Gavin W. Allan, C.S.B., of Toronto, Canada
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A lecture on Christian Science was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Harvey, Illinois, in the Masonic Temple, 154th Street and Turlington Avenue, Saturday evening, April 2, by Gavin W. Allan. C.S.B., of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science Meets Humanity's Needs." Mr. Allan spoke substantially as follows:
To many of you the twenty-third Psalm is well known. Some of you know it by heart. Some of you have turned to it for comfort in times of stress. Why did you choose this particular Psalm? Was it because God is therein described as infinitely loving, infinitely caring? Well did the Psalmist know the characteristics of the ideal shepherd: the tenderness, the affection, the love, the intelligence, the wisdom, the courage, the strength; all of them requisite to the proper caring for his flock. In the word-picture the shepherd-Psalmist has there drawn he depicts himself as one of the flock; God is the shepherd. And because God is the shepherd the writer is confident that he, one of the flock, will not want or lack any good thing.
In the centuries since this Psalm was written many have turned to it for help. The measure of comfort one would derive from its study would depend largely upon his concept of the meaning of the first two words, "the Lord," "The Lord is my shepherd." Were the reader to believe "the Lord" to be the sender of both good and evil, health and sickness, plenty and poverty, life and death, the comfort he would derive from the perusal of this Psalm would not likely be so great as if he knew with some degree of certainty that "the Lord" is the giver of good only.
In illustrating her elucidation of the nature of God, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has given us a practical and helpful interpretation of this Psalm in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She writes on pages 577 and 578, "In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity." With this change the first two sentences of the Psalm read as follows: "[Divine Love] is my shepherd; I shall not want. [Love] maketh me to lie down in green pastures: [Love] leadeth me beside the still waters."
Has not this interpretation, using John's definition of God as Love, removed any possible chance for misconception of the nature of "the Lord"? Have we not, each one of us, an instinctive sense that Love, divine Love, is good, and good only? Are we not certain that if Love is the shepherd the flock surely will not want or lack anything needful?
Just here let me say that one of the great aims of Mrs. Eddy's life was to inspire humanity to look away from the false to the true, from the unreal to the real, from matter to Spirit, from erring human concepts to divine ideas. Is not this what she has done in her interpretation of this familiar Psalm? She has endeavored to lift our thought of God from what may have been but a magnified human being, a being of human form and human frailty, up to the highest revelation of God as omnipresent Principle, infinite Love.
But I should like to call your attention to another passage in our textbook. You will find it on page 494. Here in one sentence Mrs. Eddy has stated the scientific fact which underlies the Psalmist's words. This is it: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." Here is a statement of spiritual fact which is of great importance to each one of us. It is important because it is true. It is of value because it can be proved in our own experience. But someone may say, That is just the point: I agree with you that it is a beautiful statement and I wish with all my heart that it were provable, but can it be proved, can it be used? Let us see.
Before we answer this question, let us inquire first, What are the human needs? If I were to ask this question of those who are here it is probable that someone would say, My need right now, as I see it, is money; if I had money my need would be met. I suppose many of us have at one time or another entertained a similar notion. But is it really true? Let me illustrate.
Suppose, for example, that two men are employed by the same firm at the same wage. One uses his funds intelligently, making his purchases carefully and at the end of the year has a sum to his credit at the bank. The other spends carelessly and at the end of the year is in debt. Now what is this man's need? Is it money? He may think it is. Or, may it not be wisdom? Is his real need material or mental?
If our needs were purely material, could God supply them? Does God distribute stocks or bonds, houses or lands? It is just possible that you have at some time besought or implored God to give you something you wanted — some material thing. Possibly the thing you desired did not arrive. Perhaps you wondered why it did not come. Perchance you felt that God was in some way to blame: that He had not dealt with you quite fairly. You may not have perceived that if there was any shortcoming whatever it could be on your side only.
If later you become interested in Christian Science and imbued to some extent with the spirit of its teachings you would recognize that behind such a prayer there lay some misconception of the nature of God, and of His gifts to men. Has God, who is Spirit, and whose creation is wholly spiritual, any material things, any matter to give? Are not his gifts of a much higher order? He gives us of His qualities which are indestructible and eternal. These are all He could possibly give to us. He gives us the very best He has: the best that could be given. Hear this illuminating passage from one of our Leader's writings, (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307): "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment." You see, God gives us His qualities, and as we use them they feed us. Is not this, then, one of humanity's needs: to know, to realize that man is being continuously and abundantly supplied by God with His qualities or ideas?
Let me illustrate. In several passages in her textbook Mrs. Eddy refers to the sun as illustrative or symbolic of God. (Science and Health, 595:1; 510:16; 561:25.) She has said (Science and Health, p. 300): "God is seen only in the spiritual universe and spiritual man, as the sun is seen in the ray of light which goes out from it." To continue the comparison: As the sun is continuously supplying the ray with its (the sun's) qualities, so God is supplying man with His (God's) qualities moment by moment. Were there ever an instant in which the sun did not so supply its ray, in that moment there would be no ray. It would have ceased to exist. Were the sun to cease to give out its qualities, in that moment there would be no sun. Were God to cease for one moment to express Himself, to supply man with His qualities, in that moment God and man would cease to be. But, God the infinite Giver can never cease so to express Himself, nor can man, His expression, cease to be the recipient of God's good gifts.
But let us return to the question, What does God give? In the Bible we may read, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Do you know of any passage in the Bible which might be interpreted to mean, If any of you lack houses or lands, stocks or bonds, let him ask of God and it shall be given him? No, there is no such passage. But, you may say, didn't Jesus say something about "all these things shall be added unto you"? Yes, he did. But he said this would come about as an effect, a consequence, or a result of seeking "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." He said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Should we not regard this as a definite promise that an earnest desire to gain an understanding of God will be rewarded by the added things necessary to our human need? Were men to place righteousness in the forefront of their desires; were they to desire continually to be governed by God alone; were they to realize as clearly as possible that ever-present reign of harmony which is already theirs, do not you think that such a desire, such a realization, would have an effect, a perceptible effect, upon their lives? Do not you think that one's understanding of the great spiritual fact that God is abundantly providing His children with all He can provide, would be manifested in abundance?
In Paul's letter to the Philippians he counsels his readers to think about things that are "true, . . . honest, . . . just, . . . pure, . . . lovely, . . . [and] of good report." He had no doubt of the outcome. He knew that if their thinking was based on good — if it was a reflection of Godlike thinking — the result could be good only.
Jesus warned his hearers of the disastrous effect of wrong thought. He said that "evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit," etc., "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Our word "defile" comes from a Middle English word which meant "to tread down," and if we habitually harbor such thoughts as those we have just mentioned; if we allow them to take possession of our minds; if we make such thoughts our masters, little wonder if we should feel "trodden down." Under the domination of such thoughts we should be headed for disaster. If we desire to reach a better goal we must change our master. This is where we need Christian Science.
Christian Science is not going to encourage in us the belief that wrong habits of thought are always overcome without an effort, but through the teachings of Christian Science we are assured that we can surely win our way out of such habits; that we can conquer the evil habit, no matter how long it has been indulged. Hear this statement from our textbook (Science and Health, p. 407): "Man's enslavement to the most relentless masters — passion, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge — is conquered only by a mighty struggle. Every hour of delay makes the struggle more severe. If man is not victorious over the passions, they crush out happiness, health, and manhood. Here Christian Science is the sovereign panacea, giving strength to the weakness of mortal mind, — strength from the immortal and omnipotent Mind, — and lifting humanity above itself into purer desires, even into spiritual power and good-will to man."
Through Christian Science we are assured that every desire or determination to do wrong is confronted by all the real power in the universe, and will surely be driven back. It cannot succeed. Whereas every desire to do right, every endeavor to conform our lives to the divine standard, is backed up by omnipotence. It cannot fail.
Every desire, every prayer for God-likeness, is a righteous prayer, and is answered. It cannot be otherwise, for, as Mrs. Eddy has pointed out, through such prayer we "will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to [our] desire" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 127).
Let us turn to another phase of this subject. Some of you may feel that your need is best expressed by the word opportunity, the opportunity to work, the opportunity to progress, the opportunity to serve or help in a larger way your fellow men. Let me say just here that limitation is not merely a lack of opportunity, or a scarcity of material things, but is fundamentally a paucity or dearth of ideas.
Today there are few large business organizations that are not looking for men of the right kind. Such men are not easy to secure. They are busy somewhere else. Other firms will not let them go. They are too valuable. They are men of ideas. They express intelligence, wisdom, foresight, and business acumen. Whence come these qualities: discernment, sagacity, and perspicacity? Whence but from Mind itself, divine Mind? God is the source of every thought that expresses Him, and through Christian Science we are learning that God is continually and abundantly supplying each of His children with His ideas. No one is left out. No one is under-supplied. Remember the passage we quoted a few moments ago (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307): "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies." All the intelligence, wisdom, discernment, and ability each of us may need is being given to him moment by moment. If we but turn expectantly and trustingly to God for them, we will find ourselves abundantly supplied.
Were one to believe that his capacity and abilities originated within himself, were he to believe that he was their author, he might conclude, and perhaps rightly, that they would in time dwindle and some day disappear. But, if he recognizes that he possesses these qualities only by reflection, that their source is God Himself, he will see that these spiritual energies cannot wear out nor can they be depleted by advancing years.
Is there anything which can operate to prevent our receiving what God so impartially and abundantly bestows? There should not be, of course. But do not we human beings sometimes permit our thoughts to be occupied by suggestions that are really unworthy; suggestions of laziness, inability, regret of the past, fear of the future; thoughts of envy, jealousy, or hatred; or beliefs that we are in the grip of destructive economic laws from which there is no escape.
This brings up a question which must be answered. The question is, What is man's work? Of what does it consist? Here is an answer I offer for your consideration. Man's work is reflecting God. Man's sole occupation is to reflect God. Whether his daily task is digging a ditch, or managing a railroad, his work is to reflect intelligence, wisdom, strength, activity, etc., God's qualities. But suppose that for some reason he was dismissed from his customary employment yesterday, what is his work today? Is he without work? May not his work today be to reflect those Godlike qualities sufficiently to secure further employment? He may feel that his work today is more difficult than it was yesterday. Perhaps he may accept the suggestion that it is altogether too difficult, that he cannot do it, and there is no use trying. But he will not readily yield to the suggestion of discouragement if he sees clearly that all he has to do is to actively and intelligently reflect those qualities with which God is endowing him. In such a situation there are certain facts of which he should be aware: first, that there is a place for him: there is work for him to do; second, that God is equipping him with intelligence and energy sufficient to find it. Let me tell you a story.
A man came to me some time ago. He said he had been out of work for months; couldn't find a job. I had a talk with him along the lines I have just indicated, and before he left I asked him to look for an opportunity to help somebody, no matter how small the service might be. He left me with that idea in mind: the thought of giving. The same evening he telephoned me that he had found an opportunity to help some person before he reached the next street corner. It was not a great service, but he helped somebody. He went on doing this, looking for an opportunity to give, for an hour or so, and during the afternoon he was offered just the kind of position he was fitted to fill. He did not displace anyone. This was a new job. Now, I should like to ask you a question. Did he find a job? Or did he make one? Looking for an opportunity to give, he received.
Jesus said: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Paul announced the same law in these words, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It is possible that a man whose business expresses delay, inefficiency, turmoil, or loss may not at first enjoy the sound of that law of metaphysics, "Whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
We human beings are prone to resent any implication that the cause of our failures and losses may lie with ourselves, within our own habits of thought. We are too quick, many times, to excuse ourselves and blame our fellow men, our environment, so-called economic laws, or what not, and yet the law still stands, As we sow, so shall we reap.
Were one to sow selfishness, fear, greed, or dishonesty, could he reasonably expect to reap contentment, happiness, or true success? Have not selfishness, greed, and the desire to get, been responsible for many of humanity's troubles? Because material things, the things the carnal mind craves to possess, are limited, this getting habit occasions jealousy, hatred, and war. Were we to exchange this habit of getting for the habit of giving; the giving of ideas, good will, consideration, and love, which are limitless, it would lead, not to envy, but to rejoicing; in our neighbor's welfare; not to hatred, but to kindly consideration; not to war, but to fraternal peace. Remember the law; "Give, and it shall be given unto you;" "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.''
With the help of Christian Science such a change can be brought about. We can make a beginning here and now. Each of us can begin now to dispute and dismiss every suggestion of fear, selfishness, or greed, which are trouble-makers, and begin to express affection, generosity, honesty, and love. These are real peacemakers. Let us remember that whatever our problem may be, whether it be an apparent lack of employment, lack of normal business, or lack of health, the angels of God — His thoughts — are with us where we are, to enlighten, to cheer, to inspire, to guide, to strengthen, and to uplift us, and if we work out our problem under their guidance, the problem will be solved in the right way and at the right time.
Christian Science is revealing God as the great Giver, or as Mrs. Eddy has expressed it (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 5), "Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him — God giving all and man having all that God gives."
To change the subject again: Some of you may feel that your especial need at this time is congenial companionship, a harmonious environment, or a sympathetic atmosphere. Can this need be met? Permit me to quote again the passage from the Christian Science textbook I quoted before, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494). Notice that little word "every." Not only is nothing too great, but nothing is too small to be healed by divine Love. Every human problem may be brought to God for solution.
It is possible that a person who finds himself in an inharmonious environment may be tempted to blame others for it, whereas the blame, if any, may properly belong nearer home. The writer of Proverbs has said, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly," which might be interpreted, If you are continually without friends, look within. This reminds me of a newspaper contest held some time ago for the best definition of a friend. It was won by this statement: "A friend is one who comes in when all the rest go out." It might be well for each of us to ask himself, Does this definition describe me?
Jesus gave us a standard by which we may measure the rightness of our attitude toward our fellowmen. He said, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." This statement is familiarly known as the Golden Rule. It is not really a specific rule of conduct. It does not tell us what to do. It points out the correct mental attitude, and leaves us free to choose the appropriate deed.
It has been characteristic of much of the social thinking of the past to place the emphasis on human rights. What can I claim? has been the first question, rather than, What can I do? Jesus taught differently. He inspired men to do justice, before he moved them to demand it. And if men are intent upon doing their full duty by each other, each will not only receive his rights, but all will have justice. In this connection I should like to quote a sentence from Charles Whitney Gilkey, "When men aim at justice alone, however accurate their eye, there is not always strength enough in their arm to reach the target, save with the single arrow of their own individual rights: only the motive of love which Jesus relied on can reach the target of justice with every arrow of each individual's welfare; and it does this by daring to aim beyond justice — at service."
Jesus described himself as "he that serveth," and if service is our principal aim, there will always be some service we can render. If our attitude toward our environment is not, What can I get from it? But, What can I do for it? we will be able to find much to do just where we are.
What is called the "atmosphere" of your home or office is not dependent upon the material of which the building is constructed or the quality of its furnishings. The atmosphere is a register of the quality of the thoughts of those who dwell or work there. It will be harmonious in the measure that courtesy, consideration, good will, good temper, kindness, forgiveness, and love are permitted to rule the minds of the residents or occupants.
If one finds himself in an uncongenial environment, his first impulse may be to leave it, and under some circumstances this may be the right step for him to take. On the other hand, he may be led to remain and prove there Love's supporting and peace-restoring care. You will remember the Psalmist sang, "If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.'' One does not have to go anywhere to find God, but he may have to change the manner of his thinking.
In the twenty-third Psalm the writer deals quite fully with the subject of environment. What a picture of peace and plenty he paints in the second sentence, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters"! Does this description seem too ideal to be possible? Is it not rather a picture of what is natural and normal under God's government? Through Christian Science we are learning that our human affairs are governed rightly and harmoniously when Love is at the helm of our thought.
But the Psalmist dealt with another phase of environment, wherein he depicts himself as being surrounded by enemies, but even there his needs were supplied abundantly. He says, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." No matter how discordant our surroundings may be, how uncongenial or uncompanionable the attitude of those who live or work with us, a table may be prepared wherefrom we may be supplied with all that is needed to tranquillize and sustain us. Divine Love is there to meet our need. Mrs. Eddy puts it thus (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 149): "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance."
In the sixteenth chapter of Acts there is a record of a complete change of environment brought about through prayer and spiritualization of thought.
Paul and Silas, you will remember, had been thrust into prison; not only into prison, but into the inner prison; and not only into the inner prison, but their feet were made fast in the stocks. And, we read, "At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God." Sing praises to God in such a place! Why praise God? Why not? Had God changed? Was not God just as loving, just as omnipotent as ever? Should they not recognize and affirm God's presence and power, and the impotence of evil even there? The environment into which they had been unjustly thrust was neither an expression of God's will nor a natural outcome of their own acts. Their bonds were but an expression of evil's claim to power.
But note the change. As Paul and Silas lifted their thoughts to God in prayer and praise, not only were they freed from their fetters, not only did the authorities admit and apologize for the wrong they had committed, but the presence and power of God were so apparent even to the jailor that his life was completely transformed.
This change did not come about by chance. It was no mere happening. It was a direct result of the spiritualized thought of Paul and Silas; of their utilization of the power of good over evil. As these men rose to the consciousness of the omnipotence of God, and the consequent impotence of evil, their surroundings inevitably improved, until their environment harmonized with that spiritualized consciousness.
Through Christian Science we are beginning to comprehend Paul's statement, "In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being." We are beginning to understand that man being a child of God, an idea of divine Mind, his real environment at all times is divine Love. As we grow toward the understanding of God as Love, who is entirely impartial in the bestowal of His gifts to men, our love for humanity will expand until it recognizes no boundaries, and men everywhere will be thought of as our brothers, entitled to our love.
Mrs. Eddy, whose prophetic vision is unapproached by any of the great thinkers of our time, has in a single sentence painted a wonderful picture of what she sees as the inevitable result of humanity's acceptance of the truth about God. She says (Science and Health, p. 540), "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends war; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."
In our discussion of the human needs there is another that should be mentioned, namely, health. It undoubtedly should be regarded as a need, and the question before us is, Does God meet this need? Before we answer this question let us consider another, What is health? Is it solely a bodily condition? Is it wholly a condition of matter? Has thought or consciousness anything to do with it? Or, is it primarily a state of mind? Let us see what Mrs. Eddy has to say about it. She is one of the greatest authorities on the subject. She knew so much about health that she was able in many instances to heal the sick in a few minutes. Not only so, but in her great textbook she gave to the world an elucidation of her discovery; and the reading or the study of this textbook has healed an untold number of people of various diseases, many of which had been pronounced incurable. Here is one of her definitions of health as given in "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 11): "Health is the consciousness of the unreality of pain and disease; or, rather, the absolute consciousness of harmony and of nothing else." Health, then, is something that is very closely related to our thinking, to our knowing, to our consciousness. Does God supply this need? Let us see.
God, divine Mind, made man, as we are told in Genesis, "in his own image, in the image of God created he him." Man, God's likeness, is a mental or spiritual being. True consciousness reflects God, Mind, and as our textbook points out (Science and Health, p. 276), "Real consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God." Of what is God conscious? God, who made all, who, as we are told in Genesis, "saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," can be conscious only of himself and His good creation. He can be conscious of nothing else. Man, God's likeness, can be conscious of good only, and this consciousness he derives from God. Such a consciousness is health, the "consciousness of harmony and of nothing else" (Rudimental Divine Science, p. 11), and God is impartially and abundantly supplying each one of us with His thoughts today.
Does this sound as though in our discussion we had left the realm of the practical? If so, let us return. Let me use an illustration. Suppose, for example, that a person were ill, and after endeavoring to overcome his ills by resort to medication, change of climate, or what not, he turns to God for healing. In his endeavor to find a corrective of the false concepts he has been entertaining about himself, he may turn to the Bible or to the Christian Science textbook. As this situation resembles somewhat my own experience, it might be helpful were I to tell you what happened in my case. As I read the Christian Science textbook for the first time I became so absorbed in its presentation of the truth about God and man, that I thought little about myself. My physical condition which had occupied my thought nearly all my waking hours for months, fell into the background. I was pondering what was being presented to me as the truth about man — man as God's likeness. After a few weeks of this study, it occurred to me one day, You have not had one of those attacks for some time. I was free, and have remained so these many years. Now what had been going on? True thoughts about God, about man, about myself, had been coming to me, had been entertained, had been accepted, had been occupying my mind to the exclusion of those dreams, those day-dreams I had been indulging before. Just as light dispels darkness, so these true thoughts had dispelled the false beliefs — those sick thoughts about myself — and I was well. Whence came those true thoughts, those right ideas? Whence but from Mind, the source of all that is true? Divine Mind, divine Love, had met my need.
Mrs. Eddy has defined "angels" in Science and Health (p. 581) thus: "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." Whatever may be our need these angels of God — God's thoughts — are present to encourage, uplift, strengthen, and heal. Their message to each of us today is, Thou art whole. May we accept it. It is absolutely true.
But here is another question which may arise. Does each person have to be his own physician or his own practitioner in Christian Science? No, not necessarily. But it is advisable for a person to do what he can to help himself. If, however, he feels that he cannot successfully handle his problem without aid, he may engage the services of an experienced Christian Scientist, one who is known as a Christian Science practitioner.
One of the essential qualifications of the practitioner of this Science of healing is righteousness. James tells us, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." With any other system of treating the sick, save this Christian system, the operator may employ his material, or humanly mental method, entirely regardless of righteousness on his own part; he may even claim that moral obliquity on his part will in no way affect the success of his system, but in Christian Science it is imperative that the practitioner be Christian, a disciple or follower of Christ Jesus, not only in name, or in outward acts, but in his inmost thinking.
Our Master said regarding his practice, "For their sakes I sanctify myself." Sanctify means "to keep holy, spiritually pure," and he who would practice this Christly system of healing the sick must first forsake moral evils. By this we do not mean that morality alone fits one to be a Christian Science practitioner — far from it; but he who would practice Christian Science for the benefit of others must be moral in the highest and strictest sense of that term.
A further qualification is affection — that kindly feeling which is characterized by the giving out of unselfish love toward an object. What an affection Jesus had for mankind! How he yearned to bless his fellows! He had the strength to be tender.
Some time ago I read a poem entitled "The Ascension" by Edwin Markham. In his description of the journey out from Jerusalem that morning he wrote,
"Near the green quiets of a little wood
The Master halted silently and stood.
The figs were purpling, and a fledgling dove
Had fallen from a windy bough above,
And lay there crying feebly by a thorn,
Its little body bruisèd and forlorn.
He stept aside a moment from the rest
And put it safely back into the nest."
True, this is only a poet's description. It may not be historically true. It may not be literally true. But it is indicatively true. He had the strength to be tender. His affection went out to all to gather them unto the truth of their spiritual manhood. One instance: You will remember that toward the end of his ministry it is recorded he said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" And all who would minister successfully to the sick today must have this Christly affection.
Jesus indicated another necessary qualification of the would-be helper of another in his story of the good Samaritan, the story of the stranger or outcast who so compassionately assisted a member of a race which usually regarded him as an enemy. How compassionate should we be with those who are in distress. How patient should we ever be with their doubts and fears, and how conscientiously should we endeavor to equip ourselves to remove them.
Mankind must be saved from sickness and sin; from unemployment, improper environment, poverty, and failure. Through the Science of healing Jesus taught and demonstrated, and which has been again discovered in this age, men and women are being healed of these daily. Multitudes are testifying to this fact. Witness the testimonies of healing voluntarily given every Wednesday evening in every Christian Science church throughout the world, as well as those which are published weekly in the Christian Science periodicals. Sickness which is rooted in ignorance is usually more easily healed than sin which is voluntary, intentional, or willful. Therefore, any system which cannot cope successfully with disease is not equipped for the overcoming of sin.
Today, as never before, humanity is appealing for help, yearning to be shown the way out of the bondage of false theories. There is only one way out. The system or Science of healing Jesus taught and demonstrated for us needs no amendment. It needs only to be practiced.
The call is imperative today for such practitioners. In Christian Science the term practitioner, while it refers specifically to those who are giving all their time to the healing practice, includes everyone who practices the teachings of Christian Science, whether he be regularly employed as a lawyer or an artist, a merchant or a mechanic. The call is loud today for such practitioners: those who are willing to consecrate their lives to the task of doing what Christian Science teaches can be done, and what our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, has proved can be done, namely, the healing of all phases of inharmony.
"When we have learned to love our fellow man
As Jesus loved, and truly understood
The nothingness of error, sin, and pain,
We can go forth with joy and peace and power
And prove Christ's living presence hour by hour,
With comforting and healing works again.
"When we have learned that God is our supply,
We do not fret, nor fear, nor question why
We cannot see the path that lies ahead;
But we can happy be each busy day,
And trust, as does the little child at play,
The Love that meets every need, instead.
"When we have learned to know the Father's care
Encircles His reflection everywhere
And is unfailingly benevolent,
We do not strive to right a world of woe,
But leave to boundless good the phantom foe,
And just to mirror Love are well content."
(The Christian Science Journal, February, 1931)
[Delivered April 2, 1932, in the Masonic Temple, 154th Street and Turlington Avenue, Harvey, Illinois, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist of Harvey and published in a newspaper (name and location unknown) dated April 8, 1932.]