Christian Science: Its Relation to the Destiny of Man
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., Of Portland, Oregon
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on, Christian Science was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the church edifice, 4017 Drexel Boulevard, Tuesday evening, October 18, by Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: Its Relation to the Destiny of Man." Mr. Seeley spoke substantially as follows:
Have you ever pondered the question as to what is the goal of all progress? Almost everyone is interested in progress. The child desires to outgrow the limitations of childhood. The adult seeks to advance into wider fields of accomplishment. Artists, musicians, business men and women all share these impelling motives to progress into larger attainment. Religiously, socially, economically men endeavor to progress through overcoming the limitations of ignorance. Nations advance into improved modes of law and government, into wider commercial activity, into more effective means of education and national betterment. Many nations are looking toward the objective of universal peace.
What unseen power impels these moves, and toward what are we all moving? Our tents are struck, but from whence are we, and whither are we going? What is the destination of man? Christian Science is answering these questions to the satisfaction of a rapidly increasing multitude.
Evolution and Theology
The widespread discussion of the theory of material evolution evidences the fact that men are thinking more of the question of man's origin. The theory that man has been evolved by material forces from a molecule of matter to monkey and on up to man, deals only with what is physical. Some may believe they are satisfied with the theory of material evolution as an explanation of the origin of this temporary, physical body, but this theory can never satisfy the thought which desires to know whence come the mental, moral, and spiritual qualities; and it is these in their individual association and expression which, Christian Science teaches, characterize real manhood.
Those mental and spiritual qualities which enabled Moses to discern and to declare the Ten Commandments, which enabled Christ Jesus to heal all manner of disease, to raise the dead, and to enunciate the Sermon on the Mount, which made Lincoln the Emancipator, and the beloved of the human race, which made it possible for Mary Baker Eddy to perceive in its purity and power the Christianity of the Master, none of these qualities ever came from mindless material molecules, or evolved from blind material energy. The physical scientists are surely entitled to our respect. Their investigations are serving many useful purposes. Furthermore they are gradually bringing to light the important fact that material science is unable to give any final explanation of the origin and ultimate of that concept of man which is more substantial than a matter organism. Thus the time is hastened when men will turn more willingly to Mind, matter's opposite, for an answer to the questions whence is man, and whither is he bound?
The theologians who reason from the second chapter of Genesis, wherein it is said that man was made from dust, as an account of the divine creation, and so regard God as responsible for the fleshly man, differ from Christian Science. This Science accepts the first chapter of Genesis as setting forth the divine creation. In this chapter it is recorded that man was made in the likeness of God, and that God's creation was altogether good. Christ Jesus defined God as Spirit, or Mind. Man, made by Spirit or Mind in its likeness must be of the substance of Spirit, or Mind. His nature must be mental and spiritual. In the second chapter of Genesis not only is man said to be made from dust, but the creation is said to include evil. This account Christian Science regards as the Biblical writer's endeavor to present, by allegory, a statement of the material sense of creation, the opposite of the divine creation, for it is not altogether good, hence not like God.
Both the physical scientists and the theologians, apparently differ with Christian Science in that they regard the temporary, material order of manhood as the natural order of being. Here Christian Science takes issue with both systems. Christian Science agrees with Isaiah that our effort should be to cease honoring the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for as he asks, "Wherein is he to be accounted of?" That is, how can the material sense of selfhood with its sin, sickness, and uncertainty be intelligently regarded as the creation of a wise and good God? Christian Science agrees with Paul that the flesh and Spirit "are contrary the one to the other," matter is the opposite of Mind, God. It agrees with Christ Jesus who said plainly enough, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."
How can the material and fleshly man be the work of God if these great exponents of Christianity are correct? Either the fleshly material concept is the erroneous concept that is to be repudiated, or Isaiah, Paul, and Christ Jesus, misrepresented God's work.
Physical science says the physical body was evolved through eons of time by material forces. Orthodox theology says it was made in an instant by divine decree. Is it important whether this physical mechanism was made in an instant or in eons? Is not the more important question for each of us, what controls it, and how are we to overcome the diseases and limitations it would impose upon us? The material body, Christian Science shows us, is but the externalized expression of an erring, mortal concept of identity, a blending of mortal thought forces, and is the counterfeit, or opposite, of true identity, the man of God, who is not material but spiritual, not temporary but eternal, the individualized expression of the Mind, or Spirit, which is Deity.
Whence and Whither
One man in history has been able to say with the finality which comes of understanding, "I know whence I came, and whither I go." His name is Christ Jesus and his influence in the thought of men has been so enduring that time is measured from the advent of his teaching. An eminent English historian and author states that every notable forward step in human progress since the ministry of Jesus has been a step toward a fuller expression of his teachings.
Christ Jesus understood fundamental realities. He possessed an understanding of that primal cause which men have named God. He taught that man is linked by indestructible spiritual bonds to this divine Principle, or causative Mind. He taught how man, as he learns of his relation to God, may utilize divine power to overcome the pains of the flesh, the miseries of earth, and finally all the bondage of belief in matter. He taught that since God is Spirit, or Mind, all this is mental process. He taught that heaven, God's creation, is not found by dying, but by thinking. He taught that as you and I utilize our ability to think from the basis of Spirit as Cause instead of from the basis of matter as cause, we shall find God, the true creation, and the real destiny of man. These were his teachings, and he said, "I am the way . . . no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." That is, it is only by gaining that state of spiritual consciousness which he had, that we can find our true being.
Christian Science teaches only what the Master taught. It has no creed save the Master's teachings. In the intervening centuries much of the practical healing import of these teachings has fallen into disuse. The purpose of Christian Science is to restore them in all their truthful beauty and divine effectiveness.
Mary Baker Eddy
The earthly advent of Christ Jesus was amidst the most humble surroundings. The lowly mother, journeying with Joseph to pay his taxes at Bethlehem, was accorded no place in the inn. The press of the world gave her and her babe no consideration. And so, as Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has happily phrased it on the first page of the Preface of Science and Health, the Christ-child was born "in cradled obscurity." It was thus that the message of Christian Science came, not in the seats of worldly learning or prominence, but in the obscurity of a woman's heart, in a small community of New England, but in an atmosphere charged with the religious devotion of the Puritans and wedded to the ideals of the Christ.
From girlhood the Discoverer of Christian Science had felt that beyond the veil of temporary material things was an order of life more satisfying and real. She has since written (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 31), "From my very childhood I was impelled, by a hunger and thirst after divine things, — a desire for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it, — to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe." Her discovery came as the result of a lifetime of research and endeavor.
Archaeologists in Egypt once searching for treasures thought to be buried deep beneath the desert sands came upon a single step, uncovered by the desert winds. Zealously they dug about it and uncovered another step and then another. These led them to a solid wall. It was broken through with difficulty and they came into a room beyond which was yet another wall. Again they set themselves to break through the barrier of stone, and when it was finally removed they found, unharmed and intact, the costly treasures. So it was with Mrs. Eddy searching amid the desert sands of human theories for the hidden treasures of spiritual truth. She found one step, then another, and another. One was the discovery that the only efficacy of drugs is in proportion to faith in them, another was that the human mind is not a divine healing agent, and that hypnotism is the opposite of divine power. The steps often seemed to lead to impassable barriers, the false education of centuries, the scorn of friends, the persecution of enemies, but pressing on she found intact those spiritual truths about God and man which Christ Jesus said should never pass.
In 1875, Mrs. Eddy gave to the world the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book corroborates and explains the teachings of Christ Jesus and makes plain the law for their specific application to the needs of the sick, the sinful, and the unhappy. It does what he told his disciples the Comforter, who should come after him, would do, — "teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The Christian Science textbook has become, next to the Bible, the most widely read book in the Christian world today. The Pastor of the Christian Science church is the Bible and Science and Health. In every Christian Science church throughout the world, a carefully prepared Lesson-Sermon is read, each Sunday, from these two statute books of life.
Perfection and Reality
What, then, is it that Christian Science teaches? On page 353 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Perfection underlies reality. Without perfection, nothing is wholly real." Perfection, the condition of reality, is this not the goal toward which men are slowly moving? However far we may yet seem from its attainment, is it not the objective, the destination, yet dim in the gloaming of imperfection's shadows?
He who knew whence man came and whither he goes had no hesitation in giving the unconditional command, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Would he have wasted words bidding men do what there is no possibility of doing? He spoke well knowing that he was declaring the purpose of existence, the legitimate and attainable goal of all intelligently directed endeavor. What does perfection mean? It means that which is complete, blameless, not lacking in anything. Do you think that an absolutely intelligent cause would produce an incomplete, blameworthy, and imperfect creation? Is perfection anything more than the natural effect of supreme wisdom? Jesus was but bidding us discover and demonstrate the order of being which is natural to God.
But, alas, what is between us and perfection? A world of imperfection, it seems, and we seem to be in it. Can we gain dominion over, and freedom from this? We can. Jesus did so and said we should do the same. The process he showed was mental. It is what Paul referred to when he said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." It is that mental change mentioned by Jesus when he told Nicodemus that he must be born again, — gain a different consciousness of life and manhood, — before he could find God's creation.
The Scriptures have much to say of the new heavens and new earth. Paul speaks of the new man. The former order is not to be remembered nor even come into mind, Isaiah tells us. But when is this change to be? Orthodoxy says in the future. Christian Science says in the now. The Master never taught that heaven is linked with futurity. God and His creation were present realities to him. "The kingdom of God," he said, "is within you." "The kingdom of heaven," he said, "is at hand." There is no suggestion of delay or dying in this. Delay is one of evil's chief barriers to spiritual achievement. In Isaiah we read, "I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry."
Christian Science teaches that death is not the gateway to heaven. Death leaves mortal man as materially conditioned as before, though in a realm of thought not discernible by those here. The individual must yet awaken from his misconceptions of being by the same thought processes which he might have employed here. An agnostic has said: "If I die and find myself in heaven I will be pleasantly surprised. If I die and there is no heaven I will never know it." He overlooked the fact that if he dies ignorant of spiritual, or heavenly, things he will awaken as unfamiliar with them, as unhappily conditioned as before. Life's problem will still be before him. Discovering this he can only have regret for his accumulated troubles and neglected opportunities.
Mind and Its Creation Is God
Men have long believed that God and creation are separated, that man is outside of and apart from divine Life. The Bible does not teach so. Christian Science does not teach so. Both teach that God is Mind, in which is the full expression of Mind. Intelligence embraces its manifestation. God is not a limited, humanly personal being. God is infinite, supreme intelligence including and controlling every real expression of Life and intelligence. As the varied expressions of mathematics are one with, and within the purview of, the principle of mathematics, as all musical tones, in their almost endless associations of harmony, are in, and ever subordinate to the principle of harmony, so every expression of Mind has its place within the universal Principle, which we call the Supreme Being, or God. Says the poet:
"All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul."
The Bible affirms these statements when it says that we live and move and have our being in Him; that we dwell in Him and He in us. The enduring identity of men, beasts, birds, and flowers is of and in the one creative, governing Mind. God is not only the creative but the governing intelligence.
Perhaps someone says: "Where is God's universe? If it is not matter I cannot discern it." Not good eyes but good thoughts are the means through which Mind's creation is cognized. The eye sees only the things that are perishable, and it sees only about one forty-thousand-millionth part of even the material creation. How then can it be the agency for acquainting men with the grandeur of God's infinite and eternal creation? Did not the Master show us the nature of spiritual discernment when he said the pure in heart shall see God? As art and mathematics may seem non-existent to the savage, so spiritual life may seem not to be to the thought engrossed in materiality. But ignorance cannot change nor forever hide spiritual reality.
Man Is God's Manifestation
The word man and the word manifestation come from the same root. Man, Christian Science teaches, is in reality the individual manifestation of God. Christ Jesus showed this to be so. He who is recognized as the most Godlike individuality men have been able to perceive did what? He did Godlike things, spoke Godlike words, thought the thoughts of God, and accomplished Godlike acts, destroying evil and inharmony in its every condition. Is it not clear that in his life we may see the real purpose of man's being, — namely to image forth in thought, word, and deed the Life, the Truth, and the Love which is God?
"Know ye not your own selves," queries Paul, "how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" In other words, do you not know that the same spiritual nature which Christ Jesus imaged forth is your true nature, unless you have lost sight of the right idea of God and man? The full measure of spiritual manhood Jesus did not manifest on earth, but only after he put off all materiality. His work here, however, showed us the way by which we must begin to overcome the flesh and its woes.
The common religious belief has been that the immortal self is inside mortal matter body, and that this body may discontinue living any minute. Is not this a strange way for an eternal and unchanging God to condition His image? Christian Science shows that as we awaken from the misconception of man as born into, and dying out of, matter we find the spiritual order and spiritual man intact, and untouched by the temporary sense of being. You may dream that you are a vagabond, destitute, sick, and friendless, but that does not make it so. You awaken to find the insubstantiality of these modes of thought. So with the dream of mortality. It seems more protracted, more extensive, more complex, but it is still nothing more than the temporary dream sense of existence, which must pass away, and no more be remembered nor come into mind.
Like Paul we may, as yet, see the spiritual order as through a glass darkly. We perceive but little of the glory of spiritual man, for it is only in the proportion that our thinking becomes the expression of God that we apprehend God's man. But it is well worth while to see even a little of what is real and to see the road to fuller attainment. If one is to journey to a destination the first essential is to find the right road, and the next thing to do is to keep going. If we hold to the road and press ahead the arrival is certain.
Mortal Mind Is God's Opposite
As God is the one universal intelligence, or Mind, constituting and governing all true identity, so evil, the opposite of God, is a lying sense of mind and its manifold expression. This false sense of mind is shown in thoughts of fear, hate, disease. It is evidenced in the thought which believes matter is cause, that matter contains life, and that evil is power. This lying and substanceless opposite of God is termed in Christian Science mortal mind. It offers its lie of identity in material, temporary bodies. It opposes reality at every turn, wisdom with ignorance, brotherhood with strife, kindness with cruelty, provision with lack, health with sickness, life with death. Its lie is double-faced, for with its pain and discord it offers a sense of sinful pleasure, a transient sense of beauty, a temporary sense of health, and sometimes even a politic sense of goodness. Thus would it deceive.
The Pattern of Mortality
Einstein has concluded that time is the fourth dimension, or measurement of all things material. Certain it is that all material things are bounded by a sense of time. Time, sickness, and death are always woven into the pattern of human thought, the counterfeit conception of being. If you wear a garment with a decided pattern woven into it you must wear every figure in the pattern. If we clothe ourselves in the garment of material thinking we must needs carry along the whole pattern, mortal selfhood, fear, sickness, failure, death. Always the pattern includes destruction.
Edison has said that man surely ought to live at least two hundred years, for turtles and elephants do that. But why stop at two hundred? Why should intelligent being ever be eclipsed by unintelligent destructive physical forces? There is no death-dealing power in the creation of God. The only power is life-giving and life-sustaining. "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Turn yourselves. That is what we seem loath to do, loath to make the mental effort to turn thought from the mortal misconception of being to the divine conception.
Matter Is a Product of Thought
Material objects are expressions of mortal thought, as physical science has come to conclude. Professor Alexander Smith, of Columbia University, says, "Matter and energy are . . . products of thought and not primarily objective realities." If matter is a product of thought, must not material conditions be products of thought and should they not be treated by thought? This is what Christian Science is doing. It corrects and overcomes conditions due to erroneous thought forces with the affirmative thoughts of Truth, with the Word of God, called by the Bible writers "the sword of the Spirit." Says the Psalmist, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."
The nature of mortal mind is hypnotic. As a hypnotist seeks to substitute his thoughts for those of another, so mortal mind would substitute itself and its misconceptions for the true conception of being. The line of its hypnotic argument might be paraphrased thus: Listen to me, I will tell you who you are and why you exist. You are little more than a mammal, an animal, whose life is in this fragile physical body, and whose thoughts emanate from the lobes of a watery brain. Sometimes you hate, you fear, you strive, sometimes you become sick, and always you eventually die. Happiness you may have but it will be clouded with uncertainty. Your hopes, your plans, your very self are subject to the sudden changes that characterize my creation. You are mine. I have made, embodied, and environed you. There is no appeal from my law, no reversal of my desolating decree.
On page 378 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes, "By looking a tiger fearlessly in the eye, Sir Charles Napier sent it cowering back into the jungle." This occurrence, she explains, illustrates the power of intelligence to drive mortal beliefs into their wilderness of falsity. You and I by looking error of any sort fearlessly in the eye may send it cowering back into its jungle of nothingness. To the hypnotic suggestion of mortal mind that it causes, controls, and environs man the Christian Scientist presents a defense that is of God. He thinks in some such way as this: Mortal mind, you are a liar and a cheat. I have found you out. I am not what you and your lying material senses claim I am. I am only what God, divine intelligence, knows I am, His individual spiritual idea and manifestation, forever superior to material law and its destructive modes. By none of these am I in reality environed, conditioned, or controlled. The friction of mortal mind's thought forces can only result in error destroying itself, and my true individuality is never embraced in, nor can it be harmed by, that negative process. God, the one real Life, Mind, and substance is my only source, life, and being. He has given me to know that by clinging to the spiritual idea of being and growing in its understanding the Spirit of God will work in me a full deliverance from matter and mortality.
Some may think such thinking very radical. It is. Some may think it very idealistic. It is. But let me assure you that however radical it may be, however idealistic it may be, it works. That is the test. When one sees doubt, fear, resentment, sin, and disease slough away before the power of this thinking, one is sure that something has been found that is of the essence of Truth and is fundamentally real.
At a recent meeting of the National Conference on Education in Toronto, Sir Henry Newbolt made the statement that the end of physical science is in sight; that we are on the verge of a new science, a spiritual science, that we would find through this science a new man; that man is not what we have thought he was; but that through this science we are to see behind the veil. Man is indeed not what we have thought him to be, a paradoxical combination of mind and matter, life and death, good and evil. This is not the image of God.
Steps of Progress
The questions which once crowded my thought regarding creation and man, I at first believed could be answered by thoughtful study of the great philosophers of the world. Through the two concluding years of a university course I followed diligently my quest. Finally, as the course was drawing to a close our professor said to us: "Gentlemen, we have studied during the period of this course the leading ancient and modern philosophers, You have learned their theories of the cause of all things, and before we part I will present to you my theory." He did so, and it was a little different from all the rest. I concluded that course with keen disappointment, for I knew that all I had found was a mass of speculative human theories, to which our genial professor had added one more. To follow their lines of reasoning was sometimes a pleasant intellectual pastime, but it never led to any certain demonstrable law of existence. Not one, nor all, of these theories would heal a case of sickness, or bring enduring happiness and peace.
I was beginning to discover the limits of human knowledge, and this discovery led me to wonder if perhaps after all Mrs. Eddy might not have found something vital that the philosophers had missed. Previous to this I had known of Christian Science through the healing of my mother of a condition of invalidism. While impressed with her restoration to health I was resolved not to be trapped by any fanciful dogma, and had approached the subject with great caution.
When I awoke to the emptiness of human theories I turned to the study of Christian Science honestly. Its logic seemed very convincing. To reason that a wise cause would evolve a harmonious and happy man seemed rational. But when I turned to the evidence of material life all about me and was confronted by the apparent reality of sin, sickness, and woe, I felt that however logical the reasoning might be it could not be more than a pleasing theory. Discord and evil seemed so real that to attempt to deny their reality seemed the most unreasonable thing I could do. Still I continued my study, for there was something in this Science of which I could not let go.
A year or so later I was playing a set of tennis. I fell heavily and sprained my ankle. The pain was intense and I could not bear the foot on the ground. The thought came to try Christian Science, then the suggestion that I did not understand it well enough, then the resolution to use what I did know. In rather a faltering way I denied that my life was in matter, affirmed that God, Mind, was my Life and that as the individual likeness of God I was really spiritual and harmonious. I declared and endeavored to realize the import of the "scientific statement of being" as given on page 468 of Science and Health: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
Somewhat to my surprise the pain ceased instantly and in a few minutes I resumed play and finished the afternoon's exercise. From that moment my feeling that the testimony of material sense was too overwhelming to be denied or contended against gave way. I had found that Christian Science would work and work for me. I have never since doubted that there is available a law of Mind which I can use to meet and master discordant physical conditions. In the years that have passed since then it has met every need. Some of these have been physical, some mental, some financial. In this Science I have found a philosophy sound in logic and provable in life, a religion that is the Science of Being, a medicine that is the moral might of Mind. It has convinced me that this world's philosophers and scientists will in due time surrender all theories based on the sands of material premises and will gladly come to sit at the feet of the great Nazarene, who understood the Science of Mind, and could say, "I know whence I came, and whither I go."
The Door of Consent
There is but one door through which evil can reach us and that is the door of our consent. Heretofore we have left the door wide open, and evil in some phase has walked in and possessed our mental home. On page 210 of "The First Church of Christ Scientist, and Miscellany," Mrs. Eddy writes, "There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness." Jesus said, "I receive not testimony from man." The doors of his consciousness were closed to that false testimony presented by mortal mind and its erroneous sense of man. As we learn to think only as divine intelligence gives us to think, then we shall know only the reality of good, which God gives us to know, and be only what God gives us to be.
At the circus children often play with a balloon-like toy that is easily inflated with the breath, and as the air escapes it squawks and makes strange noises. The toy must be inflated by someone before it can make any noise. So with evil. It is powerless to clamor and harass us unless we inflate it with the breath of our consent, our belief that it is real and has power. Then it annoys and disturbs with the breath we have given it.
The Touchstone of Science
Paul tells us that "to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;" and he also says, "Ye are not your own." We are either accepting the false mortal status of being and allowing ourselves to be conditioned and propelled by erring mortal thought forces, or we are repudiating the lie of mortal mind and its pretense to power and striving to acknowledge divine intelligence and its standard of existence. We seem reluctant to admit that we have been the slavish servants of erring mortal thought, manikins of the hidden hand of mortal mind, the latent error from which emanates all woe.
Who would expect to become an efficient mechanic unless he yielded his thought to the laws of mechanics? How can we hope to become proficient in the matter of being individual expressions of Life unless we yield our thought to the laws of Life which govern individual existence? On page 450 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy has given to one paragraph the marginal heading, "Touchstone of Science." One meaning of touchstone is test. In this paragraph she indicates how essential it is for each individual to yield his thought to Truth, — to the Mind which is God. The degree to which we have done so is the test of our understanding of the Science of Life. "Some people," says Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 450), "yield slowly to the touch of Truth. Few yield without a struggle, and many are reluctant to acknowledge that they have yielded; but unless this admission is made, evil will boast itself above good." It is only as we joyfully admit our unity with God, the Principle and Life of our being, and let God's being be evidenced in our thoughts and lives that we begin to gain permanent health and lasting happiness. These true riches flow from God alone.
Spiritual Thinking Effective
Barrie, the beloved Scotch writer, has told us that "memory was given to man that he might have roses in December." Christian Science tells us that the ability to think spiritually has been given man that he might have the flowers of joy, health, and peace when to material sense there appears only desolation and woe. When the Children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness and manna was provided for their needs, the manna appeared "upon the face of the wilderness." Right where error claims to hold sway the Christ, or spiritual idea of being, enables us to discover the loving provisions of God. Perceiving that fear has no intelligent basis, the Psalmist wrote, "There were they in great fear, where no fear was." No matter what the lying testimony of material sense claims, the ever present God is at our right hand. Understanding Him we cannot be moved; He doth help us, and that continually.
An aviator in the war came into a dense fog. He could not go down. It was all enemy country. The one way of escape was to go up. He did so, and found clear atmosphere, sunshine, and safety. So it is with our human troubles. We have been educated when in trouble to go down, — to try matter and human remedies, to delve about in enemy country amid fear, doubt, and uncertainty. The way to safety is up, to exalt thought to the higher things of God, to recognize God as the one Cause and His creation and His man as the one real effect. Said the Scriptural writer: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord." In the heights of spiritual consciousness God's assistance is found.
Overcoming Evil's Claims
From what has been said you will see that Christian Science does not accept as conclusive the testimony of matter. The reason is that such testimony denies the divinely intelligent standard of being, and so long as it is accepted as real it will blind thought to what is actual and true. Human thought does little more than agree with the false evidence of evil and discord and so perpetuates these conditions. Christian Science is teaching men to disagree, to become vigorous mental protestants against error's claims, and in place of believing them to affirm and realize the harmonious facts of being as conceived of God. Why do men seek to be rid of war? Because they know it lacks rightness. Why do they condemn tyranny, hate, dishonesty? Because they perceive these states of thought are negative and lacking in intelligence. Christian Science condemns all evil, sickness, and mortality on that basis. "Why malign Christian Science," asks Mrs., Eddy in Science and Health (p. 485), "for instructing mortals how to make sin, disease, and death appear more and more unreal?"
When matter testified there was a leper Jesus did not concur. When it multiplied its evidence by ten and said there were ten lepers he was not moved to agree. When matter said here is a man blind from his birth Jesus gave no assent. When material law said it had destroyed the life of Lazarus and offered an inactive body and a tomb as evidence, Jesus did not regard such testimony as the final word about the condition of man. When the physical senses said there was a hungry multitude for three days without food, Jesus did not say there is nothing we can do. He proved there is a divine law of provision that will always operate to subordinate matter and its arguments of limitation, and supply men's needs. Jesus not only denied the testimony of matter. By his understanding of the might of Mind he destroyed that testimony and proved it has no permanence. By healing all manner of disease, giving sight to the blind, and life to the dead he proved matter impotent before the moral forces of divine intelligence. By clinging to the spiritual truth of being he nullified error's lie at every point.
Jesus showed that individual man may, though the whole world be in opposition, demonstrate through spiritual power his God-given freedom from the discords of the earth. The transition is not likely to occur in a moment. It will occur in the proportion that we gain the Mind of Christ. The battle ground is within. The enemy is the belief that matter, God's opposite, and so-called material life, is our being and holds us in its grasp to determine our condition, our health, and our destiny. The enemy's most active agent is that false mortal sense of self which it would have us believe is our identity. That sense of identity which is fearful, selfish, sick, sinning, willful, proud, and self-satisfied, expresses not true manhood but a state of infatuated ignorance. There must be riddance of this empty useless sense of being. The house cleaning must be thorough. A good housekeeper once told me that she could always tell whether a woman was thorough in her housekeeping by the condition of her cellar. Sometime we dust out the upstairs and things appear in order, but down in the cellar and secret chambers of thought there is more rubbish than we will acknowledge. Sometimes it is a haunting fear, an unhealed resentment, a smug sense of self-satisfaction, an inclination to dominate others, a besetting sin, a stubborn reluctance to yield thought to the will and purposes of God. These are some of the evils that ask to be let alone. All can be faced without fear, and the sooner we let Truth into every nook and cranny of our thinking, purging every thought, motive, and purpose, the sooner we shall find real being.
Growth in Understanding
How do we obtain the Mind of Christ that is to be our deliverer? Here a little and there a little. It appears in us as we silence a thought of resentment and replace it with a thought of kindness, as we crowd out a thief thought of envy with a sense of gratitude, as we master a suggestion of fear with a realization that God is possessed of all power and we are in Him, as we halt the urge of sin with the idea of man's God-given perfectness, as we overcome sickness with the recognition of man's divine superiority to ill health and material law. The Mind of Christ comes to us as the allness of God and God's universal expression becomes apparent as the one great fact of being.
The consciousness of God and the spiritual order is not had without honest, persistent effort. A well-known English clergyman has said, "It is natural and inevitable that if we spend sixteen hours of our daily life thinking about the affairs of this world and about five minutes thinking about God, this world seems about two hundred times more real to us than God." What percentage of our waking hours are we giving to the securing of an intelligent concept of existence and the underlying cause which is responsible for our being? The press of the world would say there is little time for spiritual things. It is likely, to go on saying so, as long as we supply an ear to listen. So long as mortal mind can keep us engrossed with its hypnotic suggestions, and our chief interest is in the things which are temporary and transient, it has separated us from the things that are actual and real.
Approach to God
Prayer in Christian Science is recognized as the one way of approach to God. Mrs. Eddy has defined prayer as "the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us" (No and Yes, p. 39). How is the love of God made manifest so that we may utilize it? God is Mind. Mind is manifest only through ideas, so God's love for us, which is Mind's love for us, must be made manifest through ideas which this Mind is ever imparting to us. These ideas are the ideas of hope, of faith, of joy, health, wisdom, and understanding; ideas that answer the great questions, Who am I, and Why am I, and What is my part in God's great plan? Could God's love be expressed in a more vital, a more substantial way than that, by filling our consciousness throughout all eternity with right ideas of being which unite us to God?
As we accept and utilize these right ideas each day and hour we pray aright. The Master counseled us when we pray to enter into the closet, shut the door, and pray to the Father; that is, to turn away from matter and material sense, from worldly duties and human thoughts, and seek God and His thoughts. He also said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." There is no barrier but our own ignorance, no withholding on God's part. Principle is constant and dependable, not vacillating and whimsical, in its bestowals. The good and harmonious, the real and intelligent order of existence is now, to be found and enjoyed. The cost is a right desire, honest and persevering effort.
The Brotherhood of Love
Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who wronged him. Jesus replied that he should forgive seventy times seven. Does this not mean that the Mind of Christ is that state of mind which is always forgiving, or giving up, the belief that error and wrong are real, and clinging fast to the perfect ideal, wherein our brother is the image of God? An unforgiving thought clings to error and so becomes its victim and its agent, bringing only unhappiness to itself, and no helpfulness to others. Forgiving a wrong is the same process as healing a disease. It is realizing that the wrong is not of God and no part of the true man, so is nothing to accept as reality. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" is our petition in the Lord's Prayer. How reasonable and strictly scientific it is when we see that in the very proportion that we give up the belief in the reality of wrong, we find our freedom from all that is evil and wrong. In place of regarding evil as a quality of our brother Jesus taught us to see it and to oppose it as a common enemy.
In their true meaning Love and Mind are the same. Love is the crown of intelligence. The universe abounds with the expressions of loving intelligence. Every useful and good thing we have is the gift of intelligence, or Love. We see Love made manifest in good thoughts, in the sunshine, in night's starry gems, in the flowers and verdant earth, in the birds that sing and soar, in the pure affection of little children, in the provision by communities of libraries, civic centers, schools, parks, and playgrounds, in good roads that unite and bring men together in friendly fraternity. Love is found in the charity of men like Lincoln and of women like Florence Nightingale, in the unselfish devotion of friends, in increasing kindness to the lower creatures. Love is found in the efforts of nations to confer in friendly counsel and let Love's impartial justice be evident to all. Love is found in the growing sense of cooperation between the group we call capital and the group we call labor, in fuller cooperation between industry and industry, between nation and nation, and in the gradual welding of the bonds of Christian unity, that in its fuller appearing is to evidence Love's sovereignty over all.
In all of these and in a multitude of unnamed ways Love's infinite and eternal presence is appearing, transforming a world, gladdening sorrowing hearts, removing sick burdens, revealing the one great primal power and presence by whom, and for whom, and in whom we all exist. Let us each day join our hearts and our thoughts more fully in Love's great symphony of being. Let us recognize and fill our place in Love's universal concord of true thinking. Let us give, and give, more and ever more, of our unselfed true self, the self that has always been and always will be, the self which lives to image forth and make evident the intelligence, the goodness, the kindness of the Mind which is Love. Here is the goal of progress, our divine destiny, — to discover and to demonstrate the spiritual selfhood of man.
"Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother's care.
"Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love."
[Delivered Oct. 18, 1927, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, 4017 Drexel Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, and published in an unidentified newspaper dated Oct. 23, 1927. During a proofreading of this lecture after it was made available on this site, about 90 words were found, which appeared to have been dropped into an otherwise correctly rendered sentence. The transcription cannot be checked against the original to try to understand what happened, owing to the fact that the newspaper clipping is no longer available. Since these extraneous words have not come to light in any other copy of the lecture, they have been removed.]