Christian Science: The Truth That Frees

 

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

 

Unconditional freedom from the tyranny of materialism — including worry, fear, disease, lack, and sin — is a present possibility today through spiritual understanding of the teachings of Christ Jesus, Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Ore., said last night in a Christian Science lecture in Boston.

Such deliverance is a natural result of spiritual education, which teaches an individual how to overcome discordant conditions of every kind through scientific prayer, and it is "the most rewarding educational project ever offered to man," Mr. Seeley declared.

Among the actual incidents of deliverance described in his lecture were complete and permanent healings in Christian Science of ruptured heart and cancer.

Mr. Seeley spoke in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., on the subject, "Christian Science: The Truth That Frees." He was introduced by Theodore Wallach, C.S., First Reader of The Mother Church.

 

Christian Science Charts Way to Freedom

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

What a blessing it would be for all men if they were to discover that the things they most desire to be rid of are not really true, and so can be destroyed and eliminated from individual experience. Everyone would like to be free from worry, fear, discouragement, and despair. Most men would like to be free of hate, jealousy, bad temper. Again, most of the world would, if it knew how, abolish contention and war forthwith. And who is there, who, if he could, would not destroy, for time and eternity, every form of disease? So men are agreed, for the most part, as to what they would like to be rid of. It only remains for them to find a means for the accomplishment of their desire.

Christian Science charts the way to freedom from all that most men wish freedom from. It is the way that Christ Jesus taught and proved to be practical. We cannot, of course, hope to gain freedom from sickness and other forms of discord if these conditions are made by the one intelligent cause, called God. If they derive from the one cause, that cause would naturally use its power to perpetuate its own work. But both the teachings of the Bible and human reason show us that these unintelligent and bad conditions can have no support from an altogether good and supremely intelligent God, and are for that reason without reality and can be destroyed. Referring to the purpose of Christ Jesus' mission, John says, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8). Here we have it on the authority of the beloved disciple that the sickness, sin, lack, and death that Jesus destroyed were the work of the devil, not conditions conceived or supported by God. The devil, Christian Science teaches, is the evil and material sense of mind. God is the Mind which is only good. Other words than Mind used in Christian Science to define God are Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love, Principle.

 

Jesus Came to Destroy All Evil

Since Jesus came to destroy, and to show us how to destroy, all that is of the devil, all evil, he must have said something in his teachings to point the way to this objective. He did. Perhaps his teaching is best summarized in his words as thus recorded in the eighth chapter of John's Gospel: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (verses 31, 32). Possibly, some of you have heard these words so often that you may be tempted to think they are trite. If so, let us remember that here is one of the greatest pronouncements ever made to mankind by the one who knew, and wanted us to know, the certain way by which we can free ourselves from every form of evil. It is not mere familiarity with his words that does this; it is the realization of the depth of their meaning. If you or I are confronted with any kind of trouble, it is only because we have not yet fully understood and made use of the certain way of salvation from it, here simply defined by the Way-shower.

Examine the great Teacher's statement; note it starts with the condition, "If ye continue in my word." His word might be thought of as his teachings, the expression of his God-inspired thought, declaring the realities of being and exposing the unrealities. His words declare God to be the origin, or Father, of us all, not limited or localized by a corporeal, physical form, but describable as the one universal Spirit, or Mind, of all. Man, he taught, is one with, not separated from, this one Mind, its son, or expression. As we become willing to think as he thought we continue in his word; we become, by the truthfulness of our thinking, a follower, or disciple, of Christ Jesus. We then love and use the same ideas Jesus used, accept his standard of values, the supremacy of Spirit and the profitlessness of the flesh and the material sense of being. Then comes his promise of the freedom which all men crave, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Unconditional freedom from the troubles men yearn to be rid of is to be had by our individually knowing, understanding, and living "the truth."

 

True Idea Erases Wrong Concept

Note Jesus did not make freedom from sickness contingent on taking any drugs into the stomach; freedom from sin he did not make conditional merely on good resolves or confessions to some other mortal; but solely on the utilizing of our ability to know the true and sinless nature of God and His idea, man. His method was purely mental, spiritual, the discovery and use by the individual of his ability to know the truth of spiritual being unseen to the physical senses. Christian Science teaches that the human Jesus was the human messenger who came to teach and demonstrate the eternal Christ which is the true or spiritual idea of God and man. It is this true idea that saves every individual from a wrong concept of God.

Jesus often indicated that he regarded God as the only real Mind. He was constantly emphasizing the vitality of right ideas and spiritual qualities such as justice, mercy, humility, love, of which positive Mind is the only source and substance. Take away from the Sermon on the Mount the ideas and qualities of which Mind is the life and substance and there would be no sermon left. The one road to freedom he said is through knowing what is divinely true and rejecting what is materially untrue.

Human education has freed men from certain forms of bondage that inhere in ignorance, for instance from human slavery. Freedom from tyranny of every kind, be it economic, political, moral, or physical, is the right of every individual. Through spiritual education in the nature, power, and presence of the great Father-Mother Mind that is God, and man as Mind's own manifestation, we come to see the rightness and naturalness of all men being free from the godless evils that never serve the purpose of real intelligence. Some of the human race resist human education and the progress it brings. A much larger part resists, or is indifferent to, the spiritual education in "the truth" which Jesus said will, when known, free from all trouble. What is your status? Are you yet willing to apply your talents to the most rewarding educational project ever offered to men, or are you content to drift with the currents of material thinking that always flow toward a sea of trouble?

 

How Woman Was Healed of Cancer

Here is an illustration of how spiritual education overcomes sickness that results from ignorance of God and His law. A woman who had been afflicted with cancer was healed through Christian Science. One day she met a physician who had heard of her difficulty. When she told him of her healing he said, "Oh, well, there was of course nothing wrong with you." She replied: "Yes, that is what Christian Science has proved. But ten of your fellow physicians said there was something fatally wrong with me." The Christian Science practitioner through whose work she was healed had come to know, through the spiritual education he had gained from Christian Science, that the one true individuality of man is forever God's expression, spiritual and unafflictable. The physicians who attended this woman were thinking of the material misconception of man, which they had been educated to believe was the real being of man. They had been educated to believe that life is in mindless matter, to believe that it was afflictable and destructible. Christian Science with its revelation of spiritual reality nullified this misconception, supported only by false education, with the Christ-idea of man gained through spiritual enlightenment or education.

Like the Master, Christian Science fearlessly challenges the claim of matter that man is the product of material processes, that he lives by reason of and is in negative matter, expectantly, though reluctantly, awaiting his annihilation through destructive material forces. If this kingdom of mortality with its legions of evil thoughts, sins, wars, poverty, diseases, and never-ending deaths, with its crowded penitentiaries, asylums, and hospitals, is what God, the great underlying cause, produces, what hope have we? The Bible teaches that evil and mortality, all of it, is not the actual and real, as it claims to be, but is the illusory and unreal. Like all ignorant, unreal concepts it can be challenged, mastered, and step by step destroyed, through the gaining of an understanding of what is spiritually true. Spirit, God, makes all that is real and right and nothing that is unreal and wrong.

The teachings of Christian Science include this statement on page 228 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by the Discoverer and Founder of this Science, Mary Baker Eddy,". . . nothing is real but the right." Surely only what is truly intelligent can be right. So Christian Science teaches that all reality is infinite Mind and its intelligent, harmonious manifestation, included in which is your one true, enduring individuality and mine. Mortals have tried to believe that man has two beings, one that is mortal, sick, and heavy burdened now, and another that will perhaps appear after death and be free of the burdens of mortality. How illogical such thinking is. If there be one cause, how can man have two contrary lives, one eternal and harmonious, like his God, and another mortal and evil-beset, wholly unlike his God?

Referring to the great Master, Mrs. Eddy makes this comment in Science and Health on page 369: "He understood man, whose Life is God, to be immortal, and knew that man has not two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be made indestructible." We need so much to learn, consistently to think from the basis of one God, perfect, omnipresent Mind, expressed by, through, and in man, who must be, and is, like his Maker. The effect of a cause must share the nature of its cause. Man exists to express the Life and Love that is God.

The material senses argue to us that there is another and very different cause, creation, and man. We must deny the credibility of these false senses and through our God-given sensibility begin to see something of the spiritual nature of God and man, never subordinate to mindless matter and the negative thoughts and forces of the so-called material mind.

 

Material Senses Bear False Witness

To some it seems revolutionary to deny that what the material senses tell us is true, but Isaiah prophesied that the Saviour of mankind "shall not judge after the sight of his eyes" (Isa. 11:3). Sooner or later you and I will be forced to do the same, for the material senses are but the aggressive assertion of the lying material mind, the source of all evil. They tell us only of the temporary, mortal, discordant. Matter and the flesh never received much recognition from Jesus. He disposed of the fleshly sense of man by saying, "The flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63), and Paul says, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God" (Rom. 9:8). Did these great exponents of spiritual reality and the futility of materiality know what they were talking about, or did they not? What do you think? If you sincerely believe that they knew what they were talking about, then do you not think it is time for us to begin to shake ourselves free from the enslavement which false, material, fleshly thoughts and forces would impose on us, and begin to claim as our true status the individuality which is constituted of the ideas and substance of indestructible Mind and exists to express its wisdom, intelligence, love and truth? Can you find a more rational purpose for man's existence than this?

The material sense of life, the misconception of mind, life, and man, is sometimes likened by Mrs. Eddy to a dream from which mortals need to be awakened. Sometimes their earthly slumber is so deep it takes an earthquake of trouble to awaken them. Sometimes a mortal sees a little of the light of spiritual life, opens his eyes, then turns away and resumes his slumber. A small boy was sleeping. His mother had occasion to go to his room and quietly turn on the light to get something out of a drawer. As she was about to turn off the light he opened his eyes sleepily and said, "Oh, Mommie, please turn out the light; you are mussing up my dream."

 

Mrs. Eddy Explains That God Is Good

On page 95 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes: "Lulled by stupefying illusions, the world is asleep in the cradle of infancy, dreaming away the hours. Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth." Spiritual sense is the sense with which we perceive justice, honesty, meekness, unselfishness, and purity. With this sense we can spiritually see God, not as a physical form but as ever-present good. To Jesus there was no difficulty in seeing God. Said he, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). The eye sees only fleeting, material concepts. Bishop Foster is quoted by Mrs. Eddy as saying in a lecture in Boston,

"'No man living hath yet seen man'" (No and Yes, p. 27). He was right. No mortal man has yet fully seen the immortal and true man, but we are beginning spiritually to see something of our true manhood as we love and live the teachings of the Master.

In Science and Health we read, "Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind" (p. 91). Then note what follows, "The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man's spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses." This is in line with Jesus' statement, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16: 24). Are you willing daily to deny you are a matter-made, matter-embodied, and matter-dominated mortal, because you accept as your true selfhood sonship with Spirit, God, who is your Mind, your Life, your All? Persistent denial of the mortal and temporary and affirmation of the immortal and permanent status of your being puts your feet on the right road. But we need not only to turn our face in the right direction, but then consistently to walk that way.

A practicing physician became afflicted with heart trouble that was diagnosed by his fellow physicians as a ruptured heart. He had been in hospitals for something over two years receiving medical care, his condition becoming worse. In desperation he called a Christian Science practitioner and when asked to come to her office protested that he feared he might drop at any moment. However, he came, and Christian Science treatment was given. The practitioner explained to him that primarily the trouble was with his thought, not with his body, and that he needed a better concept of what the real vitality and life of man is, namely, the Love and Life that is God. It was brought to light, in the days that followed, that a difficult marital problem had brought a broken, ruptured sense into his thought which needed to be healed.

 

Patient Cured of Heart Rupture

The practitioner denied that he was an afflicted mortal, as the material senses claimed he was, denied that there were any forces that could disrupt the heart or life of man, which is in God. His perfect spiritual selfhood was recognized to be God-constituted, superior to any divisive forces, for it was one with God, and its indisruptable nature was spiritual and forever made secure by the unifying forces of the divine Mind. The patient responded, began to see, in some degree, through the darkness of fear-filled, material thinking, and with spiritual sense to discern something of his spiritual, immortal, God-constituted nature, not subject to the whim of material thoughts and forces, but ever protected and governed by the laws, or moral and spiritual forces, of God, omnipresent, omnipotent Mind. Within a few weeks he was healed and has become a devoted student of Christian Science.

If the practitioner had accepted as reality the evidence of the material senses and the verdict of the medical practitioners, she could never have healed the case. What made the healing possible was that she had opened her thought to education in spiritual things, through the teachings of Christ Jesus and Christian Science, [and] had learned the spiritual fact that man is not what matter says he is. He is what God, omnipresent Mind says he is. She had found the spiritual fact, unseen by the material eye, that real manhood is something more than a few pounds of unthinking matter; it is the individual evidence of the spiritual substance that is God, and is as superior to disease-producing negative forces as is divine intelligence, its cause. She knew what was spiritually true concerning the patient and his origin, and it brought freedom from what unintelligent matter said was true, but what in the light of spiritual reality was totally untrue.

When Dr. John G. Paton went as a missionary to the New Hebrides group of islands in the South Pacific a century or more ago, he found the natives to be savages. He made his home on the island of Aniwa, where he found that there was no spring or well, the natives depending on the scanty rainfall for their water supply. As the rain was very limited during more than half the year, drinking water became scarce and often unobtainable, with consequent suffering.

 

Missionary Digs Through Material Crust

Dr. Paton determined to dig a well. When the natives learned of his purpose they ridiculed him, saying that water did not come from the earth but from the sky. They even believed he had gone insane and refused him any aid. For many weeks he labored without assistance but with constant ridicule. Finally when the ground at the bottom of the hole became moist he summoned the native chiefs, dug a little deeper, and was rewarded with a strong flow of clear, fresh water which he offered to the unbelieving populace. Since then no one has had to go athirst on the isle of Aniwa.

Near the middle of the last century a cultured daughter of New England, Mary Baker Eddy, found herself mentally alone, as it were, on a desert isle, where she could find no means to quench her thirst for health and happiness. For years she had investigated and tried the generally accepted systems of medicine and theology without success. Finally she turned completely away from the material to the spiritual idea of being. She dug deeper and deeper below the crust of materiality, through the strata of ignorance, false education, and prejudice, and in a direction from which those around her thought no good results could come. They, like the natives on Aniwa, believed that no relief was to be found apart from the generally accepted, though wholly inadequate, methods.

 

Science and Health Reveals Water of Life

For years this God-seeking woman pursued her quest tirelessly and alone. As she has written of Christ Jesus, so it may be said of her, she "plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause" (Science and Health, p. 313). Her labors resulted in her making available the stream of spiritual knowledge for all mankind. The result of these years of consecrated study and research was made available in 1875 with the publication of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which has, in the intervening years, become, next to the Bible, on which it is founded, the most widely read religious book in the English-speaking world. It has been translated into German, French, Swedish, Spanish, and Dutch and is available in Braille.

As Dr. Paton made available the material waters to the natives on Aniwa, waters which had ever been within their reach, though in the opposite direction from which they had been looking, so Mrs. Eddy has made available that water of Life, hidden, so it seems, beneath the material sense of things, the "living water" referred to by Christ Jesus, which alone satisfies man's thirst for the truth of being.

The parables used by Jesus were usually brief and always to the point. Perhaps the longest of them all, and the one most detailed, was that of the prodigal, recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. If you have not read it of late, do so; you will find it greatly encouraging. We are all prodigals, wanderers away from our Father's house. Some have discovered their mistake and are returning; many others have not.

You recall the story. The younger son felt he wanted to be on his own. He had no quarrel with his father, but he wanted to live his own life in his own way. His father did not argue the point, but gave him his portion, and the lad went out. It was not long before he had used up all his material resources, trying to find satisfaction and pleasure in material things, where it can never be found. To his destitution was added a famine, and he was sorely in need. The only job he could find was feeding swine, and he was so hungry he ate the same food they did. No one showed any desire to give him a hand. He had been going down, down, down, and was at the bottom.

 

Love of God Reaches Out Impartially

Then something happened. As Jesus describes it, "he came to himself." His dire need and disappointment in the things from which he had hoped to find pleasure made him willing to turn his thought to his better sense of self and his sonship with his wise and loving father. He was humble enough to admit his mistakes and seek forgiveness. But before he came near his father's house, his father saw him "when he was yet a great way off" and had compassion on him, loved him, and when he arrived, showered the best of clothes and food upon him. Why? Because, in the Master's well-chosen words, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."

And it is just that way always. The love of God, the Father of us all, reaches out impartially to everyone regardless of his nation, race, or creed, regardless of how far down he has gone in his vain quest for pleasure and satisfaction in materiality. It is this universal love that is ever ready to feed and clothe each one of us with the spiritual truths of being, with the divine facts as to our true self and its indissoluble unity with the Life and Mind that is God. No matter how far from Truth's home prodigal mortals may seem to stray, the road back to God and reality is never closed for the one who is humbly willing to come to himself, to awaken from the dream of material selfhood, to find still intact, unsullied, and unfallen the spiritual sonship of man with his Father, God.

Mortals are inclined to be shy about thinking of perfection as anything more than a theory or a far-off event. Christ Jesus and Christian Science teach that perfection is a condition inseparable from reality. You will doubtless agree that God is perfect, possessing the highest degree of excellence. Remember then that the first chapter of Genesis says that man is made in God's likeness; that is, his individuality is as perfect in quality as his cause. That is logical. How could a supremely intelligent and perfect Mind conceive less than a perfect man as its expression? What makes it seem difficult for us to discern and enjoy the perfection of man is that we have been educated for so long to accept the testimony of material sense and material thoughts, to which perfection appears impossible. It is impossible to the material mind, whereas it is natural and inevitable to the divine Mind and to its individual representative, the only true selfhood of you and me. We need first to recognize the naturalness of perfection and then expectantly open our thought progressively to become aware of it.

 

Perfection Commanded by Jesus

If anyone ever avoided all that is theoretical and impractical and stayed with the things that are practical and demonstrable, it was Christ Jesus. Yet toward the end of the fifth chapter of Matthew he says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). Would he have made that statement if it were not in accord with the possibilities and capacities of his followers? What led up to the command for us to think in terms of perfection, perfect God and perfect man, was his command, "Love your enemies, . . . pray for them which despitefully use you" (Matt. 5:44). He made it clear that this was necessary, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" (verse 45). Then he said something we need to ponder, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?" (verse 5:46). He was trying to have us see that all of God's creation is perfect, that we must discern this through spiritual sense; that we do not need to love the erroneous concept of man which mortal mind claims is an enemy, but in its place we do need to love the one true concept of our brother, which, regardless of anything godless matter claims to the contrary, is just what the one Maker makes it to be, even the individual witness and evidence of the Mind that is eternal Life and Love.

A poem entitled "Our Debt of Thought" carries with it a great underlying truth from which we will all profit if we make it our own. Here it is:

 

"They matter not — the thoughts of us, from others.

What matters is our thought of them, our brothers.

"For only when we see man as reflection —

God's perfect child — do we attain perfection."

 

(The Christian Science Journal, October, 1951.)

 

There is no such word as enemy in the new tongue of Spirit. Why not? Because there is nothing in Truth's universe that can be so described. We are all, as St. Paul says, "builded together for an habitation of God" (Eph. 2:22). In "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says, "'Love thine enemies' is identical with 'Thou hast no enemies'" (p. 9). Those who materially may seem to be our enemies force us to find the true and scientific sense of creation, where nothing is but God and His universal family. All that expresses hate, strife, animosity, and ill will has no place, power, or identity. Whatever thinks evil, talks evil, acts evil is not God's man but error's counterfeit concept of man, thus referred to by Jesus, "Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44). Why waste time accepting counterfeits as facts? Let us improve our time by finding and honoring reality, including real individuality.

 

Freedom Found in Spiritual Selfhood

Through denial of the material sense of selfhood and claiming for ourselves our true spiritual selfhood we begin to find freedom. Jesus made it plain that the first steps to perfection are the subjugation of the material body and mind through a measurable understanding of the supremacy of the divine Mind. Through some realization of man's true estate as the expression of the Life which is God, thought so improves that the hand which was previously used to steal is directed to honest work; the tongue once used to criticize or deceive is used to encourage or to speak frankly; a self-centered life changes into one employed in unselfed service; a body expressing disease becomes normal and harmonious; one enslaved by sin begins to love and express righteousness. In such ways the corrective, healing power of the Christ, the spiritual idea of being, is presently made evident. As one's understanding of God and man grows, the supremacy of Spirit and the impotence of matter is increasingly demonstrated. In the experience of our Way-shower, he first controlled and subjugated matter and material laws before he rose mentally above all sense of a temporal, material creation and man into the realization of his forever oneness with the eternal Life that is the Soul and substance of man.

A large part of mortal trouble and bondage stems from discordant relationships between individuals. Opposing wills, bad tempers, animosities, hate, domination, clashing interests, all make for unhappiness and strife in homes, in business, and among the nations. All these forms of negation derive from the counterfeit, mortal mind. They lack intelligence, life, or substance, and so can be utterly destroyed. There is however a sense of relationship which does not express discord, and it is this sense of relationship that Christ Jesus tells us about. It is the only true relationship because God, the only true cause, is its Maker. It is included in what Jesus referred to as "the truth" which when we know it "shall make you free," for it is what is true and enduring in regard to relationship. What is this true, harmonious, and enduring idea of relationship?

It is this. God, infinite Mind, is the Parent, the intelligent source of all. All that really is, is related inevitably to the one continuing cause and is ever under the control and government of this cause. The basic relationship is then the relationship between God and His manifestation, between the one cause and its effect. This relationship is forever. As David puts it, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Ps. 73:25). Man lives as the son of God and owes his being only to God. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 151 of "Miscellaneous Writings," "God is our Father and our Mother, our Minister and the great Physician: He is man's only real relative on earth and in heaven."

 

Bible Cites Man’s True Relationship

Everyone is then in reality primarily and eternally related to God. Man is God's effect, the forever object of God's loving care. One result of God's love is that it causes all of His children to be forever happily, understandingly, lovingly related. All go to make up God's manifestation, or creation, and so all must be harmoniously related because there is unity and harmony in God's kingdom. Regardless of the distorted misconception of creation which materiality presents, this ever remains the unalterable fact — the Fatherhood of God expressed in the brotherhood of man.

Jesus saw clearly the fact as to true relationship, that it is not something man can make and unmake but a spiritual fact to be discovered and demonstrated. Said he, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matt. 12:50). Man's basic relationship is to God, who causes him to be happily related to his brother.

A woman afflicted with a malignant disease was healed when she gained some realization of the true spiritual relationship God causes to exist between all of His children. She saw that it was her duty to God to love her husband as a child of God, instead of hating him as an irascible human companion. Where the material senses say there is an unlovable mortal, spiritual sense can discover our brother's real being, the lovable witness of the one God. Thus step by step we reject and blot out of our consciousness the pictures of mortality's lie, including the claim that mortal mind has made us and inharmoniously related us, and we displace this lie with the already existing fact that our one real relative is God, who naturally relates us one to another, not after the manner of mortal mind's ordering, but after the wise and loving way of God's appointing.

The grower of a large quantity of a food product, which had been contracted for by a cannery, was suddenly informed that after a certain date the cannery would not take any more of his season's crop. The situation was desperate. The crop was a perishable one, and no other buyer for it could be quickly found, as the date set by the cannery was in the immediate future. The grower and his wife were earnest students of Christian Science. They refused to become panicky, turned away from the human picture to the basic relationship of God and His family of rightly related individualities.

 

Prayer Results in Harmonious Solutions

They had the assistance of a Christian Science practitioner. The next day after the emergency arose and after the grower and his wife had come to feel that God was on the field working in the consciousness of all concerned to bring to light the way of Love's appointing, the grower felt it right to call the executive in charge of the cannery. He was greeted very courteously. When he brought up the question of the balance of the crop, which the day before the executive had said he had orders from his superiors in a distant city not to accept, he now said, "Yesterday I could not accept any more of your crop, but today things have changed, and we shall now be glad to accept it." The Christian Scientists had not prayed for this to be the outcome. They had rather realized what is spiritually true in regard to relationship; had seen that all individual manifestations of Life, God, are controlled only by the Principle that is God and that this Mind, Principle, naturally impels each and all to think and act toward his brother with consideration, justice, and good will; that no selfishness or ill will can compel any of the Father's family to think or act toward another except as God impels him to think and act, for the Mind that is Love ever is working in one and all to produce those decisions and judgments which will bless one and all, and so glorify the one Father, God. Their prayerful work was effective. What threatened to cause the grower heavy loss was corrected, and those in a position to help were glad to express the Golden Rule, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matt. 7:12). Freedom from all forms of evil is salvation, liberation from material bondage. Jesus proved each individual has it within his power to discover and to demonstrate through true prayer and right living man's full measure of sonship with his God. His freedom depends not on what any mortals think. It depends solely on his willingness humbly and consistently to use the talents divine Mind has given to him, the ability prayerfully to realize the spiritual and eternal sense of life and man, perfect and harmonious as its cause, and the surrendering up, here a little and there a little, of that fleeting, fading sense of life and man which is the poor opposite of divine reality. John assures us that "now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). Was he right? Or was he wrong? If right, is it not rather foolish for us to dillydally in the waste places of material futility when our spiritual inheritance awaits our realization of it?

A much-loved hymn contains these beautiful and appropriate lines:

 

"O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking,

O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free;

The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking,

Unloosing bonds of all captivity.

 

"He comes to bless thee on his wings of healing;

To banish pain, and wipe all tears away;

He comes anew, to humble hearts revealing

The mounting footsteps of the upward way."

 

(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 412.)

 

[Delivered Feb. 23, 1956, at The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and published in The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 24, 1956.]

 

 

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