Christian Science: A Religion of Healing
A. Hervey-Bathurst, C.S.B., of London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on "Christian Science — A Religion of Healing" was given last evening at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 340 67th St., by A. Hervey-Bathurst, C.S.B., of London, England, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.
The lecture in full follows:
May I ask you to visualize for a moment that momentous scene, that epoch-marking occasion, when Paul, standing before King Agrippa, asked, "Why should it be considered a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" What an indication of understanding of the power, the omnipotence, and omnipresence of God. Has God changed? Then what Paul indicated is as true now as it was then. This, Christian Science not only teaches, but demonstrates or proves.
The present is frequently and accurately described as a progressive age. During recent years much progress has been made and this is especially evident in the numerous inventions which are combining to annihilate time and space. Is it, however, only in the realm of mechanics that progress is to be expected? Why should we not equally expect further unfoldment in the realm of religion? In spite of the fact that, generally speaking, people do not devote much thought to the question of development along religious lines, wonderful changes are taking place. It may well be said that the greatest change since the appearance of Christ Jesus occurred when in 1866 Christian Science was discovered.
It is not necessary for me to tell you that Christian Science heals. That fact is now recognized throughout the world, for men, women and children in every civilized country are being healed through the knowledge of the truth, taught and practiced by the Founder of Christianity, and again revealed to this age by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the author of its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. While the revelation of Christian Science is certainly proof of the remarkable development in the realm of religion, Christian Science is not new, for it is primitive Christianity again revealed to mankind in a way which all can understand and practice scientifically.
"Why should it be considered a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" Christian Science today is perpetually voicing that same thought and is again asking mankind why it should be doubted that the healing of sin, sickness and death should still be possible through the recognition and the demonstration of the ever-present God and His irresistible power. Whether the revelation through Christian Science of the true concept of God and man is immediately accepted universally or not will not alter the facts, and the healing continues.
The way in which Christian Science was discovered is so interesting by reason of its wonderful simplicity. Mrs. Eddy was suffering from the effects of an accident from which the physicians expected she would not recover. One day she begged to be left alone. Mrs. Eddy had always been a most earnest student of the Bible, and as was her custom she turned to that sacred volume and read the familiar passage in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel which records the Master's healing of the man suffering from the palsy. Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." You will note the prompt obedience of that man, who did as he was told with the result we all know so well.
How many sick people, I wonder, have read that passage, but no one that we know of in all the centuries that have elapsed since that occurrence has had spiritual discernment enough to understand and accept the healing offered in that command — at least no such case is recorded. Mrs. Eddy, however, evidently discerned on that occasion the deep spiritual meaning of what the Master said. In other words, she recognized the divine fact that man has dominion or she discerned man's God-given heritage of freedom and dominion over all the earth, with the result that she rose at once from her sick-bed. Having made this wonderful discovery, Mrs. Eddy retired from the world for three years in order to work out or demonstrate the truth which had been revealed to her and which she realized it was her privilege and duty to share with mankind. This she did by healing innumerable diseases of all kinds and doing other wonderful works.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery established the fact that the sick can still be healed in the way Jesus and his disciples taught and practiced. At the same time let me say that Christian Science is by no means confined to the healing of physical sickness, for, as Mrs. Eddy writes in Rudimental Divine Science, p. 2, "Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness." Christian Science is therefore all-inclusive; or, in other words, there is not a problem known or unknown to mankind, individually or collectively, that cannot be solved through a correct understanding and demonstration of the teachings of Christian Science.
When Paul made that astounding statement to Agrippa already quoted, was it not because he was teaching and urging the practice of Christianity? So, my friends, of those who today are tempted to doubt or disbelieve in the healing through Christian Science treatment, might not a similar question be asked, namely — Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should heal the sick.
I am sure that in the time at our disposal we shall see how this healing is not only a reasonable but a natural result of the understanding of the teaching of him of whom it was said, "Never man spake like this man."
Christian Science shows that the high standard of living and healing taught by Jesus must eventually be attained by all, in fact that it is possible now. "Ye shall know the truth," the Master declared, "and the truth shall make you free." Christian Science has revealed that truth. And what is Truth?
What is the truth about all we see, hear, feel, taste, smell? What is the truth about the many discordant conditions we see around us? Why does evil seem to be so persistent — sometimes apparently almost overmastering good? These are a few of the many questions with which mankind is struggling.
Importance of Right Thinking
Let us see what Jesus teaches on this point. Did he not say, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew vi:33). And how can we seek the kingdom of God except in thought? So then Jesus stated definitely that the only way to success, the only way to find what is good, real and true, is to find the "kingdom of God," i.e., the place not only where God is, but where God reigns — is supreme.
It is a well-known axiom that like invariably produces like. So that if we commence with what our physical senses tell us, or if we accept the testimony of the physical senses as a basis from which to argue, or if we believe that what these senses tell us is true, we are materialists, and to us there is no God. Again, if we believe that there is a great First Cause or creator, God, or Spirit, and at the same time accept the testimony of the physical or material senses as real, we are admitting that God is conscious of and therefore includes evil, sin, disease, disaster and death, which is utterly impossible. Why? Because if the great First Cause or creator knew and therefore included both good and evil, both life and death, it would be a "house divided against itself," and therefore destructive, not creative or a creator. And all Christians acknowledge that God is the only creator and that He is good.
No one would like to be told he was not intelligent. Yet we are faced with the fact that, while admitting that like produces like, people or a great many people believe that God or Spirit created, and is therefore manifested or expressed in, His opposite, matter. Jesus taught quite the contrary, and so does Christian Science. So, while no one likes to realize he is being deceived, every man is being deceived who accepts the testimony of the carnal or mortal mind, or the physical senses, as to the material universe, including mortal man, being real.
We admit readily that there must be a First Cause. We call that First Cause or creator God, or Spirit, and we add with assurance and certainty that He is infinite. Then since God is Spirit, His creation must be and is exactly like Him, spiritual. Spirit does not and cannot include its very opposite, matter; therefore there is no matter in the creation which is spiritual, and that is the only creation. It is possible that some one might feel tempted to say — suppose that is true, but what about the material evidence which my physical senses continually tell me is real? To such an one I would say — I believe you know enough about the material universe, and I will ask you to be willing to consider this great but simple truth which I am endeavoring to explain. And let me assure you that to the extent that you are willing to admit the logical and divine facts as to what and where God is, you will be able to demonstrate or prove them unfailingly.
God, we all declare, is in heaven. We admit also that God is infinite. Therefore God, Spirit, is everywhere; and here is included in everywhere. Consequently that place where God is, or the kingdom of God, is at hand; it is not afar off. It is exactly where we are, and where we are is just where we are thinking. The Master said, "The kingdom of God is within you." In other words, to the extent that you understand and accept the truth which has been established from all time, you see or experience the kingdom of heaven; you awake to the fact that, actually, you are in heaven.
How many people believe that they can find or recognize the kingdom of heaven here and now, without going to some other place or passing through the experience called death? Yet, did not the Master say, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God?" He obviously meant that we were to seek and find it here, where we are. He did not tell us we have to go somewhere else in order to find it. May I remind you that we pray, or most of us pray, daily and some of us many times a day, "Thy kingdom come," the spiritual sense of which Mrs. Eddy gives us in Science and Health, p. 16, as "Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present." Heaven is not a locality; it is mental or spiritual.
At this point one might feel inclined to ask, "Then where is 'on earth'?" That equally is just where we are thinking. The earth of God's creating is not the earth which our physical senses present to us, and in order that we may see the answer to that simple prayer, "Thy kingdom come," we must, through the understanding of Truth, get rid of our erroneous concept of earth. In her definition of earth in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes in part, "To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea."
In Revelation 21 John writes, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away." How did John, who was still on earth, see the new heaven and the new earth? How was he able to hear that "great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and be their God"? How was he able to see what the physical senses certainly could not discern? Was not John still human? He certainly was, but his ability to think correctly, or his spiritual discernment, was beyond that of the ordinary man of his day.
The Truth About Man
And here the question will arise, "What is man?" As the Bible states, in language with which we are all so familiar, man is the image and likeness of God. In order therefore to understand man, it is well first to have some correct concept of God, the only creator, who is quoted in the first chapter of Genesis, verse 26, as saying, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." But one might ask, what makes it possible for men to have a true concept of God? The answer to this question is — the fact that man really is spiritual — the image and likeness of God.
The general trouble is that men believe that they are separate entities entirely independent of God. Man is no more separate from God than the reflection of yourself before the mirror is independent of you. If you stand before a mirror your reflection does exactly what you do and at the same moment. What is true about your reflection in connection with you is equally true with regard to man in his relation to God. Then think of the joy, think of the comfort, the satisfaction and assurance of knowing that you are not now and never can be separated from God! This divine, unalterable fact can never change or be changed. Therefore it matters not what we may think or believe; this fact remains.
Then arises the question, "What is God?" On page 465 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy gives us the following definition of God. "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." This God is the only creator and He created all that was made, as the Bible states. Must it not follow then that, since God's creation is the only creation and it is good, we have a very erroneous concept of that creation, including man, so long as we believe that the creation of God includes evil, sickness, destruction, fear, vice or death? Can man, the image and likeness or reflection of God, be subject to what God does not include? The answer is emphatically — No, he is not and never was. This may be considered a bold statement to make, but it is nevertheless true, because what is true about the nature of God must be equally true about the nature of His reflection, man.
Then we see that you and I in our true selfhood or identity are just as much the children of God now as we always have been and ever will be. One might, however, well ask, how is it that we so frequently act as if we were the children of a most un-Godlike parent?
God is infinite, all, and God is Spirit; therefore His creation, including man, can only be and is spiritual. This may be said to be the key to the question. Suppose, however, one were to say, — "that is obviously true from a logical point of view, but it is beyond me to prove it." To such an one the reply may be made, — the spiritual fact of being is true; it always has been and always will be true. Recognition of this divine fact, or the truth, enables one to apply it in human experience, that is, to prove the truth, Let me say at once that the physical or material man, or the physical senses, will never be able to see or define God, Spirit, because, as St. Paul writes, "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
St. John wrote — "now are we the sons of God." Does not this mean that now, at this very moment, we are, or our true selves are, Godlike, and does not "Godlike" mean like Spirit and not like matter? Again, because man really is spiritual and because the material is but the mistaken belief, or the lie, or the counterfeit, man has the innate ability to recognize and love God, good. In Science and Health, p. 468, Mrs. Eddy writes in the "scientific statement of being," — "man is not material; he is spiritual."
The belief then in a material creation, or the belief that man is material, is a false mistaken belief, an erroneous supposition. You cannot have a mistaken belief about nothing; you can only have a mistaken concept of Truth. Therefore, as we understand even a little of Christian Science, we see how the erroneous belief is late, since Truth is already established. We can go even further and say that error is always late, always too late. Therefore surely an erroneous or mistaken belief cannot interfere with or hinder us, nor can it harm us, and we need never be afraid of it.
The material or physical body then is the result of a belief in the reality of the material creation, including man or the belief that matter produces or creates itself.
Man, as we have already seen, is the expression or reflection of God or divine Mind. The understanding of this divine fact enables us to have dominion over the body, because matter, or the material body, is merely a belief in something which does not emanate from the one and only cause, Spirit, and therefore is not of God.
Christian Science is universal in its application. It is immaterial whether the situation or problem is a personal one, one in connection with a community, a church, a nation, or an international question, the practice of Christian Science will inevitably heal the situation.
What then is taking place, as the healing power of Truth is being more and more universally revealed and demonstrated through Christian Science? What is this replacing of sickness by health, of insubordination, revolutionary or destructive tendencies and chaos by law, order and permanent power?
It is the appearing of the Christ. Critics sometimes accuse Christian Scientists of being irreverent, because Christian Science teaches the true nature of Jesus, even as it does the truth about the Christ. Just as the watchful shepherds discerned the pale star heralding the birth of the infant Jesus, so today those who are ready and watching recognize that the final revelation of the Christ, Truth, has appeared in this age through Christian Science.
In Hebrews 9:28 we read that the Christ shall "appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Again, Christian Science teaches that Jesus was the man who, because of the wonderful nature of his birth, was in a position to reveal or demonstrate the Christ. This Jesus himself declared when he said to the Jews (John 8:58), "Before Abraham was, I am." This statement so aroused his enemies that they took up "stones to cast at him"; thus proving that they failed to recognize the Christ which Jesus indicated so beautifully in that statement.
Jesus was the man who revealed or demonstrated the Christ, the evidence of which was seen in the healing of the sick, reforming of the sinner and raising of the dead. The Christ was more than a person. In Science and Health, p. 583, Mrs. Eddy defines the Christ as "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." It is common history how through the effort to misuse Christianity, the healing, the essential proof of its divine nature, disappeared. In other words, the Christ became less and less understood and religion became more and more personal. Thus it remained for Mary Baker Eddy to give primitive Christianity again to the world, whereby mankind is able to see that the Christ has never left the earth; that the Christ, Truth, is still available and can be recognized or demonstrated by mankind, as it must be eventually by all, as was stated with such force by the Master when he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." "Why should it be considered a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
Thus again we have in this age the final revelation of Truth in fulfillment of the Master's prophecy, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26.) Therefore, far from lacking in reverence, Christian Scientists gratefully, gladly and with true reverence acknowledge the nature of Jesus, and that he alone at that time was able to discern and demonstrate fully the Christ, which, as he indicated, has been from all time.
How wonderful, how interesting and encouraging to begin to realize that man is now actually the image and likeness or reflection of God. Then since Life is a synonym of God, man is the image and likeness or exact reflection of Life, which is infinite. This infinite Life, which man expresses or reflects, can therefore never be interfered with or affected by the belief in sickness. Then we come to the point where we see that not only sin and sickness but also death must be overcome, if we are going to accept the teaching of the Master in its entirety.
Christian Science lifts the veil of mystery from all these questions over which mankind has so long pondered. Christian Science reveals the fact that the future, or, as it is sometimes defined, the "hereafter," is not shrouded in mystery. In fact there is no "hereafter." There is but the eternal now. Think for a moment what is the future and when is it going to come? Does it ever come? Is it not always now? God is Life, and in Life there is no death. Just as darkness is expelled by the light, so is the belief in death healed or destroyed by the understanding of Life. Look for a moment at the Old Testament and you will see in Enoch's experience how he knew enough of God, of Life, to enable him so to improve his concept of man, or the reflection of Life, that he "walked with God." Also did not the Master himself first demonstrate the unreality of the belief in death for others and then finally in his own experience?
Let us dwell in thought for a moment on that simple scene described so vividly in John 11, when the brother of Mary had died. You will recall with what authority Jesus summoned forth Lazarus from that dream of death and said to those standing by that they were to "loose him and let him go." Today there are thousands who are being loosed from the grave-clothes of material beliefs; yes, and from the belief that Life is subordinate to or in matter. We need to be logical, scientific, active thinkers. We need to be willing to accept the whole of the Master's teaching, even if we have not yet demonstrated it fully. That same Christ, which Jesus declared he had come to reveal, is just as much with us and available now as when the Master called forth Lazarus from that cave upon which the stone lay. Today the stones of a belief in a life apart from God are continually becoming lighter and sometimes they are being removed altogether.
As Christians we accept the teaching of the Master without questioning it, and through Christian Science mankind is being shown in this age how to practice it. Whatever you or I may believe with regard to Truth makes no difference to Truth itself, since it is immutable and unchangeable. Whether we accept it or reject it, Truth remains as it has been all through the ages, and the day must surely come and is coming when the divine fact that Life is infinite will not only be understood but demonstrated. Why not then be at least willing to admit that fact now and stop this limiting policy of postponement? "Why should it be considered a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
Education and Government
Christian Science reveals the omnipotence of good. Therefore since God or good is omnipotent or all-powerful, God, good, is the only power, the only government. This wonderful yet divine fact revealed by Christian Science is demonstrable. Then think what changes will occur as this fact is more widely recognized and demonstrated. In the political world, in international affairs, how glorious to see those in official positions desirous of demonstrating only the power and government of good. If, however, this government of good is to be demonstrated in world affairs, it surely must commence with the individual, and if it commences with the individual it will unfold in the home. Therefore the homes of Christian Scientists should be harmonious and orderly, and must express the true sense of government. In order that this may be so, the children must be taught obedience, strict obedience. They should be taught to respect their parents and others; to be considerate, unselfish and courteous. They certainly should be given the legitimate freedom all children should have, yet they should be taught proper control and shown the difference between liberty and license. They should learn the joy of self-sacrifice, the happiness of thinking of others, instead of continually being pampered.
The education of children is a sacred responsibility. Mrs. Eddy refers to them as "the hope of our race" (Pul. 9:2). They are most certainly in need of proper education and discipline; and Christian Science shows also that the larger children need to be disciplined, or to discipline themselves, just as the smaller ones need to be properly educated or disciplined, in order that they may bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (II Cor. 10:5.)
It is not possible for you or for me to foretell exactly the progress that will be made; to foresee in detail the magnificent blessings which will accrue to mankind as this true or correct education of children becomes more general. With a growing army of clear, scientific thinkers the belief in evil will be much less readily accepted, and as these children gradually step into positions of authority and find themselves in places where their understanding has fuller scope and where they have greater privileges than ever of demonstrating true government, will not the universal brotherhood of man be seen as a demonstrable fact rather than as a beautiful theory, which so many people today believe can never become practical? The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christian Science is demonstrating or proving it, and day by day it is being more clearly recognized that the children are indeed "the hope of our race."
Healing Through Christian Science
The Way-shower, Christ Jesus, the Founder of Christianity, showed us how to get rid of the belief in sickness. He not only knew, but was able to demonstrate, the truth; the knowledge of which, he declared, would make us free. As Jesus showed us, so in Christian Science, the healing is not the result of struggling with a belief in sickness as if it were something real to be overcome. Healing through Christian Science treatment is the inevitable result of a demonstrable knowledge of the truth. As we rouse ourselves to recognize the truth revealed by Christian Science — to understand that after all the teaching of Jesus is not only true, but demonstrable, we are in a position to refute these erroneous statements, thoughts or suggestions to the effect that man is sick or controlled by sin. Then it is that that which is incomprehensible to the carnal mind or physical senses occurs unfailingly — the sick are healed and the sinner is reformed.
I feel sure, however, that at this point someone would like to ask, "Yes, but how is the healing actually brought about?" The answer is briefly — through prayer. In the chapter on Prayer in Science and Health, page 1, Mrs. Eddy writes, "Desire is prayer"; and she states also that "no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds." In my own experience, as in the experience of innumerable others, one of the greatest blessings and revelations of Christian Science is the understanding of how to pray aright.
Here, however, one might perhaps be thinking, "What can there be to pray about if, as Christian Science teaches, God, Spirit, or divine Mind is all and man is His expression or reflection?" The answer is that just so long as there is any belief in the presence, power and effect of evil, it will be necessary to pray without ceasing. Prayer is not only a desire for a knowledge of the truth; it also exemplifies or demonstrates it. For example, suppose you know something about Christian Science and have demonstrated the truth of what you understand by healing yourself of some physical trouble, and someone comes to you and asks for Christian Science treatment, because he is suffering. In asking for treatment the patient is reaching out for Truth. His honest desire is prayer, but probably rather along the lines of blind faith; whereas the prayer of the Christian Scientist would be based upon spiritual understanding, the understanding or knowledge of the truth about God, and man as His perfect reflection; which is true, even while the patient is believing something quite the contrary. As the Master stated and proved, and as Christian Science teaches, that understanding of the truth makes free, because it destroys the erroneous or false belief about man, and the patient, being honest and receptive, experiences the answer to his prayer or is healed through Christian Science treatment.
There is perhaps no greater joy, nothing more satisfactory, than the knowledge Christian Science gives you that it is man's privilege here and now to recognize and demonstrate his true nature or Godlikeness; in other words, to be what you actually are all the time.
Now surely the spiritual understanding of man in his true nature, or "the expression of God's being" (Science and Health, p. 470:23), cannot fail to heal, and, what is more, does not fail to heal. Of course the patient may not understand exactly how the healing takes place, but there is no question that he is conscious of the fact when the physical trouble, from which he believed he was suffering, is healed, and he leaves the presence of the Christian Scientist a free, well man. Recognizing, affirming and demonstrating the truth about God, man and the universe, constitutes prayer. There is a beautiful and remarkable definition of prayer in the words of one of the hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal: —
"Prayer is the heart's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
"Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air;
His watchword overcometh death —
He enters heaven with prayer."
All down the centuries mankind has prayed; and did not the Master say, "When ye pray, believe that ye receive" (Mark 11:24). Do people generally pray in that way today, do you think? The fact is that to the extent that the desire or prayer is honest will that prayer be answered. Then if we honestly desire to do God's will and not our own, we shall be able to obey with rejoicing.
It would be difficult to find a more beautiful or simple prayer than the one in the first verse of one of Mrs. Eddy's hymns, a hymn ineffably tender and abundant in healing. In the first four lines: —
"Shepherd, show me how to go
O'er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow, —
How to feed Thy sheep;"
we find beautifully expressed that childlike desire to be shown the way. In the next two lines is expressed the determination to listen for God's voice: —
"I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;"
Listening, we certainly hear, for actually the voice of Truth is the only voice. Then to quote further the same hymn: —
"I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way."
Here we have the expression of the determination to follow the voice or guiding of Truth, and in so doing comes the ability to "rejoice all the rugged way." But why, one might ask, should one rejoice when the way is rugged? The answer is that to the extent that we understand what Mrs. Eddy has revealed, we see that we are able to eliminate the mistaken sense of self, or the belief in a selfhood apart from God.
It follows also naturally that to the extent that we do follow God's guidance, we not only rejoice wholeheartedly, but we make no mistakes; or, if you will, we do as God does, by reflection. Have you or I really the audacity to tell the Deity or God what to do, or how to do it? But is not that what mankind has been doing for centuries? Let us be logical, and recognize, affirm and be grateful for the fact that God's work is perfect.
We certainly need to improve our feeble concept of God, man, and the universe, and as this improvement takes place, or as we wake up to a fuller recognition of reality, the false beliefs or inaccuracies vanish, die of their own inanition.
The secret of Christian Science is right or true thinking, or watchfulness. If you will think for a moment you will realize how seldom mankind consciously watch what they are thinking; you will notice how seldom, generally speaking, they control their thoughts. Men and women are more or less careful what they say, but it takes Christian Science really to rouse one to watch one's thinking. This watchfulness in the practice of Christian Science is of paramount importance and I will assure you that as you practice this right, true thinking and are willing not to admit a thought or suggestion that would interfere with your recognition and affirmation of the omnipresence and omnipotence of God or good, you will witness wonderful results, for truth is power, and error is impotence and cannot stand.
This right thinking or watchfulness must be practised, not spasmodically, but consistently and persistently. Take for instance your dally paper. Can you afford to accept suggestions or statements of error, discord, disaster, fear, hatred, death? No. Then when you begin to appreciate the power of right thinking you will realize that to the extent you correct these suggestions, whether they appear to come from the press, a book, or just as stray thoughts, you will be becoming world workers, because, as Mrs. Eddy writes on page 559 of Science and Health (lines 8-10), "The 'still small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound."
Once more, it is necessary to make a persistent effort in order to practice this right thinking, because the carnal, or as Mrs. Eddy defines it, the "so-called mortal mind," cannot cognize the things of Spirit or reality. Then it becomes clear how impossible it is in Christian Science to attempt to work by means of that mind or counterfeit mind. Would not that mind, claiming to know both good and evil, claim equally to accomplish evil as well as good? Being a counterfeit mind, however, it accomplishes nothing in reality, and only appears to when we believe it.
So we see that the Christian Scientist is learning not only to accept the truth as to the omnipresence and omnipotence of God as a theory, he is learning to prove it. How? Not merely with regard to his physical health, but also with respect to his home relations or personal affairs, and also as regards the belief in evil operating as financial loss, failure in business, accident, as well as the large and small political questions of the day. To illustrate this latter point, suppose a student of Christian Science learns of a certain national or international difficulty said to be developing — one which might end in war — can he afford to accept such a declaration? Certainly not, if he is practicing right thinking, because he realizes that in the kingdom of heaven, or in God's perfect creation, there is nothing that can produce misunderstanding, distrust, jealousy, or hatred, culminating in war. Realizing also the importance and power of right thinking, or the knowledge of the truth, he is freed from the sense of fear and goes on his way more than ever grateful and more than ever conscious of the irresistible power and presence of God or good. This intelligent and persistent refusal, through the practice of Christian Science, to accept the erroneous suggestions is effective and is accomplishing much.
So then, when some discordant situation or condition appears to arise and we accept it, we suffer from the effects of our own false belief and not from anything that counterfeit mind claims to do, because it is powerless. That is why anything like mesmerism, hypnotism, spiritualism, autosuggestion, psycho-analysis, all of which are based upon the belief in a mind knowing both good and evil, are quite foreign to Christian Science. No Christian Scientist could practice such methods, and were he to endeavor to do so he could no longer practice Christian Science.
Strange as it may sound to some of you perhaps, the world today is not free from every desire to bring about evil, strife, or even war, all for some ulterior purpose. Do you think that that condition of mind which attempted to kill the Christ by crucifying Jesus has as yet been silenced forever? Do these sinister forebodings of evil disturb the Christian Scientist? No; for he realizes that the desire to do evil, or the seeming ability to accomplish evil, is powerless in the presence of the understanding of Truth. The watchful Christian Scientist merely allows these arguments of error or the carnal mind to remind him of the truth, and he knows that every effort of that carnal mind, however subtle it may seem to be, is proved to be powerless by the demonstration of the unalterable, ever-operative and irresistible law of God or good. In this way the lie of the belief in the activity of an evil so-called mind is refuted, proved to be untrue. This is its destruction.
Perhaps there is no more significant chapter in the New Testament than the 13th chapter of Mark's Gospel, where the Master reminds his followers of the urgent necessity for watching, and tells them how "many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Also he said, "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things." There is, therefore, surely no excuse for those who have a scientific understanding of the teaching of the Master to be deceived by fear, misled by fear, or overwhelmed by fear.
Christian Scientists have a scientific understanding of the Christ, Truth, revealed and taught by Jesus, and are, thanks to the discovery of Mary Baker Eddy, in a position to prove that "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6), and they are ever mindful of the remarkable advice given by the Master (Mark 13:37), "What I say unto you I say unto all, watch."
Christian Science Simple
Christian Science is pre-eminently simple. Do not think there is anything involved in it. It is as simple as primitive Christianity. Let me say before you leave this hall that there is nothing to prevent your beginning without delay to put into practice what you now understand of this vast subject. You have only to begin to think logically, truly, scientifically. You need only honestly desire the truth and you will find it. Then as you commence and continue studying the Christian Science textbook you will join the ever-increasing throng of grateful men and women who find that all language fails when they try to express the gratitude they feel and owe to that wonderful woman, their beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy.
With regard to prayer, do not be afraid to pray. Pray in the best way you can and you will find that as your understanding of Christian Science increases, your prayers will become less petitions, but rather the joyful recognition, affirmation and demonstration of God's omnipresence and omnipotence. Mankind has slumbered all too long in the mesmeric belief that the material is real and that man is made of matter. Christian Science sounds the clarion call to awake from sleep, and then Christ will give you light. Why pass the "pearl of great price" by? The way is clear and all can walk in it who will.
(Hymnal No. 11):
"Why search the future and the past?
Why do ye look with tearful eyes,
And seek, far off, for Paradise?
Beneath thy feet, Life's pearl is cast."
In Science and Health are these words (p. 174:17): "The thunder of Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount are pursuing and will overtake the ages, rebuking in their course all error and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven on earth. Truth is revealed. It needs only to be practised."
Therefore, my friends, "Why should it be considered a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?"
[Delivered June 10, 1933, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 340 67th Street, New York, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 11, 1933.]