Christian Science: Its Religious and Healing Elements (2)
Bliss Knapp, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The Opera House was filled last evening to hear the lecture by Bliss Knapp, C.S.B., a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. Mass.
The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Hanney Scott, who said:
"Friends: I am very happy to welcome you here this evening on behalf of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Honolulu. The church is pleased to have this opportunity to offer you a lecture on Christian Science by one who is authorized to speak on the subject as the lecturer this evening is. Christian Science is so widely discussed today, and one hears so many opinions expressed about it, that most people are interested to hear what someone has to say who knows from actual experience what Christian Science is and what it does. The aim of the lecture is not to proselyte or to take from any one here any really good or helpful thing he may have. Thousands of people the world over have been helped out of sickness and sin by the teaching of this new-old religion and most of them are ready to give the reason for the faith that is in them. They are happy to share what has done them good with all those who wish to share it.
"The Mother Church in Boston maintains a board of lectureship, whose work it is, through the lectures of its members, to give the public a clear idea what the teachings of Christian Science are and to give facts concerning Mrs. Eddy's life and work. It gives me pleasure to introduce to you the lecturer of the evening, Mr. Bliss Knapp, C.S.B., who is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass."
The lecturer said:
The wonderful power that characterized the life and works of Christ Jesus was in no more need of champions than the force of gravitation. The one, like the other, is ever operative and must be understood before it can be utilized. People embrace Christianity not so much to help it along, as to be helped. Suffering humanity has a right to be helped of God, and all men have an equal right to the healing and saving power that graced the teachings of Christ Jesus. It has been the mission of Christian Science to present these teachings in such comprehensive simplicity as to restore their lost element of healing. Its religious ethics are generally approved, not only because they conform to the teachings of Jesus, but because they inspire an optimism that has made a vast contribution to hope, brightness, and human happiness. The one thing, however, that is most criticized and the one thing that is most responsible for the tremendous growth of this movement, is the healing of the sick through prayer. Healing as well as preaching was a part of the disciples' duty in the early times, and continued to be so for three hundred years of the Christian era, or until Constantine wrought a change. But neither Constantine nor any one else ever had a right to absolve Christians from this duty. By resuming that long neglected duty, Christian Science has exhibited such a divine impulsion as to make of it a world religion in a remarkably short time. This should lead us to consider, in so far as one may, the healing forces that are behind this movement.
It is recorded that Jesus could "do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." The ability of this gentle Nazarene to obliterate disease and sin was, therefore, the result of what he knew about God, and surely he knew more about God than any other man who ever trod the globe. The ability of his disciples to perpetuate Christian healing was also the result of what Jesus taught them about God. Even so, the ability of a Christian Scientist to heal the sick and sinning through prayer is wholly due to a better understanding of God, who is the divine Principle of man's existence. This is in agreement with the Scriptural command to "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." How then shall we gain the divine acquaintance that sets us free from mental and physical disturbance?
One of the earliest ways of gaining an insight into the realm of God was given by Moses in the Ten Commandments. He led people to think of the divine nature as manifested not through a form but through well defined laws. Idolatry had its origin in thinking of God as a form. When men undertook to fashion what they conceive the precise form of God to be they became thereby idolators, against which we have the second commandment of the Decalogue. A divine Principle, manifesting His power, intelligence, and loving kindness through well defined laws, He can be understood. In this way the divine nature is actually recognized and the existence of God is seen to make a tremendous difference in the proper government of Christian nations, as well as individuals. God communicates His nature through His laws, and, spiritually interpreted, they define life and health to men; for "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Jesus declared his relationship to this same law in his Sermon on the Mount; for there said: "Think not that I am to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Having said this, he undertook to teach this law, not so much intellectually, as by a direct appeal to one's moral or spiritual nature. Not that intellectual training should be disapproved; for, on the contrary, the right sort of training is necessary to the proper conduct of every-day affairs. But the one thing of special importance in this connection is the fact that Jesus addressed himself, not so much to the intellects of the disciples, as he did to their spiritual faculties; to their natural tenderness and spiritual aspirations. He recognized that one who has never enjoyed the advantages of an education may have spiritual sense as well developed, if not superior, to that of a student. Some of his disciples were humble fishermen, with no intellectual training. Others had well-trained intellects. But that which made them all fit students of the divine nature was a well-developed spiritual faculty, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. By addressing himself to those faculties, Jesus conveyed to them the actual meaning or understanding of the divine law that communicates God's healing power to humanity. Herein do we observe an understanding that is wholly apart from the human intellect, — an understanding to which Job referred, when he said. "There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." It is this spiritual understanding of God, that we gain through prayer to Him that heals the sick in every age.
If an individual is made to believe that he has no faculty for apprehending spiritual law, he is cheered in Christian Science by the sweet assurance that men are natively and inherently spiritual. They need to recognize the latent forces of good already within them. Even the supposedly wicked man may know God and be saved from his evil ways. This is not a mere high sounding theory, for it is a familiar saying that no one is wholly bad, for there must be at least a spark of goodness in him. Suppose, then, that you address yourself to some very wicked man and ask him if he has ever experienced the desire to be better and to do better; has he really desired to be good? Few will deny that there have been periods when they have entertained such desires. Where do these desires to be good come from? What is their origin? Surely they must have their origin in the infinity of good; and that is what we mean by God — infinite good; the one source of all right desires — of the desire to be good, honest, tender, and kind. Whoever entertains such right desires and looks in their direction is looking towards God, and this is not so much a bodily movement as it is a state of consciousness; indeed, a state of spiritual consciousness. When our sense of right corresponds to God's idea of right, then those right desires must originate in God. It is to be noted, therefore, that the desire to be good never originates in the individual. It originates in God. He is the source of its activity, the Principle of its being and existence.
Goodness Not Personal
If the origin of goodness were in the human sense, it would not be of God, and would not therefore be good but evil. There are those, nevertheless, who believe their goodness to be a personal possession, humanly circumscribed. Such a sense or possession or control over a divine quality gives rise to the belief that man can be separate from God, or that he can lose the quality altogether and fall. Laboring under such a false belief, one's warfare against evil becomes ineffective, and the consequent suffering is but the result of a false belief. Those who glory in their belief of goodness should heed the Scripture about "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction," for the right of a man's will as against that of God is as non-existent as that of an earthen vessel against the potter who made it. The one who comes to Christian Science for healing, knowing that he does not circumscribe any goodness of his own, is more open to the beneficent teaching that these divine qualities eternally link him to God, and is soonest healed thereby. The action of this attribute on the human mind and body illustrates the action of God's healing power. The recognition of man's true relation to God brings the strength of healing with the certainty of a bird's flight when it feels the strength of its wings.
This may be illustrated by the experiences of Job. According to the record, in the book of Job, the sons of God came to present themselves before God, and Satan came also. When asked where he came from Satan replied, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Surely that is not so much a locality as a fluctuating wave of error. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that Satan declared, in other words, that Job's goodness was a form of selfishness, — that it was a personal desire expressed merely for the hope of a reward in heaven, — and that if that hope of a reward were to be withdrawn, Job would curse God to His face. Satan declared, in other words, that Job's goodness was a mixture of good and evil. Permission was then given to make a trial of his charge, to prove whether he was good merely for the sake of a reward.
The first trial or temptation was the destruction of Job's property, but that had no disturbing effect on his goodness. Next his children were destroyed, but that did not change his divine purpose to be good. Finally the trial was made more personal. Job was afflicted with grievous diseases which tormented him so sorely that his wife broke down under the stress of it. Job, however, stood fast; he was good just the same.
The trial had been made; the proof was conclusive that Job's goodness was not for the sake of a reward. It was proved to be a divine attribute from God that is reflected through all alike. By these successive trials and experiences Job was compelled to rise step by step, to the recognition of his goodness in its purity as a divine attribute. At first he groped about darkly in the mazes of a mere belief; until, compelled to rise above all opposition, he rose from belief to understanding. This spiritual understanding inspired him to declare, "Yet in my flesh shall I see God." This is in direct line with the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." It was that purity of goodness that endowed Job with the spiritual vision not only to see God but to avail himself of the power of God to save himself from suffering and destruction, in other words, it was that spiritual understanding of goodness in its divine purity that communicated the healing power of God.
Job acquainted himself with God not through his human intellect but through the purity of his own goodness, understood. Millions of people have been inspired by right desires without having the ability to heal disease. But Mrs. Eddy explains in her text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," (p. 297) that "until belief becomes spiritual understanding, human thought has little relation to the actual or divine." It is the understanding of goodness in its purity that bestows the spiritual power to heal and to save. Again, Mrs. Eddy declares, in line with this, that "a pure affection takes form in goodness, but Science alone reveals the divine Principle of goodness and demonstrates its rules" (ibid., p. 147). It is this spiritual understanding that constitutes the Science revealing the divine Principle and demonstrating its rules in healing and reformation. Christian Science presents this Science with such comprehensive simplicity that all may gain the same understanding that demonstrates Christian healing.
Continuing this illustration, it may be said that honesty is not a personal possession, but a law or attribute of God, for there are two kinds of honesty, but only one. Honor among thieves is far from being the same thing as honor among honest men. The one has its basis in evil, while the other is a manifestation of Principle. So the truly honest man is honest from Principle, and that honesty from Principle gives one the spiritual power to resist evil.
Health an Attribute of God
It is true that orthodox Christians generally accept this teaching as it relates to temptations of sin; but Christian Science accepts the same teaching as it relates to temptations of sickness. That is to say, we recognize that health is just as much a characteristic or attribute of God as are honesty and goodness, and therefore the individual makes the same mistake who believes that health is a personal possession, as he does who believes that his goodness and honesty are personal possessions. We save our health through the recognition of its divinity, — that it is the gift of God, — and that God has no purpose to withdraw it than He would honesty and goodness. Therefore, one's health can no more be destroyed or impaired than can God Himself. If we seem to lose our health it is not lost but merely hid; or, as explained in II Cor. 4:3,4, "it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not," — that is, blinded precisely the same way that Satan undertook to blind Job. If Satan had succeeded in beguiling Job into the belief that his goodness was a mixture of good and evil, that belief would have blinded his mind to the divine nature of goodness, and led him away from the spiritual vision that was ever ready to heal him. We must, like Job, hold to God's idea of His own manifestations of joy and health, if we would succeed in overcoming the temptations of sorrow and suffering; for no one can save his sense of life until he first knows what life is; and to succeed in that he must first know the nature of God, who is the divine Principle of our life and joy and health.
Completeness of Divine Mind
When Abraham began to experience these right desires, they exercised a guiding power which he recognized as the Almighty. This infinite power is not matter but Mind. That is why we seek God through prayer by being like-minded. After that, the prophet Habakkuk was inspired by this divine Mind to such deeds of goodness as to recognize their source to be not only a mighty power, but a power for good. Whereupon he said, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." Later yet the primitive Christians were inspired by this same Mind to such deeds of loving kindness as to recognize their source to be Love itself. Whereupon the beloved disciple breathed that divine utterance, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." It follows that we do not acquaint ourselves with the divine nature through the intellect, but through a pure affection that opens the way through goodness to its Science. Therefore God's presence is more felt than seen; for He inspired goodness in place of evil; loving-kindness in place of hate; health in place of sickness; and life in place of death. It is this Mind or intelligence which includes all actual Life, Truth, and Love.
Mrs. Eddy's Discovery
The first case of healing that led to the discovery of Christian Science was that of Mrs. Eddy. She had met with an accident which those about her considered must result fatally. She had always been a devout student of the Bible, and when confronted by that experience she naturally turned to her Bible for some comfort and consolation, and there while she was studying the Scriptural passages she suddenly seized on their spiritual meaning and was instantly healed. This was in the year 1866. She recognized for the first time that her health was not a personal possession, to be lost or impaired, but that it was the gift of God, as indestructible as God Himself, and that God had no more purpose of withdrawing that health than He had of withdrawing goodness or honesty. She was liberated, — freed by the spiritual recognition of this Truth. She could then say with Paul, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It was indeed a wonderful experience, — so wonderful, in fact, that she had difficulty in explaining it to those about her. Then she recognized that she never could explain it properly until she more thoroughly understood its Principle and rule of action. She recognized, as we may say, that Jesus, before he went away, promised to send another Comforter, who should abide with us forever. He established by his deeds that sin, sickness, and death can be brought into subjection to the law of the Spirit of life. He declared moreover, that the expected Comforter should be the "Spirit of truth," not a man, nor a person but the impersonal "Spirit of truth," that is the name yesterday, today and forever. He also proceeded to explain that this "Spirit of truth" should lead into all truth, even to the truth of Christian healing. It was this meaning, or explanation, that Mrs. Eddy sought to know, because without it she could not explain her own healing. She therefore resumed her study of the Bible for a period of years, until finally she rediscovered that same divine law that communicates the healing power of God to humanity. She proceeded to write out her observations concerning this law, and these writings formed the basis of the more complete record known as "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," first published in the year 1875.
Not an Opinion
Many people have asked the question, "How do yon know that Christian Science is not the result of an opinion?" We might to advantage draw some analogy from mathematics. The text-book writer of mathematics confines himself to stating the facts concerning the mathematical law with such accuracy and truth that when understood and obeyed they may be demonstrated. Even so Mrs. Eddy confined herself to stating the facts concerning the divine law or "Spirit of truth," with such precision and simplicity that when understood and obeyed, they may be demonstrated in healing all manner of sickness and sin. Therein it is Science. Therein is it eliminated from the realm of opinion.
Mrs. Eddy Honored
It may be of interest to learn that the simple reading of Science and Health has healed disease and sin. This is the more notable since it is the only book since the writings of the primitive Christians to effect cures of mind and body by the simple study and contemplation of its truths. The last chapter of this text-book, called "Fruitage," contains a hundred pages of testimonials in evidence of the fact that the simple study of the book has healed such diseases as consumption, locomotor ataxia, cancers, tumors, curvature of the spine, and so on. In recognition of her distinguished services the French government has honored Mrs. Eddy by causing M. Briand, at that time minister of public instruction and fine arts, to decorate Mrs. Eddy officer of the French Academy. It is a most fitting way of recognizing in her a worthy interpreter of the Bible. This Christian Science text-book is not a Bible, and it can never displace the Bible. Its sole purpose is so to unlock the spiritual meaning of the Bible as to reveal the power of its eternal truths, in order that all may employ them for healing and reformation.
The true character and nature of an individual can be known only by his friends. We can learn best the real character of Jesus from the beloved disciple — the one who rested on his breast. He knew more of the inner meanings and characteristics of Jesus's life than any other person. The enemies of Jesus could not give any correct analysis of his work. It follows just as truly that you understand best those friends that you love most. Your enemies never could do you justice in writing your record, and it follows that only the friends of Mrs. Eddy — those who have known and loved her most — can really give a correct, estimate of her. It has been my pleasure and privilege to know Mrs. Eddy personally for the last twenty-five years. She has visited in my home, at one time remaining nearly a week, and I have visited in her home and I know from my personal acquaintance with her that she has lived as pure a life, as Christian a life, as is possible for a denizen of this world; and in all that she has done she has considered herself but a humble disciple, seeking to learn more of the teachings of Christ Jesus, always charging her followers to "Follow your Leader, only so far as she follows Christ" (Messages to The Mother Church, p. 78). Surely the message cannot be so unlike the messenger as to justify one in accepting the message of Christian Science that heals while rejecting the one through whom it has been received. Jesus said at one time, "There is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me."
Two Types of Mind
It is generally conceded today, even by its opponents, that Christian Science does heal sickness and sin by a mental process, and without the employment of drugs or medicine. There is, however, one step further that we need to take, and recognize with Paul, two types of mind, "for to be carnally minded," says Paul, "is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." It has been charged many times, that Christian Science heals by the operation of the human will. As a matter of fact, the human will is the polar opposite of Christian Science, and no Christian Scientist ever employs the human will in healing sickness or sin, because the human will is the product of the carnal mind, which is "enmity against God." Christian Science employs only the spiritual Mind, which is life and peace. But how shall an individual determine as to whether he is employing the carnal mind or the spiritual Mind? "By their fruits ye shall know them." Some of the fruits of the carnal mind are jealousy, dishonesty, lust, and hatred, and these are continually at war with the fruits of Spirit, which are justice, tenderness, goodness, mercy, and which make for life and peace.
Carnal Mind Discredited
It may be profitable to analyze somewhat the characteristics of the carnal mind. Jealousy, for example, as a characteristic of the carnal mind, is always the result of ignorance of some sort, and never should be indulged. It never can know the truth about anything. Again, dishonesty always bears the mark of ignorance. A dishonest man can not know whether another man is really honest. Like the sinful man, he always suspects another of his own baseness, often unjustly. It is only the honest man who can know whether another man is honest. To illustrate: Suppose you are in need of an employee. You advertise in the morning paper, and a half dozen men respond. In looking them over, you may recognize one man in the group to be thoroughly honest. But how do you know? You may say that you can see it in his countenance. But what is it that enables you to discern the honesty expressed in a man's face? Is it not the intelligence manifested through honesty in yourself that enables you to recognize it in him? The Scripture says, "In thy light shall we see light." Thus we recognize that honesty is positive, spiritual discernment and power. Dishonesty is purely negative, — non-intelligence. Thus we might continue in the analysis of all the characteristics of the carnal mind. Nevertheless, it claims to be honest in the same way that Satan assumed definite intelligence about Job's goodness; but the assumption was proved to be false. It claims, moreover, to be intelligent, but it is destitute of intelligence. It even claims to be the Mind which Jesus employed to heal sickness and sin; but Jesus said of this same carnal mind, it "is a liar, and the father of it." He repudiated it in every sense of the word; he knew that it is unintelligent, is outside of Mind, and therefore mindless. So it is seen that the carnal so-called mind is no mind at all, for it is destitute of truth or reality, — a mere suppositional, false belief.
It has been observed that the evil promptings of dishonesty, jealousy, and so forth, which go to make up the carnal mind, operate through suggestion. Beginning mildly, these suggestions or impulses become more insistent only to the degree that they are believed in or indulged. Psychology has seized upon this peculiarity of the carnal mind, and has developed its suggestions into various systems. Some of these systems have been called hypnotic suggestion, auto-suggestion, vibratory suggestion, therapeutic suggestion, psycho-therapeutics, and even so-called Christian psychology which has expanded into the Emmanuel movement in Boston. They are all conceded to be the operation of the human will, or vibratory suggestion, and may be employed by a wicked man, an infidel, or pagan. Anciently these same systems wore employed by the necromancers, magicians, and astrologers. It is a matter of record that their exponents always sought to oppose the works of Moses, Daniel, and the early Christians, even as the representatives of the modern systems are continually at war with Christian Science. These systems are the products of the carnal mind, which is "enmity against God" or the divine Mind, and the Bible specifically declares that they are "an abomination unto the Lord." This blind belief in stubborn will would lie, commit murder, and do all manner of evil, merely to satisfy its own will, impulse, wish, or whim. Its chief characteristics are lust and selfishness. As an educational system its higher attenuation of evil is exploited as spiritualism, theosophy, hypnotism and mesmerism, and these are specifically defined by our English dictionaries as animal magnetism or vibratory suggestion. They have no origin in God, and no scientific explanation or reason, for "who can understand his errors?" But there is more reason in a single act of honesty than in a wilderness of passion or appetite, because honesty is a virtue and law of God; animal magnetism a vice. Think you, then, that these products of the human will are the panacea for the world's ills? Christ Jesus absolutely repudiated this use of the human will for he knew its powerlessness, and said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: . . . because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father."
The Christian Scientist employs only that same Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" — that Mind which is God. The divine Mind does not operate through suggestion nor human will. There is no need for it to be transferred through suggestion, from one person to another, because it is already everywhere present. And what is more, we do not gain the understanding of that Mind through suggestion. The divine Mind reveals itself to the human consciousness through the Christ law of Love and not through the cold conventionalities of suggestion. No one would teach a child mathematics through vibratory suggestion. The very definition of education is from the Latin e, meaning from, plus ducere to lead, — to lead from or to draw out. It is recognized that the child is naturally able to comprehend mathematics, and the purpose of the teacher is merely to draw out or develop what is already in the consciousness of the child. This is accomplished not by vibratory suggestion but by scientific, right reasoning, logically developed through mathematical law. So it is that man is recognized to be inherently spiritual and he acquaints himself with the divine nature through that same scientific, right reasoning, logically developed through obedience to the divine law. He recognizes the great fact that, inasmuch as there is but one God, there is but one Mind — the Mind which is God. There are not two kinds of goodness; there are not two kinds of honesty; there is one goodness, one honesty, one Mind, and that is the Mind which is God, — absolutely positive, spiritual intelligence, — and the Christian Scientist employs only that Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus." It is omnipresent, supreme, infinite good.
"Overcome Evil With Good"
When we observe the Scriptural enjoinment that says, "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," there are those who say, "Well, if good will overcome evil, so will evil overcome good." This, however, is not true, for the reason that good and evil are not alike. They bear precisely the same relation to one another as do intelligence and non-intelligence, as do the positive and negative, as do light and darkness. Intelligence will destroy non-intelligence but non-intelligence can never destroy intelligence. So it is that light destroys darkness, but darkness cannot destroy light, — cannot so much as put out a lighted candle, — and it matters not whether a room has been maintained in darkness for five minutes or fifty years, the light will dispel the darkness with the same ease. In like manner it matters not whether an individual has been suffering from sickness and sorrow five minutes or fifty years, the light of spiritual intelligence will dispel them with the same ease. It will illuminate thought to conscious strength in the good to rule out evil.
Sin Not of God
Jesus employed the term sin in over one hundred places in the four Gospels, and in each case the corresponding word in the Greek manuscripts is hamartia. The first meaning imputed to this word hamartia is "to miss the mark," as in the throwing of a spear. The Greeks were much given to the enjoyment of athletic games, and if one were to hurl a spear and miss the mark, he committed hamartia, — the same word which Jesus employed for sin. So it is with archery. When a man pulls his bow and shoots his arrow, if he fails to hit the mark he has transgressed the laws of archery or committed hamartia. So it is that sin is the transgression of the divine law.
What is it that would make a man transgress the laws of archery? Is it not his ignorance or lack of practice? And what is sin but the result of ignorance or disobedience of the divine law? No educated person could transgress the simple law that two and two are four, for he not only understands it but practises it, and he will tell the child that his errors are not in the mathematical law nor of that law; that mathematical law knows absolutely nothing of mistakes but heals them just the same. So it is that sin is not in the divine law nor of the divine law. It is simply the result of man's transgression of the law through ignorance, fear or wilfulness. Therefore we conclude that God never visited a man with sin. God not only is not the author of sin, but He never afflicted a man with it, for the Bible specifically declares that "God is of purer eyes than to behold evil," and again that God tempteth no man. When therefore we gain the recognition that the understanding of divine law destroys sin, we no longer will be slaves to sin; we no longer will deify it or honor it; we will give it no more power or honor than any lie that is known to be a lie.
Mrs. Eddy has presented the understanding of this Christ law with such simplicity and accuracy that even the children and young people can gain its spiritual meaning which reveals the power and presence of God, and thereby liberates them from suffering and sin of every sort. This is on the basis that the cause of disease is mental. Diseases of a mysterious sort are today on the increase and some are considered by many to be incurable. Christian Science heals all such diseases. It is possibly true that seventy-five per cent of those who are Christian Scientists today have been healed by its ministrations after reputable physicians have given them up as beyond all hope of recovery, and all on the basis of the Christian Science teaching that disease in its cause is not physical but mental. Consumption, for example, is considered by many to be an incurable disease. It is considered that no known drug or medicine can heal consumption in its advanced stages. Therefore the usual method of today is to resort to what is known as the nature cure; outdoor life, exercise, and pure air are resorted to in the hope of abating the white plague, as it is called. It is generally conceded that consumption is largely a consuming fear and manifestly no drug or medicine can cure fear. The Bible declares that "fear hath torment" but "perfect love casteth out fear." One of the largest factors in all disease is fear, and there is no known remedy for fear of any sort, save only the tenderness and compassion of unselfed Love. It is that understanding of God as divine Love that enables the Christian Scientist to cast out the fear of consumption and destroy its physical effects. On this same basis Christian Science heals cancers. tumors, pneumonia, locomotor ataxia, etc., — heals them permanently. The carnal so-called mind cannot effect a permanent cure because this carnal mind is the source, origin, and cause of disease, and the same mind which produces disease cannot destroy it. If there seems to be a cure it is a case of a greater error covering up but not healing a lesser error.
A Surgeon's Testimony
The question has been frequently asked, "How can some inanimate drug know just where to go and what to do?" Is it not endowing matter with intelligence to think and act contrary to God? An eminent surgeon once said in my hearing that "No drug, medicine, or physician ever healed anything in the world." This is a most remarkable statement, and might appear meaningless if uttered by some. The gentleman is, nevertheless, a practising surgeon, examining physician for a large life insurance concern, and also instructor in physiology and hygiene in a well-known American university. Moreover, the declaration was made before a legislative committee on public health at the Massachusetts State House. A physician on this committee challenged this declaration whereupon the surgeon invited citations, in refutation of the assertion, and the committeeman cited appendicitis and pneumonia. The surgeon then proceeded to explain that "a man said to be suffering from appendicitis may be operated on, his appendix is cut out, and after a long time he may recover; but he isn't healed, because he no longer has an appendix, and he ought to have one. So it is with pneumonia," he continued. "No drug, medicine, or physician can heal it. We may be able to assist the situation in helping to absorb the accumulation; but we can never stop the accumulation nor heal the disease. If it is healed at all, it is nature that does the healing." And, strange as it may seem, the physician had nothing to say. He could not fail to recognize the great truth, that it is not the drug but nature that heals.
What is Nature?
What then is nature? It cannot be a thing in and of itself. It must be the nature of something else. Jesus said, according to the revised version of the Bible, that "God is Spirit," and the nature of Spirit must be and is spiritual. It is this spiritual nature that heals. Then in place of waiting blindly upon this spiritual nature to bring a recovery, the Christian Scientist remembers the Scripture, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Recognizing the helplessness of a blind faith, he proceeds to gain the understanding of spiritual nature which Jesus taught and demonstrated. Then, clothed in that expression of divine nature, he can apply it to the specific case and the sick and sinning are healed quickly and wholly. Mrs. Eddy has aptly written, "more effectual than the forum are our states of mind, to bless mankind." (Pulpit and Press, p. 87).
When we come to recognize a thing to be true we make the best employment of that truth by acceding to it and adopting it, not by fighting it. But the general situation is much like that of a company of people who were traveling through the mountains. It became necessary on some occasions to hoist themselves up over some precipices, and to let themselves down over others. There were ladies in the party, and at one particular place it was necessary to let themselves down over a precipice at arm's length and then make a drop of but a few feet. They all proceeded to the accomplishment of this, including the ladies, with the exception of one man. He let himself down at arm's length and there hung. He could not let go. He was delaying the others and they urged him "Just let go; you can't he harmed," but the man simply could not do it, and there he hung until he ached and he groaned and finally after a long time, through sheer exhaustion he collapsed and dropped. He shortly recovered and was able to proceed with the other members of the party. So it is with suffering humanity in learning the great fact that disease in its cause is mental. Christian Science is at least consistent with what it teaches because it proceeds directly to the removal of the mental cause, and the physical effects are destroyed along with the cause. It is therefore the most scientific method for the cure of disease that is known, and it has the advantage of being precisely the method employed by Christ Jesus, otherwise it would not heal.
Therefore, in leaving this subject I would commend to your further consideration that Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," whose only purpose is to unlock that spiritual meaning of the Bible that we gain, not through the human intellect, but through the exercise of spiritual faculties, rising to the recognition of God as absolute good, as the author of only that which is good and real and positive and immortal. By that spiritual understanding of the allness and omnipotence of God, we may demonstrate the divine law of infinite good in destroying all that is unlike good, including sickness and sin. For this gives to us that spiritual dominion that God gave to man from the beginning, — That dominion that has never been withdrawn. Christian Science presents this spiritual understanding in such a way that it may be applied from the very outset with the more simple problems. These fruits of Christian Science, spread over a period of nearly half a century, have done more to change the thought of the world to higher ideals than any religious statement or teaching of modern times. They have challenged attention to the fact that spiritual teaching improves the health as well as the morals of men. Such divine characteristics as health and life, which are reflected through man, can no more be annulled, disintegrated, or destroyed than can God Himself; and we save ourselves by the conscious recognition of that fact.
[Delivered June 23, 1912, at the Opera House under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Honolulu, Hawaii, and published in The Hawaiian Star of Honolulu, June 24, 1912. The title was taken from another copy of the lecture.]