Christian Science: Its Divine Authority

 

Bliss Knapp, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

One of the most noteworthy features of the Christian Science movement is the remarkable spread of its teachings throughout the civilized world. In the year 1879 the first Christian Science Church was established with but twenty-six members. During the intervening years there have been established over twelve hundred churches of this denomination, and the membership has increased by tens of thousands. One can scarcely venture, nowadays, upon sociability with strangers without encountering those who are deeply interested in the subject of Christian Science. There is a reason for such a widespread interest, and it is based on the fact that the original purpose, "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Manual, p. 17), is being worked out. There are scores of religions, but only one Christianity, and the Christianity of Christ Jesus heals the sick and sinning by one and the same process.

If one were to analyze all the different religious systems or beliefs which tradition or usage has handed down to us, he would recognize that they all claim to publish revealed truth, and by revealed truth we mean that truth which comes from God, and appeals to the spiritual senses of men, in contradistinction to what is commonly known as rationalistic truth, which appeals only to the physical senses, and to human reason. Whatever claims to publish revealed or spiritual truth is properly characterized as religious, and having recognized this thought as common to all religions, we need to note that whatever may be the nature or quality of these so-called revelations, that which differentiates the demonstrable revelation of Christ Jesus from them all is its power to heal the sick and raise the dead. "I am come," said Jesus, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." His healing works, his resurrection, and his final ascension demonstrated this life-giving element in Christianity. When he taught the great verity that God heals the sick, he straightway proved it, so that it ceased to be a mere doctrinal theory and was shown to be demonstrable truth. In like manner he was able to prove the vital worth of his teaching concerning the resurrection of those "dead in trespasses and sins." Other religious leaders might declare doctrinal beliefs concerning God and man's relation to Him, but Christ Jesus alone presented the verification. Indeed he was able to prove all that he taught, thus establishing Christianity as the only demonstrable religion known to men. It is therefore the life-giving or vitalizing power in Christianity which differentiates it from every other faith, and it is for this reason that the intelligent and educated classes are today beginning to recognize that such religious beliefs or systems as Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, and so forth, are not so much religions as they are philosophies, since they lack the life-giving element which characterizes true Christianity, lifts it above the plane of a mere philosophy and establishes it as a demonstrable religion.

There are those who believe that Christian healing was for a particular time and people, and that the healing power is therefore no longer available. As Christian Scientists we believe, on the contrary, that inasmuch as this living truth was revealed from God, it must, like Him, be the same for all time, an unchanging truth, and that it can no more become ineffective than can God Himself. If it seems to be hid, "it is hid," as says the Scripture, "to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." It is not the healing truth which is lost, but the people's understanding of it is obscured, until thought is illuminated by Christian Science. We contend, moreover, that this Christ-spirit acts in obedience to the laws of God, not to the so-called laws of men. It operates in obedience to divine law with such accuracy that it may be understood and demonstrated by us today with the same mathematical precision with which Jesus and his disciples demonstrated it. Two things, therefore, we need to understand in the teachings of Christ Jesus: first, the activity or vitality of spiritual truth; and second, its law of operation. The one is compassionate and healing, the other must be scientific; and whoever understands both is not only a Christian, but a Christian Scientist.

 

Footsteps In Spiritual Discovery

With the recognition that these two correlated factors constitute the basis of Christianity, that is, this life-giving element in Christian truth and its law of operation, we need to consider by what means or process we may gain an understanding of them and prove their efficiency. We should certainly give heed to those who have already manifested the possession of this understanding. Christian Science therefore points to the faith, understanding, and demonstrations of Moses, the prophets, of Christ Jesus and of the apostles. Indeed we may turn back to Abraham, the first man ever called a Hebrew, for he was one of the very earliest to hear the voice of God. When God revealed Himself to Abraham, it was as a mighty power; but Abraham failed to see in this power either the vitality of spiritual truth or its law of operation.

It is well to remember that in Abraham's time the world was held in the grasp of idolatry. Thinking of God as having form, men made unto themselves idols, but this lone man was touched by a diviner sense of the deific nature and came to recognize the one supreme intelligence governing the universe and man. This was to him a mighty power. Indeed it was revealed to him as omnipotent, and from that time God has been known to men as the Almighty. We know from our Scriptural study that Abraham had a supreme faith in this divine power; he was guided and directed by it, to the degree that it ruled out of him much of his imperfection. But his faith never reached that understanding which enabled him to heal the sick and sinning, for the only single exception to this statement does not relate to the healing of sickness or sin. In fact there is no record that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph ever had that understanding of the divine power which heals the sick and sinning. Moses is the first man in Bible history to gain this spiritual altitude.

Here we have the opening of a new era when the healing power of God was revealed through the law. When Moses first employed this power to heal his brethren of sickness, he proved by those very works an increased understanding of God, over his predecessors, and if students of the Bible could learn by what means or process he gained the understanding that heals, they might utilize the same method and arrive at the same results. Moses was indeed a discerning man, and he learned that this same divine power which was revealed to Abraham as the Almighty, manifests a precision and continuity of purpose, and a constancy of action which eliminate any sense of variableness or chance. His responsiveness to Truth became the channel for the revelation of the Ten Commandments, on which the moral and civil laws of every Christian nation are founded. He thus acquired the title of lawgiver.

No one at first gets directly at the basic meaning of mathematics. He must approach by way of its rules or laws, and these rules mediate between the prospective student and the basic meaning. They are ways or wayshowers for arriving at the fundamental truth. So do these divine ways or laws mediate between God and the human consciousness and reveal to us not only the certainty of God's ways, but His divine guidance and healing power. Moses discovered that this divine power is operative through law and has a remedial effect. He employed this power, guided by its law, to the healing of leprosy and serpent bites. It enabled him to bring about deliverance from the plagues, from the Red Sea, and from the terrors of the wilderness, until by continued proofs, not one of which failed, he established beyond a doubt the absolute reliability and truth of the divine law as the communicator of God's healing power; whereupon the Bible added to Abraham's definition of Almighty, the Mosaic discovery that He is "a God of truth," because, as the psalmist afterwards put it, his "law is the truth."

This then is the very basis of that declaration made many centuries later by the Man of Galilee, when he said, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," meaning thereby liberation from all manner of sickness and sin. For this reason Mrs. Eddy has said in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Not personal intercommunion but divine law is the communicator of truth, health, and harmony to earth and humanity" (p. 72). The mistake of the ages has been the belief that personalities are the communicators of God's healing power; whereas no one from the time of Moses unto this day has ever been able to employ the healing power of God, except as that power operates through divine law — God's appointed way. Our problem therefore begins to simplify itself. We begin to recognize that to the degree that we lay hold of this divine law, through the spiritual understanding, to this degree do we possess that which is communicating to us health, harmony, and salvation.

But, it may be asked, "Why did not these Hebrews having the moral law enjoy the healing and saving power of the spiritual law which underlies it?" For the simple reason that, although Moses gave them the law of justice and rightness, he did not teach them the spiritual understanding of it. If one gives to a child the law of mathematics without giving to him the understanding of it, it is of relatively little advantage to him. There is no school of believers in mathematical law, they must be demonstrators of it to be called mathematicians. Moses never made disciples or demonstrators of the divine law. In fact there is no record in the entire Old Testament that any one of God's people made disciples, who, in their turn, could heal the sick and sinning as a result of their teaching. Aaron, like Moses, gained his spiritual perception directly from God. So did Elijah and Elisha. They all healed the sick without teaching how it was done; for the first record of discipleship comes with Jesus of Nazareth. He it was who first presented the spirit and power of the law in such a way as to enable his disciples to repeat the works of healing of their Master. Consequently we need to turn to the teachings of Christ Jesus if we would gain a demonstrable understanding of the healing power, for we read that "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

The Scriptures declare that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." In other words, the letter of the law alone tends to destroy, as is evidenced by the Old Testament writings, whereas the spiritual sense of it would heal and save. Then manifestly the letter and the spirit must go together, — be made one, — in the gospel of divine Love. That is why the beloved disciple has gone so far as to declare "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love," whereupon Paul has said that "love is the fulfilling of the law." It is this understanding of God as divine Love that gave the Christians that spirit and power of the divine law which heals, and it is this same understanding of God as divine Love, uniting the letter and the spirit, which enables the Christian Scientist to heal the sick today.

 

Scientific Discovery

This brief presentation of the idea of divine law, fulfilled in love, has been made in anticipation of that frequent remark that Christian Science is neither Christian nor scientific. What does it really mean to have a science? Every one knows that a science implies classified understanding. To have a science there must be a law, presented in its unity, order, and system, and this is precisely what Christian Science does. It presents this divine law in its unity, order, and system, and that with such precision and accuracy that Christian healing prevails by way of proof and evidence. It is therefore eminently scientific; moreover, it is Christian because this law is not man-made; it is not physical; it is spiritual, divine, compassionate, and helpful.

Christian Science is really the discovery of what men have always sought to know. Every sincere Christian would be glad to understand the divine law well enough to heal and reform men as did the primitive Christians; and when one does understand this law in its spiritual sense, he is indeed a Christian Scientist, as truly as one who understands the mathematical law is a mathematical scientist. Thus we may recognize that Christian Science is not the invention of any man, or woman; rather is it the discovery of the infallible law of God which has always existed. Such a law manifestly implies a science which must honor Christ — a law which every well-meaning Christian has sought to understand — and inasmuch as there could be no better term to express that system of teaching than the term Christian Science, it is not difficult to explain why so many Christians are united in the one desire and purpose to understand Christian Science. It is as impossible for the healing power of God to be lost as it is for God to sin or die, but the idolatry and materialism of the dark ages so clouded the minds of men as to hide the spirit and power of Jesus' teachings, and the world has suffered the disability of this darkness for centuries. Indeed, men could not be freed from this bondage, nor could any further progress be made respecting revealed truth, until the rediscovery of all that had gone before, including this life-giving element in Christianity that heals and saves.

Scientific problems cannot be solved out of their regular order. The last problem cannot be done out of its sequence. Moses had to rediscover all that the early patriarchs knew of God, before he could advance to the discovery of its law. Christianity had no other course than to continue the works of Moses and the prophets where they left off, until the law and the prophets were finally fulfilled in love. Scientifically speaking, the line of progressive revelation must always remain unbroken.

Before Jesus went away, we remember that he promised to send another Comforter, who should abide forever and guide us into all truth. Paul said that this second appearing of Christ would be "without sin unto salvation." Jesus defined this Comforter, not as a man, but as the "Spirit of truth" and its discovery must necessarily interpret primitive Christian healing. Mrs. Eddy rediscovered this "Spirit of truth" which brought a return of primitive Christian healing, and subsequently discovered its law of operation or Science, which she named Christian Science. Together with the discovery of its Science, she recognized that a law must have a Principle to govern it, and that divine Science must declare God as this Principle. The spiritual illumination which effects the Christ-healing, originating in divine Principle, is indeed the "Spirit of truth," or Comforter, which opens the way to all truth by revealing the practical Science of salvation, so that all may follow in the way of Christ Jesus. These successive stages of spiritual discovery have linked the ages into one progressive revelation of Truth, and its spirit and power may now be understood scientifically.

 

Spiritual Activity

When a man is bearing a burden of disease, he wants to know directly how this healing Truth may operate to meet his particular need; how it is, in other words, that God is indeed "a very present help in trouble." Now a student never prays to have his problem in mathematics work itself out on the blackboard, for this would dishonor the spirit of understanding. He has the problem and also the rule, but there must be a mental activity on his part. Moreover this mental activity must be actuated, not by a belief or desire which would lead him into error, rather must it be governed by the mathematical rule, and to that degree the correct solution of his problem is assured. Two things are therefore seen to be necessary, — a mental activity and its guidance by the rule; the result is a correct solution. In very much this same manner, we have in Christian Science the divine law. We are confronted by the problems of sickness and threatened death, and we have something to do. We cannot sit before a suffering invalid and wholly ignore his suffering sense. There should be a mental activity on our part which is guided, not by a mere whim or supplicatory desire that may lead one into all sorts of error; rather must this mental activity be guided scientifically, that is, by the divine law, and to that degree Christian healing is absolutely certain.

What then is this mental activity which the Christian Scientist employs to heal the sick and sinning? Possibly seventy-five per cent of the misconceptions concerning Christian Science relate to this question. It seems very necessary, therefore, that we should thoroughly understand the answer to so important a question. This mental activity is not that of the carnal mind, for the carnal mind is enmity toward God. Neither is it the human will as so many suppose, for the human will is the polar opposite of Christian Science, and no Christian Scientist ever employs it to cast out sickness or sin. This mental activity is spiritual consciousness, for, as Job has said, "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." It is the exercise of this spiritual understanding which comes from God through prayer that heals and saves.

The prophet Zechariah voiced this Christian idea when he said, "Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord." For "the hour cometh," said Jesus, "and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth," What does this mean? Surely it must mean that they shall no longer worship the Father after man-made creeds or doctrines, for the true worshipers are they who "shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." We have already seen how Truth is manifested through the law of divine Science — the communicator of God's healing power to humanity, and Spirit is that which demonstrates this law in healing and reformation. Consequently the true worshipers are they who worship the Father in the spiritual understanding of divine law, — that understanding which always heals, which has brought a return of primitive Christian healing. Jesus said, moreover, "he that believeth on me [that is, he who understands the Master's words to be true and no fiction], the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." This is made possible when one is a true worshiper according to Jesus' definition; but just what did he mean by "works"? There is no record that he ever preached more than one sermon. Nevertheless he was continually performing the works of healing and reformation in evidence of this life-giving Truth. To those who were indisposed to receive him as the Messiah he said, "Though ye believe not me, believe the works;" for these works were the visible proof of that spiritual understanding of the divine or scientific law which marks a true worshiper. Here, then, is a serious question. How many are there who are worshiping God today in the spiritual understanding of the divine law that heals and saves? According to Jesus' own words this alone constitutes a true worshiper. He said, "by their fruits ye shall know them."

 

God Is Principle

It is therefore evident that Christian Science presents no new God, but it may be observed that it presents several Scriptural names for Deity. These names do not signify so many different gods; they are human terms used to define the one God according to His several offices. That is, Truth presents the law; Love fulfills the law; Spirit demonstrates the Science of the law, and so forth. To illustrate: Let us suppose we have a six-sided room, with a mirror on each side, and a lamp placed in the center of the room. Every one of the mirrors will present a perfect reflection of the lamp, each one similar to another. And yet their office differs, for the reason that it is the office of one to image or define the north side, for another to image or define the south side, and so on, all being required to image or define the complete object. In like manner these synonymous terms for Deity are necessary to present the complete nature and being of God, hence we have the Scriptural definition that God is all Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love. Though differing in their office, we recognize that they are really identical in their essence, for divine Love is indeed the Mind and Spirit which is God.

It is evident, therefore, that Christian Science teaches no new God, but presents a new name to include these synonymous terms for Deity, and that new name is Principle. Christian Science teaches that God is divine Principle. The propriety of this term may be seen in the relation of principle to rule as presented by the Century dictionary. "You can make a rule; you cannot make a principle; you can lay down a rule; you cannot, properly speaking, lay down a principle. It is [already] laid down for you. You can establish a rule; you cannot, properly speaking, establish a principle. You can only declare it." If this word Principle implies any of the harshness of the Mosaic law with its "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not," we must remember that the divine Principle manifests all wisdom, intelligence, and goodness. Indeed it includes the all of divine Love which binds up the broken hearted and sets the captive free.

 

Scientific Method in Jesus’ Teaching

Inasmuch as Jesus was the first in Bible history to teach the eternal verities of that spiritual understanding which heals and saves, it may be interesting to explain very briefly how it was that he taught this understanding of the divine law to his disciples. Though not gifted in learning, these disciples manifested an average intelligence, and a certain familiarity with the Mosaic law. Doubtless they were as familiar with the Old Testament writings as the average individual of today. However, we may read in Luke's Gospel that Jesus reproved them for their unbelief. "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." Thus one might be thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures, and in his unbelief fail to understand them. For example: When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand all that he said was, "Stretch forth thine hand." "And it was restored whole, like as the other." We are all familiar with those words, but suppose these same words were repeated today to one suffering from a withered hand, could the mere repetition of these words heal him? Perhaps some one has already tried it, and very likely failed, and thereby arrived at the conclusion that it could not have been the mere words, but must have been the great spiritual understanding of the Master underlying those words, that healed and saved. Why, one might commit to memory the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and yet be unable to heal a single case of disease, for it is the spiritual understanding that needs to be opened. "The letter killeth," says the Scripture, "but the spirit giveth life."

To present this spiritual understanding, it was necessary for Jesus to begin on his hearer's plane of thought, where they could grasp the meaning of his teachings. He began with parables, and "without a parable spake he not unto them." A little later he said, "I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father."

In this he did precisely what the mother does when she teaches her child that two and two make four. The child does not understand the statement at first, largely because it is mental. He is confronted by a law that is purely mental — one that he cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, with the physical senses — a law, in fact, which appeals only to the understanding. How then shall one proceed to teach such a law to a child? The usual method is to begin with some concrete thing, familiar to the senses, that may illustrate the law, — something as familiar, in fact, as red apples. They mean something directly, and he can understand that two red apples in one hand placed with two red apples in the other make four red apples. The mental character of the problem, however, has thus far escaped the child's apprehension. For his second lesson, the apples are removed, and he must learn by thinking red apples that two and two are four. Then for his third lesson, he is ready to grasp the mental problem without the physical forms, and from that as a working basis he can go on to the infinity of mathematical knowledge all of which is purely mental and in absolute obedience to mental law.

The task which Jesus had was very much like this, for he had to teach the divine law — a law which is likewise purely mental; one which no one ever recognized by any of the five physical senses, — a law, in fact, which appeals only to understanding, and that the spiritual understanding. Consequently Jesus' task was even more difficult, for he had to make sure at the outset that these disciples had, not only an understanding, but a spiritual understanding. Only as they could think and reason spiritually could they be taught to understand the divine law which heals and saves. A material concept of things could never grasp it. That is why Jesus began with the parables in order to lift their thought above the prevailing materialism into a more spiritual sense of things, until finally they could think and reason spiritually and apprehend to a degree the reality of spiritual things. Indeed, their faith was strengthened by visible proofs of healing, performed by their Master to illustrate the operation of the law. To watch others solve these problems, however, was insufficient. For their second lesson, they were sent out to heal the sick by themselves, and thus prove their slight understanding, and behold, they returned saying, "Even the devils are subject unto us through thy name," that is, through the understanding of his teachings. The great divine Principle which underlies all being and action was being unfolded to them, and they began to grasp the spirit of it all in the actual demonstration of healing, so that Jesus could say as an opening to his third lesson, "I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father." That is, he could then teach them spiritual ideas in spiritual terms without any physical illustrations, and they could understand spiritually. Whereas once the disciples failed to heal the epileptic child, because of their unbelief or lack of understanding, thereafter they even raised the dead, opened prison doors, and did many other remarkable things in proof of their larger and more complete understanding of spiritual law.

 

Disease Mental

We have now presented briefly how it is that God heals the sick through Mind, and this brings us to the position where we need to consider the world's belief about sickness. Mortals have always conducted themselves as though they believed the body controlled the mind in sickness and in health, and consequently that disease originates on the body and controls men. As a matter of fact the reverse is true, for no one can so much as turn over his hand except he first think to do it, and his voluntary action is the consequence of his thinking, in all that he does. In like manner disease must first gain the consent of this same mortal thought before it can find entrance to the body. This is true even of those diseases of which one may be totally ignorant. Inasmuch as mortals believe themselves to be defenseless against all attacks of disease, educated as they are to think that it comes through matter instead of mortal mind, the door of their thought is unguarded, and the thief may come at any time for its victim. In this correlation of mortal mind and body, we may observe how this so-called mortal mind controls the physical body with its beliefs and fears, with sickness and sin, until Christ, Truth, destroys the false beliefs of this erring, mortal mind by the government of the divine Mind through Science. When Truth is on guard at the door of our thought, sin and sickness are ruled out and disappear. It is indeed significant that physicians are now admitting that disease originates not in matter, but in this so-called mortal or carnal mind.

When a dentist administers an anesthetic to suspend or divert the thought during the process of an operation, he is proceeding on the assumption that if a man cannot think, he cannot be hurt; for during the time that the patient's thought is suspended or diverted, his flesh and bones can of themselves experience no pain, sensation, life, or intelligence. Consequently pain is all in the thinking. It is in the mortal mind and not the physical form. It follows, therefore, that the influence of anesthetics in surgery may prove indirectly the mental nature of disease.

If the world had observed the situation as it is, and addressed itself to the cure of the disturbed mind, instead of doctoring physical effects, it would have moved in the right direction. Unless the mental cause is first cast out, the disease is not really destroyed, it is simply covered up, and that is all that can be said for the achievement of drugs. They simply cover up the physical effect for a time, wholly oblivious of the lurking mental cause, which is really a species of self-deception or hypnotism, because the disease may reappear, possibly in some other form; in fact, it may be given a different name; but the question is as to whether the cause is not the same. It is like a spring of water gushing forth into a rippling brook. If one seeks to efface the brook by covering it up, giving no heed to the pressure at the source, one will soon be confronted by another stream. It may have a different course, and may have another name, but it flows from the same source. Christian Science takes this into consideration and addresses itself to the disturbed sense of the patient, and when the power of Truth and Love frees this sense from the diseased belief, the physical manifestation ceases to exist, for lack of support. Christian Science is therefore the only scientific method for the cure of disease known to men, and it bears with it the benediction of being precisely the same method employed by Christ Jesus, otherwise it would not heal. Christian Science heals disease on the basis that there are not two minds but one Mind, since God is one; and that this Mind is free from the knowledge of sin or erring belief. Therefore this erring human mind is seen to be no mind at all, and Paul referred to it as the carnal mind which is sin and death and "is enmity against God" who is divine Mind. With one God there can be but one Mind, and when we claim no other Mind and exercise no other, thought will be purified from sickness and sin, and govern the body in health.

The reason for so many diseases that are considered incurable is due to the fact that drugs are employed to doctor some physical effect whose cause is in mortal mind. Indeed the only definition that an incurable disease ever had is this: Simply that which drugs cannot cure; for "with God all things are possible." Jesus proved this power of the divine Mind to heal every disease. He met with no failures because he employed the power of the Almighty, and no disease can resist the power of God. Such a disease as consumption is considered incurable by many, simply because drugs cannot cure it. It is being recognized that consumption may be altogether a consuming fear, and there is no drug or medicine that can cure fear, or its effects on the body. The Bible says, however, that "perfect love casteth out fear." Indeed, Christian Science, by employing the power of divine Love, cures consumption, cancers, tumors, locomotor ataxia, curvature of the spine, in fact everything which is considered incurable, and all on the basis that there is but one Mind which rules over all and is All. That is why Jesus was able to conquer every disease that confronted him. There is no disease that can withstand the power of the Almighty. God would not be omnipotent if any disease could successfully resist His government. God is one, and His power is supreme over all. When the Christian Scientist understands this power of the divine Mind, he proves his mastery over disease and sin and they are cast out, and thereby proved to have no power and no reality. This understanding of God's supremacy makes one the master of sickness and fear of every sort, for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

 

Human Mind Not Regenerative

The observation that disease is mental in its cause has aroused the frequent remark, "Well, if pain is all in the thinking, just think you are well and you will be so." But the same ignorant belief that causes disease can never cure it; for, if thinking you are well is all that is necessary and it could be so arranged at twelve o'clock tonight as to have everybody just think he is well, then all the pain and suffering of the whole world could be wiped out in a single night. No one should resort to the nonsense of trying merely to imagine himself well; for the most masterful logic of material philosophy can never convince a suffering mortal that his pain is not real. If philosophy could accomplish any such thing, it would rise above the plane of a mere philosophy, into the vitality of a demonstrable religion. This it never can do, for the same carnal belief that produces disease can never cure it. It is spiritual apprehension, as taught by Christ Jesus, which uncovers sin and disease and destroys them, and this "mind which was also in Christ Jesus" has stood forth in bold relief throughout the Christian era as the panacea for the world's ills. We are specifically enjoined, therefore: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." That little word with its three letters means much, — to "let," permit or allow this spiritual sense of being to be entertained, nourished, or cultivated in the individual consciousness, that by it we may demonstrate the divine law in life, liberty, and salvation.

 

Jesus Repudiated Human Will

It is well to recognize that the supposed cause of disease obtains in the mortal mind and that the understanding of the divine Mind will cure it; but human nature always finds somebody who wants to climb up by some other way. Such people hold that spiritual mindedness is fit only for weak women and children, but for the man with a strong belief in personal magnetism, the exercise of the carnal will seems more manly. This unchristian belief in human will has been seized upon as a ready method for competing with Christian Science in casting out disease by a mental process. Various systems have been devised to exploit this use or operation of the human will, and some of these systems have been called therapeutic suggestion, psycho-therapeutics or Christian psychology. They are all admitted to be the operation of the human will or carnal mind, and may be employed just as well by a wicked man, an infidel or a pagan, — one who knows absolutely nothing of the spiritual mind which was in Christ Jesus.

Human will is an animal propensity that may be observed more specifically in the animal as an unalloyed exhibition of force seeking to procure sufficient food for subsistence. It seeks to exploit itself as something, and frequently the only thing, — utterly ignoring the divine power. This blind belief in stubborn will would lie, steal, commit murder, and do all manner of evil, merely to satisfy his own carnal desires. Its chief characteristics are lust and selfishness. As an elaborated system, its more hidden and sinful use is exploited in hypnotism, mesmerism, spiritualism, theosophy, and so forth, and these are specifically defined by our English dictionaries as animal magnetism or vibratory suggestion. Think you, then, that this fablemonger of materialism called human will is the panacea for the world's ills?

Christ Jesus completely repudiated any use or exercise of human will, well knowing its powerlessness; for he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: . . . because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

Those who rely on this evil, called human will, finally recognize that it becomes exhausted, that it has an end, — and in that extreme moment they may hear that familiar pronouncement, "There is no more hope, because there is no more strength of will to sustain life." In that supreme moment, men begin to look beyond, outside themselves, to some greater, higher power, and man's extremity is God's opportunity. Turning then to the power of divine Love for healing, they find themselves sustained and supported by the everlasting arms of divine Love. In divine Love they find that strength of activity and intelligence which is never exhausted, never finite, but is infinite and eternal life and salvation here. Having once experienced the healing benefits of God's power, they no longer look back, expecting to find health or happiness in matter. Really there is nothing to go back to, for all is seen to be infinite Love, and its infinite expression, — harmonious and complete. This supplies all our needs, — directs us in all that we do, — because God is All.

 

Mrs. Eddy’s Discovery

For many years before Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science, she had been searching along this line of mental causation. She had studied homeopathy and learned that the higher attenuations of the medicine which contained the least of the drug and the most mind were the most powerful. She continued her investigations beyond homeopathy to a purely mental basis where she recognized that disease in its cause is wholly mental, and that Mind will cure it. Her next step was to learn whether it is the carnal mind or the spiritual Mind that heals and saves. She therefore applied herself to the investigation of various systems of mental therapeutics, so called — and, among others, magnetic healing as taught by Mr. P. P. Quimby of Portland, Maine. But she learned with time that magnetic healing is a system of will power, for Mr. Quimby always maintained that his healing was the result of his own personal magnetism, or the electricity within himself, never pretending to exercise any divine power. Not one of these systems ever wrought any permanent healing. Like a drug which finally wears off and leaves the patient debilitated, so these systems always left the patient in a worse condition than before, — the very opposite of the rejuvenation which proceeds from spiritual sense.

These experiences helped to force the inevitable conclusion that the carnal mind does not heal. In fact, no one has ever been able to prove that such sorceries of the human will could heal a man morally, and that permanently; no one presumes to believe that any system of the human will could heal an organic disease, or convey to any one any intelligence concerning God; whereas the Mind employed by the inspired Christians healed men morally, and that permanently; healed them of organic diseases as well as functional, and invariably conveyed to them some definite intelligence concerning God, at least to the extent of knowing that it was God that healed them. Spiritual sense is always a discerning sense, and Mrs. Eddy was so spiritually minded even at that early time that Truth guided her unerringly to mark the great gulf between the spiritual and the carnal; between the good and evil. Turning away from false methods, she clung to her ideal of right and forsook the counterfeit, seeking yearningly for the one divine Mind "who healeth all thy diseases."

It was at this period of her experience that the great revelation finally dawned upon her consciousness, and found her waiting and prepared to receive the message. She had met with an accident, and while suffering from that injury she had turned to her Bible for some comfort, consolation; or hope of relief; and there, while studying those Scriptural passages, she suddenly caught the great depth of their spiritual meaning and was instantly healed. This was in the year 1866. She had touched the hem of the garment of Christ, Truth, and was instantly made well. From that time her one great purpose was so to understand this healing power that she might impart it to others. She therefore resumed her study of the Bible and subsequently rediscovered that same divine law which Jesus taught — that communicator of God's healing power to humanity. She began to write out her observations concerning this law, and these writings formed the basis of her more complete work known as "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which was first published in the year 1875.

 

The Textbook

Far from being the human opinion of a woman, this Christian Science textbook presents the facts concerning the divine law scientifically, and as they exist. Even as the author of a mathematical textbook must necessarily exclude mere opinions in presenting its science, so Mrs. Eddy religiously excluded her mere opinions, confining herself to the presentation of the demonstrable facts concerning the divine law as spiritually apprehended, and this with such precision and accuracy, withal, that the simple reading of that book is healing all manner of sickness, sin, and infidelity. The last chapter of Science and Health, called "Fruitage," contains a hundred pages of testimonials in proof of the fact that its simple study does heal the sick and sinning, because it effects in the individual consciousness that spiritual awakening which now, as of old, results in healing. Surely by this redemptive achievement Mrs. Eddy has become the greatest benefactor to suffering humanity since the time of the primitive Christians.

One can never understand this book through material reason or experience. No one would expect to understand mathematics by devotion to the rules of physiology; neither can one understand Christian Science by employing materialistic rules or beliefs, for "spiritual things must be spiritually discerned." One must think and reason spiritually in obedience to the divine law or truth to gain the meaning of spiritual things. Herein is the value of Jesus' lesson when he said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." We recognize certain qualities in the little child which enable him to think and reason spiritually, and some of these things are humility, spiritual receptivity, and teachableness, — three qualities which are absolutely essential to an understanding of Christian Science.

 

Conclusion

Whatever else may be said about her, this fact should portray the true character of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science; for those childlike qualities must have been uppermost in her thought to apprehend as she did this "Spirit of truth" or divine Comforter. Indeed, she proved herself a true friend to all lovers of Truth. She has presented its true meaning of liberation and liberty, and thereby earned the boundless gratitude of humanity.

How true it is that a book indicates the quality or character of the author's mind. We can know the mind of Shakespeare today by reading his works. We can discern the kind of man, whether he was good or evil, by his writings. In like manner the purity of Mrs. Eddy's thought is clearly portrayed by her writings, for she always was a faithful disciple of her own teachings. Her writings have accomplished the destruction of intemperance, evil habits, and sinful indulgences of every sort; they have destroyed all manner of sickness and disease, and revealed to thousands of people the presence and power of God. Her writings, in other words, reveal the very presence and power of God, and accomplish the destruction of all that is unlike Him. To understand such works as these is to understand the author, and it follows that to understand the author is to understand the works. This is why Jesus said, "There is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me," and it follows just as truly that no one can lightly speak evil of the author of Science and Health and understand its teachings. Paul had to change his thought concerning the early Christians and their teachings, and his understanding was coincident with his life afterwards. It should be a reasonable thing in a Christian land for the teachings of our Master and Wayshower to be fulfilled. Christian Science has penetrated the mystery of his words and works; and in all that we do, we are asked to observe Mrs. Eddy's enjoinment, "Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ" (Messages to The Mother Church, p. 78).

 

[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1911.]

 

 

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