Peter B. Biggins, C.S.B., of Seattle, Washington
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Peter B. Biggins, C.S.B., of Seattle, Washington, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, delivered a lecture entitled "Christian Science: True Science Meeting Modern Needs," this noon under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in Colonial Theater.
The lecturer was introduced by Harry C. Browne, First Reader in The Mother Church, who said:
Allow me, on behalf of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city, to welcome you to this noonday lecture on Christian Science.
Most of us are familiar with the expression, "Necessity is the mother of invention," and the truth of the saying has been evidenced in the many material contrivances which have been invented to meet human needs.
Christian Science, which is the true demonstrable knowledge of God, explains that these "human inventions" foreshadow the coming of a more perfect Christianity. In "Miscellaneous Writings" Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote:
"Proportionately as we part with material systems and theories, personal doctrines and dogmas, meekly to ascend the hill of Science, shall we reach the maximum of perfection in all things."
Mrs. Eddy plainly connects the demonstration of all supply with God. Again, in the same volume, she wrote:
"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."
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Many of you have come to this lecture with the hope that you may find that Christian Science will aid you in the practical affairs of daily life. That is a reasonable hope. This is a practical age in which we are living. Many problems call for solution. It is right, then, that we should find the Principle which solves these problems.
Some of you already have become convinced that this Principle is God, because in your daily lives you have proved this to be so. Others hope to find that this is true. My friends, Christian Science brings to you the assurance that all the blessings which you rightfully seek can be enjoyed by understanding the divine Principle of your being, and by practicing the rules of this Principle in their Science. It affirms that human discords can be dispelled by understanding and demonstrating the harmony of being. What could be more desirable than that? Most of us would think that the solution of our individual problem would mean for us a real foretaste of heaven here and now. This is indeed true. At this point these words of Mary Baker Eddy, written in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 6), are timely and significant, "To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being."
A number who are here have given valuable years to study. With diligent application, you have prepared yourselves for your life-work. To this end you have studied what you understand to be the principle underlying this particular activity. The engineer, the accountant, and others, have studied the principle of mathematics; the musician has studied the principle of music — and so on. May I indicate to you that the time comes when you may go still further and gain a broader, more expansive view of the one all-inclusive Principle of all Science, namely the one Mind, whom we know as God? Will you, then, bear with me while I bring to your attention some simple, basic facts regarding this divine Principle of harmonious being, and its application to modern needs, as made clear in Christian Science?
For this purpose, let our thoughts go back to an earlier day, nearly two thousand years ago. There has just appeared on earth a man who understands this Principle of being. We know him as Jesus of Nazareth. On account of his Godlike nature he is worthy to be called Jesus the Christ. The Bible very briefly records his remarkable life and work. It tells us in simple words of his sinless origin. It relates a little about his boyhood; and what an example it is for every boy and girl, for every man and woman! We learn that he "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."
One of the important lessons which we learn from the life and work of Jesus the Christ is the blessing of the realization that God is ever present. This consciousness of God's ever-presence does indeed meet our needs. We have heard this assurance given many times. Until we learned the lessons of Christian Science, however, many of us have not been able to make this practically available. In Christian Science we find that God is good; not merely that God expresses the quality of goodness, but that He Himself is infinite good. The practical value of this lies in the fact that, as we realize the nearness of God, we are enjoying the presence of good. Every problem, every difficulty, which we seem to have, implies a belief in the absence of some phase of good. Thus the realization of the presence of God, infinite good, brings the solution of our every problem. How comforting it is to know that everyone without exception may enjoy the sweet consciousness of God's presence! All may prove the truth of what the Psalmist proclaimed, when he sang, "In thy presence is fulness of joy."
It was the Master's clear sense of the ever-presence and omnipotence of good, God, and of man's true individuality as the likeness of God that enabled him to heal the sick. In the Gospel of Matthew it is related that at one time a leper came to him, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Jesus put forth his hand and touched him — used spiritual power that reached the patient's need — saying, "I will; be thou clean." And "immediately his leprosy was cleansed." Christ Jesus utilized the love of God. He afforded us a perfect example. His great command, "that ye love one another," can be fulfilled to the extent that we understand the power and presence of divine Love.
Christian Science sheds a light on the basis of Christ Jesus' work, and this is of great value to us today in using the true Science which he taught and demonstrated. Turning to the Glossary of Science and Health (p. 594), we find this definition of "Spirit": "Divine substance; Mind: divine Principle; all that is good; God; that only which is perfect, everlasting, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite." Are you seeking that which is good? Do you know that it is your right to enjoy all that is good? Christian Science declares and proves that you will find the real good which you seek in Spirit, because Spirit is "all that is good." You will readily admit that the works wrought by Christ Jesus were good. The healing of the leper was obviously a good work. It was the outcome of the Master's understanding of Spirit, God, his divine Principle. Such works as this were possible because he knew how to apply spiritual law, the law of Spirit. He was indeed a true Scientist.
A number of years before the 1849 gold rush to California, a party westward bound was traveling through Nevada. The members of this party were greatly in need of water, and at last they came to a spring which flowed freely. Here they quenched their thirst, and watered their horses. This spring had been flowing for centuries before they came to it, and it is still there; and those who live near by tell of this welcome find by those early travelers. Thousands of people today are reaching out for the enjoyment of a greater degree of harmony, health, and happiness. This harmony has always been here. The way to make use of it, however, needed to be discovered and definitely stated in practical form. Christ Jesus spoke of the truth he presented as a well of "living water." In this age Mrs. Eddy has discovered anew the practical means of drawing from this well. Many who have become weary and footsore, journeying through the desert of mortal beliefs, have now come to this well of living water, and through the study of Christian Science are being refreshed and healed. They gratefully accord to Mrs. Eddy due credit for the part which she has played in presenting to humanity the Science of Christianity. Mrs. Eddy was far in advance of other thinkers; she saw far into the realm of Spirit. She discerned spiritual law and its immediate application to our present human needs. Referring to her discovery, she writes in Science and Health (p. 109), "I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God; and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration."
As an illustration of Mrs. Eddy's success in healing by spiritual means, the following incident may be related. About the year 1869, she was called to attend a patient of a distinguished physician, who pronounced the patient dying of pneumonia. When the doctor saw this sufferer restored to health by Mrs. Eddy through prayer, he asked earnestly if she had a work describing her system of healing. He urged her to write a book to explain this method to the world. As Mrs. Eddy's healing work expanded, the demand for her service grew to such an extent that it was impossible for her to meet it in person. Then she had to entrust this work to those whom she taught. This pressing demand led her to write the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health. It further led in due time to the organizing of the Church of Christ, Scientist.
Mrs. Eddy gave freely to mankind. Her life was one of deep love for humanity. When she spoke in The Mother Church for the first time on May 26, 1895, there was in the audience a young man who later wrote in part to his mother, referring to Mrs. Eddy: "She must have spoken for twenty minutes, and it meant volumes to me. It was all love — God's love, and Christ's great commandment, Love one another." He went on to say, in substance, that you feel as though she were "your best friend." It is not only those who have had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Eddy, or of hearing her speak, who have thought as this young man thought. Through her writings, and especially the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, unnumbered thousands have been blessed by Mrs. Eddy's love for God and man. They, too, reverently testify to the fact that she has been their best friend.
The basis of the healing work of Christian Science is so simple that some may have overlooked its vital importance. It is discerned by those who are humble in heart. This basis is an understanding of God's power, presence, and allness; the realization that man is God's likeness; the ability to lay hold, mentally, of the desired spiritual good, and to appropriate it, thus bringing it into demonstration. This method is fully described in the Christian Science textbook.
Mrs. Eddy caught a glimpse of the harmony to which Christ Jesus referred, when, in the prayer which he gave to his disciples and to all humanity in his Sermon on the Mount, he addressed God in these terms, "Our Father which art in heaven." She saw the vital significance of this great prayer, and in her matchless spiritual interpretation of it, she thus explains its opening words, "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious" (Science and Health, p. 16). In this fact of the all-harmonious nature of God, the one divine Mind, we find our true starting point.
To the Christian Scientist the use of the Lord's Prayer is the utilization of a truly scientific law applied to human needs. Since God, our Father-Mother, our creator, is all-harmonious, man, God's image, enjoys this harmony in all his true activities. Man is fully supplied with all that he needs. He is equipped by divine intelligence, fortified by divine wisdom, enriched by the infinite resources of Soul. His health is unfailing, because health is an attribute of the one divine Mind, and man forever enjoys this unfailing health.
So also when the Christian Scientist uses the Ten Commandments he is utilizing divine law, applying divine Principle to modern needs. Thus the daily use of the Lord's Prayer and of the Ten Commandments provides the opportunity for diligent research. As you prove the power of divine law in the seemingly small affairs of daily life, you will be gratified also to see the same rule operating in larger affairs. This law is the law of perfection, derived from man's perfect Principle, and expressed by man, God's perfect spiritual idea. Perfection is the unchanging fact. In all true Christian Science demonstration, the harmony brought out in daily life is evidence of the fact that man is, in reality, perfect and harmonious, now and always.
What has Christian Science to offer to help us in the home? The great boon which it brings is the true understanding of divine Love, and the ability to express Love, the divine Principle of man's being. Divine Love is manifested in tender consideration for others. We know its value when we practice it. Divine Love prompts us to right doing. Its sweet impulses lead upward to happier, healthier living. It hallows the home, and surrounds it with an impenetrable wall of protection. Against this impregnable defense the shafts of envy, jealousy, impurity, evil-speaking, mischief-making, fall powerless. Within the home protected by divine Love, each one develops normally, and attains more fully to his higher capabilities. The tender thought of the child is thus shielded, until he grows to the point of self-government. Then, fortified by the understanding of good, he is able to make right decisions in mastering life's problems, to make them promptly, and adhere to them firmly.
The business man finds in the understanding of Christian Science the "pearl of great price." Whether his business is small or large, whether he is employer or employee, he needs to utilize spiritual understanding. At the Wednesday evening meetings in Christian Science churches, testimonies are frequently given by business men telling how Christian Science has met their needs. By seeking first the kingdom of God, they have found that their pressing problems have been solved.
You have seen a brook, coursing along its rocky bed down the mountainside into a lake of pure clear water. You have seen a river flowing out of this lake, and you may have learned that the lake is fed by countless unseen springs, which keep it pure and clear, and the stream which flows from it active. On the other hand, you have seen a pool of water lying stagnant and unpleasant, because it does not have these hidden springs, and it does not overflow or give out, lacking the supply which makes such activity, such ceaseless giving, possible. These facts may point to what we need in the mental, moral, and spiritual realm. It is our necessity to give out continually. But in order to impart, we need also to imbibe; we need to have the continual renewal of a true spiritual animus. The wisest thinkers of all ages have proclaimed with remarkable unanimity that this refreshment is derived from a power and presence which is unseen by the physical senses; and they have been strikingly consistent in calling this power and presence God.
Christian Science goes still further. No longer need our trust in God be vague and uncertain. Now it can be scientific, accurate, usable in all the details of human existence, thanks to the revelation of Christian Science given to this age by Mrs. Eddy, who has defined God as divine Principle, operating through law.
Let us trace the course of this river, flowing out from the lake high up in the mountain. It runs amid beautiful scenes, through verdant valleys. It dances over steep and ragged rocks. All along the way it brings blessing, and richness, and freshness. The cattle on its banks slake their thirst. The lambkins drink of its waters, and gambol with joy. The river winds downward until it comes to the plain, and wherever it goes, orchards bloom and bear. It flows onward through a desert, and here the hands of man cooperate, and through irrigation its waters are spread abroad, making the desert, in the language of Holy Writ, to "rejoice, and blossom as the rose."
Just as the desert places are now enjoying the refreshing streams from the mountain summits, so into the seemingly drab experiences of daily life comes the rich, full, flowing tide of boundless Love, bringing refreshment, healing, abundance, and peace. This refreshing current of true thought, coming as it does today in Christian Science, is blessing humanity abundantly. The avenues provided by The Mother Church, founded by Mrs. Eddy, by which these living waters are reaching needy hearts, are many. Let us briefly consider some of these avenues. First is the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by our revered Leader. Nothing can take the place of this volume, which, studied along with the Bible, is bringing new life, new hope to those in need. Our Leader's other writings, including the Manual of The Mother Church, are necessary for the instruction and guidance of those who desire to avail themselves of the blessings of Christian Science. Everyone should be encouraged to possess his own copies of these priceless volumes. By means of our quarterly, monthly, and weekly periodicals, and our daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, these living waters are flowing into every avenue of human thought, bringing refreshment, healing, and peace. Our Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings, our Reading Rooms, and all the other activities of our movement are meeting the needs of humanity. All these are essential in this life-giving, healing ministry. The earnest student of Christian Science avails himself of every avenue thus made available.
God sees His children as they really are, perfect, spiritual, harmonious, expressing the beauty, health, strength, grandeur, and perfection of the divine Mind. It is your sacred privilege, my dear friends, and mine, to see ourselves as God sees us, to "know as we are known." In this fact of perfect being, we find the solution of our every problem, the supply for every need. Has your problem appeared to be hard to solve? Take fresh courage, and press on. Study "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, with a humble heart, with renewed resolve, listening for the voice of God. So doing, you cannot fail to find the blessing which you seek, and which is yours for the asking. It has done this for thousands. It will do this, and more, for you.
May you, as did the needy ones of an earlier day, feel the touch of the healing Christ, and know that you are whole, that you are now free from every ill which tempts you to believe in its reality, existence, and power. May you learn to be about your "Father's business," and enjoy the abundant blessings which flow from practical obedience to the divine Principle of your being. May you enjoy continually the sweet sense of the ever-presence of divine Love, the power of omnipotent good; for in this consciousness you, too, will find that it meets your every need.
[Delivered Nov. 4, 1938, in the Colonial Theater, Boston, Massachusetts, under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, and published in The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 4, 1938.]