Christian Science: Both Christian and Scientific
The Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, M.A., C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
It is not the purpose of this lecture to pass judgment upon the opinions or practices of others, however much these may differ from our own. In this free land all have a right to their religious views, so long as they infringe in no way upon the public welfare. We shall not criticize others, but present some of the reasons for the hope that is in us. There are good reasons why this religion commands the respect of the sincere and thoughtful, even though they are not of its communion.
Christian Science shows its faith by its works. It asks for no man's sanction until it has been weighed in the even scales of right reasoning and mature reflection. In the bright light of truth it has been accepted by a large body of Christian people, among whom are learned, distinguished, and successful men in every walk of life. Its fruits bear witness to its worth.
Its growth, in spite of early persecutions, is the marvel of the age. Less than fifty years ago there was but one Christian Scientist. Today the denomination has more than a thousand churches and societies, and its representatives are to be found in every state and territory of the United States, and in very many foreign countries. Its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, during the first ten years of its history had a circulation of fifteen thousand copies. During the next decade these substantial figures mounted to eighty-five thousand copies. In the next ten years the demand for this remarkable religious textbook had so increased that it reached a circulation of nearly four hundred thousand volumes.
This world-wide movement is firmly established upon a sound and enduring basis. The Mother Church in Boston, capable of accommodating twelve hundred people, was built in 1894 at a cost of more than two hundred thousand dollars, and dedicated, as are all its churches, free of debt. It outgrew this beautiful edifice, and built a new structure, seating five thousand people, at a cost of about two million dollars.
It possesses a Publishing House in Boston which issues annually more than two hundred thousand books and pamphlets, and distributes through its regular publications more than five million pages of literature every month. A religious movement which is achieving such results is worthy of thoughtful consideration.
Let me, at the very outset, correct some mistaken views concerning this religion. Christian Science does not deny the true personality of God; it affirms that He is the supreme, infinite Person, as Jesus said, "God is Spirit." (Rev. Ver.) It does not deny the divinity of Christ. It affirms that he is the Son of God. It accepts his own words: "I and my Father are one." It does not deny the atonement. It does not deny that, to human sense, sin is in the world and that Jesus suffered for sin. It does teach that sin may be overcome, and that in his resurrection and ascension Christ Jesus proved the power of divine Spirit over death and the grave. Christian Science has no connection whatever with hypnotism, psychotherapy, nor with what is sometimes called mental science. It is, in fact, their very opposite. It is not spiritualism nor pantheism, and has no relationship whatsoever with either. It is more than faith-cure, for it agrees with Peter when he says, "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge." All these important points are fully explained in Mrs. Eddy's writings, and an intelligent study of her works will show that, on all fundamentals of genuine Christianity, Christian Science is in full accord with the teachings of Christ Jesus.
God a Present Help
This healing religion proclaims the good tidings that heaven's favors were not alone for the people of Palestine, nineteen centuries ago, but that these benefits are also for the people of our own age and our own land. The old-time gospel message reads: "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
The help which the Bible has for man is a present help. The psalmist sings: "God is a very present help in trouble." A religion of healing was preached and practiced by Abraham, the father of the faithful, thirty-five hundred years before the Pilgrims landed on the rock-bound shores of New England. His friend Abimelech was ill, and Abraham treated the patient, for we read that "Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech."
While the man of faith was engaged in prayer for the recovery of his sick friend, it would not have been just or right for the unbelieving critic to have denounced him on the ground that he was letting his friend suffer without doing anything for him. Restored health, abundant happiness, and abiding harmony are reliable witnesses that something has been done. When the "father of the faithful" healed the sick through prayer, it is not heretical for the children of the faithful to heal in like manner.
Not less a present help was the God of the great lawgiver and wonderful leader, Moses. This was His message to the Jewish church: "If thou . . . wilt do that which is right . . . I will put none of these diseases upon thee, . . . for I am the Lord that healeth thee." Moses pointed to his religion as having the power to save from all the ills that flesh is heir to. Surely the follower of Christ cannot say any less of his religion. The church of the ancient Hebrew offered results as witnesses of its worth. So also the Christian church must be able to point to its fruits as the true test of its value.
The Whole Gospel
If there is any question as to our right to understand the Scriptures to teach that God Himself will be our helper when we are in distress, then let the Founder of Christianity himself be the interpreter of the ancient records. A most important event in his career confronts him. Jesus is about to read the Scripture lesson in the synagogue of his boyhood home of Nazareth. His utterance unfolds the meaning and the mission of Christianity for his own day and for all eternity. These are some of the words from the ancient prophet Isaiah, as quoted in Luke, the fourth chapter, with which he inaugurated his great religious reformation: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted."
We all know that the Master practiced the helpful religion which he preached. In the same chapter we read: "All they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them." Thus to Jesus the Bible references to healing were more than figures of speech, they were commands to be obeyed. Then he who interprets his Bible to teach a curative religion gives to it the same interpretation as did the Master. He who heals through prayer has the Bible for his authority, and Christ Jesus for his example.
We recall that it is sometimes asserted that though Jesus healed the sick, it is presumptuous for his followers to think of doing likewise. Before passing this severe judgment would it not be well to glance at early church history. When the Founder of the Christian church sent out his followers upon their first missionary labors, St. Luke declares: "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. . . . And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. . . . And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done." Thus Jesus commanded his followers not only to preach the gospel, but also to heal the sick. If the direction of the Master to "preach the gospel" is a command to be obeyed, then his call to "heal the sick" is likewise to be obeyed. If he who observes one half of the command, by preaching, has the right to be called a believer, then no one can forbid the name to him who obeys the entire command.
Modern materialism separates healing from religion; Jesus made it inseparable from the true life, and pointed to the cure of sin and disease as the divine instrumentality for the attainment of Christian character. In the midst of his healing ministry, he was paid a visit by certain of the Pharisees, who bitterly opposed his cure of the sick by the power of God. Their invitation to him was: "Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee." Herod was a Roman governor, a man of the world and not a member of the Jewish church; but in his efforts to outlaw Christian healing and the man who practiced it, he was actively supported by some among the sect of the Pharisees. This unholy alliance between the civil and religious authorities in no wise intimidated Jesus, and in no particular hindered his healing through the power of God. The fearless answer he returned was, "I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." If the great Master regarded the doing of cures as a real part of his own spiritual advance, then also a like practice must constitute an essential part in the growth of his followers.
Christs Christianity Heals
It has been mistakenly supposed by some, that though the disciples healed the sick while Jesus was with them, their power ceased when he was gone. The sacred Scriptures do not so record. In his farewell address to the members of his church, the Master said, as reported in the last chapter of Mark: "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Jesus herein indicates that the signs were not simply to follow the twelve who were with him, but that they were to be with all true believers in all ages. He expressly says: "These signs shall follow them that believe."
His disciples, after the Master left them, were true to their charge. Their commission included "heal the sick," and they faithfully carried out their instructions. Coincident with the blessings which accompanied their works of healing, was the remarkably rapid growth of the early church. This increase was not due to any lack of opposition. Every known method was employed to exterminate the infant church. But the greater the antagonism, the faster grew the new movement.
The first notable case healed by the early Christian practitioners after the resurrection of Christ Jesus was that of a beggar lame from his birth, as given in the book of Acts. Having been for years a familiar figure at the gate of the temple, and being considered an incurable case by all the congregation, his instantaneous cure by Christ's followers, through the power of God, produced a great commotion. So bitter was the antagonism against the apostles who wrought this remarkable cure that they were not only arrested but were cast into prison. This opposition advertised the merits of genuine Christianity, as is always the case. Following this healing, the sacred historian thus describes the further work of the apostles: "There came also a multitude . . . bringing sick folks, . . . and they were healed every one." Such were the works of the early church. Her practice was in accord with her teaching. The apostle James thus instructs the members of the early church: "Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Since healing was of first importance in the church of the first century, it should not be denied a place in the church of this century. If the power to save the sick was granted to the elders of that day, then it is also the privilege of the elders of our own day. Because the great growth and prosperity of the church accompanied the cure of the sick during its first three centuries, there is strong evidence that Christian healing would revive and restore the old-time prosperity of the modern church. Gratefully does this household of faith acknowledge that obedience to Christ, expressed in healing, does bring prosperity and unnumbered blessings.
The inspired writings relate that healing was not confined to the twelve disciples. The great missionary apostle, Paul, so felt the command to heal, that he cured the sick as well as the sinful. After the shipwreck which cast Paul and his companions upon the island of Melita, we read that a viper fastened itself upon his hand. The book of Acts says that "he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm." Paul was not only able to save himself, but also to cure others. He knew that he had received his commission to heal from the Founder of Christianity, and he could do naught else but obey. On this same island of Melita, "the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed."
Paul, who was not one of the twelve disciples, understood the unique characteristic of primitive Christianity to be its healing power; therein is the positive proof that, when the church understands Christ as Paul understood him, it will give to healing its rightful place within the sanctuary. The true understanding of the Bible, therefore, discloses that the cure of the sick and the sinful is an inseparable part of its very structure. As warp and woof are interwoven to make the perfect pattern, so are faith and healing works interwoven in the pages of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. A religious faith devoid of healing is not the faith of the Scriptures. The distinctive feature which places Christ's Christianity high above all other institutions and which entirely separates it from all human theories, is its exemplification of the transforming healing power of God. The church which truly possesses the religion of the Bible not only preaches the gospel to the poor, but also, in loyal obedience to the entire command of the Master, heals the sick as well as the sinful. "The stone which the builders rejected" Christian Science has made "the head of the corner."
Good the Only Power
We are thus brought face to face with two questions to which answers must be given. First, How has it come about that men have so far departed from the teachings of the Bible and of primitive Christianity, that they look elsewhere for help than to God? Second, How may all attain the ability to heal the sick and the sinful as Jesus promised? Christian Science has a complete and satisfactory answer to both these questions.
It is to be remembered that during the first three centuries of the Christian era, the church was obedient to the Master and both preached the gospel and healed the sick and the sinful, but in the days of the Emperor Constantine, by imperial edict, Christianity was made the state religion. Immersed in materialism, the rulers of the state religion of the Roman empire were satisfied to preach doctrines and practice forms and ceremonies. These false leaders of the church turned from the healing power of God as a help for every need, and thereby abandoned the essential element which makes Christianity unique and gives to it preeminence above all other religions. Christian Science is the restoration of Christ's Christianity. It makes the healing power of God available so that those who understand its Principle not only heal themselves but also cure others of sickness and sin. It accomplishes this in no hidden or mysterious way, but by natural and simple processes, so that all who so desire may practice Christian healing, as was promised by the Master.
There are two erroneous dogmas concerning disease included in popular belief, which are not in the Bible, but which modern civilization has inherited from a remote paganism. The first fallacious belief declares that sickness is of God and is sent by Him upon man. If this were true, then it would follow that because God is all-powerful and eternal therefore sickness is eternal. So long as mortals are fettered by this false view, they will be the bond-slaves of disease; but, as the inspired writings teach, and as Christian Science makes plain, sickness is not of God. A loving parent sends blessing and not cursing on his children. It is written, "God is Love;" and we know that the only way in which Love can express itself is in benefiting its loved ones. The proof that sickness is not of God is clearly set forth in these words of Scripture concerning our heavenly Father: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity."
The second inheritance from an outgrown past whose falsity Christian Science discloses, is the erroneous human doctrine that there is, independent of God, a power for good which resides in matter. If it were true that a power for good dwelt in matter, that is, in drugs, then one would be forced to believe, either that there is another power than God, or he must take the other horn of the dilemma and say that infinite Spirit resides in finite matter. Both suppositions are manifestly false. God is infinite good, and there is none other; even as the Master said: "There is none good but one, that is God." Scripture also declares that "there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Even more emphatic is that other word of revelation, "With God all things are possible." Modern materialism has, however, so perverted Scripture as to make it read: "With matter that is, with drugs and material remedies all things are possible;" but this worldly philosophy is no more like the teachings of the Master than midnight is like midday. Be it forever remembered that, in direct opposition to materialism, the Scripture already quoted declares, "With God all things are possible."
We know that certain instances in the Scripture are cited in support of material theories. In 2 Kings we have an account of the severe illness of King Hezekiah. It is there related: "Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered." The hasty inference from these words is, that the lump of figs cured the difficulty. If the inference is correct, then this is the only instance in which the Old Testament claims a material remedy to be the healer of disease. A more careful reading, however, discloses the true cause of the king's restoration to health. We read: "Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, . . . behold, I will heal thee." These words show that this is not an exception, but a striking evidence of healing by the power of God through prayer.
It is recorded of Jesus that he healed all manner of diseases. Yet neither by word nor deed does he give any warrant whatever for the neglect of God and the employment of drugs to effect the cure of disease. We are aware that the use of clay and spittle in the healing of the man born blind, as given in the ninth chapter of John, has been taken as the peg on which to hang an argument for the drugging method: but if it was clay which wrought the cure, then there should today be no eye troubles, for there is still a great abundance of unemployed clay.
We may recall that this man, who had fully recovered his vision because of his fidelity to Christ, was excommunicated from the church. The enemies of Jesus made a great effort to compel the healed man to give credit for his cure to anything but to the Master. Had he done so, had he explained his recovery as some do today, there would have been no commotion. Had he said, "God had nothing to do with my healing; it was the clay which cured me," or had he said, "I have nothing for which to thank Jesus of Nazareth; I should have gotten well without his help," he would have denied his Saviour, but he would have been allowed to remain at peace with his persecutors. He, however, told the truth, he confessed to the healing power of God and for this he was excommunicated. Thus the cure of the man born blind does not witness to Jesus' approval of the use of drugs, but it does testify to the unjustifiable excitement which is sometimes created when healing is wrought by the power of God. There is no justification in Scripture for dependence upon drugs or on material means and methods for healing humanity. From Genesis to Revelation the divine appeal to all is, "I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth."
Sickness of Mental Origin
Christian Science not only discloses the falsity of ascribing to God the responsibility for sickness and sin, but it declares that sin, fear, and ignorance are the prolific sources of human ills. It successfully teaches that all healing is to be accomplished, not by an appeal to the supposed material power of an inert drug, but by reliance upon the spiritual dynamics of the omnipotent Mind, our Father in heaven. All know of the ravages made upon the human system because of sin. Well has James said: "Sin bringeth forth death." Drunkenness, licentiousness, hatred, and revenge induce a train of evils resulting in sickness and death. It is not unreasonable, in view of the wrong mental states involved, to hold that when those false conditions of the human mind are replaced by the Mind of the Lord, harmony will be restored. Again, all nervous diseases can be traced to morbid mental conditions. It is not surprising that this scientific system should enlist the hearty sympathy of thinking people when it insists that, if the disturbed mental states are supplanted by the right mental conditions, health will be established.
In thousands of instances Christian Science has overcome and destroyed all these false mental conditions and restored harmony. It has not only healed nervous troubles, but there are multiplied cases upon record of its cure of so-called organic and functional disorders, many of which have been pronounced chronic. It has healed, and is today healing, those afflicted with consumption, cancer, curvature of the spine, loco-motor ataxia, insanity, and many other so-called incurable diseases. There are in common observation many illustrations which are leading men away from faith in matter as the only remedy to faith in the infinite Mind as the sure and certain helper for every need.
We all remember the familiar story about a storm-tossed company of sailors in a dismantled craft upon the Atlantic ocean, who were bereft of drinking water and who supposed that they were without the means of obtaining a supply. In their hour of need, a distant sail appeared, and as the vessel drew near, those in distress signaled their fate. Instantly the reply came back, "Let down your water buckets into the sea. Fresh water is all about you. You are in the mouth of the Amazon." That which had prolonged their suffering was their ignorance. That which enabled them to end their suffering was a knowledge of the truth. Like those uninformed sailors dying of thirst with an ocean of pure water all around them, so also is much of the suffering among men. They deem themselves separated from the source of health and life. They are ignorant of the abundant Life that is near at hand. A ship with its white sails outspread draws near, and the glad message is sent forth: "Suffering ones, awaken from your false dreams. You are in the stream of Life. Around you is the infinite ocean, Spirit, the source of all health. Drink of the healing waters of Truth and live."
Priceless is the blessing which Christian Science has bestowed in making available to all humanity the infinite resources of the Supreme Being. Science and Health (p. 587) gives this all-inclusive definition of God. "The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Mrs. Eddy's writings unfold the deep meaning of this wonderful description of the infinite Father, and thus make God better known and loved. The blind materialism of this world has too long closed its eyes to the havoc wrought by the debased human mind, and is asleep to the blessings which result from the transforming power of divine Mind. Instead of looking to the Spiritual cause of all things as the source of blessings, it has groped darkly into materiality and met only with disappointment and defeat, and these unspiritual ways have kept mortal man a captive to sin and sickness. The members of this religious faith hold fast to the definition of God as infinite Mind, the only cause and creator. The first chapter of the Bible declares: "God created man in his own image."
They take the reasonable ground, therefore, that the creator who made man like unto Himself, is also able to sustain and support him.
Paul knew that evil desires and evil thoughts lead to disaster, and that right thinking gives health and peace, for he says, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." In his wonderful letter to the church at Rome he plainly acknowledges the transforming and renewing power of divine Mind in his explicit declaration, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." This is the teaching of this Science of healing, that peace and prosperity, health and happiness are the heritage of all, and that through the transforming power of the infinite Mind, mortality is put off and the new man of God's creating is put on. This is in entire agreement with that Scripture which declares, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Mind the True Remedy
The Christian Scientist feels that the creator has provided a Science, which only awaits discovery by the individual to become as practical in solving his life-problems as is the science of mathematics to the mathematician in solving his problems. The science of mathematics has its fundamental law from which all is derived, upon which all depends, and which includes the all of mathematics. The Science of Mind has its Principle, the one originating and sustaining Mind, our God, and its rule or order of manifestation which all may come to know and demonstrate.
Because the Christian Scientist regards man as an idea of Mind, just as the mathematician regards numbers as ideas of mind, he holds that what is true philosophy in dealing with the problems of mathematics, is true philosophy in dealing with the problems of man. In mathematics certain problems present themselves and certain fixed and invariable rules prevail for their solution. The mathematician in working out his problem, when he fails of the correct answer, has an exact method of procedure. He finds the mistake and corrects the error through the right understanding of the truth. Likewise the musician has a scientific method for restoring harmony when he finds discord. He knows the truth, and the truth makes him free from the discord. The mistakes in the mathematical problem are made apparent by misplaced figures. For these mistakes the figures are not held responsible. To correct the mistakes, the human mind which made them must be corrected. When mortal mind is freed from mistakes the problem will be free from mistakes.
What is true science in arithmetic, Christian Science holds to be true science in the human problem. Here the error is made apparent by an imperfect human figure. For this mistake the body should not be held responsible, for the body is but the instrument of the mind. Free the human mind from its error, and the human body will be free from its disease. To remedy the error of disease, then, the Christian Scientist, like the mathematician, does not treat the figure, but rather he treats the mental condition which produced the disease. He regards disease as due to the absence of Mind, divine Mind. To him sickness and sin are signs of mindlessness. Life and health are the signs of mindfulness. Christ Jesus announced the fundamental fact in the Science of Mind when he declared, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
As Christian Science has a scientific treatment for disease, it has also a scientific treatment for sin. This Science of Mind shows that as darkness is the absence of light, so sin is the absence of good or God. As light is the reality and darkness its absence, so good is the reality and sin its absence. As darkness is not the child of light, but vanishes before the light, so sin is not the product of Mind but is destroyed by the advent of Mind.
To heal sin, then, it cannot be scientific to regard it as something real and genuine. If God made it, it would be eternal, and we could not destroy it. God is good, and all that He made is like Himself; hence evil is but the absence of what is real. To destroy it, we know the truth concerning that which is real, and this appearance of the truth in human consciousness is the sunlight from the divine Mind which destroys the supposed power and presence of evil. In harmony with this order it is written, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
The believer in the Science of Mind therefore asks with good reason, If disease comes from a mental cause, why will not health also come from a mental cause? He affirms that as it is a false condition of mind which produces disease, the right condition of mind will heal disease. There can be no question that disease is always an effect. In itself it is not a cause. It is an unhealthy conclusion from unhealthful premises. According to the accepted rules of logic, the method in such a case would be to treat the premises. If the premises are right, the conclusion will be right. An unhealthy body is the bad conclusion resulting from an unhealthy mind. According to Christian Science it is logical as well as theological to give health to the human mind. This premise made right, there follows as a logical conclusion a healthy body. According to good reasoning, you change an effect by changing the cause which produces the effect. Certainly that system would violate every rule of philosophy which undertook to alter an effect by entirely neglecting the cause and treating only the effect. Christian Science is certainly right when it heals sickness by healing the mental cause which produced the sickness. You clarify the stream when you clarify the fountain which is the source of the stream.
The value of a philosophy ought to be in what it accomplishes. Christian Science as a philosophy is ready to be judged by that standard. Every true Christian Scientist furnishes the proofs of his Science in the problems he has rightly solved, by healing all manner of diseases and all forms of sin. The entire membership of the great Christian Science denomination is made up of visible proofs of problems rightly solved. Its hundreds of churches, its thousands of teachers, Readers, and practitioners, its tens of thousands of active workers and members, are evidence to the believer that Christian Science is unquestionably the Science of Man.
Many Christian people have wondered why their earnest prayers were not more frequently answered. The pages of the Bible are explicit on the subject of prayer. Jesus said, plainly, "Ask, and it shall be given you." Even more emphatic were his other words, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." The apostle James also says, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up." Christian Scientists are grateful to God because they do receive what they ask in prayer, and because their prayers of faith do save the sick.
On thinking over my old form of prayers, I have found that for the most part they were petitions to God, beseeching Him to grant a favor, or to accomplish some work in my behalf. What needed changing was not the disposition nor the intention of the heavenly Father, God is Love, and He ever waits to bestow all good upon His child, it is the debased will of wayward mortals that stands in need of change. Prayer, then, should not be an effort to alter the unchanging God, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," but prayer should be that exercise which will change the mortal and make him fitted to receive the blessings that await him. It was thus regarded by Jesus of Nazareth, and he announced, "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." These words as understood in Christian Science, are plain and scientific. In this Science of Mind prayer is seen to be the same scientific process for solving problems as that employed in all the exact sciences. In the exact science there is but one way to solve a problem, and that way is through demonstration. In mathematics, the problem is solved when the right relations between the numbers are discovered and understood. The student does not demand that the multiplication table shall do his work for him. He knows that he must work out his own problem. He opens his eyes to the truth involved, and this clear-eyed discernment solves his problem.
The Christian Scientist regards right living as a problem presented to him for solution. And just as he regards a problem in numbers as a mental problem, so to him right living is a mental problem. The right solution to his life-problem is obtained when the right relations between himself and his divine Principle are discovered and understood. The Christian Scientist does not pray to God to do his work for him. He knows that he must work out his own life-problem. His prayer consists in opening his eyes to the truth involved, and the right understanding heals sickness and sin and gives health and harmony. This scientific process for solving our problems is in complete accord with the words, "Work out your own salvation . . . For it is God which worketh in you."
The Power of Good Thoughts
Christian Science has proved to be glad tidings to a multitude by awakening them to the transforming power of good thoughts. The psalmist knew the value of right thinking when he declared of the creator, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" Paul knew that evil desires and evil thoughts lead to disaster, while right thinking gives health and peace, for he says, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." In his wonderful letter to the church at Rome he plainly acknowledges the transforming and renewing power of divine Mind in his explicit declaration, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Consider our own land as a striking example of the transformations wrought by thought. How little impress did the Indian make upon the trackless forest and desert wilderness. Our happy homes, thriving cities, and fruitful prairies testify to the revolution wrought by thought. The wilderness of the Indian was the measure of his thought. The land of the free is the witness of the freeman's thought.
As the face of the earth is changed, so also are the faces and lives of mortals transformed by true thoughts. We have seen sin and selfishness, appetite and passion give place to thoughts of purity and of Truth, and we have beheld there a desert bud and blossom as the rose. We remember others where fear and despair have been changed for faith and hope. We know the transformation. A new light glistens in the eye. A new song hovers on the lips, and on the placid brow there rests a crown of glory which fadeth not away. Truly might one so changed exclaim with the Christian astronomer as he viewed the starry hosts of heaven, "I think Thy thoughts after thee, O God."
Charity Toward All
Christian Scientists have no contention with those who hold different views. Mrs. Eddy has kindly said, in Science and Health (p. 99), "Those individuals, who adopt theosophy, spiritualism, or hypnotism, may possess natures above some others who eschew their false beliefs. Therefore my contest is not with the individual, but with the false system. I love mankind, and shall continue to labor and to endure." There have been a few in the past who have presumed to accept Christian Science and reject Mrs. Eddy's leadership, but history demonstrates and experience teaches that these mistaken individuals have not thereby added to their power in healing the sick and sinful. To undertake to eliminate the Discoverer and Founder from her system would be like declaring that you accept the New Testament writings of Paul but reject their author. If Paul is unworthy of your confidence, his writings do not deserve your acceptance. If his works merit faith, he himself must command respect. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? . . . A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. . . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Discoverer and Founder
For nine years it was my privilege to reside in the home city of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. For several months of this time I was a member of her household, and therefore I speak from personal knowledge. Mrs. Eddy endeared herself to Concord's best people by reason of her broad-minded, public-spirited citizenship, her numerous and constant philanthropies, her generous support of public improvements, and her gift of a beautiful granite church edifice, toward the erection of which she contributed one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.
Her ancestors in the Granite State have been among its foremost representatives in civil and religious life. She is an honored member of the Daughters of the American Revolution because her grandfather, Joseph Baker, and his two brothers were Revolutionary heroes. Their loyalty to the State has been equaled only by their steadfast devotion to the church. The New Hampshire History of her old home town speaks of her maternal grandfather as the founder of a Congregational church, and of relatives on her father's side as founders of a Methodist church.
In our public libraries are to be found publications containing writings from her pen which appeared more than sixty years ago. She was a valued contributor to leading magazines North and South thirty years before her widely known religious work, Science and Health, was published. It is my privilege to know eminent citizens of New Hampshire who went to school with Mrs. Eddy, others who were her friends in early youth, and others who were her associates before she became a world-wide religious leader, one and all of these testify to her singularly pure and spotless character, to her brilliant intellectual gifts, and to her deeply religious nature. It would be difficult to name a celebrated writer or a great leader who renders annually such vast gratuitous services for the cause of humanity as does she.
The allegiance rendered Mrs. Eddy by her followers is the allegiance of love. Her followers know that her entire teaching begets freedom from personality and fosters attachment to God alone. She has said, "Follow your Leader, only so far as she follows Christ."
Christian Scientists are grateful to God that in some measure they understand the beneficent work which is being accomplished through her faithful devotion to Truth. While they are thankful for the unnumbered blessings which have been granted them through her labors, they are taught not to worship the channel through which these benefits have flowed. They rejoice in the possession of a Leader whose spiritual attainments, sublime faith, noble sacrifices, and patient, heroic endeavor have overcome every obstacle and risen above every hindrance. Successfully defeating error with Truth, triumphantly destroying hate with Love, Mrs. Eddy, for more than three score years and ten, has lived the spiritual message she has voiced, a message which has brought joy and freedom to the heavy laden, courage and strength to the weak, and health and happiness to the sick and dying. Her long ministry of healing recalls the prophet's words: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, . . . that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth."
After Mrs. Eddy had made her discovery of Christian Science, and found that she was restored to health through its means, she satisfied herself that it was the Christianity of Christ by healing all manner of diseases. She had uncovered or rediscovered the method whereby Jesus and his disciples healed the sick. Her life was consecrated to the welfare of humanity. What God had given her, she in turn gave to her fellowmen. She taught students the Science of the Christ, so that they also healed the sick. She further instructed them, in the Normal Course of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College of which she was the founder and first president, so that they became teachers. Furthermore, that all mankind might become possessors of the Science of metaphysical healing, she wrote the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the careful study of which book is needful for a thorough understanding of this Science. Through the reading and study of this manual on the Christian way of healing, thousands have been freed from so-called chronic and incurable diseases; hence the demand for this remarkable book has surpassed that of any work on philosophy or religion in this or any other age, the Bible alone excepted.
Mans Noblest Ideal
There may have been some few in days gone by who were delayed in their study of Christian Science because it was discovered and founded by a woman. It were well in considering this point to remember that the blessings which this religion confers upon woman are in full harmony with the spirit of the Master. It makes real for her the freedom and equality guaranteed by the constitution of a liberty-loving people. In the churches of this denomination man and woman unite in the conduct of the Sunday services. Its Board of Lectureship is honored by the presence of noble and effective women. In the sacred work of healing the sick and the sinful, woman has rendered a blessed ministry. Woman in all ages has been the devoted servant and supporter of the Christian church, and she receives at the hands of this denomination the recognition and the place that are justly hers. Those who hesitate to cross the threshold of this church because its Leader is a woman, are forgetful of the characteristics of their age. They are unmindful, also, of the meaning and place accorded woman in the sacred symbolry of a Christian people.
Deeply significant is the beautiful and commanding statue which stands in the noble waters of New York harbor and like a gracious queen guards the portals of the new world. This imposing figure, known as the Bartholdi statue, in the form of noble womanhood, and symbolic of the American goddess of liberty, was presented with imposing ceremony on Nov. 1, 1886, by the Republic of France to the Republic of America. By day, she stands as an impressive symbol of the progress of civil liberty and the enthronement in this Republic of the sacred rights of man. By night, with flaming torch and face illumined, she becomes emblematic of "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Thus before all the nations has our own America uplifted woman as the befitting and eternal symbol of "Liberty enlightening the world."
When all men acknowledge that what is truest, purest, and holiest finds its fairest flowering and richest fruitage in woman, they should with equal candor admit that if a new spiritual discovery is to be made which is to benefit all mankind, the one most likely to make it is woman. Experience shows that thoughtful persons who desire the truth will not be hindered, but rather will be stimulated in their investigation and study of Christian Science, because its Discoverer, Founder, and Leader is a woman. In following the star of Truth, they willingly say of the true woman, as did the wise man three thousand years ago: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. . . . Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Revelation and reason coincide in the conclusion that the power of God is sufficient for every human need. They unmistakably disclose the fact that thoughtful men and women should welcome Christian Science because it makes the Bible accessible and God available. Scripture affirms and reason confirms the divine origin and nature of this healing religion, while an ever-increasing company, in their everyday experience, are proving its transcendent worth. On every hand are the signs of the new day which call aloud to the children of men, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
We live in a land and in a time of expectancy; our faces look forward and upward. Our golden age lies not in the dead past; it is at hand. The bright hopes of the prophets have found their fulfillment. The clanking chains of ignorance and superstition are giving way before the hammer-blows of light and liberty. The long night of materialism wanes. The radiant dawn of a new day illumines the eastern sky. The nations rise to greet the coming morn. The rights of man, so long denied, can no longer be withheld. The people are coming to their own. The living message of Holy Writ, "Now are we the sons of God," has been heard by an ever-increasing host, who are calling to their brothers, "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city."
[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1909.]