Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (1)
Charles I. Ohrenstein, C.S.B., of Syracuse, New York
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Mankind has long sought in many ways and by many means for peace," A. B. Pickell said in introducing Charles I. Ohrenstein, C.S.B., who on Sunday afternoon delivered a lecture on Christian Science at First Church of Christ, Scientist. "Even as late as the sixteenth century there was supposed to exist a fountain whose waters would preserve the innocence of perpetual youth. These words of Jesus of Nazareth, 'My peace I leave with you, and not as the world giveth, give I unto you,' find grateful response today in the hearts of thousands to whom Christian Science has brought health, happiness and some measure of 'the peace that passeth understanding.' In gratitude is this opportunity afforded to learn more of this healing truth, 'Ho, everyone that thirsteth! Come ye to the waters.' Drink freely and may they spring up within you as fountains of everlasting joy. I am glad to introduce Mr. Charles I. Ohrenstein, C.S.B., of Syracuse, N.Y., member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass."
The speaker said:
In the discussion of any subject it is always desirable and helpful to start with some point of agreement. Notwithstanding all our diversified views and varied experiences, let us see if it is not possible for us to find some such point. One that very naturally presents itself, and upon which all would probably agree, will undoubtedly be found in the fact that we all desire to live. But even if we live, there is not much satisfaction in living without bodily comfort or health; for health is absolutely essential to peace, freedom, prosperity and happiness.
Were we to ask ourselves the question, "How may we live, be well, free, prosperous, happy?" there would be nothing new about it, for the question is as old as human questioning. Neither has there been any dearth of answers to this question. Mere theoretical answers are valueless, however, and this has been shown in the experience of the race by the fact that life still appears uncertain, and health, peace, freedom, prosperity, and happiness have been attained by comparatively few, and then only in limited degree. Consequently, the answer to our question would have to be in a system of education or understanding that would give health.
May we not, then, ask ourselves whether any practical system of education exists which teaches how we may live, be well, free, prosperous, and happy? More than this, since the subject we are to discuss is religion, may we not further ask whether the religion of the Bible, and more particularly the religion of Jesus Christ provides such a system and the correct interpretation of it, the education capable of accomplishing the desired result?
Bible Answers the Question
The Christianity of Jesus Christ was the vision of the seers of Israel. It was their hope, their prayer, their ideal and aspiration for mankind It was expected to usher in health, peace, and plenty, the reign of God and of the Messiah, and to protest against any other reign.
If we first turn to the old Bible, the Bible of the Hebrews, accepted by all Christians, we shall find plain, simple, and direct answers to the question under consideration. The first thing needed in a quest of any kind is an acquaintance with that which is sought. If the research is for life and its felicities, the first thing needful is to learn what life is. Now, have any of the sciences through all the research of the ages discovered what life is? Not one of them. This being the case, the generally accepted methods are seeking they know not what. Is such a quest likely to be successful? With all respect for the men who have been and are engaged in such research, and for their devoted efforts, is not this an example of the blind leading the blind, and will it not of necessity continue to fail in its purpose?
The Bible, on the other hand, speaks upon this question definitely and with great authority. In Deuteronomy we read, "He (God) is thy life." Could anything be more definite or concise; and since God is our life, must not the knowledge of life and all that it includes be the knowledge of God and of man's relationship to God? The importance of this knowledge is also shown by the statement, "Acquaint now thyself with him (God), and be at peace," and the Bible is full of assurances that to know God and to be obedient to Him means health, freedom, prosperity, happiness, and all that is desirable.
That the Bible says these things, all will admit; that its teachings are true and binding, all religionists should admit. But the Bible — and by this for the present we are content to mean the Old Testament — does not satisfy itself by making mere assertions. It substantiates its teachings by citing innumerable instances which prove them. Naaman's healing of leprosy; the providing for the Shunammite woman; the healing and restoration to life of her son; the preservation of the lives of the three young men in the fiery furnace, and of Daniel in the lion's den; the emancipation of the children of Israel from Egypt, their sustenance and healing throughout their sojourn in the wilderness; the bringing of them into the prosperity of the promised land; the proof that death is not inevitable, in the translation of Enoch and Elijah — these and other instances will recur to all.
Spiritual Healing Reverent
But here our good friends of other denominations may exclaim, "'God indeed did these things in the good old Bible times, but to claim such things possible in our time is blasphemous. Others may content themselves with dismissing these things as mere legends or myths.
May it not be said that if it be blasphemous to expect God to do these good and needful things now, that it was always blasphemous? Again, if these things are mere myths or legends, is not the whole fabric of religious teaching mythical and legendary? Such assertions may furnish easy ways of brushing aside the central and tremendous facts of religious history. Before this is done, before the ancient Bible worthies are set down as either blasphemous or untruthful, would it not be well to consider that possibly these ancient seers and prophets really had some glimpses of a knowledge of God unknown to modern thinkers, which enabled them to prove that God indeed "giveth to all life, and breath, and all things," and that He is in truth the only savior?
Glimpses of a Knowledge of God
Wonderful as their works appear to us, glimpses are all these men claimed to have, for their prediction was that in the fullness of time one would appear who would reveal God fully; who would be the representative of God and fulfill all righteousness, save, redeem, and deliver — be Immanual, "God be with us." In the fullness of time he came. Did he suit the mighty men, the scholars, the scribes, so-called scientists and religious leaders of his time? Not at all. They had pictured their deliverer as a representative of a god of wrath, who would lead them to destroy the nations which had conquered them. He came as the representative of God who is Love, to lead them to victory over themselves, over the sins of mistaken beliefs which alone were destroying them. Impregnated as they were with self-righteous beliefs, beliefs of ambition, pride, arrogance, retaliation, and the belief in the wisdom and rightfulness of these, it is no wonder that they could not recognize the meek and lowly peasant-carpenter as their king or master, the ideal of their seers and prophets, the "Prince of Peace," the "Light," and the legitimate ruler of the world.
What Jesus came to do, what he taught, did, and lived, may well be taken as his mission, as the ideal of the prophets — the ideal Judaism — and as absolute Christianity. What was this mission?
An ancient custom, still followed among the Jews, is that of honoring distinguished visitors by calling upon them to read from the Scriptures at services in the synagogue. This honor was conferred on Jesus, when at the beginning of his ministry he visited his home in Nazareth. In responding to it, he turned to the book of Esaias and read: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel (good news) to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord * * * This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." At another time he announced that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets; and again that he came "to bear witness unto the truth." He also said, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly"; and defining life he said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God." This may be said to be a summary of Jesus' mission, given in his own words. The statement is again, simple, direct, and definite. There is not a word in it that could in any way mislead, be misunderstood or twisted to mean anything else.
Jesus came to preach the gospel or good news to the poor. Did this mean that they should remain poor? He came to heal, to liberate, to destroy the operations of evil of every kind in human experience, to confer abundant life as a result of the knowledge of God which he taught, and to usher in an era acceptable to God, in which God should be accorded all power and reign over all absolutely and completely. Did he fulfill this mission?
Jesus preached very little, but did a great deal. The gospels show this. From boyhood he was about his Father's business, but he preached only one sermon of which a record has come down to us. This business consisted of teaching by example as well as by precept what God is, what God does, and how God does what be does. In providing the wine at the marriage feast in Cana, the tax money, in the draft of fishes, and in feeding the multitudes he showed that God provides for the most simple and common needs. In healing a few sick people in Nazareth, the nobleman's son of fever, and the case of dropsy recorded in Luke, he showed that spiritual means should be sought and applied not only in extreme cases but in minor ailments. In restoring sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, in healing leprosy, epilepsy, the withered hand, paralysis, and dementia of various kinds, he showed that God "healeth all thy diseases," and that none are incurable to Him. In loosing the woman from the evil which had bound her many years, he showed the emancipating power of God. In disappearing in the midst of multitudes, entering through closed doors, stilling the storm, and walking upon the water, he showed the unreality of matter and of material forces; in raising the ruler's daughter, the widow's son, and Lazarus from the grave, he showed that God does give life, and that he gives it abundantly.
Here again the good Christian may exclaim that Jesus indeed did these things, but that they were the miracles of our Lord, and to look for such things now would be sacrilege; and the great multitude of the unchurched may again content itself with saying, "Legends, myths." While the word miracle originally had the meaning marvel or sign, in common usage it has come to mean an act setting aside or breaking a law of nature. With this view of Jesus' works, it is not to be wondered at that good Christians look with horror on any attempt to essay such works, and that others, looking upon such acts as never having been performed, consider them impossible.
Jesus gave signs or evidences of his Messianic mission, and these signs were and are marvelous to the human sense of things. He came, however, to fulfill law, and he was not a law breaker. His acts were contrary to what was and still is looked upon as law, but they were veritable illustrations of law, the law of nature's God; and far from looking upon the repetition of his works as sacrilege, the command he gave to all his followers to repeat them was imperative.
Jesus' Work the Result of His Christian Science
It has been shown that the ancient prophets had given evidences of some knowledge of God, that a complete demonstration of such knowledge was looked for by them, and that Jesus fulfilled this expectation.
Science is defined as the "knowledge of principles and causes." Now if Jesus did the works which have been cited — and that he did them is attested by those who have been looked upon as the best and most honest men, men who witnessed them — did he do them through ignorance or more belief in something, or did he do them because of a specific, accurate, and demonstrable knowledge of their underlying principle or cause? No rational being would for a moment claim that they were done through anything but such knowledge: and if they were thus wrought through the exact knowledge or science, applied by Jesus Christ, then were they not wrought through Christian Science? That Jesus Christ looked upon his works as the result of this Science is indicated by that immortal utterance: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," — a definite demand upon his followers for like proofs that they understand and practice his teachings, and his immediate followers, and their followers for three hundred years after them, did as he commanded. The proof of this is historical.
Jesus commanded his first twelve students, or followers, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. When he sent out the seventy he repeated the command, and at the end of his own ministry he commanded his followers to teach all nations to do whatsoever he had commanded them. These were the first ordination articles of the first Christian ministers; and although the second of these articles, the command to heal, has ceased to be observed by the older denominations, it still remains a part of the ordination articles of the bishops of some of the orthodox churches, an admission that it is still binding.
It has been indicated that Jesus did his marvelous works because of his knowledge of their underlying principle or cause. It will be admitted that this knowledge was the knowledge of God, the knowledge of the reign or the kingdom of God, the knowledge of man and of man's relationship to God which he came to teach mankind. The question that occurs very naturally at this point is, What is God?
Prevalent Idea of God
All of us when visiting curio shops or museums have seen grotesque images that probably at some time served as objects of heathen worship. All of us, too, have probably viewed these idols with a mingling of curiosity, pity for those who prayed to such things, and incredulity that people who had the skill to carve such images should be so blinded and superstitious as to worship them. But have we differed from them very much, after all?
While visiting the art museum in New York some years ago, my attention was attracted to a picture, apparently by an old master. It was the figure of a venerable man with flowing white beard; he was clad in a robe and seated above the clouds. This picture portrayed not only the artist's but the popular idea of God in heaven. Heaven was above the clouds and God was an old man. This in the main is the picture which the older religious teachings have painted, not only on canvas but also the thoughts of their adherents. The picture was but a reproduction of a world-wide misconception of God; and the Christian world, which scorns the heathen's idols, accepts and worships a misconception of God which exists only as a figment of the imagination, implores it for life and health and all things and then wonders why these prayers do not avail. Is not the reason plain? Recognizing this, do we not again have to ask, "What is God?"
True Idea of God
In the tongues in which the Bible was originally written, two terms and their variants are mainly used to designate God. One means "strength" or power, and the other "the existing one," or plainly, the one and only existence. Other terms are used, but chiefly to avoid the use of the name of God in vain.
It is generally admitted that God is supremely good. Applying this sense of God to the Bible designations, it becomes clear that God is the one and only power, that this power is supremely good, that He is the one and only existence or presence that is likewise good. It is this God that made all that was made, and all that He made He made like Himself, good, "very good." When it is remembered that all that is called intelligence could not have formed the idea indicated by the least primary object, it will be appreciated that the "great First Cause" called God, must be supreme, infinite intelligence or Mind. The Bible further speaks of God as "thy life," and as the "rock," meaning basic reality or Truth, and in the inspired words of the Master's beloved student, as "Love" — "God is love."
Taking these Bible definitions of God, and they are identical with those of Christian Science, is there any one who does not believe in God, or who would not trust Him? If so, there is some one who does not believe in and would not trust intelligence, Life, Truth and Love. But, surely, there is no such man, for all not only believe, but by the very fact that they are alive, know that this God is; that He is the supreme and infinite good not above the clouds for some one to bring down, but "very nigh unto thee" — and that each and every one is constantly in touch with and completely dependent upon Him. As an illustration of this important fact, permit me to say that there is no one here or anywhere who could have one right idea without mind enabling him to have it; that there is no one who could draw a single breath without life animating him, or have one moment of true peace or happiness without truth and love being expressed to him or by him, without truth and love governing him.
With this Christian and scientific idea of God, the universe is seen to be a state in which the infinite and beneficent Mind, Life, Truth and Love — "Spirit" as designated by Jesus, "Principle of being" as taught by Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 25) — reigns supreme. In such a state, recognized, admitted, realized, entirely a state of Mind in which all are the ideas of Mind, it must be self evident that no sin could be, no misery, strife, want, woe, degradation, sickness, death. In such a state, that only could be which such a God would cause; that only could be which would express His bounty and beneficence, that only which is like Himself, good, "very good."
Let anyone here take this single proposition, which Christian Science teaches, of God's allness and of God's invariable goodness; let him recall it in times of quiet or of stress, and see if it does not overcome misgivings, fear, foreboding! and doing this, if it does not overcome the torments of fear. As surely as this is remembered it will be found helpful, a preventive and a curative of ills.
The Kingdom of Heaven
Religion, rightly viewed, has a two-fold purpose, teaching men to know God and saving them from ills of all kinds. Probably nothing could show this more clearly than the fact that those who were commissioned by Jesus to preach were also commanded by him to heal. Not only did Jesus command the disciples to preach and heal, but he told them what to preach: and in the light of the Christian Science which he taught, it was plain to them, as it is quite plain to Christian Scientists today, that what he commanded them to preach was intended to and did heal the sick and redeem the sinful.
It is recorded that when the disciples returned from their mission they reported that the very devils were subject unto them. What was it that Jesus told them to preach? Nothing worldly-wise, erudite; on the contrary, something very simple — "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Did this simple statement have the potency to reform and regenerate men, to purify and heal them? What is the kingdom of heaven? All thinking people would probably agree that by the kingdom of heaven is meant a happy and harmonious state in which God reigns.
If we remind ourselves of the idea of God which Christian Science teaches, and which has just been indicated, and of the universe governed by this the only true God, we shall very plainly see that the kingdom of heaven which Jesus commanded his disciples to preach, is indeed at hand, and that we are entitled to the full enjoyment of this kingdom as the Bible teaches, for "in him we live, and move, and have our being," Recognizing this, that the place wherein we are is "holy ground," as holy as God, how many of us would behave unseemly, debauch ourselves or others in any way, lie, cheat, rob, believe that there is something in our environment to injure, infect or impair us? Would not disease or lack of ease, which is disease of every kind in the making, be banished, and the ease and peace of being in the presence of our Father, God, have possession of us?
Where Truth is there Christ is, for Christ is Truth even as Jesus said. Where Christ is, there heaven is: and since Christ Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you alway," does not this mean everywhere? Christian Science teaches that it does. Teaching this, it teaches that it is not strange that the sermon which Jesus bade his disciples to preach should heal: and there will be nothing strange about it if many of you here are healed by learning and remembering that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" — indeed, not only at hand but, as Jesus also said, "within you."
Within what "you?" How many of each one of us are there? No one would think of claiming aloud, so that he could hear himself do so, more than one of himself. Who or what is this one'? In other words, What is man?
If this question were asked at random, the answer would probably be that man is a fleshy mechanism or machine that walks on two feet, has two arms and hands, a trunk surmounted by what is called a head, supposed to have a little or a big mind inside of it, and the whole thing, mind and body, operated by chemical action and reaction. This is not a definition of the schools, but it amounts to about the same thing. It is no wonder that one of the ancients, to be witty and concise, defined man as a featherless biped. Now how much of a man is a featherless biped? Not very much, all will admit.
How then do we, can we, tell what is a man? By how much of God one manifests. Jesus illustrated this. In response of Philip's request, "Show us the Father," Jesus said: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Had Philip seen the intelligence, power. Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love manifested by Jesus, and had be not seen a great deal of God and a great deal of man?
Jesus showed forth, illustrated, the perfect man, but not because of his physique. He said, "The flesh profiteth nothing." Can that which is truly man or woman be shown forth by mere flesh and blood? "And God (the all-intelligent, all-powerful, eternal, immortal, pure and perfect Mind, Spirit, Principle, Life, Truth and Love), said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness * * * So God created man in his own image * * * male and female created he them."
This godlike man, the man that God created, is the only kind of man there is. Wherever we see a man, woman or child, we see something of this man — the figure, the symbol of this man — just as wherever we see a figure four, no matter how imperfect, we see that which stands for, indicates, or represents the perfect and only four there is in the science of numbers.
I am sure that as each one knows himself better, knows that he is a God-like man. and that his first and chief business is to be this man, he will think better, feel better, do better, and live longer. Knowing also who or what his neighbor really is, he will see through the strutting, fretting or cringing mask of the "featherless biped" by which all have been deceived too long, and think better of him, treat him better and love him more.
If what has been said about man is plain, it must be evident that man is primarily spiritual, as Mrs. Eddy teaches. If this conclusion be correct, then any evidence which would indicate a material man must be changed by the fact presented in order that the spiritual, which is the real, may become more and more apparent.
This does not mean that Christian Scientists claim to have no bodies, as is often asserted, or that by accepting the logical teaching that there is no matter, they claim that there are no such things as sun, moon, stars, earth, trees, flowers or other phenomena which are called material. They see these things and enjoy them much as others do, and indeed their vision and legitimate enjoyment of them have been enhanced by Christian Science. Still they maintain that there is no matter, and not only is this position impregnable, but so-called material science is in fact conceding it to be true. Indeed, philosophers and scientists, although they have assayed to do so from time immemorial, have never been able to explain what matter is, and consequently have never been sure that it is matter. The individuals who are entirely certain that everything they cognize is matter are those alone to whom matter is matter because it is matter.
It has long been recognized that matter is merely the term used to designate all that is appreciable to the physical senses; but the nature of what is called matter remains absolutely unknown. Various theories have been advanced to explain matter, but these have always ended by explaining it away. The atomic theory, which was for a long time believed to explain it, was finally found to be absurd, because the absolute (not the chemical) atom would have to be an indivisible particle, having "an under and an upper surface, a right and a left side," and yet without extension in order to be incapable of being thought smaller. Such minuteness could never be reached by any thought process. The theory of Boscovich, that matter is composed of points of force, proved just as absurd, as a point of force could not have length, breadth, or thickness, neither could it be matter, and no number of points of force could form the minutest dimensional object. The theory that now obtains most widely, I believe, is that matter is formed of electrons, but no one knows what an electron is.
Thus, is it not plain that the nature of the constituent, being unknown, the nature of that which is constituted is unknown? In other words, until some one can tell us what matter is, no one will know that matter is. Then you may be enlightened on this subject by those who have made a special study of it. I shall read a few extracts from the writings of some of the world's recognized scientific scholars:
Sir Oliver Lodge: "Sand is a debris of rocks, and fresh rocks can be compacted of sand." Very enlightening.
Edison: "We are still ignorant of the true character of electricity; indeed, to me after all the years I have spent in studying electricity, it is more of a mystery now than ever."
Sir Oliver Lodge, again: "The electrons themselves must be explained, and the only explanation which at present holds the field is that they are knots or twists, or vortices or some sort of either static or kinetic modifications of the ether of space, a small bit partitioned off from the rest and individualized by reason of the identifying peculiarity."
So much for the electron; I am sure that now you all know what matter is, because that is what it is said to be made of.
Prof. Karl Pearson of the University of London, says: "Not matter that is seen, but sense-impressions and change of sense-impressions."
Herbert Spencer wrote, as far back as 1880: "Matter, then, in its ultimate nature, is as absolutely incomprehensible as space and time. Frame what suppositions we may, we find in tracing their implications that they leave us nothing but a choice between opposite absurdities."
The natural scientists are fast concluding that there is no matter, but they are doing so upon an entirely different basis from that of Mrs. Eddy. They are concluding that there is no matter because there are no tenable constituents that could make it such. Mrs Eddy, on the other hand, while recognizing that what is called matter is to be dealt with in human experience, and that it can be dealt with satisfactorily and successfully only by rising above it step by step so far as possible and having the dominion over it which God gave man, also recognizes and reveals that God being Spirit, and Spirit being infinite and all inclusive, not included by all, there is and can be no matter.
The Cause and Cure of Ills
"Yes," I hear some say, "it is plain that if man is the image and likeness of God, he is like God, perfect, well, able, and never otherwise: blessed or happy, peaceful, intelligent, loving and immortal; but human experience contradicts this. There are many sinful, sick, incapacitated, suffering, dying, dead. What causes all this?"
Those who have to deal with what is commonly called sin and with what in a vague way is seen and acknowledged to be its effects, sickness and distress in their various forms — and who is there that does not have to do so? — cannot help asking the cause of it all. Christian Scientists recognize this seeming power of evil and far from being taught to ignore sin and sickness, they are taught to face them squarely, to analyze them, to cope with them, and not to attribute them to things that do not cause them; indeed, not to attribute them to any legitimate cause.
Until the success of Christian Science healing of all kinds of diseases forced the schools to recognize mental processes as at least a factor in both the procurement and the cure of ills, medical theories attributed sickness almost altogether to material causes and tried to cure it entirely by material means. While there have been changes, many of them not for the better, especially those leading to hypnotism instead of to God, in the main material means are still employed in the more serious or organic troubles.
Not so did Jesus look upon human ills, or treat them. In speaking of sin, which has death for its wages — and most frequently with sickness as the hard paymaster doling them out — the Master attributed it altogether to thought processes: "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts," and "These are the things which defile a man," said this great teacher. Again, speaking of sickness, he said, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man"; nothing from without makes sickness, but the sinful beliefs entertained, finding expression, do so. Another proof that this was the Master's attitude may be found in his statement, "Behold, I give unto you (those who truly, adequately understand and practice his teachings) power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
That Jesus understood what degraded and defiled men was amply demonstrated by the fact that he reformed the most depraved and healed all manner of diseases; and this Christian Science, as a whole, following his methods, has also done. If he was right, and he certainly gave ample proof that he was, and if sin and sickness remain the rule instead of the exception, do not mankind still think wrongly, and are physical punishments for wrongdoing, and material remedies for wrongbeing, or being sick, likely to cure them?
Jesus indicated the sources and the effects of right and wrong thoughts; but this had gone unheeded until Christian Science again revealed his teaching. In speaking to the people of his time Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life"; and speaking of his words, "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." This translated would mean the true and life-giving thoughts I express emanate from God, the source of all good, Again, speaking of the destructive element in human experience, he said; "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him." This also, translated, would mean that his hearers were the expressions of the thoughts or beliefs they entertained; that the beliefs were untrue, and the cause of all that these people manifested — their words, feelings, actions, circumstances, pleasures, and sufferings; that all that these people manifested in the way of sin, sickness, and death, was due to their untrue, wrong beliefs, their ignorance or false education, the ultimate destructive agencies, the devil in which there is no truth, the "murderer from the beginning." Is not this the case today, notwithstanding two thousand years of Christian civilization, culture, education and progress; and if Jesus were propounding his Christian Science now, would not he still have occasion for the same summary?
"Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Who or what shall cure mankind of this mass of solid, mistaken beliefs or convictions which, according to Jesus, cause their ills? The Christ, the truth which Jesus taught and illustrated; the truth which he commanded his disciples to preach: the truth which Mrs. Eddy has again discovered and proclaimed — the truth of God and of man's godliness; the truth that the kingdom of God, the reign of the immortal, unvarying life and love is at hand, available here and now; the truth that all are under the protection of this kingdom and must be obedient to its rule.
There are, no doubt, many here upon whom the burdens of the world, of the flesh, and of that in which there is no truth, the devil, weigh very heavily. Amazed at the simplicity of all that has been said, they may be asking, "Can these things really be?" Let them remind themselves that to be free it is imperative to know the truth, for that alone is able to emancipate. Let them remember that this truth is, that now there is a God, an infinite and ever present good, and that this God is their God, Spirit not matter, the Spirit that is Love. Let them remember that each and every one is the reflection of this God, having nothing underived from him and subject to nothing but him. Let them "judge not according to the appearance," but this righteous judgment about themselves and others, and conform to this judgment in thought and action as far as possible. When they have done this steadfastly, loyally, unceasingly for a week, a month, a year, let them compare their thoughts, feelings, actions, abilities, health, capacities, with those they formerly manifested, and see if they have not improved. Doing this, they will begin to practice Christian Science, the Christianity of Jesus Christ.
It was this life purpose, this life mission, so clearly seen by Jesus when only twelve years old, which prompted him to say. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business. In other words, Know ye not that as man, the image and likeness of God, I must show forth our Father, omnipotent Life, Truth and Love? It was this reflection of the Father, the divine Spirit, without measure, that enabled Jesus to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, to be Immanuel, "God with us."
The Discovery and Discoverer
"I am the way, the truth and the life," said Jesus. It was the recognition of this, the recognition that no man has any other way or truth or life, that no man has any other true mission or purpose than that which Jesus had, which led Mrs. Eddy to her discovery of this Science. It healed her when at the point of death as the result of an accident, but she did not stop with that. Nothing short of the prospective healing and redemption of mankind could satisfy her loving heart. She practiced what she had discovered, healing others and teaching them in turn to do the same. She made clear her doctrine in a textbook of this Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a book which has done more for the alleviation of human ills and the reclamation of mankind than any book ever written except the Bible. She wrote other books making clear her meaning; organized the church which now spreads its branches over the whole known world, with members numbering hundreds of thousands who like her and her immediate followers have been healed, many of them of what are called incurable diseases. Thousands of these, out of gratitude for what has been done for them, have in their turn taken up this sacred ministry of making God better known through healing the sick, proving that He is a very present help in trouble.
Mrs. Eddy gave to the movement all its publications: The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine; the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly; and a daily paper, The Christian Science Monitor, that has taken its place in the front rank of daily newspapers and is the pioneer of absolutely clean journalism. In addition to this, she has given to the German reading public a monthly magazine, Der Herold der Christian Science. She has also instituted the form of service for all Christian Science churches, issuing the Bible lessons for this purpose in a quarterly. These lesson sermons are studied daily by Christian Scientists all over the world, and are read in all the churches every Sunday, making the services uniform throughout.
This vast work is due to the fact that Mrs. Eddy was healed through Christ, Truth, and that she had the wisdom, courage, and unswerving faith in God enabling her to show others the way to be healed and saved according to his teachings, which constitute Christian Science. Looking back fifty years, when the idea of spiritual healing through Christian Science was new to the world, and tracing its progress, one can see, though dimly, the difficulties which this noble woman must have encountered. Through unimaginable hardship, trial and persecution she bore herself not with mere fortitude, but with a Christlike confidence which will continue to be an ever increasing inspiration to mankind.
Christian Science Not Hypnotism
In the textbook of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy has devoted a whole chapter to the subject "Prayer," and a whole chapter to the subject "Christian Science Practice." If she had written nothing else, done nothing else, her elucidation of these subjects would have placed her in the front rank of thinkers and immortalized her. The careful study of these chapters and of the whole book is recommended to all, and only a word will be said in explanation of these subjects.
All will probably agree that prayer, in its highest sense, is loving and sincere communion with God, Some of the definitions of the word "communion" are, "Sympathetic intercourse; intimate and helpful association; fellowship." Most obviously, nothing could "have more sympathetic intercourse, more intimate association, or closer fellowship with God, than man reflecting God. This reflection becomes possible only by learning to know clearly what God is, what man is, and what constitutes the reign of God, "in earth, as it is in heaven." It becomes possible only by learning to bring every thought into obedience to Christ, Truth, through unceasing silent communion, or prayer: through rising step by step, and in as great degree as possible, into "the stature of the fullness of Christ," until the truth and perfection of God and of man's godlikeness are radiated and expressed by "signs following," the signs of healing accompanied by spiritual regeneration, in true Christian Science practice.
That this devout method has nothing in common with any other must be self-evident. To charge it with being in any way tainted with hypnotism or so-called mental therapeutics, or any new or old unchristian thought, is to charge it as Jesus was charged when he answered, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? * * * But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."
The process leading to this Christian practice is educational. It is not only a higher education, but the very highest; an education transcending the human beliefs called knowledge, as God's thoughts transcend them. This education is Christian and it is scientific; so it must be Christian Science. Who, looking out upon a war and woe rent world, will say that this education is not needed, or that it is not of supreme importance? Who will not acknowledge that not only the supplication "Thy kingdom come" is needed, but the understanding also that God's kingdom is come, and that every man, woman and child is a sacred idea or state of the divine consciousness, and for this reason to be held inviolate and inviolable?
Mrs. Eddy says, "When the omnipotence of God is preached and his absoluteness is set forth, Christian sermons will heal the sick" (Science and Health, p. 345). It is this higher education, which Christian Science is again bringing to the world, that is dispelling the darkness of both religious and irreligious agnosticism, and thus removing the fears and torments of this not knowing. It rejudges all with the unerring, righteous judgment of Truth and Love, and redeems, restores and regenerates suffering multitudes from all kinds of sin and sickness; and it is doing this by again preaching, as Jesus commanded, the Kingdom of God is at hand and within; by preaching, teaching, that all are the children of God, subject only to God, good, who alone legitimately rules, and that "of such is the kingdom of God."
The Messiah or deliverer who was looked for, hoped for, prayed for by seers and prophets of old, who was not recognized and therefore was rejected when he came in fleshy form unto his own. is again, as "the Comforter," "the Spirit of truth," Christian Science, knocking for admission. There is again some commotion, but many are admitting this incorporeal Savior. Those that are doing so are being led "beside the still waters" and "in the paths of righteousness." They are being led into more abundant life, health, peace, freedom, prosperity and happiness. They are being led into all truth — the understanding of the first and great commandment, "Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Hear, O all mankind; the power that is over us and over all is one power, and that power is God, good.
[Delivered Jan. 16, 1916, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, St. Joseph, Missouri, and published in The St. Joseph Observer, Jan. 22, 1916. Minor typographical errors throughout, made by the Observer staff, have been corrected through recourse to other copies of the lecture.]