Christian Science: Its Principle and Rule in Business
Bicknell Young C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I deem it a special privilege to speak to an audience composed largely of business men and women, upon the subject of Christian Science, because Christian Science is the most practical thing that has ever been given to the world. For this reason it is much more likely to be understood by practical men and women, and so far as in me lies I desire to state something of its Principle and rule in such simple manner that those who have honored us with their presence here today may not have come in vain.
Perhaps it might not be out of place to say preliminarily that this Science of Christianity is not tainted with any selfishness. If one would demonstrate it, he must see that it has not come for the purpose of satisfying mere human desires along material lines. No person could achieve any selfish ends by employing Christian Science. All the good that it has in store for any individual it has equally in store for every individual. It blesses one merely because that one may have perceived the fact that it blesses all. Indeed, only in the measure that this is seen and expressed will one be able to gain any benefit from the teachings of Christian Science. Consequently, in the business affairs of the world it begins a revolution and carries it on until business men and women who perceive what this Science means, and who know that by maintaining its Principle and rule they can gain peace and happiness, find that their business also is more successful than when they carried it on in a more material way.
It is generally admitted by thinking people that some power created the universe. That power is so far beyond human imagination or conception that all men admit its infinity and are equally willing to admit its eternality. No person ever entertained thoughts of God without also striving at least to use some terms that would express the immaculate nature of Deity. It seems, therefore, that we might here admit, without further argument, that we can all agree upon the perfection of God. Agreeing upon that, it seems to me we ought not to have much difficulty in seeing that it is the intention of the creator of the universe to have everything conform to the divine nature. I take it that however prejudiced one may be in his views of religion or life, he could hardly deny these statements concerning God.
Now Christian Science affirms all this, and much more in consonance therewith. It declares not only the perfection of God, but also, as a necessary consequence, the perfection of God's creation. Indeed, it hardly seems essential to affirm the fact that perfection could not by any possible chance beget imperfection, and that consequently, however hard human existence may seem to be, or however difficult may appear the problems of daily life, the fact must be that the creator of the universe made no mistake in His creation; and the corollary fact is that the creation, as the creator sees it, must be worthy of divine power and majesty, and must be going on according to His will and His law in spite of all appearances to the contrary.
Now Christian Science proves that the certain action of this truth, when understood in the scientifically Christian way, tends constantly to make the world more harmonious. The true way of thinking, then, is from the standpoint of absolute Truth, divine Principle. This is doubtless the new heaven promised in the Bible. The new earth, or human evidence of such thinking, is the corollary promise, and this applies to one's personal business as well as to collective human experience.
Because of such Christian and scientific considerations, the intelligent thing for a person to do is to begin that education which shall give him an understanding of divine Mind and of His law, and by means of that education put into practice the rule of Christian Science, by which all the incidents and affairs of human life may be made to accord, step by step, with the divine intention and the divine law. If there be any business in the world, — and it is quite evident there is an immense amount, — it goes without saying that it would all be better if those who carried it on were actuated by that Principle which St. James describes as without variableness, or shadow of turning.
It may be objected that such an idea as this is Utopian and consequently impossible; but before such an objection is admitted let us remember that many of us have seen instances where business thrived wonderfully when carried on from the high standpoint of justice and equity. Obviously these better human ideals have not been Utopian in the sense of being impossible. The fact is, that from the standpoint of absolute logic all activity in the universe, in the last analysis, must be the evidence of an ever active Principle which we reverently speak of as omnipotence and omniscience. Yet God as divine Principle is not far off nor a mere abstraction. Every kind deed, every accurate achievement, is the action of divine Principle humanly, and perhaps dimly, perceived or reflected. So if in business or any proper occupation a person is thinking exclusively of his work and doing it thoroughly, accurately, and faithfully, he is thereby expressing divine Principle, and is in just that measure finding a perfect way of leading a Christian life. Christian Science teaches all to do this, and teaches all how to do it. It shows clearly that the very nature of God is changeless good, and that fact justified Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of this Science, in her declaration, "God is divine Principle" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 116).
If you look at business as beyond the mere routine of your daily life, and begin to perceive it in the larger sphere that means human activity, you can see that the tremendous interchange of commodities involved in it can only be accounted for and carried on in the realm of thought. For this reason, in true business there are moral requirements. What we are thinking is far more important than we have generally supposed it to be. We see this illustrated daily in the tremendous waste of time in business circles. Not infrequently business men and women believe they are busy when they are only hurried. To be in a hurry does not necessarily mean that one is busy, and we should see this, for it is becoming clear to those who understand something of true power and activity that the God who created the universe has already done all things well, and that human beings who would do things well must gain poise. They must learn to conform their thoughts and lives to the divine standard, if they would avail themselves of divine intelligence and act with unfailing wisdom. Herein they will increase their energy and forestall possibilities of failure, because if business legitimately exists at all in the universe, it is, when we look at it in the true light of absolute Science, always God's business. That is, it is good's business, for God being eternal must necessarily be good. If it is good's business, or the business of good, to put the statement more clearly, then to be legitimate business it must manifest good on all sides.
To say that God has no relation to our business or work is like saying that for eight or ten hours (or more) each working day God has retired from His creation. Now we must see, in this connection, that business in its true nature is never one sided, but always reciprocal. Clearly, one does not need merely to get a customer, but equally needs to keep him, and to do so he must see that the customer is satisfied with his side of the transaction. If the business man has the right idea and the right ideal, he cannot think of his business as a benefit to himself without also considering whether it is a benefit to those who deal with him. It is impossible in true business to separate your actions from the highest morality. For this reason Christian Science is not a mere get-rich-quick system, nor can it be employed for any such purpose. It is not an influence by which one may induce another to buy something which he really does not need and does not want. All such notions regarding Christian Science are utterly false and have nothing to do with its divine Principle or law. They are hypnotic, and Christian Science is unalterably opposed to any form of mental suggestion or hypnotism, in business and in everything else. All such methods, which are sometimes advertised as "mental efficiency in business," or something of that kind, are utterly unworthy of acceptance by intelligent moral human beings. They not only degrade the moral nature, but they tend to dispossess one of his natural intelligence, and fail invariably to accomplish the result desired.
When affairs are going smoothly we are apt to be satisfied, but to have them continue in the same way they must be founded upon something more than mere human opinions. When, on the other hand, one is anxious or worried about his business, he gains no help from these opinions nor from the general consensus of them. This fact has been illustrated in times of panic and other monetary or financial disturbances. For business men, under such circumstances, to get together frequently and talk over their troubles, is the worst thing they could do. They can add more to the mesmerism of the situation during an hour over the lunch table than they can overcome in days of work at their offices or elsewhere. Suppose that you had learned to place your business upon a more lasting foundation and had carried it on according to divine Principle and law, could one say that such a thing is not practical when in moments of intense anxiety one found no rest in any other direction?
We all long for personal and universal peace. The business man longs for it. Christian Science promises it, and gives it in measureless abundance; but such peace, contrary to prevailing theories, is utterly unlike inertia. The peace of God, "which passeth all understanding," according to the Bible, that is, which exceeds all human conception, is in its very nature divine energy. To the average person peace means inertia or stagnation. It does not mean anything like that in Christian Science. On the contrary, the peace of God is ceaseless activity. It means destruction to inertia and inaction, which you see is quite contrary to the general ideas concerning peace. Really, peace gained from the active presence and power of God in human affairs is exactly what business needs. It eliminates fear, which is a very disturbing factor with business men. All the competition in the world might go on for a long time if people would learn not to be afraid of it. Of course to God there is no competition, and there should be no competitor in our thoughts concerning Him. In the measure that this is demonstrated today it will do away with your fear of competition, and your business will be a happier experience to you and far more prosperous.
In speaking, however, upon such matters, I would not have this occasion deprived of the chief encouragement to be found in Christian Science, for thousands of people feel that they could earn their living and get along pretty well if they could only gain and maintain their health. Now right there Christian Science is often the only hope. It has freed thousands of people from invalidism, it has healed innumerable cases where disease was considered fatal. Indeed it has attracted the attention and interest of the civilized world because of its healing efficacy. As to how this is accomplished I can only say that it is entirely without material means or remedies; and if you would have a more positive statement I would say that it is because God, the self-existent Mind and intelligence of the universe, is revealed in Christian Science, and as the thoughts that reveal Him as presence and power become available and active, they invariably do away with disease as well as sin.
Perhaps there is nothing in recent human history that has been more impressive than the healing of disease through Christian Science. To the average onlooker it seems mysterious, because even religious people have, according to their old instruction, perceived very little of the true nature of Deity; and I say this with the greatest respect for all sincere religious convictions. That the healing of disease should be accomplished through spiritual power at first surprises, and then perhaps interests them, but the explanation of it is beyond their education to give. It would not be possible for me here fully to explain how the healing of disease is accomplished by Christian Science, but I believe that I may give some slight idea of the way, and that those who will think about what I say may find it reasonable.
In the first place, we should remember that matter in itself is not intelligent. Even the bodies of human beings are not composed of intelligent matter. It is true that speaking from the standpoint of material science they are composed of material elements, but even the rankest materialist will not claim that such elements are intelligent, or that in and of themselves they have sensation. The human body manifests sensation only when it manifests some kind of life, just as other animal bodies do. If we see this clearly, we see that what we call the experience of sensation of any kind on the part of the human being is not material, but mental. It is incidental, not to matter, but to the human sense of life. Clearly, then, if disease be the experience of human beings it is not primarily a material experience, it is primarily mental.
We have seen, through certain statements made here, however briefly, that the only possible conception of God is one which declares Him to be divine intelligence, infinite Mind; that His nature is wholly good because it is eternal; that it is as Jesus the Christ said it was, perfection. We have concluded from this fact that disease could not in any way emanate from nor be associated with the divine nature. Consequently if we have disease as human beings, and we find out that it is in its basis mental rather than material, we can but conclude that it is falsely mental, and we may as well in the same logical manner classify all evil as in the realm of ignorance or false mentality.
When Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science she did that very thing, and has taught those who are willing to be taught that the only proper classification for any and all evil in the world is that it is error, a conclusion which cannot possibly be resisted by any one who thinks clearly, and thereby recognizes that the nature of infinite Being, the one God, must be good; for from such an understanding one could but conclude that everything destructive and harmful could only be correctly classified as error.
Materiality does not make a human being, but the fact that he is a thinker does. A human being is chiefly mental. Christian Science shows that his diseases do not spring from understanding or truth, but from ignorance or error. Furthermore, such a condition does not hold within itself any remedy for its own woes. Every human being instinctively feels this, and seeks something outside of himself as a healing agency or power, employs material remedies, or perhaps if he is more courageous, strives to exert the human will or turns to suggestion, which is exactly equivalent to the employment of twice two is five in order to correct twice three is seven. Disease is error, and what one needs in order to master it is Truth.
The great rule given by the Saviour of mankind was educational. He did not say that the truth would make you free otherwise than by knowing it. In order to know the truth we must at least think about it until we learn to differentiate between good which is truth, and is therefore real, and evil which is error, and is therefore unreal. It certainly ought to be clear to any one that to know the truth becomes increasingly possible in the proportion that we, having intellectually perceived the truth, conscientiously maintain it.
In this way, for the first time in the history of philosophy, Mrs. Eddy, who was a thinker above others, gifted naturally with the power of insight greater than that of even the greatest philosophers, gave an explanation of evil that all the philosophies of the world and all the sciences had failed to give. Furthermore, such an explanation has not only served to satisfy the intellect, but being understood and tested in human thought and experience, has enabled a great many people to be less fearful and less liable to disease, and has enabled a great many more to rob disease of its seeming power and influence by perceiving and proving that such power and influence do not exist legitimately, but are only products of human belief and opinion. Gaining such an understanding, they have been able in the mental realm to reject both the thought and experience of disease through that greater mentality which Paul admonished us to have when he said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." This may perhaps be better defined as spirituality, for it consists of ideas that came to Christ Jesus without measure, and that come to us in some degree, and give us, through Christian Science, the power of Christ over disease just in the proportion that we gain those ideas, which with him as with us have their being in God. Such ideas constitute the Immanuel that was promised, that is, the understanding of God which Jesus the Christ so fully exemplified. They really were, in their fulness, that is without measure as to quantity or quality, his spiritual nature. Thus we can see that if we gain the same ideas that made him the Christ, or in the proportion that we gain them, we shall be Christians capable of doing his works. In the presence of the Christ, Truth, disease has no place, a proof of which fact Christian Science practice is giving to the world all over the world.
I believe it will be possible for you to catch at least a glimpse of the fact that such teaching, if it should prevail, would accomplish the mission of Christianity, a mission wholly of peace and love to all mankind. Indeed, it may be that we ourselves shall take part in this mission more actively than ever before. It may be that larger views of business will serve to eliminate fear and contention from our own minds and lives. If such should be the result, it would be obviously impossible to measure the ensuing effects.
When Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science in the year 1866, she carried on an investigation and pursued a research in the realm of the highest phenomena — in the realm of Mind. She saw clearly that incentive, achievement, progress, are all to be found in that realm. Seeing this, she saw too that when evil thinking constitutes the minds of mortals, they thereby rob themselves of the very things which they most desire. Her discovery, therefore, could well be named, nay, must inevitably have been named, Christian Science, and the inspiration which characterized her genius naturally gave it that name. If we understand or even carefully think of the meaning of these two words, thus associated because of her discovery, and to be henceforth forever associated together in the thoughts and lives of the human race, we can see something of the infinite possibilities for good ensuing from such association and the consequent regeneration that must follow.
Mrs. Eddy brought to light through her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and her other works, the true spiritual teaching contained in the Bible. She showed that thoughts were often personalized by the old writers, and especially in the languages used by the nations of the East. Angels is a word which is always personalized in the Bible, and yet could never be personal in its meaning. Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health defines this word as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect" (p. 581). It is these angels that we need in the present time for both our individual and our national problems. We need their help in order that we may maintain the integrity of our country. Indeed, if we desire to preserve our country it is clear that the power to do so will be found alone in God and as God. The best prayer for our country, then, would be for us to realize more and more clearly and live more and more unselfishly those ideals upon which its government is founded. They sprang from truth, not from mere human history, and they ennoble, exalt, and strengthen human beings in their endeavor to establish and maintain a government founded upon ideas which tend to visualize that spiritual ideal in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Such ideals are bound to rule the world. They constitute a certain connection with the one God in whom they must have had their original being. Maintained by us they are both prayer and its angels, and can save our country and preserve it for the achievement of its destiny among the nations.
[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1917.]