Christian Science: Healing by the Power of God
Ralph Castle, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
To heal disease and sin, it is
necessary to understand the power
and love of God, Ralph Castle, C.S., of
The spiritual rules of healing applied by Christ Jesus enabled him to meet every situation as its master, and these rules are available today for all to understand and to practice, Mr. Castle stated.
During the course of his lecture entitled "Christian Science: Healing by the Power of God," he described healings of alcoholism, pneumonia, and drug addiction.
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, he was introduced by Arnold H. Exo, First Reader of The Mother Church.
Orders from a Higher Source
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
"I also am a man set under
authority" (Luke 7:8). This declaration, made by the Roman centurion when
appealing to Jesus the Christ to heal his servant, implied definitely his
recognition that the Master did not perform his mighty works through human will
or any power of his own, but that he was acting under orders received from a
higher source. Although unable to formulate a description of this higher power,
the centurion was conscious - maybe only dimly - of the Christ, or the power of
God, infinite Truth, as the authority under which Jesus worked and in whose
name the Saviour healed the sick and raised the dead. Jesus discerned the
spiritual quality which the centurion expressed; for, as you remember, he
commented, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in
Through the centuries spiritually-minded men and women have glimpsed the Christ, or the divine Truth which Jesus manifested, to the extent that they were enabled to contribute to the spiritual growth of others. It remained for Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of Christian Science, actually to set forth in language understandable by all what she describes as the Science of Christianity or Christian Science; in other words, the spiritual rules applied by Jesus, which resulted in miracles and mighty works. Albeit, Mary Baker Eddy did not present these rules to the world until she had proved by demonstration that their correct application furnished clear evidence of physical healing and moral regeneration.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science was not the result of a sudden vision or of an instantaneous revelation. It was vision, to be sure - spiritual vision - developed and cultivated by her through the years, and her writings are unquestionably the outcome of divine revelation. We need to remember that she was spiritually prepared to receive this revelation by virtue of her own implicit faith in the power and love of God, a faith which she had possessed since early childhood and which was justified by an instantaneous physical healing when she was only twelve years of age. Several years later she again proved the power of God by another instantaneous physical healing.
Mrs. Eddy found ‘Positive Rule’
Students of Christian Science are familiar with the details of this healing and of Mrs. Eddy's subsequent withdrawal from society that she might search the Scriptures and devote her time and energies to discovering what she termed "a positive rule." On page 109 of her textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy writes, ''The revelation of Truth in the understanding came to me gradually and apparently through divine power." On page 110 we read: "Jesus demonstrated the power of Christian Science to heal mortal minds and bodies. But this power was lost sight of, and must again be spiritually discerned, taught, and demonstrated according to Christ's command, with 'signs following.' "
Surely this power, which was lost sight of, the power by which Jesus healed, is the power, or authority, of God. And this power, or authority, can only be spiritually discerned. It is a spiritually mental operation. Nothing material enters into its premises or conclusions. It is the prayer of realization in distinction from prayer which is merely a petition, and the signs following are seen in the healing of bodily ailments and the regeneration of the sinful. In a chapter entitled "Fruitage" in the Christian Science textbook, one hundred pages are devoted to recounting authenticated healings in Christian Science, healings which resulted from reading the Christian Science textbook. Materiality, or physicality, lacking spiritual comprehension, constantly is challenging the demonstration of this power with the question, "By what authority doest thou these things?" (Matt. 21:23).
It is significant that when he was challenged by the Pharisees, "By what authority doest thou these things?" Jesus declined to answer. On another occasion he stated quite definitely, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John ), and in John Jesus is recorded as saying, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works." Jesus knew that only those who grasped the spiritual import of his words could perceive that it was his realization of the presence of the Christ, or power of God, which enabled him to perform the miracles, so-called, as recorded in the Gospels. Through spiritual discernment Jesus detected that the Pharisees, who questioned his authority, were so steeped in materiality, and were so fearful and resentful of the effect his works were having on the people, that they could not, and would not, have understood him had he declared his authority as that of the one God. On the other hand, with Nicodemus he was willing to enter into quite a lengthy discussion. In other words, the Master dealt with each set of circumstances as he was divinely led. He adhered to no set custom and followed no formula. He met every situation as its master, fully aware that he was God-equipped to speak and to act as the occasion demanded.
Jesus Endowed With Divine Spirit
For the benefit of the newcomer, it may be well to mention briefly the distinction which existed originally, and which is retained in Christian Science, between Jesus as the name of the human being and the Christ as his divine title. "Thou art the Christ," said Peter, "the Son of the living God" (Matt. ). Peter's declaration could be paraphrased, "Thou are the Anointed One - the Messiah, or Saviour - for whom the Jews have been waiting, watching, and praying."
On page 312 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy has written: "Jesus' spiritual origin and his demonstration of divine Principle richly endowed him and entitled him to sonship in Science. He was the son of a virgin." Mary's purity of thought and spiritual perception of man as an idea of God, instead of a materially conceived embryo, enabled her to bring a son into the world spiritually empowered. To his fellows, Jesus appeared as a human being; yet, as our Leader states, "he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure" (ibid., p. 30). This duality of Jesus and the Christ enabled him at an early age to perceive spiritually his own, or man's, true being. He apprehended true creation as spiritual ideas of God, contrary to the generally accepted thought of mankind that man is a product of the sensual or physical. Jesus' birth was under authority; his ministry, his resurrection from the grave, and his final ascension, all testified to his unqualified recognition of the government of God and of his inseparability from Christ, or Truth, which demonstrates that government.
A definition in Webster's dictionary of the verb "heal" is, "to restore to original purity or integrity." And that is the purpose of Christian Science. Let us note particularly the word "original." We seek to restore our individual concept of man and the universe to their original condition of purity or integrity. This restoration is not a physical operation, but a distinctly mental process, a spiritually mental process. Purity and integrity in their higher meanings are spiritual qualities.
Prophets Caught Glorious Glimpses
The spiritually-minded have been receptive to the Christ, or truth of God, in all times, and have been divinely inspired to express and to record their revelations. On page 333 of the textbook, Mrs. Eddy has written, "The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days." A little later on the same page we read, "Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love." It is not inconsistent to say that centuries before the Master taught and practiced Christianity, Christian Science was recognized in some degree by spiritually-minded persons as embodying the idea of true identity and existence. It does not mean that the truth concerning God and man was known as Christian Science. This name was given by Mrs. Eddy to her discovery of the rules of spiritual healing and to designate the law of God, which she found underlies all true being. A marginal note in the Christian Science textbooks reads, "Christian Science as old as God" (ibid., p. 146). Christian Science was not invented or originated by Mrs. Eddy. Through divine revelation and her consecrated labors she discovered it. The law was ever in operation. The law must have been in operation or there would have been no creator and no creation. God and spiritual law are one and the same.
Creation cannot differ in substance or quality from the creator. Cause and effect is one. God, Spirit, the first and only cause, produced and still produces spiritual effect. It is the law. For creation to express Life, the creator must be Life. Hence, God, Spirit, and Life are one and the same. God can be cognizant only of His own being and His own creation. As Life, God is not cognizant of death. His creation, consisting of individual expressions of Himself, Life, cannot be cognizant of death. Death being unknown to God, death is unknown to His image and likeness, man. Death is a phase in the dream of mortal existence - a phase of the belief in a power apart from God - a belief, not the truth.
That you and I appear to be here in the flesh, each with his own personal viewpoints on many subjects, shows that mankind believes in a material creation and that man is a human being. In other words, mankind believes in a power apart from God. So we need to define whom and what we mean when we discuss man from the standpoint of Christian Science. Christian Science admits no power apart from God. How could it, if it is the truth concerning the law of God?
We will agree that there is a thought generally held in the world that individuals are persons, humanly conceived, who are here for a certain number of years but are subject at any time to sickness and death, and who have an ability, if not a propensity, to sin. When we talk about man in Christian Science we have reference to the God-created man mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. It is the purpose of this talk to endeavor to present this real man, as we term him, in a manner understandable to the newcomer, and to help raise our own individual concept of selfhood away from false, material beliefs of sinfulness, sorrow, sickness, lack - discord in any form - into a higher understanding of our individual inheritance as a child of God, an inheritance reflecting the divine nature and qualities.
Seven Synonyms for God Revealed
To enjoy this inheritance we need to know as much as possible of the truth concerning God, and in addition, our right to exercise this knowledge in overcoming inharmonious situations of every kind. That we, individually, possess consciousness is proved by the fact that we have the ability to think. It is this consciousness, which humanly speaking we call our mind, that needs to be restored through spiritual understanding. On page 254 of Science and Health our Leader says, "The human self must be evangelized." And she adds, "This task God demands us to accept lovingly to-day, and to abandon so fast as practical the material, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual." This is a healing process by the power of God. Let us remember that the name or power of God signifies also His attributes and qualities. Representing God, therefore, means expressing only those attributes and qualities.
We are all familiar with Paul's admonition, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Jesus expressed and reflected the power of God, infinite Truth. Divine Mind is a synonymous term for God. The individual human mind or consciousness is not and cannot be a reflection of the divine consciousness, or Mind, called God. By its very nature the human mind is partly good and partly bad; but by our ability to reason from the basis of spiritual causation, and by our willingness to discard or mentally destroy thoughts which we realize are not Godlike, we purify our own thinking. This is a restorative process, a process which will eliminate the false beliefs of the human mind, as such, and awaken us to glorified being as God's own likeness, perfect and eternal - a task which God, Mind, demands us lovingly to accept today.
In her meditations upon God which resulted in her discovery of Christian Science it was revealed to Mrs. Eddy that the titles for God are signified by seven all-embracing terms. Each of these terms although synonymous conveys to human thought various aspects of Deity. Before going further let me name these seven synonyms. They are Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. Meditating upon their meanings and expanding on the qualities of each, we broaden our concept of Deity to an extent possible in no other way. By the same token, our knowledge of true selfhood is expanded, for we have already seen that to represent God, to heal in His name, we must seek to express, as well as to understand, His qualities. We have already touched briefly on God as Life and as divine Mind and we have agreed that God is Spirit.
Spiritual Law Admits No Error
Let us now think of God as Principle. The more we ponder this revelation, the more we perceive that God cannot be less than or other than divine Principle. Law manifests Principle. We are speaking, of course, of spiritual law. Principle admits no error. Spiritual law admits no error. Principle knows no mistake. There can be no mistake in God's law. Mind, Spirit, Life, Principle are one and the same.
The more we grasp the facts of spiritual creation, or spiritual causation, the more clearly does real selfhood dawn on the understanding, as opposed to the material belief that you and I are merely flesh and blood with something called a brain which enables us to think. Rather do we recognize our consciousness as embodying individual eternality, indestructibility, and perpetual reflection of the power, presence, and qualities of God. And it is this spiritual conviction which inspires us to acknowledge our God-given authority to heal in His name - to resist mentally all that is unlike Him - in short, restore to original purity or integrity the individual concept of ourselves and others. And it is essential that we start with ourselves.
We all remember the Biblical command to love one's neighbor as oneself. An aspect of loving is understanding. We need to understand our neighbor as we understand ourselves. It follows that this is possible only when we know or understand ourselves. When we arrive at definite conclusions regarding our true selfhood as an expression of God's being, we cannot fail to have arrived at the same conclusion regarding our neighbor. Conversely, so long as we attach ungodlike qualities to our neighbor we have failed to reach a full understanding of our own true being. As we saw a moment ago, Principle knows nothing of error, cannot see or entertain error in any way. If it did, it wouldn't be Principle. Hence an expression of Principle, which we know to be true manhood, cannot be cognizant of qualities unlike Principle.
Let us see where this line of reasoning takes us in everyday affairs - in other words, its practicality. We should return to what was said about Jesus and his attitude toward his critics as well as toward those who were earnestly seeking the Christ. Jesus differentiated between hypocrisy and sincerity. He condemned the one in no uncertain terms while he encouraged the other with patience and love. He admonished his followers, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matt. 7:1). Yet he warned them, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matt. ). In the light which Christian Science throws upon the Bible, there is nothing conflicting in these sayings of the Master. Perhaps the experience of a somewhat new student in Christian Science may illustrate.
Principle Directed the Solution
This young man belonged to an organized group of citizens and acted as their treasurer, the funds being kept in his personal account at the bank. A member of the group, knowing this, asked him to endorse a check which he had drawn on his home-town bank, situated several miles away. The endorsement was made in good faith, but a few days later the endorser's bank called to say the check had been returned marked "No account," and informed our friend his own account would be charged with the amount. This was quite serious, for the sum was far greater than he could afford to lose. He knew immediately that this was an occasion when he would have to turn to God for guidance. Humanly speaking, he didn't know what step to take. Who was he to sit in judgment on the other one and jump to the conclusion that his colleague was dishonest? On the other hand, was it right to be imposed upon? Although not feeling sufficiently confident to detect guilt or innocence, he became convinced that God, divine Mind, would direct him. After a few preliminary moves and viewing the circumstances as closely as possible from the point of Principle, much against his personal inclinations he swore out a warrant for the other's arrest. The case went to court, and restitution was arranged. As the two men walked away together, the defendant turned to the Christian Scientist and expressed deep gratitude for what had been done. He said that he would hate to think what might have happened had he been allowed to get away with the fraud, and that now he wanted something of what the other had. Asked what this was, the reply was, "Christian Science."
It should be said this incident occurred in the early days of World War I. Several months later the two met again. They were in uniform. The one who had formerly been arrested was engaged in what was considered a particularly hazardous duty. But he made light of it, saying that he was so grateful to have obtained some understanding of Christian Science, and he knew that God protected him in all he was called upon to do in line of duty.
The point I am making is, had the Christian Scientist followed his human desire to refrain from taking what seemed to him drastic action, there is no knowing what might have resulted. Listening to the dictates of Principle, realizing the government of the one divine Mind, and acting without prejudice or resentment, both persons were greatly blessed. It was a healing of sin by the power of God.
To many persons, especially those of us who were brought up in an orthodox religion, the meaning of the word "soul" was rather mysterious. I remember, as a boy, being told that upon the passing of a member of the family angels came and escorted the soul of that loved one to heaven. My parents were seriously religious and believed what they said. A strange "something" which had existed within the physical body was released by death, and, unseen to human eyes, made its way skyward, there to wait judgment upon the deeds and misdeeds of its former owner. This is not said with any disrespectful or flippant thought. On the contrary, I am intensely serious, for a proper understanding of soul is of great importance to the study and practice of Christian Science. Christian Scientists are profoundly grateful to Mary Baker Eddy, and her logical yet divinely inspired explanation of soul is one of their reasons for gratitude.
Man Reflects Qualities of Soul
Mrs. Eddy makes a distinction between Soul, capitalized, and soul spelled with a small "s." The former she shows to be synonymous with God, while the latter means sense. And in this connection we need to distinguish between the sense which is material and the sense which is spiritual. This distinction enables us to read the Bible intelligently, for with these differing meanings in thought we can separate, mentally, the soul which is "cast down," as was David's on occasions, and the soul of Mary which magnified the Lord. Material sense cannot magnify the Lord, neither can spiritual sense, which is God-derived, be cast down. As we need a definition of man in order properly to discuss Christian Science, so do we need a definition of soul. Much misunderstanding, or perhaps lack of understanding, is due to an inability to agree on the meaning of these words.
In this discussion we have seen that the real man expresses or reflects God's true nature, His attributes and qualities. The real man, therefore, reflects the qualities of Soul, God. We cannot obtain the faintest understanding of Soul through material sense, any more than we can of God. We cannot impute sin to Soul, for sin is unknown to Principle. Hence we find God, Soul, and Principle to be one and the same. What does this mean to you and me?
As individual ideas of God, conscious through spiritual sense of expressing God, you and I express Soul. One attribute of Soul is immortality. It follows that an individual expression of Soul is an individual expression of immortality. Your consciousness, and mine too, are immortal. I do not mean this material identity which is recognizable only through physical perception, but our spiritual identity - our original purity or integrity which Christian Science enables us to restore, here and now, to the extent that we gain clearer, correct views of God and of His spiritual creation. On page 477 of the Christian Science textbook we read, "Soul is the substance, Life, and intelligence of man, which is individualized, but not in matter." Note that Soul, God, is individualized as man. Individual man's true identity is a reflection of Soul. And this reflection is substantial. It reflects the divine substance of Spirit. Mankind believes matter to be substantial. It calls that substance which can be handled physically; but that is not substance because it is not eternal.
Christian Science Interprets Term
Here again we find that Christian Science metaphysically interprets the meaning of a generally accepted term. Why? Because all these meanings are based on what is understood to be real as against what is considered unreal. Mankind contends that what it believes to be real or substantial is more than imaginary or confined to material perception - in a word, that which can be recognized by the physical senses. Yet it has been demonstrated that all material substance, so-called, can be dissipated to the point where the physical senses cognize it no longer. That which was considered to be real is proved to be unreal, for it ceases to exist, as mankind regards existence. Christ Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). The Christ, Truth, expressed by Jesus is real. Truth is substance because it is indestructible. Substance, as Christian Science explains it, cannot include any discordant element. Soul cannot experience sickness, suffering, or lack. Therefore, as Soul is the substance of man, man cannot experience sickness, suffering, or lack. Man lives in Soul, therefore man never lacks substance. This is a most reassuring truth and is pertinent in refuting many false, material suggestions.
A friend of mine tells of a healing in Christian Science experienced by his father and which he witnessed. Over a period of seven years the father had spent considerable time in a hospital, had been operated upon six times, and had to submit to extremely painful dressings. Conditions reached the point where it was thought nothing more could be done for him, and he was given up to die. Christian Science was introduced and accepted. During his illness the patient had acquired the drug habit, and he relied upon morphine capsules to relieve him from pain. The morning following his first Christian Science treatment he went downtown to the drugstore, and, as was his custom, presented the prescription and tendered a dollar in payment. After the druggist had placed the box of capsules in his hand, my friend's father said suddenly, "I don't want this," laid it down, and left the store.
Instantaneous Healing Reported
Upon returning home he told his family what had taken place and said he had no recollection of having gone to the drugstore in the first place, much less asking for the morphine capsules, and it was as though he had suddenly awakened when the box was handed to him. This healing was instantaneous and permanent. Pain soon ceased under Christian Science treatment, and an unsightly bodily condition was restored to a normal state in color and texture. When Christian Science treatments commenced, my friend was requested not to look at the father's wound. At the end of ten days he was requested to look at it again, this time to confirm that others were not dreaming because the healing was, to them, so remarkable. What had seemed to be lost substance of flesh was being replenished.
This healing in Christian Science made such a profound impression upon the inhabitants of the small midwestern city in which it took place that one who had been a periodical drunkard for over thirty years turned to Christian Science for help. A practitioner visited him in his room, where he had been in a drunken stupor for two weeks. When the practitioner left, the man reached for his bottle of whisky, intending to take "just one more drink." Instead, he placed it back on the shelf, remarking in strong terms that if the Christian Scientist was fool enough to trust him and leave the bottle within reach, he would live up to the trust. Long before the practitioner reached his home, to which, incidentally, he trudged in a blinding blizzard, the patient was mentally clear and was calling for food. This instantaneous healing occurred on a Christmas Eve, and the following day was the occasion for a happy family gathering. The man's legal practice began to grow rapidly, and in a few years he was in receipt of a substantial income. His thought of lack of substance underwent a complete change.
My friend himself had a beautiful healing in Christian Science. When he was about seventeen years of age he was stricken with pneumonia for the fourth time. This was soon after his father had received his own healing; yet the father's faith in Christian Science had not reached the point where he would rely upon it for the healing of his son. Not until two physicians had said nothing more could be done, did the father telegraph to a practitioner in another city for treatment. The boy had been unconscious for many hours. Immediately after Christian Science treatment was commenced he regained consciousness, sat up in bed, and insisted upon getting up. In ten days he was back in school. These healings made such an impression on my friend that he readily accepted the truth of Christian Science as presented by Mary Baker Eddy although, he admits, at first he did not understand much of what he read. Through the years, however, he has been an active, working Christian Scientist, and his own realization of substance as spiritual has been objectified.
Understanding of Truth Heals
In the Preface to the Christian Science textbook Mrs. Eddy says (p. viii), "The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration, - by healing both disease and sin." We have already seen that to heal disease and sin it is necessary to understand the healing power - the power of God. So we find the term Truth to be synonymous with God.
In John 14 we read that Jesus said to Thomas, the disciple, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He continued, "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also." It is generally conceded among Bible scholars that when Jesus referred to himself as an earthly personality, he did so as "the Son of man," and that when he used the first person pronouns he was recognizing his Messianic mission and had reference to himself, not as the human Jesus, but as the Son of God. Had Thomas possessed the spiritual perception, he would have recognized the Christ, or true spiritual nature of Jesus, which expressed the Father, God. Condensing Jesus' statement, Christ is the divine manifestation of Truth. Also, no man cometh unto (or arrives at any understanding of) God, but by Christ, Truth. Hence we perceive Christ and Truth to be inseparable, just as the Christ and God are inseparable. Truth is God. Truth and God are one and the same. God, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, and Truth are one and the same.
You remember that when Jesus healed the man who was sick of the palsy, he first told the man his sins were forgiven him. This aroused such criticism on the part of the scribes that he declared that "the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," and to prove this power he immediately healed the man of his palsied condition. Note the words, "hath power." Jesus did not say that the Son of man forgave sin. He invoked the power invested in him as the representative of God. He acted under authority.
It is reasonable to assume that, irrespective of denomination, all Christian peoples agree that "God is love" (I John ). The words are known throughout the world, and children are taught them at an early age. Yet hasn't there been a slight confusion between God as Love and God as loving? While being taught that "God is love," were we not also informed that God could be angry and that God could punish? When we stop to think about it, this appears to be somewhat conflicting. And so it is, until we properly capitalize Love and use the term as a synonym for God. Yet when we do this, we need to revise our concept of Love and distinguish it from the act of loving. On page 319 of the textbook Mrs. Eddy explains that "we can by special and proper capitalization speak of the love of Love," and she goes on to say, "meaning by that what the beloved disciple meant in one of his epistles, when he said, 'God is love.' "
God, good, knows no evil; Principle cannot admit a mistake; Life does not experience death; Love is incapable of anger or hatred. Opposites are unknown to each other. Light knows no darkness and the darkness has no light. They cannot mingle. The darkness is dispelled by light, and this simile serves to illustrate the effect of spiritualizing influence in human consciousness. As darkness disappears when light shines, so do false, material beliefs vanish when displaced in our thinking by the truths of creation.
Recognizing Sin Aids Its Destruction
As we advance spiritually, we will, with less conscious effort, perceive God through the terms we have applied - Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. At this stage of progress it is extremely helpful to work mentally from the standpoint of the seven synonyms, chiefly because human thought has not shown the capacity to grasp the fullness of God in one word. Further than that, and as we have seen, to the extent that we are in ignorance of God's completeness, so are we in ignorance of true selfhood and of the true selfhood of others. As a simple example, let us consider a case of sin. But in doing so, let us remember that although Christian Science teaches that sin is unreal in the same sense that sickness is unreal, nevertheless sin most certainly cannot be ignored as an element which needs to be uncovered and destroyed. An admission of sickness may tend to retard the healing, whereas a recognition of sin aids in its destruction. Sin assumes many phases. It is not always violent or vicious; yet it is ever a hindrance to our realization of true selfhood as a child or idea of God. In order to heal an individual by Christian Science treatment, while it may be desirable to handle mentally the sinful belief from certain specific aspects, the fact that man, as understood in Christian Science, reflects God as Principle might be one logical approach. Principle has furnished an invariable standard of living for man, from which no deviation is possible. Should the sinful person's action bring unhappiness or suffering to others, God as Love supplies truths pertinent to such circumstances. Reflecting Love, man made in the image of God not only would not wish to harm, but is incapable of harming another. Love implies consideration, care, and protection. All these qualities, and others of a similar nature, constitute the act of loving, which is an expression of true being. Again, reflecting the one Mind, man manifests intelligence, wisdom, and true knowledge. As an intelligent being, man cannot sin, for sinfulness indicates an absence of intelligence. In short, we are mentally substituting spiritual counterfacts concerning man as the image of God for the false, material beliefs regarding man as a sick and sinning mortal.
Each Prayer Is an Unfoldment
For the benefit of the newcomer let it be said that there is no formula for Christian Science treatment. Each prayer, or treatment, in Christian Science is an unfoldment and expansion from basic truths. Spiritual refreshment and inspiration are ever requisite, and the student of Christian Science prays for and is alert to the reception of these elements. Mere repetition of memorized statements from the Bible and our Leader's writings is not, in itself, sufficient, although study of the word is indispensable and promotes spiritual understanding. The correct answer to any question can be obtained only by realization of Truth, accompanied by correct application of the rules of Christian Science. Our approach toward the solution of any difficulty, whether it seem personal or whether we are called upon to help another, is heartened by the knowledge that Christian Science empowers us to meet and to master every discordant situation.
We hear, and read in testimonies in our periodicals, that healings often have been instantaneous when erroneous traits of character have been displaced by Christlike qualities. Physical ailments, sometimes called malignant, have been completely healed when, shall we say, a sense of resentment toward another or toward circumstances, has been uncovered and destroyed. It behooves us, therefore, to keep our thoughts filled with the qualities of God that we may become better transparencies for the demonstration of Truth.
It is generally conceded that the greatest instance of betrayal recorded in history is Judas' betrayal of the Master. Details of the incident as related in each of the four Gospels vary but little. One writer records that Jesus addressed Judas by name, and another states that he greeted him with the term "Friend." Jesus, however, did not ignore the evil, as witness his words recorded in Matthew, "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!" But he did not express any resentment toward the one who was immediately responsible for his public humiliation, his bodily suffering, and his crucifixion. The Master allowed nothing personal to come between himself and Judas. He knew that the betrayal was actually directed against the Christ, Truth, which he represented. And this great spiritual fact was soon to be recorded, when, from the cross, he cried, "Father, forgive them." Jesus called upon the Father to forgive those who wished to put him to death, and in his resurrection he proved the utter powerlessness of evil to kill the Christ-idea. His attitude toward Judas illustrated his Christliness.
Mrs. Eddy Answered Hate with Love
Our beloved Leader did not escape persecution. One has only to read the authorized biographies of her life to realize how vicious were the attacks leveled at her, not alone from those who were unacquainted with her, but from many of her professed friends. The materially-minded turned in wrath against the spiritual truth she revealed, and reviled her when she persisted in presenting to the world a religion founded on the true understanding of God. Yet, in trials of her faith, when calumny was heaped upon her, she prayed to God to direct and control her thoughts and actions, and she expressed love and tolerance toward those who had wronged her. Like the Way-shower, she realized that the hatred of the world is powerless, and that Love alone is real and powerful.
In our human experience we sometimes seem to be the object of unkindness or injustice at the hands of those to whom nothing but friendliness and love have been extended. Then comes a temptation to feel hurt, perhaps resentful. Even if these emotions are conquered, there still may linger the thought that the less seen of the other person the better. At such a time it is desirable to analyze our feelings a little more closely in the light of the teachings of Christian Science, for these are based on the words and works of Christ Jesus, who demonstrated the utter powerlessness of everything unlike good. Inharmony in personal relationships often results when pride has been hurt. On page 224 of her "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says: "It is our pride that makes another's criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another's deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another's self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others." She adds, "Nothing short of our own errors should offend us."
What peace and comfort are obtained from thinking on these truths! Gratefully, we realize that the mesmerism of hurt or unhappiness can be broken instantly. Directly the error is uncovered it is mainly destroyed. But it must be utterly cast out - not ninety-nine percent cast out and one percent allowed to lurk in memory, but one hundred percent removed from consciousness. And to this end we are inspired and encouraged by the prayer contained in one of our Leader's hymns (Poems, p. 6):
"Thou to whose power our hope we give,
Free us from human strife.
Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
Speaks kindly when we meet and part."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, May 17, 1957.]