J. Hamilton Lewis, C.S. of Concord, New Hampshire
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The desire to be free from the fears that beset mankind is universal. Today we have Christian Science to show us how we can have that freedom. This Science reveals God's all-presence and all-power, and this understanding brings freedom from fear. Almost all religions agree that God is all-power, and so, being all-power, He must be the one and only cause, the source of all creation.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," gives us a complete and satisfying definition of God (p. 587): "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."
Among several definitions to be found in Webster's dictionary for the word "all" is "nothing but." So there is absolutely nothing but God, nothing but good. There is no other mind, soul, or life that exists to challenge the oneness, allness, and supremacy of God. Following out the dictionary definition of "all" as "nothing but," we find the terms for God include nothing but wisdom, nothing but love, nothing but the action of God — God being the only cause.
As we recognize God as Life, we see that all life must be the spiritual, eternal, infinite action or expression of the one Principle. Knowing God as Principle, we are aware of the all-power of God's government, of one cause and therefore one effect. And certainly God being Spirit, this only cause could create and govern only a spiritual universe, including man.
In Science and Health (pp. 465, 466) Mrs. Eddy says, "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe." The truth of man's inseparability from God was revealed to Mrs. Eddy. She saw God as the source of all being, all presence, all reality.
The all-inclusiveness of this infinite, creative Principle makes man the reflection of God. Because man is the image, reflection, of God, perfect and complete, the false and limited material concept of man is unreal and untrue. A sinning, dying mortal is not in accordance with the divinely good and perfect, and so, however real the material concept seems to be, it is only a false belief about man, an illusion of material sense.
The spiritual life and power bestowed on man makes him spiritual, not material, for Spirit could not create something alien to itself, such as matter, the exact opposite of Spirit. You may say, If man is spiritual, just what is this material man we see and feel?
Perhaps when you were a child, you believed that the sun came over the rim of the horizon in the east each morning and traveled during the day across the heavens over to the west, where it sank down out of sight. But someone in whom you had confidence in the early years of your experience told you that you were believing in an illusion, for it was the earth that was turning on its axis toward the sun each day — not the sun going around the earth. Many of you, in all probability, accepted this fact with no mental reservation. You accepted the truth, and thus, in this acceptance, you made it your own. From that day on, you never believed that type of falsity because you had accepted the truth. Later in school you learned the astronomical science which governed this phenomenon, and proved the truth for yourself.
As you learned that the appearance of the sun going around the earth each day was an illusion, so we learn from the Science of Christianity that the mortal man, whom you believe you can see and feel, who is beset with fear and sickness, sin and death, is an illusion. Mortal man is not a reality and never has been. The reality is immortal man, the spiritual expression of Spirit, God.
Christian Science accepts the statements of the Bible that God is good and is All, that He is Spirit, that He is infinite and everywhere, and that He made all that was made. It logically follows from this basis that evil must be nothing, that is, an illusion, which seems to be but is not, just like the illusion concerning the sun and the earth. You can accept these truths, too, and thus make them your own. In doing this you will lose your fears, for who would fear an illusion?
God the Author of All That Is Good
Now, why should the idea be so improbable that evil, which is totally negative, is unreal? Since the Bible declares that God is omnipotent good, the author of all that really exists, why should it appear illogical to say that evil is a deception, an illusion?
Reasoning from the premise that God is infinite Mind or intelligence, governing all by His supreme power and love, does it not logically follow that evil has no basis save in ignorance of God's law? We surely can carry the reasoning a point further, and conclude that the proper understanding and application of God's law removes this ignorance and thus destroys the supposed evidence of evil. This lead us to the fact that freedom from evil — sin, disease, and discord of every kind — is possible here and now, and this knowledge brings freedom from fear. Through the study and demonstration of Christian Science you can prove these facts for yourself.
There was a time when some people were afraid to go more than a few miles from land because they believed that the earth was flat and that if they sailed to the edge they would fall off the earth. When Columbus proved to the world that the earth was round, explorers could set out with surety, knowing that they would not fall off the earth. What a release from fear this was when ignorance and prejudice gave place to the sure knowledge of the truth.
Would you have any fears at all if you were completely sure that you and all those whom you love were indestructible? Of course you wouldn't. If you were very sure that disease or accident could not destroy you, there would be nothing of which to be afraid. The reason for fearing is found in the belief that matter and evil are real. Matter and evil are unreal because Life, God, is All. Fear is dissipated as we clearly understand that there is nothing but God and His kingdom, in which man is ever safe and secure.
Just as in the days of Columbus, when people reasoned falsely that the earth was flat, so mankind throughout the years has been accustomed to reason that life is in matter. The false sense of substance, the belief that life and intelligence are in matter and can be destroyed, is the very basis of fear.
"The scientific statement of being," found in Science and Health, declares in part (p. 468), "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter." Mrs. Eddy revealed this fundamental statement of truth concerning the nature of matter many years ago, and today natural scientists are beginning to see the truth in it. The terror generated by the belief of total destruction epitomized by the hydrogen bomb is eradicated by the understanding that God preserves all that is real and good. Because man reflects true substance, Spirit, he couldn't possibly be material. He must be spiritual and therefore indestructible.
We have just discussed the fact that God is the source of all power and includes all effect. God, then, must be indestructible, and His idea, man, must also be indestructible, for like must produce like. God is Spirit, and man is spiritual idea. Therefore, man is immortal. This indestructible and immortal man is the real you. This real man reflects the substance of God, Spirit. Understanding this brings a knowledge of complete security to mankind and shows clearly that there is no valid reason for fear.
Man's Spiritual Identity
A physical body is not your identity. If man has spiritual individuality — and he has — his identity must also be spiritual. Nothing can possibly change your identity, for your true selfhood, your real identity, is divine idea. You, as an expression of divine Love, can experience no sense of frustration, no fear, sin, sickness, loss, separation, or loneliness. These beliefs belong to the illusion called mortal man, and they are not true of you, a perfect idea of God, Love. All that is going on, all the action that is taking place, is Love reflecting itself in the loving of its ideas. Love blesses and purifies, protects and governs, for that is the true nature of Love.
A most important part of the mission of Christ Jesus was to teach us to love. Through her revelation, Mrs. Eddy has given us the understanding of God as Love, and of man as His beloved child, free forever from the burdens and fears of the belief of life in matter. Each of us can experience this freedom as he looks beyond the illusion of man as mortal and sees the real man inseparable from his creator.
Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (pp. 476, 477): "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."
Seeing man in this light is the true salvation — being aware of the perfect man now — not sometime in the future. It is the false concept of man that is the basis of fear and salvation from fear brings salvation from all error, since fear is the underlying factor of all sickness and sin. You already are the spiritual, pure, complete likeness of God, His very image, now. You always have been and always will be the beloved of the Father, because you are the loved of Love.
You experience salvation when you turn away from the false concept of man and see that the only existence man has, or has ever had, is in God. So you do not need to rise out of or into something. You are at one with God, good, now.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Mary Morse Baker was born in Bow, New Hampshire, on the five-hundred acre farm of her parents, Mark and Abigail Ambrose Baker. Mark Baker was a deacon in the Congregational church and, among many other civic duties, served as Chaplain of the State Milita. His wife was the daughter of a deacon. The tender relationship of mother and daughter living in this Christian home contributed much to Mrs. Eddy's spiritual development as a child. Mrs. Eddy, as a young girl, showed unusual interest in matters of religion. This interest was stimulated by her spiritually-minded mother, who, when Mary was twelve years of age, bade her turn to God for help when she was ill, and Mary experienced recovery through her own prayer.
While returning from a meeting of Good Templars in the winter of 1866 at Lynn, Massachusetts, Mrs. Eddy fell on an icy street and was severely injured. She was carried to a nearby residence and attended by a physician who pronounced the case fatal. The next day she insisted that she be removed to her own home, although she was considered to be in a critical condition. On the third day following the injury, having obtained little or no relief from the intense suffering caused by the fall, it was natural for her to turn to her Bible for comfort.
It is probable that she had read the Scriptural passage giving the account of Jesus' healing of the palsied man many times before, for she had been a constant student of the Bible from childhood. She turned to Matthew (9:2) and there read, "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." As she read this passage it no longer appeared to her that this healing was supernatural; rather, it was a natural manifestation of the power of God. She saw that there is one Life, Spirit, Principle; one cause, and therefore one effect. She realized that cause and effect are inseparable. Mrs. Eddy was healed when it was revealed to her that Life in and of Spirit is the only reality of existence. At this particular time and under the stress of an urgent physical need, Mrs. Eddy perceived that which she had never glimpsed before, and her healing resulted because of her clarified spiritual consciousness.
She arose from her bed, dressed herself, and went into the parlor where a clergyman and a few friends had gathered awaiting the end. They were astonished to find her perfectly healed. While she had yet to learn the Principle and establish the rules of healing, she was always in better health after that experience than she had previously enjoyed.
During the nine years following her discovery, through her prayers and consecrated study of the Bible, she proved the statements that went into the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and health with Key to the Scriptures," before the book received its first printing. She tells us in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 25): "The Bible was my textbook. It answered my questions as to how I was healed; but the Scriptures had to me a new meaning, a new tongue. Their spiritual signification appeared; and I apprehended for the first time, in their spiritual meaning, Jesus' teaching and demonstration, and the Principle and rule of spiritual Science and metaphysical healing, — in a word, Christian Science." Thus does the Bible assume its important place in the religion of Christian Science at the very outset.
During this period Mrs. Eddy discovered the spiritual laws of being and how they operate. This discovery ran counter to much that people had believed. She saw that there was an underlying Science to Christ Jesus' teachings which should explain how the healings were accomplished. She found that his teachings could be put into practice and the healings demonstrated today just as in his time. Since the truth which he taught must be demonstrated, she saw there must be a governing Principle operating with scientific certainty.
This Science was revealed to her as the Comforter. Jesus prophesied this coming when he said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16). The healings which followed her discovery proved irrefutably that this Science of Christianity is, indeed, the Comforter.
Now just what does Comforter mean to you? A comforter is one who inspires, helps, strengthens, cheers, and removes pain, trouble, grief, and fear. Every Christian Science healing is evidence that fear has been overcome through the understanding of the Comforter. And this is just what Mrs. Eddy discovered the Comforter does. She called her discovery Christian Science.
She discovered that freedom from sin, disease, and discord of any kind can be accomplished right here and now. Since her discovery many thousands of people have proved it practical, for they have been healed of all types of diseases, lives have been reformed, and discord and sorrow have been displaced by joy and happiness.
Mrs. Eddy always put God first and by being spiritually prepared through her study and understanding prayer she was chosen of God to reveal the truth of God and man to the world. She has given the full and final revelation of Truth in the textbook. Nothing can ever be added to her book, and nothing will ever be taken from it, for it is now, and for all time, complete.
On the cover of all Mrs. Eddy's writings may be found one of the most important commands Christ Jesus gave his disciples. It is: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons" (Matt. 10:8). She recognized the supreme importance of this injunction of the Master, for it summarizes both his teaching and his demonstration.
Founding and Establishment of Church
In recognizing the teaching and the demonstration of Christ Jesus, Mrs. Eddy determined to establish a church which would commemorate both the word and the work of the Master. This church would reinstate the lost element of healing which characterized the church of primitive Christianity. The Church of Christ, Scientist, therefore, is founded on the healing Principle of the Christ, Truth.
A branch of The Mother Church is established in a community as a result of the many healings that have taken place through the study of Christian Science. In gratitude those who band themselves together to form a Church of Christ, Scientist, do so in order to share the blessings they have received with others in the community.
The discovery of Christian Science and its firm establishment by Mrs. Eddy have brought freedom from fear to multitudes of people. Christian Science is understood through a study of the textbooks which are the King James Version of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy.
The last chapter of Science and Health is entitled "Fruitage" and contains one hundred pages of healings. They include the healing of rheumatism, hernia, tumors, spinal trouble, cataracts, heart trouble, cancer, consumption, rupture, deafness, alcoholism, blindness and other functional and organic difficulties, as well as of grief and fear. A number of testifiers had suffered for years and had turned for help to many physicians before coming to Christian Science. They received their healings through prayerful study of the Christian Science textbook.
One may also find carefully verified healings in The Christian Science Journal, which comes out monthly. The Journal also contains a directory of churches, including the hours of services, as well as the names of practitioners, who devote their entire time to the healing of the sick. A weekly periodical, the Christian Science Sentinel, carries the accounts of many healings. In the Sentinel may also be found the script of the program which has been presented over some eight hundred radio stations the previous week, under the title, "How Christian Science Heals." Testimonies of healing may be heard at the Wednesday evening meetings in all Christian Science churches, to which you are cordially invited.
I was most interested to hear a clergyman say at a conference we were both attending that he had often been to the Wednesday evening testimony meetings in The Mother Church, and the cumulative effect of testimony after testimony, testimony after testimony was convincing proof that Christian Science heals. He said: "You just can't get away from it. It's tremendous."
Christ Jesus Required of His Followers Only That Which He Had Proved
Mrs. Eddy recognized that Christ Jesus' injunction to his disciples to "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons" summarized both his teaching and his demonstration. But she also saw clearly that when the Master told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, he further emphasized that signs of healing would follow them that believe. She saw that in this instance he was referring not only to those to whom he was then speaking, but that his injunction extended to all those who follow his commands. He told his disciples that those who believed on him would also do the healing work which he did. Jesus' healing work was divinely natural and scientific. He taught and demonstrated the laws of God. He consistently realized the presence and power of Life, God, and he knew that those who followed his teachings could heal the sick and sinning as he did.
Christian Science differentiates between the terms Christ and Jesus. Jesus was the highest type of the perfect man that could be expressed in human form. He recognized Spirit, God, as the one creator and the Father of all.
Jesus was aware that the divine idea, Christ, is and always will be inseparable from Principle, God. This understanding made it possible for him to bring to the world the message of Truth and Love. This was his God-appointed mission. Jesus demonstrated the Christ so completely that in the thoughts of his disciples he became inseparable from the Christ, and was called Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus. Peter, when asked by the Master, "But whom say ye that I am?" responded, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:15, 16). Even in the Old Testament period, long before the time of Jesus, many wonderful healings resulted from the glorious glimpses of the Messiah or Christ which the prophets and patriarchs caught.
Jesus' understanding of the Christ demonstrated the nothingness of all beliefs of life and substance in matter. As the Way-shower he made clear to mankind that temptations and fears are mastered through the realization of man's oneness or unity with God.
The ever-present Christ, Truth, is as available today to cast out the fears of mankind as it was in the time of Jesus. The Master plainly told his disciples that he had many things to say that they could not understand but that the Comforter would come in due time when people would understand.
The Comforter is the understanding of the Christ here and now and is healing the sick, comforting the sorrowing, and reforming the sinner even as Jesus prophesied. Not only did he promise that the healing work which he did could be done by others, but that greater works would be accomplished. This divine healing is being done today through Christian Science.
A Profound Example of the Mastery of Temptation and Fears
Jesus' experience in the wilderness, in the fourth chapter of Matthew, was a profound example of the mastery of temptation and fears in their various phases. He had fasted for forty days, and was hungry, for he had abstained from all natural food during this period. Personal sense in the form of evil suggestion, or the devil, came to his thought as the temptation to turn the stones about him into bread in order to appease his hunger. He immediately rejected the suggestion that matter is substance, for he realized it was spiritual understanding, or the bread of Life, that actually sustains man, and this bread of Life is true substance.
Man is not sustained by material food, for he is spiritual, not material. Jesus knew that his existence as God's beloved Son was not dependent on matter. He knew that God lovingly and wisely supports His own creation forever in a state of absolute perfection. Therefore man does not live in matter but in Spirit. This realization that substance is spiritual, not material, freed Jesus from the belief in and the fear of lack, and this freedom enabled him later to demonstrate abundance to the multitudes when it seemed that there were but a few loaves and fishes.
Today, many people are working from this standpoint and are proving that their human needs are met as they realize that it is Spirit, not matter, that sustains life, and thus fear of lack is eliminated.
The suggestion came that Jesus could cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple and the angels would bear him up, provided, of course, that he was, as he claimed, the Son of God. This was an attempt to destroy the voice of Truth which was bringing surcease from fear and all the ills of mankind. Jesus rebuked this devilish suggestion with, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." He would not put God to any such test, for he knew that he was the Son of God, endowed with all power. He had heard, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17), just before he entered this wilderness experience. And he knew that this was the voice of his heavenly Father. Every one of us can hear the voice of our heavenly Father say, "This is my beloved Son," for John tells us, "Now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2).
A third test awaited Jesus. It was suggested to him that all the treasures of the world were his — matter could do all things for him — provided he would deny the Father who had so greatly endowed him. If he would only turn from the things of the Spirit and acknowledge that matter was power — if he would only deny God's allness — then he could have all the material riches he wished. He immediately and decisively rejected Satan completely by saying, "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Thus Jesus showed us how we can master the suggestions of evil and in doing so bring freedom from fear — fear of lack, fear of destruction, fear of a power apart from God. He proved that the human will yields to the divine as we insist that the divine will governs.
Christ Jesus required of his followers only that which he himself had proved. Throughout all his work, he turned thought away from his personality to the Principle which is the basis of his healing power. Speaking of this fact in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says (p. 136): "Jesus established his church and maintained his mission on a spiritual foundation of Christ-healing. He taught his followers that his religion had a divine Principle, which would cast out error and heal both the sick and the sinning."
Christian Scientists pray for that Mind which was in Christ Jesus. They feel that they are called upon to demonstrate spiritual healing based on the allness of good, God. In gaining the requisite understanding, they begin with the one God, and obey the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Disease a False Belief Mentally Entertained
One of the most insidious temptations that assail us today is the temptation to accept the suggestions put forth by medical campaigns for the prevention and cure of certain diseases. These drives reach the public through many of the newspapers, magazine advertising, and over the radio and television.
While these campaigns are no doubt well meant, the net result as even some physicians acknowledge, has been to develop the fear which Mrs. Eddy says is one of the main causes of disease. Christian Science teaches that the seeming cause of discord is mental, not physical. Christian Science alone can succeed in meeting these suggestions, for it shows us how to case out hatred, revenge, criticism, malice, fear, etc., which are the fertile soil for disease. Through the knowledge of the healing Christ we can rise above these mortal discords. We are immune from disease as we actively reject the falsities paraded before us. We are freed from disease through the recognition of the indestructibility of true being.
We must never see evil as a reality, for we are dealing only with false beliefs. Disease is but a false belief, mentally entertained. It surely has no existence in reality, neither could it have existence in belief or in fact or as fact. It is a negation and gains its seeming power only by suggestion.
A Young Man Completely Healed of Asthma
Let me show you how a student in a Christian Science Sunday School examined his thinking and attained freedom from the fear that disturbed him and how this healing led him on, not only to college but to his lifework.
He went to a Christian Science practitioner, stating that he had been suffering from asthma and that he feared he would be rejected for service in the Navy. He was reminded that the Manual of The Mother Church states that the first lessons to be taught pupils in a Christian Science Sunday School are the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation by Mary Baker Eddy, and the Sermon on the Mount. He had a good fundamental understanding of these requirements. He was asked to review them.
After working with him a few days, the practitioner discerned certain undesirable traits which needed correction. He lovingly pointed out to the young man that he must examine his thinking and see if he was entertaining false beliefs about himself, such as self-pity, irritation, and self-centeredness. The practitioner had noticed that his conversation was confined generally to matters of a negative nature. He was urged to rout out the false claims of self through prayer. He was told that only personal human thinking was seeming to stop the eternal unfoldment of good in his experience.
The boy earnestly applied his understanding of Christian Science.
Soon, with full confidence, he presented himself to the naval examining board and was accepted for service. The power of Love, which is seen, felt, and understood only through spiritual sense, lifted him out of the claim of asthma when he reflected more love and joy and saw his true selfhood as spiritual and perfect.
He had a happy experience at his first training station. When ordered to another station for further studies, he expressed fear and resentment for both the environment and those with whom he would have to associate. Again he asked the practitioner to pray for him. He was told that the Government was only interested in giving him the best naval training possible and he must be grateful for that instead of being resentful and fearful over the situation. He was reminded of Mrs. Eddy's statement in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 149), "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee." He was told that the Apostle John said (I John 4:18), "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." So what he needed to do was to learn the lesson Love had for him in this situation.
He was asked to study very carefully portions of the first chapter of Genesis, which are: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." He was told that since God created man in His own image and likeness and since all there is, is God being God, Love, God must love His own being and the expression of His being — man. Then the only activity going on is Love manifesting itself in love.
The young man began to use these truths, claiming the eternal birthright of dominion which God bestows on man. He found that to see his neighbor as God's idea is truly to love. The poise, calm, and buoyancy of spiritual understanding stilled the fearful, resentful thoughts.
Unexpectedly, a telegram came from a United States Senator telling him that a special examination for the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis would be available to him. Within a very short time he passed the examination, which gave him the privilege of securing the very finest education. This young man was graduated from Annapolis several years ago and is now a commissioned officer in the United States Navy.
During this past hour we have learned that a correct understanding of Christian Science brings freedom from fear.
Careful Study of Twenty-third Psalm Brings Freedom from Fear
Before concluding this lecture may I read to you the twenty-third Psalm as given to us by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 578), in which she substitutes the spiritual sense of God for the corporeal sense. As one gains the spiritual understanding of Deity as Love he will find that a careful study of this Psalm will bring freedom from fear.
"[Divine Love] is my shepherd; I shall not want.
"[Love] maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
"[Love] leadeth me beside the still waters.
"[Love] restoreth my soul [spiritual sense]: [Love] leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [Love] is with me; [Love's] rod and [Love's] staff they comfort me.
"[Love] prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: [Love] anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] for ever."