Christian Science: A Religion of Healing Through Prayer
Nelvia E. Ritchie, C.S.B., of Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Healing is a subject of interest to all mankind, for all desire health, happiness, peace, success, and freedom. Webster gives this definition of healing, or the word "heal": "To make sound or whole; to cure of a disease, wound, or other derangement; to restore to soundness or health. To restore to original purity or integrity; to make whole; to free from guilt; to restore from evil."
Christian Science a Remedy
Christian Science is a universal remedy, the panacea for all the ills of the flesh. It is restoring to soundness those suffering from sickness, sin, and fear; from domestic or business problems. It is binding up the wounds of the sorrowing, curing those who are suffering from physical and mental derangement. It is restoring the true understanding of man's original purity as the image and likeness of God and freeing thought from all sense of guilt or evil. It is teaching men to express integrity at all times, and how to claim and enjoy man's birthright as a child of God.
This lecture is to tell you in a simple way how this dominion is gained through prayer as taught in Christian Science. Some one may say, "I did not come here to listen to an essay on prayer. I want to know how to get well — be successful, or happy." My friends, to learn how to pray aright is the answer to your query. If you believe in the Holy Scriptures, if you believe in the teachings of Christ Jesus, you must believe in prayer. We are admonished by prophets and apostles to seek God in prayer and Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Perhaps some one is thinking, "I am a busy man — or woman"; another, "I am a mother with children and household cares. How can one drop the responsibilities of life to pray constantly?" Here Christian Science comes to your rescue, for through its teaching one learns that prayer, true prayer, is right desire. The desire to live unselfishly, to express honesty, justice, mercy, love, forgiveness, and purity, is unceasing prayer.
The first step in learning to pray aright is to know God, the giver of all good. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 465), Mrs. Eddy gives this definition of God: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." In Christian Science we are taught that God is the only Father-Mother, that He is Life, Truth and Love, the only Creator and cause of all that really exists; the source of all being. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that He made everything that was made, "and, behold, it was very good"; that He made man in His image and likeness, spiritual and perfect. Christian Science makes clear that perfect God and perfect man must be the basis for our thinking; that is, man to be reflection or image of God must be Godlike, for cause and effect in Science are inseparable and immutable. To know the truth about God, man, and the universe, is the one perfect remedy, for it alone can redeem mankind from the woes of the flesh. This truth alone can awaken mankind from the Adam dream, the cause of all human suffering, this mist of material belief that is striving to keep man asleep in the cradle of matter.
To bring about the needed healing, it may be necessary to seek the aid of a Christian Science practitioner, whose work it is to help awaken and establish in our thinking the truth of being — that man, is the image and likeness of God, hence true being is perfect sinless, indestructible, and eternal. Sick thoughts, or thoughts filled with fear, cause sick bodies, for sickness is only externalized sick thinking. Therefore, to have a body free from disease and discord, one's thinking must be free from fear and be spiritual and perfect. As one learns to think righteously, he frees himself from all manner of disease and all forms of discord.
A concrete example of what wrong thinking based on fear will do is clearly illustrated in the experience of a friend of mine. When this man was a child his close relatives had such great dread that he might develop tubercular trouble that they watched him grow to manhood with great anxiety. At the ago of 20, that which they greatly feared was manifested and this young man was sent to the Western country in the hope that climate would arrest the disease and aid in his healing. He spent several years of loneliness living in the desert country; but greatest of all was the desert of fear, not only his own which had grown acute but that of his relatives as well.
Finally, after climate, different schools of medicine, and loving care all had failed, Christian Science was brought to his attention and he was completely and permanently healed.
In other words, in turning to Christian Science for help he had turned to God who is Life, God who is Love, who knows and bestows only good upon His children. As this man awakened spiritually to see and claim his birthright of health and freedom as a child of God the fear with its cruel mental pictures disappeared entirely and he was completely restored to health. As a result of his healing, his close relatives turned to Christian Science for help, their fear was destroyed, and they became earnest students of Christian Science.
An understanding of Christian Science not only awakens one to hold in thought perfect cause and perfect effect — that is, God and man as God's reflection — but helps uncover in our thinking all that is unlike good, and brings all erroneous thoughts to the light of spiritual understanding for destruction. A Christian Scientist recognizes everything as mental because God is Mind — omnipotent, omnipresent. Hence, everything unlike God is untrue and powerless, for God is all. As one holds in thought the perfect, eternal realities of being, of God, the Adam dream vanishes and God's man is seen as perfect and governed by God's eternal law of perfection. Christian Science teaches that this law in all its perfect operation is ever applicable and available, although invisible. Christian Scientists have the opportunity to prove that God and His laws are available every moment for healing and help. It is this changeless, perfect law of God that is appealed to and employed in every Christian Science treatment. In practicing Christian Science one strives to see man as God's idea — perfect, sinless and eternal.
In the Christian Science Journal, the official organ of The Mother Church, may be found a list of Christian Science practitioners. This periodical may usually be obtained at any church service or in the Christian Science Reading Rooms which are maintained by all authorized branches of The Mother Church.
Through the study of Christian Science one awakens to the consciousness of man's unity with God, divine Love, and as this understanding begins to unfold in thought, one's thinking is correspondingly improved until this application of true thinking becomes the most natural and joyous of practices.
A practitioner told me recently of a woman, a great sufferer, who came to her for healing. The practitioner lovingly told her about God and started to explain prayer as understood in Christian Science. The woman interrupted and said, "You need not explain prayer to me; I know all about prayer, I say five each night, including 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.'" No doubt many of us, when children, were taught this little prayer, but perhaps some were not so fortunate in learning it as the son of a friend of mine. After he grew to manhood he once said to his mother, "Mother, what was the meaning of that funny word in the little prayer you taught me when I was a child?" The mother asked, "What word, son?" He replied, "Fi-sh-die." Now I am sure many in the audience will recognize that word as meaning "if I should die" — not a happy thought for a child to entertain in going to sleep.
In Mrs. Eddy's book entitled "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 400) a beautiful little prayer is given for children:
Loving Me —
Guard me when I sleep;
Guide my little feet
Up to Thee."
To go back to the woman seeking help. It was evident that she did not know all about prayer, for she was miserable and sick. In the first place, she believed that God had sent her sickness, or permitted it to exist in order to purify her life through suffering, or mete out punishment for some unknown sin. Finally the practitioner had the opportunity to explain lovingly to the sufferer the true concept of God and prayer as taught in Christian Science: that God who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil," does not know or send evil or sickness; that to have such a belief about Him was unthinkable, because erroneous. Through the consecrated work of the practitioner the woman's thought about God and prayer was completely changed and she was healed.
But one may say, How can God heal sickness or sin if He does not know about them? In the study of music is it necessary to know discord, that concord, the beauty and purity of tone, be expressed? No. May I ask, "To understand and prove the principle of mathematics is it necessary for one to know the multitudinous errors made by those who do not understand the science of numbers?" No. The correct understanding and application of the principle of mathematics eliminates all such errors. We may not all be able to solve a problem of Euclid, or prove the principles of geometry in general, but we can all understand that light and darkness cannot mingle, for the presence of light destroys darkness. Just so does the correct understanding of God destroy the darkness of materiality.
True prayer is not pleading with God to heal us of our disease or forgive our sins; it is not beseeching our heavenly Father to pour forth His blessings upon us, or to grant some special dispensation of good. No; prayer is knowing that God has already bestowed all good upon His children. It is the purification and preparation of the heart to receive the outpouring of ever-present divine Love. It is the realization that God's children express dominion and possess all good because they reflect God, the only Cause and Creator; God who knows only good and is ever present. True prayer means to accept and express in daily living the love and goodness that God is ever bestowing upon His children, His creation. To receive this love we must express humility, obedience, expectation and purity.
Today, mankind is blessed with the opportunity to understand true prayer, to learn of God as divine Principle, ever-present Love, through the teachings of Christian Science, which make God, Love, understandable, demonstrable, and available to all. Through this teaching, we learn how to overcome sickness and sin, to purge our thoughts and free them from all that is unlike good. We learn how to love God and serve our fellowmen. Mrs. Eddy expresses this so beautifully: "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us." (No and Yes, p. 39.)
Christian Science has brought and is bringing to the world the true concept of prayer, which is the light of spiritual understanding, and this spiritual light dispels the darkness of materiality. It says to a world falsely educated into the belief of a life and a mind apart from God, that through its teaching there is freedom from all false beliefs.
In the year 1866, Christian Science was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy, a New England gentlewoman, and through her tireless labor and unselfed love for mankind the light of spiritual understanding came again to the world. It was in an hour of great need that this spiritual light came to Mrs. Eddy. She was suffering from a serious injury caused by an accident. After a physician had said there was no hope of recovery, she asked for the Bible and the light of spiritual revelation came so clearly that she was able to rise from what seemed to be a deathbed. Her thought had been freed sufficiently from materiality to admit the light of spiritual revelation.
After Mrs. Eddy's discovery, she devoted herself to a consecrated study of the Bible, until in her own words on page 109 of Science and Health, "I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration." Through her purity of thought and consecration to God, she reached divine heights where she caught the spiritual light ever pouring forth from the great heart of Christ — the same new-old, living truth taught by Jesus.
In the Christian Science textbook (p. 583) Mrs. Eddy defines Christ as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." The Christ, or Truth, was expressed in fullest measure by Jesus, whose virgin birth enabled him to demonstrate the Christ, Truth, and become the Way-shower for humanity. In the Bible, John speaks of the Christ, or spiritual understanding, expressed by Jesus as "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." From Genesis to Revelation, spiritual understanding, or Truth, is spoken of as light. In the first chapter of Genesis, "Let there be light" are the first words mentioned as of God. In Revelation, John speaks of the city of God, and said, "There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light." As the clear truth, or spiritual light, comes to our thought, the darkness disappears, for light and darkness cannot mingle. Even a flower turns naturally to light. As the rays of the sun bring light to the earth, so does man, the reflection of God, express spiritual light. In Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in speaking of the blessed of the earth, he said, "Ye are the light of the world"; also, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The discovery of Christian Science has enabled its followers to understand the teachings of Jesus and prove this understanding by works which will stand the test of light. They are giving proof of this understanding by healing the sick and sinning through prayer, by bringing peace, success and happiness to mankind. Mrs. Eddy discovered the truth taught by Jesus, the truth which had always been true, and made it available for all to understand and prove in their own experience. Words are inadequate to express the debt of gratitude the world owes to this God-inspired woman, this faithful follower of Christ.
Suppose one should be in a darkened dungeon to which there was an open door he could not find. In his effort to gain freedom he would stumble in the darkness, crying out in agonized prayer for help. Then a loving friend would turn on the light that had been in reach all the time but the darkened thinking had prevented its utilization — and there before him was the open door. Can you picture the prisoner's joy or the unspeakable gratitude he would feel toward the angel of mercy who had brought light and freedom?
Is it any wonder that today multitudes are expressing their gratitude to Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, for through her revelation the light came to their earthly prison-cells, and brought to them healing and a demonstrable understanding of God. It unlocked the Bible for them, that great storehouse of good, and made its rich promises available here and now. It is enabling them to understand the great lessons taught by prophets and apostles, to prove and make practical in daily living the teachings of our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, to prove to the world that the teaching of Christian Science has given them a demonstrable religion. To the sick and sin-tossed pilgrim on earth Christian Science comes with clear, irrefutable logic, yet so simple that a child can readily understand it.
Among the early lessons that every child in a Christian Science home should be taught, is to think the truth for himself and to think correctly regarding others. He should also be taught to study the Bible, to love and trust God, to obey parents, and respect his elders, and to reverence all that is pure and holy.
If we when tempted to think evil, wicked thoughts of our brother-man would express childlike willingness to be obedient, and would turn immediately to our Father-Mother God for help, striving to hold in thought the perfect man of God's creating, how much more happiness, joy, and peace there would be in this world of ours.
In the Christian Science Sunday School the children are taught the Scriptures, the Commandments, and the Beatitudes, and that obedience to God and His law brings success, happiness, and liberty.
We are admonished in the Scriptures to be childlike; that is, to retain the teachableness, trustfulness, expectancy, spontaneity, vigor, joy, and purity of youth. Childlikeness is a priceless thing worth keeping, and those who have retained it express in character the beautiful things of childhood. It is through childlike trust in God, combined with spiritual right thinking and living, that one learns to prove his atonement with his heavenly Father and enters into his rich heritage as a child of God.
Those who have in charge the sacred work of helping to guide and mold the thought of child and youth through the various steps of educational work should realize that, aside from all necessary academic work, the knowledge of spiritual values is the only true wisdom, and that this knowledge can be measured only by spiritual understanding. The college graduate may justly be gratified with his degree, his achievements — but no matter how great his achievements, no matter how high the honors received, if he has not tasted the milk of human kindness, has not learned to express mercy, justice, honesty, love, and compassion for his fellowman, he has yet to learn the richest lessons in life.
Christian Science teaches how to commune with God in thought; and through prayer, through steadfast trust in God, one learns that obedience to Him alone brings liberty and success — brings the opportunity to utilize all his ability not only in successful pursuit of profession and business, but in giving unselfish service to his fellow-man. Christ Jesus, the great Exemplar, gave the highest service that has ever been rendered to humanity. He proved to the multitudes that divine healing through prayer is true healing. The blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the sorrowing were comforted; to the poor the gospel was preached on the mountain side and on the shore of the Galilean Sea. As Jesus proved his words by works 2,000 years ago, so does Christian Science prove the truth of its teaching today. Thousands of men, women and children are ready and happy to testify that through this teaching they have been healed of all manner of disease; their lives have been regenerated and made new. In the testimonial meetings held every Wednesday night in the Christian Science churches throughout the world you will hear grateful hearts bearing witness to the healing and regenerating power of this truth. In The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, and Heralds you will find authenticated testimonies of healing brought about through the same truth that Jesus taught his disciples. In the Christian Science textbook the last chapter, consisting of 100 pages, is filled with varied and remarkable testimonies of healing and reformation through the reading or study of this book alone.
Teachings of Jesus
The gratitude one should feel and express while the problem is being solved or the healing accomplished — or, to put it in another way, even though there is yet no evidence that the healing has taken place — is vividly portrayed in the healing of Lazarus. Jesus was able to give thanks, although confronted by the sisters and friends of Lazarus who expressed grief, doubt, and condemnation. He approached the tomb with a steadfast faith in God, with a heart overflowing with love and compassion. As he stood on the threshold of this marvelous proof of the power of God to raise the dead, he lifted up his eyes and said: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." Jesus knew that God, Life, was the only presence, and that he would be able to prove the power and presence of Life, and man's eternal oneness with God, Life, and overcome the material evidence of death. So, with a heart filled with gratitude, he humbly thanked God for this understanding. The result of this selfless outpouring of love and gratitude is known to every student of the Bible — "he that was dead came forth."
What courage this gives us in solving the problems of life! Sometimes we seem confronted with problems so bound with cords of materiality, so surrounded by the adamantine beliefs of adverse circumstances, that to our limited understanding it seems almost futile to try to unwind the snarls or dissolve the stubborn resistance of human will. But, my friends, when confronted with such problems, be it loss of health, great sorrow, failure in business, unpleasant family relationship, the inevitable suffering which comes from sin, or the bitter disappointments from the many failures in life — then is the time we should lift our eyes to heaven and say with Jesus: "Father, I thank thee." Thank God that through the discovery and teachings of Christian Science there is a religion on earth today that enables us to understand the teachings of Jesus and to make them practical — usable in solving every problem in our human experience.
The gratitude which one should feel and express while the battles of mortal existence are being fought and won, although to human sense victory has not been evidenced, is beautifully illustrated in the story of a little boy and his garden. At the public school which the little fellow attended, ground was set aside for little individual gardens, and a prize was to be awarded for the best care and fruitage. Much to the disappointment of this little fellow there were not enough garden plots for all. At first the disappointment was keen. He had looked forward with joy to seeing the little seeds burst forth and grow — the real joy in caring for his garden. He was a student in the Christian Science Sunday School and knew that he must overcome all sense of loss and prove himself a true soldier, worthy of the name he bore. He remembered that Jesus always gave thanks, so each day he thanked God for his garden, although it was being expressed through the work of others. He found real joy in their happiness. Finally, after the gardens were well started, a vacant plot was discovered a little boy had moved away before planting his garden; so there was his opportunity, and he set about his work with a grateful heart, with no thought that he was not having a fair chance. His heart was full of joy and gratitude, for to him it meant that his trust in God had been rewarded. So he sang as he planted each seed and gently cared for each tender plant, happy to see the fruition of his labor of love. When the time came for the gardens to be judged, his receive the prize.
Later, in the classroom, the teacher asked the little fellow to explain how it was that, although his garden had been planted last, it had made such rapid and perfect growth. The child told his story about his first disappointment, then how he had worked it out. When he got home he related this experience to his mother. She was surprised that he had told all the little intimate things, yet pleased, and said: "But, son, what did the teacher say?" The little fellow smiled, and said: "But, mother, what could she say? There was my garden!" There was the fruitage of his unfailing trust in God, his reward for gratitude and thanksgiving, in the face of what seemed to be bitter disappointment and failure.
In this same way we shall receive our reward for unfailing trust in God. If we face what seem to be adverse circumstances with a courageous heart, knowing them powerless to hinder or divert any right activity, they cease to be adverse to us, for through spiritual understanding they may be made stepping-stones to higher achievements. God's love and goodness are available at all times and under all circumstances, and as we gain this understanding and prove it in daily living, our progress heavenward is assured. The teachings of Christian Science enable us to face the problems of life with courage and joy, to resist the temptation to believe in any power apart from God as able to deprive us of His tender care or prevent the fruitage of our work well done. As we turn to God daily, striving to spiritualize our thought, turning away from the testimony of the senses, giving less and less power to evil or matter as real, striving to reflect more and more of the divine nature, acknowledging only the pure and holy creations of God, we realize the ever-presence of good and find God's law operating in all our affairs. Thus we shall demonstrate the power of good, God, to bring forth in our human experience the fruits of health, happiness and success. Thus will our absolute reliance on Him be rewarded. Thus shall we be able to say, "Here is our garden," the fruitage of our prayer, our trust, faith, and understanding in ever-present divine Love.
Right Thinking Overcomes Disease and Fear
One may say: "How can I change my trend of life? I am burdened with difficulties too great to be overcome in this world"; or, "I am hampered by traits of character and diseases which have been inherited; my case is hopeless." Here Christian Science comes as a panacea, giving its loving, healing message to the storm-tossed, weary pilgrims on earth, saying there is balm in Gilead; God, the great Physician, is here, ever present to bless. We may experience and lay hold of His infinite blessings here and now through a correct understanding of Him as taught in Christian Science. Do I hear some one say: "This is too abstract, too intangible, for me. I must see, feel, or taste something in order to be healed?" Let us see what that Christian humanitarian, that eminent surgeon, Dr. William Mayo, said in an informal talk to the doctors at Toronto General Hospital. The following was published in the Evening Telegram, Ontario, Canada, and republished in the Christian Science Monitor: "Nine-tenths of our troubles are apprehension — things that don't happen. I have sent people to Christian Scientists and they have got relief. . . . Our failures in large measure are due to the fact that we don't remember that people want comfort from wounds of the mind. We need inspiration. We need the desire to give people comfort, which must be given in some way other than in what we call the everyday physical side. And so we must not become so detached that we will not sense those things which are not physical."
Is it not clear that if fear, which is wholly mental, and wrong thinking make one ill, right thinking, based on spiritual understanding, corrects and destroys the ills of the flesh? In all walks of life we see the reward of victory from spiritual right thinking. Christian Science, with its clear, logical reasoning based upon spiritual facts, is helping seekers for truth to distinguish good thoughts from bad, and how to shut out worthless, offending thoughts, and to bring in those that are true and enduring. We see every day in our human affairs the power and practical results of right thinking. Those who have traveled through our great Western mountains must have been awed at the stupendous work of the engineers who have overcome every obstacle in building these great transcontinental railway systems. Roadbeds have been built through seemingly impossible places: rivers, streams, and canyons have been bridged; high mountains have been tunneled. What at first must have seemed insurmountable difficulties have been overcome through the clear, correct thinking of the engineers.
Do I hear some one say, "You are talking about physical labor"? No; I am talking about vision, which is purely mental, the clear thinking which made it possible for the physical labor to follow. Every mile of road, every bridge or tunnel; what we now visualize as a great railway system, was first created in the thought of some engineer. The same was true in erecting the magnificent architectural masterpieces of the world. Last year, I was a frequent visitor in a hotel in one of our large Eastern cities. It was interesting to watch from my window the erection of a great structural wonder. While I marveled at all the intricate details being carried out, I realized that behind it all the original idea was invisible in the thought of the engineers and architects who conceived it.
In our own experience in understanding the structure of Truth and Love and appreciating it consciously, we must ever keep before us the true model, perfect God and perfect man. In Science and Health, on Page 476, we read: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." The consecrated study of Christian Science will enable each one of us to reach that high plane of spiritual thinking expressed by Jesus. It teaches us how to understand and demonstrate through spiritual, right thinking freedom from sin, sickness, and all the woes of the flesh.
To the material senses, we appear to have a physical body with a mind inside, but Christian Science corrects this mistaken view of man and reveals to us man as the reflection of God. This proves the sense testimony to be but an illusion or dream. Let us pause here to make a clear distinction between man made in the image and likeness of God, and mortal man, the product of the Adam dream; the dust-man made up of flesh, blood and bones; the sick, sinning, dying mortality that mankind is striving to put off. In the words of Paul: "When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
In Science and Health, page 409, line 20, we read, "The real man is spiritual and immortal, but the mortal and imperfect so-called 'children of men' are counterfeits from the beginning, to be laid aside for the pure reality. This mortal is put off, and the new man or real man is put on, in proportion as mortals realize the Science of man and seek the true model." Through the study of Christian Science we learn to mold and fashion our thinking along spiritual lines, to know that man is the reflection of God; and as the reflection in the mirror must be like the original, so man, being image, must reflect all the qualities of the true model, divine Mind.
Through the continued study of Christian Science, our model in thought becomes more and more Christ-like, and as we live this truth the mortal dream with its sense testimony, with its abnormalities, false appetites, lust, hate, revenge, sin, sickness, and fear, gradually disappears. Sin brings about its own punishment. However, sin is without real basis; it has no Principle, power, nor intelligence, and will be overcome and destroyed by Christ, Truth. Thus will our lives be constructed along more spiritual lines, until we, too, can behold in Science the perfect man and see ourselves and our fellow-men as God's reflection. Doubt and fear sometimes try to argue and say, "Can I ever reach that Christ-like consciousness expressed by Jesus whereby I shall be able to give succor to the needy, courage to the weak, hope to the discouraged, peace and comfort to the sorrowing?" Yes, Christian Science answers, through prayer, right desire, and spiritual living, all this may be realized. Students of this truth know that a thought filled with compassion, hope, love, honesty, mercy, forgiveness, and courage is a constant prayer of thanksgiving to our heavenly Father, and that such prayer heals the sick. The fruitage of unselfed desire or prayer cannot be measured nor limited. Pure, unselfed desire or thought blesses all upon whom it rests, even those who may be unaware of its beneficent influence. Many of us have felt the presence of such holy thought, just as one realizes the presence of a rose through its fragrance.
The True Way
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science is God's greatest gift to this age. It has brought to a waiting world a remedy for all its ills, for it makes clear and applicable the truth that Jesus taught. Does it not seem strange that all do not accept it instantly? An understanding of this truth makes it possible for us to walk in the straight and glorious path of holiness.
Once, when flying in Alaska, I looked down upon a little town that had a tiny stream winding its way in and out down through the valley. This little stream reminded me so much of our human experience when we wander aimlessly through life with no definite plan or purpose, following the line of the least resistance, or thinking it impossible to alter our course. The stream wandered in different directions on its path to the sea. Through the scientific, correct thinking of an engineer, that stream could have taken a direct course to its destination.
So in our journey from sense to Soul, Christ Jesus came to show us the way, the direct path to the kingdom of heaven, and Christian Science has made the teaching of Jesus so plain that our path to freedom, success, health, and happiness may be as straight as the plummet-line of the engineer. Christian Science teaches that salvation is overcoming sin, sickness, and death according to divine Principle and rule. As mortals recognize the fact that salvation comes from understanding God as divine Principle, they will seek to acquire this understanding and apply it to their individual problems. They will advance spiritually and be saved from all discordant conditions in proportion to their faithful and intelligent use of this spiritual understanding.
The workable, provable simplicity of Christian Science in business accounts for its acceptance by an ever increasing number of men and women. Even a slight understanding of this teaching kindles hope, stimulates greater activity, enables one to think more clearly, and creates a desire in one's heart to serve mankind in a better way. It awakens and develops the natural expectancy for greater activity and opens the way whereby God's infinite goodness may be expressed in solving all social, financial, and business problems. Christian Science has helped untold numbers to a practical solution of business problems by revealing to them God as infinite, divine Mind, ever present and available to guide, strengthen, and uphold them in all their efforts towards righteous, honest, and successful dealings with their fellow men.
The fundamental necessity of honesty in business relationship is becoming accepted in the business world, and Christian Science places emphasis upon the necessity of honesty in business and social life. One can never gain real success and prosperity through dishonesty or wrongdoing, even though he may gain material riches. The false sense of prosperity must be laid down, together with the false sense of substance, before genuine success can be realized. Honest endeavor and work under divine guidance is the remedy for all depression, discouragement, and fear in business. This remedy is understood through the redemptive, reformative work of Christian Science. Through this teaching we realize that there is no need for anxious hours, wakeful nights, or disturbed thought. But there is a great need for absolute reliance upon God, to turn to Him in earnest prayer, and to know that He is omnipotent and ever present.
One of the greatest needs of a business man or woman is that he should take time to acquaint himself with God, and with man's true being as a child of God. He should turn aside from the stress and turmoil of business affairs and see himself as the reflection of divine intelligence, reflecting all the qualities of Mind, which include purity, honesty, justice, and success. These qualities of Mind, when rightly understood and applied in all our dealings with our fellow-men, will assure success at all times. Some may seem to prosper through dishonest methods; through wrong living, and practice, they seem to gain a certain measure of success. But, my friends, ultimately this false sense of success and security must be laid down, together with the false sense of substance.
Christian Science makes plain that God is Spirit, as the Bible teaches, and that spiritual man reflects all the qualities of Spirit, Mind, and is endowed with the ability to utilize all these qualities in proving his God-given dominion over all things — over home, social, economic and business problems. A student of Christian Science learns that true substance is Spirit, hence unfailing, infinite and unchangeable. He learns that true success is proving this truth in daily living. He also learns the great joy of sharing with others the goodness which divine Love bestows. He finds that only as he expresses trustworthiness in all dealings with his fellowmen, ministering to their needs according to his highest understanding of right, to his fullest capacity, does he gain true success and render the high service to humanity that he is capable of giving as a child of God. Christian Science enables him to render this service consciously and successfully to utilize the qualities of divine Mind he reflects.
This teaching strengthens right relationship between businessmen and institutions. It makes clear that there can be no permanent satisfaction in success that does not exemplify the Golden Rule. One of the glories of Christian Science is that it teaches the joy of right living, dealing fairly with our fellowmen. Once, a businessman listened to an adverse report about a firm, and for years refused to recognize this organization, much to his loss in a financial way. Finally he became interested in Christian Science and soon realized he must see his fellowman as a child of God. He became receptive to Truth and knew he must live and prove the Golden Rule every day in all his business dealings. Assuming this attitude of brotherly love, he was ready to listen to good about this firm and found, much to his sorrow, that he had been passing false judgment in listening to and believing a false report. He had cheated himself in a financial way and had also been robbed of helpful association with the officials of that organization. As a result of this awakening, all misunderstanding was cleared away and happy and profitable relationship established.
In Christian Science we learn that divine intelligence governs every event in our careers. Intelligence does not interrupt or destroy any right relationship in business but strengthens it according to our understanding of divine government. The understanding that God, good, governs all the affairs of man and that man as God's reflection has the ability to prove this in daily living, enables him to utilize the good with which he comes in contact, turning each experience into a blessing. Through each successive step of progress he will come into a clearer recognition and realization that the only real business belongs to the Father and is under His divine guidance and protection.
Christian Science makes clear that as we have our duties and obligations to fulfill in the business and social world, just so we have them to fulfill in all walks of life in relationship with our fellowmen. Some one may say: "Why should I engage in work of any sort? I have all the income needed. Why shouldn't I settle down and enjoy life?" One may reach the place in his human experience where it is no longer necessary actually to engage in what is termed business; but, my friends, until the kingdom of heaven is attained, one will never reach the place where he should not be actively engaged in working for the redemption of humanity.
It is better to be a small, ordinary freight engine pulling around the essentials of daily living than to be the largest, most perfect and powerful engine on a sidetrack rusting out from disuse.
Through a consecrated study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings, students of Christian Science are learning that God is omniaction, that man as the perfect reflection of God must and does reflect divine activity. Therefore, in Christian Science, there is no room for inactivity, for a settling down process that means disintegration and decay. Joyous service lies ahead of each one who is willing to serve God and work for the betterment of mankind. Our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, by her purity of thought and consecration to God, has taught us through her life and her writings the true meaning of service, and has made it possible for each one of us to engage in this healing, redemptive work — to take an active part in helping to heal the woes, disappointments, and sorrows of humanity.
Through this revelation of Truth and spiritual understanding, limitation and discordant conditions are destroyed. This teaching lays great stress on deeds, for without them we would not have the necessary proof of spiritual progress. This progress is the inevitable result of the earnest understanding and application of revealed truth. This spiritual understanding calms the waves of materiality and insures a peaceful, safe voyage on the sea of life.
For several years we lived on the bank of the Ohio River, and it was very interesting to see the traffic on this stream — passenger boats and also huge barges winding their way up and down. In watching this traffic, I would often think how limited would be the use of a vessel, whether designed for pleasure or commercial purposes, if it could float only downstream. Or, suppose a ship filled with the most precious cargo should never leave its home port. Of what value would either the ship or cargo be if it did not fulfill the purpose for which it was intended?
True Path to Holiness
So in our voyage on the stream of life, we must actively fulfill God's plan and purpose. We must consciously express Him. and know that divine intelligence is ever keeping us in the true path to holiness. For, my friends, if we are not governed by intelligence, we could not float downstream very far without encountering difficulties. However, the real test of manhood or womanhood is going upstream, stemming the current of human resistance. Here is where Christian Science becomes the true friend of man, for through its teaching the light of Truth, or spiritual understanding, enters our consciousness and we reflect Truth and are a transparency for this glorious light. This spiritual light or understanding directs our lives, keeping us in the true course, thereby enabling us to overcome temptations, to gain wisdom and strength that will meet and master every problem in human experience. This understanding gives us the spiritual intuition that enables us to avoid the eddies of sensuality, the whirlpools of mad ambition, the snags of self-pity, the rocks of self-love. It checks the onslaught of selfishness, human will, the pride of power in matter.
Through constant prayer and absolute reliance upon God, all that is unlike good is overcome and disappears before the light of Truth of spiritual understanding. Christian Science declares to the voyager upon the stream of life, God is at the helm; divine intelligence is the only pilot. The searchlight of Truth is guiding on and up to God, into the home port of divine Love where we hear the joyful words, "All is well."
The following lines are from a Poem written by Mrs. Eddy (Poems, p. 12):
And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock,
Upon Life's shore,
'Gainst which the winds and waves can shock,
• • • • • • • •
My prayer, some daily good to do
To Thine, for Thee,
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me.
[Delivered Feb. 24, 1933, at Third Church of Christ, Scientist, E. 21st St. and Albemarle Road, Brooklyn, New York, and published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 25, 1933.]