbling-block that prevents its solution is that in believing the evidence of the senses, human reasoning starts out with the premise that evil is real and then tries to explain it or account for it. This is like the effort of the old astronomers who tried to explain the solar system on the basis that the earth was stationary and flat. They never could do it, because the earth was neither stationary nor flat and no correct result could be obtained from a faulty basis of reasoning. The fact is that evil is not real, is not an entity, and hence any reasoning based on its supposed reality is fallacious and consequently fruitless.
Christian Science teaches that evil is the seeming absence of good even as darkness is the absence of light, and discord in music is the absence of harmony. There can be no actual absence of good, since God is infinite, ever-present good, any more than there can be a place or condition where two times two do not make four. Is there such a place? The schoolboy's sincere belief that two times two make five seems to be the absence of the fact that two times two make four, as ignorance is the absence of understanding. But two times two do not make five, hence it is non-existent; so evil is non-existent, for it has no truth; it exists nowhere except as a false belief. Truth is by its very nature infinite and ever-present; evil is by its own nature finite and destructible, having no principle and no life of its own; hence it has nothing in common with God and is not of Him. It is utterly unlike God; hence it is untrue and powerless, being God's opposite.
It has been said that Christian Scientists make sin unreal in order that they may indulge in it without evil consequences. This charge is self-contradictory, because any one who indulges in sinful habits gives evidence that he believes in the reality of sin and its ability to bring him satisfaction; therefore he is not making it unreal or even believing it to be so. When sin becomes unreal to any one, it ceases to appeal to him and hence is not indulged in. He who claims that sin is unreal and then indulges in it on that account, is piling up "wrath against the day of wrath." Mrs. Eddy's teaching is very emphatic on this point that sin brings inevitable suffering and that the suffering must continue until the sin ceases.
As light destroys darkness, so will Truth destroy error when it is permitted to enter human consciousness. There are thousands on earth today who can testify to this fact from their own experience, and he who with a sincere desire to conquer sin will read the Bible as spiritually interpreted in the writings of Mrs. Eddy can experience similar results.
It is often asked whether God can know evil; and if not, how He can heal it or destroy it. In answer to this question we may suggest that if God, the one infinite intelligence, is good, then evil, which to human sense is the opposite of good, must be the opposite of intelligence; namely, non-intelligence, ignorance, or mindlessness. Can infinite intelligence ever be in a state of non-intelligence? Can infinite knowledge ever coalesce or affiliate with ignorance? Can truth ever embrace error?
St. John says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Similarly may we say that God is Truth and in Him is no error at all, God is good and in Him is no evil at all.
If no evil is included in the infinite nature of God, then evil is unknown to that infinite God, who is certainly conscious of His own nature and finds no evil in omnipresent good.
The prophet Habakkuk says of God, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity."
Yet God does heal us of evil and sin, and how? By His very presence, even as the presence of light banishes darkness, as the presence of understanding dispels ignorance, as the presence of truth destroys error. Light does not have to be conscious of or to become darkness in order to destroy the darkness, light destroys darkness by remaining light; and so, in the presence of God, evil would be destroyed by the infinite goodness and immaculate brightness of His imperishable glory.
Humanity's burden of sin, sorrow, and suffering impels us to seek this divine presence and become conscious only of the "beauty of holiness." Christian Science makes this possible.
Whenever in our investigations of Christian Science we are confronted by problems which we cannot understand, we should not condemn Christian Science or give it up on that account. We would not think it sensible for a schoolboy who is just learning the multiplication table to become discouraged and give up arithmetic simply because he cannot at once understand problems in astronomy or calculus. No explanation the teacher could make would enable him to solve these problems until he understands the steps that lead up to them.
Likewise, in order to understand the deeper questions in Christian Science, one must gain an understanding of fundamentals, and thought must grow to the point where the higher problems can be grasped. Through persistent, prayerful, and patient reading of the Christian Science textbook, an understanding of the subject may gradually be gained that will answer all questions, dispel all doubts and fears, and give more and more power and ability to demonstrate its teachings.
In Christian Science all questions are answered and all problems are solved on the basis: first, that there is one infinite and good God, who is divine Principle, Truth, Life, and Love, and who is expressed in perfect spiritual ideas governed by His immutable law; second, that man is His spiritual reflection; and third, that everything which does not partake of God's unchanging nature and character, which is not the expression of absolute Truth, subject to His perfect law, is not true, not real. As consciousness becomes purer, more spiritual, and more Christlike, we will be better able to discern between Truth and error, and to lay hold on Truth.
When those who are believing in sin and sickness turn to God for help, believing, declaring, and realizing that He is our helper, our Father-Mother God, the only Life, Mind, and substance, the one infinite good; and when they understand that evil has neither place, law, nor power, and that they do not have to believe it nor be governed by it, then they begin to reflect Truth; the light of good dawns in consciousness and the darkness of evil proportionately vanishes. Peace, harmony, and health, the fruits of right consciousness, are then present, for this knowing of the true God is the Christ in us, the healing Christ that Jesus revealed and manifested, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. It is only through Christ that we can know God aright, even as we can only know the sun through the rays of light. The rays are not the sun, but reveal the sun, and Christ is not God, but reveals God. Jesus demonstrated the power of Christ; he came to show us of the Father, to teach us the way of salvation and to inspire us with faith, hope, and love.
St. John says, "God is love." This is our God, infinite, eternal, unchanging, ever-present Love, the very essence of tenderness, compassion, and mercy with His outstretched arms underneath, around, above, ready to save and help as soon as we turn to Him in sincerity. Knowing that our illness is unreal, He bids us, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
Divine Love is really the only healer. This word Love includes all the qualities and characteristics of Deity and expresses most fully the divine nature. Love was manifested most wonderfully by Christ Jesus, and it is most important for us all to demonstrate Love in our lives, and express it in our ministry to the sick and sinning. Jesus and his beloved disciple John laid very great stress upon this. As we reflect love we reflect God, for God is Love. As we reflect Love we reflect Life, for Love is Life; hence loving is living.
The entire subject of Christian Science, together with its application to human needs, is fully set forth in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. This book might well be termed the Christian Scientists' commentary on the Bible, containing as it does the Christian Science interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. It is used in connection with the Bible in all Christian Science services and meetings. Those of you who have not read it will do well to do so. Copies are available at all Christian Science free reading rooms and at nearly all public libraries. The reading of this book has brought health and happiness to thousands, and will bring it to you. People suffering from the most malignant and complicated diseases, organic, structural, and functional, as well as those afflicted with the most distressing habits, have been healed by its prayerful and persistent reading, and this unquestionable fact evidences that the healing is not the result of any material or mental effort of any personality, or through what might be called human agency. It results because the statements in the book express the truth which destroys the false concept or error called disease. No other book except the Bible has ever had this effect. For all the marvelous healing that has resulted from this book we are indebted to its author, Mrs. Eddy. She clearly understood the Science it contains and knew that the truth would heal the sick.
What the world owes Mrs. Eddy for this great discovery and for the explicit statement of Christian Science which her book contains, it will never be able to repay. Nor can we estimate the value of her wise leadership in establishing and conducting this movement; nor recompense her for her self-sacrifice, consecration, and faithfulness, and for her untiring labors for the salvation of humanity. Earth can never repay her; the "well done" of Spirit alone can crown her with true recompense and joy.
It is gratifying to observe that Mrs. Eddy is recognized as one of the world's most eminent religious workers, the Founder and Leader of a great religious movement. In the press, in encyclopedias, histories, and many important books, she is being grouped with famous men and women and in some degree her worth is being appreciated. Her hosts of beneficiaries all over the world recognize in a measure their debt to her, and deem it their greatest privilege to follow her leadership, having had abundant and continued evidence of its wisdom and safety.
I have had opportunity to know much of her wonderful ability and Christian character. She is a most devoted follower of Christ, is looking continually to Jesus' life and teachings as well as to the entire Scriptures for light and guidance, and places the utmost reliance upon God. It is with her always a question of what God wants her to do, never consulting her own will or pleasure. Her sole aim is to serve God and to do His will in establishing upon earth the wonderful truth revealed to her, and her heart's desire is to proclaim to the world this glorious gospel that the kingdom of heaven is now at hand.
She is the most self-sacrificing, unselfish, and devoted of women; and her loving nature, her kindness and consideration, and above all, her charitableness and forgiveness toward her enemies, are marvelous, and are a most inspiring example to us all.
The comfort which Christian Science brings by telling the truth about things is almost beyond expression, especially those statements which are based upon the Scriptural declaration that man is made in the image and likeness of God. If man is the image, the reflection of God, he is that reflection now, irrespective of what human testimony may declare him to have been yesterday or to be today. Verily God is the Life of man and man is His present, perfect, spiritual reflection. Therefore and most emphatically, he cannot be the victim of heredity, environment, experience, and education, nor be subject to ignorance and fear. These last are the errors of sinful mortal sense, from which we must be freed and of which our Master said, "Ye are of your father, the devil, . . . there is no truth in him . . . for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Mrs. Eddy writes in her book Science and Health: "When speaking of God's children, not the children of men, Jesus said, 'The kingdom of God is within you;' that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God's image is unfallen and eternal. Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy" (p. 476).
In his first epistle, the "beloved disciple," John, says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear [in our consciousness], we shall be like him [reflect him]; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him [in God], purifieth himself even as he [God] is pure."
The words which Paul quoted to the Ephesians are heard again: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." We can know the truth about God, man, and the universe now, and we do not have to continue in sickness and sin. Sickness is an imposition, a mistake, and we do not have to submit to it. It results from ignorance of Truth, and we can know Truth and be free.
If sickness is due to sin we can cease sinning. God has endowed us with power to do this, for as we reflect Mind we know that there is no pleasure in sin, that the suggestion or belief of such pleasure is but a lie, a temptation, an illusion, with no principle, truth, or law in it. If our family, social, professional, or business affairs are inharmonious, we can ameliorate these conditions and bring about harmony, for whatever causes them or causes us to believe in them is untrue, because it is not of God, and this error can be corrected through Christian Science.
We all need to be awakened from this mesmeric dream that the sin, suffering, and death of this world are necessarily real.
We are educated to recognize mistakes in spelling and arithmetic and to detect deception in various counterfeits and imitations; why cannot we be educated to recognize that evil and disease are not real in spite of the fact that they seem real, and that the material universe is not necessarily what it appears to be to the physical senses?
As with the dawning of truth our grasp on the testimony of these senses is loosened, our faith in the reality of material things given up, our fear of sickness and belief in its truth and necessity lessened, and as we earnestly endeavor to destroy the love of sin and the belief in it, we find ourselves awakening to a new life. Christian Science can and does effect this change by turning our thoughts to the spiritual evidence of man's perfection as a child of God.
Have we not glorious opportunities before us, and should we not awaken to them? Should we not work, watch, and pray, as we have been commanded? We can all learn to think rightly. We are thinking something all the time, either truth or error, harmony or discord, and as Christian Science teaches us to know God we can think of Him, and when we think rightly of Him we reflect Him in consciousness, the Christ-truth is present with us, and harmony is established and will be externalized in health and happiness.
Paul wrote to the Philippians concerning this: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things . . . and the God of peace shall be with you." Let us endeavor to know continually that God is good and is supreme. Let us know that we do not have to be subject to evil and disease, for they are not of God and hence have no Principle nor power; thus realizing that they have no existence, we will gain a glorious dominion over them, and the peace of God will be ours.
[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1909.]