Gavin W. Allan, C.S.B., of Toronto, Ontario
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Whenever the name Christian Science is mentioned today, even when those who know but little about it, thought is turned immediately and naturally to the subject of healing, because "Christian Science" and "healing" have come to be intimately associated in the minds of many just as the name of Lincoln and the idea or thought of emancipation have come to be inseparable in the minds of most people, so among an ever-growing multitude the terms Christian Science and healing have come to be inseparably associated.
Indeed, between the great work of Lincoln and the lifework of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, there is more than an accidental relationship. Little more than three years after Lincoln had issued the Proclamation of Emancipation, Mary Baker Eddy discovered what has proved to be the Science of Christianity, a Science which is destined to free humanity everywhere from the mental bonds with which mankind has seemed to be encompassed. Regarding this discovery Mrs. Eddy has written in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" p. 226): "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 acknowledgement of the rights of man as a Son of God, demanding that the fetters of sin, sickness, and death by 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."
Let us consider for a moment some instances of healing, as these are recorded in the early chapters of the Bible. In Genesis 20:17, we read that "Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech;" also in I Kings 13:6, "And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before." These instances of healing in ancient days awaken at least two inquiries. Briefly stated, they are, What is God? and, What is prayer? Or, if we expanded them somewhat, they might be stated thus: Is God both able and willing to help anyone at any time? If so, how may His aid be secured or assured? Is prayer merely our asking or imploring God to do something for us, or does it imply some understanding of the fact that God is ever on our side, ever desires our good, some understanding on our part of God's nature, and an openness or readiness on our part to accept His blessings. Permit me to postpone, for a few moments, the answer to these questions. We shall return to this subject later.
Throughout the Bible there runs as a golden thread the history of men's growing 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; that He was spoken of as a "man of war;" as one who was changeable, repenting of what He has done; as one who could be deterred from His purpose; as a being who could love and hate with apparently equal ease and naturalness. Later, He was thought of as omnipresent; as invisible; as our shepherd; our preserver; our Father, and on up to Christ Jesus' revelation of God as Love. In this respect the Bible is the most human of books. It appeals to us just where we are, for each one of us has been in one or more of the positions indicated along that upward-tending line. Have not we ourselves sometimes thought of God as a being of human form and of human nature, with its injustices and hates? I repeat, the Bible appeals to us just where we are, and, if we are willing to follow, leads us gently on and up to the revelation and demonstration, of God as Love.
During these Old Testament times, when the popular concepts of God seem to us to have been somewhat grotesque, and when the most enlightened of the people seem to have believed God to be capable of both good and evil, there were instances here and there in which the power of God was proved in the protection and preservation of man.
Passing over the wonders wrought in Egypt, the wilderness and Canaan, by Moses, Aaron and Joshua, we have a record of a number of what have been called miracles by Elijah for example, the staying of the cruse of oil, and meal, and the raising of the widow's son at Zarephath; also miracles by Elisha, the increase of the widow's oil, the raising of the Shunammite's son, and the cure of Naaman's leprosy.
These works were wrought through great faith in God. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, reviewing these wonders of olden times, wrote; "Time would fail me to tell . . . of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
I think it can be said in all justice and fairness that these works were wrought through faith rather than understanding; through the prophet's faith in his power as a representative of Jehovah, rather than through an understanding of the nature and allness of God as unchangeable divine Love. The fact that their powers were used, on some occasions, to curse as well as to bless seems to indicate that the basis of these works was not scientific in the strictest sense of the term.
Let us not, however, regard lightly the achievements of these demonstrators of God's power of olden times; rather should we, because of the general lack of enlightenment then existing, esteem them the more highly, and be encouraged the more to emulate their works, seeing we have the assistance of not only a moral and intellectual advancement or enlightenment so generally accepted as belonging to this age, but, what is much more, the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, and Mrs. Eddy's wonderful discovery of the Science of being.
But there is a Science of healing. This was definitely and adequately proved through the 1ife and works of our Master, Christ Jesus. He did not claim that the power belonged to himself; he said, "The Father . . . he doeth the works." They were wrought by an understanding of divine Principle. Sickness was healed; sin was destroyed; death was overcome through his understanding of the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. This Science of healing is predicated upon a beneficent, ever available omnipotence.
Let us look for a moment at some examples of perfect healing. It is recorded in Luke 4:38,39, that Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever and they besought Jesus for her. "And," the record states, "he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them."
Another example of perfect healing is seen in Jesus treatment of sin, as recorded in John 8:3-11. The story is, no doubt familiar to everyone here. The self-righteous scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman taken in adultery. Do you think they brought her to Jesus in order that she might be healed? Did they even expect that he would vindicate their stoning her? Never! They sought only to lead Jesus into a trap in order that they might have a charge against him. What did Jesus do? The record states that ''Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not." But they continued asking, and, in reply to their insisting upon an answer, he said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground." And the woman's accusers, being convicted by their own consciences, stole quietly away one by one. When Jesus saw that none of her accusers had followed up their condemnation by stoning her, he delivered that unutterably compassionate and healing judgment, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Was this mere pardon? Was this simply cleaning the slate, as it were, of past errors that the offender might be free to continue as before? No, it was, "Sin no more." Could you imagine that woman returning to her former life of sin? Never! She was healed.
A further example of perfect healing, in this instance the overcoming of death, is set forth in John 11:38-44. We read that Lazarus had died. His sisters sent for Jesus, who came four days later. On his arrival he tested to some extent the faith of those who had gathered around the tomb by his command to roll away the stone. When they had done this, then is recorded Jesus' prayer of thanksgiving: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me"; his prayer of affirmation, "I knew that thou hearest me always," and, following that (remembering that he himself told us, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them"), may we not call it his prayer of expectation? "Lazarus, come forth.'' And, Lazarus having come forth bound with grave clothes, Jesus commanded them to "loose him, and let him go." I wonder how many felt that the only loosing necessary was the undoing of his cloth bands. I wonder if any there felt the need for the loosing of mental bands? I like to think that he called upon each one present to "loose him," separate him from the false mental pictures they had entertained of him during the past few days.
In all of these instances I have cited it is readily seen that the mission of the Christ is to relieve and release the victim of sin or sickness, never to condemn him; that this is accomplished by condemning the error and not the man: and that Jesus knew enough of error's nothingness to condemn it as nothing and not as something.
The method of healing here illustrated did not belong solely to Jesus, neither was it confined within or limited to his age, his locality, or his person. He taught it to others. He gathered around him at least two groups of students, the twelve and the seventy. He taught them; he commanded them to heal; he sent them out with specific instructions to heal the sick, and on their return commanded their healing work. Nor were such healing works confined to his immediate disciples, or to their pupils: for history records that the healing of the sick was a familiar and recognized activity of the Christian church throughout the first three centuries of its existence, and the New Testament records the raising of the dead by those who had not been under Jesus' personal instruction. This ministry of healing, however, as an activity of the early church, noticeably declined during the third century and was lost, and for over sixteen centuries there existed little tangible evidence that any such Science of healing had ever been taught and demonstrated on this planet.
But the human need was great and the longing for freedom proportionately great. Necessity, which has ever driven the human race to seek and to find relief from its limitations, was at work and succeeded in this as in many other branches of endeavor.
Let us trace its steps. Many a time has it occurred that a news item in a city paper, concerning one of the residents of the city, has passed unnoticed or unremembered. But seldom, indeed, does it occur that such a notice is more widely known, and the possibilities with which it was fraught more clearly seen, a half century later. Yet that is just what has taken place concerning an item that appeared fifty-nine years ago.
The Reporter, a newspaper of Lynn, Mass., of Saturday, Feb. 3, 1866, contained a news item concerning Mrs. Eddy which stated that she fell upon the icy street on the evening of Thursday, Feb. l, and was severely injured; that the doctor who was called found her injuries to be internal and of a severe nature, and that she was removed to her home the following day, though in a very critical condition. After the doctor's departure on Friday she refused to take his medicine and, as she later expressed it, lifted her heart to God. It was natural that a woman who had been, from her very childhood, deeply religious should, in her extremity turn to God. "In childhood," she tells us in Science and Health (p. 359), "she often listened with joy to these words, falling from the lips of her saintly mother, 'God is able to raise you up from sickness' and she pondered the meaning of that Scripture she so often quotes: 'And these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.'"
So on the Sunday following she called for her Bible and began reading the account of the healing, by Jesus, of the palsied man, and as she read a great spiritual experience was hers, the realization then and there of the presence and power of God. In that moment all pain vanished. She rose from her bed, dressed and walked into the parlor where her clergyman and a few friends were sitting, friends who had withdrawn but a few moments before from where they supposed was her death chamber. In that moment Mrs. Eddy did more than experience a cure; she received a revelation for which she had been fitting herself all her life. But to be healed herself was not enough. She must know the Science of this healing in order that others might be healed. For three years, Mrs. Eddy says, she "sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else: kept aloof from society, and devoted tune and energies to discovering a positive rule" (Science and Health, p. 109). She discovered the long lost Science of healing, and submitted it to the very broadest practical tests in the healing of disease of every kind for nine years before writing the Christian Science textbook.
What is this Science of healing? Upon what is it based? Our Master said of his demonstration of this Science, "I can of mine own self do nothing;" "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.'' If, then, God is the basis, foundation, Principle, of this Science of healing, it is important, it is essential to an understanding of the subject, that we learn the nature and character of God. No one had revealed God as fully as did our Master, Jesus Christ. He frequently spoke of what God knows, for example: God knoweth your hearts;" "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him;" "your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." Our Master taught that God knows, knows each of His children intimately. God must, therefore, be Mind, divine Mind, omnipresent divine Mind, who knows all that is true about Himself and each of His children.
Jesus also defined God as Spirit, and the Psalmist, praising God for His all-seeing providence, sang: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." Now, if these definitions are true, that God is Mind, Spirit, omnipresent, that is, everywhere present at all times, then God never has been, is not now, and never will be located in, or confined to, some particular spot, whether that be a temple on earth or a throne in the clouds; neither could He ever have been, nor is He now of human or any other finite form, that is, cannot be corporeal, as we commonly understand and use that term.
Jesus further defined God as good: good, without any least trace of, or any consciousness of evil; "of purer eyes than to behold evil."
There is another word or name which has helped many of us toward a better understanding of God, and for this term we have to thank the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Because God is the only Cause, the only creator, everywhere present and everywhere available, Mrs. Eddy has given us the word Principle, or divine Principle, as a synonym for God and which has helped us to understand the availability of God to meet our needs.
But there is yet a name which defines God to us more fully and endearingly than all the rest; the name used in the epistle of the beloved disciple when he said, "God is love." Is not our God infinitely tender as well as mighty, merciful as well as just, loving as well as intelligent? Does He not cherish, nourish, and protect, as well as create, His divine idea, man? He therefore possesses those qualities we usually think of as feminine as well as those we call masculine, so that we may rightly regard Him as expressing Motherhood as well as Fatherhood, and consistently say, as we have learned in Christian Science, "Our Father-Mother God." Does not our highest concept of parenthood include an unchanging affection, and exclude the possibility of dispensing suffering and distress? We shall therefore be mentally hospitable to the following definition from the Christian Science text book (p. 140): "The Christian Science God is universal, eternal, divine Love, which changeth not and causeth no evil, disease, nor death."
Keeping clearly in mind these descriptions or definitions of God, let us turn our attention to the first account of creation as given in the first chapter of Genesis. There may be some here who do not know that there are two separate and dissimilar accounts of creation in the opening chapters of the Bible. If so, when you go home will you look over the first two chapters of Genesis? In the light of what you hear tonight they will make interesting reading. In the first, or spiritual account, you will find that God was the creator, man was made in God's image, and all that God made was "very good." In the second account you will find that Jehovah, or the Lord God, was the creator, man was made from dust, and woman from a rib, and the creation was not highly satisfactory. Please do not think that I am referring to any new or uncommon version of the Bible. Not at all. I am referring to the Bible I used in the Presbyterian church, the Bible you are using in the Methodist, or the Congregational, the Baptist or Anglican churches. Christian Scientists use the very same Bible, that is, the Authorized, or King James Version.
In the first account of creation you will notice that everything that God made was good like Himself. You will notice that the tenth, twelfth, eighteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-fifth verses of the first chapter close with these words, "And God saw that it was good." and the thirty-first verse sums it all up thus, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." And this good creation included man made in God's image and likeness.
Now, it is a fact well known to every one of us that we have not always thought of man as here described, the perfect image and likeness of God. But, before going further with our definition of man, let me relate an incident which may be illuminating. This incident occurred in our Christian Science Sunday School. The subject of the lesson that day was "Man," and the teacher, singling out two of her scholars, said: "Suppose you two boys were sitting on the east side of a large lake watching a sunset. I should like the first boy to describe the sunset, describing what he sees, and only what he sees. The second boy, we will suppose, is a student. We shall ask him to describe the sunset, not from the standpoint of what he sees alone, but from the standpoint of what he knows actually takes place." Then the first boy, describing what appeared to occur, said: "A small white ball went west in the sky, and as it got nearer the earth it got bigger and redder and sank slowly into the lake." The second boy, who was supposed to know what had actually taken place said: "The sun isn't a small ball, it is a million times bigger than the earth. It didn't go west; it didn't get nearer the earth; it didn't get bigger, or redder, and it didn't fall into the lake, for it is millions of miles away from the earth."
You will notice that the second description was largely made up of "didn'ts". He was denying or destroying the false assertions that had been made to the class by the first pupil. Had these false assertions not been made it is quite probable that his descriptions would have been more positive.
"Now" said the teacher, "I should like the same two boys to describe man in just the same way." The first boy, dealing wholly with appearances, said: "Man is a two-legged animal that wears clothes." The second said: "Man is not just a body, he thinks, expresses intelligence, wisdom, goodness, life, love; why, he's God's likeness."
In order that we may the better define man to ourselves, man as he really is, man as God's likeness, let us go back to our definition of God. Christian Science teaches that God is Mind. Mind's likeness is mental. Mind's children are ideas. Man is therefore a mental being, an idea of Mind. Is this altogether new to you? Let us see. When you were children and you wanted some advice given you, or some favor shown you, did you choose the friend to whom you went for such counsel or kindness, by size or weight? Or did you select him because he was wise or kind, loving or generous? In other words, you recognized him as a mental being, and chose him for his mental qualities.
And you, Mr. Businessman, how do you choose your employees for promotion to more responsible positions; is it not because of honesty, courtesy, intelligence, etc. mental qualities all? You recognize your employees as mental beings.
We defined God as Spirit. Man, His likeness, is therefore a spiritual being, and as such expresses what Paul has called the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc.
John defined God as Love, and Jesus not only taught by narrative and parable God's loving care for His children, that they would be more surely fed than the birds, and clothed than the lilies, but in the doing of God's will, in manifesting the Father, he proved by his deeds that God is Love. He proved that God could not send sickness, because in the doing of God's will he overcame sickness. He proved that God could not and did not, cause sin and death, because in the doing of Gods will he destroyed them both. If man, then, is the likeness of God, of Love, he is loving, lovable, and lovely. He is Love's child, enfolded in and protected by divine Love. Is not this what the Psalmist meant when he sang: "Because thou hast made . . . the most High, thy habitation" (in other words because thou art conscious of Love's ever-presence), "there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
Much as we should like to continue the discussion of this subject, we must leave it for a moment to consider its opposite fear.
Have you ever been afraid? Most people have. What have they feared? Everything, anything, very frequently, nothing. They have feared the weather in all its moods. They have been afraid to go out, and afraid to stay in; afraid of the dark, and afraid of the light. They have feared their bodies every day in the year, and every hour of the day. They have feared things they have seen, and things they have never seen, and would not recognize should they see them. They have been afraid of evil, and afraid of good; afraid of God, or their concept of God.
Now the Bible contains many an admonition to "fear not," "be not afraid," etc. In fact, in the very language of the Commandments it declares, "Thou shalt not be afraid, " but John gave us the remedy when he said: "God is love; . . . there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear."
The first great message of Christian Science to mankind is the reiteration of the message of Jesus, "Be not afraid," and it is showing us, just as Jesus did, the needlessness of fear.
To illustrate: If you had a parent who was with you all the time, who loved you, and could conquer any or all enemies, would you be afraid of anything you would meet? Has not Jesus taught us that we have a Parent who is ever with us, who loves us more than we love ourselves, and who is not only mighty, or almighty, but omnipotent, the only power? Why should we fear? Just here let me quote a verse or two from one of the hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal (No. 81):
"In atmosphere of love divine,
We live, and move, and breathe;
Tho' mortal eyes may see it not;
'Tis sense that would deceive.
"The Principle of being, God,
Is with us ev'rywhere;
He holds us perfect in His love,
And we His image bear."
In the healing of the sick this is the first and great step the overcoming, the destruction of fear; and this is done through understanding, knowledge of the facts, understanding the truth about God's infinite Love for us, His power, His presence, His Fatherhood, and our sonship. John tells us in his first epistle, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God," sons of God, with all that term implies of God's provision, God's protection, and God's perfection. We see, then, that fear, which is ofttimes the foundation of sickness, could never be overcome by any such strange methods as mesmerism, hypnotism, or suggestion, but only through knowledge of the truth, as Jesus himself declared, "The truth shall make you free."
Let us turn our attention now to a question which many of you have no doubt asked yourselves: If God made all, and His creation is good, like Himself, whence comes the evil?
Permit me to use another illustration. Suppose a friend rushed into your house some night and besought your protection and help. You saw that he was flushed and perspiring, and evidently fearing a pursuer who was not in sight, and upon inquiry as to what was his trouble he told you that he was chased by a ghost, up in the park or woods. Now, what was his trouble? What will set it right? If you know that there is no such thing as a ghost, you will be in a position not only to detect his trouble, but to help him. You will see that this plight arose from a supposition. True, he may have seen some reflected moonlight, or a newspaper, but you know he does not fear either of these. He supposed it to be something else. Then he believed it had life to chase him, intelligence to follow him, and malice to harm him. Then he feared, and had some of fears effects, which might have developed into sickness and even death.
Here we have an illustration of the whole process of evil's supposed inception and development: (1) A supposition that there is something besides God and His good creation. (2) A belief that this something, called matter and evil, has life and intelligence. (3) A fear that this matter or evil can harm us. (4) The effects of that fear.
Now, before we go any further, I want to ask you how you would heal this man. Would you wipe away his perspiration, paint his face a normal color, use some mechanical or surgical means to adjust the beating of his heart? Would that heal him? Remember, his disease is not perspiration or palpitation; it is belief in, and fear of, ghosts. No, that treatment will not heal. But if, through your knowledge of the truth about ghosts, your desire to help him and his willingness to be helped, you assist him to see and accept that which is true, he will not only be freed from the false belief, but from the effects also.
How long will it take to heal him? The very moment your friend really accepts the truth about the event he will be healed. Just so it is with the healing of disease. It can disappear as readily as darkness before light. When under the light of truth one sees the folly and unreality of his false belief, turns from it, and wholeheartedly accepts in its place that which is eternally true, he can be free. I have known it to occur. I know a number of people who have been healed within a few minutes. There are Christian Scientists in almost every city on this continent, doubtless here in your own city, who could tell you of instances of almost instantaneous healing which have occurred within their personal observation. You will have seen, by means of these illustrations, that disease is not of the body, primarily, but of the human mind, and because of this the remedy must be mental, even the eternal truth about man as God's child, expression or reflection.
In the illustration we used a moment ago of your effort to heal your friend of the ghost belief, you have been given a hint of some of the needful steps in the healing of sickness. We said, you will remember, that through your friend's desire and willingness to be helped, through your affection for your friend, your unselfed desire to help him, and your knowledge of the truth of the situation, he was healed of that belief. A Christian Science treatment, or prayer, must then include an understanding of the truth about God, and about man as His likeness, His perfect child; an affection so unselfed as to desire another's good only; a confidence in God's allness; and an understanding of the absolute nothingness of any supposed opposite.
It is just possible that an illustration from the realm of mathematics might assist us to understand some essential phases of prayer. Suppose that a boy in working out a problem in mathematics has allowed one or more errors, to creep into his work, and the answer is consequently wrong. Beginning again to work it out, what should be his attitude? This. He knows that the principle of mathematics is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows that it is available to him to the solution of his problem. He knows also that if from the beginning to the end of his work he conforms his thinking to that principle and rule step by step, his answer will be right, and he wants his problem solved, not this way, nor that way, nor even his own way, but according to the principle of mathematics.
Now, to make use of this illustration, the Christian Scientist should know that God is unchanging Love, the same yesterday, today and forever. He should know that God, the divine Principle of the universe, is available to him wherever he is, to the solution of any problem in his life. He should want the problem solved, not his way, nor this one's way, nor that one's way, but God's way. And he should know that if he conforms his thinking about it to that which is absolutely true, step by step, rejecting what is false and accepting what is true, he will reach the correct solution of his problem.
Here are indicated some of the essential features of prayer, prayer that is not only desire, but includes self-abnegation, righteousness, understanding, and acceptance.
In such a prayer the element of petition is never lost, because God is recognized as the one upon whom we are absolutely dependent, and from whom we expect to receive.
Such a prayer accords with the statement of the first chapter of Genesis that everything God made was good, therefore evil has no part in His creation.
Such a prayer conforms to the first Commandment, which implies that there is no life, mind, nor power in aught that is unlike God.
Such prayer carries out the command of Jesus to love God and man.
Such prayer follows Jesus' instruction how to pray.
Such prayer heals the sick today as it did nineteen centuries ago,
You will notice in this definition of prayer we have included the feature of affirmation as well as petition, and this may arouse an inquiry in the mind of someone: Do you affirm that you are well when you are sick? How can I say I am well when I know I am not at all well? You do not expect me to do anything as impossible as that, do you? Well, I shall answer your question. Permit me to do it by means of a story or illustration.
Let us suppose that you were out for a stroll with a group of children, and came to a pond out of which slanted a straight stick, partly in and partly out of the water, and the children cried: "Oh, look at the stick! Do you see the stick? See how it is bent just at the top of the water!" And you say, "It does appear to be bent." "Appears to be," say they, ''don't you see that it is bent?" "Yes", you say, "it appears to be, but I have been studying a science that deals with just such an occurrence, and I know that the apparent bend is not in the stick." That is to say, you reach your conclusion, not from appearance, but from the standpoint of science, and you could stand before that stick, with all its apparent crookedness, and say, "I know you are a straight stick." In other words, you saw the straightness of the stick, not in the appearance but in the natural science that related to the situation.
Now you and I are going to judge man in either of these two ways, either from appearance, whereby we might be satisfied to define him as ''a featherless biped" or from the standpoint of the Science which relates to him, the first statement of which is, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them."
Is there any doubt whatever that Jesus knew this, knew that man is the very image of God? Was it not through just such knowing, such righteous knowing, that his healing work was done? Hear this illuminating statement from our textbook, (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."
Jesus attached great importance to the healing of the sick. To the disciples of John he pointed to instances of healing as a proof of his Messiah-ship. He taught his disciples to heal, commanded them to heal, and commended their healing work. Not only so, but he stated that throughout the ages the healing of the sick would be one of the signs that would follow, and thus designate, "them that believe."
These signs are apparent today in the fruits of Christian Science. To be denominated a Christian Scientist means that the individual so designated is an earnest student of the Science of healing; that he has voluntarily entered the army of those who are waging ceaseless warfare against evil, sin and disease included; that he is seeking to establish the reign of righteousness, the reign of right, in every department or activity of his life, and that he is endeavoring, as rapidly as he can, to leave all for Christ.
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." Let me read it again, "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 successful practitioner be a 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 today 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 still 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. His affection went out to all to gather them unto the truth of their spiritual manhood. To quote but 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 today minister successfully to the sick 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. Through the Science of healing which Jesus' taught and demonstrated, and which has been again discovered in this age, sin and sickness are being healed 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. This healing work must go on "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." 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 sin and sickness. There is only one way out. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." The system or Science of healing Jesus taught and demonstrated for us needs no amendment. It needs only to be practiced.
The call is loud today for such practitioners; those who are willing to consecrate their lives to the task of doing for others what Christian Science teaches can be done, and what our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, has proven can be done, namely, the "healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."
Thus doing, and thus only, can we approximate the heights attained and maintained by our beloved Leader in her self-effacing, ceaseless effort to bless mankind, indicated in one of her poems (Poems, p. 13):
"My prayer, some daily good to do
To Thine, for Thee;
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me."