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 Evanston, Illinois, in the church edifice, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, Monday evening, September 22, 1930, 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 speaker was introduced by Mrs. Olive G. Byerson, as follows:
It is a joyous privilege to welcome an audience to a Christian Science lecture.
Friends, the message you will hear this evening is a message of emancipation from all your fear, care, sorrow, sin, and disease.
No doubt we have all pondered the words of Jesus, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and have longed to realize their promise.
Christian Scientists all over the world today are gratefully proving that the study of the teaching of Christian Science is enabling them to understand the teaching of the prophets and to obey the loving command of the Master to "heal the sick and cast out devils," or evil.
Our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, established the Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
We have with us tonight a member of that Board, Mr. Gavin W. Allan, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who comes to us well prepared, through experience and practice, to explain the emancipating power of the Christ, Truth, as taught in Christian Science.
The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science: The Culmination of the Teaching of the Bible." Mr. Allan spoke substantially as follows:
Whether one is affiliated with one of the Christian denominations or not; whether one accepts, is indifferent to, or rejects the teachings of Christianity, one thing is certain, no citizen of this western world is independent of the influence of the Bible. The very phrases it employs, the ideals it upholds, the rules of conduct it advocates — all are part of his intellectual inheritance from the influence of which he cannot conceivably divorce himself.
In this connection it might be interesting to note that a single issue of one of the most widely read humorous magazines in the United States contained thirty-four references to characters and events chronicled in the Bible, and a humorous magazine would be one of the last places one would naturally look for Biblical allusions; and the writer who noted the incident went on to say, "It is safe to say the King James Version of the Bible holds within its pages the widest appeal of any book extant."
But to admit that we are influenced by the Bible does not imply that we understand the Bible. In fact, few of us do understand it. Why? Well, in the first place many of us have made no real effort to understand it. With a few scattered spots we are undoubtedly familiar; the Commandments, three or four of the Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, and some of the Gospel narratives. But the territory of the Bible as a whole, as many of us have used it, resembles pretty closely the area of our North American countries. Just as we have there great congestion of population in certain widely separated centers, many areas sparsely inhabited, and large tracts rarely visited, so a few scattered portions of the Bible are used by everyone, whole sections seldom used, and many books carefully avoided.
Why is this? Well, someone may say, Some parts of the Bible I understand readily, but other parts seem to be written in a language quite different from what I would use. The writers evidently saw from a different viewpoint, a viewpoint that is not easy for me to adopt, and I find great difficulty in understanding them. I may say, I heartily agree with you.
Another who has given some thought to the subject, says: It seems to me that one of the great hindrances to an understanding of the Scriptures is the quite general belief that the Bible is all of one piece; that all portions have equal authority; that all parts are of equal ethical and spiritual value; so that should one refuse to accept the statement of any part as a rule of life and conduct, he virtually discards the whole book. Again, I agree with you.
But there is a third and perhaps greater difficulty which, if it can be overcome, may clear up all the others. It is this: The books are not placed in our Bible in the chronological order of the various writings.
Now, thanks to the labors of a host of investigators during the past half century, we now know more about the Bible than it was possible for us to know a few years ago. We now know that the Bible has come to us through human channels, under definite conditions of time, place, and race; that the separate parts were written at various times during at least eleven hundred years; that the various writings are the natural products of religious minds working normally and employing language in the ordinary manner of other writers; and that we are now able to rearrange those records in approximately chronological order. That being so, if any development took place during those eleven hundred years, we shall be able to trace through the Bible the development of ethical and spiritual ideas from their primitive origins in the early writings to their culmination in the teachings of our Master, Christ Jesus.
The Bible, then, contains a record — a true and altogether dependable record — not only of men's deeds, but of their thoughts. It contains a record of progress because humanity progresses. It is a record of men's growing, developing concepts of God and man, of prayer and worship, of salvation and immortality, and, if we are able to see the Bible in much the same way as the geologist views the structure of the earth, if we know in what order the various layers, as it were, of writings were laid down, the accumulated result of which is our Bible, we shall be able to trace through the Bible the development of the human concept of these ethical and spiritual ideas from the time of their first appearing in the childhood of the race to their peak in the writings in the New Testament.
Let us consider, for example, the development of men's concept of God. You will remember that God was regarded by men of olden time as a being of human form and having a local habitation. In fact, men had difficulty in thinking of God apart from a local abode in the mountains or high places of the tribe. He was thought of as one of many gods, and not until the age of the prophets was there any great growth toward monotheism, toward the belief in one God. You remember that Jehovah was looked upon as a tribal deity, one who dwelt among His own special people and exercised no jurisdiction beyond their boundaries, and, later, in Isaiah's time, He was conceived of as caring for other tribes. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 576), Mary Baker Eddy writes: "The term Lord, as used in our version of the Old Testament, is often synonymous with Jehovah, and expresses the Jewish concept, not yet elevated to deific apprehension through spiritual transfiguration. Yet the word gradually approaches a higher meaning." During the prophetic age, more spiritual concepts of God were taught. He was conceived to be unrestricted in space and time. He is present everywhere.
Twice in the latter part of Isaiah God is referred to as "our father," and throughout the New Testament the universal fatherhood of God is emphasized. Jesus frequently used the terms "my Father" and "thy Father"; "our Father" and "your Father." He taught, — he did more, — he proved that God loves and cares for men, not as tribes, but as individuals.
Jesus' concept of God, Jesus' revelation of God, far exceeded the concepts of God then prevalent among men. His understanding of God, though attainable by men, has not yet been attained. But humanity's concept of God has not remained, cannot remain, stationary. It is ever progressing. It is approaching more and more nearly that perfect concept depicted by our Master. In every age since his time some one more nearly than all others has approximated his vision, his view, his knowledge of God.
As the highest peak of the mountain range catches earliest the first ray of dawn, so the most spiritually exalted individual glimpses first the dawn of spiritual truth. Well for this age that it has produced such a one; an outstanding spiritual seer whose life was devoted to an unceasing search for truth; one who made the Bible her constant companion and her only textbook; one whose condition of thought was sufficiently exalted to apprehend in greater measure than any other the truth about God, and whose pure consciousness enabled her to become the channel for the Christ-teaching to this age.
Mary Baker Eddy has revealed God anew. To the familiar names for God she has added the endearing term Mother, which word alone has brought to many people reading our textbook for the first time the sweet assurance of God's loving provision and tender care for them in their every hour of need. She has defined God as Mind, divine Mind, a word which gives us immediately a sense of God's knowledge of us wherever we are, and of his availability to meet our need. But more helpful still is the synonym for God which occurs hundreds of times in our textbook — the word Principle, divine Principle. How this word at once dispels any sense of God's changeableness! Does it strike you that the use of this word might convey a sense of coldness or aloofness? Remember, this Principle is Love itself, unalterable Love; Love that is continuously and uniformly loving; Love whose kindly attitude toward us and whose tender care for us could not be altered by the prayers of a million foes.
We have traced the growth of the human concept of God from the belief that God was a being of human form and of human frailty up to the highest revelation of God as omnipresent Principle, infinite Love. How dependable is the Bible record. Its proof is before our very eyes. Every concept of God recorded in the Bible is held by someone today, and we ourselves can find our place somewhere along that upward tending line. Have we left behind the belief in a manlike God? Have we, on the other hand, attained to a complete understanding of God as Love? No, but that is the goal toward which we are hourly striving.
Now, it is obvious that not all of these various concepts of God can be true. Jesus understood God fully. He proved his understanding. He proved it completely. He overcame death, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed." He solved, unaided, humanity's greatest problem.
Jesus' definition of God was not given us in our language. The best we can say of what we possess in words of his revelation is that we have but a translation of a translation of what he said. Mrs. Eddy has spoken to us in our own age, and her revelation, the truth of which she so amply proved by healing, as she has told us in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 106), "hopeless organic diseases of almost every kind," has helped an untold number of people to grasp more nearly than ever before the truth about God, Jesus' concept of God.
Why do we dwell so at length on this subject? Because it is the very basis of Christian Science. Because upon our understanding of God is predicated our sense of life, health, and harmony. Hear this arresting statement from our textbook (Science and Health, p. 390), "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." The student of Christian Science knows that his failures, like the failures of the mathematician, come not from the Principle he is striving to serve, but from an ignorance of that Principle. When, therefore, he seems to be confronted with a problem, even one of physical discord, or disease, he devotes himself to a closer acquaintance with, a better understanding of, God, knowing that a "right understanding of Him restores harmony." This differentiates Christian Science healing from, and puts it on a plane entirely above, all other curative methods.
Just here it should be said that it is not at all necessary that the present-day student of Christian Science should wait to acquaint himself with the various concepts of God men have entertained in the past before applying his understanding of God to the solution of the problems of his daily life. This can be done immediately. All that is necessary is that he seek and find, be receptive to and accept, the highest revelation of God and live it — incorporate it into his own thinking.
Let me illustrate. A friend of mine had been in poor health for a number of years, and for two years quite an invalid, unable to walk without extreme suffering. She tried in every way she knew to regain her health and strength, but failed. She was told by her pastor that it was God's will she should be in that condition and that she should resign herself to it. She tried to do so.
One afternoon a young student of Christian Science called to see her, and one of the first things she told my friend was, "God does not want you to be sick," and she continued to talk with my friend most of the afternoon about God, telling her what she had learned about God — what is true about God. My friend was encouraged, uplifted. This was to her a new view of God, but so reasonable, so acceptable, so true. She thought over it a good deal during the night. The next day she walked a mile. Within a week she was playing tennis, and although this occurred many years ago she has been happy and well, and has been engaged in helping others ever since. She had been seeking and had found; she had been receptive to and had accepted the truth about God, and this truth healed her.
Let us now trace the development of humanity's concept of man. In the earlier writings of the Bible, — by this we do not mean the first book of our Bible as we have it, because the books do not appear in our Bible in the order in which they were written, — in the earlier writings of the Bible man is regarded as a being whose only life is his physical breath and whose individuality is lost completely in his tribal group. For example, he is slain for misdeeds not his own, but misdeeds of his family or tribe, as when the two sons and five grandsons of Saul were slain because of Saul's misdeed. The individual had no standing save as a member of the tribe, an item in the mass. Later on, the concept of man expanded to include the worth of the individual, and this higher conception of the worth of the individual paved the way for the belief in his immortality. The concept of immortality necessitated a belief in the resurrection of the body because the conception of man as a physical being necessitated a physical resurrection if there were to be any continuity of existence.
Seldom in the Old Testament, except in the first chapter of Genesis and seldom if ever in the New Testament, save in the words of our Master and of his beloved disciple, is man spoken of as a spiritual being, and rarely in the whole Bible except in the teachings of Jesus does the thought of immortality wholly free itself from the belief in the resurrection of the body. "This is life eternal," said Jesus "that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Jesus defined eternal life in terms of knowledge, knowledge of God. He submitted to death. He could have evaded it. He said so quite definitely. He submitted to death to prove to us that it could be overcome. He proved that death is not a door through which man must necessarily pass.
Turning now to the writings of the greatest revelator of Truth to this age, in answer to the question, "What is man?" in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health, p.475) we read: "Man is not matter; he not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science."
How exactly does this accord with the statement of the first account of creation and with the teaching of John and of Jesus! What a light it throws upon those few passages of the Bible which announce the absolute truth about man; passages the spiritual import of which has long been hidden from humanity! What a veritable key to the Bible this textbook is!
Again it may be said, But why dwell at length on man? Because it is vitally important. We have traced the development of humanity's concept of man from the belief that man is a purely physical being up to the highest revelation of man as a spiritual being, perfect and immortal; from the concept of man as only an item in the corporate mass up to the revelation of him as an individual expression of God, whose individuality is as eternal as his Maker's; from the belief that he was in the eyes of Jehovah an unknown unit in His tribe up to the revelation of him as a being of worth in the sight of God, whom God knows and cares for individually.
Somewhere along this ever upward tending line is our concept of ourselves at this moment. Have we left behind the concept of man as a purely physical being, whose existence is limited to a few days or years, or, as someone has said, a "little noise between the two silences"? Have we, on the other hand, attained to the understanding of man that Jesus proved he possessed? No. But it is only in the degree that we apprehend what is absolutely true about man that we shall be able to detect and correct any false views of him which we may have been entertaining.
What, then is this appearance which is called man; this that we see with our eyes? It is but the manifestation of humanity's concept of man. And whatever is material, untrue, erring, or debased in any human being's concept of himself, can be nullified only by the truth.
Were there a dozen people in this room and each were asked in turn, What is your concept of Mr. X? we might have a dozen totally different replies, a dozen concepts. But there are not a dozen Mr. X's — only one, and there is one true concept of him, the concept which God holds of him. What is that? God knows man as His own child, His own likeness, a spiritual being — pure, perfect, and immortal.
Jesus beheld man aright. Confronted, as he was many times, with what seemed to be the very opposite of this he still beheld man aright. Listen to this statement from our textbook (Science and Health, p. 476): "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." If the "correct view of man healed the sick" as we have just read, how important, how essential, that we should strive to achieve this view! Where may we find it? It may be found in its simplest and most complete statement in Christian Science.
How spiritually blessed has been our age! Christian Science is here with its revelation, the most complete revelation of Being ever given to any age, a revelation which is emphasizing all that the prophets of old, all that our Master revealed to mankind. It is stated simply and clearly. Children readily understand its basic truths and confidently apply them to the solving of their problems of physical and other discords. The spiritually minded accept its teachings naturally. It defines man aright.
Now, it goes without saying that the true dispels the false just as light dispels darkness. In the measure, then, that we perceive, accept, know what is true about man, in that measure shall we be able to unsee that which is false, discordant, and untrue, that which the physical senses may have affirmed, and dispel it. Does this not explain Christian Science healing satisfactorily? You may have heard of some one who was healed through reading — studying would be a better term — the Christian Science textbook. Could anything be more natural? Would it not be strange if he were not?
Let me cite an instance. A person whom I know very well had been in ill health for a number of years, and had been confined to bed at various times for weeks at a time. He had spent much time in the study of man from the standpoints of anatomy, physiology, and therapeutics, but this had not helped him in the slightest degree. Kindly physicians had endeavored to help him and regretfully admitted their inability to do so. Later he heard of Christian Science, secured a copy of the textbook, and began to read it. It appealed to him. He read it eagerly, hungrily. It presented a new view of man, a true view of man, and through the study of that book, and through that alone, he was quickly and thoroughly healed. You see, he had sought and found, had been receptive to, and accepted the truth about man, and this truth healed him.
Long as it may have been believed, stoutly as it may have been insisted, physical unnaturalness is not all there is to sickness. What is seen and felt is only the manifestation, the externalization of the individual's false concept of man, a concept which includes within itself the belief that man is a material being, created materially, dwelling ever amid dangers, and subject to an innumerable host of enemies. How far this is from the truth, the absolute truth about man! Man is created to express God. Man's likeness to God is therefore a mental, not a bodily, likeness. His environment is Love; his government the law of eternal harmony. Would not the realization of this bring peace to the troubled, healing to the distressed? Unquestionably. Jesus stated the same situation thus: "If ye continue in my word," that is, if ye consciously abide in the truth as revealed by me, "the truth shall make you free."
Christian Science healing, then, in character, in quality, differs in no slightest degree from healing as taught and demonstrated by our Master. How grateful we are that it is now being demonstrated more widely! The number of healings, even physical healings, that have occurred within the past fifty years can never be computed; how much less can be computed the healings of sin, and still less the instances of want relieved, sorrow soothed, and fear destroyed. This one thing we know that today, through Christian Science, Christianity's lost element of healing is being restored.
Turning again to the Bible to trace another phase of humanity's progress, let us consider the subjects of prayer and worship. In the childhood of the race, men's concept of God lacked those qualities which would lead them to draw near to Him even if this had been a possibility. But God was believed to dwell apart in the mountaintop, and if men desired to perform an act of worship they betook themselves to the high place of the tribe and there made their offering. Later, specific worship centers were considered appropriate and were established in Shiloh and in Gibeon where it is recorded Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. With the abolition of the local sanctuaries the temple became the only legitimate place of sacrifice.
The transition from this form of worship with its burden of ceremonial requirement to the simplicity of the early Christian church is clearly depicted in the life of Paul. But Paul did not give up worship. He adopted a higher, fuller, truer concept of God and man, and a more spiritual method of worship. His later life proved it. He gave up persecuting and slaying his fellowmen and began to comfort and heal them. As a false concept of God and man is reflected in discordant relations between man and man, and in a materialized worship, an improved concept of God and man is reflected in more harmonious relations and in a more spiritual method of worship.
Turning now to Christian Science. Through Christian Science truer views of God and man have been revealed, and these will naturally express themselves in a form of worship becoming to themselves. If God is recognized as omnipresent, the ever-present Mind who knows and supplies the needs of each of His children, His child will require no material symbol to remind him of his Father's presence, nor will he need the formality of any ceremony to bring him into communicable relations with his Father.
Christian Science has come to this age with all the fullness of its revelation of the truth about God, the truth about man, and the truth about the inseparable relationship which ever exists between God and man. It has revealed man as ever in God's presence, enfolded in His love, supported and protected by His power, supplied from the inexhaustible store of His goodness. Man's worship is, then, a reverential acknowledgment of God as the only presence, power, and intelligence; a yearning to know and do the will of God; a preparation to receive and an acceptance of the truth revealed, and the hourly application of that which is absolutely true in his daily life. His prayer is a spiritual communion with God, and involves not only desire but listening, receptivity, acceptance, and execution.
Such being his method of worship, we should expect the services of the Christian Science church to be simplicity itself, and such they are. The Lesson-Sermon is composed of readings from the Bible and explanatory correlative passages from the Christian Science textbook. Every Christian Scientist knows exactly what the Lesson-Sermon is going to be, whether he is in America or Australia. He has studied it himself during the week. He has equal opportunity with the official Readers of the church to know its content, and he goes to church to reflect the truth of its message. Many Christian Scientists go to church primarily to give, not to get, and because of this general attitude of prayer and realization of the truth of the lesson message many people are healed during the services.
Prayers in Christian Science churches, save for the audible repetition of the Lord's Prayer, are silent, and are, to quote from the Manual of The Mother Church (p. 42), "for the congregations collectively and exclusively." The sacrament is a spiritual communion with God; in other words, silent prayer, prayer which conforms to Jesus' admonition given to his disciples, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." On this point permit me to read from the Christian Science textbook (p. 35). Referring to this spiritual communion as observed by Christian Scientists, Mrs. Eddy writes: "They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love. They celebrate their Lord's victory over death, his probation in the flesh after death, its exemplification of human probation, and his spiritual and final ascension above matter, or the flesh, when he rose out of material sight. Our baptism is a purification from all error. . . . Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, 'which cometh down from heaven,' is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers."
Christianity as demonstrated by our Master was a practical and spiritual religion. Christian Science as taught and demonstrated by its Founder is a practical and spiritual religion. Her purpose in founding the Christian Science movement she has stated thus (Manual, p. 17): "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." How remarkably the church she founded is continuing to fulfill its Leader's design is known today to well-informed men and women in all parts of the world. In our midst is being restored today primitive Christianity, a purely spiritual religion.
We have traced the development of humanity's concept of prayer and worship from primitive beginnings up to their most sublime interpretation in the life of our Master, down again through the intervening ages and up to the present-day restoration of primitive Christianity, with its high ideals of worship reinstated.
Somewhere along the upward tending line each one of us may find his own concept of prayer and worship at this moment. The more spiritual his concept of God and man the more spiritual will be his method of worship. As we approximate Jesus' concept of God we will adopt the method of worship he advocated when he said, "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."
You will have seen from what has been said that Christian Science, the restoration to this age of pure Christianity, rests wholly upon a spiritual understanding of God and man, and a purely spiritual worship. Its method accords exactly with Jesus' definition as recorded by John. It inculcates the highest type of worship known to man.
Let us turn again to the Bible. It may be safely said that whole libraries might be filled with books which have been written as helps to Bible study. Some take up the study of the Bible by books, others by periods. Some authors deal wholly with the great characters of the Bible, others with its history or its poetry. But the method we have so briefly sketched is perhaps one of the most rewarding, tracing through the entire Bible the path of humanity's spiritual progress.
The student who begins the study of the Bible thus will see at once that the Bible is not in the slightest degree self-contradictory. He will see that this method restores the Bible to him as a perfect whole, and that all parts are essential to its complete message. He will see that no matter where he opens the Old Testament he will find some record of humanity's concept of God and man in that stage of its development; he will know by what path it has come to that point, where it is going next, and where it comes out in the New Testament.
He will find that the Bible appeals to him just where he is, that it depicts exactly his own concept of God and man at the present moment, and if he is willing to follow, it will lead him gently on and up to the revelation and demonstration of God as Love, and man as God's spiritual and perfect expression.
Now, it is perfectly true that one does not need to know the Bible by rote, or to know thoroughly its composition, structure, history, or poetry in order to derive spiritual sustenance from it, any more than it is absolutely necessary for a farmer to know the exact composition of his soil in order to raise a life-sustaining crop, but anyone will admit that some knowledge of the method of a master agriculturist, and an approximation to his understanding of the science of agriculture, if there were such person, would be of immense value and would be productive of more certain and more abundant crops. The Bible contains, as we have said, the record of humanity's spiritual progress, and the instruction of the world's master Christian, Jesus the Christ, and if we desire our lives to yield abundantly what Paul calls "the fruit of the Spirit" we will find no study more rewarding than the study of the Bible.
Jesus understood the Scriptures. You remember Luke has told us regarding the walk to Emmaus that "beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." He showed them that the promises to the patriarchs and the predictions of the prophets found their fulfillment, significance, and goal in him. The disciples possessed the same Scriptures and were no doubt familiar with them, but Jesus recognized a meaning other than and above what they had seen; for, said they, "he opened unto us the scriptures."
Those Scriptures contained the revelation of God to men. That Jesus understood the revelation, or the God so revealed, was proved by his life, When the Jews asked him if he were the Christ, he replied, "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me"; in other words, the proof is before you, in works. Similar works were done by the disciples, and continued to be done by the early Christians for some three hundred years, that is, their understanding of God and man was evidenced also.
Of late there has been a great and widespread revival of this method of healing, due to a discovery in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy. She was instantly healed of a serious injury which neither medicine nor surgery could reach, by spiritual means alone. Upon her recovery she set herself to discover how it had been brought about. The Bible was her only source of information. She discovered therein the underlying Principle and rule, and put them to the severest tests in the healing of others. (Please remember, at that time only those who were regarded as incurably ill would permit her to visit them for this purpose.) She proved that a right understanding of God and man heals today as of yore. After testing her discovery in this way for nine years she gave it to mankind in a form at once simple and complete in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This volume is what its name implies, a veritable Key to the Scriptures. Not only does it interpret text by text the early part of Genesis and the latter part of Revelation, passages the spiritual and real meaning of which had long been misunderstood, but it affirms and explains the spiritual import of the entire Bible. That Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of Scripture is correct, and that her revelation has been understood by others, is proved by the innumerable healings of disease of every nature wrought by its students.
Not only so, but one of the natural and inevitable effects of studying the Christian Science textbook is that one is thereby impelled to a diligent study of the Bible. If he possesses a copy which has fallen into disuse, it is dusted off and becomes part of his daily reading. If, on the other hand, he has been a consistent reader of the Bible, its message is thereby so illumined that it becomes a new book. Nothing else has accomplished for the sick and sinning what the study and application of the teachings of the Bible, as illumined by the Christian Science textbook, have done in thousands of instances, as witnessed by the grateful testimonies given in the Christian Science periodicals and in the Wednesday evening meetings. To the needy reader of this book, its opening sentence, "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings" (Science and Health, Preface, p. vii), inspires a hope whose radiance pierces the gloom of his distress and leads him on, lighting his way through the succeeding pages, dispelling sickness and destroying sin, until the fruitage in his own experience coincides with the freedom attained by many others whose grateful testimonies make up the chapter on "Fruitage" which fills the last one hundred pages of the book. No other commentary upon the Word of God has given such proof of its exactness. What is the proof? The healing and uplifting influence upon the lives of those who have been awakened to the Bible's spiritual meaning through the Christian Science textbook.
In one of Jesus' last talks with his disciples he said, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." What would evidence the presence of such a Comforter, Helper, or Advocate? What would be the purpose of this impersonal Comforter, "the Spirit of truth"? Would it not most certainly be, as Isaiah has expressed it, "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; . . . to give . . . the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified"? If there is such a power or influence present among men today can it be other than this divine Comforter?
Many people have discovered that Christian Science is doing the very things which Jesus said would be done by the Comforter. There is indisputable and abundant evidence that Christian Science is binding up the brokenhearted, healing moral and physical disorders, and breaking humanity's bonds of limitation and incapacity by spiritual means, by the "Spirit of truth" alone. Is not the Comforter in our very midst? Is it not Divine Science, or, as Mrs. Eddy has expressed it, "'the still, small voice' that breathes His presence and power, casting out error and healing the sick"? (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 174.)
We have traced the development of humanity's spiritual progress from the belief that man was separated from God by an impassable gulf, up to the understanding that he is in the very presence of God; from the belief that God had no cognizance of him as an individual, up to the understanding of his individual worth in his Father's estimation; from the belief that Jehovah sent disaster and distress, up to the understanding that God has created, and can give, good only; from the belief that man existed under an inevitable law of destruction, up to the understanding in greater or less degree that he is under an inevitable law of life and harmony; from a very faint, or possibly an utter lack of belief in salvation, up to the understanding not only that God "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth," but that man is saved, because God's child can never be where his Father's love does not completely enfold him; from the belief that bodily ills could be removed only by incantations up to the understanding that ill health is rooted in a false belief concerning God and man which can be inevitably dispelled by an understanding of the truth, the truth about God and man; and we have seen that each one of us is at this moment at some point in this ascending path.
The goal of perfection is before us. The pathway is clearly indicated. Christ Jesus is our great Way-shower; he disclosed to us the truths of being. Christian Science has showed us how to use them, how to apply the great truths of the Bible to the overcoming in our daily lives of all that is unlike God "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
[Delivered Sept. 22, 1930, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, in Evanston, Illinois, and published in a Chicago area newspaper, May 18, 1934.]