Christian Science: The Supreme Discovery of the Age
John Randall Dunn, C.S.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
I have chosen for the subject of my remarks, "Christian Science: The Supreme Discovery of the Age." To some of you such classification may seem arbitrary, may appear even presumptuous. But a few moments' consideration of the great subject of Christian Science, its origin, its promise, and its fruitage, should not fail to convince the most skeptical that the revelation of this truth to the world may well be denominated The Supreme Discovery of The Age. And it is not an extravagant statement to say that it is vastly more important to the human family than the most notable achievements chronicled in the realm of natural science or human invention, for it concerns you and me more than the discovery of the thousand and one marvels which on all sides spring to our service at the touch of a button or the motion of a lever.
Material Achievement Inadequate
The world has made marvelous strides in the subjugation of the electric current, but has it made proportionate progress in the subjugation of animality, of hate, of greed? Geologists have laid bare the great mineral heart of the earth and from its depths have taken an ever-increasing store of treasure. But has human ingenuity developed any invention whereby fear and sorrow and discouragement may be extracted from the human heart? The efforts of a self-sacrificing body of medical men are bringing to light every conceivable material theory for the alleviation of human suffering. And yet the underlying cause of disease seems untouched, and frightened humanity is still confronted with a terrifying list of so-called incurable diseases. The human mind has been taxed to discover new luxuries, and new modes of amusement, to keep pace with mortals' fickle and ever-changing demands. But can it be said that its accomplishment along these lines has brought to the famished affections anything that truly satisfies, anything that brings abiding peace and happiness? Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" And we may well inquire what shall it profit us, if we reach the zenith of material achievement and have no peace, no satisfaction, no spirituality, and no health?
Breaking of Greater Spiritual Light
It should not seem unreasonable to anticipate that an age which has brought forth such material marvels should also witness the breaking of greater spiritual light. To this thought, however, the average man comes with more or less caution. He willingly supplants his grandfather's candle with a modern incandescent lamp, unblushingly prefers an automobile to an ox cart, and yet hesitates to accept the thought that he should expect advancement along the line of spiritual unfoldment as well as advancement in the realm material. He probably tells you that the religion of his fathers is good enough for him, and on this point he will find no argument with a Christian Scientist, for the religion of the fathers is good enough for him if by the fathers he means the early Christian fathers. The religion of Jesus and the early Christians, the religion which was evidenced by the healing of the sick, the stilling of the tempest, and the feeding of the multitude, is indeed good enough for all mankind; in fact, it is the only panacea that is good enough for the aching heart of man. And it is to this selfsame religion of Jesus that Christian Science, this great twentieth-century religious movement, turns the sick and weary of the earth.
Christian Science is not a modern philosophy, not the "product of a fertile human brain." It is the revelation of the spiritual facts of being, the revelation of the truth about God and man taught by Jesus and the prophets, and it is all to be found in the Bible.
The Path Marked by Jesus
Have you ever seen in the mountains a "blazed" trail? A large piece of bark is cleft from a tree, and this operation is repeated on other trees at frequent intervals throughout the length of the trail. No matter how the trees may grow, the "blaze" remains, and so the trail is marked out for generations to come. When the world seemed immersed in the materialism of Jewish theology and Roman paganism, there appeared one whose mission was to point the way to spirituality, to deliverance and healing, and he "blazed" a trail to the Father's house so plain, so simple, that a child could follow it. But in after centuries fast-growing weeds of ritual and human doctrines, of political power and ecclesiastical worldliness, obscured the trail, and mortals seemed content to follow the devious paths of creeds until in our time a woman-pilgrim come upon it and gave to her discovery the name Christian Science, or the Science of Christianity, and she rested not until she had written a book showing you and me how to find it. This guide-book is called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and is the text-book which Christian Scientists use in connection with their manual of life, the Bible.
The Manner of Truth's Appearing
A Christian Scientist loves to tell the story of the discovery of Christian Science, for the manner of Truth's appearing to Mary Baker Eddy is the way of its appearing to every hungering and receptive heart.
There is nothing of the spectacular or the emotional in this coming of Truth. It is the natural, orderly unfolding in the receptive human consciousness of the facts of being, and it comes to us, as angels have ever come to troubled humanity, when "in the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings" (Science and Health, p. 15) we silence self and listen to the "still small voice" of spiritual sense.
Mrs. Eddy's Healing
From her childhood Mrs. Eddy possessed a deeply religious nature. She was also a keen, analytical thinker, and long before the light of Christian Science dawned upon her thought, she was an earnest seeker after truth. She sought it in medicine and in every theory advanced by the human mind at that time, but from no human source could she find help when, in the year 1866, she seemed near the door of death. Then it was she called for her Bible. Many another sufferer has done this, especially when the last enemy appears not far distant from the bed of pain. But Mary Baker Eddy did not open her Bible to find therein comforting passages relating to the after-life. She sought in its sacred pages the promise of healing, the promise of deliverance through reliance on divine power, and she turned to this verse in the ninth chapter of Matthew:
"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."
Speaking of this experience in one of her writings, Mrs. Eddy says that as she read, the healing Truth dawned upon her sense, and she was enabled to rise from her supposed death-bed with a realization of health and strength. (See Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24.)
The Healing of the Sick of the Palsy
How many times has the Christian world read this simple story of the healing of the sick of the palsy and yet missed the vital import of its message! Let us consider the verses following that to which Mrs. Eddy turned:
"And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 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. And he arose, and departed to his house."
In the light of Mrs. Eddy's teachings we can discern plainly that the healing of sin and the healing of sickness were one and the same to the Master. Do you not believe that it is possible for a sinner to be instantaneously awakened from the nightmare of sin, if through the crust of his seared mentality can break a gleam of the sweetness of a more spiritual sense. Then you must concede that the sick man can be as speedily restored, and by the same method, — that is, if you accept Jesus' statement in the passage from Matthew, "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?"
The Discoverer a Woman
Occasionally one hears this question asked, "Why should a woman have been the discoverer of an eternal truth?" The most effective answer to this query may be obtained in a book entitled, "The Life of Mary Baker Eddy" by Sybil Wilbur. This work is an authentic record of Mrs. Eddy's career, and may be found in most public libraries and in every Christian Science free reading-room. When you read in the Life of Mrs. Eddy of her infinite patience during the trying and discouraging formative periods in the establishment of the cause of Christian Science, when you read of her persecutions, how she was ridiculed and reviled and urged to drop the "nonsense," as it was called, you will see that the leader of this movement had to be a woman, had to possess the instincts of the mother who clings to her child when all others forsake it; had to be endued with the fortitude and faith and perseverance which are the inherent possessions of a spiritually-minded woman!
I shall not attempt to speak for any man other than myself, but I shall tell you very frankly why I did not discover Christian Science. It was because I did not know enough; was not possessed of sufficient spiritual-mindedness, because I did not search the Scriptures, yearn and pray for light as did this devout woman! In fact, until beginning the study of Christian Science, it was not my habit to indulge in any deep thinking along religious lines. I accepted the inherited doctrinal teachings of my church very much as I accepted my given name and features, with no questioning and little analysis. You have heard probably of the old fisherman who was asked how he passed the time during the long winters when the frozen waters precluded the possibility of plying his trade. "Well," said he, "sometimes we set home and think, and sometimes we just set!" Is it not painfully true that this describes the mental status of many of us as regards the deep things of life? Christian Science bids us awake from this lethargy and accept the divine invitation chronicled in Isaiah, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord."
How to Read Science and Health
On the first page of the Preface of Science and Health we are told that "the time for thinkers has come." And as only those can understand this mighty revelation who think rightly or are willing to be taught so to do, it not infrequently follows that one hears this remark: "I have read Science and Health; in fact I have read it many times, but can get nothing from it." Yes, one might go to the sage-brush deserts of our western country and sow seed and then sow more seed, and never have a flower. If one is wise he will not sow until in some measure he has prepared the soil. There is irrigating to be done and the obstructive sage-bushes must be rooted out. Is it not possible, you who may have read and can find nothing, that your mental areas are cumbered with the stubborn growths of bias and criticism and self-satisfaction, or parched with the unlovely alkali of a purely material viewpoint?
Ruskin gives the following useful hints as to the proper way to arrive at the full meaning of a book. He says that we should study books: "First, with a desire to be taught by them, and to enter into their thoughts. To enter into theirs, observe; not to find your own expressed by them. If the person who wrote the book is not wiser than you, you need not read it; if he be, he will think differently from you in many respects. Very ready we are to say of a book; 'How good this is! that's exactly what I think.' But the right feeling is: 'How strange that is. I never thought of that before, and yet I see it is true; or if I do not now, I hope I shall some day.' But whether thus submissively or not, at least be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours. Judge it afterwards, if you think yourself qualified to do so, but ascertain it first."
So let us approach this unique volume with an open heart and a sincere desire to be taught. And if we persist in its study, nothing can withhold from us the joy of its message. To analyze or attempt even a resume of the seventeen chapters of Science and Health would require a period of time far greater than that allotted for this lecture. It is our purpose therefore to consider briefly but a few phases of Mrs. Eddy's discovery, especially those relating to the mission and teachings of Jesus and the possibility of repeating his healing work.
The chapter on Prayer, with which the text-book opens, is to the human mind surcharged with the murkiness of materially, as a cooling breeze wafting gently away the oppression of a midsummer's day. Through its pages thought is quietly led from the finite, material conception of God, to the apprehension of Him as ever-present Love, as infinite unchanging good, who needs no reminders from frail mortality as to the proper conduct of His universe. True prayer is seen, therefore, not as petition, nor the effort to change the all-knowing Mind, but as that hungering after righteousness, that "habitual struggle to be always good" (Science and Health, p. 4), which brings human consciousness into relation with the divine and lifts thought to the realization that a loving Father has already done all things well.
Atonement and Eucharist
The second chapter of the text-book is entitled Atonement and Eucharist, and in clear, forceful statement deals with the great life-purpose of the Master. It has been said that this chapter may be ranked with the choicest of English prose classics. It breathes a spirit of deepest reverence, and only he who clings to a material viewpoint and avoids the author's uplifted spiritual sense will quarrel with its statements.
The chapter opens with a trumpet-call to thinkers; to those who may be willing, temporarily at least, to put behind them preconceived theological opinions, and to reason. The life and mission of Jesus the Christ are instantly taken from the realm of the mystical, the supernatural, and are shown to be intensely practical and divinely natural. Hear these clear, intelligible utterances: "Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man's oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life's work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, — to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility." "His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man." "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus" (Science and Health, pp. 18, 26, 25).
Ignorance of Jesus' Mission
Without doubt, the great error of Christian history lies in mankind's ignorance of Jesus' mission. Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of his words and work reveals him as humanity's Way-shower, teacher and friend, rather than humanity's King. And when the race truly understands and demonstrates the facts involved in this interpretation, wars will be unknown, sin, greed, and hate will vanish from the land, and the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled: "And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick."
The failure of perfunctory religion to measure up to the joyous standard of Jesus' Christianity was never more manifest than in the following incident.
A Christian Science practitioner was endeavoring to awaken to a larger, happier sense of things the bowed-down thought of a wretched man who applied to him for help. The patient claimed to have been a Christian from childhood, but in his misery he could discern not one cheering ray.
"Try to cling to some comforting verse from Scripture," urged his practitioner, "or try to sing some uplifting hymn as you go about your work."
The man left, promising to follow this advice as far as possible. The next day he returned, sunk listlessly into a chair, and said: "It's no use. I can find no I help. I tried to sing as you suggested, but I found no comfort.
"What did you sing?" asked the other.
"One of our old religious songs," he replied. "The first line reads: 'Hark from the tombs, a doleful sound!'"
A lifetime of study of the words and works of Jesus had developed no more hopeful or helpful inspiration than, "Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound."
Christianity is Exact Science
Mrs. Eddy discovered that the religion taught by Jesus is as exact a science as is the science of numbers; that a Christian should be enabled to overcome sickness, fear, discouragement, poverty, or any other discord, with the same readiness and certainty of correct result that he takes to his problem in mathematics. Thus she has defined Christian Science "as the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1). And the application of this rule to the problems of every-day life immediately becomes the privilege and duty of the consistent follower of Jesus.
The Mission of the Saviour
A story is told of a shipwrecked sailor who was cast upon a far-off isle inhabited by semi-savage tribes. One day he came upon a group of wrangling natives, and, inquiring the cause of the commotion, learned that there was a certain supply of cocoanuts brought to the island to be equally distributed among these men, and no one could decide as to the number that each should have. The sailor counted the cocoanuts. He found one hundred. He counted the men. There were twenty-five of them. Without hesitation he said, "Each will have four as his share." Imagine his surprise when the natives straightway flung themselves at his feet, called him a god, and proceeded to worship him! Try as he might, he could not persuade the simple folk that his instantaneous calculation was the result of an understanding of the principle of mathematics and was in no sense miraculous.
To the bewildered and heartsick children of men came a Saviour. Understanding the great Principle of being, he solved their problems, bringing instantaneous answers in health and reformation and regeneration. He plainly said that of himself he did not the works, and that if they would but understand his mission and his Principle, they too could solve the problems as did he. But they called him a wonder-worker, worshiped his personality, and crucified him! Mrs. Eddy writes of the world's misunderstanding thus:
"Not the spear nor the material cross wrung from his faithful lips the plaintive cry, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' ['My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'] It was the possible loss of something more important than human life which moved him, — the possible misapprehension of the sublimest influence of his career." (Science and Health, p. 50).
And the human mind has continued its misapprehension down through the centuries, with the result that we still see thousands professing Christianity and worshiping the personality of Jesus, but following him in practical demonstration of divine power — not at all!
The Sign of a Christian
Do you know that Jesus once pointed out a very simple method of discovering a true Christian? The directions are to be found in the sixteenth chapter of Mark, and follow immediately the well-known command to "preach the gospel to every creature." His words are:
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Christians, are we measuring up to this standard? Suppose we are traveling in a distant land, and a would-be convert says to us, "Are you a Christian?" And upon receiving an affirmative reply, suppose he next says: "Oh, how glad I am that you came! I see by your Bible that signs are to follow the true believers. Now I am possessed by a veritable devil. I am a victim of the opium habit. Do, I beg of you, through your beautiful religion, cast this devil out!" What would we say? Would we recommend a well-known sanitarium famed for its treatment of the drug habit, or what would we do? Suppose he then says: "My old mother is very ill. I see by your book that a Christian, understanding the great power taught by Jesus, can cause her to recover. Come, I pray you, and heal her." What would we now say? Would we suggest a change of doctors, or recommend a new diet or climate — or would we undertake to put our faith to the test? And if by chance we say to this hungering thought: "Ah, my dear sir, that was not meant for our time! The days of healing are past," — do not be surprised if he closes the Bible and hands it back with this statement: "Very well! I have a religion to die by that is older than yours!"
Christians Must Heal the Sick
A visitor at an insane asylum was once attracted to a man who behind the bars of his room was seen poring over the pages of a small Testament. Seeing the visitor, the patient beckoned to him to come nearer. He had opened the book to the tenth chapter of Matthew, and pointing to the first verse, said. "Read that!" The visitor read:
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."
When he had finished the reading, the inmate caught at his hand. "Send me one of those men! Send me one of those men!" he pleaded. But the doctors smiled, shook their heads, and murmured that it was a sad case.
Let each one of us who dares to name the name of Christianity, solemnly ask himself this question: Am I trying to be one of those men? Had I been approached as was this visitor, could I have said to the unfortunate one, "Why friend, I believe in Christian healing! I am trying to be one of Jesus' disciples, — 'one of those men,' — and the power that banished devils in the days of the Master can free you now!" If we are unable honestly to face the situation thus, let us go forth resolved to sit at the feet of the Christ and meekly learn of that power the possession of which alone entitles us to the sacred name of Christian.
The Power Imparted by Jesus
What was the power which Jesus imparted first to the twelve and later to the seventy disciples? It could not have been a mysterious magnetic current flowing from the personality of Jesus to those about him, as some would aver, for, as has been stated, Jesus insisted that of himself he could do nothing, and that it was the Father dwelling in him that did the works. Again, in the well-known passage from the fourteenth chapter of John, he states that his mighty works shall be done by those who believe on him, or in other words, those who understand his great mission and the divine Principle thereof. Thus we see that the power given by Jesus to his followers was a spiritual understanding, just as a teacher in school gives his pupils power to solve problems in arithmetic when he shows them the rule and principle basing arithmetic. But apparently no definite rule was left by Jesus whereby this vital teaching was discernible. Here let us offer up psalms of thanksgiving! In this wonderful volume, Science and Health, has been revealed that treasure which to the unenlightened sense remained lost in the pages of the Bible for centuries. And today a Christian is without excuse who, when asked to heal the sick and cast out demons, turns his back and says, "I am not one of those men!"
"The Truth Shall Make You Free"
Jesus said. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The all-important question, therefore, is What is truth? What is the truth which Jesus taught, the understanding of which will enable us to reinstate primitive Christianity with signs and with power? Answering this stupendous question, Mrs. Eddy directs thought to the first chapter of Genesis.
The truth revealed in the opening chapter of the Bible, like all great things, is infinitely simple. Herein we see a record of creation depicting successive steps of unfoldment, symbolized by the appearing of light, the heavens, the earth, the growing things upon the earth, the heavenly bodies, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, the creatures that move upon the earth, and lastly, the highest creation, man. He is made in the image and likeness of God and is given dominion over all the earth. At the close of each step in the progression we read: "And God saw that it was good." Then at the conclusion of the chapter appears that mighty statement basing all truth, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." The second chapter opens with this statement: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." Could words be more plain. Creation is finished, and it is good, yes, "very good." No evil has been created, no sickness, sin, or death. Man is spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God, and so is not subject to frailty, or error, but is endued with dominion and power.
Remarkable Discovery of Christian Science
Now comes the remarkable and revolutionary discovery of Christian Science. The second chapter of Genesis, containing the Adam and Eve narrative, is seen to be a new and different record of creation, separate and distinct from that covered in the preceding chapter. Heretofore religionists have regarded the record of the creation of Adam from the dust, and of Eve from Adam's side, as an amplification of that statement in the first chapter: "So God created man in his own image." But revelation plainly shows the error of this. To begin with, the two records are distinctly separate documents, called the Elohistic and the Jehovistic, because in the first chapter, the creator is called Elohim, God, and in the second, Jehovah, or Lord God, the Jewish tribal name for Deity.
The first record is positively closed. God's work is done. His creation is good, and eternal harmony reigns. Do we find that God ever changed His perfect handiwork? Is there any record of His having created evil? No. Then whence came the evil, the sickness, and the sorrow, the discord, and imperfection, which are visible on all sides? The sixth verse of the second chapter solves the problem. We read: "But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."
What does a mist do? Does it destroy, or demolish, or does it only obscure? Is it not possible then that the universe today is as perfect as "when the morning stars sang together," and that its perfection is hid from our gaze by reason of some obscuring sense — some "mystification," as Science and Health puts it? (p. 523). Material man with his sinful tendencies comes not upon the scene until the mist appears. It follows, therefore, that the evils and inharmonies which cannot belong to the kingdom of good must be the product of the realm of mystification. Mystification is ever the polar opposite of understanding. Therefore mystification means just this: ignorance. Ignorance of the facts of creation; ignorance of spiritual sense. This is the mist that seems to go up from the earth and hide from our sight the man and the universe made and seen by God; and from this ignorance springs the material view of creation which depicts man as sick and sinning, and the universe as discordant and destructible.
Garden of Eden Allegory
The Adam and Eve narrative, symbolizing as it does materiality, sin, and sin's unhappy consequences, is called in the text-book only "an object-lesson for the human mind" (Science and Health, p. 214), in which you and I are shown the sad results of a departure from the spiritual sense of things recorded in the first chapter. That the story is a fable, is self-evident. The references to the "tree of life" in the garden, and the "tree of knowledge of good and evil," stamp it as allegory. Then, too, the introduction of a talking serpent further indicates a fiction. A serpent able to converse in the simplest of languages would indeed be a marvel, but one speaking the ancient tongue of Adam and Eve could be nothing short of a myth!
Man's True Ancestry
How has the suffering human family been imposed upon! Handed down from generation to generation has been the mischievous fallacy that this second record of creation is an historical fact! How have we been deceived into calling ourselves descendants of these fictitious beings, made of mist and dust, and prone to every known mortal weakness! The mission of Jesus was to acquaint humanity with man's true heritage. His teachings prove that the first chapter of Genesis, and not the second, contains the truth of being and sets forth man's real origin.
"Ye Must Be Born Again"
One of the first of Jesus' teachings was this: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Can there be an atom of doubt as to the meaning of this passage? If the material, the Adam-sense of things, constitutes God's creation, why should the Master have declared that in order to see this creation, or kingdom, a man must be born again — in other words, must gain a radically different point of view?
Paul makes it plain that this material, fleshly sense of things is not of God's creating, when he writes in Romans: "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God." And Jesus drives home this fact with even greater clearness when he says, speaking of material man, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
Evil Not Power
Now we have learned that the Adam-view, or material concept, is a product of the mist, or mystification which ever goes up from the earth, from material premises, and we have further endeavored to show the mist to be synonymous with ignorance. Thus we arrive at another discovery teeming with good for the blind and fettered of earth. The devil — that terrifying element of the whole world's religious belief, that monstrous figment of the false teaching of the ages, against whose seeming power the sons of men have vainly striven, and who apparently has been able to outwit even the Most High — this devil is ignorance, nothing more! Is ignorance a great forbidding monstrosity, with horns, hoofs, and a spear? Is it a mighty presence, an entity which has being and action and power? Or is it only an absence — the absence of knowing? What peace may be ours when we banish the belief that there is power in evil! With what courage can we face our problems when we realize that no subtle, destructive force is pitted against us, and that the only power evil can seem to have is that which we ourselves bestow upon it.
This truth is stated with great clearness in a letter which Mrs. Eddy once wrote to a friend, which was quoted in The Christian Science Journal of August, 1912, in an article entitled "No Evil Power."
"Did you but know the sublimity of your hope: the infinite capacity of your being; the grandeur of your outlook, you would let error kill itself. Error comes to you for life, and you give it all the life it has."
How Jesus Healed the Sick
We are now ready to consider one of the most important paragraphs in Science and Health, for it may be said to contain the "pearl of great price." It tells us in the simplest of words how Jesus healed the sick.
"Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy" (Science and Health, p. 476).
This then must have been the understanding which Jesus imparted to his disciples, which enabled them to duplicate his wonderful healing work. This is the understanding which today is enabling Christian Scientists to confront, undismayed, the appearance of disease and vice, and to rescue the unfortunates in bondage thereto.
At this point some of you may ask, "Does this mean that I am not to accept as real the evidences of my senses when I see before me sickness, or sin, or discord?" It means just that, just that! And should we not rejoice in such a revelation? If the material senses report the truth of being, there is no good or just God, no law or Principle in the universe; for on all sides we see injustice, lawlessness, disease, disturbances of nature, hate, poverty, and death — a sorry picture indeed! Do we want these evils to be true? If you find yourself in the throes of a nightmare, what greater joy and peace can come than the awakening consciousness that after all it was only a dream!
Was ever a message more vital to a stricken individual, nation, or race, than the understanding brought by Christian Science, that materiality with its host of discords and ills is but another name for the Adam-dream, and that it is possible for suffering mortals to awaken therefrom? We may waken from a dream, but we can never waken from a fact! The night of materialism has been long, and the sleep has been deep and troubled; but thanks be to God, we are slowly awakening! At least, the dream is losing for us its terror, and, hearing the voice of Truth cheerily bidding us to be not afraid, and to judge not according to the appearance, we are enabled more and more to look past the shadows, past the seeming, to the kingdom of Mind, where all is harmony and all is law.
You are not asked to take the word of Christian Scientists for all this. You are urged rather to take the text-book, and study it with open heart and teachable thought, and prove for yourself the truth of these statements.
Disease More Than Imagination
In teaching mortals to look beyond the material appearance and anchor their thought in the great truth that God's creation is good, Christian Science by no means lightly proclaims to one in the clutch of adversity that he only imagines that he is in trouble. At this point it might be interesting to hear what Science and Health has to say on this subject. We read: "Sickness is neither imaginary nor unreal, — that is, to the frightened, false sense of the patient. Sickness is more than fancy; it is solid conviction. It is therefore to be dealt with through right apprehension of the truth of being" (p. 460).
The use of the word imagination in connection with the ills of the average mortal is as open to question as it was in the case of a small boy whose mother discovered him at the top of a step-ladder, suspiciously near the shelf whereon reposed his favorite conserve. "Well, mother," said he pleasantly, in an heroic effort to make the best of the situation, "I imagine you want me to come down." The mother, however, didn't imagine anything about it; she knew. And with equal fervor the sick man will assure you that he knows that he is sick. And therein lies his trouble. When through the understanding of Christian Science he learns to know that man in God's image is whole and harmonious, he will find to his delight that the sense of disease and discord which has seemed so real and so true has lessened, and will ultimately disappear.
The following illustration may help to throw more light on the Christian Scientist's attitude toward sin and disease. Before studying Christian Science, and while a member of an orthodox church, I was asked by a friend to "use my religion," as he expressed it, in the effort to reclaim a brother seemingly enslaved by drink. I accepted the commission, and proceeded to "use my religion." I found my subject in a most repentant mood, and he agreed almost tearfully with my ringing condemnation of his evil ways. I asked him if he did not realize the depths to which he had fallen, how wicked he was, and how terrible was that evil power to which he had submitted. Yes, he realized it all, but evil had been made so real and so powerful to him that even the hope of divine deliverance, with which I finally endeavored to inspire him, was of no avail and he sunk even deeper in the mire of sin.
Let us now consider another picture: A slave to false appetite is brought to one endeavoring to be a scientific Christian, or a Christian Scientist. The Scientist sees before him no bad man, no perpetrator of sin, but a victim of sin. He sees behind the fleshly appearance the man of God's creating, who is not a sinner, who has no pleasure in sin and no sinful desires, but who is eternally pure and free. He therefore bids the sufferer to awaken from this mesmerism. He shows him that the bondage which to him has seemed real and powerful, is a lie; for as Jesus said, there is no truth in the devil, or evil; and he is assured that God has given man dominion over all error. And in thousands upon thousands of cases where these good tidings have been preached, have the victims of wrong desire risen in the glory of a newfound manhood. And through the same process, in numberless instances, has the sick man been awakened from his nightmare of invalidism and pain. Thus we see that a Christian Scientist does not ignore sin and disease, but by understanding their unreality and the spiritual truth of being, he heals them.
God's Word Never Fails
"But," say you, "Christian Science treatment is not always effectual." Ah, but it is, it is! A Christian Science treatment consists of thinking God's thoughts, seeing creation as God sees it; and a God-invested thought never fails! Suppose you are confronted with the task of breaking a great rock. You seize a hammer and vigorously start your work. Blow after bow descends, and you note with some discouragement that even the surface of the rock has not been cracked. A friend comes to your assistance. He hammers sturdily, but apparently makes no headway. Again you are led to resume the work, and keeping steadily at it you at last see the rock reduced to small pieces. Which blow did it? The last? No, every one of them did the work. Not one was wasted, not one failed.
The work of Christian Science is the work of eternity. It is spiritual education. During this process of education some students pass from our sight. Did God's word fail? Were the blows of truth on the rock of error in vain? No, a thousand times no! Ask those who fought side by side with them in the battle. They will tell you of the victories won, of the peace realized, of the pain subdued, and the attainment of that spiritual vision of Life eternal which enabled them all to say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 348):
"I have never supposed the world would immediately witness the full fruitage of Christian Science, or that sin, disease, and death would not be believed for an indefinite time; but this I do aver, that, as a result of teaching Christian Science, ethics and temperance have received an impulse, health has been restored, and longevity increased. If such are the present fruits, what will the harvest be, when this Science is more generally understood?"
The Reward of Patient Persistence
Some one may say: "I have worked and studied, but my healing seems so slow." Yes, some rocks are harder to break than others, and much patience and perseverance are necessary in a majority of cases in order to win the day. But oh, my friends, what dividends are paid in return for an earnest, patient seeking after Truth! How self is subdued and universal love enthroned! How much purer becomes desire, how much dearer the goal of spiritual sense! "Let us not be weary in well doing," exclaimed the apostle Paul, "for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Let us attack our problems each day as though we had never seen them before, putting behind us the memories of yesterday's struggle. Let us realize that as our understanding of Science grows, we are able to speak to evil with more and more authority, and consequently day by day are being equipped to be more efficient Christian warriors. Let us claim the joy and peace which is your heritage and mine, today and here and now! Let us not be unmindful of the stupendous fact that Christian Science, in teaching the divinity of the Christ, teaches the divinity of man! "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."
You who are bowed down with sorrow or disease, with failure, poverty, or sin, take away with you tonight this message. You are God's beloved child! You have dominion over evil! You are not a member of the sinning race of Adam! You have been victimized by the lying arguments of the carnal mind, by the false education of generations!
Hear these ringing truths from the text-book (p. 227):
"Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the glorious liberty of the children of God, and be free! This is your divine right. The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being."
And the whole message of Christian Science may be found in these two verses from our Hymnal:
God made all His creatures free;
Life itself is liberty;
God ordained no other bands
Than united hearts and hands.
So shall all our slavery cease,
All God's children dwell in peace,
And the new-born earth record
Love, and Love alone, is Lord.
(Christian Science Hymnal, p. 159).
[Delivered "last week Tuesday afternoon" before the Harvard University Christian Science Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Chronicle, Dec. 16, 1916.]