Christian Science: The Solution for Human Problems
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, of Chicago, in the Masonic Temple, 32 West Randolph Street, Friday evening, September 25, by Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Solution for Human Problems." Mr. Seeley spoke substantially as follows:
We have come together to reason in regard to the facts of existence, to think of those things which have real value and which, when understood, contribute to our health and happiness. Chief among these are true intelligence and true love. Not one of us can be indifferent to intelligence or love and express any fair measure of true selfhood. We are benefited by, as well as used by, these constructive forces throughout our human experience.
Most of us have been loved and cared for through years of infancy and childhood. In our daily round we find that someone has lovingly and intelligently provided shelter in which we may live and work, streets and highways on which we may walk or ride, modes of communication by which we may have contact with the world at large, ways of transport by which we may come and go. If in our daily walk we aid someone across a busy street or lift up someone who has fallen, those simple acts show the presence of intelligence and love in our hearts.
The air, the rain, the sun, the productive earth, all evidence a loving intelligent power caring for you and me. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has written on page 247 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness." How can we understand better and utilize more this loving and intelligent power? That is the question Christian Science is answering.
Intelligence is a quality of Mind, and real love is a thing of Mind, not of matter. Christ Jesus is recognized as the greatest man who ever lived on this planet. Why? Because he understood and expressed more true intelligence and love than anyone else. Why does Lincoln hold such a lasting place in the thoughts of men? Because he expressed in such generous measure the love that is intelligent, and the intelligence that is love.
Some men are skeptical in regard to the existence of God. That skepticism, I believe, is largely due to their being unable to accept as God the particular concept advanced by some religious teaching.
The Psalmist made no pretense of seeing God with his eyes, or of attributing to Deity a physical form. The material eyes see what? They see only what is subject to dissolution, matter. But the Psalmist did say, "I will behold thy face in righteousness." Righteousness is simply right-mindedness, consciousness composed of right thoughts. There is where you perceive the face, or expression of God. Right thoughts are the expression of the right Mind. This one right Mind is the one true God.
No one, I suppose, is skeptical as to the existence of Mind, the presence and power that animates you, gives you the ability to think, to reason, to cooperate, to be just. It is this present, potent Mind which Christian Science teaches is God. Each of us does not have a separate mind. There are not two or three, or several hundred million minds, but just one right Mind and that one is God. Paul says, "There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." Skeptics and agnostics often express more of God in their lives than they would admit, for in whatever degree they express kindness, justice, honesty, true love, they express God.
When the pronoun He or Him is used for God do not be tempted to think of God as a physical person. The mental qualities of father like the mental qualities of mother both belong to God, but Deity's nature is not physical. Deity is as universal as Mind, for Deity is Mind, and Mind is everywhere.
The right-mindedness wherein you reflect God's presence is your true consciousness. "The kingdom of God is within you," said Jesus. That is, the power and presence of God is expressed in your thinking. As you see the nature of God in right-mindedness, so you appear to see the devil in wrong-mindedness, an association of negative thoughts. If you should ever feel downhearted, or fearful, or sickness weigh heavily upon you, or false appetite besiege you, then you would be beholding the devil's face, that is to say, the nature of the one evil, the wrong sense of mind, God's opposite.
Jesus once said to a group of Pharisees in the market place in Jerusalem, "Ye are of your father the devil." How surprised they must have been to be told that! He saw that their thoughts were those of hypocrisy, jealousy, deceit, thoughts that could only come from the devil, or evil sense of mind. They were accepting as the source, or father, of their thinking this wrong sense of mind, rather than the true and right Mind which Jesus honored and expressed.
Next to the question, What is God? comes the question, What is man? Do you know? Are you sure you understand who you are. You have a name given you without your consent. You seem closely associated with a material body which has appeared to be yours for as long as you now remember, and which you have clothed, fed, sheltered, and transported. This body is made up of some twenty chemical elements, none of which can think. However, taken together, they claim to determine the range of your activity, to threaten with sickness, and eventually with an interruption in your life and intelligent being. Mindless matter would assume to be the controlling factor in your human experience. It would substitute itself for the control of Mind, or intelligence, and govern you as though it were your master. Are you satisfied to accept this matter-dominated sense of selfhood? Christian Scientists are not.
Now comes Christian Science with the bold assertion, backed by sixty years of satisfying application, that man's real identity is not flesh, blood, and bones at all, that matter is negative mortal thought in expression, that the physical body is but an unreal temporary assertion of identity, and is as lacking in real substance as is ignorance. Bold statements these, but they need to be said and said again, until thought ponders them, and begins to learn their absolute truthfulness.
Physical scientists sometimes refer to matter as an expression of thought. But they leave it there, not yet seeing that it is negative thought. Christian Science reveals the power of the one right Mind and its ideas to subjugate and finally to displace material thought and its negative material conditions. Man, and woman too, is something better than mindless flesh. No supremely intelligent cause could conceive of or accept responsibility for such a contradiction of intelligent existence as is the merely material, fragile sense of selfhood. How can real Life, or Mind, be in matter or evolved from matter when matter cannot think? Can that which is mindless produce mind, something which it does not have the capacity to be?
"The preponderance of evidence today," says a prominent zoologist, "tends to prove that life is something outside of matter. . ." What is the something outside of matter? Mind is all there is outside of matter, and it is Mind that is Life. If Life is outside of matter, man must be outside of matter too, and he must be of the substance of Mind. No one has ever been able to find in the physical body a place where ideas such as honesty and justice could reside.
According to a prominent English physical scientist, the body is made up of many tiny little specks afloat in a void. A void is empty space. Where do you think the ideas of honesty, justice, or good will could live in such a concept? Could they lodge with the mindless specks, or be warehoused in the empty void?
Two leading English periodicals recently published certain questions on religion for their readers to answer. Of the 16,300 replies received, 3,500 said they believed in matter as the basis of reality, and 12,800 said they did not believe in matter as the basis of reality — more than two to one against matter. Some day the vote against it will be unanimous.
A denial is a statement that a thing is not true or existent. When you are confronted with what you know to be a lie you instinctively find yourself denying it. If someone says your friend is a rascal and you know he is not, you deny the lie. You naturally align thought with what you know to be true. A denial is often a first step toward a lie's destruction. At least so far as you are concerned your denial is a command for the lie to halt. You begin to gain dominion over matter by denying day after day its claim to be your substance, or that in which your life and mind reside. You have the ability, the right, the duty, to deny matter and its claims. Why? Because it is the one opponent of the reign of intelligence, Mind.
So long as you are willing to concur in matter's lying sense of life and selfhood, you cannot gain permanent freedom from the troubles which are woven in the fabric of material selfhood as intimately as a pattern is woven into the fabric of a garment. What does the mental denial of matter accomplish? It removes your thought one step apart from matter and its claims. It is your declaration of independence from matter and its would-be laws. By denying that matter is your substance, your origin, or that sickness is your condition, you lessen your fear, and prepare thought to affirm with conviction the truth as to what you really are, the son of God. Denial of material error and affirmation of the spiritual facts of manhood are the mighty weapons Mind has put into your hands wherewith to win your freedom. Use them every thinking hour.
The Israelites sought to win the favor of God sacrificing animals from their flocks. To most of them God was a humanly personal deity who needed to be appeased. Today that concept of Deity is disappearing and we are realizing that God is that which is the most vital thing to us — Life, Mind, Love — and that our identity is united to Him as His individual expression. No longer do we sacrifice animals to Him, but we see the necessity for the sacrifice by surrender and denial of the wrong-mindedness that has possessed us — the resentments, the hatreds, the fears, the selfishness, the self-will. We can sacrifice nothing that is good and abiding, but only what is negative and fleeting. The persistent denial of matter and affirmation of truth is the altar provided for our sacrifice.
Some people like the idealism of Christian Science, but they feel so impressed by the aggressive testimony of matter that they hesitate to deny its reality and affirm the allness of Mind, God. But if we are unwilling to deny the reality of matter's claims we are deliberately accepting them as truth, with their medley of woes. The only way to separate ourselves from the woes of matter is to deny it, and the only way to unite ourselves with spiritual reality is to affirm it, think it, live it. The one chance evil has to continue in our experience is to have us believe it to be true, for no one has ever rid himself of what he believed to be true.
Because matter appears to its own material senses to be substantial and everywhere does not make it so. On page 270 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy states the question thus, "One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind. Which one is it?" We must find Mind to be everything, and think accordingly.
The Master put it thus, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. . . ." What did he mean? He doubtless meant that you and I must, if we would gain the consciousness he had in any goodly measure, deny in our thinking day after day the selfhood that is mortal and material, that thinks thoughts of fear, disease, incapacity, selfishness, and so on. This denying is done because we know something of the fact of which the false self is the opposite. But if you deny your name is Judas you do not thereby establish what your name is. You must assert your correct name. So denial of material selfhood is not enough. You must mentally put something in its place, and that something is the true idea of self, an individual expression of God united to God by the currents of right ideas.
Soon after Mrs. Eddy realized the allness of God as Mind, and consequent unreal nature of matter, she penned what she called the "scientific statement of being." In it, by denial and affirmation she summarizes the teachings of Christian Science, and presents the basis on which the demonstration of the Science of Life can be accomplished. This is the statement as given on page 468 of Science and Health: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
When we deny matter and evil as real and affirm the reality of God, good, we do so because we are willing to place more trust in God than in matter and evil. Trust is a most important factor in the lives of all of us. Just think how much you trust others. You trusted your parents and teachers. When you travel on trains you trust your safety to hundreds of men. If an employer, you trust your employees with important duties, or if an employee, you trust your employer for intelligent direction. When you shop you trust manufacturer and retailer. You could have no credit at the bank or the store if someone did not trust you. Trust is a vital element in every important relationship between men and nations. Without trust business relationships, family relationships, and relationships between nations would crumble.
But the important question is, How much are we trusting the Cause of our being, God, with our lives and destinies? On certain coins of the United States is the worthy motto, "In God We Trust." But do we? In some measure we do, but we can do much more. If you really understood God to be supreme in power, and only loving and good, would you not trust Him? It is ignorance of God that makes trust in Him difficult. Christian Science is removing this ignorance.
A Christian Scientist was once confronted with a difficult problem, and he became very much afraid. He realized that the fear was that from which he most needed to be free, and he saw that the fear was the result of a blind, unreasonable belief that there was an evil power which could do him harm. Trust in God and in God's power, he reasoned, was what he needed to rid himself of that fear. But how could he get trust in God when he was so filled with fear?
He was reading on page 579 of Science and Health, and came to Mrs. Eddy's exposition of the spiritual qualities of Abraham, and there read the statement, "This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good." That was what he needed, "trust in good," in God. It was Love's, God's, purpose, then to create trust in good. That purpose must be accomplished, for Love's work was done, he reasoned. But just where had Love created the trust in good? It must have been created within God's creature, the individual consciousness, called man.
Trust in good, he began to see, was inherent within his true consciousness. God, his Mind, had put it there. By trust thought is united to God. It was the bond of unity between God and His son, His expression. He did not have to go outside of himself to get trust in God. It was no far-off treasure. He had but to realize that it was naturally his, as natural to him as life and thought. He saw that his only real self was trusting God then and always, regardless of what negative fear claimed. It was not his fear. As he realized this the fear dissolved. When he saw himself as a God-trusting man the misconception of himself as an evil-fearing man was displaced. The two concepts were mutually exclusive. With the fear gone, his thought was open for God's intelligent direction and control, and the solution of the problem quickly appeared.
My friends, cherish your trust in God, not in an unknown God, but in the intelligent concept of God as the divine Mind, which originates and animates the true consciousness of you and all. Human philosophy, psychology, skepticism, often tend to deprive man of this priceless possession — trust in the power of God, good — and to leave them with no link between themselves and the intelligent Cause of their being. Trust in God is no blind superstitious belief for the young and the aged. It is the living thought-link between man and his Cause, between Mind and its idea. Distrust of God leaves men without a rudder, on the uncharted sea of human ignorance. Distrust dissolves the cement of normal friendship between men and nations. It imperils business, undermines unity in church and home, and leaves those who accept it in the solitude of uncertainty.
Trust God because He is worthy of your trust, because He is the all-powerful Mind that is everywhere, the Spirit that animates all, the Love that unites and preserves all, the Truth that heals and saves all from the miry clay of material thinking. Trust God in the morning when you waken, trust Him in the busy hours of the day, trust Him all the night. Turn trustfully to Him to guide you in your domestic and business judgments; trust Him with your destiny and your health. He has united you to Him with the bond of eternal trustfulness. Utilize this vital life-link with His presence and it will keep you under His mighty wing of universal Love. "None of them that trust in him shall be desolate."
Some of the statements made by Christian Scientists sometimes sound very radical to those unacquainted with the teachings of Christian Science. The bold denial of the reality of evil and sickness may appear startling. But it must be borne in mind that these are based on a concept of creation very different from that to which matter testifies. If matter were the only source of information as to what is real, discord would forever be reality and truth. But as we learn to reason logically, beginning with Mind as Cause, we come to see, that only that can be real which emanates from and expresses absolute intelligence, Mind, divine Love.
Take as an illustration the teaching of Christian Science that in reality there are no accidents. Christian Scientists recognize that in the human order of things there are many accidents, but this does not make them realities of the true and intelligent order of existence, which is the manifestation of God. Concerning them Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony." We must sometime separate accidents from our sense of reality, see that they are not concepts of intelligence, have no rightful place in man's experience, and that he becomes free from them actually as he is free from them mentally, since they have no place in his thought as sanctioned or permitted by the controlling Mind, God.
Accidents usually result from fear, ignorance, negligence, incapacity — all conditions of wrong thought. We protect ourselves from accident in proportion as we realize that ignorant mortal forces cannot encroach upon the unity and harmony of God's creation. Our individuality is forever united to and embraced in the Life and Mind which is God. No mindless destructive force can trespass upon the identity which God has made as His expression, or fracture the wholeness of that expression.
It was after a severe accident, a fall on the ice in the midwinter of 1866, which appeared to her physician and relatives to be fatal, that Mrs. Eddy in seeking God's help made her discovery of Christian Science. When all human aid was proved of no avail Mrs. Eddy turned to her Bible, and there reading of a healing accomplished by Christ Jesus her thought reached out to invoke that same healing power, and she was raised from her suffering condition to a condition of normal health. She had proved that to God accidents are unknown and that His love and intelligence will blot them out, without any attendant condition of physical discord.
From early childhood Mrs. Eddy manifested a deeply religious and intellectual nature. The love of God for all men seemed so certain to her that when she was examined as a girl for membership in a Protestant church she stoutly refused to subscribe to the doctrine of predestination, then regarded as good orthodox teaching, and said she would stay out of the church and take her chances rather than accept a doctrine which denied God's impartial love for all men. She was admitted, however, with her objection.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery came only after many years of most earnest effort to find that intelligent and usable knowledge of God which she felt Christ Jesus possessed, and intended all men to have. She discussed religious subjects with the cultured and religious men of her state, read deeply in moral philosophy, studied earnestly her Bible, and trusted God with a real and abiding trust that He would lead her thought nearer to Him. When Mrs. Eddy finally began to see the foundational truths of being, the supremacy of the divine Mind and man's unity therewith, and the unrealness of what is mortal and material, she had accomplished only one part of her work. There yet remained the labor of testing her discovery, and then establishing its truths in the thought of men.
As the miner who discovers a precious ore first subjects it to careful tests, so Mrs. Eddy proceeded to test her discovery by healing the sick before she made it known to the world. The lost substance of lungs was restored, shortened limbs were elongated, carious bones were restored to soundness, and the severest forms of acute and chronic disease were healed by her.
The healing power of Christian Science is the same today as when Jesus healed the sick by its means, and it is the same as when Mrs. Eddy accomplished these remarkable cures a half century ago. In the British House of Parliament Dr. Drummond Shields, Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, recently made this statement, "Some of the most remarkable cases I know of, wonderful cures, have been in connection with Christian Science, which I have seen myself and know."
When she had proved beyond question the healing power of the Christ, Truth, Mrs. Eddy gave her revelation to the world in the form of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book has become, during the brief period it has been before the public, the most widely read book in the world, next to the Bible, on which it is founded. Outstanding in Mrs. Eddy's character was her unfaltering trust in God. No matter how dark the way or how difficult the problem during the years when she was founding the Christian Science movement, her trust in God's wisdom, goodness, and love never faltered. In God I trust, might properly be thought of as her life motto. She trusted His intelligence to guide her every decision, His love to inspire and protect her. The result is a wisely planned religious movement, simple but complete in its manner of organization, adequate to protect and to disseminate the message of Christian Science to the entire world.
Christian Scientists do not worship or deify Mrs. Eddy; to deify means, to make a god of. Her teaching permits of but one God, the eternal Mind. Through her writings, where she recorded accurately her ideas for more than a quarter of a century, Christian Scientists have come to know Mrs. Eddy. They honor and love her for her great gift to men and they accord to her her rightful and well-earned place, in this and all ages to come, as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, the one whose consciousness was free enough from the false beliefs of earth to receive the revelation of the healing Christ, Truth, from God's heaven.
It is reasonable to think that the Cause responsible for our existence is wise enough and powerful enough to provide a place and a useful activity for each of us. And yet one of the common problems of men is to find a place to work and to live. Christian Science gives us the courage wherewith to deny the conditions which argue that there is not a place and activity for everyone. A creation with many creatures unplaced and inactive would indicate a careless cause. But, there is no carelessness in God's character. Order flows from His sovereignty as naturally as light emanates from the sun, and an orderly creation means a place and activity for each creature.
Divine law operates constantly to insure a place and activity for all. This law will bring you into your rightful place as easily as an escalator, or moving stairway, will lift you from one floor to another. To avail yourself of the aid of the escalator you must place yourself entirely upon it. If you try to keep one foot on and one foot off it will not help you. So you must surrender yourself wholly to God's guiding law if you wish to benefit by it. How do you do this? By realizing the falsity of error's lie of inaction and lack of place, and the present reality of the spiritual fact that each one has an intelligently conceived place in God's great plan. God gives you the consciousness of this fact and its realization.
Furthermore, your brother is given of God to know you as rightly placed, is given to accord you your place and to be happy in your placement. Evil's uncertain sense of order and place cannot rob God of His order or man of his place therein. Because God, Mind, is universal, everywhere, all place must be of and in Him, must be His and man as His expression has the place of God's giving.
In human experience if we make a mistake there is a penalty. If we fail to pay our taxes there is a penalty to remind us to be prompt. If we make a bad investment we lose our money. If we are tardy at the station we miss our train. Penalty follows closely behind mistake in the mortal order. Many mortals are laboring under the cloud of some penalty issuing out of past mistakes. Sometimes the penalty is a disease, a financial lack, a damaged reputation. When efforts are made to get free from the penalty, a suggestion argues: Remember the big mistake you made. You will have to pay the penalty and suffer and suffer and suffer. Like the ball and chain once placed on criminals, the sense of mistake and penalty would hold men in endless servitude. Is there a remedy? Christian Science replies, There certainly is. It is found in gaining that higher sense of existence, the spiritual sense, where intelligence alone has place and power, and where mistake and penalty are not known.
Here is the explanation. Suppose you fall asleep and dream that you stole your neighbor's new car. You are pursued, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to pay the penalty — a term in prison. Life hardly seems worth living, so heavy seems your weight of discouragement. Then you wake up to a different sense of things, to a different state of mind, and find the experience was just a dream, that you never made the mistake of taking your neighbor's car, and never suffered any penalty. A change of thought, and all sense of mistake and penalty were gone. That is what happens to all human mistakes and penalties when we waken to the true sense of life, the spiritual. We see that our real selfhood, the son of God, has not made a mistake or suffered a penalty. What appears to have made a mistake was a false state of thought, no more real than the dream thinking just described. All the time that the dream was going on it was a dream, but until you awakened to another order you believed you were in the dream and it was reality to your mistaken dream sense. With the awakening came a dissolution of the conditions of the dream including your despair, for you recognized them as groundless.
A man once bought a piece of real estate at much too high a price. He soon discovered his mistake and began to feel that he would have to suffer a heavy loss, pay the penalty for his mistake. For some time he labored with this weight of mistake and penalty. Through Christian Science he was finally awakened to a higher sense of life, the spiritual sense, which is above matter and the atmosphere of mistake and penalty. He began to see that in the universe of true Mind there is nothing to make a mistake, for in perfect Mind what could err? His real self was not a mistake-making mortal, but the unerring expression of infallible Mind.
While to material sense there surely had been a mistake, that, like all material experience, was a temporary dream from which he could be awakened. In the order of God's making there is no power to make a mistake, for God is the one power, and man is His unmistakable expression. The human mistake had not stopped, could not stop, God's love from operating, and it is God's love which forever provides for all the needs of man. His work was to turn from the belief of mistake and penalty and cling to the spiritual fact that he was in reality only what God had made him, an immortal, individual expression of God, forever expressing unerring judgment, forever provided for by the love and intelligence of God, and never robbed of his divine rights by error's lie of mistake and penalty. Such thinking produced adjustments in his human affairs. He was able to increase the value of the property by the use of wisdom and patience, and in ways apart from his planning ample additional supply was provided to meet his needs. Once the false nature of the argument of mistake and penalty was realized, its power to frighten and limit him was gone, and he became the beneficiary of the never broken law of divine provision.
Sin is one form of mistake. To be free from the penalties that follow it sin must first be recognized as sin, as a mistake, and then destroyed through realizing that the Godlike, sinless sense of man is the one true man.
An important part of the Science of Life is learning to mind your own business, which simply means to be mindful of the ideas which properly belong to your individual consciousness and activity. You cannot herd your neighbor's sheep and be a good shepherd to your own. You can be only one individuality and there is plenty to do in being that. Says a Greek poet, "Learn what you are and become it."
And what is our business anyway? Primarily it is to be what God has made us to be, an individual manifestation of wisdom, goodness, love. Our business is something more than a daily routine of human endeavor. It is to strive in word and thought and act to show forth the Love, the Life, the Mind which is God. Meddling in other people's affairs, conversing much about persons, trying to fix up our neighbor's way of living, is usually productive of no good. God is responsible for our brother and is really holding him in the orbits of Mind, safe and secure. Our business is to know this spiritual fact, to trust God with His creation, deny what error may claim it is doing to our brother, and know what God is doing for him. Let us think of our brother as God would have us think of him, the object of Love's constant care and control. Then we will have contact with him only as our parent Mind appoints, and in ways that really promote his good and our own. God makes all and He relates all He has made, and gives us the ability to demonstrate our God-made relationships.
Minding your business also includes the obligation to see to it that no aggressive, zealous, or critical friend minds it for you. You cannot afford to allow any person's human opinions to be a substitute for the guiding inspiration of God which comes directly to you, if you but open your heart to it. All of your problems really have to be solved between yourself and God and it is generally wise to keep them there, rather than voice them to those who have no essential relationship to them. You would not permit another to come to your home and carry away your goods. No more should you permit an outsider to pry into your mental home and take away in his thought what is your private property.
Let us see that in the true order of creation each individual is an active expression of God, of divine Principle, controlled by God, imperatively and absolutely, and that in reality Principle so orders the thoughts and acts of every creature that there can be no encroachment, no interference with one another. Each one, let us be knowing, must think and act toward his fellow man as he is impelled by supreme Mind. God, divine Principle, so establishes the relationship of man to man that there is, between one and all, the same harmony, unity, and peace which exists between Him and His offspring. Protect your divine right to think and to live as an individual idea of God, open to no influence but the divine.
Our desires are often the starting point of our action. We desire a suit of clothes, then proceed to procure it. We desire to take a journey, then make plans and carry them out. We desire employment, and then start to find it. We may have a desire for what appears difficult to obtain, but our desires always point the way over which we would travel. They tell the direction in which we are bound. Desire is a thing of thought, and thought is a thing of mind. Desires, then, must originate in mind. Humanly speaking, there are right desires and wrong desires.
Christian Science differs very definitely with certain teachings of psychology which tend to encourage the belief that all the desires which appear in thought belong to our identity. Because a desire appears at the door of thought is no more reason for saying it belongs to you than the appearing of a stranger at the door of your house would make him belong to your family. He might be a thief bent on robbing you of your treasure. And that is what wrong desires are, thieves and robbers. How are we to distinguish between right desires and wrong desires? If the desire is free from taint of selfishness, makes for spiritual living, better health, and useful existence, it expresses good, and is from God. If it turns thought into the ways of selfishness, discord, strife, materiality, it expresses the wrong sense of mind and has no right to enter your mental home.
A right desire is our first glimpse of a good idea which, if we love and cherish it, and trust its unfoldment to the Mind that gave it to us, even as we trust the rosebud to a power outside ourselves, will grow and grow into full-blown glory. Let us see to it that all the desires we accept as ours come from God and are in God. Let us leave them in His loving care, trusting His willingness to bring them to a full measure of accomplishment. "Desire is prayer," writes Mrs. Eddy on page one of Science and Health, "and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds." As the sculptor moulding with clay fashions the figure, pressing off and putting away the clay that cannot be included in the model, so does the operation of the truth in consciousness fashion and remove from our desires all that would hamper, debase, or limit their usefulness.
A young man had, since boyhood, had a deep and genuine desire to devote his life to some truly constructive service. Daily that desire was a living thing in his thought. For some years the way seemed uncertain and obscure. How he could carry forward that desire he could not see, but always the desire was there to give his efforts to that which would build up. His desire was really a prayer, an unselfed idea, and as best he then knew he trusted God with it to cause it to bear fruit. Step by step, over a period of years, he was led into a life-work that brought blessing to many people.
Let us all love our right desires as promises of good to come, protect them by trusting them to God, their giver, who will surely cause them to accomplish what will bless us and all. Let us watch our desires and join our thinking only with those which lead up and out, denying those place which lead down and in. Your desires are your closest companions. What are their names? Where are they leading you? You have the ability to choose them, and to choose those which will lead you into happiness, joy, and light.
I have pointed out to you that Christian Science teaches that true Love is true Mind, that intelligence is united to Love and Love is united to intelligence. A hateful, fearful person is not expressing intelligence, because he is not expressing Love. Love is the bond of unity between God and man, and between man and man. Without love for God we cannot trust Him or know Him, and without love for our brother we can have no consciousness of our true relationship to him.
Whatever our station in the human order, we can all lay hold of and express Love. Love is the substance of every true thought and life. Everything that we have that is worthy and good comes to us from Love. Love is the eternal Giver, the Giver of life, of consciousness, of wisdom, of joy, of health, of all that constitutes true manhood. The solution of our every human problem is to be found in a fuller understanding of the love of God, in realizing that God, the one Mind and the one Life, is not only loving but is Love. Matter is the suppositional enemy of love, as it is of life and mind, for it would put love into mindless material sensation. True love is mental and spiritual, not carnal and material. It is the essence of real Life, the substance of true Mind.
The Master commanded, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you." He pointed out that simply to be kind to those who are kind to you requires no test of your understanding of God and His creation, but to love your enemies does. Why? Because in order to love your enemies you must realize that the evil which appears to possess your brother is not his selfhood any more than the barnacle is the ship. We have to see, as Jesus saw, that God has never made an enemy to His man. All of His children are brethren, united to Him, and by Him united to one another in the bonds of true love and divine affection. This is the idea of existence which the Master clung to and to which he said we must cling. We know God only as we love and honor His man, our true selfhood, and our brother's true selfhood. No other sense of manhood has rightful place in our consciousness. It is divine Love alone that heals us and enables us to heal others. Let us deny all that denies Love's rule, affirm with the trust in good that God has given to us, our present and eternal oneness with infinite Love and so hasten the appearing of our present spiritual harmony.
[Delivered Sept. 25, 1931, at the Masonic Temple, 32 West Randolph Street, in Chicago, Illinois, under the auspices of Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago. The year in which the lecture was given is surmised from the fact that it is known to have been delivered elsewhere in the years 1931 and 1932 and from the fact that, according to the introduction, the lecture was given on Sept. 25th, a Friday, and there was such a date in 1931. The name and date of the publication in which this report appeared are unknown.]