Christian Science: The Revelation of Real Manhood
Paul Stark Seeley, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
[After opening the lecture by stating that man exists as the effect of a cause, the lecturer re-affirmed:]
Some power must make our identity and our true thoughts each hour, each instant. That power is the continuing Maker, the ceaseless creator of man. By recognizing and feeling the permanent activity of God in us, and the resulting continuity of our individuality, we realize something of real eternal manhood.
This ceaseless activity of God is really the eternal Mind making itself forever manifest through its ideas. It is God's self-manifestation. Our individuality is included in the perpetual activity of the infinite One's self-manifestation.
Are you accepting the belief that matter, or some power other than God, Mind, has been, or is now, a maker for you? Whatever you accept as a maker of conditions for you becomes, in belief, a god to you. Do you say, Certain food makes me sick, or, The climate makes me ache, or, Someone's presence makes me unhappy, or, Someone's absence makes me grieve, or, Years make me old, or, The times make me depressed? Watch how you use the verb make! What is a making power to you is a god to you. Food, climate, a mortal's presence, time, may be your gods. The Christian Scientist is striving mentally to accept only true intelligence, perfect Mind, as his constant Maker. He is asserting, in his individual way, God, true Mind, is making my only real selfhood every instant throughout eternity. His power and loving intelligence are operating to sustain and constitute me right now. His Mind alone makes my every true thought, motive, and judgment. No other power than the divine can condition me or determine my activity. God, alone, is the forever Maker of all that I am.
Just What is Man?
Just what is it that God makes man to be? A human philosopher asserts that when A meets B there are six identities present. First, there is A's concept of himself. Second, there in B's concept of A. Third, there is the Maker's idea of A. Likewise there are three concepts of B: his own, A's, and his Maker's. Christian Science asserts there is always present only one real concept of man, the Maker's idea of man. What A may believe he is, or what B may believe A is, is belief, not fact. The fact is what the making Mind knows A is, even the individual manifestation of Mind. On page 353 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy writes, "The human concept is always imperfect; relinquish your human concept of me, or of any one, and find the divine, and you have gained the right one — and never until then." Not in the looking-glass nor from material sight do we obtain the true concept of man, but from the Mind that makes man and through Mind-sense, spiritual sense, do we learn what man is. To each individual, Mind gives the true concept of man. We must find real manhood, not from without, but from within — through our Mind-given sense, not material sense.
When Mary met Jesus after the resurrection she thought him to be the gardener. Her material senses deceived her. Earlier his enemies had regarded him as a winebibber and sinner. They only saw their own false concept. As men become willing to look into Mind and reason from Mind as the Maker of man they will arrive at the inevitable conclusion that his real self, derived from Mind, is intelligent, harmonious, permanent, made of the substance of ideas, not of mindless material elements. From Mind, matter's opposite, we derive the true concept of ourself and our brother.
The Veneer of False Self
A decorator working in an old baronial home in England chanced to chip the paint from a very mediocre painting. On examination he discovered underneath a painting of great value done by an old master. So the veneer of material selfhood seems to hide the beautiful realities of true manhood. The sick, discouraged, grouchy, inferior mortal sense of self, is but the veneer that would hide the God-made man. Christian Science supplies the solvent of God's idea of man, to dissolve in our thinking the false concept that would obscure the true concept. But that mediocre picture wasn't gotten rid of without effort. Patiently it had to be removed a little at a time. So persistent and patient effort is essential if we are to dissolve the negative worthless self that evil would delude us into accepting as our real self.
Paul said, "I die daily." The "I" he referred to was the false, materially-minded self. He was willing to deny it recognition or reality and so all left for it to do was to cease, or die. The only presence, life, and action false self has is what we give it by believing in it. The greatest blessing that can come to us is the dissolution of this false sense of self.
Rear Admiral Byrd made the last part of his journey to the South Pole by aeroplane. It was a flight of several hundred miles from his base of supplies, and a high mountain range had to be flown over to reach the Pole. The plane was heavily loaded with supplies and equipment. As it neared the mountains he saw that the plane was flying loo low and could not get over the mountain barrier, although the pilot had lifted the plane to its highest possible altitude. Quickly he commanded that a part of the cargo be thrown over. As it fell the plane, thus lightened, rose higher. But he saw it would not yet clear the mountain range. Again came the command to unload more cargo. As this was done the plane shot up 100, 200, 300 feet and paused safely over the rugged barrier that had separated Admiral Byrd from his goal.
Perhaps there may seem to be a mountain barrier between us and the goal of health, success, happiness. The need may be for us to unload some of our cargo. We may be carrying too much material thinking, too much self-pity, too much self-righteousness, too much self-will, too much solidity, or personal attachment. These are some of the earth-weights that would weigh us down to matter-earth and prevent us from reaching the higher altitudes of thought which give free approach to the goal of spiritual consciousness and the manhood which is Deity's own self-expression. Are we willing to unload mental cargo or will we cling to the earth-weights and so precipitate a more difficult experience?
Sometimes it is human precedent that has to be thrown out of thought, human outlining, pride of intellect, willful points of view heavy with prejudice. Or there may be latent modes of temperament and disposition, hidden animosities, unconsciously cultivated fears. How negative, how full of denial, how lacking in intelligence they are! They weigh against all that lifts us upward to the atmosphere of God's kingdom and our unity with Him. We cast them off by recognizing them as false and daily denying them place or reality in our consciousness.
Our Burdensome Dispositions
The material dispositions that we have carried along through the years are the cisterns which often hold no good waters, and they often become the source of mental and physical distresses. Most of us are willing to be freed from pain and unhappiness, but not so many of us seem willing to relinquish our bad tempers and trouble-making dispositions. Temper and bad disposition are simply wrong mental habits accepted as our nature. Someone may develop a disposition always to criticize what others do, be it good or bad, or another may have periodic fits of rage or depression over trivialities too small to mention.
Such are some of the frictions of human existence that would hide the character and beauty of the real man, as God has made him. And all because mortals are, in their ignorance, willing to let the miserable counterfeit picture obscure the really beautiful work of the great artist. We change our garments with the styles and the seasons. We would stand aghast at the thought of wearing the same clothes year after year. Why are we so reluctant to improve, through change, our mental garments, our dispositions which influence so much our own and other's happiness? And more than that they inevitably influence our health and longevity.
Henry Drummond in his book, "The Greatest Thing in the World," refers to bad dispositions as evil temper, and says, "No form of vice does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper . . . For destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women . . . this influence stands alone." What is the influence of evil temper, sour and bad dispositions, and what can we do about it? It is a medley of negative thought-habits, a mental mask we have consented to wear, that hides our true nature. This mental mask often includes selfishness, self-pity, self-righteousness, self-will, intolerance of others' points of view, rigidity, hard-heartedness, stubbornness, ugliness, and so on. How can we get rid of a bad disposition? By claiming as our own, and being willing to express, the loving nature that intelligent good, God, has given us. When we find our thought becoming irritated we can rightfully assert that material thoughts or conditions cannot irritate or disturb our consciousness. Our true thoughts, we can know, are derived from God, divine Mind, and we cannot be made to entertain or be influenced by negative, unkind, selfish thoughts. They are not our true thinking but thieves and robbers, which cannot supersede the good and harmonious consciousness which deific Mind forever gives to us. As God's children we express only God-given thoughts of kindness, justice, wisdom, and love.
Tramping on the Dragon
A little lad listened to his mother read from the ninety-first Psalm before he went to sleep. When she read, "The dragon shall thou trample under feet," he asked her what the dragon was. She explained that the dragon was the evil sense of mind that would try to take possession of our mentality with thoughts of anger, unkindness, resentment, and so on, and that we trample on the dragon when we resist, and we put under our feet, these dragonlike thoughts.
The next morning she saw him playing in the yard with his baby sister. He had piled up his blocks in the way he much enjoyed doing when suddenly baby sister deliberately tumbled them all down with a wave of her arm. The mother saw him advance quickly toward his little sister to strike her. Then he paused, was quiet and thoughtful for a moment, and turning away went on with his play. Soon after, when he came into the house, he called out to his mother, "Oh, Mother, I did it, yes I did." "Did what?" she asked. "Oh, I tramped on the dragon, yes I did." And he had. He had found the way to victory over an angry impulse, a way that each one of us must find if we are to be clothed with that character which is representative of our divine Maker, who gives us the substance of Love and Life. Each instant we must radiate deific Love.
Material garments may be quickly changed. A change of mental garments sometimes takes more time because of reluctance to put off the old ones. Perseverance in the work of changing the old for the new is essential. The true concept of man must be visioned and clung to in spite of repeated attempts of wrong thoughts to possess and control us. A Negro preacher when asked to define perseverance is quoted as saying: "First, you take hold. Second, you hold on. And third, you never let go." We make progress on our journey as we do just that, take mental hold of the true idea of God and His man, then mentally cling to that day after day, year after year, and finally never consent to let go of it. Therein is victory for real manhood and the Life that is God.
Intolerance is sometimes a weak spot in our dispositions. The assumption that we are so right and the other fellow so wrong indicates a warped mentality, a small mind. One of the most tyrannical things in the world is a point of view, rigid and hard-frozen, with intolerance. When we go down a busy street and pass many people we naturally veer a little to the right or the left to avoid a collision with those we pass. If we insisted on everyone getting out of our way we would not make much progress. Less rigidity in our daily lives, a little more tolerance for the rights of others, saves many unpleasant collisions in business, in the home, in the church. A little flexibility does not mean changing our course or hindering our advancement. It aids our progress.
The Lily Pool
In our garden is a small pool fed by a spring. In the pool are a few goldfish and lilies. One summer we noticed that the lilies were not growing and the fish were sickening. At first we could not determine the reason. Then we discovered that the little spring was not supplying the pool with enough fresh water. The water was becoming stagnant. Quickly we remedied the situation by supplying a steady flow of fresh water. The goldfish quickly took on new life and the lilies began to grow. The need was for fresh living water.
Our consciousness might be likened to the lily pool. It becomes stagnant with dull routine, indifference, selfishness, or even with material human business. Spiritual growth is arrested. Mental or physical sickness may appear. What is the remedy? Refreshing spiritual thoughts, ideas from deific Mind that inspire and enlighten us with the divine facts, God's goodness, His allness, His love, and man's living unity with Him. How do we get them? Through the study and thoughtful contemplation of the Bible and the works of Mrs. Eddy. Not more money but more spiritual ideas is what we need. When we have the ideas that unite us to supreme good there is no power that can prevent us from having all that is essential for our good.
It is God-sent ideas that refresh, uplift us, quicken our initiative, and mentally unite us with that ceaseless fountain of life and inspiration, even the Mind that is God. Let us watch our lily pool of consciousness and keep ever flowing into it the currents of God's ideas, which are our only real Life and substance. One of the greatest needs of mortals is more initiative — initiative to go forward into larger fields of thought and usefulness. The one sure way to acquire initiative is through Christian Science, to free one's self from the grip of mortal selfhood and become mentally united and responsive to the Mind that originates and initiates all intelligent and successful activity.
The Chart for Life's Journey
A party of friends were cruising one afternoon some miles outside a harbor on the Atlantic seaboard. In the late afternoon they turned toward the harbor and home. But ahead of them they saw what appeared to be a low island. The pilot varied his course turning farther out to sea, thinking to cruise around the obstacle that lay between them and their port. As time went by the island was still obstructing their course. They could not remember having encountered an island in that locality before, yet there it was. They all saw it. As evening came on they were getting farther and farther out to sea. Someone suggested that they consult a chart of the coast, if one was on board. A government chart was found and all eagerly studied it for guidance. The boat's location was soon determined, but to their surprise there was no island near. Then they realized that what seemed to be the island obstruction was a mirage, an illusion of the material senses.
With confidence and courage established by the chart they disregarded the evidence of their senses, turned the boat directly toward the seeming island and went forward. As the boat came to where the obstruction seemed to be it disappeared, and they speeded on to their home port. The obstacle had only existed in their uninformed thought, but until their belief in the mirage was destroyed it seemed to be an impassable barrier. A change of thought produced by the reliable chart and their course was proved to be unobstructed.
The mirage that the material sense of things presents to us may often appear to be an impassable obstruction on our course. The Bible and the Christian Science textbook are proving, to those willing to study them, charts that show us the way through the obstacles that beset our course. They expose the unreal nature of the obstructive mirages of sickness, fear, failure, and limitation. They show that where matter says there is obstruction there is a clear course for the well-informed mariner. From the government of eternal Mind comes the assurance, The course is clear. No material obstacle can obstruct our course to the home and haven of harmonious Godlike manhood.
Evil or Error is Belief
All evil and discord is belief, and nothing move. What is belief? It is a mistaken state of thought which accepts as true something that is untrue. For instance, when we were in South Africa my wife dreamed that she placed a long-distance telephone call for Portland, Oregon, and talked to a friend there for several minutes. When she asked what the toll for the call was the operator said, $187.25. Then she woke up! It illustrates the nature of belief. There was no call to Portland, no connection, no conversation, no charge. All was a dream-belief. Just so is the waking human belief that man is an unhappy mortal, separated from God. There is no separation, for man is necessarily joined to God, Mind, every instant. How else would he live and think? All that argues separation is that false material dream-sense which is never more than false belief. We must be willing to surrender the belief of separation from God. Says the Bible, "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." We evidence our willingness to rid ourselves of the wrong belief that we are separated from God by mentally refusing to let those thoughts have place in our consciousness which deny our unity with God.
Material Sensation Not Us
Mortal existence is made up of material sensation and mental delusion. Both are the activity of false mortal mind. A world of depressed mortals is a mental delusion. Physical pain is material sensation. Sin, like insanity, is mental delusion. Both mental delusion and material sensation are equally false. They are the two horns of the one evil, mortal mind. They appear to us as bodily sensations and material thought. Actually both are material thought. Bodily sensation is thought sensation. The body, with its negative material sensations, would tempt us to say: "I am in pain. I am tired. I am incapacitated. I am getting old." Mental delusion would have us say: "I am depressed. I am worried. I am afraid. I am no good."
Christian Science is making us be wise enough not to put "I am," "You are," or "He is" before the negative conditions of material sense. We must stop joining such suggested sensations with our individuality or our brother's individuality. The Bible states the inhabitant shall not say, "I am sick." What we really are is not what mindless matter and negative thought says we are. What we really are is what Mind knows we are. Let us base our reasoning on Mind as our cause. What kind of man does supreme Mind conceive? Must he not be an intelligent, healthy, capable, permanent man? Would supreme Mind subject its man or expression to such mindless influences as depression, worry, fear, discouragement?
Love Has Met Every Need
One of the comforting statements in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 494) is, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." To our material senses there appear to be many needs which have not been met. The ravages of sin, sickness, sorrow, war, and famine, all would assert that a vast number of human needs for deliverance from evil have not been met. Yet the statement stands that divine Love has met every human need, and the statement is true.
The child struggling with his mathematical problems may fail often, yet mathematical law has met his mathematical needs. In his ignorance he may doubt this, but the fact remains. So the eternally intelligent Principle, Love, has met every possible human need. And Love has met every human need by making immediately available for each of us those ideas of true Mind which, as we open our thought to understand them, displace the wrong thought-condition we call a need. "Truth is God's remedy for error of every kind," writes Mrs. Eddy on page 142 of Science and Health. For every erring human condition, or concept, called a need, there is a true idea to meet and master it. Our work is to discover through study and prayer — drawing near to God — these need-meeting ideas of the divine Mind and use them to meet our needs.
Matter said the need of Lazarus for healing had not been met, and he died. Jesus proved Love had met his need and that the conscious acceptance of the Love-provided concept of man as spiritual and undying, superior to matter and material law, proved Love's provision. Daniel might have been tempted to think that Love had not met his need when he was cast into the den of hunger-mad lions. But he did not. He refused to accept the material picture and found Love's provision for his need in the divine idea that intelligent Love is the only real controller of creation and never permits one of its creatures to harm another. Jesus might have thought his need had been overlooked by divine Love when his body was nailed to the cross. But Love's provision for his extreme need was proved in the activity of the Christ, or spiritual idea of God, in his thinking, which produced his resurrection from the grave and ascension out of material consciousness.
Are you believing that you have a need that Love has not met? Stop such believing. It is but a futile denial of Love's intelligent provision for every need of man. Affirm that as God's child you have no unmet need, and then proceed to discover in your God-given consciousness the true ideas which Love has provided, wherewith to dissipate the argument of matter that it can impose on you a need that cannot be supplied. Our primary need is not for money and things. It is for ideas, intelligent ideas, with which to put to flight the enemies of sickness, fear, discouragement, inferiority, inactivity, incapacity, and so on. These constructive ideas Love has provided without measure.
The Present Times
Is the world's need in these present times met by Love? It surely is, just as surely as God exists. The nature and presence of universal affirmative divine Mind has never been touched or supplanted by the empty negative mental processes of mortals, which in their totality make up what we call a world depression. Were the Master among us today he would surely say as he did when among men, "The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye." Change your thoughts, for God's supremacy is now present to be understood and enjoyed. The eternal presence and sovereignty of the all-loving Mind has never been ended. God and His depression-destroying ideas are now present. Are we willing to open our thought to their living sunshine, or are we consenting to sleep a little longer in the dreamland of false material thinking, believing the illusion that erring mortal mind is our condition-maker and its negative thought-conditions our environment from which we cannot escape?
The Bible tells us we must overcome the world. One application of this would be to overcome our belief in a depressed world. This world-depression is exposing the poverty of material processes of thought, their inability to regulate in any satisfying way the economic affairs of men. With large surpluses of food and needed products we are confronted with a surplus of destitution and poverty. Something is wrong. The blame is put here and there on various persons after the fashion of human beings whose custom is to blame someone else for their troubles. The culprit is really the false sense of mind that the whole human race has accepted as its mentor, the source of its thoughts, the devil described in Revelation as he who "deceiveth the whole world."
What is the remedy? A willingness to think the thoughts of divine Mind, God, thoughts of cooperation and brotherhood — a willingness on the part of employers and employees and the public to let unselfish intelligence coordinate the production, distribution and consumption of things produced. More of the light of the divine Mind must come into and govern the affairs of men, curb fear, suspicious distrust, selfish human will, dishonesty, greed, and regulate human effort so that it will serve the common good. The place for this higher intelligence to appear is in your consciousness and mine. Let us leave the other fellow to God. Let us take care of our mental home and see whether there are issuing forth from it from hour to hour thoughts that honor and respect God's government, or those that deny His unselfish control of the affairs of men.
Many Zeros Total One Zero
We do not drive our car past a red traffic signal because someone else may do so. We respect the law which we know is for us to obey, regardless of the indifference or ignorance of someone else to it. Why, then, should we violate divine law by going into the danger-zone of negative thinking, even if many others do so? That does not change our obligation to divine law, to think the ideas of deific Mind. An epidemic of sick business is no more of God's making than an epidemic of sick bodies. A world-wide sense of error is no nearer truth than a localized sense of error. Many zeros total zero.
How then does the Christian Scientist think in order to keep above such conditions? He knows that God, the eternal and intelligent cause of the universe and man is the sum of reality and Truth, that in God's universal presence and selfhood is the true identity, activity, substance, and life of every creature. God's infinite activity and universal presence never ceases. He is forever sustaining Himself and the true life and individuality of each of us, for we live to express Him. In the fact of God's ability to sustain Himself is man's assurance of endless sustenance, for in sustaining Himself He must sustain man who expresses that divine Self. Man now, in reality, manifests the self-sustaining activity of God. Man's oneness with the self-sustaining One includes his eternal support, activity, and substance.
The material concept of creation, times, and material man the Christian Scientist denies and rejects. He sees these as the ignorant counterfeit of Mind's creation. He denies that the material sense of mind is real mind, that it has any substance out of which to make man, any real intelligence by which to govern him, any real place in which to put him, or any laws by which to control and destroy him. The ups and downs of material thinking he knows cannot affect the changeless nature of God or separate man from God's loving control and provision for his every need. God gives man to be conscious of Love's infinitude, and as he is so conscious he cannot be conscious of, or affected by, error's concepts. They are not in the infinitude of affirmative Truth, Life, Love.
Christian Science Applied
Suppose the telephone of a Christian Science practitioner rings. He answers it. Mrs. A. is on the line. Her voice sounds fearful. She says that Mr. A. is very ill with cold and fever.
How will the Christian Scientist think in the face of such a situation? Through years of study and prayer he has learned that the testimony of matter is not reliable, that God has made His man superior to cold air, exposure, and the negative thinking which argues that from such conditions of matter he can become sick. Instead of letting his thought accept as fact the testimony of matter he turns away from it to God, Mind, intelligence.
He begins to reason that cause is Mind, Spirit, Love, that this universal cause makes man spiritual, mental, and makes him healthy and harmonious. He denies and defies matter's argument that it makes and embodies man, and then conditions him with sickness, and finally destroys him. Matter's claim he declares to be false. Matter has not made man. God has done that. Matter's false sense of man, a blending of material thoughts and sensations, he realizes is never the real self of man, and matter has no capacity to substitute it for the perfect manhood which God makes and forever preserves from every mode of false material law.
By affirmation and denial the Christian Scientist silences in his thoughts the suggestions that the patient is other than the child of God and so establishes a sense of his health and harmony. He knows that he is not what matter claims him to be, but only what God knows him to be, and that matter cannot usurp the sovereignty of God, Mind, or rob man of his continuing harmony and intelligently governed selfhood. Fear, he knows, has no legitimate place in the thought of the patient or those about him, for since God, good, is really omnipotent there is no cause for fear. What can fear omnipotent good?
What happens when the practitioner thus thinks of God and man and knows that his statements of truth are the law of God to the case? The material condition which is a product of belief and not of Mind yields to the ideas of Mind. The patient feels the healing effect of Truth and is made free.
Says the Bible, "Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee." Man's enemies are the false conditions of thought and body which material sense argues are natural and inescapable. Christian Science is helping us to find that they are only liars unto us. When we answer them with the Word of God, the ideas of Truth, they cease their lying and disappear into the silence of nothingness.
Mary Baker Eddy
The citizen of the United States, as he returns to New York harbor from a distant land, looks for that great statue named the Statue of Liberty. It symbolizes strength, beauty, freedom. With uplifted right arm it holds aloft the lighted torch of liberty, the liberty based on the divine right of man to be free from all oppression.
The statue is that of a woman. To the Christian Scientist it might bring to mind the work that Mary Baker Eddy has accomplished. With thought rising above the earth-mists, even as the statue lifts its lighted torch in the night above the darkness, Mrs. Eddy has lifted up for mankind the light of the Christ, the true idea of God and His man, the real self of each one of us. Unmoved by praise or condemnation this gentle New England woman devoted her life to the work of establishing in human consciousness that idea of God and man which is mankind's deliverer.
Her human experience was filled with difficulties. A frail and weakly physical body might have caused her thoughts to be centered in herself had not she reached out so resolutely for the higher verities of being. The revelation of Christian Science came to her over a long period and as the result of devout prayer, humility, and a great willingness to know and obey the divine Principle that is Deity.
Sir Christopher Wren, the renowned English architect, has been honored with a tablet in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. On the tablet is an inscription in Latin which might be translated, "If you would see his memorial, look about you." The art and beauty of the buildings he designed throughout England and the world are his memorial. It may likewise be said of Mrs. Eddy, "If you would see her memorial, look about you." What would you see? Happier homes, healthier bodies, longer lives, a world-wide religious movement reaching the inner consciousness of millions, with the revelation of real manhood which her thought discerned and her pen defined.
To the great religious movements of the world the United States of America has contributed Christian Science through her whom Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, called her country's greatest woman. Her greatness was her goodness, a goodness so humble and divine that she could see the spiritual realities hidden to material sense. It was said of Gladstone that he heard the higher tones. Mrs. Eddy discerned with great clarity the higher truths of spiritual life and real manhood and made them easily available to all in her written works.
In the words of the poet Longfellow,
A lady with a lamp shall stand
In the great history of the land.
A noble type of good,