Christian Science: The Revelation of Spiritual Law (1)

 

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, the Revelation of Spiritual Law" was delivered in the Woman's clubhouse, on Sunday afternoon, to a large audience by Paul Stark Seeley, member of the Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston.

Roy D. Mauldin introduced the speaker on behalf of the Christian Science Society of Palm Springs, under whose auspices the lecture was given.

Mr. Seeley recently returned from a lecture tour of South America and is leaving in a few weeks to fill lecture engagements in Scandanavia and England.

He spoke substantially as follows:

 

This lecture deals with the basic law of the universe, spiritual law, God's unchanging law.

Almost everyone recognizes there is something called human law made by legislative bodies and enforced by governments. Not many claim any comprehensive knowledge of this human law. Fewer still have any accurate understanding of that higher law which is indispensable to the harmony and continuity of the universe and the well-being of man. Let us then reason together for a little on this great subject.

No one should regard God's law as abstract and uninteresting. It is both interesting and vital. It is something each individual must sooner or later understand and obey. It is inseparable from all real being. One who had gained some understanding of it centuries ago says in the Bible, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." As we understand it we too shall love and joyously meditate on God's law.

 

The Nature of God Must Be Understood

Before we can understand God's law we must understand something of the nature of God, its source. Christian Science teaches that God is the one real Mind. It teaches further that the real life, consciousness, and individuality of every man is an individual expression of the one positive, good Mind, called God. God is self-existent, eternal Mind, and the true selfhood of man is Mind's highest manifestation, forever caused, conditioned, and controlled by the forces of Mind.

 

Causation Acts Through Law

In the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this Science, says on page 417 that "all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law." Let us ponder this. All the action of causative Mind, universal in scope, eternal in continuance, is governed by God's spiritual law.

So we see that God's law inheres in the activity of man's only real Mind. The energy, or governing force of this causative intelligence, asserts itself in true thoughts and right ideas. If, like the good Samaritan, you do an unselfish act for a friend or stranger, it is the force of the good Mind which impels you to do this. It is the activity of God's law working in you through God's thoughts.

If you quarrel with anyone at home or abroad, what force impels you to do that? The force of the supposititious, godless, lawless, evil mind, claiming to rule you through evil thoughts. The lawless thought-forces of this supposititious evil mind produce all trouble, all sickness, sin, and death. The lawful thought-forces of divine Mind reverse and destroy these afflictive forces.

 

True Law Is a Spiritual Force

But as a thief has in his true being the Mind-given power to stop yielding to the lawless thought-force of dishonesty, so the unhappy man or the sick man can stop surrendering his consciousness to the erroneous thought-forces that produce unhappiness or sickness and can align his thinking with the thought-forces of his real Mind the law of God and find the health and harmony these forces produce.

Housewives use various physical forces to lessen the labor of cooking, cleaning, and washing, which is of course an entirely correct thing to do; but how much more should we all use the spiritual forces which reside in the true idea of God and man, forces that make life worth living by removing fear, friction, sickness, and all discord.

"Law," writes Mrs. Eddy in her work "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 257), "is either a moral or an immoral force. The law of God is . . . a moral and spiritual force of immortal and divine Mind." Human existence seems to be largely a battle between these opposite forces, between the ignorant evil forces that produce fear, hate, discord, affliction, and destruction and the intelligent, loving thought-forces of infinite Mind, active in all true consciousness, forever producing health and harmony.

Christ Jesus' mission was, he said, to fulfill the law of God. That is, he came to show mankind that individual man can, by realizing the oneness of his consciousness and life with the Father Mind, find the health and peace which the thought-forces of positive Mind naturally produce in its manifestation, man.

 

Law Is Expressed in Us

Law, then, is the natural, spiritual force of immortal Mind. But just where do you and I find law? Suppose you walk or ride down a busy street in a large city and come to a red traffic signal. You 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 pedestrians stop, because men think what we call "the traffic law." The traffic moves and stops in an orderly way because men think lawfully: they mentally conform to the thought-forces called law.

As with the traffic law, so with God's law. This basic spiritual law inheres in our God-given thoughts. 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." Law is the spiritual, moral force inherent in the good thoughts with which Mind constitutes us.

 

Why Is Law Needed?

God's law exists to establish and to preserve order in the universe and man order in our thoughts, bodies, relationships, and lives. Often we speak of "law and order." Order is the effect of the universally operating force of intelligence called law. Disorder in body, mind, and society is the result of yielding consciousness to ignorant or lawless human thinking.

Someone has well said, "Order is heaven's first law." There can be no harmonious existence without order, and to have order there must be Mind-force, or law, to establish and perpetuate this order.

 

Learn Law by Loving Law

To know the power of God's law we must love this great constructive force. 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 innermost thought and makes them one with us.

John Burroughs, the naturalist, was once told complainingly by a woman that there were no birds in her garden. "Madam," said he, "you must have birds in your heart before you can find them in the bushes." Then he proceeded to point out a score of birds in her garden where she had seen none.

So it is with law. Love for law brings us into living, conscious 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 and conscious concurrence with the power of Love in us. We feel law only as we love the power of God, good. Its vitality and potency grow in our consciousness as we nurture law with love.

Christ Jesus' human experience was devoted to loving, living, and demonstrating God's law, the forces of good. And what did he say about the way for us to find law? This: "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and, "Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

An understanding love for God and man unites us with God's law, and nothing else will. The Bible says, "A good understanding have all they that do his commandments." As we "do," not simply "learn" or "repeat," the commandments of God, a good understanding of causative Mind and our individuality as its obedient expression appears. The 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, individuality, and harmonious activity. Law does much for us. Law supports us, governs us, and protects us. Law is a force which is wholly loving, 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."

 

God's Law Expressed by Man

We need to think more of our individuality in terms of 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." The ever-active moral and spiritual forces of causative Mind actually constitute your true individuality. Negative, material forces neither make, condition, nor affect your real being. Your true individuality is an embodiment of Spirit's forces, or laws.

Since the real selfhood of man is spiritual and is the embodiment of the constructive and eternal ideas of Mind, nothing can really happen to man which cannot happen to these ideas, governed by divine law. As law is, man is. Man has the permanence of law, the fearlessness of law. He cannot be sick because the expression of God and His law cannot be sick. He cannot die because the law of his life cannot die. His being never begins and never ends, for the law in which he exists is without beginning or end. God's laws, which form and constitute his individuality, are his impregnable defense.

Hatred, jealousy, unjust judgment, because lawless and godless, can no more harm man than they can the forces of Mind he lives to express. He is clothed with the impenetrable garments of spiritual forces, divine law. Error's shots and shafts fall outside this armor, with which God has encompassed man. He is as fully protected as is law.

 

The Nature of Physical Force

More than a few men who have tried to fathom the basic cause of all things from a material standpoint have believed physical force, or material energy, to be the ultimate source of all things. They find it everywhere in the material universe. From the neutrons and protons revolving around the nucleus of the atom to the ordering of the solar system, physical force is in evidence.

Christian Science teaches that "physical force and mortal mind are one" (Science and Health, p. 484). What physical science terms physical force is the action of the supposititious material mind operating through what it terms material law, sometimes producing a semblance of order and often producing discord and destruction. It lacks any moral or spiritual quality, lacks Mind's unerring wisdom and love. It sometimes simulates the law of Mind, but never can attain to it.

 

The Breaking of the Atom

Recently I was invited to see a cyclatron being constructed at a cost of two million dollars at one of our large universities. A cyclatron, as you probably know, is an atom-breaking machine. Atoms of matter, too small to see, are driven by electrical forces around a circular vacuum tank in this cyclatron at a speed of 160,000 miles per second. Then they are directed against an impenetrable target outside the machine, and their atomic structure is smashed by the impact. Pictures are taken of the breaking up of the atom. From these, physical scientists seek information regarding the action of the physical forces involved.

One characteristic of atomic energy, as generally conceived, is that it is derived from applying destructive physical force to dismember the normal structure of the atom. The explosive force so produced is then used for purposes directed by men.

By contrast, spiritual forces, the forces of positive divine Mind, are always constructive, always available, without any labored process. They involve no destruction. Their source is supreme Mind, not mindless matter. They are the forces of causative intelligence, which causes, sustains, conditions, and governs the manifestations of Mind, but never destroys aught but what is negative and mindless.

The Scriptures say that Christ Jesus came "to destroy the works of the devil." He destroyed the afflictive forces of the material mind evidenced in sin, sickness, and death by his understanding that real power, force, might, and law belong only to divine Mind, whose forces or laws are individually evidenced in the harmonious being, seeing, hearing, living, and acting of man.

The Bible admonition, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," would seem to mean to resist with the forces of positive Mind the negative forces of the godless material mind and prove they have no power to dispossess you of your Mind-controlled, God-controlled being.

 

Material versus Spiritual Force

The so-called material mind and its material forces argue 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 afflict 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 I 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 rule."

What says Christian Science 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 force 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 material misconception of man, a medley of your false forces and false thoughts.

"From Mind, God, proceed 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."

 

Christian Science Treatment Is Law

A Christian Science treatment is the activity of God's law. It declares what this law establishes and enforces as eternally true in regard to 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, and His laws, the Christian Scientist denies the reality of the testimony of matter, material forces, or 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-knowing, law-expressing man, and a Christian Science treatment is an enlightened effort to realize this.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

The English historian Wells 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 thinking along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him?'" By this test he rightly places Jesus first in the characters of human history. When pressed to include an American, he refused and answered, "America is still young."

True, yet America has already provided one of the truly great characters in human history, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She has left for all future generations that which will grow and grow in human thought, even the spiritual idea of existence, the true idea, the Christ-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 her in her works will outdistance time and live on to remove fully the wall of material ignorance which alone separates men from immortality. Millions already have been started by her teachings to think along fresh lines, to discover the spiritual universe and man governed by God's law, and their thinking grows in vigor and accomplishment.

Mrs. Eddy's discovery was a discovery of spiritual forces, or the law of God, the fundamental Mind-force of true existence, which every individual may utilize to outlaw all that would deny his right under God's law to health, happiness, and harmony.

 

The Christian Science Textbook

Christian Science differs in no way from the teachings of Christ Jesus. It is based on them and helps its students to understand them and apply them to their every need.

The textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was written by Mrs. Eddy to convey to human thought her discovery of God's law and its applicability to heal and happify the lives of men. This book contains eighteen chapters, totaling seven hundred pages. The true ideas of God, man, and law presented in these pages have healed many by bringing their thought into accord with the spiritual forces of causative Mind, changing thought from a material to a spiritual basis.

 

Arthritis Healed

A woman with whom I am acquainted became afflicted with arthritis. She had treatments from physicians, but grew steadily worse. She attended a clinic at a well-known hospital. The physicians there did all they could for her, but to no avail. She became unable to work, but needed to do so. To arise and dress in the morning was a painful and prolonged effort.

When her condition had become desperate, she turned to Christian Science as a last resort and started reading Science and Health hours at a time, particularly the chapter on "Prayer." After a few days she awakened one morning with a feeling of physical freedom she had not known for several years. With the help of a Christian Science practitioner her complete healing was accomplished within a few weeks.

One day she met her former physician, who was much surprised at her restoration to health. At his request she submitted to an examination at the hospital where she had previously been treated. The examination showed she was completely free from the arthritic condition. Looking over the hospital's record of her case, the physician said, "What shall we put on here now?" She replied, "I think you should put on it, 'Healed by Christian Science.'" The physician said he thought so too, and she informed me that is what he did.

What were the forces of affliction that caused the arthritis? They were the forces of erroneous thinking, the belief in a material, evil mind, and its fears, and the belief that it makes man material and then hopelessly afflicts him. But as she studied Science and Health she learned something of God as Spirit, Mind, good, learned that God alone is her real Life and that this Mind's forces cause her, its expression, to be healthy and harmonious, not afflicted and fettered by the godless forces of evil.

She saw something of the supremacy of God and His law over and in man, and this freed her from the mistaken belief that she was the victim of an ignorant, afflictive power which could fetter and bind her. She found something of the meaning of the Bible statement, "That ye break every yoke."

Where did this freedom-bringing experience take place? In her thought. The powerful thought-forces of causative, deific Mind, God, were recognized and accepted as having more power over her than the negative forces of wrongmindedness. Health and freedom, she learned, were her true status, not bondage and enslavement. The law of God, her real Mind, nullified with lawful, right thoughts of being the lawless forces of fear and evil.

 

Man Is a Law to Himself

One of the most important facts about law is that man is so made by God that he is a law to himself. By being a law to ourself we mean that, by realizing our selfhood expresses only God and His divine law, we can outlaw from our experience all that seems to oppose 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 divine Life and Love.

He proved that each individual is made divinely independent of any and all influence, forces, and laws except the laws 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 did not 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 that there are available to men the forces of God, divine Mind, 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.

 

No Problem Can Defy God's Law

Evil mental forces often plague mortals by persistently arguing that although they may be getting along reasonably well in some ways, there is a hitch somewhere. Perhaps it is an unhappy home, busybody relatives, friction in business, burdensome debt, a shady past, an uncertain future, grief for a dear one no longer here, a false appetite fought against but not overcome, a painfully unpleasant disposition, or a lingering sickness.

But, questions Mary Baker Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 425), "What if the belief is consumption? God is more to a man than his belief, and the less we acknowledge matter or its laws, the more immortality we possess." Note, we must stop acknowledging matter and its laws. We must acknowledge the supremacy of God and His law.

Yes, God surely is more to you and to me than consumption, or any phase of mortal belief. What if error does argue a mountainlike problem? God, our infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God, acting through ever-present spiritual force or law, is still more to us than that, is He not? We need to know this and apply all we know of Him and His law to annihilate the belief, however perplexing, with which evil would beset us. Remember, all belief is fiction, not substance or reality.

Ask yourself: "How much more are God and His law to me than this problem? Can any problem be more to me than my God?" Realize that the basis of Christian Science is the scientific fact that God is All; that infinity is filled with God's presence: that all power, force, law, substance, and action are God's; that God constitutes all individuality; that apart from Him, nothing is that is. Is God really this much to you, the All-in-all, the all-cause expressed in all effect? Can any mortal problem come into the consciousness of omniscient Mind or into divine Life and its law-filled individualized expression?

 

Law Lifts Thought

A 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, the spiritual force of Mind's ideas, is the lifting force, the elevating power that does this. Get hold of law by loving God, the only good Mind, and man, God's expression, the embodiment of God's forces or laws. Hold on to these great law-filled verities and they will lift your thinking into a new freedom. Says Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 200), "The law of Sinai lifted thought into the song of David."

The Scriptures say, "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, acting through spiritual ideas, will work in your thinking to lift you out of the pits of material-mindedness. It was these true forces that lifted the Magdalen out of the horrible pit and miry clay of animality.

The forces of spiritual law lifted the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda out of thirty-eight years of mesmerism and helpless inactivity. God's 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 spiritual thought-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 safely and peace, if we are willing to recognize and accept them as the only true forces of our being.

 

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? 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 law to accomplish that.

Never give error a starting place, 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 ignorant or devilish mind-force.

What can you do with such false suggestions of law of mortal mind force? Begin by realizing your divine independence of all belief in mortals and mortal thinking and your complete dependence on God and His law. It is not a mortal who makes you and conditions you, anyway. Mr. Someone Else is not a god to you, 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 human thought and opinions and more in agreement with divine law.

 

Our Present Age

One of the most interesting facts about this period in human history is the great interest evidenced by human thought in physical forces. Individuals, corporations, and governments are devoting much earnest endeavor and large financial investments to discovering and adapting to useful purposes hitherto little known, or unknown, physical forces.

In the fields of atomic energy, electronics, chemistry, physics, agriculture, astronomy, communication, and transportation, new discoveries of already existing forces are being made almost every hour. Further research aims to utilize them to facilitate and improve human life.

But all the tremendous forces in the atoms of matter, in electricity, in chemistry and physics will never empower an individual with honesty or impel him to be just to his brother. The light forces of the sun will never enlighten the consciousness of anyone with the light of spiritual understanding or dissipate the darkness of fear or hate. Physical forces are powerless to bring genuine happiness, enduring health, or nobility of character.

Why? Because physical forces of whatever name are the forces of the suppositional material mind, the opposite of the positive, divine Mind, or God. These material mind-forces can never extricate themselves from the finity of the material thought they express. Never can they supersede the constructive forces of absolute intelligence, divine Mind, God, the forces which constitute, protect, and preserve the only real life, individuality, health, and harmony of man, God's expression.

 

Discovery of Spiritual Forces

This age is destined to witness great advances in human knowledge serving the physical needs of mortals, but it is also destined to discover those solely constructive spiritual forces of far greater importance, with which Christ Jesus nullified all the material forces which first claim to make man of mindless material forces, then to impair, afflict, and destroy him. He understood the infinite, positive divine Mind and its thought-forces, which in its individualized activity constitute your true being and mine.

Let us daily claim for ourselves that oneness with divine Mind and its living, loving, intelligent, health-establishing, harmony-producing forces. Let us realize more and more of the great spiritual fact that there is no reality but infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation and that because there is no real force, or law, but Mind-force, man is actually subject to no influence or power but the constructive forces of God. Let us see with Mrs. Eddy the unchanging spiritual fact that divine Mind-force, or law, is the eternal force or law outlawing and nullifying every ignorant, destructive material force or law. Let us acknowledge with gratitude that it is the teachings of Christ Jesus and Christian Science, bringing to light real manhood, the evidence and proof of the constructive, omniactive, life-sustaining, harmony-producing forces of God, and the great yet simple fact that "all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law" (Science and Health, p. 417).

 

[Delivered Jan. 15, 1950, at the Woman's Clubhouse in Palm Springs, California, and published in The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California, Jan. 17, 1950.]

 

 

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