Christian Science: The Science of Salvation (2)

 

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

 

All thoughtful people must admit that humanity's greatest need today is deliverance from the evils of this world, its sin, sorrow, suffering, sickness, mortality, and infidelity.

When we note the misery and wretchedness that still exist all about us, the distress and defeat pertaining to every walk and vocation of life, and the prevalent bondage to evil and materiality, it is very evident that humanity's need calls for something better than it has hitherto known, namely, that effectual apprehension of Scripture teaching which promises deliverance from disease and salvation from sin.

 

The Promise of Salvation

So important was this in the mind of our blessed Saviour Christ Jesus twenty centuries ago that he willingly endured the untold agonies of Gethsemane and the cross in fulfilling his mission of bringing deliverance, this salvation, to mankind. The Bible declares that Christ Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and the record of his life shows that he did destroy sin, disease, and death, that he taught his followers so to do, saying, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," and that for about three centuries they demonstrated the truth of their master's teachings by doing these wonderful works.

The Bible declares that he came to bring full salvation from all evil. If we think for a moment what this world would be with this mission of our Saviour fulfilled in it, with all men living in accordance with his teachings and demonstrating them, and thus with all sin and misery removed from human experience (which would be an inevitable result), we would realize the great blessing such a salvation would bring, and how far short we have come in availing ourselves of the opportunities the Master labored and suffered to secure us; then we would have a full salvation here and now, even as the Bible declares, "Behold, now is the day of salvation." There must be some cause for this failure, this misunderstanding of the Bible teachings, and general neglect thereof, and we shall be interested to learn what Christian Science has to offer toward a solution of this great problem.

 

Salvation to be Worked Out

Christians believe that salvation is obtained through Christ. In order to be effective, salvation must have its underlying principle and its science. Science means exact, systematized, and demonstrable knowledge of facts, laws, and causes, while according to Smith's Bible Dictionary salvation means "deliverance from temporal evils and earthly destruction;" in other words, deliverance from evil, from sin, disease, and death. The science of salvation through Christ must therefore mean that demonstrable knowledge of divine Principle, the Christ Truth, which affords deliverance from all evil.

St. Paul admonishes us to work out our own salvation. This Scriptural command means far more than the common belief that salvation is assured by simply having belief or faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Such saving faith is vitally necessary, but it is only the beginning of our salvation its spiritual basis.

Then must follow the working out of our deliverance from evil on this basis, our separation from sin, from the bondage of this world, from limitation, failure, sickness, disease, death.

"Saving faith," the recognition that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and that he brought salvation to all mankind, includes not only the glad acceptance of what Jesus was and did, but of what he said we can and must do.

The disciples followed his example and did the works which he was doing, and which he commanded them to do. Their faith grew into an understanding of the Principle and law taught and demonstrated by Jesus, and they had thereby begun to work out their salvation from sin, disease and death. This same teaching and demonstration is available to all today, and our Christian duty as twentieth century disciples is to apply his Principle and get his results even as was done in his day and for three hundred years thereafter.

However strong a schoolboy's faith may be in his teacher, and however firm his belief that the teacher has solved or can solve any problem, the pupil will not gain the mastery of the subject without actually working it out and so gaining the understanding for himself.

If mere faith or belief in Jesus is all that is necessary in order to secure our salvation, why is the Bible so full of instructions, admonitions, and commands as to our part in the overcoming of evil; and why are so many promises in Revelation made to "him that overcometh," especially "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son"? (Rev. 21:7)

Working out our own salvation means to secure the mastery over the ills of this world and their causes, to destroy them by the demonstrable knowledge of God received through Christ Jesus, and to establish harmony, health, happiness, in everyday life. Hence our salvation is not fully worked out until we have dominion over all discord and everything that causes it. This necessarily includes dominion over matter and its laws, to which we are in such bondage, dominion over evil and its sensation, sin and sorrow, dominion even over death and its terrors. It means to attain to perfect harmonious living, to bring about God's kingdom on earth.

 

Essentials of a Saving Power

What are the essentials or requirements of a power that is to free humanity from its misery? Obviously it must be a power that is able to reveal the cause of this misery and then to destroy that supposed cause. It must be a power that will destroy evil, all sin and sickness. It must be able to make mankind honest, just, loving, intelligent. This means that it must not only supply the Principle and rules for right living, but it must make it possible for men to know and put into practice these rules and to overcome the opposing power or influence that hinders man's effort to progress. It must deliver man from all evil and bring him into the consciousness of good through spiritual understanding.

The mastery of evil is therefore the next step to be considered. This involves the nature and character of evil, and that we may analyze evil intelligently, let us first review briefly what Christian Science teaches regarding the essential nature and character of good or God, of that which is real and true about God, man, and the universe.

 

Definition of God

Christian Science declares that God is what the Bible defines Him to be, namely, the Infinite One. Says Moses, "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord," "there is none else beside him." Says St. Paul, "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Says the psalmist, "His understanding is infinite."

God, being infinite, must partake of the nature and character of infinity or allness. He can know no limitation of any kind, whether it be of time, space, knowledge, or power. He is therefore omnipresent, everywhere present, the infinite, the absolute, the only real presence.

He is also omnipotent, as the revelator declares, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Omnipotent means the one infinite power, and hence the only real power.

He is omniscient, the all-wise, all-knowing, the infinite intelligence, and hence the only real consciousness.

The Bible also declares that God is Spirit. He is the one infinite and only real Spirit. He is the one infinite and only real creator, the divine creative Principle, the basis, foundation, cause, origin, of all real life, action, growth, development, and power.

Hence He is the one infinite and only real Life or Principle of being. He is the self-existing, self-creating, self-maintaining Truth, the great I AM, the being "which is, and which was, and which is to come."

Above all, as St. John declares, "God is love." Thus, according to the Bible, He is the one infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent Love. Christian Science thus identifies the divine Principle, intelligence, substance, as Love.

 

The Real Man and Universe

The Bible also declares that man was made in the image and likeness of this infinite being, that he partakes of His nature and character. Hence the real man, God's idea, must be like his Father, spiritual, intelligent, harmonious, perfect, immortal, forever governed by his divine Principle.

Furthermore, the universe created by God must also be like its creator, must express His nature and character, and since God is the infinite Spirit, the real universe, His manifestation, must be spiritual. It must comprise the infinite ideas of this infinite divine Mind, forever unfolding and appearing in the perfect harmony of divine Science, governed by the perfect law of divine Love, and expressing the indestructible substance of Spirit.

The kingdom of heaven is the realm over which this God reigns; it is where this man dwells, and where this universe is forever embraced in the consciousness of God, good. Here divine Principle governs all in justice and right, divine Mind expresses all its ideas in perfect intelligence and harmonious action. Here divine Life is reflected in perfect living, for divine Love, supreme over all, inspires all thoughts, motives, and desires. Hence it is the realm of the consciousness of spiritual harmony. Jesus said repeatedly, "The kingdom of God is within you," it is therefore not a place, but a state of mind or consciousness.

 

The Nature of Evil

Thus Christian Science shows that whatever is real and divine is infinite, perfect, eternal, and spiritual; for in no other way can we conceive of the infinite God and His infinite expression.

Now we can see that all that is evil is unlike God. It is limited, destructible, discordant, mortal; in other words, it is God's opposite. Christian Science thus shows that evil can have no actual place in the infinity and allness of the divine being and His infinite manifestation, hence it must have its seeming place outside of the realm of Spirit. This suppositional existence is in the mortal or, as St. Paul names it, the carnal mind. It is a belief of the absence of good. As darkness is the absence of light, so evil is a negative condition, not an entity. To illustrate: Suppose a person were earnestly to believe that two times two make five. This belief would exist solely in the consciousness of the believer. It would have no actual existence, for the simple reason that two times two do not make five, and the belief that they do is untrue, hence non-existent, except as a false belief.

 

Evil Not Real

If evil were real it would be a quality or condition of Truth, and as Truth by its very nature is indestructible, evil would be indestructible, the hope of our salvation our deliverance from it would be lost, and the mission of our Saviour would be futile.

But since evil has no existence in God's universe, it is destructible, it can be corrected, and we therefore have hope of our salvation, and we are made sure that the Bible promises will be fulfilled, that all evil will be destroyed, and that, when we come to know enough, we shall enter into our heritage as the children of God.

When we see that evil has no divine Principle, no divine law, and therefore no real power, we can see that it has no divine authority, we can begin to realize our freedom from bondage to its falsity.

 

Evil Must Be Overcome

Those who indulge in evil simply prove that they believe in the reality of evil and in its power. Only those who cease sinning demonstrate the unreality of evil and the supremacy of good over evil.

Jesus said of evil, "he is a liar, and the father of it," and then he proceeded to solve the problem of evil in the only way by which it can be solved, namely, by denying and destroying it. Christian Science enables us to see that evil is a false mental state, and that it is destroyed through Christ, through divine Truth coming to human consciousness.

 

Salvation through Mind

In working out our salvation we must see that salvation or deliverance from evil is a mental process, takes place in mind, and is a transformation through Mind.

The Bible declares that "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

All will admit that evil is primarily mental; that evil aims and purposes, all misjudgment, hatred, envy, jealousy, are mental, and that the correction of these mental conditions must be mental, through education and experience, the awakening and establishing of right thought. Therefore the healing of sin is mental.

If law is mental the supposed law of disease must be mental. Therefore such wrong law can be altered, corrected, and repealed by the law of Truth and right, the law of God. A law that results in discord, disfigurement, disease, cannot be a law of right or good, hence cannot be a law of God. Such a law therefore has no inherent power and no Principle, it is indeed no law but only a false claim of law.

We are all familiar with the physical effects of fear, anger, and other strong emotions. Such effects having a mental cause obviously can be healed mentally, and Christian Science teaches that all disease, whatever its name or nature, has a mental origin and is a mental phenomenon, an experience of the mortal, material human mind, which is healed by the divine Mind.

 

The Question of Matter

This leads to the troublesome question, What shall we do with matter? The world has always resisted strongly the idealistic teaching of the supremacy of Spirit over matter, which is found everywhere in the Bible.

In "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 25) Mrs. Eddy says: "During twenty years prior to my discovery I had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause; and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty that all causation is Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon."

The world hesitates to admit that matter is only a mental phenomenon, because such admission refutes matter's fundamental claim to be substance and life. Especially is mortal thought disinclined to consider that the divine Mind and its ideas alone are real and that human phenomena are merely projected human concepts, because this means that a large part of what the human mind has believed to be true must be classed as false.

One of the leading objections to the Bible today is that many of its statements are visionary and impractical; in fact, the endeavor has been made to discredit Bible records of spiritual demonstration and to explain them materially, or flatly deny their reliability.

 

Matter and Evil Inseparable

Christian Science enables us to see that evil and what is termed matter are indissolubly associated, for we cannot conceive of evil in any form, whether as sin, misery, disease, or mortality, that is not in some way caused by, dependent upon, or associated with matter. As they are thus inseparably connected, being interdependent, it is manifest that we cannot master evil without overcoming the belief in matter. This immediately raises the question as to the nature of matter, a question which has puzzled the ages. Neither philosophers, physical scientists, nor religionists have been able to explain it. They have neither understood it nor known what to do with it. Belief in the stability of its laws has practically interdicted the acceptance of the record of those wonderful demonstrations of spiritual power commonly called miracles, since they are altogether incomprehensible on a matter basis, and this has been the primal cause of the marked increase of agnosticism and infidelity among physical scientists and other thoughtful people.

 

Matter a Sense-Impression

One of the world's foremost physical scientists once said, as he laid his hand on a table: "The only evidence we have of the existence of this table is the impression it makes upon us through force of some kind." The most advanced physicists and philosophers admit substantially that matter is only objectified sense-impression. The physical scientists have made radical changes in their theories regarding matter, and they now practically unite in declaring that matter is a form of energy and that the atom is an aggregation of electrical corpuscles called electrons.

It is therefore conceded that matter is not the indestructible substance it has been believed to be, but is the way substance appears to the physical sense. Material objects may be defined as objectified mental impressions, and since material sense is unreliable and untrue, these impressions are falsities only, that is, counterfeits of reality. What is the true nature of substance, or what is back of these appearances, material sense does not and cannot determine. Only a sense that can perceive truth and reality can declare this.

Philosophers have never been able to account for matter as substance, and philosophical reasoning shows it to be impossible for matter to exist, except mentally. Hence, on this basis there is no matter, but merely sense-impression objectified.

Materialistic philosophers, psychologists, and physical scientists have never been able to do anything practical with their conclusions because they have not known what is back of material appearance. They have dealt wholly with phenomena. Not recognizing spiritual being, they still hold to matter, although the logical deductions from their discoveries point conclusively to the non-existence of what they term matter, except as a mental phenomenon.

 

Matter the Opposite of Spirit

Mrs. Eddy's great discovery had to do with the nature and character of reality and the relation of its right apprehension, the knowledge of truth, to the human problem. In it God is recognized as the infinite Spirit, and that all reality is included in Spirit and its manifestation, as we are taught in the first chapter of Genesis.

Mrs. Eddy's discernment of the omnipresence of Spirit and its law made obvious the impossibility of the presence of its opposite matter. As understood in Christian Science, matter is seen to be finite, whereas Spirit is infinite; matter is limited, Spirit is unlimited; matter is dimensional, Spirit is non-dimensional; matter is destructible, Spirit is indestructible; matter is mortal, Spirit is immortal. Being its exact opposite, matter can have no real existence in the realm of omnipresent Spirit and its infinite ideas.

Furthermore, it is only on the basis of the unreality of matter that the allness and supremacy of Spirit, God, can be maintained. If we endeavor to hold to matter as real we are trying to serve two masters who are exactly opposite in nature and character.

Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the unreality of matter was not the result of physical experimentation or philosophic reasoning. It was based on the perception of the infinity of divine Truth, than which there can be no other real or absolute basis.

 

Matter the Projection of False Sense

Christian Science shows, therefore, that matter is a mental phenomenon, a false concept of substance obtained through the physical senses, which can testify only dimensionally. It is a misapprehension of reality held by human consciousness when uninstructed by Science, an appearance instead of an actuality. It is simply an imitation or counterfeit. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned; the infinite cannot be cognized through the finite.

It is not the appearance but only the original that has power, intelligence, and substance. The manifestation of growth, action, or being, in matter is but a material concept of spiritual facts.

The objects, action, and power expressed in a "moving picture" are not in the picture and we do not associate them with the picture but with the original which the picture reproduces. Similarly life, growth, action, power, substance, law, et cetera, are not in matter, physical existence, or the material consciousness, but in divine Mind, the only cause and Principle of being, and should be so thought of.

 

Consciousness is Existence

Our conscious existence is obviously what we are conscious of. Everything that we know or see or believe, all our thoughts, acts, or experiences, go to make up our universe, our sense of existence, our consciousness. A mortal's universe is a projection of the concept of existence which he has obtained through his five senses and through the educational influences of his childhood and youth.

If we look at existence through the material senses only, existence obviously seems material, and if we do not know any better we will think it is material.

As we gain our concept of existence largely through the physical senses, it is very important that we be able to weigh and sift their testimony. We all know how deceptive these senses are. The distant house is not actually small because it seems to be so, neither does the sun move because it appears to move. So also hearing, taste, touch, and smell are all fallible. In fact, the impressions received by the senses and recorded mentally require explanation and rectification to make them coherent and intelligible.

Furthermore, we do not perceive truth through these senses. Not seeing the solar system rightly with our eyes, how can we see the truth of the solar system save through the understanding, which judges not according to the appearance.

These senses bring to our consciousness only impressions, from which we form a concept of things. If therefore the testimony of the physical senses is so unreliable and unsatisfactory it is apparent that the consciousness gained through these senses cannot be true and reliable.

Note Paul's words in II Corinthians: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Why should we continue to associate life, truth, intelligence, and substance with this human concept of existence, this false projection on the screen of materiality and limitation, this counterfeit and imitation of spiritual reality? Why can we not associate real life, substance, and being with God and His spiritual ideas, who alone are manifestly the original?

Christian Science enables us to begin to do this, and it is wonderful what a change takes place in us when we turn our thoughts from a belief of life in matter to the spiritual understanding that God is really our Life, and that we live, move, and have our being in Him, as the Bible declares that we live in Spirit, in Mind, not in matter.

When we can see existence as mental instead of physical, we take a great step onward. The next step is to learn what is true and real and thus correct our impressions and obtain a truer consciousness of existence.

 

New View-Point Necessary

As in the study of astronomy, when we first learn that the appearance of the sky from the earth is not correct, and we are taught to take a standpoint away from the earth, mentally, where we see the sun, the earth, and the other planets and their satellites in their true relation to each other, thus obtaining an intelligent concept of the solar system and understanding it, which we cannot do without the view-point away from the earth, so in divine metaphysics, conceding, as we all do, that things are not always what they seem, we are taught to take a standpoint away from matter and material sense, and so get a view of God and His creation apart from matter, through spiritual sense. Then we see them in their true relation to each other, and obtain an intelligent concept of existence. Unless we take this new view-point apart from matter, we can never rightly understand God and His creation, since we will always be confused and deceived by the erring physical senses.

Christian Science enables us to change our standpoint from a material to a spiritual basis, where we obtain a view-point from which we can begin to see all things in their right relation to each other, give all things their true value, separate the wheat from the tares, the actual from the seeming, the good from the evil; in a word, begin to overcome what is unlike God.

Mrs. Eddy writes in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 322, 531):

"When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense, and we shall perceive Christianity, or Truth, in its divine Principle."

"The human mind will sometime rise above all material and physical sense, exchanging it for spiritual perception, and exchanging human concepts for the divine consciousness. Then man will recognize his God-given dominion and being."

 

What is Mind?

We have thus far considered what salvation is, our great need of it, what the science of salvation must include and be able to do; we have seen that the process of salvation is a mental one and therefore must be pursued and practiced mentally. We have also seen that the activities of human life are all mental, that even matter and material existence are mental; that the state of our existence is determined by our mental condition, our sense of things, and that it is this human sense which needs to be enlightened.

Seeing all things as mental, having resolved them into thoughts, we can begin to deal with them mentally, or to see how this can be done, since the working out of our salvation, the mastery of evil and matter, is a mental process.

In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul also writes: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Transformation of consciousness is required.

St. Paul further enjoins upon us to let this Mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. This is the Mind which alone rightly transforms and renews our mind, which gives us a true concept of existence, a right consciousness. Let us consider at this point what Mind is, and how we can begin to attain and demonstrate the Christ Mind.

The common belief regarding mind is that it is that which thinks, feels, wills, the intellect, or the activity of the gray matter called brain. Christian Science declares that as there is but one infinite God, there can be but one infinite Mind, therefore this divine Mind is the only real Mind. Mind is the infinite mentality or consciousness, the infinite intelligence and Truth, the divine Spirit and Soul, the divine Life and Love, the divine Principle, the basis and foundation of all real being. Mind is that which is, that which expresses itself in ideas; which is quite a different concept from the supposed activity of the gray matter.

What a difference between this so-called mind, and the infinitely good, intelligent, loving, divine Mind! And how important for us to clearly distinguish, and constantly differentiate, between the divine Mind and its manifestation, and the mortal human mind and its beliefs.

 

Material Existence Not of God

Christian Science further shows that material existence is not the manifestation nor creation of this divine Mind, for it is wholly unlike it. As we have already said, its phenomena are finite, dimensional, destructible, diseased, dying, whereas the ideas of the divine Mind are infinite, non-dimensional, indestructible, harmonious, immortal. They are exact opposites. Hence material existence must be the phenomenon of a false human sense of a mentality which rests on a finite mortal basis, namely, the Adam dream, the belief of life, intelligence, and substance in matter. It is the creation recorded in the second chapter of Genesis, where the rise of the-mist (of materiality) is described.

Mrs. Eddy has called this sense mortal mind in order to distinguish it from its opposite, the immortal, real, divine Mind.

It is this mortal, material, finite mind, the false concept of existence which St. Paul calls the carnal mind, which does all the wrong thinking; which claims there is life and intelligence in matter, in which, and in which alone, occur and exist all the phenomena of evil, sin, wretchedness, disaster, disease, and death.

It is this carnal mind that needs to be put off, as St. Paul declares, in which process the human sense is transformed and renewed by the Mind that was in Christ. Our every erroneous concept must be supplanted with divine Truth in order that we may be healed and saved.

 

Process of Transformation

How is this to be done? By knowing what real Mind is, which Christian Science makes possible, we begin to detect and correct what is wrong in our sense of Mind. By knowing what real existence is, we begin to detect and correct what is wrong in our sense of existence.

Since God is Mind, this Mind is good, and its effects must always be good, never evil. As real thinking is the activity of the divine Mind, the only real thoughts or ideas are good. Thoughts which include sin, misery, disease, and mortality are not the activities of the divine Mind, hence they are not real thoughts, but simply concepts of the human mind, or human beliefs, and through right spiritual knowing they can be corrected, and what is wrong destroyed.

Having the activity of right thought, engaging in real thinking, or communion with the one infinite Truth, there appears in our human consciousness the Mind that was in Christ. Thus our spiritual illumination and transformation begins, and this must be continued day after day, in obedience to the Scriptural injunction to "pray without ceasing."

Directly the consciousness of the supremacy of good and the nothingness of evil is brought to bear upon an evil thought, the thought is destroyed, just as darkness disappears when light appears.

 

Salvation Begun

There is not a true Christian Scientist on earth today who does not joyfully and gratefully admit that the world is already a very different one to him from what it formerly was, and if this can be, with so slight an understanding of Christian Science as we have as yet, what will the world be when we all consciously reflect the Mind that was in Christ and live according thereto?

It is well to ponder this question, for so it must eventually be, even as the Bible declares. It is only with the mind of Christ that we can ever see God and dwell with Him. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." Thus it is not a place, but a state of mind or consciousness, which is to be awakened, developed, attained.

Christian Science shows that this transformation of consciousness does not and cannot take place suddenly, but that it is the result of spiritual unfoldment, the spiritualization of thought, character, and life, and Christian Science makes it possible for us all to begin this work here and now, and thus begin to experience some of the blessings which are the inevitable accompaniment of an enlightened spiritual consciousness.

 

Need of Differentiation

As the working out of our own salvation is a mental process, it is of vital importance that we distinguish clearly between the divine Mind and its activities and the human mind and its beliefs, for the Bible teaches that it is only through the Christ Mind that our salvation can be obtained.

The human mind is so filled with concepts of limitation, materiality, mortality, personality, that it is not a safe influence to use either upon ourselves or upon others, for it is too liable to be wrong.

Mental suggestion, hypnotism, will power, the endeavor of one human mind to influence or control itself or another, these are all the activities of the human mind, and subject to its limitations and evils; indeed, they are constantly being used for evil purposes. The Bible declares that we cannot obtain both sweet waters and bitter from the same fountain. Since mental suggestion, hypnotism, will power, are used for evil purposes and actually cause evil continually, they must be wholly evil, for they cannot be both good and evil. Any seeming good that may at times result from them is superficial, illusory, and dangerous. They do not express the activity of the Christ Mind, and hence they cannot be divinely authorized remedial agents.

How is it possible for any one to believe, as is sometimes claimed, that Christ Jesus healed through hypnotism, when hypnotism is the dominating activity of the carnal mind, and the Bible declares "the carnal mind is enmity against God"? How could Jesus as the Son of God use a power that is opposed to God? He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing;" "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

 

Healing Methods Contrasted

It may be well to illustrate briefly the difference between the attempt to heal through mental suggestion or hypnotism and the healing in Christian Science with the divine Mind, for Christian Science healing has been much misunderstood respecting this matter, while it very much deserves and asks only to be correctly understood.

When one person tries to heal or help another through mental suggestion or hypnotism, his endeavor is to change that person's belief from a belief in sickness to a belief in health. This is done by securing control of the patient's mentality, and making him believe what the operator wants him, wills him, or suggests to him to believe, be it good or evil.

The operator himself believes in the reality of matter and evil; he believes he has a sick man there to treat, and yet he tries to make that man believe that he is not sick. Obviously this method does not get at the root of the difficulty. It does not get at the cause of the sin or disease and destroy it; its effect is simply to produce a change of belief; it is superficial and injurious. The indulgence of the counterfeit of the divine Mind as a substitute for that Mind is a serious evil. There is neither God nor Christ in this process, no uplifting nor spiritualization of thought, no elevation to a higher plane of consciousness; the entire action is on the plane of the mortal, carnal mind, hence its danger.

 

Christian Science Healing

In Christian Science healing, the Christian Scientist stands on the spiritual foundation that God is Spirit, and His universe, including man, spiritual, all being included in the divine Mind and its perfect manifestation, the divine Life and its immortal activity, the divine Love and its forever reflection. He understands the present and eternal perfection of God's creation, which the Bible declares was finished and pronounced good "in the beginning."

He also understands the nature and character of material existence, and that the discordant conditions on earth are but the erroneous concepts, the mesmeric beliefs, the illusory phenomena of the mortal, carnal mind from which men can be and must be awakened.

He further understands the unreality of matter and evil, just as the astronomer understands that the sun does not really move and the earth is not really stationary and flat, even though it so appears; and thus he knows that man is not sick but that the patient is simply suffering from a false mesmeric belief.

He proceeds on the basis of spiritual Truth, the actuality of spiritual being, to correct the erroneous concepts in the discordant, sinning mind of the patient through the right knowing of Truth, and harmony is thus established on a spiritual and scientific basis. It is not the thought or will of the practitioner that does the healing in Christian Science, but Truth operating through a human channel. To illustrate:

 

Truth the Healing Power

Suppose you get a bill that is wrong through an error in computation. You do not endeavor to hypnotize the bill to change it through will power, or mental suggestion, neither do you endeavor to hypnotize yourself through autosuggestion to believe the bill to be different from what it is. You know that there is something wrong, and you proceed to correct it on the basis of mathematical truth, or you get some one to help you who can rectify the mistake.

The power that corrects such a mistake is not the thought or will of the mathematician. The power is inherent solely in the truth itself, the mathematical principle involved. The mathematician simply does the knowing through his cultivated mathematical understanding, and the truth which is reflected by that knowing is the power that corrects. If the mathematician had the power, he could just as well make two times two make five, seven, or anything he pleases, just as mental suggestion tries to do with the affairs of human life, anything it pleases.

In Christian Science the healing power is not the thought or will of the Christian Scientist. It is inherent solely in Truth itself, the divine Principle. The Christian Scientist simply does the knowing through his cultivated spiritual understanding, and the truth that is reflected by this knowing is the power which corrects and heals, in accordance with Jesus' statement, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

This is a cardinal feature of Christian Science healing which distinguishes it from all other methods of mental therapeutics, namely, that it is the divine Mind, and not the human mind which heals. Those who know only of the human mind sometimes believe that Christian Science healing results from the action of this mind, as in mental suggestion, hypnotism, or will power, and so they confuse it with those methods. But when we know the divine Mind, then we can see that Christian Science healing is Truth healing, wherein divine Truth and Love correct human error, and wherein human will and mental suggestion have no place any more than they have in mathematics.

 

Healing a Change of Consciousness

In Christian Science healing it is the Christ Mind alone that affects the patient's consciousness, it alone illumines and transforms apprehension, corrects the erroneous concepts, establishes harmony in consciousness, and then externalizes this harmony in health of body. This effect frequently takes place as a result of the reading of the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy's Science and Health. There have been hundreds of cases of disease healed through the reading of this book.

Such healing illustrates the fact that when spiritual Truth enters the receptive consciousness it brings about a change in consciousness and externalizes that change in a normal body. This is a totally different method from that of any other system of healing, and it is quite impossible to obtain such results from the use of non-intelligent drugs.

 

True Basis of Healing

There is no other basis on which we can understand the healing recorded in the Bible, the healing work that has been done and is being done through Christian Science, save this, that all reality is the divine Mind and its infinite manifestation, and that discordant, material existence is but an erroneous concept.

On the basis of matter as a substantive actuality, it is impossible to understand this, much less to demonstrate it. But when we can see matter for what it really is, but the projected concept of mortal mind, then we can see how Truth, the divine Mind, entering consciousness can bring about a change in consciousness and externalize that change in harmonious phenomena and right living. The effect of the divine Mind upon the human mind is always to bring about harmony, supplying what is right and needed, removing what is wrong and not needed.

Indeed, this belief in matter is the veil of the flesh that hides the Spirit, and which must be understood and overcome before spiritual consciousness and salvation can possibly be attained. Christian Science makes it possible for us all to begin to make substantial progress in this direction here and now.

 

Mrs. Eddy Loved and Honored

It is not be wondered at, indeed it is inevitable, that Christian Scientists should love the Founder of this movement for having brought to the world this Science of salvation, this demonstrable knowledge which affords deliverance from evil, this spiritual understanding of the Bible which reveals the true nature of God and the power of His Christ. There are thousands upon thousands of people in all the world who are today experiencing great blessings as a result of Mrs. Eddy's teachings, and who are demonstrating that "saving faith" which alone leads to heaven.

She is loved not only for the revelation of the demonstrable Christ Truth which is contained in her wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and her other writings, but for her consecration and devotion to the welfare of mankind. She remained steadfastly at her post of duty, and continued to instruct, guide, advise, and admonish her followers, and to lead on her great cause in its stately progress.

Those of us who have known her personally and who have had the great privilege of being under her instruction realize in some degree what an extraordinary woman she was.

Her spirituality, her deep love for God, her desire to know and do only His will and to be a faithful, consecrated follower of the Wayshower, Christ Jesus, these are the characteristics which made her such a great leader.

 

Preparedness for Mission

That Mrs. Eddy became the Discoverer of Christian Science is unquestionably explained by the fact that she was so earnest and faithful in her truth-seeking, and so responsive to the over-brooding touch of divine Love, that she was found fitted to become the channel of this great revelation.

Important discoveries in the world's development have always been made, not by accident and not by miraculous intervention, but by those who were morally and mentally equipped therefore, and whose aspiration made it possible for them to perceive the truth.

It was Mrs. Eddy's mental alertness, spiritual attainment, and earnest truth-seeking which made it possible for her to discern the spiritual idea and establish the stately goings of the Christian Science movement.

She did not simply state her discovery to the world; she first demonstrated it, and then offered it as a demonstrable Science for all mankind to profit by, and the great strength of her teachings lies in the fact that any one can prove their truth for himself.

 

Salvation Progressive

Christian Scientists are not surprised nor discouraged if they cannot at once demonstrate the fullness of this great truth, cannot immediately witness its full fruition, as some of its opponents seem to demand as a test. They realize probably more than do others the immense work that has to be accomplished before the belief in materiality, the indulgence in evil, and the effect of the world's hatred of spiritual truth are wholly overcome and spiritual consciousness fully attained. But they know from the great blessings which have already come into their lives, that by working, watching and praying, faithfully, constantly, patiently, for that Mind to be in them which was also in Christ Jesus, that spiritual attainments will follow with them, as with others, in the degree that they know God, and demonstrate that knowing in their daily lives.

 

Closing Appeal

Mrs. Eddy writes: "Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, hath elevated them to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man and his divine Principle, Love" (Science and Health, p. 46).

The stone of material sense has been rolled away, and the possible at-one-ment with Truth and Love has been demonstrated. The truth about God and man and the universe has been revealed to the human understanding, and the healing Christ is at the door of every consciousness.

No longer need we be deceived by erroneous physical sense testimony respecting sin and disease, for the possibility of intelligently and practically differentiating between what is real and what is unreal has been bestowed upon humanity.

A measure of this true understanding has already been attained by many in all lands, and when we "enter into [the] closet" of Spirit, and "shut [the] door" of matter, as Jesus said, thinking rightly about God and His reflection, realizing the spiritual fact and denying the material falsity, we shall gradually purify and spiritualize our consciousness, obtain clearer, truer, and safer views of existence, experience greater freedom and harmony, better health, improved morals, until we shall finally attain that pure consciousness which Jesus called the kingdom of heaven.

In closing, let us read Mrs. Eddy's scientific statement of being, which epitomizes the Science of salvation, and which when understood will enable any one to begin to work it out: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468).

 

[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1913.]

 

 

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