Christian Science: Its Advantage to Mankind
Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
[This lecture was delivered in
Naught but ignorance or folly will deny that the subject of Christian Science is largely engaging the attention of the English-speaking people throughout the world. Because of this attention it seems to be rational on the part of men to want to know what Christian Science is, what it does, and what it promises, for no other reason, if need be, than that the man of ordinary intelligence desires to scrutinize all great educational and religious movements, whether they have his sanction or not. It is usually conceded that in all debate or discussion the affirmative side should first be presented and considered, and it ought to be admitted that such affirmation is entitled to be formulated by its advocate rather than by its opponent, and that such an advocate may also vindicate it, if possible, by means of argument, analysis, and proof. It is doubtful if an educated man can be found in Great Britain who would resist or deny the fundamental soundness of this declaration; but on the other hand, as a matter of fact or practice, it is true that in all discussions of Christian Science by the religious press and by religious and medical societies and conventions, the structure of Christian Science is formulated by its opponents, who generally erect a man of straw that easily may be demolished. I never read a sermon, or an editorial in a religious paper, or a report of a discussion in a religious or medical convention, that indicated to me any adequacy of appreciation of what Christian Science really purports to be and to do. It is not for me to demur if a man is willing thus to ignore or overturn the rules of essential mental process in order to persuade himself; but it is historically true that no great religious or intellectual advance ever was frustrated by recourse to such an illogical substitute for pure reason.
Your noted Englishman, Professor Huxley, has indicated that humanity presents no more pitiable aspect than that afforded by its disposition persistently to resist every footstep of its own progress. In view of this, it is significant that a great religious paper of London has indicated a desire to place before its readers some sort of statement of Christian Science that has been formulated by one who speaks with some semblance of authority, and who may be relied on to speak in a mood of loving fairness toward his theme. With this purpose in thought, the editor has announced his intention to publish a report of this lecture. I recognize this as being a sensible, enlightened thing to do, but I do not in any degree felicitate myself, or the Christian Scientists, or their Cause, in consequence of this transaction.
Pure, Demonstrable Science
We are absolutely convinced, and are proving, that Christian Science is pure, infinite Science. We know that no adventitious means that mortal man may employ can give impulse to, or bestow patronage upon, immortal Science. It is its own self-existence; its own impulsion. No one can advertise or stimulate or repress omniscience. On the other hand it has been prophesied, concerning resistance to Truth, that on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder. So impressed am I that the truth will turn and overturn in God's own way, that I would not even venture to coax or persuade you to believe in that which I am convinced is the Science of being. It is my business, rather, to tell you something about it and its demonstrated advantage to mankind, and to leave you without molestation to form your own conclusion. You are entitled to choose your heavenward way without interference, hindrance, or denunciation from us.
Theological and medical schools require long periods of time in which to instruct their students, and it is admitted that much explanation and time are needed in which adequately to acquaint the student with the subject. In line with this admitted necessity for elaboration, I admit my inability to do more than to present, without completeness or desirable amplification, the answers to the questions submitted by the editor. The limitations imposed in the way of time and space preclude the possibility of augmenting the value of my statements by means of more ample explanation.
Before referring to the subjects on which I have been asked to speak, I want to say something to emphasize the importance of the first of the questions that have been placed in my hands, namely, "What does Christian Science teach about God and His relation to man?" The study of human history is usually conducted from the standpoint of human events, whereas, on the contrary, the most instructive and valuable study is in the realm of causation. In this realm there is a question as large and far-reaching as the human race itself, and when humanity consider the question and answer it correctly and act according to the disclosure, they will find that the millennial door has opened and that they have reached the beginning of the end of their trouble. The question is this: What is the cause of the intolerable routine and ultimate of human life and living? Is the cause natural or illegitimate; has it a right to exist and determine the fate of mortals, or may it be abolished as an influence and its effects be dispelled? The answer afforded by Christian Science is this: The one thing that works for the undoing and distress of mankind is evil, erroneous thought. It has no right to torment or govern man, and it can be and will be exterminated with all that it pretends to be and to do.
The Influence of Thought
In order that this statement may meet with mental hospitality on your part, I ask you to consider for a moment the influence that thought really exerts for the weal or disadvantage of the people of the world. Without conscious thought there would not be any people. The very continuance of the race is in consequence of thought. It has been ascertained that, prior to the birth of a mortal, its status is influenced by thought, and that after its birth its instinctive activity and cravings are thus induced. An unconscious, non-thinking man would be a nonentity. After men are born they segregate into groups and form what is called society, which is instituted, sustained, and sometimes ruptured by thought.
Thought discovers continents,
forms colonies, builds cities, tills the soil, forms governments and laws. It
does all the inventing and manufacturing, and makes use of and operates what
are called the natural utilities of the world. Thought procures everything by
way of education, religion, politics, economics, and social usage. It
institutes all business and commerce and directs all the labor of the world. It
gives expression to art and music, and induces all the charities and the patriotic
and fraternal devotion of men. On the other hand, it procures all the wars of
nations and the fratricidal conflict of human beings. Erroneous thought on the
part of one man, Napoleon, turned
When one contemplates the havoc of
evil thinking and the blessing which follows right thinking, one can appreciate
the utterance of Paul, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be
spiritually minded is life and peace." Moreover, as one considers the
palpable cause of so much troubled human experience, he grows into a state of
reconciliation to the divinely sane utterance of Mrs. Eddy, that the carnal
mind, or, as she terms it, the mortal mind, alias the mortal sense of
being, which procures the other activities and disasters of human life, also
procures its bodily impairment and diseases; and he is ready to ponder her
further discovery, that because these things prevail as a disorder only, they
can be eradicated. An instance of the mischief into which erring thought
misleads the inhabitants of earth was recently exhibited in
Suddenly something happened. The thing that happened was not sent by God, nor was it induced by truth or science or any normal animus. The thing that happened was this: nearly every man jumped up and said, "I am afraid." Then began the raid on the banks; some men became frantic, some sick, some died, and some committed suicide. Now that the panic has come and gone, this people whom thought has so wretchedly misled say that it was all unnecessary, all needless, that it ought not to have been or to have prevailed. Does any one here, who now reviews this concrete exhibition of wide-spread disorder, caused by one perverting thought of fear, fail to learn that this is what is the matter with this race, or to learn what is the remedy? Would it be rational for any one to believe that this mentally aberrated condition of eighty millions of people was normal, legitimate, or mentally scientific? On the contrary, the whole instance simply exhibits the liability of the race, as it is mentally poised today, to be swayed into disaster and abnormal excesses, because of fundamentally erroneous beliefs and caprice, and because of the facility with which nearly every one yields to their wretched contagion.
The Answer to Human Need
If you were to penetrate the entire problem of human existence and discover the supreme need of every man, you might find that that need has its answer and remedy marked out in Christian Science; but among all the features of Mrs. Eddy's discovery and teaching a most important declaration is that the entire race, individually and collectively, is more or less swayed at all points of human existence by an utter misconception of the Science of Life, of man's relation to his creator, of the rights of man and his normal dominion and destiny, of his natural privileges and opportunities, and particularly concerning fatalism and doom and his normal immunity from decadence and imbecility. Mrs. Eddy's teaching promises that consciousness will heed her disclosure and will learn the remedy and then apply the remedy; or, to make use of the Scriptural utterance, will acquaint itself with God and be at peace.
The liability of mankind to precipitate upon themselves decrepitude and ruin is seen in the theory which would lead to the tragic and ungodly belief that a man must make rapid transit from maturity to deterioration. One can scarcely think of a more desolating pronouncement than that recently uttered by a physician, who declares that a man, as soon as he reaches a normal maturity, must lapse into a state of decrepitude and failure. Much more in keeping with Science is the recent utterance of the eminent physician, Dr. Hammond, who declares that there is no physiological reason why a man should die. He asserts that the human body possesses inherent capacity to renew and continue itself and its functions, and this is unspeakably nearer the truth than the blighting proclamation of Dr. Osier, which if carried to the limit of mischief would devastate the legitimate expectation of every human being; would curtail his privileges and opportunities, and even his right to live and to continue to be a man. The first theory, if it were to prevail and project its contagion on the world, would speedily enervate the race by proceeding from bad to worse. The other, if heeded, will prolong the life of this very generation. It will change and improve the expectation of every man and renew and continue human activity and service.
Christian Science is the antithesis of all teaching and all error that demands the undoing of capacity and demands the degeneracy of bodily and mental integrity. It promises to show the way to increase longevity, health, and ability, and to continue that ability. No more unscientific statement can be posited than that the creator, or the creating animus of life, created it for the purpose of destroying it or of dissipating its value. After recognizing as a phenomenon of human life the riotous influence thereon of abnormal thought, it is but a step to the admission of the historic fact that random and vagrant beliefs about God have hopelessly involved the ages and led mankind to the most appalling and fatal conclusions.
Remembering this malign influence, let us ask ourselves this question: If all the nations for centuries should formulate the belief that the creator of man and the universe ordained the sickness and death of man, and provided in advance for the pain and collapse of life on earth, as well as for the agony of eternity, and that the natural law of God provided that man should live and die as a victim of evil, without dominion or recourse, what would happen to the race? The answer is that the very thing that has happened is the only possible sequence; namely, the people would externalize their universal and governing belief and fulfil its prescribed doom. On the other hand, if it were known that the beliefs were utterly wrong, and that the divine plan, law, and possibilities were extreme opposites of such beliefs, you would declare that these people had been gratuitously misled into an utter perversion of life and its normal possibilities, and then you would see that this is what is wrong with humanity in this very hour. Christian Science teaching urges at every step of the way the imperative necessity and privilege of knowing God aright. There is the exact truth about God, and this alone will work out our salvation and bring to light the kingdom of heaven.
Inasmuch as Christian Science
purports to be the Science of God and claims through its textbook to declare
the truth aright, it is eminently appropriate to inquire, What does it teach
concerning God? The most ignorant man in the world least knows how little he
knows, and the wisest man in the world best knows how little he knows. The
wisest man knows, however, that the material finite senses of a mortal cannot
possibly comprehend God. He knows, with
What We Believe Concerning God
In order correctly to contemplate the vast scheme or problem of being, it is necessary to begin at the beginning. It cannot rationally be denied that consciousness is, and that it is conscious of the phenomena of being. All the phenomena of being exist at the standpoint of effect. Some noumenon necessarily has been the cause or inducement of these effects or things. Philosophy has puzzled itself with the irrepressible question: What is the cause of the universe, including man? and has made the wretched mistake of concluding that some blind non-intelligent force is the cause, or that these phenomena have obtained existence by a process whereby nothingness has evolved itself into a state of somethingness. All these theories, concerning the omnific or creative energy as resting on a materialistic basis, are utterly repudiated by Christian Science. The fact that man himself is intelligent requires the conclusion that the cause thereof is likewise intelligent, and Christian Science proclaims as its fundamental declaration that one conscious, all-intelligent individual, or infinite entity, is the sole cause of all actual things, and is alone entitled to be called Deity, or God.
In parallelism with the familiar statement that God is omniscience — all knowledge — Christian Science amplifies the definition by asserting that this deific creator is Spirit or Mind, and that God can be more readily apprehended by humanity when understood as the infinity of Mind, wisdom, Soul, intelligence, or Science, than by any of the limited forms of definition calculated to attract the conception of man toward the supposition that God, who is infinite, is possessed of any finite or personal characteristics. The declaration that God is good necessarily means that He is the infinity of good, and this excludes all supposition that he is in any way evil, or does evil, or cooperates with it for any purpose. The teaching of Christian Science at this point is distinctively important, because its entire theology is parallel with this statement concerning the absolute integrity of God as absolute good. It asks mankind to divest itself wholly of every belief or theory which would involve God, by way of supposition or inference, in any form of evil. The declaration that
God Is Life
is declared in Christian Science to mean that God is the procurator of life only, and has not instituted death, nor procured any condition, nor instituted any law, nor provided any power that can bring to pass the sickness or death of man.
Christian Science teaches that the term omnipotence actually means that God as Mind or Spirit is supreme, and that the divine Mind, as Mind, is the one chief or exclusive potentiality of the universe, and that as Mind it is without equal, rival, competitor, or offset; moreover, that the supreme power of God is not only ever present, but is ever available to man. It teaches that the divine law is the law of life, health, holiness, completeness, perfection, and immortality to man, and that this law also is ever present and available, ready for man's perception, adoption, government, and deliverance. Specifically considered, this means that all by way of divine nature, plan, law, and mind necessary to the recovery of the sick is where ever the sick may be. The effect of this definition on any human being excludes any fear of God. The consciousness thus educated includes no foreboding and lamentation because of the possibility that God may afflict him or that He has ordained any law or routine which may ultimate in the discomfiture of any one. Christian Science seeks to eliminate the universal fear of God, which for ages has been the cause of discord and bodily impairment. The Bible indicates that through sin came death into the world, and we construe this to mean that humanity, which calls itself a fallen race, has, through sin, fear, ignorance, superstition, and the violation of divine law, involved itself in prodigious disorder and mortality. Paul designates this vast area of error "the carnal mind." Christian Science designates it "mortal mind," or the mind that means death — a perverted and false sense of life and of being which is enmity against God and man.
It is generally contended by the Christian sects that the divine nature, plan, power, and law have been interpreted to mankind through
by means of his teaching, and were demonstrated by means of his works. It is certain that there is no other name (way) "under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," and that the ever-recurring inquiry on the part of a distressed race, "What must I do to be saved?" has for its only answer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." In its endeavor to decide as to what is the way through Christ, Christendom for centuries has posited a large array of conflicting creeds, and thereby involved the Christian centuries in confusion and sometimes in violence. It seems as though an intelligent people ought not to wait much longer before discovering that the many Christian sects, with, their irreconcilable differences, constitute prima facie evidence that the interpreters of Christ have largely missed the way. It scarcely needs an argument to confirm the conclusion that aside from all diversity of opinion on the subject there exists the exact truth about it; there must be, there is the Science of Christianity. Jesus declared, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." It seems to be incumbent upon Christians to believe in the essence of this prophecy and to expect its fulfilment. If it were perpetually to fail of fulfilment, then Christianity would be in perpetual default. We claim that the prophecy is being fulfilled; that the actual Science of Christianity has been discovered and is accomplishing that which was promised in its name.
Externalized Christianity has segregated itself into numerous sects because of the impossibility of amalgamating their divergent sense of creed and practice. With historic insistency they have maintained a status whose very existence proclaims the failure of Christians to coalesce in Christian unity. In coming before the attention of men to add another to those many sects which do not agree, we recognize the deep responsibility of the act and admit that it is wholly inexcusable unless it is absolutely justifiable. Inasmuch as the propriety of our claiming to be Christians has been challenged, and owing to the fact that there is no fixed or unified standard of Christian belief, I ask concerning the man who is in trouble, How must he believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved? What constitutes an acceptable belief on the subject? The Christian world has made many answers. If it is necessary to believe them all, then salvation is impossible because many of the answers are like polar opposites — hopelessly contradictory. It has been said that Christ was begotten of God, sent by or of God, and this ought to mean that Christ is the offspring, likeness, or manifestation of God. For the reason that God is Spirit, omniscience, Mind; and is neither material nor corporeal, it follows that Christ was the offspring or likeness of omniscience or divine Mind, and that the "mind . . . which was also in Christ" is the divine Mind, or God. It is the
Mind Which Was in Christ
that is divine. This constitutes his divinity, his Messiahship, his eternal, Godlike, spiritual individuality. It was thus that he was endowed with the Spirit without measure. It was this Mind that overcame sin and evil, healed the sick, moved mountains, raised the dead, raised Jesus from the dead, abolished the law of sin and death, brought to pass the ascension. It was this Mind which was "before Abraham," and that sitteth at the right hand of God. The man who is to be saved must, therefore, believe in the divinity of Christ. In order rightly to believe, one must believe that Christ's coming or appearing was in order to do the will of God, to do according to the divine nature, and that everything he did do was in accord with and actually in attestation of His changeless plan and rule. He must believe that in coming to fulfil law Christ came to demonstrate and enforce the law of life and health and holiness; that it was done lawfully and not in contravention of any law of God; that it involved no mystery or abnormity; that it was divinely rational, practical, and natural; that it was done because of a universal impulsion that cannot change, and whose eternal application cannot lapse or be spasmodic or intermittent.
Christ, the voice of God to humanity, possessed accurate, exact knowledge of God and of the Science of being, and knew more than all other men combined. Everything was done by him in the best and only right way, and the only right way to be saved from evil conditions through Christ at that time is the only right way in which to be saved now. Because it was right to save the sinner and the sick man through the application of eternal law then, it is right to save the same man according to the same law now. Indeed, it must be perceived that in part the deep significance of Jesus' work lies in the indestructible fact that he proved the power and law of God to be available to a sick man and to be an ever-present help in his time of trouble; moreover, that this divine immanence is competent to abolish every evil that afflicts humanity.
Christ, who came to save that which was lost, overcame sin and sickness, and did it according to the will of God. It follows necessarily that these things which he overcame had neither procurement nor sanction in God. He did not destroy anything that had a legitimate right to exist or to continue to overwhelm a man. The mere fact that he opposed and overthrew them carries with it the inevitable conclusion that they had no basis in truth, but were fabulous and abnormal. It is also essential to know that when he abolished or annulled the law of sin and disease he canceled a spurious pretense of law which is not law and has no legitimate power of enforcement. Jesus knew that disease is abnormal and curable, and he demonstrated the verity of his knowledge. Concerning the sick woman, he said that Satan had bound her. This, surely, does not mean that God or Truth had bound her. Christian Science practice has scientifically proved the correctness of the disclosure that the
Primary Cause of Bodily Impairment
is to be found in the mental realm, and that fear and sin are chief among the influences that procure the sickness of humanity. Jesus understood this, and he knew that such influences can be abolished. His frequent entreaty to them that would be saved was, "Go, and sin no more;" "Fear not;" "Be not afraid."
Jesus knew that the divine volition and power which he manifested were universal and interminable. He not only understood the efficacy thereof, but knew also of its applicability to every human being according to a divinely ordained dominion over evil. This is indicated by many utterances like the following: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world;" "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;" "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you;" "For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith;" "The kingdom of God is within you." Paul also understood it when he said, "Work out your own salvation;" "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Hence the conclusion that one must believe concerning Christ Jesus that his teaching and proof mean that every one has a right to dominion over every foe and over his body, his conditions, environment, his business, health, and prosperity. To understand his way aright is to know that the Mind which was in Christ will enable us to be masters of sin and disease, to be perfect even as God is perfect, having no other Mind than the one which is adequate and competent to save. To believe aright, we must know that Christ understood the entire subject of cause and effect; that he knew that disease is an effect of some cause, and that to cure or to abolish the effect one must cancel the cause. He healed the sick by eliminating evil abnormal conditions; by casting out evil causes. It must be believed that he healed the sick; that
Sickness Is the Work of Evil
not the work of God, and that in doing this he not only pursued a wise way, but had recourse to the only right way, the only scientific way. Certainly it was an irresistibly successful way, for he healed the multitude of all manner of diseases without a failure, and did it instantaneously. No one can conceive of a more spontaneous impact, a more instant application of power or enforcement of law. No one can depict a more immediate and complete consequence of any modus operandi than that which followed when the Mind which was in Christ ministered to the sick. How did he do it? What was the power; by what means were ten lepers healed and the dead raised in the only right way? Was the way through matter or through Mind, through the presumed power of drugs or the supreme all-power of the mighty creator? Did he use drugs; did drugs ever cure a case of leprosy? Did God, or Christ, which manifested the supreme all-power, dilute this power by irrational recourse to that which never healed the disease?
Jesus recognized fear, sin, disease, superstition, and death as being identical with a humanized and perverted sense of existence, but he never admitted their right to exist or that they were to be counted as natural, actual, real, or permanent. Like Paul, he understood these things to be but the paraphernalia of the "carnal mind," which is no mind at all, but is, so far as mortals are concerned, a lie about the truth, an aberrated condition of human consciousness. Instead of respecting evil as though it were substantially something, he cast it out as though it were nothing. It is therefore necessary to believe that when he understood that sin and kindred forms of abnormity are to be exterminated from human experience and consciousness, he also knew that evil is but a negation. He understood the unreality of evil. He could not exterminate anything that God made or sanctioned. He could not abolish any real or eternal thing. The hope of a suffering race lies in this assurance.
The mediatorial service of Christ was not to reconcile God to a mortal who is simply a representative of sin, fear, and disease. God, surely, is of too pure eyes to be reconciled to evil or to be changed in any other way. The best service of Christ in behalf of a wicked and perverse generation is to enlighten the people, to educate them. They are, through ignorance, self-alienated from God. They need to be born again, to be transformed through renewing of the mind, to be corrected. They are to demonstrate that to be spiritually minded is life and peace; they need to show forth the verity that to "know aright is life eternal." "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Although we may be inclined to think of salvation through Christ as mediation, intercession, atonement, remission, we must surely understand that Christ is the way, that Jesus is the Wayshower, who by his works interpreted the way to mortals and gave proof of its utility and availability, and requires that we shall work out our own salvation. In order to be saved we must accept Christ's moral standard. The Sermon on the Mount is a code of ethics that must not be ignored nor evaded.
The propriety of employing the term Christian Science is confirmed by a reference to Webster's definition of science: "(a) Knowledge of principles and laws; (b) Accumulated and established knowledge systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws." Christ Jesus was possessed without measure of accurate, definite knowledge concerning fundamental or divine Principle and law. He demonstrated the eternal verity that the divine law and power are equal to the cure of all diseases. Hence the term Christian Science. It is certain that if Jesus did his work lawfully and naturally, he did it scientifically. If it could be shown that it was lawless or in contravention of law, that it was in defiance of divine or fundamental naturalness, then Christianity would go down in ruins and the works of Christ would be degraded to the plane of spasmodic empiricism.
The Modus of Christian Science Healing
The disposition to account for the cures effected by Christian Science practice by saying that they are procured by mental suggestion, and that the work is in kinship with hypnotism and that Jesus himself used mental suggestion, is a great mistake which no one could possibly make who understood the subject in hand. Jesus was not a hypnotist. He did not heal the sick by means of hypnotic suggestion or by any form of animal magnetism or by the substitution of obsession or any kind of thought transference. Every curative endeavor and system is based upon certain theories or facts concerning the nature, cause, and cure of disease. Each one includes its estimate of the laws and forces that are supposed to be at work, and of the possibility and modus of healing. If we were to have a comparison of all systems, it would appear that, at the very outset and at the vital point of causation, the Christian Science theory is fundamentally and radically different from all others. It is for this reason that it is impossible to amalgamate Christian Science practice with medical practice. Owing to this difference it must forever stand alone. If, as it is claimed, it is the right practice, then it is sufficient and adequate and needs no extraneous aid. If it were not right, then it ought not to stand at all.
The difference between the basis of Christian Science theory and the theory upon which hypnotic suggestion rests is this: the former teaches that disease per se may be utterly abolished, and the latter does not. The former depends on the power and availability of the same Mind which was in Christ, and the latter relies on the mentality that is human and finite. According to Christian Science, the belief that disease is natural and inevitable and cannot be abolished, is fatal to an effort to exterminate it, and this Science is alone in denying its naturalness and legitimacy. It is not for Christian Scientists to denounce or interfere with any one or any method, but knowing as we do what is the basis and practice of Christian Science, and knowing also the basis and modus of hypnotic suggestion and kindred forms of occultism, it is proper to say that they are unlike in every essential particular. Christian Science practice does not include but excludes what is known as "suggestion." There is nothing about it in line with that which is recondite or occult. Its results are obtained by other means and by other rules of practice.
All great Christian religions rest partly on the
Interpretation of the Scriptures
by different men — such as Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Swedenborg, etc. Each sect has its favorite commentaries, or helps to Bible study. Christian Science is an interpretation of Christianity by Mrs. Eddy, and our favorite commentary is our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The Christian Scientist accepts the inspired Word of the Scriptures as the only standard and guide, and has fixed his faith and affection on this Word of God. Like many of the world's Bible students, we know that mortals have projected or inserted some erroneous statements and conclusions on the pages of the Book, and have, to some extent, mutilated the purity of the original. We believe that our textbook enables us to find our way to the spiritual import and value of the Bible, and to this end we study it constantly and use it extensively in our public services.
The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is absolutely unique. For some unfriendly reason it has been said that it is a reiteration of much that has been written before, but the fact is that if one were to glean from all the books on philosophy and metaphysics, he could not find as much of Christian Science as appears on one page of Science and Health. This book is positively revolutionizing the thought of the world. Think of its vast influence; try to realize that there is a book in the world, the reading of which has cured hundreds of thousands of sick people. Consider the fruits thereof, and the promise on every page that we may become the masters of disease. The testimony of Christian Scientists, although most of them were Bible students in former years, is that they now find, in the light and interpretation of our textbook, the Bible is much more clear and helpful than ever before; the seeming mysteries are dispelled and the contradictions reconciled. The Bible contains one continuous entreaty to cast out fear, and Science and Health explains how it may be done. The Bible states that God gave man dominion over all the earth, and Science and Health explains how to gain that dominion. The Bible declares that Christ hath abolished the law of sin and death, and our textbook explains all this so effectively that the learner can heal the sick.
The president of the World's
Parliament of Religions, held in
Obedience to the command, "Pray without ceasing," is manifested by us in silent prayer, as a general thing. We do not object to audible prayer by those who prefer it, but we are impressed with the conviction that we profit more largely by our form of silent communion with God than by any other form of prayer. We also believe that by such communion with God we at least approach obedience to the appeal to "watch," and to "pray without ceasing."
In answer to the query as to our
Attitude toward Physicians
medicine, and surgery, I will say that Christian Science, which includes no enmity toward any one, surely has none toward the estimable men who, as physicians, are devoting themselves in behalf of the sick. Judged according to a high social and ethical standard, they command and deserve the esteem of mankind. In connection with their theories and practice, it is impossible to consider the medical profession as a unit, because they dwell in a house divided against itself. One of the world's familiar utterances is that "doctors disagree." The theories and practices of the allopathic and the homeopathic schools are extreme opposites. In administering medicine it is customary for the allopaths to give each patient, on the average, at least ten thousand times as much of the mother drug, in each dose, as is administered by the homeopaths. Concerning the primary cause or essence of disease, the homeopathic theory of mental causation is more correct that the allopathic theory of material causation. The former, who makes the averment that anger will arrest digestion, is more correct than the latter, whose inquiry seldom rises above the level of the gastric juices.
The enigma of the ages, What is the primary cause of sickness? has been solved by Christian Science, which declares that Science will be recognized as the master of disease as soon as mankind learns that the physical impairment and degeneration of the race has its animus in mental causation, of which fear and sin are the chief mischief-makers, and learns also that the cause may be abolished. Fifty million people die annually because of the failure of drugs to heal them. This evidence that drugs are not equal to the task is emphasized by English medical authority, to the effect that one-half of them die prematurely. The Christian Scientist insists that the other half of them die prematurely also. Our attitude toward medicine is that it is inferior as a remedy. We observe that many physicians are declaring one by one that of the fifteen hundred drugs listed in the pharmacopoeia, fewer than thirty have any curative efficacy whatever. No one so greatly deplores the inadequacy of drugs as does the physician himself. The practice of Christian Science has demonstrated its efficiency in
and there is every reason to be confident that as Christian Scientists grow in knowledge and demonstration of the laws and conditions that are involved, they will be even more largely successful in such cases, which are now mostly left to the surgeon. Meantime, I assert that Christian Scientists do not stand opposed to the work of the skilful surgeon.
The question, "What does Christian Science propose to do?" has this answer: It proposes to make known to humanity the actual Science of God, Christ, and Christianity. There is nothing new about it. It relates wholly to the eternal Truth which always was. It purports to reveal the ampleness of Christianity, not a new Christianity. It promises just what Christ promised, namely, the redemption of mankind through the destruction of sin and disease and other kindred evils which infest the race. It promises to compose the tumult of strife among nations, to exterminate the awful inhumanity of man to man, to subdue the rancor which pervades the social system, and to reestablish the natural, righteous dominion of man over evil. In her book Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy solves the problem of evil. In doing this, she uses such terms as "the unreality of evil" (Science and Health, p. 339), and teaches that sin, sickness, and death are unreal. She elaborates her meaning with much amplification. There is no chance for the one who studies her entire exposition of this subject, in good faith, to mistake her meaning. There is no warrant whatever for the supposition that to declare that sin is unreal is equivalent to the averment that a man may sin according to his will or pleasure, without offense, consequence, or penalty.
In writing concerning these deep things she resorts to the highest standard of definition in the use of words. The highest definition of "real" and "reality" indicates that which is eternal, continuous, complete, perfect, changeless, and forever actual. Mrs. Eddy goes farther, but is quite in line with Paul, who distinguishes between the abnormity which he calls carnal mind and the Mind which was in Christ; also in line with many scientists and philosophers, who have declared that evil is a negation and not a fixed entity. She announces that the evil which besets humanity is not only a negation, but that it is based on a materialistic, unreal misconception of that which is real, eternal, and indestructible, and that it has no other semblance of reality than that which erring thought depicts to itself. She then affirms that this illusive, defective human sense may be displaced or silenced by the Mind that is real, and she urges this process as being the real modus of salvation. If it were not the fact that evil is spurious and unreal, then the converse would be the fact, namely, that evil is real, actual, and eternal, and if this were true, it would also be true that evil is included in the infinite Godhead which necessarily includes all real being. Mrs. Eddy's explanation of unreality is the only thing that extricates thought from such an intolerable conclusion and from such appalling degradation of the human concept of God.
Consider the case of an inebriate who has pursued the abnormal course of the drunkard until that course reached the stage of reaction called delirium tremens, wherein the mind of the victim depicts objects of horror, such as snakes, about his body. To his consciousness those snakes are as actual and real as his hands are, or as our hands are to us; indeed, they are about the only things he seems to be conscious of. Let me ask, Did God create those snakes; does God know about them; did He ordain that those snakes should torment that man; are those snakes real? If you were to attempt to heal the man, would you try to cure him of snakes? If the atoning efficacy of Christ were to be invoked, and thereby the man was healed, would that atonement be lessened by the fact that the snakes were unreal and that all that was involved in the case was spurious and purely negative.
The Nature of Evil
No one on earth has more deeply
penetrated, with scientific analysis, the unification called incorporate evil,
or more clearly discovered its operations than has Mrs. Eddy. No one knows
better than she that mortals are making a reality of that which is illegitimate
and unreal. None better knows that the only way out is to stop sinning, and
that the practical influence of Christianity must abolish sin; but,
nevertheless, she knows that the whole miserable business is a fraud and an
outrageous imposition on the consciousness of humanity. Christian Science does
not sugar-coat the sinner nor sanction sin. The standard which it presents is
even above the moral; it is spiritual; it entreats mankind to be spiritually
minded, to be perfect as God is perfect. If evil were an entity based in
indestructible immortality, it would be impossible for a human being to contend
against it. If such were the case, the entreaty of Christ to resist and
overcome it would be a mockery. It is for the reason that evil is an abnormity
or disorder, and has no real basis or power of perpetuating itself, that
mortals have hope of salvation and may follow, according to Christ's way, and
overcome evil. So long as the disorder called sin lasts and controls a mortal,
so long does the same sin inflict punishment on its victim. The theory of
atonement through Christ becomes rational only as it is perceived that we are
to be saved through Christ from an enormous error, rather than from an
indestructible fact of being. Christ Jesus ushered in practical Christianity by
reforming the sinner and healing the sick. He regarded this redemptive work as
being essential, and we regard the healing work as being included in the
command "to preach the
The Christian Science movement began with this broad understanding of the works of Christ. The legitimate influence of Christian Science is observable in the healing; and the large and rapid numerical increase in this denomination is because the man who is sick has learned that Christianity means salvation for him as well as for the man who is wicked. The denominational organization is very simple, and provides for the maintenance of churches which are to a great extent permitted to control themselves. In recent years these churches have been established at the rate of one every four days. Unnumbered thousands of cures of diseases have been effected, a large portion of which were considered incurable. It is proper to say, too, that practically all diseases have thus been healed, including organic and functional diseases, abnormal growths, etc. The anomalous nature of the human mind is shown in the fact that Christian people who believe that Jesus meant what he said when he urged Christians to preach the gospel in his way, complain of us because we believe he urged them to heal the sick in his way, also, and who feel that we are irrational because of the fact that in case of sickness we rely on our omnipotent God rather than on pills and plasters, and do it because He is the healer of "all thy diseases" and a sure help in every kind of trouble.
"A Moral Reform"
The primary influence of Christian Science is to effect a moral reform. The healing of the sick is more interesting to many people, who are eager to rid themselves of pain and disease. The healing work is in its infancy. Although it has been demonstrated that this Science is true, the Christian Scientists are free to admit that they are but on the threshold of its great possibilities. Nevertheless, with such understanding as they have already gained, they have been able to accomplish things that have always been deemed impossible. They do not, however, pretend that they have achieved all things, or that they have completely mastered disease, or that they have, as yet, reached the point of full proficiency. Most of the patients who turn to Christian Science do so after having exhausted all other means. Therefore, in estimating the measure of success, it is legitimate to inquire what proportion of cases that are accounted incurable by other systems have been cured by Christian Science. Although unnumbered thousands of such cases have recovered, it is a fact too that a small proportion of them have shown no change. There are several reasons for this which do not in any way reflect on the Science itself. Sometimes it may be that the practitioner is not equal to the case, and on the other hand, the patient may be in a state of resistance. It is sometimes the case that the cause of a disease may be some form of sin and the patient may cling to the sin which operates as a cause.
It has not been expected that all people would speedily accept Christian Science and fix their faith on it, but when they do bestow the same faith and expectation on it that they do on medicine, the healing will be more general and spontaneous, because of the increased receptivity. Christian Science is not in a state of competition or rivalry with any other system, nor does it present any form of unfriendliness toward the efforts of others to heal the sick. It is simply announced as a superior way, and the proofs sustain this contention. Certain it is that multitudes have been delivered from the most desperate conditions. Meanwhile it will suffice to wait patiently until the great value of Science asserts itself more fully and impresses its verity upon the consciousness of men. Every great truth and almost every discovery has been a long time in penetrating the prevalent beliefs of mortals and displacing the areas of fear and misconception and ignorance. The world is reluctant to change its belief. At this point it may not be amiss to indulge in an amusing illustration of this fact afforded by a letter from the school board of Lancaster, Ohio, dated 1828, as follows: —
"You are welcome to the use of the school-house to debate all proper questions in, but such things as railroads and telegraphs are impossibilities and rank infidelity. There is nothing in the Word of God about them. If God had designed that His intelligent creatures should travel at the frightful speed of fifteen miles an hour by steam, He would have clearly foretold it through His holy prophets. It is a device of Satan to lead immortal souls down to hell."
Faith and Prayer
The ordinary human conception of faith and prayer does not accurately indicate the modus operandi of Christian Science Mind-healing. The different mental states called faith may be sublime with one person and ridiculous with another. Likewise uncertain is that which is designated prayer. Nothing is more true than that most men pray amiss. Much that is called prayer is utterly irrational. The curative impulsion in Christian Science includes all of the best that is termed faith and prayer, but it includes vastly more. Instead of being the prayer of petition, it is the prayer or mental modus of demonstration. It is both prayer in the highest sense, and answer also. Instead of asking God to interpose and heal the sick by way of response to prayer, the work in Christian Science is in recognition of the fact that all by way of divine nature, law, power, action, privilege, availability, and opportunity necessary to the healing of the sick has ever existed, and needs only to be realized and appropriated by humanity. Christian Science declares that in case of sickness we may have recourse to the Divine, with absolute avail; not by way of mystery or miraculous defiance of natural law, but through the enforcement of law. The rule of practice is definite, fixed, complete, and scientific. The process of healing, as applied to what is termed the human body, is both reconstructive and eliminative. It involves an invisible power which, although invisible, was potential enough to create the universe.
The first man who stood for righteousness was murdered, and since the day of Abel every prophet of God, every reformer, every one who has sought to elevate the thought-models of the world by breaking through its traditions and its errors, has had to bear the world's displeasure, which is usually manifested by defaming and misrepresenting the religious pioneer or leader. The same ruthless assault has been made on man and woman alike, and some day humanity, when it mourns over it all, will mourn over the day when it poured the vials of its wrath on a gentle Christian woman who was intent on saving it from its inveterate misery. We repudiate and denounce the many false statements concerning
which have been deliberately fabricated out of whole cloth for the sole purpose of doing injury to the Cause and work of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy's ancestors and family were deeply religious. From early childhood she has been a Christian and a church member. Her education and early training and living all occurred in the midst of a highly religious and moral atmosphere, such as was incidental to New England a century ago. During years of invalidism she was fully persuaded that the divine plan of salvation included the healing of the sick, and she sought earnestly and prayerfully to discern the Principle and rule of Jesus' redemptive mission, to discern that which Jesus told his disciples he could not explain because they could not understand it. When she did make the discovery and applied the rule, she was herself healed. After years of study and godly searching and of proof, she gave the message to the world, and devoted her life to publishing the good tidings. For nearly half a century she has been pleading for the recognition of God's allness as being good; for absolute reliance on His supremacy as power, action, law; for the discovery that the divine and eternal substance is in Spirit or Mind, and not in matter. She disclosed by means of scientific analysis the illegitimacy of disease and sin, the abnormity of the so-called law of disease and death, and the curable nature of sickness as well as vice. She insisted that the Mind which was in Christ is also capable of expelling the mischief of the mind that Paul called carnal; and she insisted that the drugging system was unscientific and could never cope with disease. She insisted that the power that was equal to the creation of a universe is equal to the elimination of disease according to a law which is of universal applicability. With consummate patience, and with conviction that rested on proof, she waited until the verity of her discovery penetrated the consciousness of humanity. Day after day philosophers and students and men of science are conceding nearly all for which she contended. Mental causation is being admitted as the inducement of disease. Dentists declare that mental obsessions cause diseases of the teeth. Professors of medicine and all physicians are invoking some kind of activity of the human will in the guise of hypnotism, which changes the belief of the patient instead of expelling the cause of disease. Ministers are gradually admitting the genuineness and rationality of her recourse to divinity for the rule and fruition of existence, and people in every walk of life are awakening to the fact that the author of the universe is of some consequence and consolation to men. If it were possible to concentrate the so-called material power of the universe so as to blow this planet to powder, the power thus concentrated could not cure a malignant cancer. A more efficient impulsion than that is required for the task. The Mind which was in Christ has healed hundreds of malignant cancers.
Considering the fact that innumerable instances of sickness, sin, and vice have been healed, and that many thousands of instances of so-called fatal disease have been cured, is it possible for any one to recall a more majestic transaction since the day of Christ than Mrs. Eddy's discovery that Christian salvation is the actual master of disease and sin, according to Principle and rule? Concerning the limitless import of this discovery, the universality of its application, the splendor of its promise, and the indispensable ultimate of its purpose and of Mrs. Eddy's mission, is it not easy to understand how grandly she has dignified that mission by silence in the midst of every evil assault upon her? Would any other course have been possible than for her to wait until it should transpire that her daily living and teaching and labor for humanity justified her before God and men, and innocently compelled the esteem and applause of mankind?
My Own Interest
in Christian Science began over twenty years ago. At that time I was very sick and was not expected to live. I made much effort to recover my health in America and Europe, but without avail. The English physicians gave me no hope. After returning to America, and after all else had failed, I turned reluctantly to Christian Science and was healed, and I now know enough about the cause and cure of disease to assert correctly that nothing other than Christian Science would have healed me. Since that time I have been able, through the understanding of Christian Science, not only to manifest life instead of death, but I have had no instance of serious or disabling sickness.
Many people have appointed for themselves the ungracious task of saying thousands of things about Christian Science that are not true, and of doing so after the most casual examination of the subject, — an examination which is usually directed to the unfriendly utterances of others; whereas Christian Scientists themselves feel that long-continued study and demonstration alone qualify them to explain it at all. Christian Science does not even know that it is opposed or scorned. It does not struggle with the antagonism, nor does it fight or make reprisals, or even resist. It simply utters its glorious promise to them that are in trouble and fulfils the promise. In undisturbed calm it continues the compassionate entreaty of our Lord, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It promises that some day the understanding of the divine economy will tranquillize nations and end wars and strife; some day the rule of true social science will do away with social acrimony and conflict, by elevating all men to a competent and satisfactory manhood; some day the wretched philosophy of the survival of the fittest will yield to man's natural dominion over all the earth, whereby all men will become fit and all will survive; some day poverty will cease and disease will become obsolete. All this will happen, some day, because the Mind which was in Christ will transform humanity and elevate it to the heaven which will be within.
If it be true that God is Spirit, is infinite and is good and has done all things well; if it be true that our infinite God really is infinite Life, and gives life to man, who thereby is entitled to it; if it be true that His law is the law of harmonious life and is therefore the law of health; if it be true that Christ Jesus overcame sin and disease according to the will and law of God; if it be true that Christ's way is the way of salvation from all evil and the only way that is equal to the destruction of evil; if it be true that Christ hath abolished the law of sin and death; if it be true that he attested a divinely provided and universal privilege when he said to his disciples, "Heal the sick," and if his own works are the undeniable interpreters of his words, — if these things be true, and because they are true, then Christian Science is true, and is right in teaching humanity to strive to do what Christ Jesus said we must do and can do in order to be saved. The promises proclaimed through Christian Science are responsive to the deepest needs of humanity and reach the extreme frontier of its necessities. They all gravitate at the possibility, yea the certainty, of complete, perfect, harmonious, and satisfying existence and freedom. We are being taught and are being convinced that the day of this salvation is at hand and that the divine promise may be demonstrated as true. There is no rude word or thought toward the one who says, "I do not, or I cannot, believe all this to be true;" but I ask you, my brother man, do you not wish it were true?
The most practical question of humanity is,
What Shall I Do to Be Saved?
The question must go down in despair unless there be a practical answer. An answer that is veiled in mystery or mysticism − one that taxes the credulity of a man to the utmost limit by asking him to have faith in that which he cannot understand, or which demands that he submit to the climax of evil in sickness and death before he can be saved − is not practical. The consciousness of humanity is involved in every kind and degree of evil experience and oppression. Humanity needs to be saved from all of it, from everything that mars, wounds, or obstructs. Can it be saved? Can it be saved from all the miserable wretchedness? Can it be saved now? The answer in Christian Science is, "Yes." "My grace is sufficient for thee." "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ."
[Delivered May 22, 1908, in Queen's Hall, London, England, and published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1908. One practice followed by the preparers of this lecture which is disconcerting to the modern reader may be worth commenting upon. Some of the headings in this lecture follow an old-fashioned style in which words from a sentence become the heading of a new section; in these cases, the headings are actually part of a sentence and must be so read.]