Christian Science: The Activity of Good (2)

 

Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has written on page 428 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science, this important statement, "We must realize the ability of mental might to offset human misconceptions and to replace them with the life which is spiritual, not material." Christian Science shows men how to utilize mental might, or the power of God, to destroy sin, heal disease, and understand eternal life. Its message is therefore a healing and a loving message. It comes to tell of the goodness and love of God and to show how you and I may immediately benefit therefrom.

I am going to begin the lecture by telling you of a healing which recently came to my attention, a healing which is a fair example of what is taking place wherever Christian Science is studied and faithfully applied. A lady living in Indiana began to have difficulty with her lungs in 1917. Her condition became steadily worse until in the fall of 1918 she was compelled to give up her home duties and enter a sanitarium, where she was placed in the tubercular ward. She continued to have medical attention until late in 1919, all the physicians who diagnosed her difficulty agreeing that she had tuberculosis in an advanced stage. They declared she had no more than a year to live. In the spring of 1920 she went to Utah hoping that the climate would benefit her. She was confined to her bed and could make no exertion without it bringing on severe hemorrhages. While in this condition a neighbor left with her a copy of Science and Health, explaining briefly the fundamental teachings of Christian Science. For a few days the book remained unopened. She had little faith that anything could cure her. The lady asked her husband if he believed the book would help her. He said he knew nothing about it, but that Christ Jesus had healed without drugs many years ago. She began to read and ponder this little book. Her strength returned with what seemed astonishing quickness and within less than a week she was able to leave her bed and resume her household duties. Within a month every symptom of the disease had disappeared, never to reappear. This lady very recently submitted to a severe medical examination and no trace of the disease was to be found.

In bringing this healing to your attention I would emphasize the point that a disease regarded as a most serious malady was completely healed through the change of thought brought about in the patient's consciousness by the reading of Science and Health. This fact naturally leads the inquirer to ask, What was the nature of the change? What does this textbook of Christian Science teach that so powerfully affects the thought and condition of men? In the short time we are together I shall endeavor to answer, in some measure, these questions.

 

God is Mind

Christian Science teaches that God is Mind. The very corner-stone of Christian Science is that man is not separate from God. He is united to God. He is linked to Deity. But how can this be? Have you ever stopped to consider where your good thoughts come from, your right desires and high ideals? You do not originate them yourself. You accept them as the correct expression of being, but their origin is greater than yourself. Christian Science shows us that this source of all good thoughts is the one Mind, named God. Since God is Mind, He is as near as Mind is, and Mind is always present here and everywhere. Man is linked to God because his true individuality is the expression of God. Man lives to express God. Could he have a grander destiny! As this foundational fact that God and man are inseparably united in being, thought and action becomes more fully understood it brings to us that sense of life in which health is natural, and harmony and happiness the only order of being.

It is, of course, apparent that what we term the devil or evil opposes the supremacy of good, denies that man has unity with God, and disputes the statement that there is but one true Mind or God with the assertion that there is another mind which fills the consciousness of men with fear, hate, selfishness, sin and disease. If evil's claim to place and power is legitimate all thought of progress and deliverance must be abandoned and we must accept the works of evil, sin, disease, hatred and war as effacing the work of God and find ourselves without effective means to overthrow them. But is evil's claim valid? Christian Science answers with a positive NO.

 

The Nature of Evil

When talking with a group of his countrymen in Jerusalem one morning some two thousand years ago, Christ Jesus drew a very definite line between the devil and God. He told them bluntly, "Ye are of your father the devil." He was desiring to awaken them to their wrong state of mind which was filled with thoughts of pride, self-righteousness, selfishness and so on. They had been boasting that God was their father, but Jesus contradicted them with the statement, "If God were your father, ye would love me." (John VIII, 42). In other words, if you were expressing the Mind that is God you would see and love the good which I express. The word Father, so often used by Jesus, is another name for God, the parent Mind. His opponents were accepting evil as the source of their thinking, so accepting the devil as their father, or starting point, for there is no devil but evil mentality the carnal mind. Then Jesus went on to explain to them that the devil or evil does not abide in the truth for to use his own words "he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8, 44). Here is an uncovering of the nature of evil, a false state of mind, with no more substance than a lie, for it is nothing but a lie or liar.

Jesus, however, never said that they could not be rid of this wrong-mindedness. Just the opposite, for he said, "If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8, 31-32). This word was his correct teaching and thinking, thinking not merely about God, but accepting God's thoughts. To continue in this word would be to follow to the same mental processes that Jesus used, accepting no Father, but divine Mind and ever entertaining the thoughts which manifest this Mind. As all men come to think only the thoughts which are good we shall all be witnesses and ambassadors of God, to use the words of Paul, and evil will be cast into its utter nothingness. There is but one way to destroy a lie, be it small or great, and that is to become conscious of the truth. Jesus affirmed this when he designated evil a lie and said the way to be free from it is to understand the truth of being.

 

Mortal Self Not The True

We all need to let go of the mistaken sense that man is but a few pounds of flesh, blood and bones with a mental motor inside. He is something far more substantial and Godlike than that. When we look into a mirror we believe we see ourself, but we do not, and how fortunate it is that the picture we see is not our true self. Said Bishop Foster, "No man living hath yet seen man." What we see in the looking glass is but the mortal or wrong sense of selfhood, a burlesque of our eternal self. This perishable sense of self is gradually abandoned, as Jesus showed us, through the realization of the actuality of spiritual life and spiritual manhood, the expression of God.

As for the disappearing theory that man thinks through matter, the opposite of Mind, it is of interest to note a recent announcement from Paris. Professor Troude has stated in the Scientific Review that as a result of experiments made during the war by eminent surgeons, it is believed that the human mind is seated in some part of the body other than the brain, and possibly in the trunk. "They have furnished me," he writes, "with the full fact, citing war time operations, where all parts of the brain were removed without impairing the mental faculties." Statements such as this should waken human thought to see what Mrs. Eddy discerned more than a half century ago, namely, that we think, not because of matter, but in spite of it. Christian Science teaches that God, the divine Mind, is never in its opposite, never in brain or matter, but that as we gain an understanding of Mind, God, as the only substance we lose any belief in matter as intelligent. The man God creates is the conscious, active, individualized expression of God, untouched by any secondary or intervening influence.

 

God Is Very Near

Where do we find God? Right where Elijah did, in the still small voice deep down in our hearts. It is here that right desire speaks, it is here that we feel the promptings of Truth and Love, the guiding hand of God, that would turn us from evil and hate, from sin and disease, would we but listen and obey. It is right there unseen and unheard by the world, that mortal selfishness, pride, fear and all wrong-mindedness must be placed on the altar of sacrifice. Our relation to God is discerned when we see with Paul that it is God who worketh in us, that governs our thinking, "to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil. 2, 13). Surely the activity of the Mind that is God is more apparent than ever before in the consciousness of men and nations. What but this Mind could league together more than two score nations in co-operative endeavor for the world's good, bring about the Washington Conference with its far-reaching results, and establish an international court of justice where the disputes of nations may be settled and international law be brought more fully into accord with the universal laws of God.

The story is told of a street urchin who one day noticed an aged woman tending an apple cart on the street corner. An evil thought whispered to him, "You can steal an apple without being caught," and he did so. The next day he passed that way again and again an evil thought said, "You did not get caught yesterday, steal another apple today," but another voice said, "What you did yesterday was not right. Do not do it again." He listened to this voice and went his way. The third day he came that way and when he saw the aged apple woman a thought of kindness came into his heart and the still small voice, unheard by the world said, "Why not do something that will help her today." He listened and was glad to obey. When evening came, he wheeled her apple cart to her humble home, and his boyish heart was filled with joy for he had done an unselfish act and listened to the voice of God. Our Father-Mother God is just as near to every one of us. How clearly the parent Mind tells us of the nearness of Christ, Truth in the inspired words of John, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3, 20).

 

Individual Responsibility

What you and I and our brothers think goes to make up the consciousness of the world. How important, then, not only for our own but for the general good, that we have a right sense of individual responsibility. Each one of us is responsible to God. The one fundamental obligation which man owes is to his God, to express God's thoughts. In every circumstance, transaction and relationship this obligation is present. To be indifferent to it is to turn our back on God and invite the tyranny of evil.

Suppose the number five, in mathematics could say, "Oh, I am just one little number. I do not amount to much, I'll just stop filling my place for a time." The whole order of mathematics would then be upset. Or suppose the carburetor in an automobile could say, "I am just a little thing hidden away under the hood. Not many see me. I will stop working for a week." The automobile would then be useless. As each of these has a place to fill, so each individual man has his place to fill, so each individual has his place and part in God's universal plan. Our responsibility is to be what Paul termed "the children of light," letting our thoughts and words manifest the light which is Mind, or God.

The owner of a radio telephone receiving apparatus may by a slight movement of a knob, adjust his receiver so as to receive messages from the sending station he considers most beneficial to him. So in the realm of thought the individual may quickly adjust his thinking (his receiving apparatus, if you will) to receive the good thoughts which God is always sending to man. When all listen only to the thought messages of God and never listen-in to the messages of evil, sin, sickness and fear will be without a place, and the kingdom of heaven will be found within our own thinking.

 

Where To Begin

Someone may ask, "Just how am I to begin to think the thoughts of God?" This is the same question that was asked by those who heard the words of John the Baptist. They asked, "What shall we do then?" (Luke 3, 10). And let us learn from John's answer. "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." In other words let those who wish to begin thinking aright begin right where they are to show a spirit of love and consideration for their brother and share with him whatever good has come to them. Then as the Bible story continues, some publicans, the officials who collected the taxes, came to John and asked what they should do, and the wise answer was. "Exact no more than that which is appointed you." In other words be just and honest with your brother in all your dealing with him. Then some soldiers came with the same question and they were told to do no violence, to accuse none falsely and be content with what they had. Thus they were to begin by being servants of peace, not fomentors of strife and were to be grateful for the good that had come to them. So each one of us, no matter what our place of occupation, no matter how hard our way may seem to be, may begin right where we are to think aright. There is no other place to start from.

 

The Power of Prayer

But how, says one, do you master the persistent suggestions of sin or sickness which sometimes press themselves on your thought? By the prayer of right thinking. Prayer is a mental activity which the world has engaged in for many centuries, but in too many instances it has been used as a cloak to cover a wicked heart or as a blind petition to a little understood God. Christian Science shows that true prayer is the process of scientific thinking, the thinking that unites men with and is the living expression of the Mind that is God. To a Christian Scientist prayer is a most vital and active influence ever operative in thought, the chain of true spirituality which links him to his Maker.

Through prayer, man gains his God-given dominion over evil. Let us first see what it is that evil falsely claims and then see how the Christian Scientist mentally combats and overthrows it. The claim might be phrased in some such way as this. I, the evil mind working with and through matter, am the cause and origin of man. Through my material processes and laws I conceive him and give him life. Upon me he is dependent for all that he has or is. I order his destiny, cause him to succeed and then to fail, to be healthy and then diseased, to be happy and then sorrowful, to be rich and then poor, to be tempted, to sin, and to die. To me and the fear of me, he is ever tributary. I rule him by suggestion and lying arguments which I have made him too blind to uncover and resist. He is my puppet and manikin, moved at my will. I puff him up with pride and turn him from God with selfishness and self-will. Though my power is nil I pretend to have all power and he believes my pretension. Myself and my works are the blending of falsity and negation, but so long as man believes in me I work, when he awakes to my nature, I am done.

Christian Science replies to this lying mind in the words of Truth and with the authority of God. You are a pretender, a liar and a cheat. Without authority from God you claim to have creative power, power to give and to take life, to make and to destroy. But the one sure thing about you is that you lie always. There is no truth in you and you have no ability to substitute your lying claims for the truth. You are without God and so without life or reality. Man's true selfhood is the expression of God and you are powerless to dispossess God of his representative. By your unreal nature you place yourself outside God's infinitude, and consign you and yours to oblivion. Your sickness, sins, malice, and strifes must flee as false dream pictures before the light and might of God's love expressed in the thought of men. You are impotent to reach anything that God has made. You simulate life and action but you do not possess or have power over either, for life and action belong to God and are spiritual. You hate or lust upon your own, you prey upon your own misconceptions, but you have no eye to see the creation or the creatures of God. You are of yourself, by yourself, to yourself, a lie swollen and ripe for the destruction which the Word of God appoints to you. God is All. Beside Him there is no Life, no Mind, no power. Creation is His expression, infinite and good, and all men live to manifest His being. His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Thus is our consciousness freed from subjection to error and brought into unity with God. Only as we learn mentally to assert our God-given rights shall we see them made manifest.

 

Overcoming Evil

If a Christian Scientist is confronted with what may be called an inherited disease how shall he think? In some such way as this. Man as God has made him is altogether good and has no fear of sickness or evil in any form. He derives his entire life from God and is therefore naturally God-like. The claim of evil, that it is mind and life, the cause and condition of man, is false. Matter has never made man and can never unmake him, for he is co-existent with God. Evil's assertion that it can impose sickness on man through the belief of human heredity is without divine sanction, justice, or right and cannot stand. Since God, Mind, not matter, makes and constitutes man, man inherits from God, good. Said John, "Now are we the sons of God." (1 John, 3. 2). And Paul wrote to the Romans, "We are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Romans 8, 16-17). This inheritance brings to man permanent health, happiness and well-being. Through the realization of these facts of spiritual being, the claims of evil are compelled to yield and give way, and the bodily condition becomes healthy and painless.

Isaiah has written, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." (Isa. 59, 19). In other words when evil suggestions of sickness, discouragement, sin try to flood our consciousness the Spirit or Mind which is God, will, if we but open the door of our thought to Him, fill our consciousness with a sense of the true life which God has appointed. In Revelation John depicts the great dragon as cast out "by the word of their testimony." Christian Science shows this to mean that the dragon of evil is cast out by letting our consciousness bear constant testimony to the facts of God and His creation.

Sometimes the evil mind argues to us that we are out of place or that we cannot find our place. The student of Christian Science would overcome such an argument by turning, in thought, at once to the order which he knows God has appointed. In this order of wisdom and love each individual has his place and his part. Love provides equally for all. No creature can be misplaced, displaced, or unplaced. Fear, selfishness, and sin cannot be used by error to hide from man the order which God has ordained. No creature can crowd out any other creature for each and all are made by God and must see and fill the place which His wisdom has appointed. Therein is happiness and success. It is not a question of where we would be, it is a question of where God would have us to be. When our motive is unselfish God will work through us to direct us in wisdom's pathway. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." (Proverbs 3, 17).

You will see, I think, that the practice of Christian Science is but the displacing in thought of the evil and erroneous sense of life with the true and harmonious facts of the God-appointed sense of life. It is simple in method, but it requires courage, honesty and perseverance. The reward is great for the world knows no joy comparable with the unselfish joy of sin conquered, sickness healed, burdens lifted, through the understanding of God. Hundreds of thousands are winning their mental victories over every form of sickness, discord and sin. You can do the same.

 

The Mission of Christ Jesus

Perhaps the work of freeing ourselves from material laws may seem a large undertaking. We may not be able to fold our tents and leave the deserts of wrong thinking in a night, but we can at least be on the move. Let us remember often that howsoever steep the way may seem it has been explored before us by the Wayshower, Christ Jesus, who nullified every material law and proved that individual man by his right mental effort may and must rise from bondage in matter to his natural sonship with God.

We lose much if we think of Jesus as altogether different from ourselves. The material body of Jesus was made of the same fleshy elements as yours and mine. Paul says that he was tempted just as we are, but without sin. This must mean that he was wise enough to decline to believe it real. He knew too much about God to accept it. His modes of thought differed from ours only in that he understood more fully than we the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God and man's divine sonship. He said, "I am the way . . . . no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14, 6). What can this mean? It means that only as we become at-one with the very mental processes which he showed forth do we find God in our well-being.

Jesus was confronted as we are with the persistent false claim that matter is cause and law-giver for man, that it makes and destroys him, cripples and blinds him, imposes all manner of misfortune upon him and that there is nothing for him to do but submit to its decree. But here is the difference. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that man does not have to submit. His clear understanding of the allness and supremacy of God enabled him to realize that every element of matter, whether it was the water in the Sea of Galilee or the storm tossed air above it, the food for the multitudes, or the flesh and blood on the bodies of ailing mortals is subordinate to divine intelligence and impotent to harm, limit or destroy the creation and the creatures of God.

This lowly man of Nazareth really understood, despite all the contradictions of material sense, that "The kingdom of God is at hand," (Mark 1, 15), that within the reach of every individual's apprehension is the true creation, spiritual and divine, which the temporal, material sense of life never touches or intrudes upon; that man's true self is spiritual, transcending material birth and parentage, with the eternal Mind that is God. Fortified with this understanding of eternal things he could and he did fearlessly face and destroy the worst that matter and mortality could claim. The dead were raised, the so-called incurable healed, the hungry fed, and the priceless truth he taught protected for all time from the hatred of the world. What then is the lesson for you and me? Just this, that through the power of mental might individual man may set aside the misconceptions of material sense and replace them with a healthier, holier, truer expression of life and manhood, and let us ever remember that Jesus claimed nothing for himself that we may not have. He obeyed the same Mind that we must obey and spoke of "my Father, and your Father . . . my God, and your God" (John 20, 17). He also declared that all who believed on him (that is, understood his teaching and his method of thinking) should do the works he had done. He promised, too, that a fuller message of truth called the Comforter would come and that it would call to remembrance all that he had taught. Christian Science is proving that it is the Comforter and that it is calling to remembrance all of his sayings, including the imperative command, "Heal the Sick." (Matt. 10, 8).

 

Mary Baker Eddy

Christ Jesus spent the first thirty years of his human experience preparing for the years of his teaching and ministry. Mary Baker Eddy spent the first forty and more years of her human life searching for that understanding of God which would heal the ills of men. Christian Science was not discovered by chance or in a moment. On page 107 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says: "In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science. God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing." These years of preparation had been years filled to the full with sickness, sorrow, and disappointments. The arrogant human mind finds it difficult to understand why it was that the bearer of God's great message was a quiet, gentle-mannered New England woman, for human reasoning fails to see the divine law and order expressed in Mrs. Eddy's discovery. But He who sent the messenger and His wisdom could not err. Beneath the gentle-mannered personality was a heart filled with high resolve, a courage that never faltered, and a consciousness ever turning to God, listening to hear, willing to obey. No other was so ready and no other could inscribe so well the divine utterance which Science and Health gives to men.

We may praise God that the days of our misunderstanding of Him are ended through the life-work of Mrs. Eddy. The longing of millions of earnest men and women to understand God has been satisfied. Before the leavening truth of Christian Science the walls of universal indifference and opposition to spiritual law are crumbling. Mary Baker Eddy has become the leader of a great army, the army of a new Israel, composed of those who have seen something of the vision of Christ, the right idea of God and man. This army is on the march with songs of gladness and with weapons undefeatable. The objective is the New Jerusalem, the city of God built without hands, eternal in the heavens, even the consciousness which unites men with eternal good and forever delivers them from finite evil.

Like Christ Jesus, Mrs. Eddy discerned that only by its healing works can a church justify its existence. Because the Christian Science church is based on this unshakeable foundation it has withstood the most insidious attacks aimed at Christianity since the time of Jesus.

 

The Need of Vision

And how important it is for us to keep before us the vision of life's goal. Christian Science has but one purpose, the establishment of God's kingdom among men. It is here not to hurt, but to heal. Its purpose is God's purpose, to help, to deliver, to build up. When we keep before us the vision of its constructive purpose, our common goal, our joint endeavor directed by the everlasting Father, then the trivialities of earth lose the power to fret, annoy, or divide us and the day of fulfillment is hastened.

A traveler once approached a place where a great governmental building was being erected. Drawing near to a laborer, he inquired, "My friend, what are you working for here?" The laborer replied, "For four dollars a day." He came near to a second laborer and asked, "Tell me, what are you working for here?" and the second replied, "I am working to make this stone which I am chiseling fit into its place with all the other stones." Turning to a third workman he again asked, "What is it that you are working for here?" With a glow of unselfish pride the workman answered, "I, sir, am working to help erect here a great building that will be of service to a great people." We are all laborers. What are we working for? Here we see illustrated the three types of thought, the self-centered, the one that has lost something of self, and the one that has the fuller vision of unselfish service. There can be no question which is the happiest, the truest. We really live only as we serve. It is only our sense of self and our selfishness that separates us from happiness, health, and heaven. Life has a great purpose, a noble aim, a priceless reward. Christian Science lights the torch of spiritual vision and shows the way to its realization.

 

Pride Not of God

One of the most common barriers to spiritual progress is pride. It may be pride of position, pride of power, pride of class or race, or pride in the superiority of our own personal opinions in things small and great. In Miscellaneous Writings (page 2, lines 2-3) Mrs. Eddy has written, "Pride is ignorance; those assume most who have the least wisdom or experience." This false sense is sometimes bold and noisy, oftentimes silent, but deep-rooted. It clings with tenacity to precedent and custom and is the main prop for false education and cold intellectuality.

Time and again did the Master strive to uncover to the proud Pharisees and to his own followers the danger and obstacles which pride offered to their spiritual growth. Once when he was in Nazareth he spoke to his townspeople in the Temple. They were pleased with his manner and words. But as Luke tells us, he perceived that they were expecting him to heal their sick and he immediately began to tell them what the great obstacle was to their receiving the healing blessing. It was their pride. He reminded them that the healing truth when it came in the time of Elijah, came not to any of the widows of Israel, but unto a widow in Sarepta, a city of Sidon, a rank outsider according to the thinking of the Jews. Again he told them that when the healing truth came in the time of Elisha it came not to the lepers of Israel, but to Naaman, the Syrian, a race regarded by the Jews as their inferiors. Then what happened. "When they heard these things, they were filled with wrath," (Luke 4, 28) and they tried to kill him. The evil human mind has not changed. It still covers its hideous emptiness with the cloak of pride and becomes enraged when told of its ungodliness.

Pride is an outgrowth of a wrong sense of manhood. It assumes that man is somebody apart from God, that he can of himself be and do something. The proud man believes he accomplishes by his own ability, that he hews out his niche in the world and is entitled to be a little god in his self created realm. The real purpose of existence he has yet to discover. Where his life comes from, his intelligence, his wisdom, his ability he has not yet discerned. Pride dulls our spiritual understanding, starts factions, divides brother from brother and blinds men to God's presence and love. Pride is a near neighbor to resentment and the twin brother of self-will. We lose pride only as we learn that meekness which Jesus said shall inherit the earth. True meekness deprives us of nothing manly for it is coincident with and is based on the understanding of man as the natural expression of God, responsive alone to His will.

 

Resentment To Be Overcome

When we are criticised our first tendency is to defend ourselves, whereas our first act should be to examine ourselves. If even a small part of the criticism is justified we should be grateful. Instead of being so quick to look away let us be more eager to look within. How much time is wasted in resentment, taking issue with error and believing in it when we should be seeing its fallacy and realizing its unreality. We are resentful because we still believe that evil must be resisted with evil. Paul tells us the one way to overcome evil is to overcome it with good, which means that we must realize so clearly that all that really is, is God and His creation, that evil will not be able to find lodgment in our thought. If someone is unkind to us no good is gained by our thinking unkind thoughts too, and so adding to the world's overburdened store. If someone loses his temper, is that any reason why two tempers should be lost? Error tempts us to take a mental parachute drop into the plane of ignorant controversy whereas our obligation to God is to think always from the mental heights of God's allness and supremacy. If there is something in us that resents and get mad, we may be sure that something is our belief that evil is real. We do not resent or get mad over things which we know do not exist.

Peter's resentment cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, but Jesus' love restored it and advanced the salvation of all men. When we see the import of the following words of Mrs. Eddy found on page 224 of Miscellaneous Writings we shall have uncovered much of the deceitfulness of evil and opened the way for more rapid progress truthward. She says, "It is our pride that makes another's criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another's deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt at another's self-assertion."

 

Self-Condemnation Wrong

As Christian Science destroys pride and resentment it destroys self-condemnation, which is just as much mistaken as the former. If we belittle and condemn ourselves and our capacities we are dishonoring the work of God, for the true selfhood of man is the workmanship of God. If one were to climb a pole while those on the ground were marching forward he could never join them until he climbed down. Or if one were to dig a hole and drop into it he could see his fellows go by but he could not go along with them until he came out of the hole. So we cannot afford to exalt or debase ourselves. The sense of selfhood which God has given us as His individual expression or image, is the one sense of being we have a right to accept.

 

Man Always Protected

If arrows are shot at a sunbeam, they never harm the sunbeam. If a blacksmith were to try to injure a sunbeam with his sledge-hammer he would find it impossible to do so Thus it is with a right-minded, God-expressing man. The shafts of malice, envy, criticism, and hate do him no harm for it is impossible for them to find lodgment. Arrows do not stick in sunbeams. Evil thoughts cannot lodge in a consciousness filled with good. The righteous man lives in a realm into which error's shafts cannot enter. Evil shoots at its own, it cannot see God's own.

As we stand in the safety zone on a busy street of a large city we are safe though thousands of vehicles go rushing by. Law has declared that traffic shall not trespass on the zone of safety. God has provided a place of safety for His children. David called it "the secret place of the most High." (Ps. 91, 1). This safe refuge is very near, even at the turn in our thinking. While we entertain the thoughts of the evil mind we are in constant danger. When we entertain the thoughts of God we are always safe.

 

The Great Commandment

In that helpful book, The Greatest Thing in the World, Drummond tells us that the one universal language is love. On Drummond's visits to the heart of South Africa he had come upon black men who remembered well the only white man they had ever seen David Livingstone, the noted explorer. Says Drummond, "As you cross his footsteps in that dark continent, men's faces light up as they speak of this kindly man who passed there years before. They could not understand him, but they felt the love that beat in his heart." All of us may be Livingstones and leave the unerasable impress of selfless love along our pathway.

The master Metaphysician commanded that not only should we love our friends, but also our enemies. Until we see the scientific basis for this command it is a most difficult one to obey. Christian Science shows us that we never have to love evil in anyone. All that we can ever truly love is the pure and the good, the substance of which is God. So loving our enemies simply means that when evil whispers that we have an enemy we must see through and beyond, no matter how vivid the picture may seem to be, and realize that in God's creation every creature is the expression of good and is lovingly related to every other creature, that there is no evil power which can overthrow God, possess man or divide him from his brothers.

Our God-given consciousness includes a right concept of our brother. Let us pray that this consciousness be more fully manifest. Our true selfhood can never appear while we hold a wrong concept of our brother. Heaven is not open to us if we think of him as outside. The time to love our fellow-man is now. The kingdom of God must become to us as it was to Jesus, a present fact, and every creature that lives must be seen as loved by God and beloved by all his fellows. Would that the words of Mrs. Eddy on page 113 of Science and Health, might be ever with us, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love."

And so to all who are interested in the advancement of mankind, may I say that the world needs your loving co-operation and mine. It needs more toleration and kindness one for another right in our every day contacts, in the church, in the business and in the home. Too often we are drawn into fruitless controversies that only delay the realization of our common ideals. Dissension is the working of evil. Spiritual unity is the order of God. We are brothers. God has made us so. It is none but the common enemy, the evil one, that would bring among us strife, dissension, hatred and war. But we are brothers now, brothers forever and forever. Only in brotherhood is truth, only in brotherhood is heaven and the one road to brotherhood is love.

Said John, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (I John 4, 20).

Twenty centuries ago there came among men one so lowly, that he was born in a manger. No persecution that could be heaped upon him was too severe. For malice he gave forgiveness, for injustice he gave mercy, for hatred he bestowed love. Why this life so burdened with the hatred of men, why the supreme sacrifice of this life amid the scorn of his enemies, why indeed? His one purpose was to bring to the thought of men a fuller understanding of the supremacy and the omnipotence of Love, to prove by his life and resurrection the complete dominion of Love over hate. He did his work for you and for me. He showed us "the way." Are we faithful? Are we to the best of our ability striving to do the works he taught us to do, to think the thoughts he taught us to think, and so fulfill our part in the establishment of the kingdom of God among men the reign and rule of universal and impartial Love. Let us hear the Master's own words, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13, 34-35).

 

[Delivered April 1, 1923, at Col. Payne School and published in The Tonawanda Evening News of North Tonawanda, New York, April 2, 1923. Several typographical errors were rectified by consulting the report of the same lecture published in The Ogden Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah, Dec. 1, 1922.]