Christian Science: The Revelation of Gods Healing Presence
Harry C. Browne, C.S., of Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
To be brought into a clearer and closer realization of that presence of God which heals humanity's ills is a happy as well as a sacred experience. Your being here this evening indicates that you are searchers for this presence with which God has already blessed us. He has brought us together for our common good. Did not Jesus say, "for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"? And as Jesus name or nature was certainly good, we may rightly believe that he referred to the Christ, the manifestation of God, as being present, with them. Christian Science enables us to be aware of God as ever-present; it shows us how to think and live in the way pointed out by Christ Jesus. He overcame the material evidences of sin, sickness, and death because he understood God as ever-present, and so, here and now, brought freedom from suffering.
No doubt there are some here tonight who are hearing of Christian Science for the first time, and possibly others who are just becoming interested. Some of you may be members of other Christian denominations, and some may have never belonged to any church. But let me assure you all that, as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has written, "God explains Himself in Christian Science" (Message for 1901, p.5) and if you are here with expectation and sincerity, looking for that larger understanding of God which will eventually enable you to heal yourself and others, you will not be disappointed. When we learn in Christian Science that God is All-in-all, as the Scriptures declare Him to be, and that all evil, sin, disease, and death are not real but only suppositions of the absence of God, or good, we can begin to demonstrate what we learn. However, as in other fields of endeavor, your success will depend largely upon your faithfulness, your perseverance, steadfastness, and honesty.
A writer once set down these stirring words regarding religion. He wrote: "Religion is not an escape nor an insurance. It is conquest. For man is in touch with such amazing resources that, no matter what happens, nothing can destroy his spirit! What matters is, how does he take what happens. The man who has found God has found one who will enable him to turn calamity into triumph." (THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE JOURNAL).
Christian Science brings to us the message of spiritual healing which Jesus proved in his life, making it clear that all disease and suffering, incapacity and disability are the results of false education, culminating in fear and helplessness. The argument of the HUMAN mind is, "This is a case that is incurable;" again, "Heredity makes it futile for me to expect to get help." Others argue that their condition has made them useless and a burden, but these are only arguments of human belief which can be successfully denied. Christian Science is the
Science of God, of man, and the universe, helping us to find our spiritual selfhood, as God's image, possessing by reflection His qualities of wisdom, health, vigor, strength, purity, beauty, and unhampered activity.
Now, Christian Science not only heals the sick but it exposes and denounces the fraudulent beliefs and claims of materialistic theories relating to man's existence by giving us the facts of being, the truth about God's perfect creation.
In the Holy Bible, God is often referred to as presence. When Moses felt the need of God's help to bring up the children of Israel from the wilderness he said to God, "See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me." And God said, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
What did Moses need more than that? God's presence would go with him, and give him rest. In all his walks and doings God would be ever-present, ever with him to guide him in all his steps - the light continually before him. This was enough for Moses, and it is enough for you and me in our seemingly perilous journey through the wilderness of human beliefs or, in other words, the journey out of the material into the spiritual. If we walk with God - that is, if we are conscious of good and live it, if we enjoy His presence in all our ways - it will be well with us. The great fact of being is that we are forever in His presence. We have always been there, are there now, and will always continue to be there, for spiritual man is God's reflection or witness. Man then must, of necessity, express all of the qualities of God or God would be unexpressed. Man is God's idea ever dwelling in Mind. But we must awaken to the fact that God is spirit, and the one and only presence. Most of us have given little attention to this, because we were not aware of the spiritual facts of our being, but every time we have had a desire to be good, every time we have felt a great sense of compassion or love for mankind, renewed faith and confidence, we have felt the angels of His presence.
At this point in the unfoldment of our subject, the question might be asked, "Why are there not more who know and feel God's presence?" Mrs. Eddy answers the question in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Let me read what she says (p. 543): "In divine Science, the material man is shut out from the presence of God. The five corporal senses cannot take cognizance of Spirit. They cannot come into His presence, and must dwell in dreamland, until mortals arrive at the understanding that material life, with all its sin, sickness, and death, is an illusion, against which divine Science is engaged in a warfare of extermination."
It is seen from these statements that the testimony of the five physical senses arguing for the mortal concept of things is not true and can only be considered in the light of a dream. And that all sickness, failure, sin, death, calamity, war, and famine must be intelligently dealt with as illusion, and destroyed by scientific reasoning based on the eternal, unchangeable, invariable, invincible, and indestructible facts of Spirit, which is God. Surely none of us believe that the experiences of a sleeping dream are real, and we know when we awaken the memory of the experience will soon fade away. We know it was a dream and we are not disturbed by it. And so we discover in Science that the whole material experience we are going through is a waking dream of belief of life, intelligence, and substance in matter, we shall give less attention to material evidences and think more of spiritual facts.
Naturally we do not see God with the physical senses, neither can we see our real spiritual selfhood with these senses. After admitting that God is Spirit, we must conclude that man must be spiritual, too. This is the most important fact for us to know. God made man in His image and likeness, according to the Bible's first chapter of Genesis.
The question next arises: How can this illusion or dream of material existence, the presence of evil and absence of God, be broken? For the answer let me read again from the Christian Science textbook (p. 596): "The illuminations of Science give us a sense of the nothingness of error, and they show the spiritual inspiration of Love and Truth to be the only fit preparation for admission to the presence and power of the Most High." Here, then, is the way to awaken from the dream. The mortal or human consciousness must be prepared to let go of its material, darkened sense of things, through the light of spiritual understanding of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's teachings.
In the Holy Bible, Moses comes first as the one to whom God revealed His great name, His nature, as "I AM THAT I AM," and to whom God later gave the Ten Commandments. Upon some understanding of those commands has been based all successful government of both individual and state since Moses' time. Jesus of Nazareth, who spoke "as never man spake," taught and demonstrated his spiritual understanding of God's law. The commands to love God supremely and one's neighbor, and even the "stranger that is within thy gates" as himself, are included in the revelation to Moses.
Jesus reiterated these commands and explained their spiritual basis and proved their applicability at all times to human needs.
As the Apostle John writes, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." The earthly experience of Christ Jesus impressed humanity in two ways: first, through his teachings which have endured throughout twenty centuries and are still as true and inspiring, as pertinent as when Jesus was here among men; second, that he brought to the human consciousness such an understanding and realization of the presence of God that many felt its healing power, freeing them from sin, disease, and even death.
Jesus understood God. This understanding was due to his clear realization of spiritual being, for he was endowed with the Christ from God. The name "Christ," which is so often associated with Jesus, was really the divine nature of God which our Master expressed. Mrs. Eddy defines "Christ" as, "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (Science and Health, p. 583). And "Jesus" is defined by her as "The highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing to light man's immortality." (Science and Health, p. 589) Mrs. Eddy also states: "Jesus was the son of a virgin. He was appointed to speak God's word and to appear to mortals in such a form of humanity as they could understand as well as perceive" (Science and Health, p. 332). He knew that the age in which he lived was grossly material and idolatrous, and so he appealed to his listeners through parables and healings. He promised his followers that, though he must leave them, his words and works would live, and they that believed on him the works which he did they would do, also, and even greater works. And, most important of all, he prophesied the coming of the Comforter or Christ, Truth, which he said the Father would send, which would show men all things that he had taught - in other words, the healing of sin and sickness through understanding God and the facts of spiritual being.
The intervening years have shown a gradual, steady growth in the appreciation of his teachings and of his unbounded love for humanity. Men and women have voiced their admiration of him and attested their faith in grand and glorious lives devoted to the advancement of the Christian religion. But, not understanding his teachings sufficiently to do the healing works, men have, for the most part, relied upon material remedies for correcting the ills of the body. But the great fact of God's presence, power, and intelligence could not be denied a place in human affairs and, as has always been the case when one is prepared to receive a revelation of God, the revelation appears.
So Mary Baker Eddy, one of our own countrywomen, proved to be the one ready to receive this revelation of divine Science, which is the promised Comforter. Mrs. Eddy was an earnest, devoted student of the Bible, a firm believer in God, and she was particularly impressed with the healing works of Jesus and his disciples. At a time when Mrs. Eddy was suffering from the result of an accident, which her physician thought would be fatal, she turned to her Bible for comfort and strength and read the account Matthew gives of Jesus' healing of the man sick with the palsy. She found herself suddenly healed and recognized that the healing was due to God's presence and power. Wouldn't you like to hear the story?
1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3. And, behold certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
7. And he arose, and departed to his house.
8. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men" (Matthew 9:1-8).
This is the power which healed Mrs. Eddy. Now to many people Mrs. Eddy's healing might say, "Oh, she would have gotten well, anyway," or "Maybe the doctor was wrong." But not so with Mrs. Eddy. As she relates it in her textbook (p. 109): I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration.
So Mrs. Eddy set to work to discover the "divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love," which she has named "Christian Science" (p:107). Law is the expression of the power and authority of Principle, God: And as Mrs. Eddy has written, "This apodictical Principle points to the revelation of Immanuel, God with us, - the sovereign ever-presence, delivering the children of men from every ill that flesh is heir to" (Science and Health, p. 107). So we see a proof of the truth taught by Christ Jesus in Mrs. Eddy's healing.
You will naturally agree that there must be a true perception of God's nature before one can understand His presence and its power. And, again, we must know that it is only a mortal sense, a false sense of man, that is to be corrected by this healing presence, for man in God's image is not in need of healing. But we mortals need to know what God is, or we fall victims to the belief of another presence, the opposite or absence of God or good, called evil. Mrs. Eddy has given us the following all-embracing definition of God, which I will read from the textbook (p. 465): "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love," which terms, she says, are synonymous, referring "to one absolute God." "They are also intended," she said, "to express the nature, essence, and wholeness of Deity."
Then we learn, according to Christian Science, that God is incorporeal, that is, without a physical body; divine not human, supreme, without an equal, and infinite, filling all space; and we also learn that the presence of God would embrace the presence of His synonyms - the presence of Mind, the presence of Spirit, the presence of Soul, the presence of Principle, the presence of Life, the presence of Truth, and the presence of Love.
Now while to each synonym we may for the moment attribute a particular healing quality or activity, we must remember that the words are synonymous, and for that reason what pertains to Mind would also pertain to Spirit, to Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. However, it is true our understanding of God is enlarged and eventually completed by a study of these seven other names for Deity. And when we shall recognize that Truth and Love are indeed one and the same, and that one is God.
Let us consider these synonyms for God in their different aspects. Now the healing activity of Mind is to instruct. Mind is the source of intelligence and must know its own ideas, and must be continually imparting itself through these ideas. Man, being the highest idea of God, reflects perception, comprehension, understanding, discernment - all of the qualities of God's wisdom. Searching for God we shall find ourselves instructed by the divine Mind. Constructive ideas, thoughts, will unfold to us as we pray for wisdom and understanding, and the darkening suggestions of ignorance, backwardness, imperception, and dullness are naturally healed in the light of this presence of the divine Mind.
The healing activity of Spirit is to purify. Spiritual man already created in God's likeness is immaculate, pure, holy, and the human or mortal man conceived in sin, as [the Bible] says, needs to know [these facts] in order to purify his [thinking]. The presence of Spirit [renders] harmless the beliefs of contamination and infection, even though one is exposed to sin and disease. In reality there is nothing anywhere which can contaminate or affect the perfect man of God's creating, and that man is your true selfhood.
The healing activity of Soul is to glorify. Soul imparts the majesty, the supremacy, the glory of God, and as we magnify or glorify God in our human thinking we become aware of His glory, His majesty and supremacy. This reflected glory takes away the false sense of self-glorification, self-condemnation, or self-pity. Boasting, vanity, conceit, inferiority, and self-depreciation give way to this healing power of Soul. By constantly glorifying God or [good, the fleshly cravings are quieted. The so-called] pleasures of material sense involve us in sickness and sin, but these false claims disappear with the growing realization that true and lasting joy can come only through the presence of Soul. Next let us consider the healing activity of Principle. Principle governs. Principle is infinite causation. There can be no effect without a cause. Man is the effect of Principle. He is Principle's idea, man at one with his Maker. Man can no more be separated from his Principle than cause can be separated from effect. Realizing that principle governs its idea helps mankind to overcome the belief that man is governed by mortal mind instead of God. This is the greatest curse that material belief has visited upon mortal man. Goodness is of God, never of person. Jesus referred directly to this when he said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. God governs man, and as we drop the material for the spiritual, God's harmonious and continuous government will be manifested in our human experience.
Next let us consider the healing activity of Principle. Principle governs. Principle is infinite causation. There can be no effect without a cause. Man is the effect of Principle. He is Principle's idea, man at one with his Maker. Man can no more be separated from his Principle than cause can be separated from effect. Realizing that principle governs its idea helps mankind to overcome the belief that man is governed by mortal mind instead of God. This is the greatest curse that material belief has visited upon mortal man. Goodness is of God, never of person. Jesus referred directly to this when he said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. God governs man, and as we drop the material for the spiritual, God's harmonious and continuous government will be manifested in our human experience.
The healing activity of Life is to perpetuate. Only by acknowledging that Life is God can we begin to grasp the fuller meaning of Life as "immortality brought to light," as the textbook says (p. 35). God, who is eternal Life, is forever expressing Himself through spiritual man; consequently man is the expression of Life. Life is not in material things nor in the material sense of man. Paul said, "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Then to do or be good in the human experience is to reflect God, Life, thereby helping everyone with whom we come in contact. As we do this we become consciously aware of that presence of Life which destroys the belief in or fear of death.
The healing activity of Truth is to correct. Now Truth is that which IS. God being all or Truth, there is no opposite of Truth termed error. God is. Sin and disease, as well as death, are not. They are not the truth or facts of being, while holiness, immortality, and harmony are. Then all sickness, sin, and death are errors which Truth, understood, destroys. Truth can only correct what is untrue. God's man, reflecting truth, needs no correcting, but the human self must be corrected and be disciplined by the truth which Jesus said would make us free. Truth is never reversed, but, as the textbook states (p. 442), "the reverse of error is true." We must willingly see the so-called material man as a false concept of man. Then, by acknowledging the spiritual man as the true man, we shall find ourselves in the presence of Truth - of that which IS.
And, finally, the healing activity of Love is to inspire. Man, as God's representative, is forever inspired, and this destroys the beliefs of depression, dejection, discouragement, and frustration. We can always know the presence of Love by its uplifting, strengthening, and joyous effect. The cup of inspiration is the blessing of Love. Nothing else can take the place of that unselfish desire to share with others the blessing of the Father. Being aware of the presence of divine Love, we are healed of hate, revenge, selfishness. No other word but Love can fitly describe the goodness of God. Blessing all with His tender care, not willing that one of us should suffer or grieve or die, "of purer eyes than to behold evil," God is indeed the Giver of all good, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." As
John says, "We love him, because he first loved us."
As the years bring with them just and appreciative regard for all those who have given to men a higher and holier sense of God and His creation, how grateful we are and shall continue to be that Mary Baker Eddy, throughout the remainder of her earthly days, devoted her entire time and fortune to the establishment, equipment, and nourishment of the Cause of Christian Science. The persecutions which were heaped upon Christ Jesus for bringing a doctrine based upon love rather than creed and ceremonies were likewise heaped upon Mrs. Eddy for her discovery of matter's nothingness and the allness of Spirit. It was no little thing to expose the workings of the carnal mind, to uncover evil's subtle ways for accomplishing more iniquity.
But Mrs. Eddy, following our dear Master, drank of the bitter cup and pressed on in spite of seemingly over-powering odds, until today Christian Science is a recognized religion, honored and established in the Christian world. No one but she knew what it meant to be the author of Science and Health. Just think for a moment of one fact. There was a time when no one knew what she was talking about. She, alone, comprehended the meaning of her "scientific statement of being" (Science and Health, p. 468): "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
And she had to prove this statement, denying the claims of matter and declaring the allness of God as Mind or Spirit. Her demonstration of these statements continues in their full force today, and the years will grandly credit her and her teachings, and humanity will rise up in ever-increasing numbers and call her blessed.
There is a chapter in this textbook which gives us many proofs of the successful operation of the teachings of Christian Science. This chapter is entitled "Fruitage." Here are over one hundred pages of well authenticated testimonies of those who have been healed of almost every known disease or condition by just reading and studying the textbook. Not one of these persons consulted a practitioner. They were cured through reading and studying Mrs. Eddy's revelation of the ever-presence and power of God.
God certainly cannot do any more for us than He has already done. He knows our needs are spiritual and already he has supplied them. To pray to understand this fact is true prayer, which will be answered.
During the busy activities of the day with its many distractions, suggestions of evil of all kinds constantly presenting themselves, we should maintain our poise and confidence in God through prayer. And it becomes the privilege and duty of the one desiring to know God aright to commune with Him frequently. This communion with God is the most holy and sacred privilege we have. And Christian Science enables us to so silence the material senses and quiet our own impulsiveness and anxieties that we are able to have audience with God and take in the purifying qualities of His presence as one imbibes a refreshing draught of cool water or the warmth and light of the sun. Mrs. Eddy states in her chapter on prayer in Science and Health (p. 15), "Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error."
Perfect prayer consists not in the multitude of words, but in the strength of the pure desire which raises the thought toward God. To pray effectively Jesus said we must enter into our closet and close the door and our Father which seeth in secret will reward us openly - we must shut out our fears and anxieties for ourselves and others and realize the facts of our true being as the sons and daughters of God. There is an old proverb which reads, "The bee that gathers the honey is not the one that flits from flower to flower, but the one that remains down in the flower." The benefits of this will be appreciated in its application to prayer. It is not the hurried, wordy prayer, but, rather, quietly dwelling upon and realizing the holy, loving nature of God that brings us His blessings.
Now Jesus frequently took himself apart from the crowded cities and towns to a mountain or hilltop in order to be alone in prayer. It was not so much the physical isolation as the conscious elevation above all materiality, the realization of man's unity with God, which Jesus desired. In following Jesus' history we find those periods of elevated thought succeeded by great demonstrations of spiritual power. God's man was revealed so clearly in his thought that he saw only the perfect image and likeness of the Father. And the climax of his demonstration over death occurred shortly after his prayerful experience on the Mount of Olives.
Working Christian Scientists soon realize the great need for these periods of spiritual refreshment, these moments spent in God's presence, imbibing His purity, wisdom, strength, and joy with which to meet and overcome the errors of material existence. Mrs. Eddy states in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 13): "Three times a day, I retire to seek the divine blessing on the sick and sorrowing, with my face toward the Jerusalem of Love and Truth, in silent prayer to the Father which seeth in secret,' and with childlike confidence that He will reward 'openly.' In the midst of depressing care and labor I turn constantly to divine Love for guidance, and find rest."
Among Christian Scientists and, indeed, others, one is apt to hear the expression, "Well, the thing has got to be handled; we've got to handle it or it will handle us." This handling of a problem or situation is the necessary means of destroying its claims to discourage and depress us. And the fundamental fact in the practice of the Christian religion is to recognize the great truths of God's allness and intelligence and then handle or correct the spurious claims of evil.
Beginning with the premise that God or good is All-in-all, the only presence, we see that evil must be nothing. Evil is referred to in the Scriptures as a serpent, always hiding itself in the guise of good, and that is just what material beliefs are constantly trying to do - impress us that there is pleasure in matter and only dullness in Spirit. But when we have found out, to our joy, that matter and its beliefs can result only in suffering and sorrow and that happiness and true pleasure are qualities of divine Mind, we are then ready to seek Him in whose presence, the Psalmist said, there is "fullness of joy"; and at whose "right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
For a fine example of handling error let me recall another incident which happened to Moses. The story goes that Moses, upon being instructed by God to rescue the children of Israel from slavery to the Egyptians, answered God, saying, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee."
We may gain a splendid lesson from this incident, for it shows matter to be a belief only, which becomes dangerous or beneficent according to our thought about it. Then error should be handled from its most dangerous aspect, for it cannot hurt you.
A little child had been suffering from a severe earache, or mastoiditis, and as her mother was unable to meet and heal the condition a Christian Science practitioner was asked to help, so treatment was taken up. Instead of getting any relief the child seemed to grow worse, and the mother more fearful. The practitioner had been faithful and sincere in her work. But she knew that had she rightly diagnosed the case it would have been healed. So, in humility and trust, she turned to God and asked Him to reveal to her the error of belief that was holding the patient. After a few moments of quiet, prayerful meditation, like a beam of light in the darkness, came the words, "Handle the error from its most dangerous aspect." The thought was then turned to find what was the most dangerous aspect of the case, and suddenly the answer came, "Why, the mother is afraid that the little one is going to die." The most dangerous aspect is always the fear of death. Immediately the practitioner turned her attention silently to the claim of death. She knew that God is the life of man and life can never result in death, that God is Love, and mercy and compassion are always present to overcome the beliefs of everlasting punishment and condemnation, that perfect Love casts out fear or inflammation. The action of these true ideas soon had its effects on the mortal fear and helplessness expressed by the mother; and the child, released from the mother's fear-laden thoughts, quickly recovered from the beliefs of suffering and in a few hours was entirely free and about her play. What a beautiful answer to understanding prayer!
There is today a marked increase in prayerful consideration of God and many evidences of His guidance and protection. In the war in which we as a nation are concerned with our allies, we hear from time to time of men in great extremity showing exceptional judgment. We also hear of numberless cases of endurance and strength beyond the ordinary human capacity and under circumstances of almost unbelievable stress. We hear, too, of what seem to the human sense miraculous escapes from conditions threatening disaster. These incidents all point to the presence of Mind's direction. God's omnipresence and omnipotence are set forth strikingly in the one hundred and thirty-ninth Psalm. Let me read from it:
7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, 1 am still with thee."
Why does God have so intimate a knowledge of man? Because man is the creation of God. Then God is the Mind of man and forever blesses him with thoughts that can only comfort, cheer, instruct, correct, guide, and empower!
As we begin to understand even a little of this watchful care and guidance we wonder that we ever should drift from that presence and goodness and can only account for it on the ground that as yet we have not sufficiently understood the nothingness of material existence.
At this crucial period in the world's history men and women are looking and searching, as never before, for that heavenly reassurance which will enable them to look beyond the physical evidence of evil to that spiritual consciousness or divine presence, in which there is no war, no disease, no death, and where the brotherhood of man is already established, to that secret place of the Most High, where one truly finds his protection from this onslaught of paganism against Christianity.
Never before has the earth been so engulfed in war. This fact leads one to reasonably expect that, because of its all-embracing nature, there will emerge from this fiery trial a peace promising more lasting good than the world has ever known. The prophet Ezekiel's words are being fulfilled: " I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is." This prophecy will not stop short of complete fulfillment, which shall be the coming of the Christ, Truth, to the individual consciousness of every man, woman, and child. Then they "shall know me, from the least to the greatest" (Hebrews 8:11).
The despotic forces of evil - self-will, injustice, cruelty, theft, and destruction - seem to be holding sway over a great part of the world. And there are evidences of the infiltration of anti-Christian methods and purposes in every portion of the globe.
We must not, however, be dismayed at the picture presented by mortal mind for, as Mrs. Eddy states (Science and Health, p. 97), "The more destructive matter becomes, the more its nothingness will appear, until matter reaches its mortal zenith in illusion and forever disappears." But unless we are awake and alert to the hidden ways of Satan's warfare, we shall find ourselves either lulled into apathy by it, or made frantic by fear. The purpose of Satan is always to divide and separate, and then destroy individually, whether it be groups of persons or groups of nations. United we'll stand, divided we'll fall.
As our eyes are opened through spiritual clear-sightedness to the presence of God, we shall behold the unseen chariots and horses that the prophet Elisha saw, and rise in strength and courage to face any foe. "For they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Unflinching, unyielding faithfulness to God and to mankind, a refusal to admit the power of the strongest and most tenacious suggestions of evil - these stalwart traits of character may at any moment receive marvelous rewards.
The Christian peoples of the world have accepted the challenge of materialism and paganism and have virtually taken up the burden of all oppressed peoples everywhere. God will supply strength and grace, wisdom and power to those who do His work, for it is self-evident that God works with those who work with Him. Hence our hope and faith in ultimate victory.
Let us throw away the crutches of dependence on matter and physicality, and lean on the sustaining arms of God. Let us put off the dark glasses of prejudice, fear, and doubt and look through the lens of faith and hope; let us take off the sack-cloth of self-pity and self-justification and put on the robes of gratitude and joy. Let us stop bringing in the beliefs of passions and appetites and imbibe the inspiration of purity and love. Remember, God's words to Moses are for you, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Let this presence go with you in your church, in your business, in your home, in your school, in your innocent pleasures, in your car, in the cockpit of your bomber, in the depths of the sea, in your submarine, on the bridge of the battleship, in the workshop, the shipyard, the battlefield, at home and abroad. There is no place where His presence may not be felt and His power realized. For in God's presence evil is forever absent and God is present here, now, and forever.
[Published in The Milwaukee (Wisconsin) County News, June 16, 1955. This copy was made from a badly decomposed page. As a consequence, in two paragraphs in the section "The Nature of God," missing text has been supplied from another copy of the lecture and is set off in brackets.]