Christian Science: The Law of God
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
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, delivered a free lecture on Christian Science, entitled "Christian Science: The Law of God," on Sunday afternoon, February 9, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Haddonfield, N.J., in the Memorial High School.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Many people are asking, What is Christian Science? The answer can be given in five words: Christian Science is spiritual law. This is not the law which is made in legislatures. It is the higher, unchanging law of the creative power which men call God. Possibly if you ask yourself, Just what is law? you may find you haven't a very definite and satisfactory sense about it. It is our ignorance of the creator's law which is responsible for all our troubles. Understanding of God's law lessens and removes them. When you go out from this lecture I hope you will take at least this one idea with you — Christian Science is God's law; God's law is Christian Science. In the course of the lecture you will see something of the reason for this statement.
Calvin Coolidge once said, "God makes, and men discover law." Mary Baker Eddy discovered what God had made — His law. So Christian Science is not Mrs. Eddy's personal opinion or invention. It is the fundamental law of the Mind, or intelligence, responsible for the universe and man. Books like the Bible and Science and Health may explain God's law, but God's law isn't in books. God's law lives. God's law is ever active. True law has the substance and activity of Mind. In her work "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1) Mrs. Eddy defines Christian Science as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony." Christian Science is, then, the law of God, and Mrs. Eddy's writings interpret, or explain, God's law and help us to demonstrate, or prove, that this law outlaws all forms of discord and produces individual and universal harmony. If we are to understand Christian Science we must understand divine law, for Christian Science is divine law, no more, no less.
What Is Law?
Let us see just what law is, just where law is, and just why law is. First, what is law? Real law is God's governing force, the energy of Mind. In human experience we are constantly dealing with forces, or laws, some good, some bad. If you go to your neighbor to do him a kindness it is a good, or intelligent, force which impels you. That good force is God's law. If you go to quarrel with him, it is an evil, or unintelligent, force which impels you. That evil force is evil's would-be law. A thief permits his hands to be moved by a negative force. The man who offers his hand for a friendly handclasp is controlled by a loving, kindly force. A grouch is just negative mental force on display. So is every form of false appetite and sinful dissipation. Bad habits are the result of habitual yielding to negative forces. As forces are good or bad, so is law, for law is force. Says Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 257), "Law is either a moral or an immoral force. The law of God is . . . a moral and spiritual force of immortal and divine Mind."
The affirmative force which is genuinely intelligent and good is the law of God. The force which lacks intelligence and goodness is a negative law of evil. Human life is largely a battle between these opposing forces. Christian Science uses the affirmative law or forces of God, to annul the negative forces of evil. It teaches with Paul, that sin isn't any part of man's true selfhood, but a false force given play in thought which seems to substitute itself for the true selfhood of man. With the forces of God, men can overcome negative sinful forces.
Evil Forces Not Man
In the movie studios today a film is often made with English-speaking actors, and then another film of the same picture is made with the English-speaking actors doing the acting and apparently the speaking, but other individuals, who aren't seen in the picture, speak the lines in a foreign language. Thus in Germany or France one can see American films in which American actors are acting and their lips are moving as though they are speaking the lines, but actually the voices he hears are those of unseen individuals, whose voices are substituted for the originals, to speak the lines in German or French. In the movie world this is called "duping." To dupe is to deceive, to impose upon one. Christian Science is disclosing that we are often duped by a negative evil mind force talking as though it were ourself, or our brother's self. It would substitute its mental forces for our real and original selfhood, would substitute itself for our consciousness. Try to stand apart mentally and listen when you are voicing complaining, critical, angry, negative, sick thoughts — if you ever do. You may recognize that something is talking that is not your better self at all. A substitute mentality, not your own, is thinking and talking. That's the untrue mind force, or devil, and is no part of real manhood.
So it is when we are tempted to believe our brother is thinking and expressing wrong thoughts. But when we get behind the scene we find that what we have been seeing and hearing is not his true self. There is a substitution. The duping process of mortal mind appears to substitute a wrong mentality for him, but it is never really he. The real self which thinks and says, "I know that I am the son of the Almighty God, and that my true individuality is spiritual, Godlike, and good," is not the same mind which in a moment of despair may say, "Existence is an enigma, let's eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
All of us are faced with the problem of putting off the old, substitute man, the dupe or deceiver, and letting the better original of God's making be heard. One thing is sure, we cannot patch up the old concept. It's wrong through and through, and must be put off. God's law does this.
Where Is Law?
The next question is, Where is law? Law is not far away. Every moment we are yielding ourselves to some law force. Law is as close to us as thought. Indeed, law lives and operates in thought. It is Mind's energy and inseparable from thought. Law lives in us.
Suppose we walk, or ride, down a busy street in a large city and come to a red traffic signal. We stop. Why? Because of the traffic law. But where is the law? No one sees it. It is not in the light, or in the car, or in the body of the pedestrian. Nor is it in some dusty lawbook somewhere. Law is more alive than a book's paper and ink. Where is the law, then? The law is in the thinking of the people. Cars stop, and bodies stop, because men think what we call "the traffic law." The traffic moves and stops in an orderly way because men think lawfully. As with the traffic so with God's law — the moral, spiritual law. It is in our thought. God has put it there to govern us. Says the Bible, "I will put my laws into their mind," and again, "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." Christian Science is helping us to understand and use this divine law force already within us.
Why Is Law?
The next question is, Why is law? Law exists to establish and to continue order in the universe — order in our thoughts, bodies, relationships, and lives. Often we speak of "law and order." Order is the effect of the universally operating force called law. Disorder in body, mind, and society is the result of ignorant or lawless human thinking. Someone has well said, "Order is heaven's first law." There can be no intelligent existence without order, and to have order there must be force, or law, to establish, govern, and perpetuate the order. Consider our earth suspended in space. Job said, "He (the creative intelligence) . . hangeth the earth upon nothing." But it is certainly very definitely hung in its place, and it continues rolling on in its law-ordered orbit as do the nine trillion other worlds which the astronomers have thus far discovered. All hung "upon nothing." But really they are not hung on nothing. Nothing cannot hold up something. They are held in place by the almighty force called law. If law forces were for an instant withdrawn, chaos would result. Says Mrs. Eddy of these forces (Science and Health, p. 124), "Withdraw them, and creation must collapse."
True law is everywhere. It is here in your thinking, with you in your home, and everywhere you go. The divine Mind force is as infinite as Mind. Law is everywhere that Mind is, for it is the force and energy of Mind, working in all, governing the universe and man. Surely the power that keeps the worlds in their places can keep order in the lives and bodies of the comparatively few men on this planet. Law brings order into all the details of our life. Law produces neatness, accuracy, punctuality, foresight, fidelity.
Learn Law by Loving Law
To know the power of God's law we must love it. We cannot really know anything that is worthy except as we love it. If we wish to understand the flowers or the birds we must have a truly affectional regard for them. If our home, our friends, our work, our play are to mean anything worth while to us there must be a sense of affection for these things that brings them into our very innermost thought and makes them a part of us. So it is with law. Love for law brings us into living, thinking unity with law. "The infinite law of God," says Mrs. Eddy (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 172), "is . . . received through the affections. " We may receive a gift with our hand, a message with our ear, but we receive law through the affections, through love for the conscious concurrence with the power of Love that is law. We feel law only as we love it. Its vitality and potency grow in our consciousness as we nurture law with love. Let us say with the Psalmist, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day."
"Going to Law"
Most people have a strong aversion to "going to law" — engaging in a lawsuit. It often involves long delay, animosity, uncertainty. No so when we go to God's law. It produces no hard feelings, no delay, no uncertainty. Really our need is daily and hourly to "go to law," to learn of, love, and constantly rely on God's law. Whatever your trouble may be, "go to law"! — to God's saving, healing law.
Jesus was the world's greatest student and practitioner of law. He was always "going to law." "His delight . . . (was) in the law of the Lord." His whole human experience was devoted to loving, living, and demonstrating God's law. And what did he say about the way for us to find law? This, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." All true law is discoverable in the consciousness that is aglow with love for God and His man. The only way to find God, His man, His law, is by understandingly loving them. Doing that, we blend our thought with the law of God which is expressed through and governs man. The line of approach to law is more affectional than intellectual. Goethe has said, "Love gives in a moment what labor cannot provide in an age."
We love divine law because it is the indispensable power of God maintaining all life. Law is Life's force. Law does much for us. Law supports us, governs us, and protects us. Law is a force which is wholly loving, kind, intelligent, and just. The Psalmist saw this beautiful and lovable aspect of law when he said, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." And that is what is necessary in order to learn of basic law — deep love for and thoughtful meditation on God and His law, on God's forces of life and love.
Conscience Is Activity of Law
We use law more than we realize. Parents bring up their children to be honest. How? Simply by teaching them to yield their thought to the force of honesty instead of yielding it to the negative mental force called dishonesty. This constructive thought force called honesty the parents know already exists. The parents cannot make it. God makes it. It is His living law. The parents help the child to discover it in himself and use it.
All progress is this: simply the awakening of human thought to find the spiritual forces, or God's law, and letting these forces control the thoughts and lives of men and nations. "Progress is the law of God," says Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 233). It is the appearing in man, in an increasing measure, of God's forces and laws.
Certain parents who thought they were very irreligious and desired their children to have no religious instruction still taught them that each one had a conscience to which he should always listen and which would tell him what was right and wrong. Now just what is this thing called "conscience"? It is the force of good, of God, the activity of moral law within us, speaking to us, guiding and protecting, controlling us, in so far as we are willing.
By Law God Communicates with Man
We use electrical forces for transmitting messages from one person to another. Through these forces the whole world is at our elbow. If communication has become so easy in the material realm is it not reasonable to think that the intelligent cause of the universe has means wherewith to communicate freely and constantly with His expression, man? The Bible relates that, through spiritual sense, the prophets and Jesus talked with the Father, Mind. There was no mystery at all about it. Why should there be? But how does God, Mind, communicate with man? Through law — the force of divine intelligence. Says Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 72), "Divine law is the communicator of Truth." So if we wish to receive God's wise and loving communications we must through spiritual sense understand His communicator, divine law. One of the functions of God's forces, or law, is to communicate to man every instant the ideas which produce unerring judgment, that protect and direct his going and his coming, that bring him into right relationships. By law, the force of divine thought, God communicated to Moses and to David, to the prophets, to Jesus, and to John. All revelation, inspiration, intuition is communicated by divine energy, or law.
And this loving law force operates every instant to communicate the ideas which protect those who are willing to use them, to avert accidents, disaster, sinful intrigue, impulsive acts, and mistaken judgments. Is it not natural and right? Remember, God not only creates, but God also governs man with moral and spiritual force — His law.
Law Lifts Thought
Another vital function of law is to lift thought, exalt consciousness. Can you think of anything men need more than that? To have thought lifted up out of the pits of depression, the prisons of fear, the tombs of material deadness and sin, into the sunlight of spiritual confidence, hope, renewed and vitalized being where life is worth while and every day a new opportunity for radiating the gladness of Life and Love. Well, law is the lifting force, the elevating power that does this. Get hold of law by loving law. Hold on to it, and it will lift your thinking and you into a new freedom. Says Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 200), "The law of Sinai lifted thought into the song of David."
Moses loved and felt the law of God. So filled was his thinking with Deity's law that he gave his people and succeeding generations the Ten Commandments, chief of which is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Christian Science teaches that this means we shall accept as real no intelligence, life, substance, truth, or love but that which is spiritual — of Mind, God. The Israelites followed in some degree this law of Sinai. What did it do for them? It lifted them out of a multitude of trials and tribulations into a joyous sense of God's love and power, expressed in the songs of David. In his Psalms of deep spiritual confidence and fearlessness this great seer sings forth his faith in the one God. Here are some of his words: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved;" "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
Spiritual force, or law, operating through spiritual ideas will work in your thinking to lift you out of the pits of earth. Law lifted the Magdalene out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay — the tenacious degrading claims of sensualism and animality. Law lifted the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda out of thirty-eight years of helpless inactivity. Law lifted Jesus out of the tomb and then lifted his thought into such complete oneness with God and His intelligent creation that materially minded mortals no longer perceived him. The forces of God's law lift our thinking from matter to Mind, from earth's disorder to heaven's order, from sadness to song, and from insecurity to safety and peace.
God's Laws Expressed By Man
God relates His man very closely to His active forces or laws. We need to think more of our selfhood in relationship to law. In her work "No and Yes" (p. 11), Mrs. Eddy says, "Man has perpetual individuality; and God's laws, and their intelligent and harmonious action, constitute his individuality." Man, then, expresses in his individuality the activity of God's laws. Your individuality is an intelligent embodiment of Spirit's forces, or laws.
Since the real selfhood of man is spiritually mental and is the embodiment of law, nothing can really happen to man which cannot happen to law. As law is, man is. Man has the permanence of law, the fearlessness of law. He cannot be sick because law cannot be sick. He cannot die because law cannot die. His being never begins and never ends, for law is without beginning or end. God's laws form and constitute him. They are his impregnable defense. Hatred, jealousy, unjust judgment, can no more harm man than they can law. He is clothed with the impenetrable garments of law. Error's shots and shafts fall outside this armor, with which God has encompassed man. He is as fully protected as is law.
Material Versus Spiritual Force
The material mind and its material force argues to us thus: "I, material force, make men of matter, impound them in a burdensome organism, and control them with blind physical and mental forces that buffet and beat them, and finally destroy them. With fear, hate, passion, I dominate the thinking of mortals, and with sin, disease, pestilence, famine, accident, decrepitude, and war impose upon them my destructive sway. They are the unhappy slaves of my tyranny, the victims of my unholy will. I, mortal mind and material force, am god alone of the material realm, and there is none to contest my power or overturn my godless sway."
What saith the Christian Scientist to this lie of material force claiming to be law? In substance this: "Mortal mind and material force, you are ignorant, destructive, untrue. Your negative nature separates you from real intelligence, God, the only Life and Mind of man. You are not the cause or substance of man, and you cannot legislate laws, or produce forces, to affect his condition, nature, or individuality. Man is really Mind's idea, God's son, and is joined to God with eternal forces of intelligence and love. Over man, Deity's expression, you have no jurisdiction. What you claim is man is a burlesque concept of man, a medley of your false forces and false thoughts.
"From Mind, God, proceeds all real force, power, energy, manhood, and law. His control of man is absolute, loving, constant. He possesses infinity and fills it with His omnipresence, wherein is all individuality, life, activity. Therein is no place or opportunity for the destructive forces of sin, sickness, war, and death. God's rule is constructive. Harmony, health, peace, characterize His universe and His man. Your negative material substitute for God and His creation, or manifestation, is, by reason of its truthlessness, condemned to remain outside the bounds of infinity in the darkness of oblivion. Your seeming victories are within your own false selfhood, and you deceive, allure, and animate only your own lying concepts, never the real individualities of God's making. Your annihilation, with all that evidences you, is as certain as God's allness, God's intelligence, and God's power. His truthfulness nullifies you. His infinite life obliterates you. His universal love desolates you. The forces of God lessen, subjugate, and finally supplant you, your forces, and your law. Your end is to acknowledge your own nothingness, dissolve, and disappear."
Ability, Opportunity, Reciprocity
The law of God, or Mind, imparts unlimited ability to man. It is this law which assures man of his God-given ability to think, to initiate, to perform. God's man is full of ability. As he is law-filled, so he is ability-filled — filled with intelligence. Jesus showed man to be an individual embodiment of divine ability, for man is the immediate expression of the life and ability of God. Deity's intelligence is ever reflected by man and is his ability.
God's law provides man with ability, and also with perpetual opportunity for the use and expression of his ability. Of what use would be ability if there were no opportunity to use it? Divine law employs its intelligent forces in all consciousness to make room and opportunity for each individual to use his ability.
God's law not only imparts to His man continuing ability and suitable opportunity, but also a sense of reciprocity, that is an honest appreciation by his brother of what he gives. Jesus claimed his rights under this aspect of divine law when he said, "The Father . . . hath borne witness of me." And the Psalmist sang, "Thou hast . . . crowned him with glory and honour." It is the just law of God that each individual be accorded what is rightfully due him, that reciprocity be expressed to him by his brother man. God constitutes the only real thinking of our brother. Divine Mind makes all of His individual ideas to think rightly, justly, appreciatively toward one another and to give to one another with that measure of justice and reciprocity which is essential to God's justly balanced universe. And after all, this is simply the effect of the force of spiritual law fulfilling its function to produce an intelligently ordered creation and man, with each individuality able to fill his place and receive justly therefore.
The Law of Kindness
A consciousness that is loving God's law is habitually kind. If love of God and His law fills our thought the force of love predominates in our lives. "Love," says Paul, "is the fulfilling of the law." Of a righteous woman the Bible saith, "In her tongue is the law of kindness."
David was a lover of God and His law, and in David's heart was a very real sense of the law of kindness. Do you remember how, when Saul became distrustful of David and sought his life with a small army, he came one day to a cave and stayed there? Unknown to Saul, David and his men were hiding in the cave. It would have been easy for David to slay Saul and become king, but he refused to do so. He only cut off the skirt of Saul's robe while he slept to show that though Saul was in his power he obeyed the law of kindness and did him no harm. When confronted with this evidence of David's kindness toward him, Saul said: "Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil . . . Wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day."
The law of kindness was governing David's thinking. The healing force of love and good will he gave right of way. It thwarted any destructive force called anger or resentment. Said Solomon, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." The forces of kindness, good will, charity are always so near, so potent. Why not use them? Says the poet (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 178):
"Jesus knew the law of kindness,
Healing mind and heart of blindness;
And in heavenly wisdom taught
Holy works of love he wrought."
Man Is a Law to Himself
One of the most important facts about law is that man is so made by God that he can be a law to himself. By being a law to ourself we mean that, by realizing our selfhood expresses only divine law, we can outlaw from our experience all that opposes this law. Christ Jesus is the clearest example of this important fact. He showed that man's real individuality exists independent of the whole structure of material force, mortal opinion, and physical laws, subject only to the higher law of Life and Love. He proved that each individual is made divinely independent of any and all influence, forces, and laws except the law of God. Jesus did not wait for the crowd. He went forward alone. So must we. He perceived what God really is, the only real intelligence, or Mind. He saw that man exists to be the eternal expression of this Mind. With the power and force of God's law-laden ideas, he lifted himself out of earth's hell into Love's heaven.
Jesus' complete independence of mortal opinion was nothing short of amazing. What mortals thought or didn't think mattered not to him. He had his work to do, and he did it. That work was to fulfill the law of God, to prove there is a force available to men which will lift them up and out of the stifling, nauseating atmosphere of materialism into what Mrs. Eddy has termed "a fresh universe" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 27), where God, His law, His man, are found intact, and health, peace, good will, are the normal conditions of being.
Christian Science Treatment Is Law
A Christian Science treatment is the activity of God's law. It declares what law establishes and enforces as eternally true in regard to God and man — that man is really spiritual, perfect, the individual likeness of the Mind which is God and therefore harmonious, healthy, joyous. With the idea of God as the only real power, force, Lawgiver, and man as the expression of God, His forces, His laws, the Christian Scientist denies the testimony of matter, material forces, material laws. As a representative of divine law he declares that God's law is a law of annihilation to every force and law that makes for illness, discord, human trouble. The Christian Scientist is an active expounder of divine law and its application to the outlawing of evil in all its modes. God's man is a law-thinking, law-knowing, law-expressing man, and a Christian Science treatment is an enlightened effort to know this. The whole human race hopes for and works to secure relief from sickness — good evidence that men do not regard disease as something God would have them submit to. The difference comes as to the method by which to get rid of it. Christian Science uses the laws and forces of the creator, just as Jesus used them. Think you there is a higher law or wiser way than that?
Jesus healed the centurion's servant without seeing the patient. He gave an absent treatment. So do Christian Scientists. Often a practitioner will have patients in widely separated parts of the world, but he treats these cases with the same confidence and the same beneficial results as though he were face to face with his patient. The reason is that a Christian Science practitioner utilizes and relies upon a universally operative law, or divine Mind force, to work the healing for the patient. He invokes and asserts the presence and activity of this law force of God to produce health and harmony in man. Mrs. Eddy refers to "the divine Mind-force, filling all space" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 331). It is this force which provides the practitioner with an omnipotent power everywhere wherewith to heal his patient. Space offers no obstruction to infinite Mind and its healing forces or law.
The Law of Gratitude
Every nation or kingdom has certain laws in regard to entry into it. So has the kingdom of God. One is that only those with grateful hearts can enter in. The thinking of each one who enters must be filled with loving thanks to the great Giver. There is no use trying to enter God's kingdom without complying with this law, for it is impossible to do so. But, says someone, why should I be grateful to God, grateful for what? Let us see.
I once knew a woman who came to a practitioner for help for a serious physical disease. The practitioner soon saw that the patient was self-centered and needed to be awakened to the law of unselfish gratitude. She told her that before she came again she would expect her to write down fifty things she was grateful for. "But," said the patient, "I cannot do that. What have I to be grateful for?" "That is for you to discover," said the practitioner. The patient went away perplexed, but resolved to do her part. So she set about thinking what there was she could be grateful for. She had some good friends. She could be grateful for them, of course. She had a comfortable home, that was something more. She enjoyed the sunshine and the rain and the flowers and the birds. As she rode home on the streetcar she was grateful for the people who built the line and those who ran it, for all the inventors whose work had made it possible. When she got home she saw the Bible and Science and Health on the table and she knew at once that she was profoundly grateful for those great books and the ideas they contained. So she went back to the practitioner very soon with fifty and more things for which she was feeling very grateful.
The exercise in being grateful — in letting the forces of love and appreciation hold sway — was repeated several times, and the patient was delighted and surprised to find out how many things there were to be grateful for so close by. Finally she began to see that what she was most grateful for was God, grateful for His love, His nearness, His power, His law of life and health, grateful for the fact that her real life was His reflection, and ever expressing His life and His law. Quite suddenly her thinking had been turned rather inside out, she felt. Instead of thinking so much about her troubles and the laws of disease which had seemed to threaten her with a long period of illness she began to see a better realm of life where there was much to be grateful for. Through gratitude her affection for the good was being awakened, and her fear of sickness was being lessened.
She began to recognize the important fact that when she was grateful for the good all about her she couldn't be fearful and fretful about evil. She saw that the child of God was always conscious of the presence of good in its many forms, and, being conscious only of God and His manifestations, could never be really conscious of the presence of evil. "Real consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God," says Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 276). God's law of gratitude was nothing less than the energy of divine Mind outlawing blindness to the presence of good. Perhaps she had not attained to the fullness of her God-given consciousness in this regard, but she glimpsed what it was, and that it was, and she was started on her way. Gratitude, she saw, was not really an intermittent state of mind with frequent interruptions from error's forces. It was actually a continuing quality of thought force which lightens both life's load and life's way. With a deep, rich sense of gratitude to God in her heart she found she could say with Jesus, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." It didn't take long for this woman to get her healing. Her fear of physical forces and medical laws dissolved before the higher law of gratitude to God for His power, His presence, and His ceaseless love for the children of men.
Take a firm hold on the idea of gratitude for the little things and the big things that bless you and others. Hold on to this idea, and it will give you right of entry into the courts of the Most High, into God's very presence, for you will have complied with the law stated by the Psalmist, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise."
No Law by Comparison
Have you ever been tempted to think you might have some disease because a relative or friend was having or had had it? Or have you ever been tempted to think that because some people drink liquor, or smoke tobacco, you might some day do that too? This is a common suggestion of evil, comparing us with someone else and arguing it is likely to do to us what it has done to him, as though there were some real law to accomplish that. Never give error a place to put its foot, never grant it a place, person, or circumstance through which to project itself into your experience. Lying suggestion argues: Join in and do as the others do. Get sick because they get sick, drink because others drink, smoke because others smoke. Be indifferent to and ignorant of God because others are. What's the use of being so unusual anyway? Such suggestions illustrate the workings of negative mental force.
Because a weed has taken root in someone else's mental garden, why should we plant it in our own? We are responsible for our own garden and everything in it. Do you suppose it is going to excuse us if we say, "Oh, I saw Mrs. X growing a weed of this sort, so I was tempted to do so too"? Christian Science insists on independence of thought, that is, thinking that is independent of all influence but the Mind force of God. When we let our thinking wander off after persons, with a willingness to be afflicted as they may appear to be, or a willingness to do what they may be doing, we are on a lawless course that always ends in trouble. Principle, not person, is the one Lawgiver for man. If perhaps it may seem to someone that, in the short run of the mortal sense of life, God's law asks him to give up something that isn't so very bad, let him remember that God's law demands only the surrender of what is destructive and unreal. "He risks nothing who obeys the law of God," says Mrs. Eddy (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 211).
If error whispers, "See how many people are having pneumonia, perhaps it will be your turn next," what are you going to do with such a false suggestion of law — a mortal mind force? Begin by realizing your divine independence of all mortals and mortal thinking and your complete dependence on God and His law. See that the only evidence offered you that your brother is sick, or his faculties impaired, is the evidence of material sense, which testifies only to a false concept of man, not to your brother. The true idea of creation as the manifestation of God, and spiritual, will enable you to realize that the only true selfhood of your brother is not sick or impaired, and that is the self you are interested in. God's creation, including your brother's real self, is ever perfect and intact. For the same reason his true self is all right so your true self is whole and is immune from any form of discord or depletion. Stand in the universe of God and find your brother there too. See that in that universe no claim of sickness has entered, no impairment of man has taken place.
It is not your brother who makes you and conditions you, anyway. Mr. Someone Else is not a god to you. Your brother is not a condition-making power for you. You do not derive your life from him. God is your only source, your only Lawgiver. Unless God makes you sick, you cannot be sick. Unless God weakens your faculties, they cannot be weak. We need not only to say this but to know this. And we can. We all must learn to think more independently of the currents of human thought and opinions and more in agreement with divine law.
What mortals do or do not do cannot change what man must do. Man's work, regardless of any and all human opinions, circumstances, and events, is to demonstrate the manhood which is the full individual expression of God and His law.
Mary Baker Eddy
The English historian, Wells, recently expressed the opinion that the three greatest men in history are Christ Jesus, Buddha, and Aristotle. He said, "The historian's test of an individual's greatness is, 'What did he leave to grow? Did he start men to thinking along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him?'" And by this test he rightly places Jesus first in the characters of human history. When pressed to include, if possible, an American he refused and answered, "America is still young." True, yet America has already provided one of the very great characters in human history, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She has indeed left for all future generations that which will grow and grow in human thought, even the spiritual idea of existence, the eternal idea of God, His law, His man. Mencius, the Oriental philosopher, says, "A sage is the instructor of a hundred ages." Mrs. Eddy is this and more. The spiritual instruction left by Mrs. Eddy in her works will outdistance time and live on to remove fully the wall of material ignorance between men and immortality. Millions already have been started by her teachings to think along fresh lines, to discover the spiritual universe and man, and their thinking grows in vigor and accomplishment as time moves on.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery was a discovery of divine Science, or the law of God. It was in the realm of law, the fundamental Mind force of true existence. Students of human law spend a goodly number of years learning what men have said is law. Mrs. Eddy spent the larger part of her human experience searching out God's law. She studied the writings of Moses, David, the prophets, Christ Jesus, to learn what they had discerned of this living law. With truest affection for supreme good, God, she turned to Him, the one enlightening Mind, to illumine her thinking. Through her affection for God she received His law, became conscious of Love's omnipotent healing power. Even some years before she discovered Christian Science she began to heal through faith in God's law. An authenticated healing of blindness by her is recorded in this period.
But her grasp of the divine forces which constitute God's law and God's man came to her gradually over a considerable period of time from earnest study and revelation. The door of her affections was open and the law of Life and Love filled the chambers of her thought. She received the revelation of God's law because she loved God so much that there was no wall of material ignorance to hide His law-filled nature from her thought. To her keen intellectuality she added a deep love of spirituality.
Mrs. Eddy discovered the law which Jesus understood and demonstrated. She explains in her writings how men may master the forces of destruction and discord with the constructive forces of spiritual law. The Bible and Science and Health she regarded as the lawbooks of existence. The practical value of her teachings to heal and help men through God's law are now attested by many physicians and clergymen, as well as Christian Scientists. Christian Science organizations now number over twenty-seven hundred, located in thirty-seven countries. More than ten thousand authorized Christian Science practitioners are busily engaged in the healing of the sick in all parts of the world by God's law. Annually over three million people attend lectures on Christian Science to hear of God's law. And yet this great movement is only in its beginning. Its work must grow and grow until human thought becomes imbued with the power of God's law, the only enduring law, and the spiritual idea of being rules all men and all nations, imperatively and absolutely, with the law of God.