W. Stuart Booth, C.S.B., of Denver, Colorado
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
W. Stuart Booth, C.S.B., of Denver, Colorado, lectured on "Christian Science: The Revelation of Man's God-Given Dominion," Tuesday night under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Indianapolis, at the church edifice, Meridian at Twentieth street. Mr. Booth is a member of The Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. Edwin Larrance introduced the speaker. The lecture follows in full:
Although the Bible states in its very first chapter that God made man in His own image and likeness and gave man dominion over all things, it appears that both the true nature of man and his God-given dominion are sadly lacking from human experience. We find that through human history may be traced the hope, and often the blind endeavor, to obtain the freedom and dominion, which is man's God-bestowed heritage. Practically all of this struggle for freedom and dominion, individually considered, has centered around the human body, since to appearances, therein lies embodied all of human life, strength, and good. This led the Egyptians to labor unceasingly in the building of mausoleums and in perfecting the embalming processes, because, to their sense, immortality depended upon the preservation of their material bodies. Their views and practices may seem extreme and foolish to us, but the amount of attention paid to the human body in what we call this enlightened age, indicates that men have not emerged from the Egyptian darkness to as great an extent, perhaps as they imagine.
To be sure, human endeavor has resulted in marvelous progress along mechanical lines, as witnessed by the telephone, radio, airplane, and other eliminators of time and space. But, while many limitations have been removed through human education, the condition of humanity shows plainly that the root of all bondage and discord has not been eradicated. The axe was laid unto this root two thousand years ago by Christ Jesus, whose work in overcoming sin, sickness, and death, in annulling every so-called material law, was so complete that his life is taken as a perfect pattern of Christianity, and he is accepted by all Christians as the Way-shower.
Now Christian Science is restoring primitive Christianity. It is based upon the works as well as the words of Christ Jesus. It shows, indeed, that the works are of even greater importance than the mere words, since the works illustrate the Science of his doctrine. It is obvious, therefore, that in order truly to learn of Christian Science it is necessary that we gain some proper understanding of Jesus' aim and method, that we attain some approach to his viewpoint, which evidently differed radically from that of the worldly-minded.
The wonderful light of spiritual understanding dawned in the consciousness of Mary Baker Eddy in 1866 as she was led of God to see how and why Christ Jesus healed the sick, overcame sin and death. Immediately she came into a fuller sense of health, strength, freedom, and dominion over evil than she had ever before experienced. The unselfishness and spiritual devotion which had enabled Mrs. Eddy to receive this great blessing also prompted her to share it with others. Thus, due to Mrs. Eddy's consecrated work, the world now has the truth about God and His perfect creation, the clear and demonstrable explanation of God's law of life, liberty, and spiritual dominion. This is found in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Christian Science textbook, which is read and studied in conjunction with the Bible, as its title implies. For the sole purpose of blessing mankind by presenting and preserving intact the pure spiritual truths of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy established The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and in conjunction therewith she also established the Christian Science Publishing Society, which issues weekly, monthly, and quarterly publications as well as the great international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. Great numbers of intelligent, God-fearing men and women entertain a profound sense of loving gratitude to Mary Baker Eddy, because through her spiritual vision and consecrated labors, they have discerned and demonstrated somewhat of the Science of man's God-given dominion.
As we study "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," together with the Bible, we see that Mrs. Eddy derived her spiritual light and understanding from the Scriptures, as she has repeatedly stated. She discerned, declared, and demonstrated the spiritual truths about God and His unchanging laws of harmony and health; and thus she made available to all mankind the protecting and healing law of God, which enabled Christ Jesus to demonstrate man's God-given dominion over all evil. Mrs. Eddy made the world her continuous debtor when she thus enabled each of us to prove that the Bible promise of God-given dominion is not a mere pleasing phrase, nor a mockery of mankind's apparent helplessness, but rather is our dominion over all evil as unalterably true today as when it was first proclaimed and demonstrated by our Exemplar, Christ Jesus.
Now let us examine this subject of dominion somewhat to ascertain its nature and application. First, Christian Science teaches us to base our consideration [of all things from the] standpoint of God as the Father and Mother of all, the Creator and Controller of all that is real and true. According to both Scripture and reason the infinite Creator of all reality is infinite intelligence, omnipotent divine Mind. And since God is the impartial Giver of all good, it follows that divine Mind and divine Love are synonymous terms for the spiritual Principle of the universe, called God. This leads us to see that the reason for the Scriptural statement that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity (Hab. 1:13), is that the divine Principle of harmony, or divine Mind, cannot know discord any more than light can comprehend darkness.
Mrs. Eddy recognized that Christ Jesus classified sin, sickness, sorrow, lack, and death as unrealities, or merely expressions of false human education and belief. He said that he came to "bear witness unto the truth", and in so doing he overcame that which is not true in Gods sight, sin, sickness, and death. Apropos to this point Mrs. Eddy has written in Science and Health, "If sickness is real, it belongs to immortality; if true it is a part of Truth. Would you attempt with drugs, or without, to destroy a quality or condition of Truth? But if sickness and sin are illusions, the awakening from this mortal dream or illusion, will bring us into health, holiness, and immortality. This awakening is the forever coming of Christ, the advanced appearing of Truth, which casts out error and heals the sick. This is the salvation which comes through God, the divine Principle, Love, as demonstrated by Jesus." (p. 230:1)
An account of a healing wrought by our Master, recorded by Matthew, clearly indicates why he spoke as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Read Matt. 8:6-9) The centurion was an officer of the Roman government; he obeyed, as well as enforced the decrees of Caesar, and he spoke with the authority of his government. Thus when a soldier or servant obeyed the centurion, he was in fact obeying the authority of the Roman government, represented by the centurion. Probably this centurion had observed Christ Jesus, had listened to his discourses, and had been impressed by his demonstrations of God's law. This led him to the conclusion that Christ Jesus was living and thinking in accordance with God's law of life and harmony, and that therefore the Master's word or command was supported and enforced by the authority and power of divine law. Hence the centurion's simple, trustful response to Christ Jesus, "speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed," which elicited from our dear Master the glad exclamation, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel;" to which he added to the centurion, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." "And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
This centurion discerned a great truth, namely, that it was God's law and Jesus' obedience thereto, which clothed him with divine authority. Mrs. Eddy makes this clear in Science and Health where she writes: "The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life;' 'I and my Father are one.' This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him. Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man." (26:10)
Although Paul was not a personal follower of Christ Jesus he so clearly and definitely discerned the Christ, the divine manifestation of God, which Jesus preached and proved, that he wrote to the Christians in Rome: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:2) Thus Paul declared what Christ Jesus had proved, namely, that the ever-presence of God's law means present salvation from sin, sickness, discord, and death, to those who understand and obey the divine law of Life and Love.
Now let us return to a further consideration of the healing of the centurion's servant to learn how we may make application of its lessons to our present problems. First, let us see that our servant which needs healing, is, mayhap, our human body. For, according to Christ Jesus and Christian Science, and also according to many modern physicists, the material body is but the expression or servant of thought. Unfortunately this fact is not yet generally recognized and acknowledged, so we see people serving their bodies, and held in chains of fear to false beliefs about their bodies.
Due to the bias of false material theories and education some [people may be incredulous and] even rebellious at this Christian Science teaching that, since God, Spirit is the only Mind and Cause, it follows that matter, the opposite of Spirit, is not causative nor intelligent. However, with this, as with all its teachings, Christian Science has Scriptural authority; for Christ Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." (John 6:63) If the material body were the self-acting and self-governing arbiter of man's life, as is generally believed, Christ Jesus would not have admonished us to take no thought for the body, as is recorded by Matthew (6:25); to which the Master added the injunction that we should seek first the kingdom of God, or the government of God, good, in our thinking.
Sometime since a physician of the so-called regular or allopathic school of medicine told me that he had been forced to the recognition that his medicines had no intrinsic power, but rather were the curative results in his medical practice due to human faith in him or in his medicines. A number of years of successful medical practice, during which he had carried on experiments, had resulted finally in the complete shattering of his ideal of medical practice. The loss of his ideal, and his grief thereat, preyed upon his thought to such an extent that he became ill. Then he turned to Christian Science where he found the Christian and scientific healing means and method of Christ Jesus; and, what was of more importance to him, he coincidently became truly acquainted with God.
Mrs. Eddy makes many clear statements in Science and Health as to the inability of matter and the infinite ability of God. One found on page 187 will serve our present purpose. We read: "The valves of the heart, opening and closing for the passage of the blood, obey the mandate of mortal mind as directly as does the hand, admittedly moved by the will. . . . There is no involuntary action. The divine Mind includes all action and volition, and man in Science is governed by this Mind." Even though you may have believed that your heart acts by itself you can readily see to the contrary; for should one become excited, the action of his heart would thereby be accelerated; or in obedience to some other emotion the heart action would be retarded. Now we are not concerned with controlling the heart action or the action of any other part of the human body. But we are vitally concerned with having our thinking controlled by, and thus being in harmony with God, divine Principle. Then, as Christ Jesus promised, these other things, such as health, peace, and supply shall be added unto us. A woman, who had been allotted but a short time to live by physicians because of extreme heart trouble, turned to God and His law, Christian Science, for help. After several months of study and treatment she appeared no better. Then it was uncovered to her that she had been endeavoring to change or correct her heart action, instead of working to have the Mind which was in Christ Jesus. When she saw that it was not her body which needed correcting, but instead the thought which governed it, she mentally let go of her heart, turned her thought to God, divine Mind, and was quickly and permanently healed.
The many healings of all manner of disease by means of Christian Science or God's law, prove that when the fear of the body and of disease has been eliminated, then the body manifests health; thus showing that it is the thought controlling the body which needs to be healed, or corrected; and then the body or servant is likewise healed. In other words, Christian Science shows that sickness is an indication that God's law is not being recognized, acknowledged, and obeyed. Moses stated the fact thousands of year's ago, that obedience to God's law not only brings healing, but also protects from all ills. And remember, that when you are serving your material body you cannot be serving God, Spirit; for one who mentally serves his material body is ever fearful, whereas "to be spiritually minded is life and peace," as Paul states (Rom. 8:6).
Right here let me correct a false impression some may have as to the Christian Science teaching about the body. Christian Science does not teach us to ignore the human body, but rather to deal with it scientifically and Christianly, that is, as Christ Jesus dealt with it, by seeing the body as servant, not master, as effect, not cause; and then correcting and controlling the thought which governs from the standpoint of God as the only Mind.
Another servant which often needs to be healed and harmonized, purified and strengthened, is business. Many men become so enslaved by the thoughts about their business that they serve their business instead of having their business serve them. This sometimes amounts to idolatry, and engenders fear and worry, envy and greed, injustice and dishonesty, so that men may be in a literal hell of torment, because of servitude to their business. Remember that the sole purpose of your business is to serve, not only you, but others as well. This last point should be emphasized, because any business which is designed to serve one's selfish desires and interests is built upon the sand, and it cannot withstand the storms of adversity which selfishness inevitably brings down upon its own flimsy creations.
Suppose your servant called your business is sick, and you turn to God's law, Christian Science for healing. Let us see what our law books say on this subject. We will find many promises of protection and providence to those who obey the law of divine Love, perfect Principle. In Joshua (1:7,8) we read the word of God: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." This is much the same as if you were to tell a student of mathematics that as he obeys the rules of mathematics, as he conforms his thoughts thereto, he will obtain the correct answer to every problem. There is but one answer to every problem, whether it be a problem in mathematics, in business, or as regards health; that is, the right answer. As you conform your thinking to divine Principle, as did Christ Jesus, you will find the correct answer to your every business problem; and your servant or business will be healed.
God's loving control and government is realized as we respond to it. Then the law of Love is seen to be the law of liberty, the law of harmony, freeing us from all discords; the law of spiritual dominion, whereby our God-given birthright is proved.
Christian Science makes it definitely clear that our God-given dominion is not over other individuals, for that would be personal domination, instead of the dominion of divine Love and law. The dominion which God gives us is over all the things or thoughts in the world of our own consciousness. It is the dominion of right over wrong; the dominion of good over evil; the dominion of Truth over error; of Love over fear and hate; the dominion of true, spiritual ideas over false, material beliefs. Right here should be noted a great point of distinction between Christian Science and all other forms of so-called mental methods of healing. Christian Science is not only mental, but it is primarily spiritual in its operation, influence, and effect. Furthermore, Christian Science treatment is not the influence of one so-called human mind over another, but rather is it the activity of divine Mind, God, operating by means of true, loving, harmonizing, spiritual ideas, which true ideas displace the fear and envy, the discord and distress from human consciousness. And lo! the servant of that human consciousness, whether it be a sick body or a sick business, is healed.
The dominion over one's own thinking, which Christian Science enables us to realize and prove, bestows bounteous blessings, not only in its healing and harmonizing effects, but even more in the assurance of God's ever-presence, and in unshaken confidence in divine Love's willingness and ability to care for us here, now, and always. At the Wednesday testimony meetings held in Christian Science churches it is frequently noted that, after telling of remarkable cases of healing of sickness and sin, discord and depravity, the testifiers will state with convincing earnestness that they are even more grateful for the light of spiritual understanding they have gained, and for a sure, intimate acquaintanceship with our loving Father-Mother God.
Quite naturally this leads us to see how Christian Science enables us to demonstrate man's God-given dominion over sin and over all wrong, discordant, and enslaving habits of thought, speech, and action. For Christian Science is the Science of right thinking which was proved perfectly and completely by our Exemplar, Christ Jesus, in his annulling of every argument of sin, sickness, and death.
It mattered not to Christ Jesus that Mary Magdalene had been bound by and had expressed seven devils or evil spirits, as is recorded by Luke. Her unfeigned display of contrition for wrong doing and of affection for the good lived by Christ Jesus warranted his compassionate word, "Thy sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:37-48) The transformation of her thought and life was so complete that she became spiritually fitted to be the first one to see Jesus after his resurrection. The experience of the Magdalene, regarded in the light of Christian Science, is most helpful and encouraging to every aspirant for release and redemption, because Christian Science reveals the ever-presence of the living, loving Christ, the divine idea of God, whereby the negative nature and the impotence of sin are discerned and demonstrated now, as they were in the first century of the Christian era.
Referring to Christ Jesus' work, Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 315:32) "Explaining and demonstrating the way of divine Science, he became the way of salvation to all who accepted his word. From him mortals may learn how to escape from evil. The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship. Christ, Truth, was demonstrated through Jesus to prove the power of Spirit over the flesh, to show that Truth is made manifest by its effects upon the human mind and body, healing sickness and destroying sin." That statement, "From him mortals may learn how to escape from evil," evidently means that we are to consider the suggestions of evil as did Christ Jesus and combat them as he did. Then we too will be able to prove our God-given dominion over evil. As we study the Bible we find that at no time did Christ Jesus refer to evil as a God sent or God permitted power and verity. Nor did he ignore the arguments of evil. Christ Jesus based all his thinking upon the spiritual fact that God, good, is the Father and Mother of all; the Creator and Controller of all that is real and true; that divine Love is the only law-creating and law governing power and Principle of the universe. Inevitably this led to his designation of the devil or evil as a liar and the father of lies, not of anything true and powerful. (John 8:44)
Now it is plain that a lie has no power or influence, although if one were to believe a lie to be true that belief might seem to bind him. Mary Magdalene evidently had believed some such lies as that there is pleasure, profit, and satisfaction in wrong doing. Perhaps she had been told from childhood that she was selfish, headstrong, and had a terrible temper. This was much the same as if certain tags or labels had been attached to her, which it seemed, belonged to her and were a part of her. One was labeled "selfishness," another "human will," another "envy," another "passion," and so on. But, although the Magdalene and others believed that these tags or signs of evil were a part of her, Christ Jesus knew better than that. He saw sin, not as persons, but as wrong thought using those who believed the false claims of evil. The Magdalene's true repentance and her desire for good furnished such a response to Christ Jesus' knowing the truth about her as God's child or expression, that these tags or signs of evil were separated from her, and she was freed.
The evil spirits which the Bible states were cast out of Mary Magdalene and others by Christ Jesus, refer to nothing more than beliefs in evil. The Greek term "evil spirit" literally means "impure mental disposition." And Christ Jesus cast out such evils by his definite and divinely inspired denial of them. His thought and attitude were continuously compassionate, because, while he denounced the sin in his own thought, he always separated the sin from the individual who was handled by it. Hence his compassionate, healing word, "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)
Perhaps some of us have been marked from childhood as being dishonest or deceitful or as having a bad disposition. It may be that we have accepted that tag as a part of us, and have excused ourselves on the ground that some of our forebears carried a similar label. An old couplet reads, "The doctrine of heredity makes pleasant contemplation; it lets us blame our faults upon some other generation."
Now let us suppose that one who had been known as being selfish, cynical, cross, and critical of others should take up the study of Christian Science and apply its teachings. Very soon he will learn that he lives in the realm of thought, not in matter; and that all that is true in the realm of thought is that which speaks of or manifests God, divine Truth and Love. This leads the seeker after Truth to see that every thought or suggestion of evil, such as selfishness or criticism, is not a part of God's true creation, and therefore is without divine power and authority. As the student thus conforms his mental attitude and activity to that of Christ Jesus, even in a degree, he will find that the selfishness, cynicism, and criticism or fault-finding are replaced by such qualities of divine Love as compassion, mercy, unselfishness, and gratitude. This may not be accomplished without a struggle perhaps, but wrong habits of thought, speech, and action can be corrected by Truth and Love or divine Mind, just as surely as darkness yields to the light.
So, friends, if you have been labeled with any tags indicating that you are something other than the child or expression of God, divine Mind and Love, you can, through Christian Science, rise in righteous rebellion against that belief in evil. For Christian Science shows how you can claim your birthright of dominion, and how you can live up to that claim by controlling your thinking aright.
The Christian Science rule for Christianly scientific right thinking is as simple and loving as it is exact and unvarying. We are to remember, as did Christ Jesus, that we are not original, independent thinkers, because every true thought or idea, being eternal, originates in and proceeds from the eternal divine Mind or God. We simply apprehend and reflect, or actively express, the true ideas of intelligence, alertness, stability, harmony, happiness, unselfishness, purity, patience, and love, which speak to us, and through us to others, of our loving Father Mind and Mother Love. Coincidently and consistently we find, as did Christ Jesus, that every thought or suggestion, which claims that evil, disease, discord, and death are real and have power, such thoughts or suggestions are to be classified by us as untrue and powerless, because they are not from God, even as Christ Jesus stated and proved. Just as you have no room in your consciousness for a thought that 5 x 5 = 19, because 5 x 5 = 25 is fixed as true with you, so you will find, as you consistently apply and obey the Christian Science law for right thinking, that true ideas, thoughts of harmony, peace, purity, and confidence in good, will become so fixed and dominant in your consciousness that evil and discordant beliefs will be readily recognized as errors, and will be resolutely renounced and rejected.
You will find as you obey this simple, but divinely directed rule or law of right thinking, that you are communing with God, that you are indeed walking with God, divine Mind, for you are in truth companioning with God's ideas. And that is prayer; the prayer to which Paul referred when he admonished us to "pray without ceasing." (I Thess. 5:17) Through Christian Science the old educated belief in a man-like God, from which sprang the concept of prayer as advice to God and supplication that the divine plan be changed to suit us, this is supplanted by the concept of God as unchanging good, infinite Love; which corrected concept leads us to see that the purpose of prayer is to change us, so that our thinking may conform to the Mind which was in Christ Jesus.
Even though you may have had no previous knowledge of Christian Science you will find that, as a result of studying its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", and obeying its divinely inspired rules for right thinking and living, you will be able to realize and prove, in an encouraging degree at least, that you are now the very child of God, whose birthright is dominion, not subjection. As a poet has so well written:
"What is thy birthright, man,
Child of the perfect One!
What is thy Father's plan
For His beloved son?
"Thou are Truth's honest child,
Sinless and pure of heart,
Treading, meek, undefiled
In Christly paths apart.
"Dreams of sense disappear
As Truth dawns on the sight,
The phantoms of thy fear,
Fleeing before the light.
"Take then the charmed rod;
Thou are not error's thrall!
Thou hast the gift from God
Dominion over all."
[Delivered Oct. 23, 1930, at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Meridian at Twentieth Street, in Indianapolis, Indiana, and published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Oct. 28, 1930. In the sections entitled "God's Goodness" and "Paul's Discernment of Christ," a few words were missing from the original. These have been supplied from another copy of the lecture and set off in brackets. The wording of the poem given above conforms to that of Hymn No. 155 in the 1910 Christian Science Hymnal. It appears, with a few revisions, in the 1932 Christian Science Hymnal as Hymn No. 382.]