Christian Science: The Science of Right Living (1)
Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B., of Concord, New Hampshire
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Prejudice against Christian Science is waning, and taking its place is an earnest desire to learn what is its real nature, and how it may be applied for the benefit of mankind.
Those who heard Professor Hering lecture on that subject, in Brattle hall, Harvard Square, last Sunday must have had many natural questions answered and doubts dispelled.
He was briefly introduced by Giles M. Smith, First Reader of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in this city, in the following words:
Ladies and Gentlemen: —
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cambridge, welcomes you here today. Our members have experienced manifold blessings of health and happiness through the study of Christian Science and the application of its teachings, and it is our desire to bring to you its inspiring message of demonstrable Christianity.
We are glad to avail ourselves of the opportunity provided by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, when she established The Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, and have asked one of its members to address us.
The lecturer has been a member of this Board for a number of years and has spoken on the subject of Christian Science in many parts of the world. His earnest and faithful work commend him to us all.
Professor Hermann S. Hering, of Concord, New Hampshire.
The lecture follows:
When we consider the unsettled conditions and turmoil prevalent in the world today, thought naturally reaches out for both their cause and their solution. The world is an aggregation of individuals, hence its condition, the quality of its thinking, the character of its activities, are a composite of those factors in its constituents. In other words, world conditions are the product of the lives and mentalities of its people, their habits of thought, their ethics, their ambitions, and their resultant conduct. If the members of a community live rightly, that community will be measurably harmonious, healthy, happy, peaceable; if they live wrongly, are selfish, immoral and vicious, the community can but be correspondingly discordant, unhealthy, unhappy.
Right Desire Essential
Let us then inquire into the Science of right living, — what is the Principle and law involved. Most people want to live rightly and to do right, but many do not know what right is, and therefore cannot grasp the advantages of righteous living. They really do not choose to do wrong but mistakenly think there is some advantage in it. The allurement of sin and ill-gotten gain is seen only from a selfish viewpoint. People often do wrong because they do not believe in life after death and do not recognize that their thoughts and acts here and now make or mar their individual character, which outlasts the so-called pleasures of evil indulgence and determines their environment in life, wherever that may be.
The influence of belief in heredity, environment and education is responsible for our habits of thought as well as our desires, but it is generally admitted that what is wrong in all these can be corrected through right moral education and the appeal to reason. When people realize that indulgence in evil is a distinct disadvantage to them and that it results in inevitable suffering, and further when they see that the practice of good, right, and justice results in real benefit, they will be more careful of their thoughts and acts. The so-called pleasure of sin and the suffering of disease enter experience because they present themselves to thought in a way which appeals to human belief.
Recipe in the Bible
St. Paul writes: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:2)
The Bible contains many clear and definite statements of the healing law of the gospel and its relation to every form of evil thinking and living, and it shows that God heals not only sin but also sickness, through the application of the Principle embodied in this law. Christ Jesus demonstrated this conclusively, and yet there have always been many who disbelieved in the practical application of his teachings, because they never really understood them. From the inception of Christianity, however, some have striven to obey his teachings and to manifest the Christ spirit which brings salvation from both sickness and sin. This spirit was strongly in evidence in the healing works which characterized the early church, until the time when Christianity was engulfed in formalism and its vital spirit quenched.
Today many thinking people are beginning to see, as they have not seen before, that the healing work of the early church is yet possible, although this healing work rebukes the generally accepted supremacy of material law. They perceive that there is such a thing as spiritual law, a law apart from physics: that this divine law is and should be sovereign over so-called physical law; that it has dominion over what is termed matter; and all this in spite of the bias of materialistic thought which declares that any existence apart from the material cannot be conceived. It is encouraging that Christian peoples are beginning to awake out of their sleep and to assert their right to the freedom and harmony of the children of God.
Healing Principle Available
When men realize that there is a Principle underlying all existence, which operates according to divine law, and quite regardless of time and place, they will see that the physical changes accompanying spiritual healing are due to the operation of this Principle, in accordance with law; and that such Principle, law and operation constitute Science.
It is evident that Christ Jesus considered this healing work a very essential factor of his ministry; indeed he made it a test of Christian discipleship, for he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also"; which means that he who is a Christian will be able to heal spiritually. Surely every Christian must desire to believe in and to practice that spiritual healing, which accomplishes so much more than can drugs, surgery and an impotent faith. Recognition of the healing power of divine Truth heals men without involving the fear, pain and risk of death which so often attend surgical operations and the use of nostrums.
Most right-minded persons, too, would like to overcome evil with good if they only knew how; most of them would like to overcome their failings, and to do right by their neighbor, but, because of their faulty religious education, they have not known that the ability to accomplish these things naturally follows the knowledge that good has more power than evil. How few in all the world today realize that the logical, and inevitable sequence of an understanding of the Master's teachings, together with strict obedience thereto, would be a cessation of all sorrow, sickness and wrong living.
Those who admit that Christian healing is even desirable in the attainment of right living, will welcome a consideration of what it involves, and what it depends upon.
We need then to consider first the nature of human existence in order that we can clearly understand what constitutes consciousness and apprehend what is involved in demonstrating the Science of right living.
Nature of Human Sense
It is very evident that our existence is our consciousness. To each one of us there is no existence except that of which we are conscious. Acquired knowledge simply enlarges human consciousness. The objects cognized by the physical senses are the effects of materially mental activity. These effects in turn impress one, become a part of human consciousness, though their nature and relations remain hidden. For example, when we believe we see an object, we really become conscious of a mental impression which we accept as the object's existence.
Further, it is evident that the character of human existence depends largely upon the character of human sense. We cannot avoid this conclusion when we consider existing differences in personal characteristics; in educational bias, environment, association and experience, and see what a widely varying sense of existence these differences produce in different individuals. In every day experience we learn that no two members of any group of persons, if asked their impression of any incident appealing to the material senses, will give similar accounts. Each one can give only his own mental impression. Sense phenomena are, therefore, not to be accepted as absolute because they depend upon the quality of the perceptive faculties, both native and educated. For example, let a tree be viewed by a botanist, an artist and a lumberman. The botanist views it from the standpoint of his botanical knowledge. He sees its botanical make-up and structure, the character of leaf, flower, bark, etc. The artist views it mainly from a purely artistic standpoint. He notes the color and form of the tree, and the way it relates itself to its setting. Coincidentally with this he analyzes his impression of it and thinks perchance of the combination of pigments he must use to reproduce it upon canvas. The lumberman sees the tree as so much available building material. To him a beautiful branch means a knot in the board which reduces its value. His estimate of its worth is not in terms of botany or beauty but in board feet.
Furthermore, the so-called characteristics of the objective universe such as size, shape, distance and color, do not seem the same to any two persons, for since the lenses of the eye vary, the image made on the retina also varies, and the resulting mental impressions are necessarily different, all of which shows that human perception is not absolute but variable.
Mental Nature of Matter
Physical science does not explain nor account for anything beyond sense testimony; therefore, in order to analyze causation, we must go beyond the realm of the senses, and interpret and correct our mental impressions in order to gain a knowledge of the facts. When we look at a plant, for example, we experience an impression said to be due to vibration called light, which produces a certain mental effect which we objectify as a plant. It is not necessary for the plant actually to exist outside of our consciousness if we can but get a mental impression which we identify as a plant. In fact, all that mortals experience is the impinging of different forms of vibration which are variously interpreted and objectified. To illustrate, the markings on the record of the phonograph are merely wavy lines. When the needle of the phonograph follows these lines, the listener is impressed by a multitude of intricate air waves in which he detects the tone qualities of the orchestral instruments and of the human voice which were thus recorded. In a similar way, it is not necessary to have anything more than these or kindred vibrations to impress upon consciousness any sense experience and possibly we can thus see that the human consciousness includes simply mental conceptions which comprise what seems to be our individual universe, and that matter is a mental phenomenon.
Matter Not Substance
One of the difficulties in accepting the statement of the mental nature of matter is the belief that matter is substance. The fundamental property of substance is substantiality, which is defined as being that which is lasting, that which has real perpetual existence, that which is actual and not illusory. This means that substance is indestructible and permanent, and matter therefore cannot be real substance, since it is both destructible and transitory; it is a mental concept and not a substantive actuality outside of consciousness.
Substance is that of which anything is constituted, its body, its structure. Hence whatever really exists must have substance and this must be indestructible. To illustrate, a mathematical idea, because true, has substance. This substance is not material, it is not the visible figures nor the chalk nor ink with which they have been made, since these can be destroyed. Its substance is its truth, a right idea which can never be destroyed. It is unchanging, permanent, it has the power to remain itself. The substance of all real things is not seen physically but mentally. Matter, therefore, is not substance since it is not substantive. It has only been named substance by physical sense. In the analysis of being it is extremely important to perceive that there is substance apart from what is commonly called matter. This substance exists solely in the realm of Mind and is conceived of purely metaphysically, for thus only can the substantiality of Truth and Spirit be seen, and that which St. Paul refers to as "the substance of things hoped for" be realized.
Another difficulty in getting away from the material sense of things is the dimensional concept of existence. Physical sense can perceive only finite or physical things. For example, the dimensional concept which the senses have of mathematical ideas is projected as finite, concrete figures or quantities, but it is not the mathematical truth which these senses see, for this truth is not in the figures. It is in mind and is cognized mentally through mathematical understanding. Physical things are but misconceptions of realities. The ideas which they imperfectly express are not limited to the physical expression but exist everywhere. Every truth is unlimited, that is, infinite, for it is everywhere and indestructible. There is but one idea six and that six is everywhere, can be known and used by everyone, has its own individuality, can never be altered, exhausted, nor destroyed, and consequently in that sense is infinite.
Matter Not Life
All this leads to the perception that there is no life in matter, since one of the fundamental characteristics of life is continuity of existence, which, as we have seen, cannot be predicated of matter. We cannot affect mathematical truth by anything which may be done to the figures, nor can we affect the real life of anything by what we may do to its material appearing or symbol. When figures are written down at random without regard to law, they have no meaning, no power. It is only when they are correctly used that they express truth or life. So too, when human thought conceives of ideas as fragmentary, discordant, temporary, without Principle or law, this concept is without substance, truth, life or power.
It is thus seen that there is neither substance nor life in matter or material phenomena; that existence is not material but mental, a state of consciousness, and that truth and life can be conceived of only metaphysically. On this plane alone can we analyze existence logically and intelligently, and solve its problems.
Body Is Mental
Having seen that all the phenomena of nature are mental, the projection of imperfect human sense, we see that disease is mental and must be healed mentally, and therefore it is essential for us to see clearly that body is mental.
Matter being recognized as a mental phenomenon, a state of mortal consciousness, we logically conclude that the so-called material body is mental. It is evident that this body is not the man since he is not lessened though he lose a limb. A mortal's selfhood or individuality is in consciousness, and this is obviously mental. Therefore, his body is the embodiment and externalization of his mentality, conscious and unconscious. Of a mortal, the Scriptures say "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." The appearance as well as the actions of a man express his individuality and partake of the nature and quality of his mentality. Therefore, thoughts of sin and disease, together with fear, anger and grief, will externalize diseased conditions. This is admitted very generally by physicians and can readily be proved.
A man does not live in a body nor can he be controlled by it any more than mathematical truth lives in figures or is controlled by them. The body of a man is but an outward sign or means of human identification, and to encourage us to think of existence as apart from the material body, St. Paul tells us that it is better "to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
Let us remember, therefore, that discordant conditions of the body are in fact due to discordant conditions of human sense, a sense which is not always expressed as conscious thought, but which is nevertheless a part of the mentality that constructs and governs things of which we are not conscious. For example, we are not conscious of the circulation of the blood nor of the assimilation of food, nor of the growth of tissues, yet these processes are all the manifestations of mentality, and would instantly cease were mentality removed.
Healing a Mental Process
A wrong thought, a fear may cause a disturbance in organic or functional action, and then we become conscious of some inharmony. In other words, as a man is an individual consciousness, and as the body is an externalization of human consciousness, of which discordant conditions are but a state, healing can result only as a change or transformation of this consciousness is brought about, and this must evidently be accomplished mentally, through some action of thought, since only in this way can the quality of human consciousness be changed, the morbific conditions and their causes be eliminated, and a normal harmonious state be established.
Having thus come to see that so-called human existence and all that it includes is mental, we can begin to grasp the logic of the conclusion that the healing of both evil and disease is a mental process. We are thus in a position to examine into the method by which Christian Science healing is scientifically demonstrated.
According to the Scriptural accounts, the healing wrought by the Master and his disciples, was accomplished through mental or spiritual means alone, that is, through some action of thought. Christian Science healing is brought about in the same way. In both, the healing Principle and law are mental, and knowing this, we are led to examine into the nature of Mind and mind action.
Nature of Mind
Mind is evidently much more than mere human thought or limited consciousness since it includes the cause and phenomena of all existence. Christian Science teaches that Mind is the infinite consciousness which expresses itself as ideas and constitutes all being; the intelligence and creative Principle and substance of the universe; the basis of all manifestation and right thought, the absolute Truth. This infinite actuality means boundlessness, without beginning or end, without quantitive dimensions; it means immutability, perfection, indestructibility; it means omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence; it means oneness, the all-embracing, self-existing, eternal being.
Since the human sense of mind is externalized as material discord, it is manifestly evil, and it becomes necessary to make a clear distinction between the Mind which is Truth and wholly good, and the consciousness which embraces both truth and error, good and evil.
Real Versus Unreal
First, a distinction needs to be very clearly drawn between that which is actually real and that which only seems to be so. To become conscious of a sense appearance, furnishes no evidence of the truth of the appearance, as for example, the apparent converging of railroad tracks. In order to determine what is real and what is unreal in any case we have to consider whether it is absolute or merely relative. That which is absolute exists by and of itself, is independent of all else. That which is called relative appears real only by virtue of our belief in it. A thing is therefore absolutely true or noumenal when it is actual and does not depend upon human sense. A thing is said to be relatively true or phenomenal when it depends upon, or is the projection of imperfect sense.
Furthermore, that which is true has no dimensional limitations. As for example, there is no place where two times two do not make four, nor is there any limit to the application of this rule. Truth is fundamentally infinite in quality, in quantity, in presence and in power. Therefore, all that is real and true is indestructible, everywhere and eternally perfect. Human sense concepts resulting from matter and mortal belief involve limitation, uncertainty, discord, decay and death. This illustrates the difference between the actual and the seeming.
Again, the infinite is not an aggregation of the finite, it is not composed of an aggregation of finite quantities. Infinity can never be obtained by adding dimensional particles. The result is always finite. Neither can the infinite be divided into finite particles, or be expressed in finite quantities. The quantity two is not a finite quantity, but an infinite mathematical idea, existing everywhere and forever present and attainable. When represented by a figure, the finite numeral is not the idea but only an imperfect unstable symbol, which gives no correct concept of the quantitative mathematical value everywhere present. Thus, since reality is infinite and matter is finite, matter is unreal.
Divine Mind and Mortal Mind
We can thus distinguish between the real Mind, the infinite, spiritual, immortal consciousness which expresses itself in perfect indestructible harmonious ideas, and the mind which includes the belief in matter, evil, limitation, disease and death. This latter therefore is not real Mind, but a false concept of mind, the Adam dream which St. Paul terms "the carnal mind which is enmity against God," In other words, God's unlikeness or opposite. Paul also writes, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." This carnal mind Christian Science further defines as "mortal mind," since it includes all that is sick, sinning, discordant and mortal. It is the inversion or counterfeit of the immortal divine Mind, and its betraying characteristic is finity as opposed to infinity; therefore, since all that is real is infinite, all that is finite is unreal, and these unreal beliefs of the carnal mind have neither place, presence, nor power; any more than has the schoolboy's erroneous belief that two times two make five. It is simply a false concept. It has no existence.
Here we need to consider the human consciousness which according to belief includes a sense of materiality and evil as well as of spirituality and good. It conceives of matter, of discord, of death, and yet can conceive of Spirit, of harmony, of Life, can know God. It includes a sense of both right and wrong, both truth and error.
Mrs. Eddy writes: ". . . the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material." (S. & H. p. 573)
She also writes: — "... sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us' — a divine influence ever present in human consciousness . . ." (S. & H. p. xi)
This is the consciousness of "the man on the street" which enables him to feel that he may be healed by the "renewing of the mind," by putting off the old man and putting on the new, by being awakened by the Christ Truth; therefore, it is the consciousness wherein reformation and regeneration take place and to which Jesus appealed in his healing and teaching. Here salvation is to be worked out; here good can be brought to bear upon evil to destroy it; here Truth can meet error and correct it; it is the consciousness which can begin to know God. When all evil, all error, is destroyed in the human consciousness, by Truth asserting itself, then nothing remains but the knowledge of God, and the real divine consciousness of the real man is attained and our salvation is worked out — we have demonstrated our at-one-ment with the Father.
Mrs. Eddy's supreme declaration is this, that there is one infinite Mind which is wholly good, perfect, indestructible, immortal. This infinite, absolute, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Being is the incorporeal Father-Mother God whose true nature is revealed through Christian Science. This divine actuality is the scientific basis on which all Christian Science healing is demonstrated, the divine Principle whose ever-presence is utilized in the overcoming of sin and sickness, through the available transforming power of the Christ coming to the human consciousness.
The Universe and Man
From this it follows that real universe and the real man are the expression or manifestation of this infinite Mind and that they partake of the spiritual nature and quality of this Mind. Hence, all the ideas of God are perfect, incorporeal, eternal and harmonious, they live, move and have their being in God, in divine Mind.
The real man is the image and likeness of God as he is defined in the first chapter of Genesis, the expression of Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth and Love. Mortal man is but a human corporeal concept of the mortal or carnal mind. "The physical universe expresses the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals" writes Mrs. Eddy. (S. & H. p. 484) It is the counterfeit of the divine universe which is embraced in the consciousness of the real man. So also the "natural man" as St. Paul names him, is a counterfeit of the spiritual idea, a product of physical sense, which originated in and is dependent upon materiality.
Christian Science explains the true nature of the divinely created man, as not the man created of the dust of the ground but as the image and likeness of God, the man whom God pronounced good and to whom He gave dominion over the earth.
The perfect nature of God and the real man was revealed to Mrs. Eddy. The Scriptures spiritually understood reveal this truth, and Mrs. Eddy first stated it in scientific and metaphysical terms which, when understood, make it possible for anyone to begin to demonstrate it. The creative Principle operates positively through divine law, it embraces and supports all real existence, — perfect God, perfect man, and perfect universe.
But if all reality is spiritual and perfect, there arises the question "What of evil, material, discordant conditions?" Here Christian Science explains that because Spirit, the absolute good, is infinite, everywhere, there can be no place for either evil or matter, and it therefore classifies all phenomena and all experiences which are unlike perfect God and perfect man as unreal, as false concepts projected by erroneous human sense, as untrue beliefs; and it sustains this contention by destroying these conditions, thus proving them untrue, for Truth is indestructible.
Human thought has always believed the objects of sense to be real, but now that the true nature of reality has been revealed, a clear distinction can be drawn between what is actual and what is merely an appearance. This is an essential element in the practice of Christian Science healing and must be clearly understood for the reason that so long as we believe an appearance or condition to be real and attempt to deal with it as a reality and at its own valuation, we can make no progress in mastering it. A mathematical mistake cannot be corrected until it is recognized as such. Even so, discordant human conditions cannot be scientifically healed until they are recognized as errors and divine Truth is applied to their elimination. Christian Science teaches that because God or good is the only presence, substance and power, there is no place for evil to be, no space for matter to occupy, no discord for mortal mind to experience except as a false concept.
When we look at an object through bent glass we see a distorted object, not because the object is distorted, but because the medium through which it is perceived makes it seem so. The distortion exists only as a belief, an illusion, and we do not accept the appearance as real because we know it is not. Similarly existence appears to us in a material, finite, evil form, not because it is so, but because mortal mind so presents it. Christian Science by revealing to us the nature of real existence, together with the illusive character of material sense testimony, enables us to distinguish at any time between what is real and what is unreal, to recognize material error to be error, and thereby to begin to free ourselves and others from the bondage and fear attending it. The more clearly we make the distinction between the actual and the seeming, the more effective will be our efforts in healing.
Healing a Correcting Process
It should be clearly seen that although Christian Science denies matter by revealing its unreality, it does not destroy the sense of existence. The denial of matter does not produce a blank, for matter cannot be effectually denied until the substance of Spirit has been clearly apprehended. The metaphysical process involves a realization of Truth and a corresponding denial of error, a recognition of what is real and actual, and a resulting perception of the illusion of material appearance. This brings about a change in the human consciousness, and this improved quality of thought produces a more harmonious sense of existence.
Evil habits, depraved appetites, lustful passions, all forms of sinful desire, activity, and wrong living, are no part of the real man, God's idea, and they must be clearly separated from him. Sin cannot be removed by fastening it sinner. It must be seen as the mortal mind lie about man. Knowing that sin is not real and that God's man has no sinful appetites, is not the slave of passion, nor the victim of vice, but that man is the idea of God, reflecting divine Love and governed by divine Principle — this heals the sick. St. Paul puts it, "the word of God (Truth) is quick, and powerful." (Heb. 4:12)
How Truth Heals
It is often asked how and why Truth heals, why healing follows when we think Truth, but especially how it heals others to whom it is declared and about whom it is known, since in Christian Science healing there is no transfer of mortal thought through mental suggestion or hypnotism.
Christian Scientists know from experience that the declaration and realization of Truth will establish harmony in thought and heal all aches and pains. They also know that this takes place because discord is error which the knowing of Truth corrects. This action in the metaphysical realm is paralleled in the mathematical realm.
By its very nature Truth is individual, since it has its own distinctive, complete, indivisible character which identifies it Therefore it can express only itself, its own nature and character, namely that which is true and truthful. Truth being infinite Principle, it is power and expresses itself with power, and since there is no power in error, error cannot resist the power of Truth. A mathematical truth corrects a mathematical error to which the truth is applied, because of this essential quality and property of Truth, by which it always expresses itself and identifies itself, manifesting its own being in truthfulness.
In a similar way, a metaphysical or spiritual Truth applied to a human error, corrects that error because of the self-expressing property of Truth, whereby it always identifies itself when it is brought into action.
There is, therefore, no difference in the action of a silent treatment given to a person nearby or far away. In both cases the truth of the treatment reaches the latent thought and corrects the error. In the case of an audible treatment the truth may reach the patient's mentality through his conscious thought.
In both an audible treatment and in listening to the Lesson-Sermon at Christian Science services the conscious thought recognizing the truth and good of what is heard or read, opens to this truth which then acts upon the unconscious mentality, and by its essential property of self-identification, it corrects error and establishes what is true and harmonious.
Divine Love the Real Healer
Right spiritual knowing is real thinking, an expression or activity of Truth in consciousness. The knowing of God is the appearing of Christ in us. This healing consciousness comforts the sorrowing, brings hope to the unbelieving, awakens the sinner, and heals the afflicted by destroying the darkness of error with the light of Christ, Truth.
A Christian Science treatment or the scientific application of divine Principle, consists fundamentally of the clear knowing of the nature of God and the real man, and the consequent perception of the unreality of matter and evil. It involves an analysis of that which is to be healed, a spiritual discernment of the mental causes of the trouble, and a correct application of the antidoting divine Truth which corrects and removes these causes. This is not a mere repetition of words but is a scientific mental process, the reflection of divine Love through spiritual consciousness which demonstrates the healing through right knowing and right living.
Christian Science healing brings about not merely a physical change, but improves the patient morally, mentally, and spiritually. It brings a man nearer to God and changes his standpoint from a material to a spiritual basis. It uplifts thought, gives him power over evil, and improves his whole being in the degree that he can grasp its truth.
Christian Scientists know that "with God all things are possible" and that Christian Science can show forth all the wonders of infinite Mind. Hence they are striving day by day to have in them more of the Mind that was in Christ, that they may demonstrate this healing power more and more effectually. They are deeply grateful for the good that has already come to them and the good that they have been able to do for others, especially that they have learned to know the unreality of evil and are thus able to defend themselves against every tempation or assault of evil mind, animal magnetism. They are grateful to know that there is a perfect and compassionate God, who will guide them and sustain them, "a very present help in trouble."
Principle and Personality
Christian Science clearly shows that Principle and personality are opposites. To be governed by personality means to be influenced and controlled by the thoughts and opinions of some finite human being; whereas to be governed by Principle means obedience to the infinite, divine law of right and justice, of Truth, and of Love. We may be wrong when governed or influenced by personality since personal characteristics play so large a part in human opinion; but man who is governed by Principle can never be wrong, since Principle is God, the infinite, divine Love.
In order to approximate government by Principle, therefore, it is necessary to know that God, divine Love, is the only Mind, Life and power, and we then know that there is no mortal or personal thought which can deceive or influence us. This consciousness of the oneness of Mind and the powerlessness of its opposite, makes it possible for us to be guided rightly, and prevents us from being influenced wrongly by human will, by personal opinions, or by hypnotism.
Principle should not be thought to be cold, abstract, or severe, since the vital element of Principle is thereby missed. Principle is Love, and without Love there is no Principle. Therefore, we are obedient to Principle only in the degree that we are obedient to infinite divine Love, and endeavor to act in accordance with the Mind that was in Christ.
The fact that Christian Science heals can readily be determined by any sincere investigator, and the supporting evidence reveals its coincidence with spiritual healing, thus proving this healing to be true and possible today, and establishing the fact that Christian Science is Messianic.
Christian Science healing, being contrary to the teachings of physical science, the thinker finds that it cannot be interpreted on a physical basis, that it can be understood only as he gains a metaphysical or spiritual viewpoint. To him Mrs. Eddy makes it entirely clear that material existence is not real existence; that matter is not what it seems to be, and that he cannot safely trust the evidence of the physical senses. Her writings lead thought into the realm of the immaterial and divine, they show us that we must look beyond physics into metaphysics for causation and truth. The world is now beginning to respond to this demand. Inquiry into the mental nature of things is becoming more general, and the call is for an intelligent interpretation of experience, of physical phenomena, and of the nature of the human consciousness. Many of the points for which Mrs. Eddy contended are today finding corroboration as a result of the advance in physical science and in psychology.
Christian Science heals through the operation of divine law, the law whose Principle is infinite Spirit, Life, and Love, and anyone who will apply this law of God exactly and honestly can heal himself and others through Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy and Her Revealed Word
Mrs. Eddy's one objective through many years was to know God, to find the infinite source of good, to understand the true nature of being, that healing might come to burden-bearing humanity. Her single-mindedness, untempted by the world, undismayed by the weakness of the flesh, undaunted by the enmity of evil, held her true to her ideal and brought her to the longed-for goal, the demonstrable working understanding of the Christ-method, with unmistakable signs following,
Her human consciousness allied to God by her simple goodness, perceived divine reality, the nature of spiritual being, and this vision of perfect God and perfect man made Mrs. Eddy the discoverer of the hitherto unknown Science underlying all existence.
This "divine event" in the eternal, unbroken plan of salvation, is perpetually maintained and sustained by scientific rule and procedure, by which, through half a century of practice and proof, the fact has been established that Mrs. Eddy is also the founder of Christian Science. The marvel of these modern times is not the phenomenal rapidity and variety of material development, but the spiritual appearing to the transparent thought of one pure minded woman, of the Christ Truth, revealing the universe of infinite Mind and its ever-present reflection.
This revelation coming not through human reason and contradicting human experience and knowledge, is yet so irresistible in its appeal and so glorious in its effects that its written statement in Mrs. Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, readily reaches and convinces those who hunger and thirst for better things.
Recognizing Mrs. Eddy as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and that the revelation came to her because of her preparedness, Christian Scientists earnestly strive to become acquainted with her teachings as she has given them in her writings. They study them very carefully in order to obtain her own interpretation from her own words, and thereby avoid the danger of misinterpretation.
The spiritual thought which apprehends divine Truth clearly, communes with God, or divine Principle, Love, and this communion is true Christian Science prayer. This prayer recognizes the falsity of evil human sense, and includes the deep, earnest, conscientious desire to know God and do His will; it rests upon the absolute conviction of the power of perfect Principle and the forever operation of the immutable divine law, the law of Spirit, not of matter; it involves absolute dependence upon Him for all that is good and right, recognition of His supremacy, the acknowledgment of Him in all our ways, and the exercise of perfect trust in Him, together with a clear understanding of the character and mission of Christ Jesus, and obedience to his teachings. This is what St. James calls "the prayer of faith" which shall save the sick and which Mrs. Eddy explains in her masterly elucidation of prayer in Chapter One of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
In this book she writes:
"Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized." (Page 167.)
A mixed thought, or one in which the real and unreal, the spiritual and the material, the divine and the human, are not accurately differentiated, does not reflect spiritual truth clearly, for Truth is Spirit and Spirit is reflected only by knowing Truth.
Indeed, Christian Science teaches that the recognition of the evil thought or mental cause which is back of a disease or disturbance, is an essential factor in successful and instantaneous healing. Disease may possibly be due sometimes to purely material causes, so-called, either chemical or mechanical, but more frequently disease is due to the indulgence of sin or evil thought, or to belief of malicious arguments. In such a case, when the evil is detected and cast out, the sufferer is healed of the effects of the indulgence in wrong thoughts or acts, and is protected from hypnotic influence.
Thus we see why Christian Science is truly the Science of right living. It involves the knowing of divine Truth and the Principle of correct living, it recognizes the deceptive character of evil which is the cause of wrong living, and through the operation of divine law, it makes the healing of this evil tendency possible. It not only heals sin but it uplifts thought to higher ideals by revealing the true nature of God and the real man, thus inspiring a stronger sense of right, or honesty, of justice, of purity, of spirituality. It enriches human nature, develops and enlarges its latent capacities for good, ennobles character, establishes moral and physical health, inculcates a true love for God and man, and bestows the blessing resulting from Christian living.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)
[Delivered Nov. 7, 1920, at Brattle Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cambridge, and published in The Cambridge Chronicle, Nov. 13, 1920.]