Prof. Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B., of Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science is known throughout the civilized world as a religion of works, as a teaching that includes healing the sick and sinning. There are but few thoughtful persons who have not heard of it and who do not know of someone who has been healed or benefited by it.
Perhaps no other religious subject in modern times has attracted so much attention in so many quarters of the globe. This wide acquaintance has resulted in part from hearing of Christian Science, from reading its literature, and from knowing of cases of healing which it has accomplished. In consequence, it has appealed to many who are looking for a better understanding of God, answering their questions and solving their problems.
Having great need of something that will more effectually restore health and harmony, the world naturally turns to any promising remedy. Owing to the materialism of the times, however, many first seek a cure in material means and methods, but as these and the world's allurements fail to satisfy, the tired and hungry heart looks beyond and above for light and help. Thought is then receptive of spiritual aid, for "man's extremity is God's opportunity."
From the time that Christian Science was first announced to the world it has been associated with Mary Baker Eddy. She is known as the one who discovered it, who first taught it and practiced it, as the one who founded its church and who is the author of its literature. Among Christian Scientists she is known and acknowledged as the Leader of the movement.
In order to present, as far as a single lecture may do so, a correct concept of the teachings of this Science, of its accomplishments, its purpose, and of its Discoverer and Founder, let us make a brief survey or review of the development of religious thought through the ages and see the position that the Christian Science movement and its Leader occupy in the spiritual evolution of consciousness which has taken place as shown in the history of salvation.
History of Salvation
The history of spiritual development may be traced both in the Bible narratives and in subsequent events. We know that there are two records of creation given in Genesis. The first, called the Elohistic record, presented in the opening chapter and in the first three verses of the second, tells of the perfect, spiritual, and complete creation made by the one infinite and perfect God, called Elohim, in which creation there is no matter, no evil, and hence no need of salvation, there being nothing from which to be saved.
In the second, called the Jehovistic record, and beginning with chapter two, verse four, it is the Lord God or tribal Jehovah, not Elohim, who is credited both with creating all things on a material basis, out of dust — wherever that came from — and with introducing evil.
Consequently these two records are contradictory. Both cannot be true. The second record predicates an entirely different concept of God, man, and universe from that described in the first record. Mrs. Eddy calls this second record the "Adam-dream," for Adam had fallen into "a deep sleep," and there is no record of his ever having awakened. With this Adam and Eve concept began the history of human evil, or error, and humanity's consequent need of salvation or deliverance from it.
The talking serpent, which is material sense asserting the reality of matter and evil, was the sin which led to disobedience, suffering, and loss in the garden of Eden, — and still does, and always will so long as there is the belief in material creation. Salvation from this Adam and Eve belief, therefore, requires an awakening from the "Adam-dream," the belief in matter, to the consciousness of the real, spiritual creation as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis. In analyzing this situation it is helpful to think of the second record as a kind of mist or veil, — indeed, this second record refers to itself as the result of a mist, — as a mental cloud which obscures the divine light, and which must be rent or dispelled in order that the light of spiritual Truth may again come to human consciousness, to human understanding.
Progress of Salvation
The Scriptures narrate how, at various crises in humanity's history, a saving thought found a hearing in some advanced mentality, through which as a channel it appealed to the people of its time, and in a measure awakened them out of ignorance and darkness to a better state of thought, thus, as it were, thinning and brightening the clouds of material sense which obscured their view of God as divine Spirit, and of the spiritual creation.
Thus Noah, at one crisis, saved a remnant of the people from utter destruction. Later Abraham through his sense of fidelity and obedience, turned from idolatry of the worship of matter, to the worship of the one invisible God and became the father of a nation through which spiritual development could advance on the basis of monotheism.
Then followed Jacob, who wrestled with material sense and overcame it, and in consequence was given the new name of Israel; then Joseph, who was able to bless his enemies; then Moses, who was able to separate good from evil and give his people the moral law for the first time in human history; later prophets, who perceived and announced successive steps out of the dark materialism of their time into a clearer state of thought where spiritual light unfolded.
Finally, a mentality was developed of such exceptional purity and spirituality that actual communion with God was possible, of so high an order as to be manifested in the spiritual conception and in the birth of the immaculate Jesus. Here was a complete rift in the mental clouds, through which God and His appearing to humanity were seen clearly, resulting in what is commonly known in human history as the birth of Jesus the Christ, which means the coming of the Christ-idea to the world.
Jesus and Christianity
Christ Jesus came, then, as an unfoldment to the human consciousness, a rift in the mental clouds, which clearly revealed the divine light. It was thus that he was "sent" by God, just as the sunlight is sent when it comes directly from the sun into a room as the shades are lifted. It is evident that the infinite God has always been ever-present, but it required much clarification of consciousness to bring this fact to human apprehension.
Christ Jesus was therefore God's expression, His reflection, His manifestation. Indeed, he was His representative on earth, telling mortals of the truth of being and endeavoring to awaken them, through teaching and healing, to the recognition of the false nature of this material, evil existence and to the understanding of the true nature of spiritual, divine existence, the supremacy of spiritual power and the perfection of God's man. This spiritual, right consciousness enabled Jesus to demonstrate this truth of being for all time, and thereby to overcome the Adam and Eve belief.
Jesus' three years' ministry began the establishment of his religion. His disciples and followers continued his work so that for three hundred years Christianity grew in spite of the most intense opposition from both orthodox church and state.
To be accounted a Christian in those early days meant to have that faith in God which Jesus taught; it meant to recognize and acknowledge Christ Jesus rightly, to demonstrate spiritual power, and to overcome all interfering material demands. In a word, it meant actually to live a Christly life. Gradually, however, Christianity became more popular, and the Christians grew to be a potential political power and agency. The Emperor Constantine, observing this, adopted Christianity and made it a state religion, thus winning the greatly extended influence and support which he desired.
This occurred about three centuries after Jesus' crucifixion. During those years spiritual healing was practiced quite generally by the Christians. After that period, the healing activities lessened until they practically disappeared. To be accounted a Christian, from that time on, was simply a matter of ceremonial baptism, and the acknowledgment of a creed; the ability to demonstrate spiritual power was no longer considered essential.
The Christian religion had become a thing of form. The spirit of Christianity was apparently lost.
Although the clouds of material sense had rolled back sufficiently to let the divine sunlight of Jesus' coming appear, yet the world's hatred of Christianity, its hatred of spirituality, again obscured this light, once more hiding it by the mental clouds of dogma and ritualism
Seed of Truth Immortal
The seed of spiritual truth, however, which was sown by Jesus and by his disciples and followers during those early years, possessed immortal life, and like yeast it leavened human consciousness. After several centuries this truth again appeared, in flashes as it were, through a few mentalities spiritual enough to feel its power and see its light, in spite of the aggressive materialistic doctrines which were aimed at the suppression of its spirit, together with intense persecution. These spiritual thinkers aided greatly in preparing the thought of the world for the spiritual awakening, the reformation, which shortly followed.
Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Calvin, John Knox, and other reformers, were clear and courageous correctors of wrong teaching, bringing the Bible, God's Word, to all the people. These reformers were like rays of light breaking through the clouds and shining in the mental darkness, illuming that darkness with the light of spiritual Truth.
A number of later reformers and other Protestants sought refuge in the north of Ireland. Persecution continued, however, and after their providential deliverance from the relentless siege of Londonderry in 1689, which was endured with unwavering faith, they came to America as pioneers, hoping here to enjoy both religious and political freedom. They established their homes under great difficulties.
Of a later generation of these courageous, God-fearing pioneers, there was born in the town of Bow, New Hampshire, in the year 1821, a child endowed with the same sturdy religious qualities. The mother, a woman of deepest spirituality, believed in the truth of the Scriptures and in the power of God to a remarkable degree.
The little child was Mary Baker, wonderfully gifted and very receptive of spiritual ideas. Her mother talked with her a great deal of spiritual things, and from childhood she had many unusual spiritual experiences. She was a constant reader and a deep thinker, and when joining the church of her parents at about the age of twelve, she refused to agree to certain doctrinal points, for she had already gained an understanding of the Bible in advance of the theological teaching of her time.
As she advanced in years and passed through many bitter trials, there developed in her mentality such a clarified, spiritual quality that finally the light of divine Truth broke through her consciousness as a discovery because she was ready, able, and willing to hear this Truth, to be receptive of the spiritual idea, and to obey its demands.
The main points of her discovery are that God is infinite Mind and that "there is none beside him;" that man is God's spiritual idea, not a corporeal mortal; that real being is wholly spiritual, not material. This discovery was to her the complete disappearance of the clouds of material sense, of the belief of matter as an entity, which made possible the revelation of the full radiance of infinite spiritual reality. Only on the basis of the unreality of matter could infinity be seen by her, or can it be discerned by anyone to-day. Since this revelation thus includes infinity, absoluteness, and allness, it is final and complete: hence there can be no other, for there is nothing more to be revealed. There remains only the possibility of increased spiritual understanding of infinite Truth, and this is the work of eternity.
We see, then, that the appearing of divine Truth on earth from the time of Adam to the revelation of Christian Science, came through individuals whose advancing thought could perceive Truth, and progressively grasp a higher sense of spiritual reality. This gradually lessened the obscuring mental darkness until it was finally dispelled. Divine Truth has been forever at work, but there could be no response without receptivity.
Jesus once said to his disciples that he had much to tell them but that they could not bear it at that time, and he promised to send the Comforter in his name, who would reveal all Truth. This Comforter is Christian Science, the reappearing of the Christ as the impersonal messenger coming through the clouds, as prophesied, and in "a little book," as also prophesied, establishing the whole Truth.
Many devout, spiritually minded persons perceived divine light, caught glimpses of spiritual truth during the period of this transforming of consciousness just considered. But Mrs. Eddy was the only one who received the full light, who remained at the task of working out the significance of this light, and who reduced her discoveries to the basis of a demonstrable Science.
Now that we see that Mrs. Eddy was the divinely logical mouthpiece for this revelation, it may be interesting to consider briefly a few points in her early history which led to the discovery and to the establishment of the Christian Science movement.
Mrs. Eddy, as a child, had been taught by her mother that God could and would heal the sick. She learned to believe implicitly in the Bible teachings and in the supremacy of spiritual power, and she never lost this conviction.
For when trouble came upon her, through, the loss of her dearly beloved mother, her husband, the subsequent plot to take her child, and later through domestic unhappiness, poverty, and invalidism, she still clung closely to the Scriptures, hoping for an explanation of the Bible healing. She carefully investigated many curative systems and looked into anything that promised to explain how the so-called miracles of the Bible were performed, but she found nothing to satisfy her search.
Finally, she met with an accident which the physician, who had been called in by her friends, declared would prove fatal. This happened on a Thursday evening. She remained unconscious until the next morning, when she refused to take the medicine that had been left, and lifted her heart to God. Three days later, which was Sunday, a clergyman and other friends called after church to inquire as to her condition and found her so ill that they despaired of her life. Mrs. Eddy requested them to leave her room and, taking up her Bible, she opened it, her eyes falling upon the account of Jesus' healing of the palsied man, as given in the ninth chapter of Matthew. While reading this she realized that the healing which was done in Jesus' time could be repeated now.
Her thought rested upon God and there dawned upon her the healing truth of the ever-present Christ. She caught a glimpse of the fact that Life is Spirit, the only real existence, and was lifted above the physical conditions to a high spiritual plane of consciousness. She arose from her bed, dressed herself, and walked into the room where the friends were awaiting the expected sad news. Imagine their astonishment when they saw Mrs. Eddy enter the room, completely restored to health! They naturally inquired how she was healed and she replied that she could not tell them then, but hoped to be able to do so some time.
Mrs. Eddy was deeply impressed by her healing and by the spiritual exaltation which she experienced at that time. She felt that she must find out how this healing was done for she knew that it was wholly spiritual and differed entirely from the results of any healing system which she had ever before heard of or investigated. Withdrawing from society, she devoted the next three years to a careful, prayerful study of the Bible, seeking an understanding of Jesus' works. During this search there gradually unfolded to her receptive consciousness the divine Principle of scientific Christian healing, which she calls "the great curative Principle — Deity" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 25), and which she explains as infinite, divine Mind.
Demonstration and Activities
After making her discovery of the true nature of God as infinite Mind, and of the healing effect of this divine Mind upon the human mind and body, she applied this healing Principle of her revelation in cases of disease, deformity, and many incurable conditions, and did much marvelous healing, most of it instantaneously. Thus she not only made the discovery but demonstrated it — proved it to be true. While the cures she wrought aroused some astonishment, a number of years elapsed after she began this healing work before she found a few persons who wanted to know how the healing was done. This was in the early seventies. These she taught. Her students thus learned to do the healing work, and the Cause of Christian Science began to grow.
Several years later, in 1875, Mrs. Eddy published her epoch-making textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" — a truly marvelous achievement when one understands the attending circumstances. It is of interest to note that she was always a very close student of this book and pondered it daily. Indeed, it was her lifelong study. She made frequent alterations and revisions for the purpose of improving her presentation of the subject, but the fundamentals of her discovery and revelation always remained the same.
Mrs. Eddy at first conducted private meetings, organized an Association of her students, and gave public addresses until the need of a church organization became apparent. In 1879 she founded the church in Boston, Massachusetts, known as the "Church of Christ, Scientist," the first Christian Science church in the world. Later, branch organizations were formed in other cities, as persons were healed and became interested.
This Boston church in 1892 was reorganized as The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and, as The Mother Church, it became the central church of the denomination.
From one student in the early seventies, and one church in the year 1879, the growth has been so great that in June, 1927, there were officially listed about nine thousand practitioners, and around twenty-three hundred churches and societies.
Mrs. Eddy's Leadership
Because Mrs. Eddy was the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and because she alone established the movement and inaugurated its institutions and policies, and especially because of her demonstrated understanding of Christian Science, she naturally became the human Leader of the Christian Scientists. Those of her students and followers in the early years who recognized her as such were deeply appreciative of her work and were glad and grateful for her teachings, her advice, and her admonitions. Those who refused to recognize her as a teacher sent from God and a safe Leader drifted away from her. Some started mental healing methods which were antagonistic to Christian Science, and still are. Refusing to be obedient to the revealed Truth she taught, they naturally failed to grasp or to be saved by this Truth and consequently became her enemies.
Those who claim to have a new or a higher revelation, who claim to have an improvement on Mrs. Eddy's teachings, through an interpretation based upon their own concepts instead of upon a correct understanding of Mrs. Eddy's statement of her discovery, thereby prove that they do not properly grasp Christian Science and have not demonstrated it. Otherwise they would not be looking for something outside of this revelation of infinity, but would be spending their time endeavoring to gain an understanding of infinite Truth as already revealed, and applying it. No one can possibly understand Christian Science in its infinite fullness and completeness without a right estimate of its Discoverer and Founder and of her work. Hence the need of emphasizing this point.
A clear distinction should always be made between Christian Science, as revealed through Mrs. Eddy and established by her, and what is often called Christian Science, but which differs from it fundamentally.
In later years while appreciating the loyalty of her earnest followers, Mrs. Eddy recognized the fact that there was too much dependence upon her personality. Therefore she repeatedly and emphatically requested and urged her followers to look to her teachings for guidance instead of to herself. She saw that the strength of her Cause and the successful growth of the students depended upon the degree in which they demonstrated her teachings and made them their own through understanding and living, and the extent to which they rose above all personal dependence.
After Mrs. Eddy left the earth, her students and followers were compelled to depend solely upon her teachings, for they could no longer appeal to her personally. They then saw, as never before, that Mrs. Eddy's teachings were complete and supplied every need. Indeed, they saw that she was still the human mouthpiece of her revelation, not only telling them, through her writings, what the fundamentals of Christian Science include, but also through these same writings giving advice and admonition regarding their application to every individual human need, and to every condition or contingency that might arise in the movement.
Christian Scientists, therefore, recognize that Mrs. Eddy, speaking through these writings, is still their Leader — a personal Leader, though without the belief of material personality, even as Christ Jesus, though not present in the flesh, is still our Lord and Master, our Way-shower and our Saviour, still the Christian's ideal.
Just as in the early days many strayed from her teachings through the seductive arguments of personal opinion and leadership, so in later years others who craved a leader other than Mrs. Eddy have likewise strayed from the path of spiritual, scientific, and safe progress as marked out by Mrs. Eddy for the benefit of her followers. And there is still danger from this temptation.
But nothing that malice or ignorance may attempt to do can touch Mrs. Eddy in the estimation of her true followers, because they have proved for themselves the truth of her teachings sufficiently to be convinced of the spiritual authority of these teachings. Nor can misrepresentation ever shake her position before the world, which is already aware of the value and rightness of Christian Science.
A great admirer of her work, a man of standing and affairs, said of her years ago, "Time is her ally." How true this is, for each day adds to the honor and esteem in which she is held by well-informed people.
The Mother Church
The position of The Mother Church in the Christian Science movement, together with its relation to the branch churches and societies, needs to be clearly seen in order that its Messianic purpose can be rightly appreciated. Mrs. Eddy prepared the By-laws of The Mother Church with great care. They were not provided in advance of the needs they were formulated to meet, but were the result of experience. She has written regarding them, "They sprang from necessity, the logic of events, — from the immediate demand for them as a help that must be supplied to maintain the dignity and defense of our Cause" (Church Manual, p. 3). These By-laws were proposed to the Board of Directors, adopted, amended, removed, published, or not published by them, just as Mrs. Eddy's wisdom, inspired by prayer and spiritual demonstration, dictated. At the same time she required and expected of all the members loyal support of the provisions of the By-laws with individual, spiritual demonstration of the church as "the structure of Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 583), so defined in our textbook.
We see, then, that The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, which was inaugurated and established by Mrs. Eddy herself, is still governed by her through the By-laws in her Manual, and is the church in which the Christian Science movement is safely anchored.
The Branch Churches
Owing to geographical limitations it is not possible for all Christian Scientists to attend one church. For this reason, Mrs. Eddy made provision for local branch churches. She saw that, since these local organizations were, of necessity, local demonstrations, they must have a purely democratic form of government, not one like that of The Mother Church.
The connection of these branches with The Mother Church is of special interest. Mrs. Eddy provided that a certain number of members of each branch shall be members of The Mother Church, thus establishing a metaphysical relationship. She also provided for a Lesson-Sermon, composed of selections from the Bible and correlative passages from the Christian Science textbook, to be prepared by a Bible Lesson Committee in Boston and to be read by two Readers at the Sunday services in The Mother Church, as well as in all branch churches and societies in the world.
She further provided that the Readers of all branch organizations shall be members of The Mother Church and thus be amenable to the provisions and discipline of its By-laws. Thus governed, these Readers are official mouthpieces through whom this authorized Lesson-Sermon is given out.
This definite relation, or union, of branch and vine metaphysically extends The Mother Church throughout the world, notwithstanding the fact that these local organizations are individual and self-governed.
The appreciation of this worldwide spiritual extension or representation of The Mother Church is a point of vital importance in understanding Mrs. Eddy's great Cause and must be obtained by Christian Scientists in order that their efforts to further this Cause may be successful.
Christian Scientists recognize membership in The Mother Church as identifying them with the movement, while membership in a branch provides for necessary and progressive local activity.
Teachings of Christian Science
The teachings of Christian Science on which the movement is founded, which constitute the basis of its practice and promises and which, together with their application, have been the cause of its tremendous growth, are clearly set forth in the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy has also written other books, all of which emphasize, elucidate, and amplify these teachings in a variety of forms.
Anyone can learn exactly what Christian Science teaches by reading and studying these books, especially with the use of the two Concordances, which greatly facilitates this study. Consequently there is no need for misunderstanding or controversy, for the teachings are plainly stated and, what is very important, Mrs. Eddy's own interpretation of her teachings can thus be learned. It is only in this way that the revelation can be seen free from misinterpretation.
On account of the necessary brevity of this presentation of the subject, it must suffice to call attention to the fact that Christian Science is based fundamentally upon God. Consequently we need to consider for a moment what Christian Science teaches regarding God. Mrs. Eddy defines God as follows: "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence" (Science and Health, p. 587).
The word Principle is here employed as one of the synonymous names or terms for Deity. We find this thought frequently in the Bible, for it speaks of God as creator, as "just and right," as governor, judge, lawgiver, thus defining Him as basis, foundation, cause, origin, and so forth, for this is divine Principle.
It is not a difficult step from Principle to I AM, the name God is recorded to have given Himself in answer to Moses' inquiry of Him. This, together with God's acknowledged almightiness and infinity and the frequent records of the voice of God to patriarchs, prophets, and others, surely indicates God to be Mind, the infinite intelligence — omniscience.
Spirit is the name for Deity which is used perhaps more than any other in the Bible. This term makes plain His omnipresence and allness, and that the divine creation is wholly spiritual, for only immaterial substance, Spirit, is indestructible, eternal, infinite, consequently the only real substance of which all real things are made.
All Christendom is familiar with the God of Truth, who is Life, as the Bible teaches. Christian Science reaffirms this teaching and demonstrates the omnipotent, eternal actuality, which divinely really is.
Finally, the greatest definition of God in the Bible is contained in the repeated declaration, made by St. John — "God is love" (I John 4:16), the tender, sustaining, guiding Father-Mother; all-good, all-wise, all-harmonious, thus completing the perfect correlation with the Bible of Mrs. Eddy's scientific definition of God's nature and character.
So also do the teachings of the Bible and of Christian Science coincide regarding the real man, made in the "image and likeness" of this God, according to the first chapter of Genesis, not made of dust, as recorded in the second chapter; also regarding the real universe which God created, saw, and pronounced "very good," according to the first chapter of Genesis, not evil, as recorded in the second chapter.
Christian Science Healing
The account of Jesus' life and works, as given in the New Testament, shows that he attributed the healing results he obtained to the power of God. Indeed, Jesus' healing was done to call attention to divine power and to awaken the sufferer to a right belief and faith in God, the first step in salvation and redemption. Christian Science is doing this through its teaching and healing, and surely this evidence of the presence and power of divine Truth and Love is greatly needed throughout the world.
Christian Science is the Science of Christianity, namely, the exact, systematized, demonstrable knowledge of the Christ-teachings and their application to human redemption, bringing to mankind moral, mental, and physical healing.
Since the healing of sin, disease, and all other earthly misery is an essential part of human salvation, and since Christian Science brings about this healing through the scientific application of this revealed Christ-principle, let us consider this question for a moment, for it involves some points that are much misunderstood.
While it is true that in Christian Science the healing is done mentally through a form of prayer, it is not true that the healing is accomplished through mental suggestion or will-power. It is also falsely believed by some that Christian Science heals only cases of nervousness, hysteria, or slight indispositions which nature would take care of, or cases of which it might be said they "would get well anyway." While it is quite true that much suffering of this character has been healed, it is not true that this constitutes the larger part of the work done. It is a matter of record, supported by indisputable proof, that Christian Science has healed innumerable cases of organic, structural, and malignant disease which had been so diagnosed by reputable physicians. It is the healing of serious and critical cases which proves conclusively the efficacy of Christian Science as a remedial agency. Many have been healed of diseases of a character which puzzled the diagnosticians, and many from ailments associated with immoral or unethical conditions.
Thousands of business men and women have received help in their business troubles, complications, and resulting ills, and their activities have in a greater degree come under the government of divine Principle, under the ruling of honesty, justice, and so forth. Thousands of discordant homes have been restored to harmony through the overcoming of the appetite for liquor and other stimulants, the overcoming of jealousy, impatience, misunderstanding, anger, passion, and so on.
Diseases resulting from so-called hereditary laws, from laws of occult influences and evil purposes, which it is obvious that drugs and surgery cannot possibly heal, have in numerous instances yielded to the Christ-power of true Christian Science work, and it is evident that the power of divine Truth and Love alone can heal such cases.
Christian Science healing may be demonstrated and will be differentiated from all forms of so-called mental healing, when the following points are understood: first, that it has a divine foundation and results from the operation of divine Mind and not human will, nor hypnotism in any form; second, that it is based upon absolute spiritual reality, the infinity of Mind, Spirit, Truth, Love, and the perfect nature of the ideas which constitute real being; third, that it is predicated upon the unreality of all which is unlike perfect spiritual being, namely, the unreality of matter, evil mind, mortal law and power, which constitute so-called material existence, or the "Adam-dream"; fourth, that it is fundamentally a corrective process, as Jesus intimated when he said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
When Christian Science makes it possible for this revealed Truth to come to our consciousness through understanding, it enables us to begin to recognize as unreal much that was formerly believed to be real; then it teaches us how to apply the divine Truth to this human error, which naturally corrects the error, and thus, through the brightness of His coming, harmony is established on a spiritual basis.
Achievements and Promises
The achievements of Christian Science, during its comparatively brief history, have been so widespread in their effects, so wholesome in their influences, so elevating in their teachings, that these results and their part in the world's redemption cannot be adequately estimated.
Many who have been healed were awakened to a better sense, which made it possible for them to begin to know God aright, to understand and love the Bible as never before. It is noticeable among faithful Christian Scientists that they have higher ideals, ambitions, motives, and desires than before they knew of Mrs. Eddy's teaching. This quickened thought has not only a more ethical character, but has an actual spiritual quality which only the love of God and Christ Jesus can bestow.
In the last three chapters of the Revelation of St. John, we read of the reign of a thousand years with Christ, commonly called the Millennium. It is recorded that the "dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan" (you will recall the talking serpent of the Adam and Eve record, which is now become the dragon), is bound for a thousand years by "an angel come down from heaven." The account next describes the subsequent loosing of Satan, his further attempt "to deceive the nations," and his final and complete destruction. Then we read of the opening of "the book of life," of "a new heaven and a new earth," the glorious state of existence when God reigns through Christ, and when He "shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." In that day, we read, "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
This condition of perfect happiness, of righteous government, and the brotherhood of man, in which holiness is triumphant in human relations throughout the world, has usually been thought of as a heavenly place to be reached after what is called death, instead of as a heavenly state to be experienced in consciousness to-day. Mrs. Eddy explains this important point very clearly in her inspired exegesis of these chapters of the Apocalypse.
A Present Millennium
Those who have even begun to understand the works of our Master, Christ Jesus, during his ministry on earth, can readily see that if his teachings were rightly understood and strictly obeyed, which Christian Science now makes possible, there would be no more sickness, sin, misery, nor death upon earth, for the "former things" would have "passed away" in this reign of Christ.
This mission of Christian Science, lifting the thoughts of mortals out of sin and its sequence of suffering, turning the hopes and desires of men toward God and His Christ, is being fulfilled among us. One after another of earth's weary ones is finding peace and harmony where formerly were fear and discord. The Millennium comes individually, to him who sees the vision of a possible new heaven and new earth, and this working of God with us "to will and to do of his good pleasure" will spread until all God's children are conscious of His Kingdom on earth. Then will the mission of Christian Science and its Leader be fully understood.
Blessed are those who have already begun to see the vision which Mrs. Eddy saw and which Christian Science brings into human experience.
"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." (Science and Health, pp. 573, 574).