God, the Great Physician
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
"Spiritual forces" are at work which are destined to bring mankind's ultimate liberation from the "counterfeit destructive forces of the material mind."
This was one of the central themes of a public lecture given in Boston Tuesday by Paul Stark Seeley, a well-known Christian Science teacher and practitioner from Portland, Ore., member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, and former President of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
A capacity noon-hour audience in John Hancock Hall heard Mr. Seeley describe the impact on human life of the "natural forces of basic intelligence, divine Mind" — the power which the Bible says "belongeth unto God."
Without God, "not one individual anywhere can have a worthy, intelligent thought," he declared.
Spiritual thought-forces, he said, "are the healing, liberating forces with which Christ Jesus nullified the mindless material forces of fear, selfishness, and hate" — and these same healing forces "are today available in the consciousness of all men."
They are the forces that brought about the end of slavery and are today "improving men's concept of social, political, economic, and racial justice.
"They are the forces of timeless Mind.
"We find and feel them in the degree we become acquainted with their source," he said. "God is our continuing Mind, constantly providing us with intelligent thoughts. As we accept them, our sense of life will be progressively united to this Mind, our eternal source and substance." Mrs. Rose M. Henniker-Heaton, Second Reader of The Mother Church, introduced Mr. Seeley. His lecture was titled: "God, the Great Physician."
A partial text follows:
Recently a friend gave me a book which deals confidently with such subjects as "Life beyond Gravity," and "A World without Distance." Elsewhere I hear that almost instantaneous communication by one person with any other person on this planet is in the offing, and that the oncoming generation of computing machines may be smarter than their makers!
These possibilities interest us. They evidence a freeing of the human mind from some of its self-imposed limitations. But we must remember that physical forces, be they chemical, electrical, or nuclear, offer no answers to the questions: "Where can I find enduring health, happiness, security, peace of mind? How can I be freed from fear, worry, irritation? How can human thought be liberated from criminal desires, selfish willfulness, racial unrest? How are the destructive forces of disease, now killing an estimated 50 million people yearly, to be overcome?"
We must find answers to these questions or surrender mankind to an endless round of frustration and destruction. Some outstanding thinkers in the area of the natural sciences have glimpsed that the answer lies in the utilization of forces superior to the physical.
Let me tell you a little of the life of one of the great physical scientists of this century and his evaluation of physical forces, after spending a lifetime finding ways to control and use them.
In June, 1889, a French ship was discharging its passengers at the Port of New York. From the steerage came an undersized, deformed young man, a political refugee from the Germany of Bismarck's day.
On the ship's papers he was listed as a mathematician and researcher. He had no money, no assured employment, and spoke little English. The immigration officer admitted Charles P. Steinmetz with misgivings. With difficulty young Steinmetz found a factory job at $12 a week. Quickly his genius as a mathematician and engineer outshone his physical limitations.
The then young General Electric Company at Schenectady, N.Y., sought him out, and he soon became its "supreme court" on electrical engineering problems.
The life story of this outstanding genius abounds in deeds of kindness to children, to those about him, and to the unfortunate. Religiously he was regarded as an agnostic, but in his maturing years he gained a viewpoint which belied this classification.
In the 1920's I lectured in Schenectady where Steinmetz was working. An engineer associated with General Electric, as Steinmetz was, and a Christian Scientist, told me that Steinmetz had a copy of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. He also stated that when once asked to define electricity Steinmetz said, "The best definition of electricity I have seen is on Page 293 of Science and Health."
Spirit put first
I wish I could say that Steinmetz said this to me but I can't. But that he made the statement, as reported by my friend, I do not doubt.
This is the definition he referred to: "Electricity is the sharp surplus of materiality which counterfeits the true essence of spirituality or truth, — the great difference being that electricity is not intelligent, while spiritual truth is Mind" (Science and Health, page 293).
For many years Steinmetz experimented with and gave his best thought to controlling and using the great material force we call electricity. He increased its usefulness to mankind manyfold. But his reported agreement with Mrs. Eddy's definition would indicate that he came to recognize that electricity is basically a counterfeit of its original mightier force, the force of genuine intelligence, pure Mind.
A few years later, in the late 1920's, Forbes Magazine published this prophecy by Steinmetz: "I think the greatest discovery will be made along spiritual lines. . . . Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness. . . . Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces which as yet have been hardly guessed at."
What are spiritual forces? They are the forces of true intelligence, positive Mind, genuine Love. Spiritual forces are in all truly intelligent ideas such as justice, honesty, humility, unselfishness, mercy, wisdom, and love. They are the thought-forces which enlightened the thinking of Abraham, Moses, the Psalmist, the prophets, and Christ Jesus.
They are the forces of which character is made. They are the forces that brought about the surrender by human thought of slavery, and are today improving men's concept of social, political, economic, and racial justice. They are the healing, liberating forces with which Christ Jesus nullified the mindless material forces of fear, selfishness, and hate which claimed hopelessly to enslave men with sin, afflict them with disease, and destroy them with death. Time has no effect upon spiritual forces. They are the forces of timeless Mind.
The American Weekly quotes Dr. Wernher von Braun, director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, as saying man's survival here and hereafter depends on his adherence to the spiritual rather than on the physically scientific.
With spiritual thought-forces the causative, all-intelligent Mind governs its expression, man. We find and feel them in the degree we become acquainted with their source, man's ever-present Mind, God. God is what we can't live without, the divine Mind we're ever dependent on for our every worthy thought.
Gherman S. Titov, the Russian cosmonaut, is quoted as saying that during his 17 orbits of the earth he didn't see God anywhere. He had been taught to believe that, if there is a God, He must be visible to the human eye.
Actually God never has been and never will be seen by the limited vision of the material eye. The physical eye discerns temporary material objects. It doesn't possess the ability to perceive universal Mind that is God. As Dr. von Braun says, "Any effort to visualize God . . . beggars His greatness."
We sense God with the sense with which we cognize justice, with Mind's sense.
If the Russian cosmonaut had asked himself, "What is animating me with clear judgment, courage, patience, accuracy, cooperation, and goodwill?" he might have felt something of the invisible Mind-presence which was providing him with the ideas essential to the accomplishment of his well-done mission.
Major L. Gordon Cooper Jr., United States astronaut, orbited the earth in May, 1963. He didn't expect to see God. From the Bible he had learned that God is too great to be physically seen. He recognized God as the Father of man, or continuing source of man's life. This ever-present, unseen source he thanked for providing him with the ability to orbit the earth.
When over the Indian Ocean, he spontaneously poured out his thoughts to his tape recorder. They were thoughts of gratitude for the capacity to see and enjoy the wonders of the universe. He prayerfully asked for thoughts that would help him live a better life, and for thoughts that would enable him and his fellow astronauts to work constructively with one another. Too, he recognized God's ability to bring to his family encouragement and assurance that all would be well.
Could these thoughts of Major Cooper have come from any other source than the everywhere-present Father Mind, which men are increasingly recognizing as the one God?
There's a Latin phrase, "Sine qua non," which literally interpreted means "Without which not." God, our intelligent Mind, is that without which not one individual anywhere can have a worthy, intelligent thought. Paul recognized that we aren't individually sufficient of ourselves to think anything. Our sufficiency, or ability, to think is of God (II Cor. 3:5). Our ability to think any truly intelligent thought is the ability which is ours by reason of our real consciousness being caused by the ever-active Mind which is God.
Man, Mind inseparable
You can't conceive of yourself as living apart from that which gives you your worthy thoughts. Nor can this intelligent source, or Mind, be separated from the consciousness which evidences it. The indissoluble unity of causative, intelligent Mind, and its witness, conscious man, can be understood and demonstrated. Mrs. Eddy states it this way: "The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice, and God's will must be universally done" (Science and Health, page 202).
Because the definition of electricity in Science and Health as a counterfeit of Mind's true essence, intelligence, is scientific, it is capable of proof. The spiritual, omnipotent forces of intelligent Mind are able, in the degree they are understood, to subjugate and nullify the counterfeit destructive forces of the material mind, one of which is electricity. This has been done on occasion.
A Christian Scientist doesn't go about looking for a live wire to grasp and then put on a sensational act. But when there's a need to protect life, he fearlessly invokes the almighty power of man's Ego, divine Mind. He turns to this one Mind to counteract and nullify the mindless force of electricity which claims it can dispossess man of his ability to live and to think. Here's an example:
A young mother, of my acquaintance, had successfully applied Christian Science for herself and her children for some years. She had been impressed in her study of Science and Health, by the definition of electricity which we have considered: "Electricity is the sharp surplus of materiality which counterfeits the true essence of spirituality or truth, — the great difference being that electricity is not intelligent, while spiritual truth is Mind."
She recognized the unintelligent nature of electricity. She saw the appropriateness of Mrs. Eddy's using the word "counterfeit" to define this unintelligent opposite of the almighty force of intelligent Mind.
One evening, when her children were asleep and her husband was in another part of the house beyond call, she was washing dishes in the kitchen. The refrigerator was just behind her, and she turned to open the refrigerator door, using one of her wet hands. As she grasped the door, she suddenly remembered the water was running in the sink. Quickly she reached with her other wet hand to turn off the faucet. As the result of faulty wiring, a violent electric shock shook her whole body as soon as she grasped the faucet. She wasn't able to let go of the faucet or the refrigerator door. She tried in vain to call out, but could only utter a low moan.
Material force nullified
Then the thought came, "You cannot communicate with any human person, but you can get God's help through your thinking. God is here right now, is your Life, your Mind, and is responsible for the continuous harmony of your being. Electricity is the counterfeit of the almighty force of intelligent Mind which is your true substance." Instantly her hands were released. She was free. There were no aftereffects.
What does this prove? That there's available to every individual the ability to invoke, with true thoughts, the spiritual forces of intelligent Mind, always present. The power of this intelligent Mind, when recognized as the supreme, controlling force in man, will nullify the unintelligent, destructive forces that may threaten life.
When challenged by the almighty force of genuine Mind, God, the counterfeit material force that threatened the young mother had no alternative but to yield to its better original, basic intelligence. The unintelligent must ever yield to the positive and intelligent. The "seem so" supremacy of ignorant material force must yield to the "is so" of Mind's factual, eternal supremacy. Wouldn't you expect man's intelligent cause to be able to preserve its own work from ignorant, destructive forces?
Man's true status
What is needed for you and me to invoke and benefit by these forces is for us to understand our true status as a continuing effect of the one intelligent Mind, which naturally is protecting and preserving the harmony of our being, Mind's expression. It's this understanding of the presence and power of God as man's genuine substance and of man as God's own witness, ever included in God, that Christian Science is providing for men. In this experience the young mother found the living Christ, the true idea of her source, God, and of her individuality as the spiritual, individual expression of God. She found herself loved by her ever-present intelligent cause and protected by it from the godless forces of ignorant, mindless matter.
In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition broke through many barriers that had hindered migration in the United States to the Northwest. It was able to do this largely as the result of the guidance of a young Indian woman Sacajawea, who had an important part in this expedition. She led it through dangerous mountain passes and lands of hostile Indians. She found food and drink for the expedition. She won the respect and gratitude of those she served, and of the people of the United States. Today, in Washington Park in Portland, Ore., there stands a beautiful bronze statue in tribute to her.
Wisdom open to all
Sacajawea filled her place as well as any man could have done, and no man refused her wise guidance just because she was a woman. Gratefully, all accepted it. It supplied their vital need. Sometimes people have turned from Christian Science because it came through a woman. Do they believe that basic intelligence isn't as available to women as to men? If the thoughts that have played a constructive part in the history of mankind could be accurately evaluated, can anyone doubt that a great portion of them first appeared in the thinking of women?
To introduce and establish a religion which radically departs from commonly accepted concepts is a considerable accomplishment. Mary Baker Eddy did this practically alone. And many thousands have found in her book Science and Health a wisely charted way out of wilderness experiences.
Because this book presents the true idea of God, many readers have been changed by it. They have replaced fearful subservience to ignorant matter with intelligent reliance on the supremacy of almighty Mind over the health and life of man. Their footsteps have been guided into the realm of thought where truly enjoyable, purposeful, healthy living prevails. This book resulted from Mrs. Eddy's many years of study of the Bible which brought to her the spiritual meaning of its teachings, as yet so little understood.
She earnestly and prayerfully applied, as Jesus did, the thought-forces of Spirit to nullify the counterfeit, afflictive thought-forces of the material mind. These efforts resulted in impressive healings. She proved that the timeless, spiritual Mind-forces that were understood and utilized by the Master are today available in the consciousness of all men. One greatly benefited by the reading of Science and Health wrote to Mrs. Eddy, "It is a translation of Truth" (Miscellaneous Writings, page 411).
A friend of mine in Japan was healed of nearsightedness of 23 years' standing by studying Science and Health. This book revealed to his consciousness the true concept of perception as a faculty of divine Mind, superior to material beliefs, organism, or time. He was freed from the belief that his ability to perceive was at the mercy of ignorant material forces. Man's ability continuously to perceive is natural to him as the individualized expression of ever-seeing Mind.
A few years ago another friend was afflicted with what several doctors agreed was arthritis of the spine. They predicted the condition would grow steadily worse and recommended that she sleep on boards at night and sit in a wheelchair during the day. They also advised that she have treatment from the nurse of the local arthritis society, and they so arranged.
Confronted with this unhappy future, she decided to turn wholeheartedly in prayer to God for deliverance. The Christian Science practitioner who was engaged discovered that the patient was entertaining resentment against another, and she helped her free her thought from this irritating influence. The Bible verse, "In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), was given her to assimilate. The thought that God moves man appealed to her, for it was difficult for her to move her body without pain.
She threw away all her material remedies and began thoughtfully to study Science and Health. One night soon after, she couldn't sleep because of intense pain and decided to read. She opened the book to this statement, "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (page 393). She remembered that Jesus often commanded his patients who were crippled or incapacitated to "Rise!" Suddenly she was impelled to jump out of her bed. She found that she was healed of all pain and could freely move. In the morning she proved her freedom by running up and down stairs.
Thoughts come from God
Further proof of this healing was provided by this sequel. My friend had forgotten to call the arthritis society to cancel the coming of the nurse. A few days later the nurse arrived and was skeptical when told that her services were no longer needed. My friend consented to submit to certain tests. She passed even the most exacting. The nurse said, "Well, you don't need me!" and left.
Spiritual forces, inherent in the Mind-provided ideas accepted by practitioner and patient, nullified the counterfeit material thought-forces of ignorance and fear that the evil mind claimed could rob this woman of her normal, useful activity.
The genuine Mind, or Spirit, called God, continuously provides the thoughts that are the true consciousness of man. So God's suppositional opposite, the unintelligent sense of mind, will communicate its evil thoughts to anyone who will accept them and consent to be governed by them. It will talk you or me, if it can, into believing we are fearful, sick, or sinning. This wrong, evil thinking is sin, because it denies the supremacy and allness of God, intelligent Mind, and His thoughts. The falsity of the suggested thoughts of this devilish mind must be recognized if one is to succeed in freeing his sense of life from their destructive power.
Watch your thinking!
Here's a story that illustrates this point. The devil, so the story goes, said to one of his imps, "Go and make Mr. A sick." Soon the imp reported back that he couldn't make Mr. A sick: that when he perched on Mr. A's shoulder and whispered in his ear, "You are not feeling well; you are getting sick; you have a pain in your back; you had better go to bed," Mr. A would say, "Scat!" and brush him off his shoulder.
Said the devil, "Go back and whisper in his ear, 'I am not feeling good today. Perhaps I am getting sick. I have a pain in my back. I think I had better go home and go to bed.'" The imp followed the devil's instructions. Soon he returned, dancing with glee. "I got him. He listened and accepted my suggestions, believing they were his thoughts."
So, watch your thoughts. Whenever you find yourself thinking or saying, "I feel cross today," or "I feel worried," or "I don't feel well," or "I am mad," or "I think it is time to smoke or drink," ask yourself, "What is saying this 'I'?" Realize it isn't your true thinking. It's the counterfeit sense of mind which would substitute its counterfeit sense of "I" for your Mind-animated "I."
But you won't always get rid of devilish thoughts merely by saying, "Scat!" You must mean it. You must give them the boot!
It may be bad manners for a child to talk back to his elders. But it's imperative that every individual, adult and child, talk back to the parent of all evil thoughts that would enslave us with sin, afflict us with disease, or frighten us to death.
Face down evil
You have a right vigorously to affirm, in your individual way, "I can't be dominated by any phase of evil suggestion, suggesting that I desire to sin, or am afraid of being sick or of being eclipsed by death. One and all of these evil thoughts are foreign to my God-constituted consciousness. Only intelligent, constructive thoughts make up my being, for I live individually to express the true Mind which is my only Life and substance. The lying material mind can't usurp God's intelligent control over my consciousness and activity. My one real consciousness is of and in God, my divine Ego."
If we are willing to do this, if we're willing to challenge and face down evil's counterfeit sense of power with the spiritual forces provided for us by our all-intelligent cause, our harmony and freedom can be found and maintained. But this means learning to talk back to the devil and affirming our true status as the unafflictable expression of almighty Mind, forever preserving the integrity of its work, man.
Another great figure in the scientific world, Albert Einstein, recognized, in some measure, the protective power of spiritual forces. He is quoted as having said, "Arrows of hate have been shot at me too, but they have never hit me because somehow they belong to another world with which I have no connection whatsoever." He had a sense of "I" that he knew wasn't in a world of hate.
He saw, in some degree, that hate is an ignorant mindless force which he didn't have to fear or believe could hurt him. Why? Because hate belongs to what he calls "another world," a world of counterfeit thought-forces which Christian Science proves can't project themselves into the universe of genuine Mind where man really lives.
Our true manhood isn't a target in the devil's shooting gallery. It's the forever object of God's love and blessing. Man is continuously constituted by God, in and of Himself, and shares the unimpeachable safety of God, and His Life-substance.
A close friend of Mrs. Seeley and myself who had known Einstein well in Europe became interested in Christian Science during the last world war. When she came to New York near the end of the war, she was eager to ascertain Einstein's attitude toward her new religious conviction. She made an appointment with him at Princeton and there laid before him her copy of Science and Health. Seeking his friendly counsel she said, "What about it?" He immediately recognized the book and looking her in the eye said without hesitation, and with a fatherly smile, "Blessed art thou."
Houston Smith, professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently said to a group of educators that the task of the individual is to become conscious of what he already is. We would certainly agree. But to do this the individual must first discover the nature of his source, his cause. Only as an individual understands his cause can he find himself, its effect.
Men generally are taught to accept the patterns of material conception and of material disintegration as the inescapable facts of being. So thinking, they become what the Bible calls "prisoners of the earth" (Lam. 3:34). Christian Science teaches it's high time to begin to stage a mental prison break from earth's prison house of material selfhood. To do this the individual must discover he has the ability to separate the tares of belief in a material cause from the wheat, the spiritual idea of God and man. Thought by thought he can disassociate his sense of selfhood from the material sense of creator and align his sense of selfhood with the one genuine cause, absolute, intelligent Mind. Only through this separation can come liberation.
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health. "The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man's origin" (Page 262). Start reasoning with the wrong sense of your cause, or origin, ignorant matter, and you inevitably end with the wrong, fatalistic sense of selfhood. Start reasoning with the right sense of your origin as intelligent Mind and hold to it, and you inevitably find the genuine sense of yourself which it is your basic duty to your Maker to be. On this basis we agree with Professor Smith that the task for every individual is to be what, in truth, he already is.
"Power," says the Bible, "belongeth unto God" (Ps. 62:11). We find this one mighty power as we understand God, its source and substance. We find this almighty divine power present and active in all the thoughts that constitute real consciousness. Our part is to find and express our one and only Mind-empowered being and enjoy the freedom that God has given man.
Great men of physical science such as Steinmetz, Einstein, and von Braun, like the Bible characters, have recognized that in spiritual forces, rather than in physical forces, is the hope of mankind. These natural forces of basic intelligence, divine Mind, are inherent and active in the positive ideas that express this Mind such as justice, true wisdom, honesty, unselfishness, love.
For every negative, troublemaking thought of the evil, material, false mind there's a mighty Mind-empowered thought with which to destroy it. The evil mind and all its mutable phenomena, including material man, are concepts that counterfeit genuine Mind and its manifestations, the highest of which is spiritual man — the only real selfhood of each one of us.
Our young mother saw this when she was threatened with electrocution and cut off from all human help. She proved her life wasn't at the mercy of destructive electricity but was of and in the ever-present, almighty Mind. The intelligent forces of this Mind nullified the destructive counterfeit forces of matter and preserved the continuity of her being. So the woman with spinal arthritis proved that right where the counterfeit mind said there was a hopelessly afflicted material body the liberating forces of almighty Mind were at hand. The activity of the Mind-empowered ideas set at naught the false sense of mind and its condemned man, and instead brought to light freedom and usefulness. To heal is to restore to original integrity. This is what the almighty spiritual thought-forces of divine Mind do.
Evil has its source in the false counterfeit sense of mind. Our troubles result from our ignorantly accepting its troublemaking thoughts as our consciousness. Our selfhood isn't what matter and the material godless mind say it is. Our only genuine selfhood is what the intelligent cause, divine Mind, causes it to be. Through Christian Science we discover our Mind-provided ability to find and, step by step, to demonstrate the happy, healthy, fearless individuality that is our one real being.
Man expresses God
The Mind-empowered ideas which Jesus used so successfully to demonstrate the omnipotence of Mind and the impotence of mindless matter are timeless. They belong to us as they did to him. His Father is our Father. His mission was to aid us to find the saving, true idea of God and man, of cause and effect. Christian Science helps us to understand, as he taught, that the Messiah or Saviour from all evil is the almighty might of Mind. This power is specifically and constantly made available to everyone in the true idea of God and of man, who lives only to express God with whom he is at one.
Primal substance, self-existent Mind, is not inert before the ignorant, destructive claims of the material mind. The presence and power of spiritual forces are subject to no eclipse. They are the healing might of Mind. As stated in Science and Health, "If Mind was first chronologically, is first potentially, and must be first eternally, then give to Mind the glory, honor, dominion, and power everlastingly due its holy name" (Page 143).
These truths reveal that God is indeed the great Physician.
[Delivered Oct. 19, 1965, at John Hancock Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, and published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 20, 1965.]