Christian Science: Its Principle and Method
Bicknell Young, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The manifold benefits accruing from a knowledge of Christian Science are more or less known and acknowledged. That it has healed many cases of disease universally considered to be incurable by other systems of healing, that it improves people morally and spiritually while healing them physically, and that it has reformed thousands of sinners, including drunken and debauched people, and made them useful Christian men and women, are facts generally conceded and easily verified. When to these are added the further facts that Christian Science employs one and the same method for both regeneration and healing, and that healing is accomplished without the use of drugs or any other material remedies and without manipulation or physical contact of any kind, the investigator, accustomed as he is to associate the word science in healing the sick with the use of material remedies, begins to wonder how Christian Science can be justifiably so called and how it accomplishes all the good works with which it is accredited.
Because, as already mentioned, such a system is not generally associated with scientific thought, it is often asked how certain results can be achieved through a purely mental or spiritual method; and yet careful consideration reveals unmistakably that all human experiences, both desirable and undesirable, are the result of thought. Taking this fact upon the mere basis of ordinary need and its supply, we see that the farmer clears his land, plows it, sows his crop, reaps it, and sells it, all because of thought. We see that houses and cities and roads and railroads are all built through the influence of thought; that all the conveniences which surround us exist because of thought; that the books which we read, including both noble and commonplace literature, all prose, poetry, and fiction, are created by thought; that the music which we love and the instruments upon which it is performed are the product of thought, and that even the human voice itself, said to be the most perfect of all instruments, is but the response to the artistic mental call of the singer.
Not only this, but history and experience both show that evil thought also tends to manifest itself after its kind. Differences of opinion in business, or in relation to politics, government, science, and art, very frequently engender some phase of hatred, malice, jealousy, envy, or revenge, producing untold misery for mankind. Even the gospel of "The Prince of Peace" has been subjected to the same human tendency, resulting in many factions which have sometimes involved the race in war and misery.
In view of the fact that thought is doing everything which we know about, it should not seem strange that it is also doing a great many things which we do not know about. Unquestionably thought is always producing some result, and any person can see that the result must be like the thought. Remembering this, it behooves all who desire to achieve good, either for themselves or others, to learn of the power of righteous thinking. One who approaches the subject of Christian Science in this way will find that he is assuming the right mental attitude toward it. He can recall for himself moments when, occupied in the contemplation of some artistic work, or perhaps listening to music, or when engaged in the solution of some intricate problem in mathematics, he has entirely forgotten material objects and surroundings. These instances show that it is possible to have experiences which are purely mental, and one can therefore conceive of a method which is purely metaphysical.
Unquestionably the standard of right thought and right thinking must be that which is eternally right. No other standard is adequate, and it can be readied only through right ideas concerning the "great First Cause." That such a cause exists all people today concede, whether they call themselves religious or not, for one cannot even admit his own existence, however unsatisfactory the human sense of it may be, without thereby admitting the existence of a cause or creator. Though he may think that existence is partially or wholly a failure, as suffering or discouraged people are prone to do, yet even then he must see that it is only mortal man's failure, not God's, and that even though it be a failure, it is only a failure to understand and express something which is in itself true, and consequently in its very nature correct.
Scientific knowledge consists of right ideas which express or reveal Truth, and which, when understood, constitute the basis of practice or demonstration. If right ideas are to be gained, wrong beliefs must be seen and forsaken. That human thought has not always been correct in foundation is self-evident when we remember that there are many contradictory opinions concerning God, some of them unreasonable, unnatural, and sometimes even grotesque. Christian Science gives definitions of God which satisfy human reason. It declares that God, Spirit, as cause and creator must be infinite intelligence, and it makes this fact clear to us and available through the use of the word Mind as a synonym for the word God. It declares God is Mind, and that consequently Mind is God. It, however, never confuses this use of the word Mind with what is ordinarily called a personal mind, supposedly dependent upon matter or brain for intelligence, but, on the contrary, uses it always in the divine sense.
The belief that an infinite God could be humanly personal has made His omnipresence seem impossible; but when we understand that He is Mind, His omnipresence is natural and indeed undeniable. Such omnipresence must, then, constitute the actuality of all existence. Christian Science in this process of correcting human beliefs and opinions takes away the old and sadly narrowed thought of the divine personality and supplies the correct idea.
Suppose one who thinks that God is personal, in the same sense that human beings are personal, should depict his thought upon canvas or paper, and then suppose that he were to kneel down and pray to that picture. The comment would be: "Why, what is the use of doing that? The picture is not God. It cannot answer prayer or do anything else." After all, is the situation changed when one not possessing the ability to draw or paint a human figure still continues to think of and pray to a mental image? A mental picture is no more God than is a material picture, and it is no wonder that humanity's prayers have not generally been answered — prayers uttered to as many mental images as there were people under such delusions.
Christian Science shows that the personality of God is infinite and cannot be depicted or outlined, and that we are not losing anything in changing our thought upon this point, but rather gaining everything. If one is tempted to believe that he does not know how to pray because he learns that a mental image is not God, he should remember that he did not know how to pray when he supposed that it was, and that he can lose nothing, either in relation to prayer or to God, by getting rid of a false belief concerning both. Furthermore, Christian Science makes prayer more personally available because it gives the right idea of God, and this becomes personal knowledge revealing man's unity with God.
In this regard we should remember that words do not affect or change God. When properly understood they do, however, change our conception of God, and that is their mission. The word good, when used as a substantive, is an effectual help in ridding one of the wrong concept of personality and of other incorrect notions concerning God. Many people have been enabled to take their first steps in the Christian religion through understanding the statement, God is good. Many intelligent and educated persons have not been able to accept the prevailing thought regarding God's personality and the mystical theories involved in the belief that although He is infinitely good, He also provides for evil. And this belief being promulgated by scholastic theology, such persons have therefore often considered themselves to be outside the pale of religion. Yet even such a so-called unbeliever will gladly admit his belief in some good. Although declaring perhaps that he knows nothing of God, because of the association of these old material concepts with that word, he will say that he knows something of good — that he knows it to exist and that he strives continually to attain it. This shows conclusively that he knows something of God, for God is infinite good, and consequently infinite good is God; and to know anything of good or to manifest it in any degree is therefore unquestionably to know something of God. There is in reality no such thing as an agnostic or unbeliever in all the earth.
Admitting as all Christians do, at least ostensibly, that the ten commandments originate in God, is it not inevitable to conclude that they express truth or science? Practically, the first of them, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," is all inclusive. It coincides with the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God, that is, the all-power, all-knowledge, and all-presence of God, or good. It clearly means that there is no power, knowledge, or presence to evil. The average human being, however, who believes that evil is sure to happen and that it is far more powerful than good, finds that the statements of the all-power, all-knowledge, and all-presence of good seem at variance with actual experience. Yet he is forced to admit that to acknowledge God as the sole cause and creator is to conclude that there is only one power, God, good, while to admit any other is to break the first commandment.
Christian Science reconciles the average Christian to these statements, and to others which he has said he believed, and enables him actually to believe them. It shows that the first commandment in ever declaring the one God declares the one way of Science. It clearly shows that although human experiences are at variance with the truth of absolute Science, some ideas of which have been briefly stated here, yet such experiences but reveal the need of Science. Moreover, Christian Science equips one with the logical and irrefutable facts of being; it teaches him the Science of Truth, the Science of Life, and thus enables him to face human difficulties fearlessly and remove them just in proportion to his understanding of this Science. The tendency with a beginner, however, is often to misconstrue utterly the teaching of Christian Science upon this point, and to misjudge it in consequence. He is apt to say: "How absurd! These Christian Scientists say that all is good."
We agree with him that such a construction placed upon Christian Science teaching would make one consider it absurd. The construction, however, is erroneous. Christian Science is no system of superficial optimism. It declares the Science of Life or being, and shows its availability to mankind through right understanding and correct practice. It declares that God is good and that in and of Him is no evil at all, but it never declares that human experience is all good. Christian Scientists admit, with all other people, that in human experience sin, sickness, and death abound. Mankind, looking always to material things for satisfaction, and to a belief in the mixture of spirit with matter for religious consolation, have not found deliverance. No one attaining the object of all his material desires, or satisfying his highest ambitions, has ever gained happiness thereby. Neither has the belief that one must die in order to attain heaven ever produced happiness. Mere theories have never satisfied human longings; and is it not almost strange that one should expect them to do so, since we demand science in business, in mechanics, and in all ordinary affairs, great or small? It is only the greatest of all problems, the problem of life itself, that has been ignorantly relegated to the realm of mere belief.
Ascribing sin, sickness, and death to God has never accounted for them. On the contrary, it has tended to perpetuate them, along with fear and helplessness. Christian Science ever strictly demands that the basis or Principle of all being shall be continually recognized, and shows the beginner that he does not need to fasten his thought upon evil and endeavor to account for it. He has never been able to do so by any theories or thoughts which have come to him from ordinary religious teaching or from material science, and it should not appear unreasonable to him that he be required to put these inquiries aside until he proves something of the affirmative statements of Christian Science. When he shall have accomplished that much he will begin to understand the nature of evil and answer for himself the questions as to the seeming reality of the human experiences involved in sin, sickness, and death. Let it be said, however, that the Principle of Christian Science interprets the universe and all its phenomena; and that only as the student of Christian Science gains the true sense of good does he understand the illusive nature of its opposite.
While Christian Scientists do not pretend that they have as yet solved all problems, they do generally declare that they have gained health and happiness through a partial demonstration of the sublime facts of Christian Science; and the possibility of the fulfillment of the psalmist's declaration, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness," is thus realized. Through progress and proof of his own understanding of Christian Science, one begins to comprehend the divine fact that sin, sickness, and death are without God or Science or Truth in the world, and are due to a false, material, inadequate, unscientific, and untrue sense of being as existent in matter.
The separation of all evil from our thought of God is unquestionably the way of Science, the way of the first commandment. It is the way indicated in the teachings of Jesus the Christ. That Christian Scientists should be misunderstood in their practical application of those teachings, by systems and theories which do not pretend to make any practical application of them at all, is perhaps inevitable; but whether so or not, the fact remains that practical proof indicates scientific understanding. The sick have been healed and are being healed in Christian Science through scientific thinking, as indicated in the teachings of Jesus. He clearly showed the necessity for obedience to the first commandment. He said: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit;" "There is none good but one, that is, God," and he indicated the nature of prayer when he declared at the tomb of Lazarus, "I knew that thou hearest me always."
No one should think that the works of Jesus can be dissociated from absolute Truth and therefore from Science. His gospel is unquestionably the gospel of Truth, and must therefore be in the nature of scientific knowledge. Was his method less scientific than others because it combined the compassion of love with the accuracy of truth? The world has been taught to believe that his works were miraculous, and no doubt they were so to those who did not understand or who have not understood them. Science is always wonderful (miraculous) to ignorance. We daily do many things that would be miraculous to a savage.
It is not in the nature of absolute Truth, not in the nature of God, to set aside His immutable and eternal law. No such demand was made upon Him in the prayers of Jesus; rather were they a recognition of the availability of divine power, of the presence and omnipotence of good. He fulfilled the law of health and harmony, — a law which is ever powerful in right thought and right thinking, the righteous prayer which "availeth much," the method of Jesus the Christ.
Thus we begin to see what is meant by the Mind which was in Christ Jesus, since we recognize this Mind to be the healing as well as the saving power. Jesus never said that Christ would leave the earth when he left it, but declared the eternality of Christ in such words as these: "Before Abraham was, I am;" "1 will not leave you comfortless;" "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Misunderstanding as to Christ has led to the belief that the personality of Jesus constituted the saving power, and yet he was always instructing his disciples to turn away from personality — their own as well as his. He said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself," and again, "For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you," showing clearly that the need is always for individual understanding. This must be the reflection of the divine Mind, and it constituted the mind of Jesus. Its nature is ever that of absolute Truth. It could not leave the earth, since there is no place where omnipresent Truth is not.
Do Christian Scientists love Jesus less because they discern more of the facts in relation to him and comprehend more fully his sublime self-sacrifice? He gave one rule by which men should prove their love for him. He did not say, Grow emotional over my name, or take on a state of excitement concerning me or my teachings. He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," and all of those commandments were intended for all time. To heal the sick by spiritual power is to prove that one understands the commands of Jesus. Without a doubt, all Christians will eventually recognize this fact and avail themselves of the natural right involved in it.
It is thus seen that in Christian Science salvation becomes not a matter of belief, dependent upon disaster or death, but rather a process of demonstration. Necessarily it involves a change from sin to holiness, and Christian Science provides a method whereby the sinner is enabled to prove his rightful dominion over sin. That sin in some form and in some way, either individually or racially, is associated with human suffering, is self-evident. If sin should suddenly cease, disease would soon vanish from the earth. Therefore the overcoming of sin is a part of the overcoming of suffering, and salvation in Christian Science includes exemption from want, worry, sickness, and all woe, as well as from sin.
A flagrant sinner, if touched with heartfelt regret, desires to be free, but finds himself unable to cope with sinful tendencies. All religious admonition has habitually buffeted the sinner with the demand that he cease sinning, but has not given him any certain method by which he can do so. Christian Science shows him the way to cease sinning. It declares that sin is no part of divine Love, and therefore has no natural existence in God, or Truth, or Science. Generally when this declaration is made it arouses violent opposition, and especially from the pulpit. Those who do not fully understand it, or who have not proven whether it is correct or not, aver that if the Christian Science doctrine as to the unreality of sin were to become prevalent, then people would feel themselves justified in sinning with impunity. Let us consider this. Remember that Christian Science is not theoretical. It is either Science or nothing. It operates by means of the law of Truth, or God, or not at all. Its statements can be proved; therefore, before one attempts to criticize Christian Science he should try it according to the absolute rule laid down in its teaching, in order that he may see whether its declarations are in the nature of truth or error.
I do not pretend to give any formula for treatment (to do so would not be in accordance with Christian Science), but one may indicate a line of thought which will enable a critic of the teaching of Christian Science as to the unreality of sin, to test that doctrine. Let him daily declare the fact, revealed in Christian Science, that God is sinless; that sin, therefore, has no divine authority and consequently no real power; that it has no intelligence or mind, no natural being or existence in God; that it has no law, no influence, no attractiveness, no presence or manifestation, no power of suggestion or thought; that it is no part of God and therefore no part of man. Let him daily on this basis resist all sinful tendencies and impulses, and then let him ask himself, after a month, whether he is more or less of a sinner as the result of this practice. In this way alone will he be able to find out whether the doctrine of Christian Science in relation to sin is of God or of man, and he will then be in a position to criticize it if he still desires to do so. Indeed it is evident that no ordinary system of learning fits one to criticize Christian Science, because no system except Christian Science itself provides a standard high enough to enable one to take cognizance of its sublime facts.
Christian Science shows that only by demonstrating the truth of being can mankind hope for deliverance from suffering. There is no evidence to show that death either helps or hinders salvation or the attainment of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Would he have said that, if death were necessary to salvation? He knew all about salvation. The association of death with the thought of heaven has darkened human belief to such an extent that people have hesitated to think or speak of heaven.
In Christian Science all this is changed, and heaven becomes a natural topic of conversation. We recognize that it may be a present and a welcome experience. The Christian Science practitioner who goes to the bedside of suffering, and here, through his understanding of Christian Science, sees the suffering diminish and gradually cease, and the poor sufferer relieved, uplifted, and made whole, has realized in that experience something of the kingdom of heaven within. He can tell you about it, or perhaps he cannot, but at any rate he has had some foretaste of its joys. He knows that it is harmony and satisfaction, and that it does not depend upon place, but upon consciousness; that it does not involve death, but an understanding that God is Life, and that Life is therefore eternal, harmonious, and inevitably healthful.
Probably Christian Scientists study the Bible more than any other class of people in the world. The reason for this is to be found in the fact that their textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, helps them to see that the Bible is the most interesting and beautiful book in the world. Mrs. Eddy's book is perhaps more than what would be generally known as a commentary upon the Bible, because it gives one a basis of understanding by which he himself learns to recognize the spiritual teaching contained in the Bible, and the Science of Life thereby indicated. Through the study of the Bible in the light thrown upon it by the Christian Science textbook, many people have found themselves well when they had previously been ill. By means of such study many persons have overcome much fear and superstitious belief. Such results are eminently practical, and show what Christian Science is accomplishing for the students of the Holy Scriptures.
It is unquestionably true that fear is a prevalent characteristic of the human mind, and everybody is afflicted with it to some extent. One may say, "Oh, I'm not afraid of man or beast," yet he will have to acknowledge that he is afraid of something else, possibly of some condition of weather or atmosphere. Possibly he is afraid to sit in a cold draught, afraid of getting his feet wet, afraid to eat some particular kind of food, or perhaps he is afraid of microbes. Almost everybody, if uninstructed by Christian Science, is afraid of microbes, and the smaller the microbe, the greater the fear.
Now while Christian Scientists do not claim to have overcome all fear, or that they are never afflicted by any sort of sickness or suffering, yet they do declare that they are less fearful than they formerly were, less frequently sick, and when sick they overcome the disease much more quickly than they did when they believed in material remedies. They do not pretend to have readied the fullness of that experience which shall be known as "the kingdom of heaven within," but thousands of people have overcome in some measure those awful conditions which could only be described by the words "hell within," and Christian Science has enabled them to do this. Today its mission is to restore harmonious conditions to mankind — to give health in place of disease, and harmony, peace, and happiness instead of discord, contention, and misery. Surely this is a legitimate mission. It is accomplished through the understanding that evil is no part of the reality of being in God. That those who stand for systems which have not proved the power of good over evil should object to the Christian Science way of proving it, seems anomalous.
Those who are not accustomed to associate thought with its effects may not understand how the human body can be made sick or well by the influence of thought, and yet materia medica does recognize this to some extent. Only Christian Science, however, discloses the right method by which fear and sin and their effects upon the body may be destroyed. The average person who learns of Christian Science as a metaphysical method is apt also to confuse it with so-called mental methods more or less prevalent today; but Christian Science is unlike them all. It involves no such thing as suggestion or the exercise of the human will, or hypnotism or mesmerism, or the use of formulas. It shows that all these methods may as readily be used for evil purposes as for good, which proves that they are neither Christlike nor scientific.
The power of Christian Science lies in the fact that it is the Christ-method, whereby the influence of the divine Mind is recognized and employed as the only power. It ought not to be so difficult to learn something of the influence of thought upon the body, since this may be observed at almost any time. Fear, which is thought, will cause a person to turn pale. Anger will make him flush, and if he comes suddenly upon something which he dreads, his heart will beat rapidly and unnaturally. These are all physical effects produced by thought. Suppose a child were born under the conditions of fear which so often surround mortals, and suppose the conditions were more or less continuous. Growing up in that way, perhaps his heart would always be beating unnaturally, and after a while, if examined by materia medica, the verdict might be, "Poor fellow, it's all up with him; he's got heart disease."
Suppose that at this juncture the case should fall into the hands of a Christian Science practitioner, as extreme so-called fatal cases often do. The practitioner, employing Christian Science, would get at the root of the trouble. This is what Christian Science does, and learning of the cause of the suffering, the practitioner would through the righteous prayer of Christian Science begin to eliminate that cause and all the memory of the fear; and the fear being removed, the patient's heart would become normal. There are thousands of normal hearts, brains, and other bodily organs in the world today because Christian Science has made them so. A slight indication is thus given of the nature of disease and the means of healing it, but those who would gain a full understanding should seek it in the pages of the Christian Science textbook, for Mrs. Eddy has therein analyzed the causes of human suffering, and her book stands alone in this respect, as well as in the rules for treating disease metaphysically.
"What," says some one, "do you mean to say that health is related to goodness? Why, if that be so, how is it that good people are so often sick?" The answer that true righteousness involves Science, or understanding, ought to be satisfactory. A person may be good, and yet he may not have realized that disease is no part of the divine provision made for man. He may even suppose that God has in some mysterious way arranged for his suffering, or that it is permitted by God, and with such erroneous conceptions he could not possibly free himself from disease. Righteousness involves not only goodness, but correct or right knowledge, and such knowledge inevitably improves health.
In order to apprehend Christian Science, one should not become incensed at the unusual nature of its statements, but should, on the contrary, carefully consider whether or not they are true. It is clear that while one may think of his body, his body cannot think at all. Without mentality there is no suffering, since matter per se is sensationless. Hearing such statements unexplained, however, an invalid is apt to misunderstand them, and to exclaim indignantly, "What! Does Christian Science teach that my pain is imaginary, or that I merely think that I am ill?" The answer is that Christian Science teaches nothing of the kind. Its true votaries never think or speak flippantly of human suffering, but rather do they compassionately try to show the way of deliverance.
Almost all people have been taught that disease is natural and lawful. Their education is based upon the material experiences and history of the race. To say, under such circumstances of environment, education, and belief, that one imagines the pain or merely thinks that he is ill, would be unkind and untrue, since to him the pain or disease is as real as his own existence. He believes he is ill, and that is exactly what ails him. Christian Science comes to correct his belief. It lifts his thought above the bare evidence of the senses into the supersensible but absolute realm of Truth. Its declarations arouse right ideas, which give him a divine and eternal basis for thought and begin to revolutionize his processes of thinking, and this without eliminating anything that is true or useful in his education. Thus he begins to regard the universe from the standpoint of its divine basis or Principle, God, and to test every suggestion or impulse by this divine standard. Such a method must be recognized as correct. It is the Christ-way. It reveals the truth about God, man, the universe, and law. It involves prayer, or Christian Science treatment.
In the light of this new-found knowledge the sufferer recognizes that the Biblical declaration, "Thou [God] art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity," is unquestionably scientific; that is, irrefutably true. Thus he begins to see that suffering or disease has no cause or basis in Truth, or God, and therefore it has no cause or basis at all. Then he begins to know that instead of being sick according to law or nature, man is lawfully, naturally, and eternally well. When he reaches this profound conclusion and knows that man is well and knows why he is well, this knowledge will dispel his fear and false belief, and no further concern need be felt for him or his health. This may be done either for one's self or in behalf of another. In either case, to realize the truth is the ideal way; but while striving for realization one may legitimately declare the truth, which necessarily involves the denial of everything unlike truth or harmony. It is this twofold nature of Christian Science prayer that gives it efficacy and enables it to heal the sick. The method involves righteousness on the part of the practitioner; it means conscious and constant communion with God, with good; it means purification of sense and self, or baptism in the highest acceptation of the word.
Christian Science is a welcome subject in many circles, and its wonderful and blessed achievements are generally acknowledged, but there was a time when Mrs. Eddy was the only Christian Scientist on earth, when she stood absolutely alone with God before the world, and incurred the ridicule of ignorance and the hostility of theoretical forms of religion and material modes of medicine because of her discovery of Christian Science. No hope of material reward, no worldly ambition, could have touched or tainted the consciousness of the one whose thought was high and pure enough to discover Christian Science, fraught with the divine possibilities of infinite blessings for mankind. On page 108 of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she speaks of this experience particularly. She knew that it had come to her through no selfish desire, but through striving to be good and to do good. That this spiritual light should appear to her was unquestionably a God-given privilege, but it entailed untold sacrifice and self-abnegation, for not otherwise could it be made available to suffering and sinful humanity.
Is this discovery, because it deals purely with thought and involves righteousness, less in the nature of true science than systems which are usually associated with that word? Nay, is it not more in the nature of science or truth because of those facts? We respect, admire, and revere the great scientific discoverers of the world, such men as Newton and Franklin and hundreds of others, and we do well in that; yet their discoveries relate to the material world and to laws deduced from the observation of its phenomena. If we respect these discoverers, what shall we say of the Discoverer of that which relates to the truth of being and to the spiritual, primary, and natural law of health and harmony? If we speak of material discoveries as great, who shall be able to employ a word which will adequately describe the discovery of Christian Science?
Even the thousands who have experienced the beneficent influence of Christian Science, who have come out of sorrow and disease and great tribulation, realize but faintly the might, majesty, and power which have come to earth through the inspired teachings of Mrs. Eddy. Few even of the beneficiaries of Christian Science realize what it meant for her to be the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the Leader of this great movement. With humility, strength, and persistence born of the Christ-spirit, she iterated and reiterated that the Christ-way is the only way whereby mankind can gain true health and harmony, and thus, maintaining the absolute purity and unity of religion and science, she will stand a figure unique in the history of modern times.
Even such an apprehension of Christian Science as is to be obtained through a lecture upon the subject reveals to every listener something of the power of true thought, which has its origin in God, good, the divine Mind. Recognizing such influence and its possibilities, both individual and universal, it behooves every one to make it practical. Mere passive belief would accomplish nothing, since it is not in any way illustrative of the Science which we are considering. If Truth is asserting itself and is denying all error, or evil, then the active power of Christian Science is proved, for we are establishing within ourselves the government of good; thereby it shall eventually appear on earth. "Perhaps," one says, "this is idealism," and the answer is, "Truly idealism." But we should remember that the ideals of humanity indicate the facts of divinity, though they are as yet all too poor to represent them. Truth transcends all human conceptions of it.
Again, merely to say that Christian Science is beautiful in teaching would be but to understand inadequately what its presence means to mankind. Music is beautiful; painting, sculpture, and all the arts are beautiful. Think of the wonderful landscapes in which our country abounds! Think of the autumn days; what beauty in the changing leaves! Think of the western sky all aglow with the light of the setting sun! How beautiful! But have any of these beautiful things ever saved you? Have they satisfied the longings of the heart? Have they healed your diseases, or assuaged your sorrows? No, and none of them can do so; but Christian Science can. It is not only beautiful, but practical.
Christian Scientists are taught to regard mankind lovingly; and as they see all the sorrow and sickness and suffering, want and worry and woe, the conflict between various classes of society, man's inhumanity to man, and the greed for gold, and know that Christian Science offers deliverance from all this, is it any wonder that they often think in great compassion of these words of the old hymn:
O ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow!
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing.
The Bible says: "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways;" and our textbook thus defines angels: "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect" (Science and Health, p. 581). These are the angels "to keep thee in all thy ways."
[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1909.]