Man's Spiritual Dominion Through Scientific Christianity, The Religion of the Future
Sue Harper Mims, C.S.D., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The semi-annual lecture of The First Church of Christ, Scientist,
The lecturer was introduced by Prof. Hermann S. Hering, First Reader of The Mother Church, who spoke as follows::
Friends: — On behalf of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, The Mother Church of the Christian Science denomination, it is my pleasure to extend to you a most cordial welcome to its semi-annual lecture. That Christian Science is a subject of marked interest is evidenced by your presence here tonight. Indeed there is no topic of such vital import to humanity as that of salvation from the bondage of sin, of disease, and of the discords of this life. The world, with its miseries, disappointments, and woes, is in dire need of something more than it has had, and Christian Science supplies that need through the Science of Christianity, which reveals the teaching and practice of Christ Jesus, the true Saviour of the world, to be applicable today in all their fulness and promise.
When Christian Science first found me as a student, experimenter, and teacher in the physical sciences, I was awed by its tremendous claims and its inconceivably glorious promises, and to my great joy, after very careful and thorough research, meditation, and demonstration, I came to the definite conclusion that it was really true, that Christian Science is a perfect Science, being based upon absolute divine Principle; a religion that offers a rational, complete, and demonstrable interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, and a philosophy that makes possible a satisfactory solution of all the problems of mankind.
Christian Science seems more wonderful as its grandeur and depth grow upon the thought, and when we consider the materiality of the age in which it appeared, we become more and more grateful to the one whose mental and moral qualities were so pure and spiritual that the absolute truth concerning God, man, and the universe was revealed to human consciousness through her. This woman was the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, and she has perceived and demonstrated divine Mind to such a degree as has made possible the marvelous works which have characterized her sacred ministry for humanity, and which have fitted her for the leadership of the great Cause she has established.
The lecturer of the evening is one who appreciates the vastness and import of this subject, and who is intellectually and spiritually qualified to present it to you; but it is possible in a single lecture to touch but a few of its essentials, with the hope that this cup of cold water in the name of Christ may bless some needy one here tonight.
Our lecturer is a Southron, — a fair daughter of the sunny South, of a distinguished and cultured family, who was healed through Christian Science of chronic invalidism of fifteen years standing, and who subsequently devoted her energies to this healing ministry and became a pioneer of the Cause in the Southern States. She has had the advantage of personal instruction from our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, and has had an extensive and varied experience in Christian Science work, and I bespeak for her your very courteous attention.
I have the very great pleasure of
introducing to you Mrs. Livingston Mims of
Mrs. Mims spoke as follows:
One of the most expressive
indications of the progress of religious thought is to be seen in the vast
numbers of people who attend lectures on the subject of Christian Science. Before
Mrs. Eddy made her discovery of the Science of Being, or the Science of
Christianity, no two words in the popular thought, or in the English language,
seemed more irreconcilably separated than these — Christianity and Science; and yet since God
Himself is Omni-Science, anything emanating from Him must inevitably be
essentially scientific, since God and His laws are supreme, unerring, and
unvarying, — the same "yesterday,
to-day, and forever," — and Science
being that which deals with the laws of Truth, there can be no more holy
alliance than that of these two words, Christian Science. You are here to
listen to a lecture on a Science whose Principle is God Himself; whose laws are
the immutable laws of health, holiness, harmony, and immortality; whose results
must be, and are, the establishment of the
This God whom we call the infinite, divine Principle of Being, is not a new God. The God of Christendom, defined as infinite Spirit, is our God. The God of orthodox Christianity, defined as infinite Mind, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, is our God. It is He of whom the ancient prophets thundered throughout the centuries. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and beside Him there is naught else." Then what has Christian Science more to offer? We answer, Much. It is the voice of Truth calling to the world today to awake from its materialism and pause to ponder, to contemplate this definition of God, Spirit; to accept, as Mrs. Eddy teaches, the sublime consequent of this statement of God. If God, Spirit, Mind, is all, is all power, presence, and reality, then matter, evil, is naught, is not. Christian Science arouses slumbering humanity from its lethargic, stupid acquiescence in evil, sin, disease, and death, and teaches the imperative need and beneficent power of the Christianly scientific protest against these discordant conditions as being opposed to the divine law, order, and government.
The aspiration to know and understand God and "His wonderful ways to the children of men" has inspired the long search and questioning of the centuries. The attempt to reconcile the mystery of evil with the postulate of an all-wise, beneficent, and omnipotent creator has stimulated vast systems of philosophic thought throughout the history of the race. The theoretical mind has been ever the same, since and before the days when Socrates talked of the immortality of the soul, and Plato dreamed his seemingly Utopian dreams of the true Republic, while the Alexandrian schools teemed with magnificent hypotheses.
Nineteen hundred years ago, in the midst of the tumultuous thought of that day, there suddenly appeared a simple, majestic figure, Jesus of Nazareth! He spake as never man spake before, and he proved the beneficent ways of God to man. He showed this benevolent God to be neither the creator nor the permitter of evil. It was as if he said, "God is not a remote abstraction, not a far-away ruler and mighty king, but a living presence, eternal Truth, a divine environment, in which we live, and move, and have our being, the one source from which cometh every good and perfect thing. The Master came fulfilling God's law. He said of the law, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." In fulfilling the law of Life he raised the dead; in fulfilling the law of harmony, he stilled the tempest and healed the sick. When he fulfilled the absolute law of spiritual being, he ascended to his invisible unity with the Father, Spirit, from whence he came. He taught that God is Mind, intelligence, the substance that includes all, and that feeds, clothes, sustains, and governs man, redeeming him from the bondage of materialistic law by the spiritual law of life and harmony. He taught that even the birds and lilies teach us lessons of the ineffable love of this Father-Mother God, a God of love who embraces all, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, who cares for the winged bird and the "flower in the crannied wall." He is the same intelligence, Love, which rolled away the stone and enabled Jesus to express his deathless, indestructible identity or individual being in God. Stupendous lesson! that man may be wise enough and good enough to escape corruption.
Has the popular, speculative philosophy of modern thought gone beyond that of the old Greek who at least glimpsed immortality? Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his last days, helplessly summed up his system by saying, "Contemplating the inscrutable connection between brain and consciousness, as we can get no evidence of the existence of the one without the activity of the other, we are forced to relinquish the thought that individual consciousness continues after physical organization ceases." This is interesting from the Christian Science point of view, only as it shows that so long as the belief of the unison of mind and matter obtains, it hides immortality and man's divine possibilities, while Christian Science, teaching that God is Mind, never in matter, brings into view the perfect, eternal, ideal man in God. Today, in answer to sore human need, Christian Science appears, reiterating to a famishing world the words of Jesus, and is following him in demonstrating the God-power to heal and bless humanity. It is establishing the practical Christianity of Jesus as he walked humbly with the multitude, healing every manner of disease, purifying and uplifting human thoughts. It is fulfilling the mission of the Comforter. It takes of Jesus' life, works, and words, and shows them to us, while explaining his modus operandi.
Have you ever thought how little is said by Christian people today about Jesus' works? Yet he said, "The works that I do shall ye do also." He taught that God is the only true Physician, revealing to man his God-given dominion as the reflection of his Maker. This supremacy is not attained through the human will, but through the enlightened understanding of the realities of being and of man's relation to God. Paul, who had a clear sense of Jesus' mission, strove for this mastery of matter, or the body, and understood it as a primary step in Christianity. "I keep under my body, . . . lest . . . when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." This conquest of material selfhood and sense must bring (as he teaches) every thought, wish, and desire into "obedience to Christ," to the demands of a pure, unselfish love that seeketh not her own but another's good.
The Law of Spiritual Dominion
In the spiritual account of
creation in the first chapter of Genesis we read, "And God said, Let us
make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over
all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
"Thou madest him to have dominion . . . thou
hast put all things under his feet," sang the sweet singer of
The Comforter in Christian Science, illuminating the Scriptures in a flood of light, reveals that this Science was, and from the beginning is, the Word of God, the true Logos, reconciling man to spiritual law. It shows Jesus to have been not only the most transcendental, but the most practical of men. In him the ideal became the real and the acme of religious aspiration was readied.
Unsatisfactory and Unreal Nature of Material Existence
In the greatest of all epics, Job pondered the strange problem of material existence, and spake from and for the universal human experience, when he said, "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? . . . Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul." He said also "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble;" and David queried, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Prophet and apostle speak of this material existence as a vapor that melteth before the sun, as a shadow, a dream, for all flesh is as the flower of the field that today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven. And the great apostle Paul speaks of this sad condition as the "old man with his deeds" (or concept of man), corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, to be "put off." This brings us to one of the most practical metaphysical points in Christian Science. Tired humanity, with tragic earnestness, during all the long centuries has endeavored to "put off" the "deeds of the old man," — the sin, discord, disease, death, — but these efforts have resembled those of an agriculturist who attempts to get rid of a tree by lopping off the branches. Spring, however, reveals an added number of branches, — the root has not been touched: but in the divine metaphysics of this paragraph of Paul we find in a logical sequence that the old man with his deeds must be put off.
This brings us to see Mind as causation. Only as the old man, — or the Adam concept "in which all die," — the Adam thought of man as coming from the dust, is put off, do we see that disease, decay, and death are causeless, having no origin nor right to exist. The apostle turns our attention to the true concept, the Christ, the spiritual idea, when he says, "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." This is the immaculate concept of man as the divine idea, this true concept is the saviour of the world.
In that beautiful fifth chapter of I John, a new translation makes this very clear. It reads, "For we know that the son of God hath come, and hath given us an insight that we are getting to know Him that is real, and we are in Him that is real, and in His son Jesus Christ." This clearly shows that spiritual insight alone can show us the real, while we look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen, which are eternal. This is a simple statement of the Christian Scientist's understanding of matter and its discords; they are temporal falsities. Truth, and what it includes, is eternal, perfect, and harmonious. Indeed the apostle tells us in Hebrews, 11, that this one thing — this conviction of unseen realities, as a closer translation gives it — was the mighty power by which was wrought the wonders of spiritual victory throughout the Scriptures; that it quenched the violence of fire, stopped the mouths of lions, and raised the dead. This same conviction of the unseen power and presence of God is not shorn of its invincible utility, but is, now and ever, the prerogative and proof of Christianity. That this faith which "is the evidence of things not seen," is the very basis of Christianity, is beyond question to the enlightened and unbiased Christian thought. This true idealism of pure Christianity brings to light Life and immortality; it reveals the perfect man and universe, as the expression of the pure ideal "in the bosom of the Father." It fulfils all high aspirations. The apostle further tells us of the transformative power of this true idealism. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds." By beholding with unveiled face this divine glory, even as in a mirror, we too may be changed "from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." "Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body?" It is to this unspeakable glory that Jesus' idealism calls us; not through death, for death is not a transforming power, but through spirituality, wisdom, and understanding. We should not be discouraged because this process seems slow, but rejoice that we have learned to take the infantile steps in this direction, for we are only babes on the shore of infinite, divine possibilities. Our work at this hour is to make the little we know practical, not forgetting the sublime ultimate.
Physical Force So-called
The wise man hath said that there
is nothing new under the sun; and the Scriptures say, "That which hath
been is now, and that which is to be hath already been." One hundred years
ago, not a steamboat was known; the human mind had not begun to explore the
subtle forces unused around it. For centuries the steam had lifted the top of
the boiler in the common uses of daily life, hinting an unrecognized power.
Then a Watt and a Stephenson grasped a sense of the forces of steam and applied
it. It is an interesting historic fact, that the first steamboat that crossed
But this century, the advancing dawn of man's dominion, has brought it into subjection, and it is the servant of man. On the seashore, as the great revolving beacon-lights illumine the darkness, they symbolize the impersonal love of man to man, as they become guides to the storm-tossed or fog-blinded mariners on their outward and inward journeys.
Thus we see these invisible, so-called physical forces, these unknown quantities, lighting and moving in the material world. These forces seem, however, capable of both good and evil; the luminous guide to the storm-tossed mariner may also kill with a touch. They are devoid of spiritual law; they cannot therefore be true nor good forces, but are only counterfeits of spiritual force; they are manifestations of the human mind or will which must yield to the true force, the spiritual dynamics of unchanging and eternal good. Truth is a revelator and a revelation of eternal, changeless facts, and the limitless possibilities of being.
The True Force
Towards the climax of Jesus'
demonstration over space and time, we read in John of a wonderful incident. The
apostle relates this incident with much appreciation and understanding. It
seems that one evening Jesus and his disciples were together on the shore of
the Galilean sea. Finally the disciples left to cross the sea, and Jesus was
alone under the blue Eastern sky. In the middle of the night the disciples saw
Jesus walking over to them. They were at first affrighted, not yet realizing
that the divinely natural is not supernatural. They finally took him with them
into the boat, and the apostle records that immediately the boat was where they
had been slowly going. Mrs. Eddy points us to Jesus who came in the "power
of the Spirit," and before this power every form of sin, disease, storm,
tempest, and death itself, "vanished into its native nothingness."
For several centuries the application of the power of Spirit to overcome human
ills characterized the primitive Christian Church. Gradually the
materialization of the age obscured the glorious light, as the world took
possession of the Church instead of the Church taking charge of the world. To
Paul, the metaphysician, this power was the Mind of Christ destroying the
illusions of the mind of the flesh.
Mrs. Eddy's Place among Scientific Discoverers
Less than forty years ago, in lofty
spiritual isolation, there stood a woman, Mary Baker Eddy, on the mountain-top
of vision, kissed by the rising sun of righteousness with healing in its beams.
Solitary as the great explorer who stood on a lonely peak in
What, then, do we not owe to her who has so bravely stemmed the tide of human opinions and held aloft the banner of primitive Christianity and its demonstrations of the power of the Spirit which can work no ill, that is eternal and unchanging good, — aye, very good, — that law of love to which every knee must bow. It is my happy privilege to speak of Mrs. Eddy from my own personal knowledge of the beauty of her life, the inspiration of her presence, the grace of her personality. Born of an old and intellectual family, associated intimately with the scholarly men of her native State, and surrounded by a pure spiritual atmosphere, she was adequately fitted for her high destiny. Educated in part by her elder brother, one of New Hampshire's most brilliant sons, she acquired an accomplished education. This brother, Hon. Albert Baker, was a law student and partner of President Franklin Pierce. Mrs. Eddy was both intellectually and spiritually endowed, and was a well-known and gifted authoress even in early life. Of her philanthropy and her unselfish work for humanity, words are inadequate to express its fulness. No other person, perhaps, in all this modern world, has so lived and loved that many thousands have been lifted out of sin, disease, and poverty, as they have been through her sweet ministry. As the veil of misconception is removed, that blinds the world to its great spiritual leaders, her life gives forth a radiant light, she commands the admiration of the world, and the ages will call her blessed.
Difference Between Christian Science and Some Phases of Modern Thought
Christian Science is entirely unique in its dealings with the question of evil, or matter. It rests absolutely on the basis that God is the only, the infinite One, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent good: the all-inclusive Mind, beside whom, ''there is none else." It is true that some modes of modern thought claim to acknowledge this statement of God, Spirit, good, but they drop from this sublime postulate and admit matter, something besides the infinity of Spirit, thus making, in theory, material man and universe the expression of Spirit, which is illogical and un-Scriptural, for flesh and Spirit, matter and Mind, are contrary. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." Because of this opposition of Spirit to the flesh, we know that logically one cannot be the outcome of the other any more than light can emit darkness, or Truth express a lie. Therefore, Christian Science denies that matter or materiality can be actual, or the emanation of the one Spirit, the only Cause. It does not deny man or the universe, but only a false, material sense of them. Furthermore, none of these phases of modern thought or philosophy make a separation between "the carnal mind" which is enmity to Truth and the Christ-mind which is Truth.
Christian Science stands alone in
the realm of religion and philosophy, separating between the unreal and the
real, between the flesh and the Spirit, the seen and
the unseen. In that second day of spiritual unfolding recorded in the first
chapter of Genesis, this statement is made, that "God made the firmament,
and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which
were above the firmament." In "Science and Health with Key to the
Scriptures," page 505, the separation between Truth and error is clearly
defined. Moses by symbols taught this separation. Moses and Ezekiel reproached
the pastors of
In fulness of time Jesus came, not to judge by the seeing of the eye nor by the hearing of the ear, but to "judge righteous judgment." He came with fan in hand to separate the chaff from the wheat; the material seeming, the fleeting, from the real, harmonious, and eternal. In divine metaphysics this is the suppositional conflict between Truth and error, understanding and belief. Jesus termed the false sense of matter and evil a lie, "a liar, and the father of it," and proved its unreality on the basis of the truth of God's infinity. It is on this point of denying evil, of meeting it as a false claim, a seeming presence opposed to the divine ever-presence, a pretender and a usurper, and overcoming it, that many of our best poets and thinkers have failed: they say that all is good without meeting and destroying the false evidence of sin and evil, and thus they fall under the condemnation of the prophet who said, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil."
When the full revelation of the spiritual sonship glorified the consciousness of Jesus, he heard the Divine voice saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." In the wilderness of human errors and beliefs he met and overcame temptation, for Truth uncovered to him the mystery of evil, the false claims of another mind than God, with all its arguments and evil suggestions, and he met and mastered every one. Then he came, clothed in the mastery of spiritual dominion, ready to cast out all manner of evil. He had found what was in the human mind, and rebuked every temptation of materialism, with its prides, ambitions, passions, and desires. He reversed every material belief, prevalent then and now, as to the origin and destiny of man, and planted himself absolutely on the premise of man's spiritual perfection as the image and likeness of his Maker, revealing the eternal, changeless now of scientific being. "Now are we the sons of God."
This meeting and overcoming of the
false evidences of evil on the basis of man's spiritual perfection in God,
delivers man, here and now, from the powers of darkness. To enter into this
Many intelligent physicians who recognize the healing work of Christian Science, say that their objection is to the claim of its being supernatural. Now this is just what Christian Science absolutely disclaims. Paul once said, "Why should it seem a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" That God should heal the sick seems divinely natural to Christian Scientists. To the understanding of God, the only Cause, the tender, loving Father-Mother God, nothing else could be natural. It is the Truth of being which heals, not human will or influence. (See Miscellaneous Writings, p. 200) Thus Christian Science teaches that sin and disease have no divine authority. They obtain in an illusory, untrue sense of existence and are destroyed by the Truth of being.
It is sometimes said that Christian Scientists are not philanthropists, because they do not build hospitals nor asylums. Christian Scientists dearly love all good work, every expression of love and good-will to men, and often contribute generously of their material means; however, since the need of these institutions does not seem to decrease, but greatly increase, it would appear that the root of the evil has not yet been reached. The healing and redeeming power of Christian Science has the task of breaking down the fetters of material law which bind the whole world, and its philanthropy is broad as the heavens and deep as the ocean. Indeed, we see that Christian Science healing, going to the root of evil, dealing primarily with cause instead of effect, being ethical as well as physical in its redemptive work, offers a permanent and radical remedy; and, as its beneficent influence extends, it will bring universal salvation.
In that magnificent eighth chapter of Romans, the apostle says, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." He also says that "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together," unwillingly under the law or bondage of corruption, "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Everything cognized by the material senses seems to be under this law, from a blade of grass to the splendid stars, for astronomy reveals "a dead moon and dying worlds." The wonderful, spiritual law of Truth, recognized as making free from the supposititious law of sin, disease, and death, is utilized by Christian Science in its work of redemption, revealing gradually "the new heavens and the new earth," wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Christian Science is in full and
ready sympathy with every advancement towards purity, benevolence, law, and
order. It teaches that the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount furnish
the solution of every human problem. Its Alpha and Omega is Love, — it teaches that God is Love, infinite and
ever-present; that all sects, nations, and races are embraced in that Mind
which is Love; that there is one Father-Mother, God, one family, — the whole earth; that man attains his own
perfection and harmony in proportion to his own reflection, in thought and
action toward all men, of his active Principle, Love. Divine Love reflected on
earth reveals the
Some day, by laws as fixed and fair
As guard the planets in their sweep,
The children of each outcast heir
The harvest-time of Truth shall reap.
The peasant's thought shall yet be wise,
The untamed pulse beat calm and still,
The blind shall see, the lowly rise,
And work in peace Love's wondrous will.
Some day, without a trumpet-call,
The news shall o'er the earth be blown,
The heritage come back to all,
The myriad monarchs take their own.
[Delivered April 13, at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Boston and published in the Christian Science Sentinel, April 22, 1905. The title, which was not provided by the Journal, has been supplied from another, briefer account of the lecture.]