Christian Science

 

The Rev. William P. McKenzie, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

St. Johnsbury people had the opportunity to hear on Monday evening a clear statement of the belief of Christian Scientists by a member of the official board of lecturers. The hall was fairly well filled with an appreciative audience. In the audience were many from the surrounding towns, some driving clear from Lisbon to hear the lecturer.

The lecturer was introduced by George P. Moore. In introducing the speaker Mr. Moore said that for several years there had existed in St. Johnsbury a small band of Christian Scientists and that less than a year ago a branch was organized here of the Mother Church of Boston. "The members of the local church, for whom I speak, have invited you here tonight to hear one of the board of official lecturers and I take great pleasure in introducing Rev. William P. McKenzie of Boston."

Mr. McKenzie spoke for over an hour in a calm and convincing manner and held the closest attention of his audience until the close. Following is his address in full:

 

Christian Science in operation means the restoration of the efficiency of early Christianity whereby the sick and sinful were healed. It re-establishes what were originally the "signs following them that believe." People say these "signs" were miraculous, and that the day of miracles is past; that they were for a certain age to illustrate and establish Christianity. But we ask whether on that view they are not more needed now? Is there not more confusion regarding doctrine, and a thousand new and more elaborate diseases than were then known, and moreover, an immensely increased population of prodigals dwelling far away from the Father? If miracles were needed in early days to impress Christianity upon the minds of men how vastly greater the need to-day. From certain view points it would seem as if the words of Isaiah were fulfilled: "Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for * * * the foundations of the earth do shake." But through Science we see that the miracles, so called, were but natural manifestations of spiritual power. These normal demonstrations of the quality of Love and its power, are being wrought to-day so that the proof is in every place. Every disease known to doctors, and many undiagnosed by the most skillful, have been healed. One year of "The Christian Science Journal" will furnish cases enough to convince any honest seeker and show how every condition of need has been helped.

 

The Needs of Men

Can it be said that there is a man who is immune regarding care? Should a man mount his horse to ride long and far, and flee from care, he will find, as an ancient poet said, that black care mounts behind the horseman. How few there are who do not know of failure in business, or fears regarding their future if they are successful! How few are not touched by the invalidism or sorrow of some one dear to them! Think of the great army of the careworn ceaselessly busy in the struggle for existence. What heart sinkings they have, and what anxieties, amid competition which has become savage. The hopes and sweet dreams of youth are gone, the striving for food and clothing has made sordid the life. How "the old hag Care" drives even Christians who are fearsome about truth and righteousness in the land, or in trepidation regarding the success of their multitudinous causes. They do not feel that there is but one Cause, and that the kingdom of heaven must come and be manifest on earth.

Then there are those struggling with the more interior problem of doubt. They find no clue to the mystery of existence. They are tormented by vague unrest, and with the attempt at doing any particular work there comes a sense of the futility of all effort. For such souls to escape from the complex torments of doubt, and have the simple peace of the Spirit means much. Their fighting with the mist is a useless beating of the air, but by an understanding of truth they rise above the region of cloud. The message of love takes human anxiety by showing the truth of God's care. Jesus argued from God's care of the sparrow up to His care of His child. Paul argued down from the gift of the Life-giver to the free giving of all things.

What is man in the swing of worlds and the solemnities of infinite space? Yet there is a warfare in our souls with interest to angels. In the discipline of life we can become sure of the sleepless caring of Love and we learn that the angelic messengers "watch and rejoice over every movement of purity and tenderness," — and that man himself whose body to the eye of sense is so infinitesimal an atom amid the worlds, has his value in heavenly places, and should find his place as the child of God. How necessary then it becomes to have some method of living which will give scientific results. The dire need of humanly proclaims the power, beauty and excellence of the Christian Science which supplies the need.

 

Christian Science as Religion

Various descriptions have been given of Christian Science, by way of definition. A physician who felt no sympathy with it, but was honest in thought, said in view of results, "Christian Science is not doctoring, it is Christianity." A clergyman gave his verdict thus, "It is the second coming of Christ, the coming of Truth like a light, shining from one part of the horizon to the other, even as Jesus predicted." "It is practical common sense," said a business man; and another when it was being spoken of as a new religion, said, "It is not a religion merely, it is religion itself."

 

The Science of Christian Living

Let us transpose the terms, and so make evident the practical side of this Science. Its aim as applied to human needs is to reproduce in all men that life which the Founder of Christianity lived for their example. This is what institutional Christianity has been endeavoring to do; but if we note that the important work of healing as it was done by the Master and his disciples has not been attempted since the early centuries we may say that this lack of "demonstration and power" indicates a lack of scientific method.

In the history of Christendom we find that each sect or denomination has stood for and emphasized some one prominent thought. Men have contended and become separated however regarding their tenaciously held opinions, instead of each contributing to his brother the good he had gained. Elaborate theologies have been aggregated from the thoughts of men about God, and in the strife of human opinion regarding these other human opinions, the true sense of God has been lost. But in this scientific age men are learning to ask for results rather than theories, and it is not strange that they should welcome the revival in Christian Science of the primitive Christianity which afforded proof of the power of a present God by healing the sick and curing the sinful, in the way Christ Jesus bade his followers do.

 

It Has One Principle

The first step in a science is the careful observation of facts, and their verification; then comes the correct thinking which correlates the facts and gains an exact knowledge of laws. The final step is to rise to the discovery and apprehension of the eternal Principle which is behind these facts and laws, and accounts for them.

Those early star-gazers the Egyptians had a collection of observed facts regarding the heavenly bodies. To correlate these was the next step. Ptolemy did this in a geocentric system. Then with enlarged views came the formulation of the heliocentric system by Copernicus and others. These generalizations had to be formulated as laws, which was done by Kepler; and finally the principle or force accounting for these laws had to be brought out, and Newton posited this as universal gravitation. To-day astronomers in different lands, who may not understand each other in language, make calculations that exactly agree, — because they are calculating from one understood and accepted principle.

The methods of Christian Scientists in their world-wide work are in agreement, like those of astronomers, because one principle is recognized, and that divine Principle is God. If this agreement does not appear in some cases, it is because, like children at school, some learners are still making mistakes in their figuring — making self rather than God the centre of their thought.

 

It Controverts Dualism

We have to admit that the popular philosophy in Christendom is dualistic. Two powers are recognized in popular thought by the civilized, just as frankly as the Indians recognize an evil spirit its well as a good. This came to be done by Christian philosophers since they found it impossible to prove the unity of Good. Being unable to "Destroy the works of the devil" in Jesus' way, and by removing the manifestation of evil to nullify its claim to power, Christendom has accepted evil as a fact, an actuality of the universe. And, in order to be consistent, has carried the belief in evil to eternal terms in various theories about everlasting punishment. What about these theories of the eternity of sin and the perpetuity of sufferings, the eternity of mercilessness and the immortality of agony — is it not clear that the principle of harmony, order, law, cannot contemplate eternal disorder? We do not tolerate the engineer whose bridges disobey mathematical requirements, nor the musician who agonizes the ear with discords. We expect obedience to law and exact thought in engineering work; yet it may be so that the several engineers when at school made many blunders in their figuring. To say that they shall inevitably make such mistakes and imperil the lives of other men by inexactness and disregard of principle would seem inappropriate. Why then in viewing a future longer than one man's life on earth condemn men to perpetual mistake and suffering. In advancing his doctrine it is interesting to note that Jesus struck a new key-note by proclaiming only the good in his inaugural address at Nazareth. He read from the prophet about the blessing which should come with the advent of the Messiah, but, ere reading the words which followed, which were about "The day of vengeance of our God," we are told that he closed the book. He omitted from the record the crude conception of God after human analogy as vengeful.

It may be said here that no clergyman now preaches eternal punishment as used to be done. If so it is admitted that evil is not eternal, and therefore not real now, since only what is eternal can have reality. Why then give place and power to the unreal? It is a distinctive feature of Christian Science that it does not have a place for evil. Every system of philosophy has a place for evil, and accounts for the power of evil, but so large is the Good in this system that evil is without a local habitation or a name. It is not simply ignored; it is displaced.

At the house of a Christian Science practitioner some visitors who were investigators asked the waiting maid how her mistress diagnosed disease. "How does she locate it," they asked. In reply they had this: "She lets the doctors locate disease; her work is to dislocate it." Suppose the case of a man both sick and a sinner; here very evidently are two evils, moral and physical, made manifest. The doctor attends him for his sickness, and comes with an absolutely certain and satisfied sense of the reality of sickness. The clergyman who visits him has just as certain and settled a conviction regarding the reality of sin. In the philosophy of both these thinkers evil is a power which sometimes may be greater than the power of good. Suppose that case to be healed by a Christian Scientist; health is made manifest and a Christ-like character made manifest as well. The sickness and the sin have been displaced, and health and holiness occupy the ground. In that one particular case it has been possible to overcome evil with good. When evil is overcome then good holds possession and that which is present, and the only presence, is Good.

It is a distinctive feature of Christian Science that its postulate, rather should one say its axiom, is this: that by proving the unreality of sin, disease and death, you demonstrate the Allness of Good. When the sinner becomes a righteous man, and the sick perfectly well, in each case dualism is shown to be a human theory and the glory of one God is revealed in the destruction of both the theory and its supporting evidence. When Good becomes the only presence, and we remember that Good or God is Love, it is easy to see how this present certainty of Divine Love destroys wholly in consciousness both memory of past distresses, and fear of future disasters, and proves to the individual that God, Good, is his life, and all that really exists.

 

What About Failures?

Good is never transformed into evil. The world's belief is that, food for instance, may both preserve life and destroy — medicine both heal and poison. But Good is one; if treatment in Christian Science seem to fail, it is because there was not in understanding sufficient of the one Good to nullify the beliefs in evil which wrought death.

Sometimes an Indian has been taken ill at a military post and been taken care of by a skillful surgeon and yet under that treatment has died. His friends on the reservation do not look upon this occurrence calmly. They are satisfied that their brother was murdered. Had he been carried out his lodge and died under the singing and magic of the medicine man that would have been considered regular and right. Every advance in science is at first misunderstood and every failure to produce the result aimed at is considered a crime, but we know that a failure does not disprove a principle. If that were so there are enough of failures in any child's school to abrogate all the principles of mathematics. A single success is enough to prove the operation of a principle which a thousand failures cannot disprove. But if the question be one between scientific methods, and there be found a system which proves successful in a large percentage of cases where another system has already failed, it is not just to condemn the new system for its failure any more than the old.

Suppose the case of a large number of hospitals in the city and a new one to be established which was to take care of the cases which none of the others could cure; would it be fair to say nothing regarding the cases of failure in all the other hospitals and to condemn as murder the death of a patient in this hospital which was trying to do what the others confessed themselves unable to do?

If in the desert a man was dying of thirst and a friend brought him a little water, not enough we will say to save his life and yet all that he had to give, would it be fair to say that it was the water given that caused his death? Or, suppose that there were enough of water to satisfy his thirst and that he in his wild ravings spilt it on the sand whence it could not be gathered up, would it be fair to accuse the friend of evil motive because he brought to him the water which was not received? Those who are dealing with the sick have either love or its opposite in its consciousness. Love heals; hate kills. If there be a gust of malice blowing bitterly against those who by the Science of Christianity are seeking to heal a patient, may that not be the real danger menacing the flickering life of the sick man?

The majority of those healed in Christian Science are such as have gone the round of medical treatment first. They are often those given up to die by doctors. The normal action of good is shown by their recovery. Is it not then fallacious in every way to say that in any case Christian Science can cause the opposite of Good?

 

The Opposition of Material Sense

Material sense always brings limitation. It deceitfully promises joy from the titillation of the senses, but soon the one deceived must increase the dose. Then he finds that the greater the dose the less the satisfaction, and the stronger his belief in the senses the greater his bondage to them. At last it may happen that sensuality will seem to have obliterated every life-evidence of spiritual sense; and may enclose a man in a darkness like that Egyptian blackness which could be felt. Or, take the matter of giving from the basis of material possessions. When we divide material goods there is a lessening with every division. So Andrew thought when he calculated how far five loaves would go towards feeding five thousand people. Should we try to benefit mankind in this way a vast fortune would come to almost nothing as far as an individual man would be concerned. The spiritual is the opposite of this. The new joy to which a man awakes with reversal of material sense abides with him and cannot be lost. Joy gained on a true basis grows perpetually, and "giving doth not impoverish." Material possessions may be like the clothes which make no part of the man, but spiritual understanding is the character. Spiritual understanding is the real man who has immortality.

In Christian Science the attack is made at the root of the error, at the belief of life originating apart from God, and abiding in matter, and the healing of sin is considered the important thing. Jesus spoke about the denseness and grossness of the people to whom he came, which prevented them from taking the first step towards healing. He said that sensuality dulled and stupefied them lest they should "be converted and I should heal them." That which was consequent upon conversion was healing, but material belief prevented conversion.

The waning belief in drugs has been one of the phases of opposition to the spiritual. When people saw the works of Jesus we are told that "they glorified God." The followers of Jesus are exhorted to "let their light so shine before men that they who see the good works may glorify the heavenly Father." The use of a drug in attempted healing of the sick cannot be said to glorify God, for such a reliance practically rules God out of the question. If God is to be glorified all Scientists, all Christians should through Mind heal the sick, and give those signs of the solved problem of life mentioned in Mark's final chapter. Spiritual sense will bring the result.

 

The Pretences of Hypnotism and Mesmerism

There is only one true method of healing, and that is healing through the Christ-truth. Hypnotism professes to heal, by the influences of "educated will-power." It is admitted that this will-power very frequently does work in evil directions. Mesmerists have caused their victims to appear intoxicated when no strong drink had been given them. Hypnotists have suggested crimes which their patients carried out in dumb show, but with as great fear as if actual crime had been perpetrated; and yet, by both these methods men profess to heal the drunkard and reform the criminal. The strifes, altercations, competitions, rivalries and wars in the world are due to conflicting wills. Nothing could be more certain than that will-power claims to do both evil and good. And how, if I put myself under the influence of the will-power of another, how do I know whether the operation will be evil or good? I have no assurance that undesirable elements from the human mind influence may not be impressed upon me. Only in Christian Science can one have certainty, because the healing work is done by impressing upon the patient's mind the eternal Truth regarding man's being and origin which is found in the Bible and elucidated in Science and Health. This book is the textbook which gives the method and morale of Christian Science. There is no word in that text book contrary to the highest wisdom and strictest morality; consequently, no evil can be given by the healer who keeps to what is taught, and the patient who studies the book may be the judge of this. This book says "Science cannot produce both disorder and order;" and thus arraigns the methods which profess to produce both crime and reform, as unscientific.

Should there be healing done to appearance by means of hypnotic and mesmeric methods it is really the error of the will-power of another displacing the patient's error of fear, and the stronger error remains in possession of the field. It is an argument of material sense that Satan casts out Satan. Does one evil cast out another? We say that pain is cured by peace, but material sense uses morphine to cast out pain; then will provide strychnine or cocaine to cure the morphine habit, or prescribe drunkenness as the last resort for the victim. In the same analogy revenge seeks to cure hate by murder. It professes to do good to the revenger through evil done to the victim. Then it produces remorse whose pain bites deeper than the hatred which led to the crime. Is it a safe thing to use a narcotic or hypnotic to cure a pain when that so called remedy may destroy the moral life of the patient? Carrying this to higher terms is it safe to use the mental influence of hypnotism to cure vice when the same influence may cause a crime?

Some authorities may be quoted. Dr. Frank J. Lutz, ex-President of the State Board of Health of Missouri states that hypnotism is the cause of many people becoming insane; and further says that the effect of hypnotism upon the nerves of the person submitting to a hypnotic test is a great deal worse than the result of incessant cigarette smoking and even of the drinking of absinthe.

Dr. Edward C. Spitzka, a famous specialist in Neurology, says: "No person can he placed in a hypnotic condition without some harm being done him toward wrecking the nerves and shattering his mental strength."

Dr. Gottlieb Sternberg, of the Eastern District Hospital, Brooklyn, says: "It is certainly time that some decisive action be taken by the law-makers to put an effective stop to the indiscriminate use of hypnotism. It is positively alarming to pick up a newspaper nowadays and see the abuses to which this little-understood science is being put. I know of cases where the continued use of hypnotism upon a person has so weakened the brain and the will-power that the subjects had become little better than idiots, with no more stability than water. I will admit, however, that I have known of only a few such unfortunate cases; but it must be said, on the other hand, that I have never seen any person hypnotized even once who did not show its weakening effects in some degree. I am convinced that if the bare truth could be generally learned the startling fact would come to light that the insane asylums contain a great number of inmates who would never have reached their portals had they not been started on the route by the use of hypnotism."

 

The Reversals of Science

A lie is simply the reversal of truth. It is not a thing in itself but the inverted sense of what is. Let a lie come between two friends; the one who believes it becomes unfriendly to his friend, whose love may continue the same as ever. The one who believes the lie may misinterpret all the manifestations of that love which remains ever the same, but he is, by believing the lie, depriving himself of both truth and love. Such a case of misunderstanding may start a feud; families may be involved; there may be the cross-countering of murder, and after the tribal war has buried its victims, it may be found out that the beginning of the whole trouble was a little, needless and silly lie. We remember Othello and how the lying suggestions of Iago acted upon his mind like poison until the purity of Desdemona became reversed to his thought, — truth and love inverted, and sorrow and death the outcome. Now when the lie is reversed for the person he perceives the truth and also perceives that it was always the same; the lie did not diminish it or change it, only his sense of the truth was perverted. When the misunderstanding is over between two friends they know that their friendship abides.

Like Truth we conceive the creation of God as eternal. Being good and perfect and the outcome of Spirit, it is to be seen by spiritual sense. All that the materialized view can do is to invert the spiritual. It does not destroy Spirit, which continues to be the real; but it puts in place of Spirit its own concept of matter as real, and believes, therefore, the concomitants of matter, sin, discord, disease and death, to be real also. For examine, the thief believes that real substance is matter and searching for happiness steals gold, or silver, or jewels. Immediately thereupon he becomes a fugitive. He has stolen happiness from himself. So likewise the pleasure-seeking man indulges in debauchery to find the consequent diseases bring him misery. Envy and jealousy suggest to a man that he can find happiness in the murder of another, believing that the flesh and blood are the reality of the man and they can thus be destroyed. If the thief knew that honesty and truth were substantial, if the libertine knew that purity opened the eyes to the eternal Good, and the man of malice was aware that only love was everlasting, the true substance would be evident to each one. These misconceptions or inversions of truth which show themselves as the works of the flesh have to be purged away through suffering, that is, they become self-destroyed. They are like the wrong figurings in a mathematical problem which disobey the rules and cause the calculator to wander farther and farther from what is correct. But, suppose the worker on a mathematical problem after a long effort finds the true answer, he sees at once that it always was there. Just as truth abides and is revealed when the lie is reversed, so the correct mathematical problem awaits its revelation when the mistakes are corrected. We hold this principle to be true regarding creation. What the senses tell us with regard to matter and the sad and disappointing life of man on the earth are known to be lies, and we understand that the true creation is revealed by inversion of this opposite.

It is sometimes said "How foolish it is to deny error when anybody can see that the error exists." This is said in objection to the Christian Science method of denying that evil is a reality. Supposing the objector had a friend who owed him four and three dollars, and in making up the sum thereof wrote it down six dollars. He would be very prompt to deny that error. But his friend would reply, "Can't you see that that is the figure six? What is the use of denying what is evident?" The objector would at once reply, "It ought not to be evident, it ought to be displaced by the correct figure, which is 7." Now, if a man find his powers and abilities diminished through sickness so that he is, we will say, only six-sevenths of a man, is it not legitimate to deny that error of limitation and to assert that the whole man, — that is the healthy man, should be manifested? We are called upon to deny all incorrect figures and every limitation of the powers and liberty of a man.

 

What Is Substance

In the world a wealthy man is termed "a man of substance." Yet he who holds to such substance in the end has nothing. A multi-millionaire's daughter is said to have declared that rather than the wealth of her father would she have had the world's tribute of love to him, and regret in the hearts of men because of his death. This financial spider had millions enwebbed, yet had nothing if he did not have love. One who had given away fortunes for love's sake and died poor, yet had love, really possessed all the wealth given away. To the materialist money is substance; so he works for wages and trusts to his earnings for his living. The more material one is the more is his trust in riches, be he rich or poor. This love of money is the root of every kind of evil. "All that a man hath will he give for his life," so if money be regarded as life-giving we find that honor, truth, honesty, friendship, righteousness, will be sacrificed for the dollar. Such an idolater lives amid envy, avarice, jealousy, contention, fraud, deception, violence.

The Christian Scientist is the reverse of such a man. To him Love is substance. He works in the service of Love and payment for his work is the gratefully received reward of Love. Having food and raiment (and the wealthiest has not more) he is content. His trust is in inexhaustible Love so he has no worry, no selfish planning for an unknown future. The future is not dark with fear for "Love never faileth." He finds that Love is life-giving, and that for Love he has to sacrifice only what is non-lovelike such as bitterness, fear, anger, envy, hate. He sees the beauty, not the fear, of the principle which says, "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." Therefore he sows love "beside all waters," that is, wherever seed has any possible chance of growing; and he knows assuredly that he will reap love and life.

Jesus taught that Love was Substance. When the woman broke the jar of alabaster to anoint him, he saw such love manifested that he declared, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken for a memorial of her." The whole world was to become able to estimate and praise such love because love is real. But did Judas see and value that love? The record says that he could not see it, but that what he did see was a waste of money, for to him money was substance. To gain what he considered real he sold Christ. The teaching and love of the Master he could not value since the love of money had blinded his eyes. At opposite poles of life are the Christ-ideal and the Judas-ideal.

 

The Value of Truth

The value of Christian Science must be recognized by the world. By large fees given to doctor or lawyer people express their confidence. When Science does for them what all doctors have failed to do they show gratitude if the Christ-spirit be there. But if that "Son of Peace" be not there they must not be allowed to preserve the mendicant spirit and get without giving in return; they must be caused to estimate the value of the help given and manifest their recognition of value in the way they express it to others. To undervalue truth is to take it second; then Mammon is the god.

It is possible to see why a fee of three hundred dollars was required at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. This demand was made under Truth's guidance by the teacher for a two weeks' course. No such fee was ever asked by university or college for so short a course. Only those who could rightly estimate values would be ready to pay it. They who did receive the teaching felt the fee to be as nothing to the value received. Those objecting were not ready for the truth given for they could not appreciate its value. The mass of mankind are mendicants at heart when it comes to religion. It is to restore lost manhood and evidence the sweep of honesty that Scientists are to handle the money-question for others as well as for themselves. There is a natural desire to be a benefactor in the world's sense, saying to the sick, "I will give you what you want and work for your healing." The sick are thus made comfortable in dishonesty and do not put a value upon truth. In correcting this error Scientists have to be unmindful of the sneers which term them lovers of money, penurious or avaricious. They must cause the patient to set a value upon truth by making some kind of a sacrifice for it. If he learn honesty he will say in the end that what he received was priceless. Let us see that every benefit is the gift of God. Healing is not the gift of the healer. He only helps the patient into the right mental condition so that he can receive God's gift. He may have to sacrifice time, to give love, to manifest forbearance, to teach from his own dear-bought experience. In any line of world-work honesty requires the teacher to be rewarded in proportion to the preciousness of his teaching. If a patient has no will to be honest with the bringer of the gift, how can he receive the gift of God and keep it? Such a one may be healed in body of some present trouble but his evil mind goes on producing disease.

If there be honesty at the outset there is co-operation. The patient who is making a sacrifice is delighted to see improvement and gladly acknowledges the benefit. He thus opens his heart to receive more blessings. One who withholds the gift, sullenly conceals the benefit received lest he be shown to have a good reason for giving. When a man says "Heal me first, then I will pay," he is really offering a wager that the healer cannot benefit him. His mental attitude is one of resistance lest he be called upon to pay the forfeit. One who values the truth for its own sake and lovingly recognizes the sacrifice of his brother who is working for his healing, opens his heart to the beneficent influences of Love. The mendicant rejoices in iniquity and taketh account of evil symptoms; the honest man "rejoices in the truth," and Truth heals him.

 

No Reply to Accusations

It is oftentimes a mistake to answer back to an accusation. A wise man once said that if mud is flung upon your cloak, you should let it dry, and then it will fall off; whereas, to be over eager in getting rid of it may smear the garment. There is a story told of a man who was called a donkey by some opponent, and who came before an audience and attempted seriously and elaborately to prove that he was not; and the people said: "So then he is a donkey after all." It is impossible to argue with ignorance. If a man for instance opens his Bible and reads about four angels "standing on the four corners of the earth" and insists that the earth is square because four corners have thus been mentioned, and if he will listen to no argument it would be waste of words to attempt to convince him. The best answer to false accusation is true, honest and upright character. False accusation is like a changeable wind which may blow dust from any direction, whereas character is like a stone-built tower upon which the blown dust makes no impression.

There is this to be said of accusers that they are really accusing themselves, if they do not in their lives and labors illustrate a better ideal than is held by those whom they condemn. The unprofitable servant is spoken to by his lord, who says: "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee;" so it might very well be said to those whose objections to Christian Science are cruel and condemnatory, "Thou knewest the ideal Christian way, thou knewest the command of Jesus to follow his example in all things, and hast condemned thy brother for healing the sick, visiting the captive and unfettering the sinful. How much better hast thou done thyself?" It is quite likely that under the searching questioning of truth the "one talent man," who is usually the critic, will find himself speechless.

If attacks are received without resentment, and patience is allowed to have her perfect work the result is good. One example of this will suffice. A prominent journalist produced in his paper a critical and condemnatory diatribe against Christian Science. The animus of the article made it evident that he had not seen one gleam of that light of love which illumines the life of every true Christian Scientist. Some two hundred copies of this article were circulated by a lady who believed that she was doing God service in this way. She spoke with delight of this opportunity which she had taken to "enlighten the public regarding Christian Science." She expected her Scientist friend to be annoyed at this act, but this friend thanked her for what she had done and explained why. The article had been so elaborate in its attack that any reader of it would be led to wonder if that which was attacked were not worth investigating; and it so turned out that half a hundred copies of the text-book, were bought by seekers after Truth as a result of that attack.

The Christian Scientist is one who CONSENTS TO WHOLESOME WORDS "even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness." He is unwilling to become involved in the "perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth." He recognizes that the world's wisdom, wherefrom comes poisonous envy and bitter strife, is "earthly, sensual, devilish." It is fair to ask whether it is not a sufficient test of character to judge a man by that wisdom that is from above which is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, WITHOUT WRANGLING, and without hypocrisy." If there be those who preach Christ of contention we may rejoice as Paul did that "whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached." But, we will also say with Paul that "if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."

 

Discovery of Christian Science

When the last hope of recovery from an accident had been given up by both her doctor and her minister, a woman called for the Bible and read the story of healing that Matthew records in his ninth chapter. The question at once came to her mind, Why is not this beneficent power available to-day? Then came the realization that the power of Good must be omnipresent, that God is Love; and she arose healed. This woman was the Reverend Mary Baker Eddy, now known to the world as the Discover and Founder of Christian Science. This experience of the beneficent action of the divine Mind caused her to begin those investigations whereof "Science and Health" and her other writings tell. The facts of healing were recorded in the Scriptures, but they had been looked upon so long as unrelated happenings of a miraculous departure. After three years of study, and after six years more of experience and proof of the divine Principle involved in healing, it was possible to give to the world the text-book of the Science which was appropriately termed Christian. Those who studied this book in connection with the Bible found themselves able to heal the sick, and cast evils out of themselves and others. Thus began what has already become a world-wide movement, healthward, truthward, Godward.

The fact that students of the text-book of Christian Science became able to heal the sick, and so prove the Principle, should be sufficient answer to the accusation that Christian Scientists are merely following a person. The mere hero-worshipper may be far from heroic; he may admire the good but do it not. It is easier to make an idol of some great man than to imitate his excellence. But in Christian Science where all depends upon demonstration there cannot be hero worship; there must be following in the way pointed out through the toil, the self-sacrifice and the wonderful love for humanity evidenced by the Shower of the way. But at the same time if the tens of thousands of sick healed by virtue of the Principle thus revealed were not grateful, if they did not love the Revealer, man would be on a lower plane than the brute creation. But through healing they have learned that true nature of man, humane and Christlike, and therefore express gratitude and pure love, as naturally as a flower blooms in beauty and sends out fragrance. The excellence of this love shown to the Leader is that its quality is like a light and all mankind share in the benefit of it.

 

A Needless Objection

Objection is sometimes made to the author of the Christian Science text-book that she does not personally take patients. This is supposed to indicate a lack of love on her part. Let us seek for an analogy in the world. The General of an army has many things to think of which concern the advance and success of the whole army. Suppose he were to withdraw his attention from the questions which he alone can settle, leave his officers and subordinates in confusion, that he might give his time to cooking food for a squad of soldiers; it is necessary that a squad of soldiers should be fed; it is not necessary that the General should do it with his own hands. He really feeds them and supplies their wants by doing well the responsible duty which is assigned to him. It is in like manner that the Leader of this great Cause occupies the place and fulfills the duty which she alone can do. Instead of occupying her day in meeting the demands of a few selfish invalids or answering the arguments of individual objectors to the truth for which she stands, she is wisely conducting the movement of a great host of healers and expositors of truth. There is no invalid, there is no one in need, who cannot avail himself of the services of those who are competent, and then, there is the text-book from which the way of this truth may be learned. The Leader has vaster work than personal healing to do. She is preparing the way for the healing of the whole world. When there is misunderstanding of her method and people indulge in vituperation they are sorrowed over because their mental attitude is putting them for the time beyond the reach of the love which heals.

 

The Discoverer of Christian Science

In the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, which contains a notice of the life and work of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, are these words, "Many people of the thinking class are turning to this Science and adopting it, because in it they find a solid foundation, a sure abiding peace, the verification of the promises of Jesus and a demonstrable Christianity." Does it seem a strange thing that the revelation of Christian Science should come through a woman? France once was crushed with despair, her fields strewn with dead, — hypocrisy in her church, and falsehood in her palaces, the brute and the abominable passions of men were unrestrained and the invader found easy triumph. A high purpose inspired Joan of Arc, and purity gave her power so that she became the savior of her country. To-day when volcanic passions of men are breaking out to strikes and civil war, when great cities are leprous with vice, when men and women are longing for the liberty of the sons and daughters of God, is it strange that holy womanhood should hear the word of God and "proclaim liberty to the captives?"

Mrs. Eddy was religiously inclined from her very childhood, and becoming a member of an orthodox church at twelve years of age, was active and earnest therein, and had a large list of friends. As a writer and lecturer she was known to the world in years long prior to the discovery of Christian Science which is that understanding of the Divine which enables men to have the same mind in them which was in Christ Jesus. This knowledge also has demonstration and power; and tens of thousands in the land now can testify to healing from sickness and to purification of thought through Christian Science. But before she become the Discoverer of this provable and beneficent science, she who was to be the author of its text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," had been influencing public thought by her writings from the time when she was sixteen. One would expect to find her who now is the champion of the highest liberty to have been eager for the abolition of slavery. Her earnest work in this behalf led General Butler to express to her his opinion in a letter, saying, "If we had many women like yourself the war would soon be over." Previous to this in 1862 a lecture on the North and South in Waterville College, Maine, given by her, was pronounced by Prof. Sheldon the most able lecture on the subject ever delivered before that institution.

There are three of the Scriptural writers whose names seem to be prominent — Moses, Isaiah and Paul. Each of them was learned in the highest wisdom of his time. Moses added forty years of reflection and solitary thought to the study of Egyptian learning which had occupied him a like time. Then he was able to gain that self-obliteration which enabled him to be fed by God, and so lead the Israel of God out of their slavery. But more than that he was capable of making an abiding record of the events that occurred under the divine leading. The writings of Isaiah show what the man of affairs, of education, wealth and accomplishment, can express of beauty and truth when he sets the unseen God first in his life. Paul stands forth prominently as an Apostle of Christ, though once a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He utilized all that was of value in his laboriously sought learning, and transmuted his critical and destructive logic into the logic of truth, whereby he upbuilt the cause he had attempted to destroy. The author of the Christian Science text-book had the preparation of education as these mentioned writers had, before being called to her work. The singular purity and consecration of her life made the revelation of Good come to her naturally. There was no catastrophe as in Paul's case. Since the meaning of her mission dawned upon her she had labored with a devotion unceasing and a zeal untiring for the good of humanity, in line with former intentions, but now in accord with the understanding of Science whereby the whole world is to be regenerated. The singleness of her purpose, the continuity of her sense of God's presence, the simplicity of her obedience to God's will, encourage every working Scientist to follow her example and furnish an illustration of the unity of Good in character which is to bless all mankind.

There is a quaint story told in the German tongue of a Holland burgomaster, who descended from the height of his austere self-importance one day to soothe the woe of a child crying over a broken toy. After his death when he came to heaven's gate, as the story told, he was satisfied that the many good deeds of his life had procured an easy entrance; but the record-keeper turned over page after page, and every one was a blank. At last in a corner of nearly the last page was one kind act — the mending of a toy for a child; but that was enough to procure him admittance, for even a cup of cold water given with love for Christ's sake brings certain reward. A single brave or kindly act has been enough to set a name in history, as for example Sidney's self-denial in passing the water his own lips craved to the thirstier soldier on Zutphen's field. But what if a life be filled with kindly acts? What if the record of years has every hour designated by self-denial and tenderness and loving rebukes that healed sin and wise counsels that helped the good of the world? Would not such a life illustrate heaven here, and assure the world of the certainty of God's will being done on earth as in heaven? Would not such a life call out love, and would not men honor themselves by loving?

 

The Danger of Prejudice

A man who is prejudiced is one who judges in advance of the evidence. He does not wait for the facts and found his judgment thereon but he comes to a conclusion because of certain mental conditions of his own. He does not view the external conditions, but from some internal irritation or unhappiness within his own person he forms an opinion which may be justified by no evidence. There are too many who allow prejudice to close their eyes. They do not know whence these influences come but when they find themselves at enmity against those who are doing only good they would do well to question the source of the feeling; for it can only come from that which prevents the good, and "whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie." If a scholar gain a prejudice against his teacher, the poisonous influence of distrust, fear, and malice, will taint all his thought, and make him unable to come at the sense of the teaching given. Or suppose a case of famine in India, and superstition to cause prejudice against the Commissioner of Relief in a district, so that some famished natives had too much fear to go to him and receive the freely offered supply; the real hurt of prejudice would in that case be apparent. And careful thought will show that there is similar hurt in all cases; the most noteworthy example being the rejection by his own race and people of Christ Jesus who came to teach the truth about God. Prejudice prevented the Jews from discerning the Goodness incarnate, which governed the man Christ Jesus, and failing to accept that, how could they receive the higher revelation of Good as the supreme, incorporeal, divine Principle, governing the universe?

 

A Book and Its Value

To study newspapers is a weariness to the eyes and a confusion to the mind. It is as if one were listening to the many contradictory voices of a crowd. Magazines set forth their discursive entertainment and deceptive elegancies which do not satisfy. In a book we expect to find deeper thoughts. It is not easy to share riches that are material, for to give away all is to be impoverished; but thoughts and ideas can be disseminated and the giver and the receiver are both enriched. We have read of the blacksmith at his forge studying from a book for the few moments when the bellows sighed and the flame shot up, and then thinking over the thoughts of great men while his hammer was busy on the anvil. We think of that weaver at the loom catching ideas as he passed back and forth and glanced at his book, then weaving these into his character, so that through him they blessed a continent. If books can have such influences the question might properly be asked, What books? We think of Carlyle, for instance, the thunderer against shams, one who was a prophet indeed, and more than a prophet, in his zeal for righteousness; but we find that in his own life he was not able to produce that righteousness of condition which we call health. We think of his home agonies, distresses and sufferings, and we say that he did not have and so could not give the whole solution. We think of Emerson, that peaceful enlightener of men, who had the hint of many deep spiritual truths and presented them vague or clear in his own way, but generally mystically, not in the terms of Science. But then we find that in later days he lost memory and was as a stranger among the friends that he knew. We think of the poets; and how often they are as those showing the rainbow to a child, and sending the little one on a chase after the pot of money which they say is at its foot. The riches hinted at cannot be found, nor is there any poet who by example as well as precept, has shown us how to live. The theologians then, those deep thinkers regarding God, must be the ones who will tell us this secret of life. But then sometimes the face of one who is eminent in such deep thinking would make a child afraid. We could not think this, of the face of one who said "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." The trouble in theology is that human opinions become the subject of debate; and one man justifying his opinions is met by another accusing him of errors, or else excusing his own mistakes. If one could discover a single book wherein the glintings of the poet's imagination are found, but set forth as clear light; where the aim of the theologian is realized in a provable theology; that book would surely guide him aright. If, moreover, there was found a right philosophy, good for all men and all times, and a statement of the Principle according to which the sociology of Christ may be realized, the labor question settled, wars brought to an end, and the brotherhood of man made a fact in human experience, that would indeed be a book worth having. When I found this book my theological library became displaced and useless; for the things about which theologians dispute were set forth in a demonstrable way, and where there is proof by demonstration there can be no argument or disputing. Moreover, I found, on perusing volumes written by poets and philosophers, that the specially marked passages therein were as hintings only of the clear sense and vistas of beauty which were to be found in this one book. Furthermore, it was discovered that the ignorant and those without knowledge of the world's ways, became wise and instructed through study of this book; and able to prove the doctrine of the Christ by such signs as the Apostles gave. Then it became evident that the book introduces a new age.

If we turn back to an early translation of the Bible we find a significant expression in that chapter of Luke which tells of the mission of John to make ready the ways of the Lord and "give knowledge of Salvation unto his people." Salvation to our ears has a theological sound, and in popular thought means eventual escape from hell and its eternal misery. The sense intended is lost when salvation does not become a present blessing. Wycliffe touches the real meaning of the passage by writing "Science of Helthe" where "Knowledge of Salvation" is given in our version. If the "gospel of salvation" were recognized to be "the good news of Health" people would understand that the blessing is now to be enjoyed and would not vaguely postpone happiness and heaven. It is interesting that the book wherein the good news of Christ-healing is elucidated scientifically should not only re-assert the knowledge of salvation from disease and sorrow and sin but be named "Science and Health."

Suppose a doctrine is to be propagated; how must it be done? If the understanding of it be found in the thought of one man and he instruct others, what guarantee is there that these others will be in agreement? Peter and Paul did not see eye to eye. This day there are four hundred different sects in Christianity. Each one of these sects professes to set forth the doctrine and dogma of Christ, and yet in none of them is there found the power to live the life which Jesus lived, and yet we are exhorted to have the same mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus. Would not this mean an end not only to profanity, lust, murder, and intoxication of every kind, but the elimination of the small and mean conduct whereby some endeavor to make worthless the lives of their household and neighbors? Not every one is willing to give up the induced conditions which have replaced the cheerfulness and loving heart of the child, and be converted from selfishness, fear and meanness to faith, hope and love. To accomplish this has been the aim of Christendom during the ages. In its history we find that each sect or denomination has stood for and emphasized some one prominent thought; that is, the messengers have seen only one aspect or facet of a whole truth. If, instead of persons who go out as preachers and become divergent in their views, it were possible to have a book, as impersonal as a book on mathematics and provable in the same way, we should expect to find men come to a final agreement. Is it not so with astronomers? Those of different countries who may be unable to speak each other's tongue will calculate with exactness the time and place of an eclipse or be found together in some far part of the earth ready to observe a transit of Venus concerning which their calculations are the same. Why should living be devoid of exactness? Why should Christianity depend upon the guess-work of doctrine rather than upon the certainties and the proofs of Science?

If it be so, as has been said, that the unlearned may from the study of this book become wiser than ancient philosophers, and the simple hearted behold and prove the things that are hidden from students and doctors and teachers, do we not get a hint therefrom of the possibilities of the future? One of the old prophets had a beautiful dream of the time coming when all should be acquainted with God the least and the lowly as well as the highest in rank. If, as we have seen, it is an impossibility for personal messengers to convey the correct sense of an original teaching or doctrine, it is exactly possible for all those who study a book and must prove it, each one in the same way to come to an understanding of its truth, which will enable them to understand one another and to love one another. When Love is thus universal it will be truly said:

 

"The whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of

God."

 

[Delivered Nov. 14, 1898, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and published in The St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Nov. 16, 1898. The account of the lecture is entitled “Christian Science” and a similar account in another newspaper has the identical headline. It is thus presumed that this was the title of the lecture.]

 

 

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