Christian Science: It is Christian, Curative, and Lawful (1)
Carol Norton, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Carol Norton, C.S.D., of the International Board of Lectureship of the Mother Church of Christian Science, lectured last evening at Horticultural Hall, on "Christian Science: It is Christian, Curative and Lawful."
Captain John F. Linscott, C.S.D., of Washington, D.C., introduced Mr. Norton in the following words: —
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city, has invited me to run up from Washington to hear this lecture, and has conferred upon me the honor of introducing the distinguished lecturer this evening, and of saying a word myself. The Apostle Paul, when he got in a difficult place because of his belief in Christianity, his belief that God could heal the sick and the sinner and raise the dead by one and the same process, related something of his own personal experience to prove Christianity true as a whole. I shall do likewise. Under the saddening influences of the Civil War I drifted away from the influence of a loving mother's kind admonition, and later in life, nearly twenty-three years ago, while in the process of reaping the gloom and sadness that I had been sowing, the cumulative sorrow and pain of the senses, I made my first prayer to God. It was a prayer of ignorance answered in love and mercy. My absolute extremity was the Christ opportunity of that holy presence and power that had always rested upon me as upon all human beings. There I felt the first touch of true life and its sweetness and power, and I was helped physically, mentally, and morally. For ten years I labored from the platform and personally, under the auspices of the Woman's National Christian Temperance Union, under the gallant leadership of that golden-haired, silver-tongued orator for God and home and native land, Frances E. Willard. I found that we had this difficulty: while we could heal the sick mentally and physically, and give them a hope of divine power for deliverance, we had no scientific interpretation of the Scriptures whereby we could ground them in the letter and the spirit. So with the many interpretations it became bewildering to the human mind, and many as they grew weak in their faith grew weak in the flesh and relapsed.
Thirteen years ago I heard of Christian Science. I read in the newspaper a few lines or paragraphs ridiculing it, and I was prejudiced against it from that moment. Later a friend said to me, "I should think that you would be interested in Christian Science, because it is founded on the Scriptures." And that very moment I was interested. And it was not long before I took the Bible to my heart and I said, "I believe every word in this book that I understand, and every word in it that I do not understand God will reveal to me through Christian Science." And so I began to read the literature of Christian Science, and the first definition that I read was of Christ. I read it in the Glossary of Science and Health. The definition is this: "The divine manifestation of God, which comes in the flesh, to destroy incarnate error." I said, "I believe that." And then I read the definition of Christian Science, and I said, "That is a good definition; I believe that." Then I read in our text-book, Science and Health, that the theology of Christian Science, when understood, healed sin and sickness. And then I asked myself the question, What is Science? I turned to Webster's Dictionary and I found this definition, that "Science is a complement of cognitions, having in point of form the character of logical perfection, and in point of matter the character of real truth." I said that is a good definition. What is the definition of theology? I turned to Webster, and he says, that "theology is the science of God and His relation to His creatures. The science which treats of the essence and character of God and His attributes and laws and His government. The doctrine we are to believe and the duties we are to perform." Then I put the definition of Christ with that, and I said, this seems a scientific interpretation indeed. Then I began to read the Scriptures from the understanding that had been revealed to me through the metaphysics of the divine Mind and its divine manifestation, as presented in our text-book, Science and Health; and then and now I take my Bible in my hand and I read Jesus' words where he said, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal Life." He saw that divine manifestation of God which comes to the flesh. Now I take my Bible in my hand and in my heart I can read, and in my heart I can see, and in my heart I can feel, and in my heart I can understand the voice of God speaking to me in Bible language, where before the words were meaningless. So I now read understandingly. My heart says, I will love thee, oh Lord, my strength. My understanding of this theology of the Scripture has enabled me in thirteen years' time so to preach the kingdom of God and heal men and women from the love of sin and the fear of pain and death, by preaching it, pouring in the kingdom of God by the letter and the Spirit, and placing in their hands the scientific text-book which gives the scientific interpretation of the Scriptures and practical Christianity, that I have said in my heart, "It has made a new Christianity for me. It has made a new Bible for me, and it has given me a higher understanding of God and my obligations to Him and my fellow-man."
So, dear friends, I am a Christian Scientist because it enables me to preach the kingdom of God with a better understanding of God and a better definition of God and man. I know there are some opposed to it, but we cannot help that, for every new and better thing which comes to the world is opposed at first. Old forms and creeds and doctrines and republics die in giving birth to new and better ones. And why not? I know that some of our friends say that it may do something for the body but there is no religion in it. Others say it may do something for the mind but there is no power in it to heal organic disease; but there are countless thousands declaring that it has healed them physically, mentally, and morally. We have gone through many deep waters. Some years ago in Iowa they arrested a man for healing a woman who was very ill and given up by physicians. The man was arrested and the case brought before the court, and the judge asked for the text-book that these people studied, and he read a little in it and said to the prosecuting attorney, "My dear sir, if there is a case here in this court it is a case against God, for I see that God does the healing through the teachings of this book, and this court has no jurisdiction to try such a case."
Now our work is progressing all over our land. We do not worship our Mother but we love her. We love this true Leader who has through all these years stood steadfastly at the helm and helped us mentally and spiritually through her kind admonition. So if you will please excuse a simple illustration I would say this: that you take your gold twenty-two carat fine and have it made into the most beautiful loving-cup and place on its top the richest gem on earth, the Koh-i-noor of the crown of England, and that would be the symbol of our love and appreciation of our dear Mother in Israel, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy. Knowing that I have presented the poor wine at the first of the feast, I now have the pleasure of presenting to you my dear friend, Carol Norton, C.S.D., of New York City, a member of the International Board of Lectureship of the Mother Church of Christian Science in Boston, Mass., whose life and sweet influence has been a benediction to me for the past nine years; and he will now address you on the subject of "Christian Science: it is Christian, Curative, and Lawful."
Among other things he said:
"Christian Science is Christian because it imitates Christ and heals the sick of human kind as well as the sinful. It is evangelical because it follows the methods of the Evangelist and the early Church. It takes Christ at his word, believes not a part, but all of his promises, strives to carry out all of his great commission, and, therefore, heals disease as well as human depravity. It is catholic because it affirms the divine basis of Christ's works, words and religion, and proclaims the world-wide or universal adaptability and Truth of God's fatherhood, Christ's spiritual leadership and Messianic mission and man's brotherhood, through a scientific understanding of the true import of a just and divine, not a vicarious or inhuman, atonement. It is Biblical or Scriptural, inasmuch as it is wholly, not partially, founded on the Bible."
Christian Science Curative
"Christian Science is curative because it cures organic and functional diseases. It does this in most cases after all medical methods have failed to effect a cure. It affirms that the true understanding of Christ's doctrine of one supreme God, or divine Principle, of itself begets the cardinal tenet of Christian Science and its metaphysical healing. [For, says Christian Science, if God as the perfect Author and Sustainer of the universe is All in all, His nature is as much the perfect Principle of bodily harmony or health as it is the true nature of moral or spiritual health in the character of man.] Christian Science is curative because it proves the scientific practicability of this premise, or Christian tenet of Christianity according to Christ by healing diseases [cancer, consumption, Bright's disease, blindness, typhoid fever, curvature of the spine, locomotor ataxia, rupture, valvular disease of the heart and the alcohol and drug habits. Christian Science is curative because it unites moral transformation, or the healing of sin, and physical healing as the cure of bodily disease in one system of exact metaphysical therapeutics]. Christian Science in its religion and healing is the natural enemy of fanatacism, religious superstition, and inhuman and unscientific methods of cure and ethical teaching."
Rightful and Legitimate
"That which is rightful and legitimate is lawful. All true law is synonymous with righteousness and justice. True law protects the individual in the exercise of his God-given rights. Morality is the essence of law and equity its foundation. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, according to the highest law of the American Commonwealth, are the divinely ordained, free, and independent privileges of man. Liberty is the state of one who is free. Freedom is based on right, character, righteous living, health, and especially on religious liberty.
First — Christian Science is lawful because it is good. It heals iniquitous habits, regenerates the depraved and vicious, increases happiness and releases the prisoners from the dungeons of materialism, disease and mental imbecility. Second — It is lawful because it is the true friend of good citizenship, business integrity, social reform, right education and philanthropic endeavor. Third — It is lawful because it heals organic and functional diseases where all phases of popular medical systems utterly fail. Fourth — It is lawful because if it heals in thousands of cases considered incurable by materia medica, it is fair to affirm that thousands of men, women and children who now die under medical systems might have been healed had Christian Science been resorted to. Hence it can be said that thousands die for lack of its treatment to one who loses his life because of its failure. Fifth — It is lawful, because its metaphysical therapeutics dealing wholly with mental causation in the prevention and cure of disease represents the greatest advancement in curative science."
[Delivered Oct. 31, 1899, at Horticultural Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Twenty-first St. and Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, and published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 1, 1899. The additional passages in the lecture set off in brackets come from The Philadelphia Times of the same date. The introduction and the name of the sponsoring church have been provided from the Christian Science Sentinel, Nov. 16, 1899.]