Christian Science: A Religion of Reality
William D. McCrackan
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Under the auspices of The Christian Science Society of Harvard University an interesting lecture on Christian Science was delivered yesterday afternoon in Emerson Hall by Mr. William D. McCrackan. The lecturer, who is a member of the official Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, was introduced by Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, and received close attention from an interested and appreciative student audience.
Mr. McCrackan said:
There is much evidence to show that the uncertainties of human life largely contribute to its mistakes, to its sin, sickness, and sorrow. Uncertainty causes humanity to waver in judgment, to hesitate at critical moments, and to be apprehensive of the future. It embitters many an otherwise noble character. It sows broadcast the seeds of fear and doubt, and renders human beings vacillating and distrustful at the very times when they ought to speak to evil with authority and dominion. Hampered by the shackles of uncertainty, human beings dare not advance against the mental enemies that spell disaster to their happiness, health, and wholesomeness, but either permit themselves to be overridden by these enemies or else withdraw into a condition of hopeless inactivity.
It would seem as though the only certainties that are universally admitted by humanity itself are its own woes and miseries, its sufferings and disaster, and its own final collapse. According to the testimony of the physical senses uncorrected by spiritual understanding, humanity seems justified in this desperate point of view. According to this same testimony it has every reason to remain in a state of perplexity. It has a good excuse for being incapable of deciding which way to turn for safety and what measures to take in the attempt to avert the inevitable doom of mortality. According to this testimony the child is no sooner born into this world than it prepares to leave it. It is precipitated into a career of adventure among hidden foes, which appear from time to time as bad habits, diseases, losses, incapacities, and mental, moral, or physical peculiarities, variously ascribed to inheritance, environment, accident, and the like.
At every stage in material growth, material testimony stands ready to predict further dangers, and if by the grace of God the individual should escape the grasp of these detaining fears and reach his full powers, this same material testimony provides for a steady decline into a helpless and perhaps graceless old age. All that the physical sciences may appear to do for the alleviation of human misery is nullified by the belief they inculcated that man is a mortal, material being, whose inevitable end can only be postponed, never altogether put off. Nor is prevalent theology any less merciless toward man, because it teaches that he is a miserable sinner, and holds out no hope of salvation in the present, but only points to a future state of existence in which man may perhaps find his real nature in the course of eternity.
From many a stricken heart and mind goes up the cry for an explanation of ultimate certainty. Those hungering and thirsting after righteousness ask to be instructed how they may distinguish that which is true from that which is false, that which is essential from that which is nonessential, that which is real from that which is unreal. They ask for the understanding which will enable them to sort out from their lives that which is genuine and truly worth while, in order to abide by it and make it permanent. In other words, humanity cries out for an absolute standard by which it shall be able to recognize the immutable, the unvarying, the eternal and indestructible facts of existence. It demands the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and Christian Science is in a position to offer this truth which makes free, which saves, heals, regenerates, and redeems.
The Real and Eternal
Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," offers the following explanation of the real and eternal on page 71 of that book; "Nothing is real and eternal — nothing is Spirit — but God and His idea." It follows that the sick and sinning need only apply this test to their own cases in order to find out what pertains to Truth, what is necessary, lawful, and abiding, and on the other hand what is false, hence unnecessary, illegitimate, and transitory in their experiences.
In other words, their help and cure will arise from the spiritual understanding of the fact that nothing is real except that which is of divine origin. That which is mere human belief, supposition, or superstition, is unreal, untrue, and non-essential. By means of this test it is possible to separate the chaff from the wheat simply by asking one's self of any given condition, thought, or act, Is it like "God and His idea," or is it unlike Him and His creation? The answer will determine whether the particular condition, thought, or act is real or unreal, true or untrue, essential or non-essential.
Therefore Christian Science provides a way of estimating the facts in every human problem and is thus a means of escape from every untoward situation. Is the sufferer one who feels aggrieved because he has been obliged to stand aside and see the world's activities pass him by, perhaps by reason of invalidism or through lack of what are called natural opportunities? Then let him take the line of demarcation offered by Christian Science, and measure off that in his thought which is godlike from that which is unlike God. Let him harvest the first and discard the second, and he will rise out of his loneliness and isolation and become a useful member of society.
Is the seeker for help one who has spent his all in the futile pursuit of pleasure only to find that pain is his reward? Let him too measure out the immutable and true from the changeable and false by means of this spiritual understanding offered by Christian Science, and he will find genuine happiness, real bliss and joy, to be spiritual and not material. This same help is available for the sick and sinning, the down trodden, the fearful, the ignorant, the seeming victims and martyrs of evil belief, or of malicious mental suggestions. It is the way of salvation for those lying on beds of suffering as well as for those in bondage to bad habits.
Now it is evident that in order to follow out this process of classification between that which is like God and that which is unlike Him, there must be a practical understanding of God Himself, of His nature and qualities. It therefore becomes the duty and privilege of those seeking help in Christian Science to become acquainted first and last with God Himself.
God and His Idea
When Moses was being commissioned by God to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, he asked by what name he should refer to God in reply to their question. We read in the book of Exodus: "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." This divinely chosen designation I AM reveals the essential nature of God. It stands for being, self-existence, infinity, perfection. The great I AM is the everlasting I AM, that was, and is, and ever shall be. He is Life eternal, without beginning and without end, and His kingdom ruleth over all. The great I AM is one God, infinite and indivisible. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He is the creator of all that has existence, truth, reality, or essential being. He acts as Principle governing through law and divine decree. He is imperishable substance, and He gives unto man immortality, bliss, and the "beauty of holiness." Moreover, God is Mind.
Among Mrs. Eddy's many contributions to the right understanding of God, none stands out more clearly than her definition of God as Mind. It is obvious that if God be considered as infinite and is one and indivisible, and this is the general theological teaching concerning Him, the word Mind fully meets the requirements of the definition. This God who is Mind is absolutely and wholly good, and He operates through the law of good only; and this law means to every one of His creatures health, happiness, harmony, and heaven. Then if God is wholly good Mind, it behooves the man or woman who desires to know whether any mental impression is real, true, or essential, to bring it to the test of the divine Mind and compare it therewith.
Evil Mind Unreal
Under this test it is obvious that an evil mind cannot be a real mind. It can only be a pretense of a mind incapable of originating truth or of giving forth true impressions. Thus all envy, jealousy, fear, evil intent or desire, malice, revenge, all passions and appetites of the carnal mind, such as pride, deceit, hatred, sin, sickness, and death, being outgivings of that evil mind, when measured by the standard of likeness or unlikeness to God, are recognized as unlike Him, hence as unreal, untrue, and non-essential, as false and erroneous. Then it would follow that any train of events starting from such erroneous thinking is equally unreal and untrue, and therefore need not be admitted as having basis in fact. This enables any one to reshape his whole life, to set aside from his experience as unreal that which is unlike God, and to place himself wholly under the law of God.
Thus, again judged by this same test of godlikeness, what shall we say of material life, being, law, or belief? In Mind there can be no matter. The concepts of Mind and matter mentally exclude each other. If God is Mind, and this is the teaching which, proceeding from Christian Science, is constantly finding more general acceptance, then there is no matter in God, and that which is not in the divine Mind cannot issue from it, hence matter is unlike God, and in the last analysis is unreal, untrue, and non-essential, as far as the absolute truth of being is concerned. Mrs. Eddy has therefore followed out this reasoning to its logical conclusion by declaring that "matter is an error of statement" (Science and Health, p. 277).
This method of detecting truth from error is the modus operandi by which humanity can disengage itself from the grasp of evil. One by one it can take off the fingers of false belief that have seized it, and hold it in subjection. Is any one haunted by sin? Then make the test. Ask the question, Is sin godlike, like God? Far be it from us to admit any such supposition. Whatever sin may pretend to be, it cannot for an instant be admitted as of divine origin; and if not of God's creation or made in His similitude, sin is intrinsically unreal, untrue, and nonessential. Moreover, if that be the case, then the sinner can be reformed and the sin forgiven; that is, sin can be made unreal, reduced to its native nothingness. There is hope for the sinner if sin is unreal; otherwise there is no hope, and he is doomed to perpetual bondage to a supposedly real entity.
"Is any sick among you," and is his sickness inevitable? Is it of divine origin, supported by divine law and an established necessity? If you wish to know definitely whether sickness is real, true, and essential, apply the test once more and ask the question, Is sickness like God, godlike? One can hardly venture to answer in the affirmative, for that would imply that sickness can lodge in the divine Mind and became a part of the thinking, operation, or expression of that Mind. Sickness cannot issue from that Mind unless it is there already; and if it is there, then God can think it. The admission that sickness is real would create a vicious circle from which there is no escape except through the simple, scientific reasoning that sickness, being unlike God, is unreal, untrue, and non-essential.
Thus it is possible to measure with scientific accuracy the exact nature of every experience that comes to humanity, such as accidents, losses, enmities, false pretenses, evil predictions, prophecies, and threats. Are these experiences essential? Are they true? Are they real in the absolute sense? If they are real, they must partake of the nature of God. Now an accident cannot issue from the divine Mind, because that Mind contains only law, order, harmony, invariableness, regularity. It is impossible to associate infraction of law with the divine Mind; therefore any such infraction must be classified as a belief apart from God. An accident cannot claim to be like God, godlike, but must be relegated to the realm of the unreal, untrue, and non-essential, and its supposed consequences must follow it into unreality.
Then if material medicine predicts the progress of disease as inevitable and the doom of man as sealed, must this prediction be counted as true or untrue, real or unreal? Surely the divine Mind predicts no evil of its own creation. God, who made all, that was made, and saw that it was "very good," does not doom His own man to decay, dissolution, and death. It follows that such predictions, generally designated as laws of disease, have no divine origin and can be set aside without doing violence to divine decrees. The spiritual understanding of this at once frees humanity from the dread of law and necessity supposed to be incorporated in disease. It lifts the bugbear of incurability from the frightened sense of the sick and sinning, and establishes them upon the sure foundation of their divine rights to health, happiness, holiness, and through reformation and repentance to heaven itself. By this test of the real and the unreal, humanity can sort out of its experiences the inevitable good from the seeming evil, the spiritual necessities from the material appearances. This process means growth, progress along the narrow way. It makes plain the path from sense to Soul and is the modus operandi of Christian Science, healing and reforming. In Science and Health (p. 469) Mrs. Eddy writes, "The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind — called devil or evil — is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality."
The importance of recognizing God as the only Mind is clearly seen when the sad effects of believing in a supposititious opposite of the divine Mind are learned by experience. Paul designates this supposititious mind as the carnal or fleshly mind. Mrs. Eddy has described it more specifically as mortal mind, or the mind of mortals. This belief in a mind apart from God is capable of all evil. It would set up, if it could, a power opposed to God to nullify His decrees and dethrone His majesty. This belief attempts to defraud man of his rights and to rob him of everything that he holds dear. Mortal mind, if not corrected by spiritual understanding, will take from man his health, happiness, freedom, joy; his wealth, his friends, his good name; in short, all that humanity justly prizes.
Christian Science uncovers the process by which this robber first entices his victim into a byway of error and then picks his pockets. The process is the exact reverse of the method used by Christian Science in saving humanity from its woes. Mortal mind's method consists in inducing humanity to accept the untrue as true, the unreal as real, the non-essential as essential, and then in tempting the deluded victims to strive after these falsities. In this way the carnal mind sends its votaries on many a wild-goose chase, which can only end in disappointment and disgust. It dangles before the eyes of humanity the false concept of a genuine desire or need. It approaches some unsuspecting mortal with the promise of substance, support, and sustenance. It asks, Do you desire substance? and the mortal naturally and very properly replies, Yes.
Then the carnal or fleshly, or mortal or material mind, would suggest that substance was matter, and that to gain substance, man must strive to accumulate matter. If the intended victim accepts this mental suggestion, mortal mind then leads him on a forlorn quest after substance-matter. Whether the victim does or does not accumulate matter as the result of this inducement, he will never be able to find true substance in matter, for true substance is spiritual and mental, and fadeth not away, because it is not subject to material laws of origin or decay, but is eternal and indestructible. Paul has truly written of "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
To some sick mortal this robber belief of a mind apart from God would offer health as a material possession. It would induce the sick to believe that health is dependent solely upon material conditions, and that health can only be restored or maintained by material remedies. Then it would drive the sick from one remedy to another, from one place to another, from one material-process to another, to search for health where it cannot be found, namely, in matter.
True health is a state of consciousness. It is spiritual and mental, not material. It is based upon the spiritual understanding of God and man as they really are. True health can be found and safeguarded only through a scientific and Christian knowing of the truth of being, of God as divine Mind, the cause and originator of all that has real existence, power, actuality. In order that health may be safe from the assaults constantly being made upon it, it must be recognized as the effect of right thinking or righteousness, and so be based upon the rock of spiritual understanding.
To an unhappy mortal the belief of a mind apart from God would come with the offer of material happiness, with the inducement to seek pleasure in matter, in self-indulgence, in self-love and self-justification. Yielding to this false concept, the intended victim might enter upon a career of dissipation or might confine himself to the more refined pleasures based upon the supposition that material sense and material belief can bring happiness. But happiness, like health, is spiritual in its nature, and must be sought through spiritual understanding.
To another mortal the supposititious mind might come with the promise of popularity, of friends many. It would place before him the false concept of friends as mere persons, and would argue that the more persons he had among his acquaintances, the more friendship he would acquire. It would tempt him with the lure of popularity and send him forth on a quest for persons many, to flatter his vanity, pamper his appetites, and exalt his own false sense of man as a material personality. In the end, such friends would all disappoint him, because true friendship can be found and preserved only among those humans who are being consciously guided by the divine.
Even to those craving spirituality the carnal mind might come with the suggestion that spirituality was dependent upon material observances and ceremonials, and induce them to devote their lives to that which would satisfy neither themselves nor the longings of those who came to them for guidance and spiritual food. The Pharisee whose god is mere respectability, who worships human opinion, the so-called strong man who believes physical force to be power and that might makes right, the human being who imagines beauty to be material, — all these are victims of the mental suggestions put forward by the carnal mind, and either suffering or Science must wean them from their errors, and set them free to enjoy the blessings which can be conferred only by the divine Mind, the only real, true, and essential Mind, the author of all good, the Father-Mother of us all.
God is Life
Christian Science furthermore declares God to be Life, eternal Life. This concept is naturally linked to that of God as Mind, in human thought, by the fact that the only way by which man is aware that he lives is because be thinks. If the question is asked. How do I know that I live? the answer must be, Because I am conscious, because I think. Man is a mental being. Living involves mental action, and so our investigation into the nature of God passes naturally from the recognition of Him as divine Mind to the consideration of Him as eternal Life.
This Life which is God cannot be finite, because God is infinite. This Life is not limited in any way, either in space or time, through matter or the flesh. God as Life is incorporeal, absolute, invisible, and indivisible. God as Life is continuous, without break, interference, or hindrance. There are no intervals of death in Life eternal, but real Life flows on evenly, joyously, harmoniously, ever complete and ever perfect.
In the first chapter of Genesis we have the record of the creation of God as Life, creating man and the universe after His own likeness. In the second chapter begins the record of life in matter. In the first we read, "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was good." In the second and subsequent chapters we have the account of the creation of man made out of the dust of the ground, and even of the cursing of that same ground. Christian Science clearly sets forth that the first version represents the true, the real, and the essential creation, and the second the untrue, the unreal, and the counterfeit universe and man. Thus the belief of life in matter is necessarily associated with the belief of a mind apart from God, and these two beliefs work together for the enslavement and destruction of mankind, and their supposed effects are to be overcome by the spiritual understanding of God as the only Life and the only Mind.
Belief of Life in Matter
From the belief of life in matter spring all the ills of which flesh is heir, all sin, sorrow, sickness, decay, dissolution, calamity and catastrophe. Death itself is the direct result of the belief of life in matter. This belief is the root of all fear, all strife, mad ambition, pride, envy, jealousy, revenge. It sustains the fleshly passions and appetites, and accounts for idolatry, personal worship, personal domination, and so-called personal or magnetic attraction. It is a counterfeit sense of life which bears the fruits of tyranny and superstition. Cain, who rose up to slay his brother Abel, typifies this belief of life in matter.
But the realization of God as Life prepares the way for the brotherhood of man. If there is only one real Life, because God is infinite and therefore the one and only Life, then in reality all men have that one Life. Then suppose a court room in which seemingly opposing interests are contending for the mastery. There is the plaintiff and there the defendant. Each has his own lawyer, pleading from opposite points of view, and for opposite results. Placid above the contending factions is the judge, weighing the evidence in the balances of truth. According to the testimony of the physical senses the court room is the scene of a contest, a struggle for supremacy. There may be more or less feeling of hostility displayed. It is humanly inevitable that there must be some evil in consciousness, whether expressed or suppressed.
Now let a right idea come into this mental atmosphere, an idea which we will designate as the spiritual understanding that God is the only Life of man. Perhaps it reaches the consciousness first of the judge, as he watches from an impartial and unbiased point of view the struggles of both sides for self-justification. The perception dawns upon him that, no matter what the appearances may seem to indicate, in reality, there is but one Life, and that in reality, therefore, plaintiff and defendant alike, with their more or less numerous adherents, have the same Life, for there is no other.
Now suppose this perception passes from one person to another in the court room until it has become spiritually discerned by them all, namely, that in reality they are all manifesting the same Life, that therefore their interests are mutual, instead of being antagonistic, and that in settling the pending difficulty equitably they would be safe-guarding the rights of all men, is it not obvious that a just agreement could be promptly reached and the case dismissed from the docket? The spiritual perception of God as Life tends to make human beings solicitous of one another's rights and to perceive that in upholding their own rights in an equitable, just, and kindly manner, they are really upholding the rights of all men, and are not therefore acting in a selfish but in a scientifically Christian manner.
The realization of God as Life shuts out not only the false sense of strife, but also that of the material body with its sin and sickness. This is the experience alluded to by the apostle Paul when he spoke of being "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." In Science and Health (p. 14) Mrs. Eddy has described this same experience in the words, "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, — neither in nor of matter, — and the body will then utter no complaints."
Here, therefore, we have the explanation of the healing of disease as well as of sin by the natural mental and spiritual method of turning from the untrue, unreal, and non-essential, to the truth about God and man, to the reality of being. This is the method taught by Christian Science. Man, being a conscious thinking being, has control over his own health and happiness through the realization of the truth. The Scriptures express this fact in the statement, "As he [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he." The commonly accepted teachings of the sciences which concern themselves with the nature and condition of man are not in agreement with this statement of the Scriptures. Physiology and anatomy describe him as a material being whose health and happiness are dependent upon material conditions, not upon his thought.
Then scholastic theology attempts to place an immortal Soul somewhere inside this material being. It declares that this immortal Soul can sin, and yet it is obvious that if Soul could sin it would be mortal, because sin is self-destructive. Furthermore, common supposition places a mind in the brain of that material being, a mind which can easily become unbalanced or deranged, and which is dependent upon its material seat of residence for its existence and thus for its equilibrium. When this strange being, representing a mixture of mind and matter, becomes diseased or deranged, material medicine is called in to restore the equilibrium which has been temporarily disturbed.
Effect of Christian Science
Christian Science, on the other hand, approaches the sick and sinning with the truth of being, and treats man as a thinking being whose condition is to be regulated by right thinking. The cure is to be effected by mentally accepting those thoughts which are like God, or godlike, and by rejecting those which are unlike God. This mental and spiritual process has healed all manner of diseases, many of them considered incurable from the standpoint of material medicine. It has given a new lease of life to those doomed to an early grave. It has rejuvenated the prematurely aged. It has relieved the victims of depraved appetites. It has regenerated the fallen. In the course of its ministrations to the bereaved and the suffering it has flooded human consciousness with hope well founded, with a legitimate expectation of good, with faith based upon spiritual understanding. It is explaining the Bible to multitudes who either had lost interest in it or had never known its glorious message.
The presence of Christian Science in human consciousness has sweetened the daily life of many who had become embittered by their misfortunes, and it has shown them the way to rid themselves of these misfortunes. It is hallowing family life with the touch of spiritual companionship. It is restoring to usefulness and helpfulness many who have felt themselves a burden to their dear ones by reason of intemperance, invalidism, or incapacity of one kind or another. The world is a better place to live in by reason of the teaching and practice of Christian Science, now to be found in every continent on the face of the globe.
Discoverer and Founder
These beneficent results are directly traceable to the labors of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. The steps which led up to her discovery, and those which she took with a view of founding this movement upon a solid basis, are matters of universal historic interest.
In Mrs. Eddy's autobiography, entitled "Retrospection and Introspection," she tells us that for some twenty years prior to her discovery she had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause. In the year 1866 she had an experience which proved to her that God was this mental cause for which she had been seeking, and that every real effect was mental and not material. Her recovery from an accident through the realization of the power of God gave her the clue of all spiritual healing, and proved to her the normal and natural character of the works done by Jesus and his followers in Bible times. She studied the Scriptures as her only text-book, and in 1875 published the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
In her desire to make this discovery available to all mankind, Mrs. Eddy founded The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. She established a Metaphysical College, and the different periodicals issued by The Christian Science Publishing Society and now distributed to all parts of the world. She instituted a board of lectureship, a committee on publication, and reading-rooms connected with the Christian Science churches. She wrote a Church Manual, a goodly number of hymns which breathe the atmosphere of inspiration and of healing, and produced a number of important volumes besides her chief work, the Christian Science textbook. Mrs. Eddy's literary activity was unusual, and her style is particularly suited to the majesty of her theme.
While it is thus possible to record some of the conspicuous steps in Mrs. Eddy's career, no one but herself could know the full cost of discovering Christian Science and placing it before a world which though harassed by evil was yet largely unwilling to adopt the means she offered for its liberation. What mortal heroism this task required in the midst of misunderstanding, loneliness, and isolation, can only be surmised. Some indications of the struggle can be gathered from Mrs. Eddy's own writings, but there is in them no tone of complaint, no sense of grievance, only a little wonder at times that the world was so unwilling to be saved. For the rest, there shines through her writings the positive assurance of Truth, the spiritual beauty of holiness, and the joyous consciousness of the victory of Truth over error of every sort.
God is Love
It is reported of a certain lawyer that he asked the Master, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" To this the Master replied: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." In these words the Master linked eternal life with love, setting down love for God and man as a necessary step toward the attainment of eternal life. John, the beloved disciple, who defined God as Love, also stated, "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." Mrs. Eddy has brought out this same essential connection between Life and Love by the statement in her work "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 185): "Life is the spontaneity of Love, inseparable from Love."
To conceive of Love as being spontaneous immediately brings the concept of Life into thought. Therefore the consideration of God first as Mind, without an opposite mind, then as Life, without life in matter, leads directly and inevitably to the glorious perception of God as Love, as universal and impartial in character and incapable of being perverted with jealousy, hatred, or the desire for revenge. In this understanding of God as Love humanity may rest with the full assurance that this definition is final and all inclusive. More cannot be asked of the power governing the universe, of the creator, of the Father-Mother, of the original source of all being, than is comprised in the word Love.
Since God is Love, there is no need to dread the past or fear the future. Since God is Love, sin, sickness, suffering, want and woe, apprehension and tyranny, cannot be of His creation. They cannot be true, real, or essential in His eternal realm. They must be mistake, illusion, error, and falsehood. Hence they are not obligatory. They are not enforced by divine law. They are illegitimate, unnatural, and abnormal, and belong to the realm of nothingness, not of reality.
The realization of evil as unreal does mot mean ignoring evil or neglecting to handle its claims, but it gives mankind the clue to its destruction. The human tendency is to personalize evil, to call it somebody, — a man or a woman. Christian Science teaches that evil is not person, but only a false claim, void, invalid, and unreal in God's universe. Christian Science furthermore teaches that evil has no principle. It may seem to display intelligence, but that seeming intelligence is self-destructive and only spells its doom in the presence of Truth. Evil cannot really think. It does not know or understand reality. It is not the cause or origin of anything real. It has no real history, displays no real quality or quantity, but is emptiness, vacuity. It deals only in vain babblings and boastings which it cannot substantiate.
The practice of Christian Science is a natural result of its teaching. Since God is Mind, Life, and Love, and man is made in His image and likeness, the real man manifests the divine Mind, eternal Life, and imperishable Love. When the physical scientist desires to ascertain of what elements the sun or any star is composed, he takes an instrument called the spectroscope and analyzes a ray of the sun. By reading off on that instrument certain markings called spectral lines he is able to declare that certain elements are to be found in the sun. Much in the same way the student of Christian Science is able to analyze the nature of God's man by considering the nature of God Himself. Let the sun symbolize God; the ray proceeding from it, man; and the spectroscope, that understanding of God and man which reveals their true natures, namely divine Science, or Christian Science. Then by looking into Christian Science the student is enabled to declare the attributes of God, and hence of the man of His making.
Just as the ray is an indispensable manifestation of the sun, dependent upon the sun and inseparable from it, so the real man proceeding from the Father is always in unity with the Father, always in at-one-ment with Him. It should be a comfort and an inspiration to many a struggling heart and to many a despondent wayfarer along life's highway to realize that man is indispensable to God, the son to the Father, the divine idea to the divine Mind. The fact that man has been created is proof that he is needed, that he has a place, that he fits into the eternal scheme of the universe, and is therefore indispensable.
Let the sinning and suffering, the so-called human failures and the so-called human wrecks, rejoice in this good news, that no matter what may be the evidence of the physical senses concerning their human lives, the truth is fixed that every one of the innumerable ideas composing God's universe is indispensable, or these ideas would never have been given existence, actuality, or life. Specifically considered, every man, woman, and child, every right idea in the whole length and breadth, height and depth of God's creation, is a necessary part of that creation, is eternal and indestructible, and is now in reality in the enjoyment and possession of the divine rights to life, liberty, health, happiness, and holiness, or completeness.
This fact about the real man once being admitted, it is obvious that what sick and sinning humanity needs is to awaken to the true status of man, to learn to identify man not with matter, but with the expression of Mind, Life, and Love. In the last analysis the salvation of man consists in realizing the perfection of God and of the real man, and not in attempting to make man over again. The teaching of Christian Science begins and ends with a perfect God and perfect man.
Now to bring this teaching to its practical test, let the one who turns to Christian Science under the stress of a particular problem ask himself, What do I think of it? Man is a thinking being, and what he thinks determines not only his mental and moral condition, but also his physical condition as well. Is he turning to Christian Science for physical healing, for spiritual consolation, for release from any one of the slaveries to which humanity can become subject? Then let him look to his thinking. Let him know the truth and the truth will make him free. The truth will tell him what is true, real, and essential about his condition, and what is untrue, unreal, and superfluous. Christian Science, as the special voice of Truth to this age, reveals to humanity the law of God, which insures harmony when it is obeyed. Man being a thinking being, there must be mental acquiescence on his part before he can be afflicted with evil. It is part of the practical work of Christian Science to teach mankind how to guard against the admission of evil, or if it has once been admitted, how to reject it with Truth, and then be free from it.
Law of Inheritance
The mistaken concept of God as the creator of evil naturally leads to the supposition that He is also the author of evil-producing laws. Among such laws none is more dreaded than the altogether unnatural one styling itself the law of heredity. It is a welcome sign of the times that at present public opinion lays less stress upon this supposed law than it did a few years ago. Ancestry is not so much used as a scape-goat as it was, yet still the silent, the seemingly mysterious, and from the point of view of scientific Christianity wholly unfounded law of heredity still harasses humanity into mental, moral, and physical ailments of one kind or another and paves the way for so-called incurable conditions.
We read in the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel that God rebuked the use of the common saying, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." The teaching of Christian Science on this subject is set forth in its textbook in the words: "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry" (p. 63). The belief in hereditary law would establish the doctrine that all things take place by inevitable necessity, that man has no control over his own fate, even through resort to a higher power, since such law would be fixed by that higher power, and it would not be reasonable to expect God to reverse His own decisions. But the application of the text of reality provided by Christian Science clearly shows that no law of evil can be divine.
Man's only inheritance is the inheritance of good. If the so-called law of inheritance, productive of sin and sickness, was real, it would have to resemble "God and His idea;" it would have to partake of the divine nature. But sin and sickness are unlike "God and His idea;" therefore no law productive of sin and sickness could by any stretch of reasoning proceed from God and thus become necessary, inevitable, or inescapable. The so-called law of evil inheritance can be broken with impunity, because it is not a law at all, but only a pretense of a law. As a belief it is altogether unlawful, illegitimate, abnormal, untrue, non-essential, and unreal.
Ennobles Legitimate Occupations
Christian Science also enables humanity to ennoble its legitimate occupations, to take them out of mere matter and put them into Mind, and then to bring the law and procedure of the divine Mind to bear upon them, in order to bless and prosper all their right undertakings. Through the practice of Christian Science it is possible to be about the Father's business while pursuing daily tasks and avocations. Christian Science teaches humanity how to analyze the motives and methods of these occupations and to reach their divine qualities. It mitigates any sense of drudgery connected with our ordinary tasks, because of the good inseparably connected with their right performance.
Christian Science comes to men and women whose business involves supplying the legitimate needs of humanity and teaches them to express the good qualities inherent in their business operations. It comes to those who are in the professions and reveals to them the grand opportunities laid at their door of bringing peace, order, and reconciliation to their clients. In every walk of life the desire to be helpful brings required opportunities, and so men, women, and children, inspired by the spiritual understanding which is Christian and scientific, are learning the world over to carry on their affairs from the basis of Principle and not of will-power. Instead of outlining the results they demand, they are learning to trust to Principle and cheerfully abide by the results, because these are invariably the best that could be desired. Thus they are proving the blessedness of relying on the spiritual understanding of God as the only Mind, as the only Life, and as universal and inexhaustible divine Love.
Perfect God and Perfect Man
Starting from the eternal basis of a perfect God and perfect man, humanity can work out its own salvation from matter to Mind, from the flesh to Spirit, from sense to Soul, from person to Principle, from death to Life, from error to Truth, and from fear and hate to Love, unvarying and inexhaustible. Armed with spiritual understanding, humanity is protected against the belief of a mind apart from God or of life in matter. Minds many cannot successfully urge their claims of material origin, material law, and material dissolution upon the afflicted, the sorrowing and the bereaved, when the latter turn for help to spiritual understanding.
The recognition of God as the only Mind makes unavailing the temptations of material medicine, material religion, or material science, so-called. All incitements to envy, hatred, and revenge fall harmless before the consciousness that admits the existence of one Life only, and that one Life wholly good and beneficent. Not even the subtler mental suggestions proceeding from human will-power can deceive those who seek their inspiration and guidance in the one Mind. No self-will, self-love, or self-indulgence can be inculcated by such processes in those who are safe "in the secret place of the most High."
Sheltered and protected by divine Love, the progress of humanity, repentant from sin and recovering from sickness, is safe and steady. The hosts of the redeemed are marching on to certain victory under the guidance of Life, Truth, and Love.
[Delivered March 3, 1916, under the auspices of The Christian Science Society of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Tribune, March 4, 1916. The title of the lecture was supplied from another copy.]