Christian Science — God's Law
William D. Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
You have been invited here this evening to listen to a lecture upon God; to hear what Christian Science has to offer you relative to God and His Christ. Many of you are familiar with the teachings of Christian Science, some of you have a slight knowledge of what Christian Science is, while a few of you, possibly, will tonight gain your first impressions of what Christian Science brings to the world. In any event, you are all welcome and we shall strive, in the brief period at our disposal, to present our subject in the simplest possible manner so that even "he who runs may read."
Men are beginning to think for themselves as they have never done before; the great impetus of freedom and democracy which has of late come to the world, has, in large measure, freed thought from its fetters of conventionality and formalism and has rendered it remarkably receptive of Truth. Men are rapidly learning not to depend on the dictum of others for their insight into heaven nor are they longer content to sustain themselves on the broken reed of materialism in their search for bodily health. That dogmatism, scholasticism and religious creeds, together with drugs and physics, are being weighed in the balance and found wanting has ample proof in the whole-hearted, eager and enthusiastic manner in which mankind is gradually and certainly embracing the saving graces of this new-old religion of Christian Science.
Christian Science comes to you, my friends, with a glorious promise and with a reason for the hope that is in it. It says to those who are sick, those who are sorrowful, those who are tearful and those who are poverty stricken, in the words of Jesus, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Christian Science offers you sure surcease from sorrow and fear, it has a panacea for all your ills and your misfortunes and it comes with a heart full of love and compassion, with healing in its wings and with a world of joy and happiness for all. In Christian Science the sackcloth and ashes are exchanged for the oil of gladness. As foretold in the vision of St. John, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away."
The pathway of Christian Science has not been an easy one to traverse. The movement has not reached its present position in the world over a pathway strewn with roses. Its progress, from its very inception, has been beset by tremendous odds, both from within and without. It has not been without its Judases. Other religious denominations have not tendered it the right hand of fellowship which might have been expected from them nor has it met with ready favor at the hands of different forms of healing. It has been the object of much open opposition finding expression through pulpit and press and legislative enactments instigated by its opponents. And why, pray, do you suppose Christian Science has found itself the target for these arrows of opposition? Why has it been so maligned and misrepresented? Why, for the very same reason that the Holy Nazarene was persecuted from city to city; from country to country, for the same reason that he was vilified and ridiculed; for the same reason that he was stoned and spat upon; for the same reason that he suffered and endured the agonies of Calvary; because — simply because — he healed the sick and brought comfort to the sinning and sorrowful; because he healed the sick through prayer and by spiritual means alone, to the complete discredit of all material so-called methods of healing; simply because he taught a complete salvation from sin without the fettering and unavailing requirements of scholastic theology and without bowing before the formalism of the creeds and ritualistic dogmas of priest and rabbi. Had Jesus never healed the sick spiritually; had he never taught that it is sinful to resort to material means for healing; had he never comforted and reclaimed the sinner without the show of hollow cant and more than worthless ceremony, the world never would have witnessed that awful tragedy on Calvary and there would be no Christian religion today — no scientific religion.
Likewise, had Christian Science been unable to accomplish these same healing and regenerating works of the Master in the same manner and through the same means that he did, in strict obedience to his commands, his teachings and his precepts, it never would have been the object of the misrepresentation, persecution and intolerance to which it has been so often subjected. It was inevitable that Jesus should have suffered the agonies of Calvary and it is inevitable that any religion following in his footsteps and obeying his command to go into all the world, preach the gospel, heal the sick and raise the dead shall bear his cross of ridicule and condemnation, shall drink his cup of bitterness and humiliation, until it prove to an unwilling and skeptical world its words by its works.
Spiritual Healing Restored
Christian Science has come to humanity to restore to it the lost art of healing which the great Master-Christian, Jesus the Christ, declared should exemplify the understanding of those truths of existence which he gave to the world some twenty centuries ago. One can hardly read the New Testament without a firm conviction that much of the vitality given it by the life and works of Jesus has been lost or eliminated throughout the intervening centuries. Jesus taught that it was his understanding of God and God's government of His universe which enabled him to do the works of healing and regeneration he so freely accomplished throughout his brief ministry and of which he said in no unmistakable terms "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."
Jesus' mission on earth was to establish with men that understanding of God which would enable them to do the very works that he did. He said "Ye shall know them by their fruits," and in explanation of this saying you will recall that near the close of his earthly ministry, to emphasize to his disciples the fruitlessness of merely external appearances of piety, he cursed the barren fig tree — the fig tree which, to all outward appearances, was a worthy example of its species, but which, on intimate acquaintance, proved to be entirely devoid of fruit but profuse in beautiful and promising foliage. Jesus taught that his works of healing and regeneration were not of a miraculous nature but were indigenous to the correct understanding of God which he came to give us. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth for all mankind throughout all time — for you and for me, right here and now. In that mighty prayer, given us in his Sermon on the Mount, we find these words: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'' That which enabled the disciples of Jesus' time to heal the sick, cast out demons and even raise the dead was intended for you and for me just as much as for the disciples, otherwise the marvelous works and teachings of Jesus are of no avail as our Savior. There is nothing in the Bible and in the teachings and works of the Master to excuse us in the least for not healing the sick by prayer and spiritual means in accord with the commands of Jesus. In the sixteenth chapter of St. Mark's Gospel Jesus gave this explicit command to all mankind, through the medium of his disciples — "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." And is it not a glorious thing to know that at last we have been awakened through Christian Science, to the recognition of the fact that that command was for you and for me, and that we have been given, through Christian Science, that understanding of Jesus' teachings which makes the fulfillment of this command a present and immediate possibility, and that you and I may know enough right here and now to assist in establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth?
Spiritual vs. Material Law
If you will carefully follow the life of Jesus as given in the New Testament and consider his works in connection with what he taught you will discover that what he did was merely to establish as a demonstrable fact what he taught, and that what he taught and did were said and done in accord with, and in explanation of, some immutable ever present, universal law. You will see, in other words, that his words and works were looking to the establishment with men of a divine, omnipotent, spiritual law which will eventually rule all mankind to the complete extinction of any so-called opposed law and its effects. The world had always been accounting law to be that which had to do with the material universe and had looked, and still does look, upon law to be that which has to do with materiality or matter. In fact, if you will consider for a moment, you will agree that we have never associated law with anything but with matter. All material or physical manifestations of whatever name or nature — all material phenomena — claim to be the product or outcome of some material law. Everything cognized in all the experience of mortals from the cradle to the grave is claimed to exist or to transpire because of a law of matter, and if we will carefully analyze our concept of this entire material existence we will find that we have attributed all material conditions, phenomena and manifestations to God. Have we not? Have we not always looked upon everything of which we have been cognizant through the medium of the senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling to be God-ordained and manifestations of a divine cause of which we have had no particular knowledge? We have merely taken these apparent material conditions to be matters of fact, without question, and have submitted to the misery and want and woe resultant therefrom as inevitable visitations of a divine providence of which we were supposed to know little or nothing until, perhaps, we had passed the portals of another existence. We have hardly once stopped to consider what Jesus said and did about those conditions which we have so long attributed, in our ignorance, to God. But when, by Christian Science, we have been called to a halt in our loose and reckless methods of thinking about God and men, and about Jesus and his works, we have been brought face to face with the fact that there is hardly a word uttered by Jesus or an act committed by him in the course of his ministry that does not completely deny, controvert and overthrow some so-called material, or physical law. And if we will follow him in his three years' work with men in his effort to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth we will find that in those three years there is not a single evidence of material existence, not a single so-called law governing our material living, and material phenomena which forms a part of our daily experience, that Jesus did not utterly annul through his intelligent application of what he termed the Law of God which he characterized as the "Truth" which he said would make us all free when known or understood. "Ye shall know the truth" Jesus said "and the truth shall make you free." That is, ye shall know and understand this Law of God which I here expound and prove to you and this knowledge shall give you power over all things material, thereby setting you free from these so-called laws which have so long held mankind in bondage. Jesus said "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." And then he proceeded to break down and destroy every physical law of which we have any cognizance, through his application of God's law.
And this Law of God — this Law, the knowledge and application of which Jesus said should make us free — is what Christian Science has come to re-establish with men. Those wonderful works of Jesus prove conclusively that laws of matter are not God's Laws and that God's Laws are not only superior but are actually laws of annihilation to so-called material laws and thereby prove that material laws are the product of a mortal misconception of what constitutes true law. Now, it is perfectly evident that Jesus, in his presentation to humanity of a law higher and more powerful than so-called material laws, did not give to mankind a law of his own invention. He established God's Law, which has existed throughout all time, the evidence of which runs as a golden thread throughout all history. The existence of this Law of God can be traced throughout the lives of the prophets and patriarchs, coming to light at intervals in the history of humanity when some one, through pure spirituality, rose high enough in thought to soar above the fettering bonds of crass materialism and glimpse the glories of an existence wherein man may he found in the image and likeness of his Maker, subject only to the Law of God — the Law of Good. As we contemplate with prayerful care the life and works of our Master, as we study carefully all that he said in connection with his many wonderful works, we become impressed more and more, with the gratifying conviction that the understanding and application, in our daily living, of the truths, or laws, which he expounded constitute that Comforter which Jesus said he would send to us and which will, when understood and applied by us, free us from all those ills to which we have ever considered mankind naturally subject.
We find, with reassurance, that this Law of God is a law of Life — not of death; a law of health — not of sickness; a law of abundance — not of lack and limitation; a law of harmony — not of discord; a law of peace — not of strife; a law of love — not of hate. And oh! if we could but comprehend what this law of love embraces. How sadly this old world needs love, the love that Jesus gave to the world and of which the apostle spake when he said "Love is the fulfilling of the law." What a ministry of love was that of Jesus. Could aught be compared to that love which endured, without murmuring, the world's hatred and scorn that you and I might understand that the Law of God is omnipotent and omnipresent; that we might know that there are no material conditions over which this Law of God has not all power? It was this love expressed through Jesus which enabled him to prove that there is no death, and whereby he emerged from the tomb to perpetuate throughout the ages man's inalienable right to life eternal. Writing of this experience of Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says on page 44 of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures":
"The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being. His three days' work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate."
Universality of God's Law
Harking back through the ages to the earliest periods of human history we find in the lives of patriarch and prophet ample evidence that this Law of God has been understood and proven in a greater or less degree at various times throughout the centuries. The forty years' struggle of the Israelites in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses furnishes us numerous examples of the ability of mankind to overcome human or mortal conditions through the understanding and correct application of God's Law. In the very beginning of their flight from Egypt these worshippers of the true God were confronted with an impassable sea on one side of them and the pursuing Egyptians on the other with the result that through Moses' understanding of, and ability to apply this ever-present Law of God the waters were divided and the Israelites passed through on dry land, thus escaping from their enemies. This ever-present Law of God fed and sustained them when it seemed humanly impossible to obtain food or drink. You will recall how the manna was furnished them in the desert and how Moses brought forth water from a rock in a dry and parched country. Then following on through the centuries every now and then we find some spiritual character bringing to light the wonders of God just as did Moses and Jesus in the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead and countless other ways. In the Book of Kings we read how, through his understanding of God's omnipotent Law, Elisha caused the ax-head to float in the water; how he restored to life the son of the Shunamite mother; how he multiplied one small pot of oil so that all the vessels at hand were filled to running over; how one hundred men were fed on twenty barley loaves with much left and to spare. Then in the Book of Daniel we see how this Law of God delivered Daniel from the hunger of the lions and how the three Hebrew young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, demonstrated the ability of God's Law to save them from the furnace of fire and to deliver them therefrom without so much as the smell of smoke remaining to bear evidence of their ordeal. And so on throughout all history are we confronted with the unmistakable evidence of the forever existence of this Law of God which is always at hand, always available and applicable to our every need if we will but understand and apply it. In the first Psalm we have this most reassuring promise:
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The Bible is full of just such promises, my friends, and, what is more, it is full of accounts, for our instruction and guidance, of the wonderful works accomplished by those who have learned and understood and put into practice this Law of God.
Life and Works of Jesus
Coming down to Jesus' time, we find in the life and teachings of the humble Nazarene the most complete explanation and exposition of this Law of God ever given to mankind. In his turning the water into wine at the wedding feast, his first public demonstration of the power of God's Law, he at once proved that all true law is spiritual, or mental, and what we term matter is, of itself, not a law-maker; that all the so-called laws of matter may be annulled and set aside completely by an intelligent application of God's Law. In his healing of the son of the nobleman at Capernaum when he was a long distance from the sick man, and in his instantaneous transportation of the ship across the sea of Galilee Jesus not only proved the omnipotence of God's Law over material manifestations but he proved, at the same time that even material existence, as such, is but the product of a mistaken mental concept, and that time and place and space are but phases of this mental miasma or dream-drama. When he walked the waves he completely overcame one of the most unvarying material laws of which we have any knowledge. In this instance Jesus proved that true substance is not materially composed and that there is but one true attraction, the attraction of God, or God's Law. When he fed the thousands in the wilderness with a few loaves and fishes Jesus repeated and emphasized what Moses and Elisha had accomplished centuries before. In each of these instances it is proven that not only is man's supply infinite and ever available but that the multiplication enjoined upon man by God, in the first chapter of Genesis, is a process dependent wholly upon submission to the Law of God and not upon any human concept; of propagation and increase. And what did the many, many instances of healing of the sick, the maimed, the halt and the blind, by Jesus, accomplish for us? These thousands of instances of healing, most of them instantaneous, show us that there is a Law of God which, when applied, can heal all our ills, be they what they may; that God is not the author of sickness and that matter has no authority nor power in itself to create, to heal or to alleviate sickness and disease. When he raised from the bier the son of the widow of Nain, when he called forth Lazarus from the tomb and when he accomplished his own resurrection he proved not only the power of God's Law to overcome what we have thought to be a most relentless law of material existence, but he proved, in addition that through the experience of death we are not ushered into the glories of a heavenly existence. Jesus' final exit from the flesh, in his ascension shows conclusively that the only roadway to heaven lies in the overcoming, through the application of God's Law, of all material conditions of existence, even to that of death which we have been so erroneously taught is a stepping stone to heaven. If there are two things which stand out above everything else in the teachings and works of Jesus they are, first, that death is an enemy which must be overcome through the correct understanding and application of God's Law and, second, that heaven is not a locality off somewhere in the blue empyrean but that heaven is, rather, a divine state of consciousness which may and must be obtained here and now through mental regeneration. Jesus said "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," not afar off, did he not? And you will recall that on one occasion he was asked relative to the whereabouts of heaven and when it should come and his reply was "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
And then, long after Jesus' time do we find the record of the accomplishment of many wonderful works by his disciples and by members of the early Christian Church that exemplify and emphasize the omnipotence of the Law of God. Both religious and profane history furnishes us with ample evidence that the healing work accomplished so freely by Jesus was carried on for many generations after his time.
And after all, my friends, is it not self evident that if the world is ever to be Christianized it must come about because of tangible, unmistakable evidences of healing and regenerating such as Jesus accomplished and which he said we should be able to accomplish also because of our understanding of the Law of God which he came to establish with us? We have for years and years been sending, our good, noble, self-sacrificing missionaries into the countries of the unchristian, or heathen, with the hope that we could bring them to Christ through preaching without practice, with the result that today but a very small percentage of the earth's population can be called Christian, and this, because we have been unable to offer our heathen brethren the tangible and unmistakable signs of Christly understanding which Jesus said should follow them that believe — them that understand God's Law and the method of its application. When we have gone to one and told him of the beauties of Christianity, of the joy, the peace and the comfort that come with a demonstrable understanding of God and His Law and have proven through the healing of the sick, the comforting of the sorrowing and the saving of the sinful, that what we have said is true and demonstrable here and now, we have gone a long way towards winning him to Christ. He is bound to acknowledge our God as a God of omnipotence and Love because he has seen the unmistakable proof. And is not this, I ask, the only way we are ever going to save the world for Christ and from its sin, its sickness, its poverty and its misery? A concrete and forceful example of this came to my attention some time ago. I was lecturing in a small city in the Northwest and there met a man who had formerly been of the Jewish faith. Some years prior to this time this man was conducting a successful business in that city when he was suddenly stricken down with paralysis or some such affection. He was utterly incapacitated, was compelled to give up active supervision of his business and was confined to his home or a wheeled chair. This condition continued until one day a banker in that city, a Christian Scientist, who had known this merchant, went, with a friend, also a Christian Scientist, to see him. The banker said to this poor, crippled, helpless fellow, "Now, my man, I have known you some time and I have noted, with sorrow, your present condition. You can not look after your business, you are under heavy expense, your business is running down and needs your care and we have come to you simply as friends come, to offer you what we can to help you out of your dilemma. We are both Christian Scientists and we know that if you will give Christian Science a fair trial you can be lifted out of this condition and you and your business can be saved." The merchant heard, with respect, what they had to say and after they had finished he said, "I thank you, gentlemen, very much for your interest in my condition. I know nothing whatever about Christian Science, have never heard of it that I am aware of, but if it has anything to do with Jesus Christ I don't want anything to do with it," closing with the statement, "I know too much about that fellow already." The banker and his friend gave up trying to assist him at that time and left. Time went on, the merchant grew worse, he lost his business entirely, all his means had been dissipated in his efforts to regain his health. When things had gotten to a pitiful stage the banker and his friend decided to try it again. They went to him and told him that their previous talk with him had not discouraged them and they were back to offer him once more the wonderful blessings of Christian Science. This time the man's attitude was different. His experiences of the past and the serious outlook for the future had wrought a change and he told them that he was ready to try anything that offered relief. He said that his every cent had gone in his quest for health, that he had tried every remedy known to material medicine, without avail, and that there seemed nothing left but to try Christian Science. A Christian Science practitioner was secured and in time this man was completely restored to health. He is now the proprietor of a prosperous business in that little city and he and his wife are earnest workers in the little Christian Science Church there. Happy? You never saw two happier people in your life. Now, what could have induced that man to turn from his prejudice to learn of Jesus the Christ but his wonderful experience of healing?
And that, my friends, is the mission of Christian Science, to turn men to God, to Jesus, to Christ, through those works which Jesus enjoined on all mankind as the only evidence we can ever give of our Christianity — of true salvation. With Isaiah we cry, "Ho, every one that thirsteth; come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye buy, and eat, come buy wine and milk without money and without price."
And now the question of how to bring into action this ever-present law of God, how to apply it to our present needs, how to heal the sick, comfort the sorrowing and save the sinner, as Jesus did, naturally presents itself. This, my friends, is accomplished in Christian Science solely through the prayer of understanding. Christian Scientists have learned that whatever is to be achieved in the way of healing and saving must be done through such prayer, and that this prayer must be without ceasing. Our every thought, inclination and deed must be the outcome of a constant mental attitude of prayer if we would follow the Master in the way of his appointing. A Christian Scientist soon learns that in bringing to the world those blessings of God's Law which Jesus so clearly exemplified we do not have to compel the operation of God's Law, we simply have to let it do its work, or rather, let the work this Law has already accomplished for man, be manifested to us. The purpose of true prayer is one of elimination rather than one of compulsion or persuasion — the elimination, through spiritualization of consciousness, of that which St. Paul characterized as the carnal mind, the mortal mind, thus allowing that mind to be manifest in us "which was also in Christ Jesus."
We have been sadly blinded to the teachings of Jesus and to the wonderful possibilities of a demonstrable understanding of his teachings by the educational systems based upon materiality, by the befogging inconsistencies of creedal and formal religions, by superstitions, material beliefs, fears, hatred, malice, envy, jealousy and revenge. Much, even, that we have considered beautiful and at times helpful has been a hindrance to us in gaining that clarified vision necessary to our spiritual advancement. And it is this vast array of mental misconceptions, this dense web of materiality, which must be removed from before our mental horizon before our "eyes shall see the glory of the coming of the Lord," before we can begin to experience in daily lives those wonderful blessings which the Bible has vouchsafed every one of us. And it is through constant prayer and self immolation that those mental barriers are removed from our consciousness and the sunlight of God's ever presence is borne in upon us. As we begin to work in Christian Science and begin to understand what true prayer is, and how to pray as Jesus did, we begin, little by little, to replace, in our thinking fear, envy, jealousy, hatred, revenge and the like, the procurers of all disease, with confidence and meekness and trust and love and charity and forgiveness and sweetness we begin to replace our concept of God's creation to be crassly material with the understanding that the universe and man are pure and spiritual; we begin to break the fetters of creed and dogma and ritual and emerge into the freedom of Christ. And as we progress in prayer and understanding, God's Law begins to manifest itself to us and through us, in proportion to our purification of consciousness, in better health, better morals, better living, better business and more love for God and all mankind — in a more harmonious condition generally. We begin then to understand a little of what Jesus meant when he said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, 'Remove hence to yonder place'; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." We begin then to understand a little of how Jesus accomplished his wonderful works and to appreciate how far we have still to traverse, how much genuine purifying we have yet before us, before we are able to fully obey his command to "go and do likewise." It is through prayer that we gain our atonement, our at-one-ment with God, with divine Love, with Life and with Truth, whereby we can go with confidence to the bedside of the sick and bid them "arise and walk'', to the charnel house of the sinner and command the "evil spirit to come out of him", and to the tomb of the dead and bid those asleep in materiality to "come forth."
Mary Baker Eddy
Jesus taught and demonstrated conclusively this Law of God, but none of the writers in the New Testament have left us a practical, usable rule for its application. Just as the demonstration of this Law has appeared throughout human history from time to time, when the spirituality of the age permitted, so the discovery of the rule of its practical application was to have come at the proper time and in the proper way. It was destined to come at a period when mankind should be ready to receive it, and through a people capable of understanding and perpetuating it among the nations. So it was only natural, and in accord with God's Law, that it should have been revealed first to a nation in whom spiritual freedom had been exemplified in political and religious freedom — a nation whose struggles for freedom had prepared it for this higher light. This great light was revealed to Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, in the year 1866. Her discovery was made at the proper time. It could not have come sooner nor later. Christian Science is not an invention nor is it what some have been pleased to call it — "one of the new religions." It is the Law of God. Mrs. Eddy's discovery and her wonderful achievement in establishing a Church for the perpetuation of this discovery are not the results of chance nor of circumstance. Christian Science is the fulfillment of prophecy and has come to us in due time and order in accord with God's directing. Mrs. Eddy never claimed to be anything but the discoverer and founder of this great Truth, but it will be long before the world will have begun to properly appreciate what she has done for mankind and what trials and vicissitudes were her lot in standing before the tremendous opposition to her first lispings in the new tongue. The discovery of this Science which delivers mankind from all bondage is part of the divine plan for humanity's salvation extending throughout the centuries. This guiding light has been placed in the hands of Christian Scientists to be kept burning. Let us all see to it that the light be not dimmed by carelessness, by negligence, by faithlessness, nor by any lack of appreciation of what Mrs. Eddy has done for humanity, lest, perchance, the world be again engulfed in the gloom of a fruitless Christianity.
With the charge placed upon Mrs. Eddy to plant the vineyard, came also the charge to water and care for it — the charge to provide the means whereby this great discovery could be perpetuated to posterity. This charge Mrs. Eddy has faithfully fulfilled in the establishment of one of the greatest and grandest church organizations the world has ever seen — the great Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, with its network of branch churches extending to nearly every part of the civilized world. No one individual in all history has ever accomplished what Mrs. Eddy accomplished in so short a time and the fruits of her planting bear ample evidence of her fitness for the role of discoverer and founder of this great movement. For a part of the plan established by Mrs. Eddy for the perpetuation of her discovery to mankind we have the Manual of the Mother Church. This Manual contains the Church by-laws and the method of Church government devised by Mrs. Eddy. On this Manual rests the entire superstructure of the Christian Science movement. My Christian Science friends, in this Manual you find the stability of your Church. Cherish it! Guard it! Obey it!
Mrs. Eddy has incorporated the fundamental teachings of Christian Science in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This is the textbook of the Christian Science denomination, Through its study the secrets and obscurities of Holy Writ have been made plain and instead of a book of mystery the Bible has come to be the chart of life to thousands upon thousands to whom it has heretofore been closed.
It is wonderful to note, when we stop to think of it, how completely Mrs. Eddy's teachings have changed the thinking of almost the entire world, and in so short a time. There are not many departments of the world's daily routine that have not felt the effects, in some degree of the great change in our method of thinking resultant of the teachings of this modest, New England gentlewoman. It may not be generally recognized, but the fact is that the practice of medicine itself has undergone probably as great a revolution since the discovery of Christian Science, and because thereof, as has any other one department of human activity. Today you will find many physicians who tell you that they seldom, if ever, resort to the use of drugs or medicine in their ministrations to the sick. And they will go still further and tell you that they recognize that the mental attitude of their patients has much to do with the recovery. The medical schools are now including in their curricula studies tending to direct the medical practitioner in mental methods in his practice. To be sure, some of these changes may not be altogether for the best, for it is recognized by a Christian Scientist that mental manipulation unchecked by Christian morality is often more dangerous than matter manipulation, but, nevertheless, this decided unrest in medical practice and the tendency to drop matter and to drift towards mind unquestionably results from the necessity occasioned by the growth of Christian Science.
One day during the recent World War I was walking down Michigan Avenue, in Chicago, when I came upon a huge triumphal arch erected on the lake side of that beautiful thoroughfare to the memory of those brave lads who had made the supreme sacrifice in that terrible struggle. Imagine my surprise on looking up to behold, emblazoned to all the world in great letters over the archway, these momentous words — "THERE IS NO DEATH!" Do you think that would have been possible fifty, yea twenty-five, years ago? Does any one doubt for a moment that Mrs. Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" was not directly responsible for that reassuring sentiment?
Only a few months ago at the triennial convention of the great Episcopal Church, held in Detroit, at which convention there were hundreds of delegates from every part of the United States, a very urgent demand was presented that the lost art of healing be incorporated a part of the Church activities to prevent the wholesale apostacy from that organization. Resolutions were adopted by that great body looking to the establishment at no distant date of spiritual healing in the Church.
In the city of Los Angeles, very recently at a conference of clergymen and laymen, representing all the principal churches of that city "resolutions were adopted urging the formation of a Christian League of Healing," along the lines of Jesus' appointing. None could deny that this constantly growing tendency on the part of churches quite generally to incorporate healing a part of their church activities has been brought about by the success of Christian Science.
On this point it is interesting now to note the words of the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, penned many years ago and recorded in her book, "Pulpit and Press," as follows:
"If the lives of Christian Scientists attest their fidelity to Truth, I predict that in the twentieth century every Christian church in our land, and a few in far-off lands, will approximate the understanding of Christian Science sufficiently to heal the sick in his name. Christ will give to Christianity his new name, and Christendom will be classified as Christian Scientists."
I often think of Christian Science as a great, beautiful river leading ever on towards eternal contentment and bliss. All of our lives, perhaps, we have been toiling in the muck and mire of materiality along its shores, looking ever earthward in our quest for peace and joy. We have been stumbling blindly along over obstacles of fear, sickness, hatred, revenge, poverty and sorrow; we have been enmeshed and entangled in the undergrowth of religious creeds, bigotries, superstitions and prejudices which grows so profusely along its banks, ever with our gaze bent earthward, never once looking up to gain light and guidance for our journeyings. And then one bright day, without knowing why or how, our gaze is lifted from the sordid spectacle and we discover right before us this great river of rest. It has been there all the time but we have been too busy with our earthly wanderings, our petty, selfish ambitions, our struggles and our cares to see it. But today we have looked up and out and there it lies ready to bear us on its quiet bosom to that haven of happiness and peace and contentment for which we have been so long vainly struggling. We stand at its banks watching, wondering, hoping — hoping, almost, it seems, against hope. Close at hand rests a little skiff with its invitation to enter and ride home. We long to try it, but we fear — we fear lest some one may see and perhaps recognize and chide us. But the call is strong and our need is keen. Presently we discern some one approaching. He is kind and lovingly essays to assist us on our journey if we need help. We take courage and determine to try the little boat. We enter and with the help of the stranger we gently push off into the water. We tremble with fear at first and do not venture far from shore: tremulously we bask in the sunshine of our new found joy; perhaps we have experienced a physical healing; mayhap we find surcease from some hidden sorrow; perhaps we taste the affluence of divine Love, and so, for a time, we sail around in our little craft amid the eddies and quiet waters of the shore. Then, after a little, we begin to long to go further out. With the first hint of our Father's protection and love we have been content to linger in the quiet waters near the bank without making any effort ourselves to get out into the stream that leads onward. Then, the desire comes to get farther away from our past environment — the mire and muck and tangle of materialism through which we have so long been plodding, and we push out a little farther, the while the dear one who has so kindly assisted us lending what help we seem to need. We proceed cautiously, even watching lest we get too far away from the banks of the stream — those material conditions upon which we have so long depended. We are getting on fairly well when, suddenly, our little craft hits what seems to be a tremendous obstacle underneath the calm surface and we become fearful lest our little bark be completely submerged. The obstruction may have been the argument of fear, or doubt, or sickness, or discouragement, or disappointment in some personality on whom we have been leaning, or any one of many besetting hindrances with which a beginner has to contend. Then, perhaps, in our fright we hurry back to the bank — to our materialism — not yet ready to give up some favorite material remedy, some hidden hate, some cherished grudge, some sinful habit. And so, for a time we again trudge along through the quagmire of our old environment until one bright day it seems as though we could stand it no longer; that we must go back to the river and try it again. So once more we find ourselves on the brink of that beautiful stream, and there ready for us is the little skiff and the helping hand of the stranger. Once again we enter the boat and again we push out into the waters. This time we do not loiter long in the shadows of the bank but with more courage and determination than formerly we push further out into the stream, knowing, by this time, that as we encounter and overcome the various obstacles as we meet them, never turning back to our old environment of thought, ever on the alert for the true channel which leads out into the motherly bosom of the great, peaceful river, we shall eventually arrive at that point in our journey where the way will open wider and brighter each day of our voyage. At first we encounter the snares and snags which lie subtly hidden underneath the calm waters, but we soon learn that there is always a way around these seeming obstacles and there is that ever ready hand to help and save when we fear lest our little boat sink. And as we go we learn that these rocks and snares and snags which try to delay and upset us are no part of this beautiful stream but that they belong to the shores of materialism from which we have recently departed, and that the farther we are able to pilot our little boat out into the deeper waters of this heavenly stream the farther are we getting away from the snares and wiles of the banks. And then, one day we become conscious that the old land marks are fast receding in the dim past, that the shores are fast disappearing, that no longer is there the feeling of dependence on things material and with a joy and confidence born of experience we find ourselves far from the hidden and treacherous entanglements of the enemy and thus on and on we go knowing always that the dear Father is ever with us to guide, to protect and to save.
I would not leave with you this evening the impression that Christian Scientists claim to have achieved the ultimate of Christian Science. They have not. They have but begun the work leading to the right solution of life's problems. They have had their failures along with their achievements and of the future of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy has said in Science and Health:
"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?"
And now, in closing, I wish to leave with you for helpful contemplation those reassuring promises of the Sweet Singer, David, given us in the ninety-first Psalm:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
"Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
"Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
"There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
"For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
[Delivered Oct. 6, 1921, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, at Howard Hall before an audience of 500 people and published in The Niagra Falls Gazette of Niagra Falls, New York, Oct. 7, 1921.]