Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (5)
Bicknell Young of Chicago, Illinois
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Bicknell Young of Chicago, a
member of the Board of Lectureship of the
When Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science in the year 1866 and gave to her discovery that unique and original name which promises to the human race all that the idealists had ever associated with religion and much more than they had deemed humanly possible to it, she lifted science out of matter into Spiritual Truth, and connected it with God, which beyond doubt is its original and natural place and its primary and final relationship.
This discovery marked a new era. Prior to that time all scientific research was material. It had not occurred to less gifted and less original thinkers that ideality was justified by the universal longing for peace and happiness, and that the realm of aspiration, inspiration, revelation, mentality, spirituality, offered a legitimate field for inquiry and experimentation.
Her discovery glorified Truth and exalted human ideals. She saw that such ideals are not merely Utopian. On the contrary, she discovered and proved that the highest human ideals but dimly indicate certain demonstrable facts which are not only the most beautiful but also the most practical that can be grasped by the human mind. For the first time in human history her discovery gave tangible value to ideality.
She originated and carried out a scientific system of research peculiarly high and uplifting. Her discernment, investigation and test of spiritual facts culminated in her discovery of that which all the world needs and really wants the Science of Life, which she so aptly named Christian Science, and which she declares "is not a search after wisdom, it IS wisdom" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 364)
In a certain very beautiful sense every one must eventually carry on the same scientific research in relation to spiritual truth, and must learn to test that truth in the practical experiences and affairs of every-day life.
For this reason you who have honored us with your presence to listen to a lecture on Christian Science are immediately placed upon different footing than you would be in considering any other religious movement or teaching. We shall not ask you to believe in Christian Science, nor indeed in anything else. We shall not ask you to believe at all. We have not invited you for that purpose. The only thing we ask of you is that you shall think, and think clearly, consecutively and logically. Indeed it need hardly be said that without logic there is no real thinking going on. Therefore the reasoning faculty, that wonderful gift which differentiates men from brutes, that faculty which is the active function in all racial progress it is that which is required in the study of Christian Science, and to that we appeal.
Life necessarily includes the phenomena of Life in all its aspects. Christian Science being the Science of Life, nothing divine or human is ignored by its teachings, but on the contrary a proper and adequate provision is made for the observation, classification and disposal of all phenomena and experiences.
All systems of philosophy and religion practically agree that effects could not exist without causes. Christian Science agrees with many of them as to the nature of cause, though even in this respect it is far more practical than they, but disagrees with them all as to the nature of all so-called effects. They on the one hand declare with Christian Science that cause must be infinite and eternal, and at the same time they teach that all effects, however material, destructible or destructive, must have their source in the same infinite Cause. Christian Science shows that such conclusions are logically incorrect. It establishes the incontrovertible fact that there are true and permanent phenomena in the universe, and by means of them, when understood, it reveals divine Principle, which conclusively enables one to first recognize and then step by step dispose of phenomena which are not permanent, and which, consequently, in the last analysis, are not true. Material systems are often forced by their own processes and through their own proofs to question the reliability of things which they assume to be natural phenomena. Christian Science is never placed and can not be placed in any such an inconsistent attitude, because it is not based upon ephemeral things, but upon permanent facts. These are spiritual ideals, and they are necessarily indestructible and eternal. When they are recognized and understood they are seen to be the foundation of true religion and pure science, and then the reasoning faculty itself ascends to its serene altitude and serves to accomplish a glorious mission for mankind.
Intelligence is both a prerequisite and concomitant of all legitimate scientific and Christian endeavor. Its nature is unquestionably infinite, therefore primarily divine. In view of this fact, how utterly unreasonable to dissociate God from science. Consequently, Christian Scientists, though ardent Christians, are not less, but more scientific than other scientists. When asked how Christian Science heals, they can truthfully answer, through intelligence, may they not reasonably ask in their turn, is there any other way of doing anything correctly?
Now, the intelligence which heals is divine and yet attainable. Christian Science makes it so, and shows the unmistakable way of attaining it. It is, however, as true now as it ever was that there is no royal road to learning, and it is equally true that there is no mere material road to health. All material systems of healing are based upon the false supposition that there is such a road. They are vain attempts to accomplish by material means that which can be accomplished only by such enlightenment as shall constitute regeneration. To suppose that the race may be permitted to think and act contrary to Truth and then be healed of its consequent sufferings by applying something inwardly or outwardly to the human body is unworthy of either science or religion. There is no such material short cut to health or happiness. The road is straight, and possibly it may appear narrow to those who need to watch their thought and conduct, but it is the only way, and when followed, results in more rapid and permanent healing than has ever been brought about by any other method.
It is inconceivable that divine intelligence, Spirit, could not do anything directly that needs to be done, and consequently not conceivable that it could or would provide some indirect means for healing the sick.
Theories predicated upon the necessity for material remedies or methods in healing are wanting in reason and logic. Now observe that the method of Christian Science is diametrically opposite to them. It illustrates the scientific ideal; for even in the mechanical world there has always been the hope that some time or other power would become available by direct means and without waste of energy or loss in transmission. This idea has never been applied to the healing of the sick or the regeneration of mankind until the advent of Christian Science. In this practice alone we have it applied, and the ideal practically realized and illustrated. The power which heals disease in Christian Science is the divine Mind. It is available only as Mind. While the ordinary physician says that he believes in the intelligent use of drugs or other material remedies, we say and prove that we know how to rely upon divine intelligence itself. Where is the real thinker who can doubt that the latter system is far more scientific than the former?
Jesus illustrated the way of divine intelligence, and Christian Science explains his way of healing, and shows that it was not only good, but supremely scientific also. By considering universally admitted facts one may see that the conclusions of Christian Science in this and other respects are logically drawn. We exist at this moment, and yet our existence is not self-explanatory nor entirely satisfactory. We are constantly endeavoring to improve it, but we could not exist at all if there were no cause for existence. Cause, in the universe, must be admitted by any thinker, for no one could claim that he is self-created. Furthermore, effects in the universe are innumerable and immeasurable. Even our limited powers of observation teach us that much.
Now, immeasurable and innumerable effects are infinite effects, which fact not only implies, but actually requires, an infinite Cause. An infinite Cause is without beginning or end, therefore not only religionists, but all scientists of whatsoever nature, and all philosophers of schools however divergent, have agreed upon at least one fact, and that is that the first great Cause, being necessarily self-existent, is eternal. The moment that one admits that God is eternal, in that same moment he must admit that disease and sin could never have any being in God, for eternity can not include that which is destructive or destructible.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science was the greatest of all modern thinkers along purely metaphysical and strictly philosophical lines. She was not only clear, but fearlessly consistent. When other thinkers came face to face with the conflict between the ideals of life which point to the spiritual facts of being, and the material every-day experiences which conflict with such ideals, they yielded their ideals to the evidence of the material everyday experiences which conflict with such ideals, they yielded their ideals to the evidence of the material senses. In the light of pure reason it is not strange that, swayed by such inconsistency, they evolved contradictory theories of religion and philosophy. Mary Baker Eddy, on the other hand, saw that spiritual facts, though contrary to the evidence of the material senses, and though humanly idealistic, relate most nearly to the basic Principle and boundless Power which men call God. Consequently her scientific system of healing disease and overcoming sin requires that divine facts when discerned shall be maintained even in the face of any and all material evidence that appears to be contrary to them. This method is in accordance with the methods of the greatest investigators of the world, although it was never adopted by metaphysicians or philosophers prior to her time. By means of this method, original with her, divine metaphysics became a practical science.
In accounting for evil she shows in her books that human existence, while self-evident, is not self-explanatory. It indicates God, but never represents Him. The mistake of ordinary systems of education is to suppose that it does.
No other system has ever satisfactorily explained evil. When Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science and wrote the Christian Science textbook she brought to light the fact that the very nature of evil is erroneous, and that to Truth, which "is the intelligence of immortal Mind" (Science and Health, p. 282) error must be unreal. Here you find all evil frankly, fully and finally explained, and the advantage of such explanation is that by means of it sin and disease are destroyed.
Search all philosophy and you will find no explanation of evil that is other than theoretical and made upon the supposition that evil is as real as good. Go to medical science and you will never find disease explained otherwise than as though it were real, with the result of increased fear of and liability to disease. Then turn to the comparatively short history (about fifty years) of Christian Science. On the one side there is an ever-increasing fear of disease and no decreasing tendency to sin in that greater part of the human race which is educated to believe in the naturalness, reality and inevitableness of both. On the other, the comparatively few people who have considered and accepted the unquestionable fact that God could not be the author of such destructive elements as sin and disease, and who have consequently shaped their thought and lives according to this, the highest and only correct standpoint, have healed thousands of cases of diseases that had always been considered incurable, and reformed thousands of people who had been considered hopeless sinners. Indeed they have accomplished so much good for themselves and others through some understanding of Christian Science as to excite not only the curiosity, but the interest of the civilized world.
Whatever may be the visible evidence to the contrary, the fact is that the unreality of evil is the only explanation of it that has ever done any good. It is not a theory, but an absolute fact, as the history of Christian Science practice amply proves, and while the object of stating this fact is redemptive rather than controversial, nevertheless, like any other absolute fact, it must be perceived before it can be demonstrated, hence it must be explained, even though such explanation chance to arouse opposition.
Furthermore, it may as well be said here that any questions which may occur to you or any other person as to why evil seems to exist, or how it is that, having no reality, it has an appearance of reality, or how it is that sin and disease seem to be part of human consciousness, seeing that they are no part of divine Mind, are all questions on the part of evil asking an explanation of itself. There is no satisfactory explanation of error from the standpoint of error. Indeed, it is self-evident that the obliteration of evil as error is the only final and satisfactory explanation of it. No science of any kind can ever explain error satisfactorily in any other way. If evil could be accounted for as if it were true or a part of truth, it would be perpetuated, not destroyed; and such attempted explanation would be just what it always has been in all previously prevailing systems, a calamity rather than a help to the human race.
That there must be, step by step, scientific discernment, understanding and devotion, before there can be absolute irrefutable proof, hardly needs to be pointed out. Material methods of healing, however strongly intrenched in opinion and belief, are not scientific. They ignore human consciousness or human mentality, or if they are forced to consider it they have no means with which either to meet or overcome its difficulties. Such systems are not truly educational. All accurate observations pertaining to disease tend to prove that it is necessary to probe more deeply for the root or cause of human suffering than do those who look for it solely in matter. In order to understand anything of correct mental healing we must remember that the human body possesses no sensation as mere matter. Sensation is only present when human life is present. Now if one stops to consider and remember that a human being is not entirely material, but that he is largely mental, the conclusion, if drawn correctly, will be that all of his experiences are at least partially mental. The more one views human life the more conclusively must one see that when disease appears it is a part of what one calls himself, and that this self is a conscious creature. The disease is therefore a part of what is called the human consciousness. On this account any propaganda tending to increase fear is not only a mistake, but is inhuman.
One who is taught to fear disease is virtually taught to give power to disease, because disease has only the power which universal belief ascribes to it, and has no other law than universal human opinion to sustain it. Therefore any system which tends to increase the fear of disease tends equally to increase the hold of disease, not only upon the individual, but upon the human race, which is the exact opposite of the ostensible object even of medical science.
There should, however, be no misunderstanding of the attitude of Christian Scientists toward other systems of healing. Christian Science stands alone. It is not competing with other methods or systems of healing. While we have got beyond the use of medicine ourselves, we would not prevent others from employing any method of healing which appeals to them, since we claim that same right for ourselves.
We are not opposed to physicians nor to their legitimate attempts to do good. We are not opposed to sanitation. We are only opposed to its present inadequacy.
We believe that it should not only mean perfect cleanliness of body and environment, but that it should extend to the human mind and character, which should be thoroughly cleansed and kept clean. No one need to take my word for the efficacy of such a system. Any person or community can try it. Just as the tendency to sin can be weakened and destroyed by refusing to entertain degrading thoughts, in exactly the same way the tendency to disease can be weakened and destroyed. Christian Science not only explains all this, but gives one the power of Christ with which to accomplish it.
Within the realm of eternity there can not be a single destructive element, therefore sin and disease, which are both destructive, can not exist there. You may go on thinking along such lines fearlessly, for nothing but blessings can ever come from doing so. No suffering, sin or trouble can ever be found in the realm of God, the divine Mind. The Bible says, "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." May not this holy temple be the realm of right thinking?
To those who feel that nothing is being done for them unless material remedies are being used, Christian Science shows that nothing is being done for them when material remedies are being used. This becomes evident if one stops to consider the nature of material remedies and also the requirements for healing disease. To heal disease is a most intelligent action. To suppose that a non-intelligent thing can accomplish it is not only unreasonable, but foolish. People believe that they are helped by material remedies, when, in fact, the material remedy does not possess any intelligence and can not heal or even mitigate disease, and that is true notwithstanding the fact that people who take material relief, and not infrequently, if the disease is not considered serious, recover under the use of material remedies. They suppose that the material remedy accomplishes the result, but they could not suppose such a thing if they thought deeply about it. When disease is either mitigated or the health of the patient improved under such systems, it is the faith in these remedies or in such systems, a faith as universal as the race and as old as its history, which accomplishes the result. All so-called material healing is faith healing on a very low plane, whereas Christian Science is even higher than the highest faith healing, for it is not merely faith in God, but the knowledge of Him, which as evidence of both Presence and Power accomplishes the desired result.
The conclusion that disease is error or false mentality is not weakened by observing that people sometimes have diseases which they never heard of. One only needs to remember that if one believes in disease and fears and expects it, he is mentally prepared for disease, and might therefore have any disease, whether he ever heard of it or not. The whole trend of human education is to prepare us for trouble, yet none of that preparation provides against trouble. It starts wrong by giving power to evil, a human habit which is incontrovertibly wrong. Whenever true religion has constituted the only science and the only philosophy it has always declared, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." From the standpoint of pure logic such religion is right, and the conclusions drawn by material views are wrong.
The race needs to be educated in truth, not in error. In proportion that it is so educated it becomes a healthy race through Mind. It can never become so through matter or through beliefs in matter.
Paul says that we shall be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Our minds consist of thoughts. For our minds to be transformed, therefore, we must get better thoughts, and the very best are as easy to acquire as any other, and immeasurably more helpful. That they are divinely natural all spiritual teachers of the world have declared, and in some degree illustrated. Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before the event that the coming of Jesus would exemplify the availability of God's power among men, Immanuel, God with us observe not only God with him, but God with us, showing the universality of truth. Jesus had been called the Savior of mankind because he illustrated that universality. He said: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." To one who reads the Bible without preconceived notions or prejudice, it unmistakably announces the impersonality of the Redeemer. The Book of Job was also written centuries before Jesus was born. It says: "I know that my redeemer liveth," and declares the ever-presence and power of that Redeemer, by showing that the impersonal Redeemer shall prevail over the final efforts of evil in one's consciousness. The words are "And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."
Jesus constantly referred to the impersonal truth as constituting the power which he understood and exercised. He deplored the tendency of his disciples to rely upon him personally, and showed that they could not fully demonstrate Truth, the Christ, until Christ, Truth, became impersonal to them.
There is one way. It is the mental way, the spiritual way, it is the way of Christ Jesus, "for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts .) That name is the right way of thinking, and certainly not a way of believing in matter. The thinking that constitutes the way in Christ Jesus, or the true, saving name of Christ Jesus, is pure spiritual understanding.
"We enter upon it when we begin to understand the Truth and separate evil from Truth. Entering upon that way we begin to see what disease is and how it happens; and when we begin to see how it happens we see also how it shall not happen, how there shall be brought to pass that in human experience which shall prevent disease from happening, or shall stop it if it has happened. Such is true mentality. Jesus the Christ was powerful for what he knew and not because of his appearance, grand and noble though it must have been.
As long as you fear disease you will never be entirely happy; therefore the material ways of getting rid of disease are not satisfactory.
Fear is no legitimate part of education. The Bible says that God has not given us the spirit of fear, and that statement beyond all question is logical and relevant. The fear which forms a part of the ordinary person's education can be overcome at least gradually through even a slight understanding of Christian Science. This is especially true of the fear of disease. No other system but Christian Science has ever recognized the undesirable and afflictive nature of fear, and no other system has ever provided for the mitigation or complete extinction of fear. That such a result may appear one needs to realize the naturalness of divine Power and help, and such realization comes through Christian Science as one learns more and more how to test that Power. No matter how fearful one may be, no matter what the difficulty may be under which he labors, if he will stand for his understanding and against fear he can prove that his understanding of God, though slight, is more powerful than the fear which seems to beset him, and as he thus faces and overcomes his fears step by step, they diminish and disappear. This shows that it is the practice of what one understands that is most important, because it is by means of this practice alone that fear can be destroyed.
It is far more important to get rid of the fear of germs and microbes than it is to get rid of the germs or microbes themselves. Doctors often find that a very harmless germ and much fear produce fatal results, while even a comparative state of fearlessness with the presence of so-called deadly germs gives the patient at least a fair chance for recovery.
In view of their own experiences, how foolish seem to be all their present propaganda. It reminds one of the old view of theology in which it was supposed that a person was not properly prepared for heaven unless he was thoroughly afraid of hell, notwithstanding that the Bible says, "fear hath torment" or is hell, and that fear could never be found in heaven, so that one could never find heaven so long as he was afraid of hell, or of anything else. In the same way health can never be found in the ways of fear, for health and fear are opposites; the one is a legitimate and inevitable incident of heaven, the other has no place therein.
The healing which is being accomplished through Christian Science is now acknowledged perforce. The explanation which Christian Science gives of it is spiritual, but is objected to quite as often by those who call themselves religious as by those who call themselves scientific. This is not so much to be wondered at. With a postponed heaven and a remote God it is not strange that there should be doubt as to the present attainment of the one or the help of the other. But let Christian Science educate you and give enlarged views and nobler concepts of the words heaven and God and then observe the result. Instead of theories or beliefs one then gains spiritual facts which from their very nature are in heaven, and which, when they come to you and become your own, constitute heaven in you. The truth is that heaven is a word which, like the word God, has no value at all if you associate absence with its meaning. Happily there is no proper definition of either given among men that justifies such an association. Heaven unquestionably includes and requires health. General religious belief promulgates the theory that the way to heaven is through disease and death, when the fact is that heaven is attained just in the proportion that disease and death cease.
Heaven can not mean more than eternal existence with perfect happiness. This implies uninterrupted life. Ordinary ethical systems and the commonly accepted theories of medicine and religion predicate the inevitable triumph of disease. They declare that however much man may struggle and however much he may know or gain in knowledge, yet finally he will be overcome by evil. Christian Science, on the other hand, holds out the alluring hope and establishes the divine and demonstrable assurance that man, meaning every person, shall eventually triumph over all evil and awake to that dominion which the Bible says God gave to him.
We are not only alive, but we want to live. Practically all of us would be willing to live forever if we could only be sure that we could be happy forever. So common is this instinct or desire to live that it is expressed axiomatically, "self-preservation is the first law of nature." Humanly speaking, it is not a law, it is only a desire, yet so universal is it, so immeasurable, so without beginning or end, that it must indicate a permanent fact. This permanent fact is fundamental to all things. It must be Life, for without Life there is nothing. Such thoughts show why Christian Science is right in teaching that God, divine Mind, Principle, is Life.
Even the human sense of life has never been found in matter, however industriously sought there. To suppose that it could be so found is so manifestly illogical, and so clearly impossible, that it seems strange that thousands of devoted and learned men and women have spent untold years in the vain endeavor to locate in matter the immeasurable, incontainable Principle, Life, God.
Life is eternal now. Nearly all religious doctrine has been to the effect that eternal life would come after death. Such theories utterly ignore the meaning of eternity at the same time that they claim to teach it.
Postponed eternality is no eternality at all. Creation is not something that begins or ends. When the Bible is read spiritually instead of materially, it unmistakably shows that the only thing which ever begins is not creation, but a human being's conception of it. Eternal Life is unquestionably to be attained by enlightenment and demonstration. Life is the basic Principle of Being, which needs to be and can be humanly proved through Christian Science by eliminating the destructive fears and beliefs called sin and disease.
The only thing that ever lives is Mind. Take away all thoughts or consciousness and matter does not even appear to live. The fact is that matter neither lives nor thinks, and this is true notwithstanding the general belief that brains, as matter, constitute a thinking organ. This belief is so universal that it overwhelms the whole race, so that when an injury happens to the brain the mind of the person is affected unless he be rescued by Christian Science from that universal belief. This is not to say that a human being could get along without brains. The object of Christian Science practice is not to have him get along without brains, but to have him get better brains, which he will do in the proportion that he learns in Christian Science and proves by means of the facts which constitute this science, that Mind is God, for by so doing fear is removed, and fear is the only thing that is the matter with anybody's brain.
Thoughts alone constitute education. The consequent improvement of material things, together with all other visible evidences of human progress, is made possible only by improved thoughts, which, though invisible, are thus shown to have tangible being and evidence. After all, material tangibility is comparatively unimportant. It is merely the outward and temporary sign of something far more enduring and tangible. All science consists of thoughts, and so to the thinker who looks for Cause in the world and searches for its law, thoughts are the phenomena of first importance. All science, art and religion consist of thoughts. Even the science of mathematics is invisible in principle and rule. Can it be said on that account that it is not tangible? Music and poetry consist of thoughts. No art is possible without ideas, and they must indeed be of a very superior nature to justify the use of the word art in relation to them.
The greatest things in the world are invisible, which does not imply that they are intangible. Thought, though invisible, constitutes all education and does everything that the human race is said to be doing. Truth is invisible; life is invisible; law is invisible; intelligence and mind are invisible; the love which you have for your family is invisible; and even one's own character, which indeed to the extent that it is good is the only thing about one that indicates the real man, is invisible. The divine likeness is thus humanly indicated, though not materially seen.
Integrity and honesty constituting reputation, all invisible, are so tangible in business that, if they be in evidence, one may borrow money on them at the bank when he could not borrow a dollar on his visible body. Which then is really more tangible to that really practical man, the banker, the invisible character or the visible appearance?
The thought which constitutes improved education, though itself invisible, is producing visible results. Why should this not be true in Christian Science also? As a matter of fact it is strikingly true. To exercise an invisible power, then, in healing disease is a necessity, seeing that all power is invisible. Even medical science depends upon faith in matter to heal disease, and that faith is invisible.
The power which Christian Science exercises is the understanding of God. It is truly invisible, but not unavoidable on that account. We walk and talk and move and have our being by invisible power. If we understood this power aright nothing could ever interfere with our walking or talking or moving. As it is, humanity is taught to believe that the power which moves the body, as well as the power made available in mechanics and physics, is material. With this belief of power is associated all the fear and limitation incidental to matter. The man who walks or moves, as all do more or less in accordance with this human sense of power, may find that disease or some disaster interferes with the legitimate use of such power, and, under such influence, may find that he can not walk or move harmoniously. Christian Science, lifting thought above such theories of power, reveals its true nature, and making it available, heals him. When Power shall be fully understood according to its divine nature, then it will be found that there is no law of adhesion, cohesion or attraction, or of any other kind whatsoever, that can injure man, for the real character of law is blessed, seeing that it has its being in the divine Principle, the one God, who is Love. For this and other similar reasons Christian Science differs from other sciences. Ordinary systems of science take no account of moral or spiritual requirements. Christian Science is unique in this respect. It can not be understood nor demonstrated fully through mere intellectuality. The divine intelligence is available to man only as divine Love, which was humanly illustrated in the highest degree by Christ Jesus. Therefore Christian Science requires not only intellectuality, but the highest morality and spirituality.
Spirituality, properly understood, is the grandest thing in the world. The mind which was also in Christ Jesus consisted and must ever consist of spiritual thoughts. He declared that the ideas which he taught were eternal by saying, "My words shall not pass away." In the measure that a human being has them and makes them practical he is a Christian.
Studying the Bible in the light which Christian Science throws upon it one understands both the Savior and salvation. Many have been in such physical and mental torment that they were virtually in hell. Crying out for deliverance and seeking it sincerely, many have found this deliverance, because in Christian Science the divine Christ, the truth which Jesus constantly exalted and relied upon and proved to be the very omnipotence of good, is ever ready to save. It is not a mysterious personality. It is the divine presence. It comes when we are thinking, just as it has always come. The Bible is full of references to that fact. Indeed, the metaphysical or spiritual teaching of the Bible constitutes its great value to humanity. The ancient prophets as well as Christ Jesus himself carefully considered thoughts and weighed them well. There is an exemplification of this in the book of Genesis. It relates to Abraham's discernment of the impending destruction of a certain wicked city. Now, in the old way of reading the Bible, this whole matter was personal. Indeed, generally speaking, people were led to believe that they must read the Bible in a different way than they would read any other book. They must read it literally. The supposition often was that when one opened the Bible it was reverent to cease thinking, and consequently they carefully shut off their intelligence whenever they began to read it. Now, as a matter of fact, there is no book that requires so much intelligence in the proper reading of it as does the Bible. In the old way of reading it, a story like that mentioned would convey a fantastic impression, it would involve the imagination rather than the understanding of the reader. It would signify that God, a personality a long way off, and presumably in an inaccessible place called heaven, and capable of all the passions associated with the human mind, was holding a conversation with a man upon earth far distant and separated from both God and heaven. Now, what really was taking place is quite easy to be seen, for it is clear when one reads the Bible intelligently, that upon the occasion mentioned Abraham was doing just what we are doing; he was thinking and drawing conclusions. In the realm of his own thought or intelligence he began to perceive that any measure of good, being like God, tends to preserve man, and does preserve him if it be faithfully adhered to, while evil is self-destructive.
We are thinking in some way all of the time, and yet while we recognize that fact, it is well for us to remember also that much of our thinking is hardly worthy of the name. It is too often without foundation, without intention, often almost without intelligence. To paraphrase one of the most beautiful sayings of the Bible, our thinking is often like the wind that "bloweth where it listeth . . . but thou canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth."
Now the wonderful thing to be recognized is that Christian Science not only admonishes to think correctly, but shows how to do it, and furnishes immediate and abundant proof of the value of such thinking. A certain great philosopher once said that, generally speaking, people do not think. They merely think about thinking. Now thinking about thinking is better than not thinking at all.
If one is able to understand the
divine Mind through thoughts which reveal that Mind, his thoughts are highly
educational and measurably redemptive. They necessarily associate themselves
with that divine Principle which
Thus we see that all that could mean happiness for the human race can and will be brought to pass through Christian Science. The true philosophy of living is not one which enables us stoically to bear our burdens and troubles. The gospel of Jesus is not to reconcile us to present afflictions, with a mere hope of future happiness. The real philosophy of true Christianity is to be found in that Science which Mrs. Eddy has given to the world, and which provides not merely the ability to endure trouble, but that much greater and more essential ability to prevent and overcome it.
The way involves prayer, but it is not mere asking something. In its highest sense prayer is knowing the exact truth so clearly that the error, whether it be disease or sin, is not accepted even though it have the appearance of reality, and finding no support in one's belief, disappears. This kind of prayer is available only to those who think, and in order that the thinking may be more and more improved day by day and become more truly logical and more permanently satisfying, it is essential that one should exercise the true thinking capacity in all that he may be called upon to do. This method, though it implies willingness, is not an effort of the human will. On the contrary, it is much more spontaneous than any such effort ever can be.
Jesus said: "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me," an admonition which few have heeded, and yet one which is essential in the demonstration of the science which he practiced. Real self-denial is a wonderful thing so wonderful indeed that it is little understood.
That self-denial which does not even think of self or stop to consider self long enough to be concerned with it, always accomplishes the greatest measure of intelligent thought and action. Great geniuses have expressed it without being conscious of it. While engaged upon some work of supreme importance to them, their own material existence was forgotten. Thought alone was in evidence; thought alone had presence and dominion;
thought alone constituted the measure of their revelation, the power of their discovery or the glory of their artistic conception. This self-denial is characteristic of pure religion also, and of demonstrable science always. In the exclusive realm of thought or mind occurs that communion with God which heals the sick in Christian Science. There the ideas which reveal God connect man with eternality, enable him to put off mortality and put on immortality and awaken him to true being, in which he finds permanent satisfaction. Such ideas revealing God act like God, like good, like Love, and they do the work for man that a loving God, the God who is Love, would necessarily do, whatever might be the measure of man's need.
Enlightenment is the essential feature of true prayer. Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science involved this prayer, which is its method or modus operandi, and by which divine Power becomes available to mankind. Mrs. Eddy was able to discover this Science because she was clearer than anybody else in the world.
That mental clearness was prayer with her, and is prayer with anybody who attains it. It signifies the ability to distinguish between spiritual truth, that is permanent, and the errors of human existence, that are always temporal and always to be resisted and overcome through proper education.
Mrs. Eddy was a genius of the very highest order. Since the early Christian era there has been no instance equal to it. The recognition of that genius will ultimately be universal, because it will be seen that the quality of it, being spiritual, far transcends every other form of genius known to the world.
She established the cause of Christian Science and gave to the movement the church organization for the protection of humanity and for the purpose of perpetuating this Science of Christ unadulterated. This church, which she named the Church of Christ, Scientist, is an organization with no ulterior or hidden motives or designs. It has no political purposes nor affiliations, no system of rewards or punishments. It is purely Christian in all its activities, for its Founder saw that when men shall demonstrate the pure Science of Christ, no good thing should be wanting in their lives. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (I. Cor. 2:9)
Seeing the grandeur of Christian Science, therefore, fulfilling as it does the mission of any adequate definition of both science and religion, it is not strange that it should be encircling the globe, because it is greater than the globe or anything else. It is the science of that divine and infinite Cause upon which everything depends and in which everything that is true in the universe originated, and by which everything which is true is sustained and perpetuated. It must eventually control the world. It could not do so as personal influence or desire, and any tendency upon the part of human beings to so restrict Christian Science would be to delay its full demonstration of blessing and peace for humanity. Its divine control humanly illustrated can only be proved and experienced through the unselfish recognition and demonstration of its divine Principle in human hearts and lives. Manifestly such a science can form no adjunct to ordinary education and knowledge. It is not less than anything else, but greater than all things. It is necessarily basic to all right knowledge, and must be so recognized by those who would demonstrate it.
Influenced by mere traditional belief and fear some people believe that the signs of these times indicate the end of the world. Such views rest upon material beliefs. When you read the Bible in the light which Christian Science throws upon it you will see that it is only the end of error that is prophesied. This is not an event to be feared, but is desirable in every way, and we should help to fulfill such prophecy by gaining the enlightenment essential to its fulfillment.
With no understanding of God as divine Principle, human beings are subject to fear, and fear in turn begets envy, hatred, malice, revenge, false pride and mad ambition, all of which are the brood of evils that make war. If we are entertaining any of them in ourselves it would be vain for us to pray for peace to come to others. The efficacious prayer of Christian Science begins to eliminate these elements from our own thought and lives. When they shall cease from our lives and no longer find lodgment in our consciousness then we have established peace on firm foundations. The help of such prayer, though it appears personal, really extends to all mankind. It is therefore possible that we who are here, if we pray in this way faithfully, may be a real peace society, the magnitude of whose influence shall be incalculable. All may join us in this constant self-examination and correction by which, and by which alone, war shall be made to cease. Such a peace society needs no organization and no shrine, but, my friends, it does need faithfulness. Establish it in the sacred realm of unselfish thought, for that is its temple. There you can help the nations by reducing the sum total of wrong beliefs which constitute their fear. There you gain the Christ likeness, the "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." There in the temple of right thought, which the Bible calls the temple of the Holy Ghost, you will discern the angels which the Bible constantly speaks of, and which Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health thus defines: "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect." These angels are knocking at the door of consciousness. Let them in. They will go with you to your homes, to your business or other daily duty. They will guide your hand and direct your feet. They will give you wisdom and courage in the hour of trial or difficulty. They will comfort, sustain, protect and heal you. These angels come only in the glorious realm of Mind. There, where everything that is beautiful is to be found, there where music and poetry and art and all that gladdens even human existence is to be discerned; there in the realm of mentality, purified and glorified through Christian Science, you may still hear these angels singing as they sang of old, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to man."