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
Gavin W. Allan, C.S.B., of Toronto, Canada, lectured on "Christian Science: The Revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven" Tuesday evening in the Murat Theater under auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. Mr. Allan is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecturer was introduced by Charles S. Thomas. His lecture follows substantially as it was given:
"The kingdom of heaven" is a New Testament phrase. Its earliest use seems to have been by John the Baptist, who came proclaiming, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Repent means change your mind, change your way of thinking, change the very basis of your thinking from the material to the spiritual. Human beings have been educated to think of themselves and all that pertains to them as material in origin and existence. They have been taught that they are mortals, that they live in a material universe, and are subject to laws of matter. This is not the real truth about man. The Bible reveals that God, Spirit, is the only creator, and that man is His expression, a spiritual being, living in a spiritual universe, and it urges us to awaken to this truth. As we do we shall find that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Our Master frequently spoke of "the kingdom of heaven," and on one occasion as recorded in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew he endeavored to explain this phrase by a number of parables or stories. Possibly one of Jesus' earliest utterances may throw some light on this subject. You will remember that, as we are told in the fourth chapter of Luke, Jesus "came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." And this is the passage he read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." When he had finished reading Jesus announced, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
It was to be Jesus' mission to meet the needs of the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, and the bruised. In other words, Jesus came to prove that, as Mary Baker Eddy has expressed it in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 494), "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."
Economic needs, mental needs, social needs, physical needs, spiritual needs, all were to be met. Jesus came to reveal by his words and works not only what God is but what He does for men. He proved that the kingdom of heaven is here and is available to men now.
Quite early in his ministry "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." With our Master, preaching and practicing went together. He practiced what he preached. He came not only to proclaim but to do the will of the Father. He proved by his healings that it is God's will that men should be happy, whole, and free.
The kingdom Jesus referred to was not some territory in Palestine, or some place in the clouds, under the rulership of a personal king. This was no material or local kingdom. Indeed it is entirely separate from matter or things material. This is how Mrs. Eddy defines it in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 174): "The kingdom of heaven is the reign of divine Science: it is a mental state. Jesus said it is within you, and taught us to pray, 'Thy kingdom come;' but he did not teach us to pray for death whereby to gain heaven. We do not look into darkness for light. Death can never usher in the dawn of Science that reveals the spiritual facts of man's Life here and now."
Many people believe that the kingdom of heaven has little to do with "here" and "now." They believe that if there is such a condition it belongs to some distant future and can be entered only through the experience of death. They believe that death is a gateway to paradise, a stepping-stone to life. Whence came such a conception? Does the Bible teach any such doctrine? Did Jesus speak of death in this way? The Bible speaks of death, not as a friend, not as a progressive step, but as an enemy, something to be overcome.
The entrance to the kingdom of heaven is, as the Bible points out, through repentance, a new birth, or as Paul puts it, "the renewing of your mind." Such steps can be taken now. If the kingdom of heaven is to be found at all, it is to be found where we are, and the advice of the wisest and most scientific man the world has ever seen is that we make the seeking of this kingdom our first consideration. Where may we be informed about it? How shall we seek it? The Bible tells us what it is, and the Christian Science textbook outlines practical steps to be taken toward finding it. With these books as our guides, and their directions faithfully followed, we cannot miss the way.
"To preach the gospel to the poor" is the phase of the Messianic mission of Christ Jesus mentioned first in the passage we quoted a few moments ago. What sort of news do you think would be good news to the poor? Would they consider it good news to be told that they were born to poverty, and that there was no way of escape from it? Would it help them to be told that if they would bear their poverty patiently they would be compensated by riches hereafter? If such statements were true they would undoubtedly be helpful. But they are not true. They carry an implication that God has decreed poverty for some and riches for others; that there is a law of compensation which works materially, by which those who are rich in material things hereafter become poor, and those who are deprived of material things now, will in the future have an abundance of them. There is no such law. The fact is, God is not cognizant of matter or things material.
It would, however, be good news to the poor were they to hear that right doing and honest dealing do not produce poverty; that poverty is not a result of obedience to the laws of God. It would help them were they to learn that God does not send poverty to anyone; that He did not create it; that it does not belong to or exist in His kingdom; and that it is one of those conditions of thought from which a knowledge of the truth about God and man will make free.
During the years of his ministry Jesus associated with both the poor and the rich. He loved the poor neither more nor less than he loved the rich. He made no virtue of poverty, nor did he condemn riches, though he did condemn trust in riches. Poverty is not a virtue. It is a phase of limitation which should be overcome. Poverty is a denial of the allness, the goodness, and the everywhereness of God. It is not adequately defined by the term "lack of money." It is a state of mind.
The poorest person I have ever known was a man who had more money than anyone else in the neighborhood. Poverty is a state of mind and its antidote is the truth as expressed by Mrs. Eddy on page 5 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," in these words, "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."
But someone may ask, What does God give? Centuries ago the writer of the ninety-first Psalm gave his readers this comforting assurance, based, as most promises are, upon a specific condition. The condition was, "Because thou hast made the Lord . . . thy habitation." The promise was, "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." And the reason given was, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." God gives His angels charge" over us. His angels are not some sort of winged creatures. Angels are defined in our textbook, in part (p. 581), as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect."
God does not give men material things, for the simple reason He has no such things to give. He does, however, give us something more substantial. Hear this statement of Mrs. Eddy given on page 307 of "Miscellaneous Writings": "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," This does not mean that one should do nothing, should make no effort and expect to be fed by the ravens. If you have any such notion listen again, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies." Did you notice those words, "in turn, they give you"?
In other words, God gives you His ideas, His qualities, and as you use them, they supply you. You have something to do. Yon have your part to play. Your part is to reflect God. Whether your daily task is sweeping a street or managing a railroad, your work is to reflect intelligence, wisdom, energy, activity, etc., qualities which reflect God, and if you intelligently and actively reflect God, your needs will assuredly be met.
If property ownership were the only criterion, Jesus would have been considered a poor man, but was he poor? You will remember that on one occasion when several thousand of his followers were in a desert place and had nothing to eat, Jesus fed them when he had at hand only five loaves and two small fishes; and after their hunger had been completely satisfied, twelve baskets were filled with the fragments which had been left over. Whence came this abundance? Obviously it was a result in some way of Jesus' understanding of spiritual law. Would it not be good news to the poor to have it proved that men can achieve such an understanding of God and His law of supply that they will be able to demonstrate the nothingness of limitation? This Jesus did.
The word "poor" may have, however an entirely different meaning. It is used to mean "the receptive thought" (see Science and Health, 34:16), those who are hungering for the truth and ready to receive it. Jesus recognized that human thought may have various grades of receptivity. He illustrated these in his parable of the sower. He likened them to "the way side," "stony places," "among thorns," and "good ground." The good ground illustrated the receptive thought, where the seed brought forth abundantly. Is it any wonder Jesus said "theirs is the kingdom of heaven"?
Today there are many who are yearning to hear the good news, the truth about God and man as it is being revealed through Christian Science, and it is our privilege to tell it. Hear what Mrs. Eddy has said on this point (Science and Health, p. 570); "Millions of unprejudiced minds simple seekers for Truth; weary wanderers, athirst in the desert are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name, and never fear the consequences."
In the past many have formed their opinions of Christianity, not by reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but by observing the lives of professed Christians. So today many are forming their opinions of Christian Science, not by reading its authorized literature, but by observing the lives of its adherents. How important, then, that we should heed our Masters admonition, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
History records that many times pioneers have made expeditions into the unknown, and bravely facing they knew not what of trials and danger, have returned with accounts of the wonders of new lands. After the courageous explorer had found and mapped the way, others followed and reaped rewards.
In 1866 Mary Baker Eddy, a gentle and pious descendant of sturdy New England pioneers, yearned to see beyond the commonly accepted limits of human experience. Surely, she felt, there must be a land beyond this region of distress and danger, a land of peace and safety. She pondered these questions, and through her study of the life and works of our Master and his followers she found the answer.
Describing the conditions for which she sought a remedy, and the struggles through which she passed in finding it, she has written (Science and Health, pp. 226, 227): "The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who to-day, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged."
Describing her experience at this time, Mrs. Eddy has told us in "Retrospection and Introspection" (pp. 27, 28); "The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh universe old to God, but new to His 'little one.' It became evident that the divine Mind alone must answer, and be found as the Life, or Principle, of all being; and that one must acquaint himself with God, if he would be at peace. He must be ours practically, guiding our every thought and action; else we cannot understand the omnipresence of good sufficiently to demonstrate, even in part, the Science of the perfect Mind and divine healing."
Having discovered through her courageous and unselfish labors the kingdom of heaven, she devoted herself to proving that it is a present possibility for human beings today, by healing men and women of various types of disease quickly and permanently. Then she committed her discovery to writing so that anyone may find the way to this kingdom of peace and harmony.
No one knows how many have been immeasurably blessed as a result of Mrs. Eddy's discovery, which she afterwards named Christian Science. I am one. My introduction to Christian Science came through a newspaper. One morning one of our daily papers printed a letter written by a man who quite evidently felt that Christian Science was something which every right-thinking individual should avoid. He seemed to be very much stirred up about it. Indeed he seemed to be considerably heated up about it, and I became curious to find out what had generated so much heat. So I sent to the public library to find out whether there was any literature on the subject, and the Christian Science textbook was brought to me. In the two weeks I was allowed to have it out I read it through. I renewed the loan and read it through again.
I renewed it again and read it through again. That is, within six weeks of the time I had seen the words Christian Science for the first time, I had read the textbook through three times; and through the reading of that book I was healed of a serious condition of the lungs from which I had suffered for a number of years. It might be of further interest to you to hear that at that time I did not know of the existence of a Christian Science church, a Christian Science practitioner, or even a Christian Scientist. Who can measure humanity's debt to Mrs. Eddy?
To return to the subject we were discussing. The second phase of the Messianic mission of Christ Jesus mentioned by Luke was "to heal the brokenhearted;" that is, the downcast, the depressed, the mentally needy. What heavy hearts we sometimes carry! How sorry for ourselves we sometimes become! Self pity is a guest that seems ever ready to knock at one's mental door. The moment anything goes wrong with our plans, our human relations, our business prospects, or our bodily health, the first guests to call at our mental home are fear and self-pity. And if we let them in we shall find ourselves moaning, "Oh my!" or "Isn't this terrible?" These intruders are not friends. They should be refused admittance.
The way out of any untoward situation is not by dwelling upon it, by accepting it as real and true, but by mentally turning away from it to what is really true, to the great fact that God, who is infinite Love, is governing, is governing now, and nothing can interfere with His government. Such a realization will lift us above the down-drag of self-centered thinking and set us free.
But the brokenhearted one may say, "My trouble is discouragement; every effort I have made has ended in failure, and I am thoroughly discouraged." Samuel Longfellow must have tasted some such experience and found its remedy. He wrote:
"Discouraged in the work of life,
Disheartened by its load,
Shamed by its failures or its fears
I sink beside the road;
But let me only think of Thee,
And then new heart springs up in me."
Longfellow was right. Courage is a moral quality, not dependent in any way upon physical strength or weakness. David knew courage to be a moral asset much needed in human experience. His own life, tempted and triumphant, and set with personal and national pitfalls, called for all that courage means. He wrote, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart." We may not have to do with the affairs of the nation, but everyone who strives valiantly for the right may have trials and defeats as did the king of ancient Israel, but the courage which fits us to face and discipline ourselves will equip us to meet every discordant situation which may arise, and will arm us for every battle against failure and wrong.
Discouragement is a word which Mrs. Eddy used but once in her writings, and then with the admonition that we never yield to it. Discouragement is based upon a belief that evil is more powerful or more persistent than good. Because Christian Science is founded upon the truth that God, who is good, is the only power, the student of Christian Science is being equipped to recognize and defeat the arguments of discouragement. There is one mental quality with which discouragement cannot dwell; that is gratitude. And gratitude may be the guest of each one of us every moment. If we would conquer discouragement, let us count our blessings.
On the other hand, the brokenhearted one may say: "My trouble is self-condemnation. I did something years ago for which I have been condemning myself ever since. I know this is hurting me, but I cannot stop it." For anyone in that condition Paul's rule regarding "forgetting those things which are behind" would be helpful, if followed. But he may say, "How can that be done?"
We human beings divide what we call time into three parts past, present, and future and then we frequently cause ourselves much unhappiness as a result of this classification. For instance, have you ever found yourself dwelling in thought for moments or hours at a time upon some untoward incident of the past, or, on the other hand, have you ever caught yourself occupying the moments as they pass in fearful anticipation of some unfavorable thing you imagine might happen at some time in the future? Or, to put it differently, have you not at times neglected the present, wasted its moments, unused its opportunities, while, as Burns put it:
"I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear."
Now, if we live in the past we are apt to live in regret. If we live in the future we are frequently living in fear. But there is only one time in which we can actually live, that we place between past and future, the present, the now. As Mrs. Eddy has said (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 12), "We own no past, no future, we possess only now." So if you find your thought dwelling regretfully on the past, or running fearfully forward into the future, bring it right back to the present, to now, to the time you can neither regret nor fear.
But to look at another phase of the subject the brokenhearted one may say: "My trouble is grief; my dearest friend has passed away, and I cannot get over my grief. Why did God do this to me?" In the first place God's name should be cleared of any responsibility in the matter. God has never caused any one to die. God is Life, and it is unthinkable that infinite Life could produce death.
Next, suppose we ask this person a question or two. Is your sorrow for your friend? Has the experience he has gone through done him any harm? It could not have done so. He has but passed the portal of a new experience. On the other hand, are you grieved on account of the loss you have sustained? It may not seem easy to rise above grief, but as you awaken, through your study of Christian Science, to see that nothing has occurred to deprive you in any way of a single manifestation of God's love and care, you will gain a complete victory over it. As our textbook points out (p. 386): "You will learn at length that there is no cause for grief, and divine wisdom will then be understood. Error, not Truth, produces all the suffering on earth."
To go back to the passage from Luke we quoted in the beginning, the third group mentioned was "the captives." The captives were to be delivered. Today every human being is in bondage to some extent. Physical slavery has been largely abolished, but mental slavery is still common: bondage to false education, to custom, to caste, to unjust laws. Mrs. Eddy yearned to make known to those so enslaved the freedom which was rightfully theirs. She wrote on page 226 of Science and Health, "The voice of God in behalf of the African slave was still echoing in our land, when the voice of the herald of this new crusade sounded the keynote of universal freedom, asking a fuller acknowledgment of the rights of man as a Son of God, demanding that the fetters of sin, sickness, and death be stricken from the human mind and that its freedom be won, not through human warfare, not with bayonet and blood, but through Christ's divine Science."
Many people are not aware that they are in bondage. Of those who are aware of it, many are not seeking a way out. It is the human mind which is fettered, and those fetters can be broken only through a desire for freedom, a desire so fervent that it will reach out and grasp some phase of truth, a knowledge of which will set free, as Jesus promised.
Under the heading "Mental emancipation" Mrs. Eddy has written (Science and Health, pp. 224, 225): "The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love. . . . Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free."
From Genesis to Revelation the message of the Bible is "overcome." "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" is its heartening message to each one of us. But this overcoming does not imply a battling with evil as a terrifying reality. Rather is it a lifting of our thought above it through a recognition of what is really true about ourselves as "sons of God."
Every human being must deal with the belief of evil, and he must deal with it either from the basis that it is true, or that it is false. Many deal with evil as something which is real and true. The Christian Scientist has learned to deal with evil as something which God did not make, hence neither real nor true. Let us see how our Master dealt with it. Was it the purpose of Jesus' mission to support the claim of evil's reality, or to deny it? to make something of it, or to make nothing of it? Did not his every act tend to prove that the real man is free from every phase of evil?
There is a story told about Abraham Lincoln. At a critical moment during one of the battles an officer came to him and said, "Mr. Lincoln, don't you think that we should pray for God to be on our side?" And Lincoln said, "Better pray that we be on God's side." Overcoming is then really a casting in of our lot with God. God will be found to be our ever-present help when we rely on Him.
Appetites and passions claim to enslave humanity through a belief that the body is intelligent and can therefore experience pleasure. Christian Science differs from all other religions in its teaching that there is no intelligence or reality in matter. When through the study of Christian Science one awakens to the great truth that sin confers no pleasure (Science and Health, p. 404) he awakens also to the powerlessness of the passions to enslave him; then he begins to intelligently assert his dominion over them, and becomes free. The warfare against sin and sickness must be waged and the victory won before we can enter fully upon the joys of the kingdom of heaven.
For centuries some well-meaning persons have attempted to reform the sinful through fear of punishment, but experience has shown that genuine righteousness is not brought about in that way. Fear of punishment never made anyone really good. The utmost it could do would be to make him negatively good, that is, just as good as trying not to be bad could make him.
Jesus told us that except our righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, which was a mere keeping of the letter of the law, we could not enter into the kingdom of heaven. To enter that kingdom we must be "born again." What does that mean? John explains it, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." Commenting on this passage, Mrs. Eddy has written (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 182): "'As many as received him;' that is, as many as perceive man's actual existence in and of his divine Principle, receive the Truth of existence; and these have no other God, no other Mind, no other origin; therefore, in time they lose their false sense of existence, and find their adoption with the Father; to wit, the redemption of the body. Through divine Science man gains the power to become the son of God, to recognize his perfect and eternal estate."
"To recognize his perfect and eternal estate" to recognize the inherent perfection of his true selfhood that should be the aim, the goal of every human being.
That statement raises a question: What am I? We human beings are prone to think of ourselves as material beings, as weighing so much, as being tall or short, stout or thin, as occupying so much space. But this assumption requires examination. Is my body my true selfhood? Am I my body? Is it not obvious that I must be more than anything I call mine, whether it be my brain or my body? If my real selfhood is much greater than anything I call mine, what am I? Is it not clear that I must be "the outcome of God" (Science and Health, p. 250), God's child. His idea?
But another question arises, Where am I? Where do I live? Do I live inside my material body, or outside of it? If I live inside of it, how is it that I seem to know more about the outside than the inside of it? But is there any proof whatever that I reside inside my body? If not, then where do I live? The Bible answers this question. In Acts 17:28 we may read, "In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being." How understandable that is! God being infinite, omnipresent Mind, and man being His child, His idea, surely he lives in Mind. Indeed he cannot get outside of infinite Mind, because infinity has no outside.
Another question: If, as our textbook points out (Science and Health, p. 209), "the material and mortal body or mind is not the man," what is the relationship between me and what is called my body? Or, What is my body? It is simply a manifestation of humanity's concept of man, plus my concept of myself.
Because my body expresses more or less accurately my concept of man, how important that I should give it something worth expressing. Hear this statement from our textbook (Science and Health, p. 208): "You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness."
Were I habitually to think sickly thoughts about myself my body would express sickness. If, on the other hand, I were to learn through Christian Science what is really true about myself as God's expression, and then were to hold thought steadfastly to that ideal, my body would undoubtedly express harmony and health.
Physical healing comes about as a natural result of a change of thought, a change from fearful thinking about oneself to that truer thinking which recognizes man as under God's good government now. Behind such a concept is the truth which makes free.
Today one can frequently hear verbal testimony as to the healing and regenerating power of Christian Science in his own locality. Such testimonies are given at the Wednesday evening meetings of Christian Science churches everywhere. Authenticated testimonies are also published in every issue of The Christian Science Journal, published monthly, and the Christian Science Sentinel, published weekly. Copies of these periodicals may be read or purchased at any Christian Science Reading Room.
The next phase of the Christ-mission mentioned by Luke was the "recovering of sight to the blind." You will remember that when John's disciples came to Jesus to inquire whether he was the one that should come, Jesus pointed to his works and said, "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Jesus gave them convincing evidence that the prophecy we referred to before was being fulfilled. John tells us in the ninth chapter of his gospel of the healing of a man who had been blind from his birth, and that many people had seen him after his sight had been restored.
Today there are some critics who while they admit that blindness was healed in New Testament times, claim that the time for such healings is past, and that they cannot be expected now. For their information I am glad to be able to tell you that I know two women who have been healed through Christian Science of total blindness of long standing.
To Christ Jesus there was no incurable disease, and to those who understand and employ the Christ-method diseases which are commonly regarded as incurable are curable. What is it that makes disease incurable? Not the disease itself, but human ignorance, ignorance of the remedy, ignorance of how to overcome it. Today there are instances on record of the healing of every commonly known disease. If in a single instance a specific disease has been healed, does it not prove that that disease is not incurable? As Christian Scientists grow toward a complete understanding of God and man as revealed through the teachings of our Master and Christian Science, they will be able to deal more and more successfully with disease, by whatever name it may be known.
Sometimes Christians have been deterred from making vigorous and effective efforts to overcome disease because they have been taught that it is God's will that they should be ill. Such teaching may have been based on a belief in predestination, which is defined by Webster as follows: "The purpose or decree of God from eternity respecting all events; esp., the preordination of men to everlasting happiness or misery." Predestinate is a New Testament word, but where it is used in the eighth chapter of Romans the text refutes any belief that God predestines evil or disease for men. Here is the passage, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." No child of God is predestined to misery.
In order to overcome our ills one of the first steps we must take is to learn that God is not their author, that He did not cause, create, or send them; that He is good and good only; that His love completely surrounds, enfolds, and protects us, therefore there is nothing to fear. If we succeed in wholly overcoming our fear the manifestation of illness will soon disappear.
Through a study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook we shall learn that the kingdom of heaven is not a place, is not a locality, but, to quote from our textbook (p. 291), "a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal, because sin is not there and man is found having no righteousness of his own, but in possession of 'the mind of the Lord,' as the Scripture says."
The Bible describes the kingdom of heaven as "at hand" and "within you." That is, the kingdom of heaven is here now, awaiting humanity's opening of its mental eyes to perceive it.
The next phase of the Messianic mission of Christ Jesus mentioned in the passage we quoted from Luke was "to set at liberty them that are bruised." A translation of this passage from the Aramaic reads, "to strengthen with forgiveness them who are bruised." This would seem to imply that the phrase referred not to the physically bruised, but rather to the morally or spiritually needy. Jesus' mission was to meet humanity's needs, both physical and spiritual. The mission of Christian Science is identical. Hear this statement from Mrs. Eddy as given on pages 4 and 5 of "Miscellaneous Writings": "It is not alone the mission of Christian Science to heal the sick, but to destroy sin in mortal thought. This work well done will elevate and purify the race. It cannot fail to do this if we devote our best energies to the work."
Through the study of Christian Science sickness has been healed, sin has been forsaken, and lives have been reformed. Let me give you an illustration. I quote from The Christian Science Monitor of August 8, 1939: "A traveling salesman, physically well and not at all religiously inclined, made an agreement with his invalid wife that he himself would go to a Christian Science church, wherever he happened to be on Sundays, provided she would study Christian Science. Neither knew anything about this Science, but the husband felt that his wife, who had found no relief from sickness through material means might, as a last resort, turn to Christian Science for help and regain her health. He soon discovered, however, that he was the one in most need of healing. He found release from the periodic desire to indulge in alcoholic excesses, from the habit of gambling and of using profane language, from the craving for tobacco, and from a generally pessimistic view of life.
What transformation came to that home! Happiness, health, joy, unity, and love displaced inharmony and ill health, and the true sense of home became visibly manifested. Such is the love of our Father-Mother, meeting the needs of the erstwhile wayward one as soon as he turns towards the Father's house."
Some of us may have believed in the past that if we prayed fervently for forgiveness, it would be granted, and then we might be free to start again on a life of wrongdoing. But Christian Science is showing us that sin cannot be forgiven unless it is forsaken; that sin and its penalty are inextricably associated, and that the penalty cannot be removed until the sin has been overcome; that sin brings suffering and the suffering can disappear only with the disappearance of the sin which caused it.
The Greek word which has been translated "sin" in the New Testament means "missing the mark," that is, humanity looks for pleasure and satisfaction where there is none. Sin, then, is based upon illusion, and its remedy is the truth which will dispel such illusions. Let me state this truth briefly. Man, God's expression, is governed wholly by God, divine Mind, and finds his joy and satisfaction in obedience to Mind. The so-called carnal mind, expressed in selfishness, greed, hatred, false appetites, passions, etc., having no real existence, possesses no power either to entice or to dominate men, nor can it yield them any real pleasure, profit, or satisfaction.
Some of us have been taught that unforsaken sin will be punished in some future state by material fire; but Christian Science is showing us that the fiery punishment for sin is as immaterial as the sin, that it may be, as Mrs. Eddy has expressed it (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 160), "the fire of a guilty conscience, waking to a true sense of itself, and burning in torture until the sinner is consumed, his sins destroyed. . . . Only the makers of hell burn in their fire."
In this bandit-ridden, war-torn world millions of persons are being sinned against, their rights trampled upon, their homes destroyed, their families scattered. These people need our help, and we can help them, not through hatred of their oppressors, but through our knowledge of what is really true about God and man; through our understanding of the impotence of greed and hatred, and the omnipotence of good to protect and supply abundantly everyone who confidently trusts in it. We know that the remedy for hate and its effects is not violence, but love rightly understood and practiced. We know that the proper conclusion of a war is not merely to put an end to the fighting, but to bring the warring nations in line with the unerring government of divine Principle.
Jesus intimated that knowledge of the truth would make free. Then through our understanding of the truth about God and man we shall be able to help those who desire our help. This raises a question, Am I doing my utmost to help in the present situation?
Frequently one is asked. What can I do to stop this war? It may not be easy to put the teachings of Christian Science in a sentence, but Christian Science is teaching the powerlessness of evil, and the potency, the omnipotence, of good, and it is showing its students how to prove this.
To test our alertness and our eagerness to do what we can to end war, suppose we ask ourself some questions:
Am I doing as much in my way to stop this war as I should expect a soldier to do in his way?
Am I as careful to protect myself from the assaults of mental propaganda as I should expect a soldier to be to protect himself from shot and shell?
Am I as vigilant in foreseeing the moves of the adversary as I should expect a general to be?
Am I endeavoring daily to know that those who are willingly offering their all in defense of what they know to be right, will not lose anything, and that the Principle of the cause they uphold will protect all who intelligently claim its protection?
Am I as tireless and energetic in my efforts to prove that God alone governs as others seem to be to prove that will power, greed, and hatred can dominate the world?
If so, then I may be assured that the weapons of my warfare, though not carnal, are, as Paul put it, "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" and "casting down . . . every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God."
Someone has said, "There is no leveler like Christianity, but it levels by lifting all who receive it to the lofty tableland of a true character." In the measure that we perceive and accept the truth about man it is possible for each one of us to begin today to lay off any false concepts of man we may have been entertaining, thoughts of self, sin, and materiality, and this growth may go on, must go on, until we arrive at the full understanding of man, in the likeness of God. What a glorious prospect Christian Science holds before us! Nothing can prevent its attainment. Hear this statement from Mrs. Eddy as given in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 15): "What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the 'old man,' until man is found to be the image of the infinite good that we name God, and the fullness of the stature of man in Christ appears."
That is our destiny, perfection, "the kingdom of heaven in man" (Science and Health, p. 560). Every one of us will some day reach it. No child of God will ever be lost. No one can get outside of infinite Love. The sooner we accept the truth about ourselves the better. So let us pray daily in the words of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy (Poems, p. 14):
"Shepherd, show me how to go
O'er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,
How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
"Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still,
Break earth's stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren short,
Lab'ring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And Thou know'st Thine own."
[Delivered Nov. 2, 1943, in the Murat Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, under the auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis, and published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Nov. 5, 1943.]