Mary Brookins, C.S.B., of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Odd Fellows hall, North Cambridge, was filled to the doors and many hundreds were turned away on the occasion of the lecture on "Christian Science," given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, this city, Thursday eve., Nov. 1, by Miss Mary Brookins, C.S.B., member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecturer has a pleasing presence, fluent delivery, and easily won and kept the attention of the large audience from the start.
Mr. J. Ellis Sedman, the First Reader of the Cambridge Christian Science church, introduced the lecturer as follows:
Perhaps no trait is more strong among civilized men and women than their ever-increasing desire for full and complete freedom. Never has this tendency been more marked than in the history of the American people. The Puritans, with their abiding faith in God, and their dauntless courage, came from their homes in England to this then remote and perilous country, that even at a cost of the greatest hardships, they might enjoy here the freedom to worship God in the way they deemed best.
It was this love of freedom which made the hearts of the American Colonists respond to the sentiment of those grand declarations, "All men are created free and equal;" possessed of certain inalienable — because God-given — rights, "among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And this spirit has continued.
It is not strange, then, that Christian Science was discovered here; for Christian Science comes bringing a yet fuller measure of freedom. Its discoverer, Mary Baker G. Eddy, perceived that not only the coming of the Pilgrims, but every change that has brought increased freedom, has resulted from the working of that divine Principle, Love, revealed in the teaching and life of Christ Jesus. Her reaffirmation of his teaching has enabled thousands of men and women to escape from the fetters of sin, disease, sorrow and fear, in grand fulfilment of the Master's promise, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Doubtless most of you have come here tonight to learn something about the freedom Christian Science brings.
The lecturer, Miss Mary Brookins, of Minneapolis, will speak to you, from a knowledge of Christian Science gained by years of earnest study, and out of a wide experience in the application of this Science, in which she has seen sin, sickness, and sorrow, give place to right living, health, and joy in the lives of many people.
Miss Brookins was formerly a member of the Universalist church, and for several years was a teacher in the public schools of Chicago. In 1888, she studied under Mrs. Eddy in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston. She has been engaged ever since in teaching and practicing Christian Science. She served as First Reader of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Minneapolis for seven years, and since 1903 she has served as a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.
I take great pleasure in presenting to you Miss Mary Brookins.
She spoke in part as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen: —
Beyond question the time has come when Christian Science is being recognized as a subject of more than passing, superficial interest. Very many people having witnessed to some extent the great spectacle of human strife, and stress and want, and woe, — and, noting the inadequacy of all commonly known and applied means of relief are turning, with more or less faith and expectancy to Christian Science as a possible deliverer.
We have met to consider for an hour or more the subject of Christian Science, and it is my wish to present it to you in the light of a practical religion and remedy, showing it to be at once true Christianity and true science, and that these two constitute one intelligible and demonstrable exposition of the nature, purposes and works of God.
Looking closely into the face of humanity today, one must be impressed with two salient features in its general aspect, namely, a wholesome discontent with what it has, and an eager, energetic effort to obtain what it has not.
If there were no sense of loss, or lack or limitation — no throes of dire destruction or distress, there were no need of a remedy. If the reign of health, and righteousness, and peace were consciously established in the experience of the people today there were no room for further redemption, and no use for the continued offices of a redeemer.
But such is not the case. We are not content "to bear those ills we have" any more than we are to "fly to others that we know not of." An instinctive impulse in the heart of man protests against the heritage of evil, entailed upon the race of Adam — and either beats its hopeless wings against the boundaries of its supposed environ or industriously occupies its time in a more or less intelligent effort to escape.
More than this, we have, as a race, reached a point in progress where we are no better satisfied with a negative good than we are with a positive ill. Through a still diviner discontent we object to a merely indifferent and passive sense of existence, a life lived from day to day — like that of the mollusk or the polyp, simply to breathe and tread the narrow round of physical existence. A life lived within itself and for itself, however exempt from pain or sorrow or loss it may be, soon condemns itself.
Christ Jesus expounded and exemplified Life that means power, authority, dominion over the flesh. It was not after the storm had subsided, but in the very midst of its fury that he said: "Peace, be still," and there was a great calm. He did not wait for the ascension before declaring: "I have overcome the world."
In view of these assurances of man's dominion over all material elements, illustrated by what has actually occurred, it will never be found in the mind of man to be content with anything less than the conscious possession and exercise of life that is in perfect consonance with absolute good.
If all the desires, aims and aspirations of life that are pure, and right, and upward-tending should be collected together and seen at once, they would be found all converging in one objective point, all looking toward one common goal — namely, harmony. Indeed, it has been the common habit to so summarize the realization of all good under harmony's synonym, heaven, and then to group around that name all satisfying conceptions of rest, peace, and freedom, and health — of prayers answered, of hopes fulfilled, of life expanded into immortality.
No one ever thought of associating with his idea of heaven such anomalies as limitation, weakness, want, sin, sickness or death. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven." Hence none of their attendant ills can be present there.
Laboring under the seeming presence and power of these enemies of peace, mortals are in a constant state of unrest and are continually wishing and striving for better conditions, putting forth every possible effort, as they suppose, to break the distasteful fetters of evil, and gain something of an experience of man's rightful heritage of dominion.
But right here mortal sense touches the limits of its self-imposed boundaries. It has placed its heaven away off, somewhere in the distance; to be found and enjoyed at some future time, and while it cherishes a hope of sometime, somewhere, reaching that beatific state, it is well assured that there is no such possibility this side the grave. But heaven is not a place of abode where one may go and find or make for himself a home. Heaven is the presence of God, and God being present everywhere, heaven must be everywhere too.
According to the teaching of Christian Science heaven is harmony itself, the absolute reign of Spirit without a rival power — that condition of Mind in which Principle actually does govern and control all with supreme and undivided sway. This definition has no reference to time or place.
John the Baptist, in announcing the Messiah, said: "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus preached and demonstrated the kingdom of heaven at hand, and in sending out his disciples into their field, the world, he charged them: "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." And when questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God should come, he said: "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, or outward show, neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.''
When he taught his disciples to pray "Thy kingdom come" it was to declare the great fact of God's kingdom already come, ever present and universal.
If then, this kingdom of heaven, this reign of harmony, this complete fulfillment of all promises and pledges of good, is here, even now at hand, what hinders the possession of full citizenship in the heavenly estate, and when may mankind enter into so desirable a heritage?
Job said: "Acquaint now thyself with him (with God), and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee." Jesus said: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," and again, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. . . . These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
What things had he spoken? Even the eternal Truth of Being that makes free in an unqualified, absolute sense. He had been preaching and practicing the Divine Science of Being, making it one with the highest order of Christianity. Through signs and wonders he had been showing them the Father and the conduct of affairs under His spiritual laws. He also said: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Life eternal must be the Life that is good, perfect, all harmonious — for no one could live eternally in any other sense of life. Discord itself must be mortal, for it has not one element of Life or immortality about it. In this saying of the Master's, "Life eternal" is made equivalent to the consciousness of harmony, heaven — to knowing God and His Son. It is noticeable that Jesus did not say that it is Life eternal to know something about God, to hold opinions or theories about the Supreme Being and His creation — but, "to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent," to so understand Truth, to so know God and the mutual relation existing between Him and His creation as to participate in His own harmony and immortality.
Thus the whole problem of human life resolves itself into a question of knowing. Given the quality and extent of your knowing, and your individuality and your individual experience are thereby at once determined. The individual and his ideals are one and cannot be separated. Our universe is to us just what we bring into manifestation to our sense of things. According to our consciousness of good, will we bring its sweet harmonies into our experience.
Now let me ask you: Are you satisfied with the amount of knowledge you have? Are you content with your present conception of Being? Are you not fearful, or at least doubtful as to whether much that you suppose you know is true? Do you wish what you believe to be the present facts about God and man and their mutual relations, to be eternally true?
Yet Truth is unchangeable and eternal. Everybody knows that.
Rest assured that what is really true now will be so throughout the endless ages and what is not good enough to be true to that extent is not true now and never was true. So then, Pilate's query, "What is Truth?" is a question, not to be deferred to a dim and distant future, but is the all-absorbing inquiry of today, and surely, a most cordial welcome should await whatever may offer anything like an acceptable answer.
Those who, in any degree, are reading the signs of these times, know that a marked and important change in human affairs is pending — that we are standing today in the dawning light of a new era. As to just the nature and meaning of this transitional period there are widely divergent opinions and much speculation. But the general trend of thought and expectation is in the direction of the hopeful, the optimistic, the triumphant view of things. Moreover there is a very noticeable tendency away from the old moorings, and growing favor of metaphysical interpretation and research.
There is a more general and spontaneous reaching out toward God, and an instinctive longing for closer acquaintance with the divine.
This explains why preachers who expound least of creed and dogma and most of vital, spiritual love of God, have the most numerous and ardent hearers, and the best success in their good works of reform. These better thoughts, loosening their hold upon the grosser commodities of the senses are able to echo somewhat the finer harmonies of the supersensible and ideal. But the highest point yet reached or that ever will be reached in the upward flight of the human intellect must still be "as far as the east is from the west," from the Divine Metaphysics of eternal Mind.
And here let us note, as we have seen before, that there is that native quality of aspiration, inherent in humanity, that will never, in its hope, and expectancy, and eager pursuit, stop short of the absolute, the infinite, the everlasting Truth itself.
This being the case, there must be an exact and unmistakable way to this acme of achievement, this longed-for goal, this "the desired of all nations," and we believe such a way was plainly pointed out and faithfully pursued some 2000 years ago by the Master Metaphysician, Jesus of Nazareth; but, through the admixture of human theories, dogmas and politics, this way became obscured and well-nigh lost to human view; but we believe that it has been discovered and revealed to this age by our revered Leader and Teacher, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, in what has been named by her, "Christian Science." We also believe that the teachings of this Science, once thoroughly understood, and rightly practiced, are fully adequate to the accomplishment of even so infinite an end [as that indicated by Jesus, when he said: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."].
I am well aware that this is a mighty assertion and that it may seem to many a preposterous claim. But anyone who, having ears will hear, or having eyes will read what we have to say, will find that we are ready to give many a reasonable reason for the hope that is in us, and, that it is simply and wholly out of deep interest in humanity's weal, and in loving solicitude for its woe, that we ever offer our doctrine for your contemplation.
First of all, be it known that Christian Science is not something that Mrs. Eddy has invented, or manufactured in some storehouse or workshop of human conjecture. It is not a system of mental therapeutics in which the muscles or organs or elements of mortal mentality are manipulated for the benefit of the sick.
Permit me to go back here and repeat a statement made a few minutes ago, namely: "The whole problem of life resolves itself into a question of knowing." To know is the main object in living [provided one's knowledge is genuine, and is made practical in bringing out good results]. Knowledge is generally regarded as the one thing needful, the good part that cannot be taken away. The only thing that can be known is Truth. We believe, and think we know a host of things for a time, but presently, upon further investigation, and with larger experience, we come to doubt, and question our supposed knowledge, and finally to disbelieve and to discard it altogether. Then we see that it was only belief at best and not real knowledge, because it was not founded upon the rock, Truth, and did not bring out the desired results. This may be said of all the so-called sciences that are based upon a belief in matter. As the process of revising and rejecting goes on, each one of these material systems undergoes such changes as to be scarcely recognizable from one generation to another.
The literature that is in vogue in one generation is quite out of date in the next. The young medical student fresh from college, turns eagerly to the library left by his professional father as to a rich legacy, but finds there only two or three volumes that he can use in his practice. Well did the wisest of men of his day on the material plane say: "This much do I know, that I know nothing."
Knowing is knowledge, and real knowledge is Science; and, as Truth alone can be known, the only absolute knowing or knowledge, or Science, must be that which pertains to Truth, and achieves the purposes of good, and it is our purpose to show that Christian Science is just such Christly knowledge, or Christian knowledge. To us Science, in order to be Science at all, must be Christly, or Christian Science; and must always, from everlasting, have been Christian Science, co-existent with the Ancient of days.
Then the advent of Christian Science at this time simply means that the discovery was made through the pure, spiritual discernment of Mrs. Eddy, that there is, and ever has been, available to man, a Science so Christly, so unerring, and so comprehensive in its nature and operation as to actually meet the needs of the race in overcoming its varied ills; that this Science is the knowledge of God and His eternal laws, [impelling obedience to the behests of good,] and that coincident with her discovery Mrs. Eddy founded a system of practice, teaching and preaching, which is calculated to bring this knowledge within the reach of all who wish to avail themselves of its beneficent offices.
Thus it is that our Leader is indeed the accredited Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Claiming no infallible grasp of the ways of Infinite Wisdom and no monopoly of the reins of divine government, she announces herself in the preface of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" as an earnest student, humbly waiting and working for the solution of the great questions of Life.
This very attitude of humility indicates the absence of [pride and] personal sense and shows her fitness to receive a higher message from above. The glory of the sunlight floods the landscape, but it must find freest access into your room through the window that is cleanest and clearest. The light of Truth is everywhere present [and always has been], but it has ever found its way into human consciousness through the thought that was freest from material hindrance. The head of this movement, through whose clear consciousness this most spiritually metaphysical teaching came as a divine revelation, and through whose boundless patience, energy and faithfulness it has been established, is beyond question, the greatest Teacher and Leader of this age. She has amply earned this distinction because she has broken the error of human belief in bondage to the flesh, and has made known the divine power which, when properly understood and applied, redeems from sickness, sin and death. On the very verge of the grave, when all earthly hope had failed, she turned unreservedly to God for help, then her ear caught Truth's triumphant tone, proclaiming that God is Life and that man is His deathless child. Her speedy and complete recovery and the succeeding years of utmost devotion to her divinely appointed task amply attest the verity of her revelation. Through wonderful works of healing, through extensive class teaching, and through her written works, chief among which is the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she has impressed upon the thought of this generation the oneness and allness of Mind and its harmonious and immortal manifestation.
This conviction of Truth came to Mrs. Eddy at the point of well-rounded womanhood, characterized by more than ordinary mental and spiritual endowments. Having received a liberal education under the careful guidance of well qualified instructors, her thoughts found ready and graceful expression in both prose and poetry; and she was a frequent and valued contributor to the papers and magazines of the time. Born of deeply religious parents, and reared in the atmosphere of strictest morality, she was early imbued with the love of the things of Spirit. From early girlhood she was a consistent member of the Congregational church, and her whole life has been devoted to the purposes of good. With loftiest ideals before her and undaunted integrity and fidelity of purpose within, she has discovered and made known a plan of salvation that has already emancipated a multitude from the fetters of false and needless bondage to sin and suffering.
Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, as some suppose. They simply thank and love and reverence her for the good she has done. Should not the children of Israel have loved and reverenced Moses for leading them out of bondage? And did they thereby worship him? Is there any question or criticism of the fact that the early colonists of our country appreciated and loved George Washington? That they designated him "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen?" That their filial affection for their loyal leader and deliverer, combined with their patriotic zeal, found expression in the endearing name of "Father of His Country"?
Surely it would be a deplorable state of things if the common and universal impulses of the heart were not in the direction of due appreciation and grateful acknowledgement of benefits received, and of just recognition of obligations to the benefactor; and naturally, the depth of gratitude and affectionate regard would be commensurate with the extent of the benefaction. Who, then, shall lift up his voice of protest when even a tithe of the debt of gratitude, and reverential love due for such full deliverance, such unbounded benefit, has been discharged? When Christian Scientists, out of the simple sense of the fitness of rendering to all their well earned dues, or out of their transporting joy at finding their lost heritage of freedom, and health, and peace, have given unabashed utterance to honest thanks to their wise and loving Teacher and Guide, and, in remembrance of their own childish and ineffectual efforts to find the light, and of her ceaseless tenderness and care and self-sacrifice, have voiced their reverence and love accordingly?
When mortal thought misjudges or misrepresents or maligns Mrs. Eddy [as it has of late,] it must be out of total lack of appreciation of her mission, and of the wonder of her fulfillment of it. No one, having any adequate conception of her history, can but be stirred to the depths of his being by the unutterable pathos, and the unmeasured majesty of a life lived so near to God.
As a direct result of the advent of Christian Science more unity of purpose and more concerted action are in evidence along all higher lines of human progress. The teaching reveals one fundamental Principle named Life, Truth, Mind, Love, Spirit, God, Infinite Being, hence the only One. In this profoundly simple doctrine of the oneness of Mind, of Spirit, of Life, of Power, is found a basis of action that precludes friction and insures harmony.
The claim has been made by those who believe in minds many, that influences for good may be exerted by one human mind acting upon another human mind through mesmerism, or hypnotism, or mental suggestion.
But the one divine Mind that is Omnipotent must include within itself all the power there is. Hence there is no agency nor potency for good that is not involved within it. Why look for more than the all? Or why expect to find something outside of or beyond the Infinite?
Besides, it is a well-known fact that the thoughts and purposes and activities of the human mind are by no means confined to the offices of good. Who would willingly entrust his welfare to hands that might work good or ill at pleasure, when the infinity of divine good is ever at hand, asserting its undivided right to rule and to bless the race?
Spiritualism, and all other systems based upon the theory of minds many, spirits many, have the disadvantage of a house divided against itself, and cannot present the invincible aspect of one Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience, that admits no secondary, hence no conflicting presence or power. Mental healing is sometimes attributed to the action of mortal minds; but Paul said: "The carnal mind is enmity against God." It then could never have been the basis of any God-directed cures.
The scientific unity of all things real is especially noticeable in the two great avenues of intelligence, science and religion, which are also the two generally recognized avenues of help. In no respect is the inspiration of this system more apparent than in this matter of identifying science with religion.
At the great concourse of religionists held in Chicago some years ago a learned speaker made the statement that the world was waiting for the man of genius who should come forward and establish union between science and Christianity. Little did this good brother know that the woman of genius had already come forward, and established, not only the union, but the unity of true Science with all true religion; that, rightly understood, these two are not antagonistic and destructive to each other, but that they have a common basis, motive and object. Science is simply knowledge made practical and applied and all real knowledge must be divine. Christian Science is then the practical application of the doctrines set forth by the Nazarene Teacher, explicating by precept and proof the deep and everlasting import of his words and works.
Religion has been defined by one deep thinker as "A daily walk with the Eternal," and by another as "The conscious relation between man and God, and the expression of that relation in human conduct." In answering John's inquiry "Art thou he that should come?" Jesus rested the evidence of his divine appointment upon his works rather than upon his words: "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 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."
What were the motives of Jesus' life? Surely not worldly ambition for possession and power. It is tersely said of him that he went about doing good. The one mighty incentive in all his works and words was love for God and humanity, a love so all-absorbing that it controlled his every action. He well knew that real Being is God, Spirit, and that all the illusive belief in material life must be dispelled. He was the highest earthly representation and embodiment of the one eternal Christ, the spiritual and perfect idea of God, who said, "Before Abraham was, I am," and whose perpetual promise to all ages is:
"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
[Jesus showed Love to be the Principle, the substance of all real being and he exemplified this divine Principle in deeds of love and mercy.
[So] Christian Science teaches that the two Christian offices of preaching the gospel and healing the sick are so inseparable, so equal in importance, and so identified in purpose and method that one's Christian life is incomplete if either one is omitted. In a system wherein science and religion are one, the theology must be curative.
Christian Scientists have been called a prayerless people, but like many of the statements concerning them, this one is quite the opposite of the fact. Indeed, it is only through the teaching of this Science that we have found it possible to obey the Scriptural injunction: "Pray without ceasing." While no one can be continually in the physical attitude of prayer, or forever repeating its words or formulae, one can always be in silent spiritual communion with his God. Believing as we do that we are created and sustained by the one divine Mind, who gives and does "exceeding more abundantly than we can ask or think," our prayers assume less the form of petition and more that of grateful acknowledgment and thanksgiving.
Does your child appear at your well-filled table only to beg for bread? Does he ask you every day to love him, and care for him? Does he not rather thankfully accept your bountiful provision and rest in the serene consciousness of your protection and love? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" So far from neglecting to pray, the fact is the Christian Scientists rely so entirely, so absolutely, upon this avenue of the divine favor, that they are, on the other hand, often called fanatical on this subject; and even their common sense is called into question because they do not exhaust the resources of materia medica before taking their sick to God in prayer.
But why should infinite and ever-present goodness and Love be made secondary to man-made theories, that lay no claim to exactness, but are indeed self-confessed systems of experimenting and guessing, which often lack even the redeeming feature of agreeing with each other?
Is the wisdom or the skill of man more reliable than Omniscience that we should give them preference in time of need? Is human power worthy to be weighed in the scales with Omnipotence in the hour of man's extremity? The best demonstrator of God's power was wont to say: "I can of mine own self do nothing . . . the Father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works." Thus he repudiated not only all material remedies, but all hypnotic influence and control [of human will power]. An habitual declaration of man's unity with the divine and inexhaustible Life, the real and indestructible Substance, the infinite and omnipotent Love, is the effectual prayer that availeth much, in that it heals and redeems the sin-sick and bodily infirm and casts out all manner of evil. To the extent that prayer ceases to be an attempt to inform omniscient Wisdom or to petition infinite Love it becomes the prayer of faith that shall and does save the sick. A poet once said: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of," and this is very true. But how are they wrought? Not by changing the actions or purposes of God, who is without "variableness, neither shadow of turning," whose ways are always right and wise above human power to conceive. Wonders are wrought by prayer in that one gains a nearer approach to a clear state of consciousness, through which are revealed infinite resources and blessing of Divine Being — always present and ever operative for the consummation of the highest possible good.
Through the peculiar method of our Church service, in which the entire congregation is privileged to participate, our people are turned to closer and more general study of the Holy Scriptures. It would be impossible to find any class of people more devoted to the study of the Bible than the Christian Scientists are, for they have learned to regard it, not so much a history of the past nor a prophecy of the future, as a revelation of eternal Truth, which is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," and which consequently applies with full force to the needs of the present time.
So this science that is religious because it is of God, and this religion that is scientific because it is founded upon eternal fact, instead of fancy or blind faith, are welded into one sound and demonstrable doctrine, whose verity is attested by "signs following." "My doctrine is not mine," said Jesus, "but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
Christian Science is a religion of works. Its adherents must express their overflowing thankfulness and praise and devotion to God in active service in the name of Christ, in healing and doing good to the erring, suffering, wandering ones. Jesus did those things, proving them to be possible, and he indicated not only the possibility, but the certainty of the repetition of them. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father," meaning that all true believers, in all ages and places, were not only to emulate the wondrous works that he had done up to that time, but were also to follow his further demonstrations of control and dominion, until all personal sense and self were vanquished in the presence of the one real Ego, Spirit. That the first part of this prophecy was fulfilled repeatedly for several hundred years following, is a matter of familiar history, and this fact gives fair assurance of the further continuance and completion of these divine works when done in Christ's name.
Now we believe Christian Science is a rediscovery of what Jesus taught and demonstrated as to what God is and what God does. It is man's discovery of himself in the image, the character of God, Spirit, Mind, instead of the effigy in matter, that physical sense testimony would have fastened upon him.
The only evidence we have of matter is the testimony of the physical senses, which take no cognizance whatever of God. All will admit that God is Truth as the Scriptures declare. It is plain that the physical senses do cognize matter and all its apparent conditions. But, as they know nothing of God, Truth, then it cannot be that matter is Truth, but quite the opposite. Truth being real, its opposite must be unreal, and that is just what Christian Science says of matter.
Again, spiritual sense, through which we do apprehend and love God, Truth, Reality, reports absolutely nothing in regard to matter; another very good reason for placing matter outside the pale of reality.
The Scriptures say man was created in God's image and likeness. Is God made of matter either wholly or in part? No! What then is there in God that is the basis of, or resemblance to material man? If God is All Spirit, is not spiritual man really His likeness, hence the only real man? Origen, writing in the year 125, defined baptism as "an escape from matter — the Lord leading us into light that is shadowless, and is material no longer." From this it appears that the early Christians held this same view of the nothingness of matter.
But it no longer rests wholly upon Christian Scientists to prove the non-existence of matter. In these latter days of liquified air and purified thought, matter is rapidly losing its supposed consistency as substance, and all merely material knowledge is being relegated to its proper place among the superstitions of the past. Even to the sense of the more advanced material scientists, matter is rapidly dissolving under the more direct rays of Truth, and is being resolved into its original element — thought. A learned professor in a German university says: "Matter is a thing of thought, which we have constructed for ourselves rather imperfectly to represent what is permanent in the change of phenomena."
Since God is good and Infinite, to know God is to know good only. Were we not from the first forbidden to know both good and evil? "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it." One of the strongest arguments brought forward in support of evil is the claim that God is its author and sustainer; that in some inscrutable way, that nobody undertakes satisfactorily to explain, God has assigned to evil a large and useful place in the divine economy; that His theodicy requires an admixture of two opposite and conflicting forces [namely good and evil,] to bring about an ultimate result, which, after all, is a total failure, in that neither one of such contradictory elements could ever attain to supremacy.
It has already been shown that God's creation must be like Him; must fairly express and represent that which is in God to be expressed, as an effect must always be like its cause. Admitting this, if we undertake to give evil a place in God's universe, we find ourselves in the dilemma of either pronouncing evil good, or else considering God capable of originating or permitting the opposite of good. It is not likely that any of us would willingly grasp either horn of this dilemma.
Science eliminates the false supposition of an element of evil that cannot exist in the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, who is good; and restores the primitive and unadulterated knowledge of the real creation, pronounced by divine wisdom "very good." That Truth, rightly understood and separated from illusion, demonstrates harmonious and unfailing Life, is being daily attested by countless proofs, and "by their fruits ye shall know them." A noted physician states that ninety per cent of all known diseases are the result of fear. Then a religion whose fundamental Principle and only acknowledged power is Love, that is capable of casting out all fear, surely has strong claims to recognition as a factor in the realm of therapeutics.
In all the nearly nine hundred and ninety organizations of this denomination, weekly experience meetings are held where, at a very low estimate, an average of seven testimonials are heard at each session, of cases which cover every known disease of body and mind and morals, chronic and acute, organic and functional. One can readily see what a volume of evidence is thus all the time accumulating of the curative efficacy of Christian Science.
That the exponents of Christian Science are not yet able at all times and under all circumstances to prove it, is not strange, but even now, its successes so far outnumber its failures that a reasonably fair-minded public will gladly allow the former to be recorded as well as the latter.
Though not much given to statistics, we can say without exaggeration that many hundreds of thousands of so-called incurable cases of disease have been healed through Christian Science. Notwithstanding this astounding statement its work is by no means confined to the cure of physical ills — rather is this incidental to the vastly greater mission of healing sin and leading in all matters of genuine reform. It reclaims the sinner, not through fear of punishment nor anticipation of reward, but by the supremacy of Mind that is good, dispelling the illusion of his love of sin, and by so uplifting his sense of good and enlarging his affection for it, that he ceases to find satisfaction in aught but the way of goodness. Hosts of people have been and are being healed of the appetite for intoxicants, tobacco, opium and other drugs through this sort of temperance work — proving it to be a prohibition that actually does prohibit the sin itself, instead of spending its energies in the fruitless attempts to prevent the consequences of continued sin.
Through the knowledge of the reality of Mind and the unreality of matter the varied vices of the flesh are annulled. The mind of Christ, the Love that is God, is enthroned as the all-governing Principle of spiritual, universal man, and thus appears the divine manhood and womanhood of the sons and daughters of God. The immediate result is that human affection is purified and exalted above the plane of instinct and thus rendered wholesome and permanent. Family ties that have been ruptured through the destructive belief in minds many, have been reunited, and homes restored to wholeness by the unity of Spirit, which is the guarantee of purity and the bond of peace.
Christian Science is not a profession for a few to follow, but a divine order of daily living for all mankind to adopt and practice. It is at once the messenger and message of divine Love, coming to self-afflicted humanity to heal, to redeem, to uplift, to crown with blessings infinite.
One common criticism against Christian Science is that its adherents lose interest in the public weal; that they regard the usual methods and means of reform unnecessary for the benefit of the people at large; that they do not enter popular plans for refining and elevating the race. The fact is the advocates of Christian Science do express a practical and active interest in the general welfare of mankind. They are, by degrees, proving that its Principle permeates and governs every avenue of human experience and is engrafted in every department of human affairs. While our methods may differ somewhat from those most in vogue by the absence of outward form and machinery in our enterprises, still the essential elements of true progress are never lost to view, and we heartily aid and endorse all that educates, ennobles, refines or molds character into closer semblance to the Divine.
Christian Science is broad-spirited. It is public-spirited. It serves the human race for good in an ever ascending scale and in a constantly expanding field of usefulness. The query sometimes arises, does not this idea breed indifference to human needs by dulling the sensibilities and checking the sympathies? It dulls the sensibilities only by causing people to become less sensible of evil as they grow more and more sensible of good; to cease looking forever on the dark side, forever prophesying and prognosticating evil, but rather to look up with fearless, blameless glance into the face of the all Father-Mother, God, and to see the graces and glories of that face reflected in all His people and things. It teaches us to sympathize with good far more than with evil, and by that very fact helps to bring good to pass.
Every now and then some of our people are summoned to appear before the court to answer to the charge of having broken or disregarded some law of the land, but it still rests with those who oppose Christian Science to prove wherein it has ever done harm or shown itself a menace to the health or safety of any community. It has rather been a check upon contagion, a preventive of epidemics and the various calamities that afflict the race. With all due regard to existing civil law and its behests, our appeal is always to the higher code of spiritual law, wherein God is legislator, executor and judge. Under this benign ruling all human rights are duly subserved.
It is the idea of Christian Science and all that is akin to it that gives the strongest impulse to all modern invention; for human thought liberated even in a degree, from the belief that it is encased and entombed in matter, at once begins to shake off its self imposed limitations, and lo! the wonders of inventive genius that with less and less dependence upon matter tend to overcome time and space and dispense with servile toil.
It has been said that Christian Science is anti-educational. Not so. It is true, we are taught that real Mind does not depend upon the usual means and modes of development, yet we are well aware that this great fact must be made known little by little, as thought rises to the apprehension of it. We know we never can get the perfect flower by ruthlessly tearing open the bud. The tender petals must unfold naturally in God's sunlight and air. We would not close the schools but would permeate them with higher ideals. We would foster a preference for those studies and pursuits that enable the learner to be absent from the body and to devote attention to the purer, more wholesome, more profitable contemplation of deathless, limitless Soul.
In view of the fact that alchemy and astrology, once rated as higher branches of education, have long since been relegated to the shades of oblivion, we should not hesitate to let anatomy, physiology, hygiene and kindred subjects follow in their train, as these too, are shown to be equally allied with superstitions outgrown, and so we shall gain time and opportunity to institute instead a research among the imperishable resources of Mind.
The very best training the hand can have to make it skillful in expressing the beautiful and useful in art is the habitual remembrance that God is the only power, who is All and does all. True mental discipline lies not at all in the laborious conjugation of the verbs of a dead language, but in the living consciousness that God is the only Mind, and that divine intelligence rather than human intellect, is the great thought force that moves the universe in paths of harmony, health and success. Surely that knowledge which results in peace and freedom and health and immortality has a strong claim to the name of the "higher education," capable of bringing into manifestation the noblest possibilities of man.
Christian Science stands for all that is highest and best. Its lofty ideals are attracting and holding the purest and noblest of the earth.
The fact that our adherents, though numbered by many thousands, are still few in comparison with the hosts of the earth, is no argument against our Cause, for "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Neither is the fact that our doctrine is often scorned and rejected by the intellectual element of our day derogatory to our interpretation of Truth. The wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God, has ever been a barrier to the ready acceptance of the simple logic of the gospel of Christ. It is recorded of its best expounder that he was despised and rejected by this same class, but that the common people heard him gladly.
"Truth is sure and can afford to wait
Our slow perception * * *
Her essence is eternal and she knows
The world must swing round to her soon or late."
Every advancing step, even along the most material lines of discovery or invention, has to slowly work its way into popular favor, and the more radically new and different it is the more of human incredibility and prejudice and opposition it has to encounter, until it has had sufficient opportunity to prove itself useful and indispensable to human need. What shall we say then of this revelation, which is at the same time such a revolution, in the realm of Mind, the coming of which is the marking of so distinctive an era in the growing conception of Truth? No wonder the thought that challenges each onward movement of its fellows on the lower plane is capable only of disdain, or ridicule, or malice, when a gleam of the eternal light breaks through its cloudy sense and reveals its own impotence and absurdities. But even yet these words of loving tolerance re-echo from the cross: "They know not what they do." It is human ignorance that incites most of the opposition and persecution that Truth's advance guard always needs must encounter. The people oppose and fight their own misconceptions of Christian Science, not what it really is. Persecution usually ceases when the healing touch is felt and prejudice vanishes as it is shown that Christian Science is one of the world's best friends.
Christian Scientists have no quarrel with the medical fraternity. We appreciate and honor the sincerity and self-sacrificing love of human-kind that has ever characterized that profession as a whole, and we would not underrate the honest endeavors of hosts of Christian physicians to serve and help the race.
To our friends in the other churches we say: We have not come into the field of religious labor for the purpose of multiplying denominations or to intrude in any way upon your well-earned domain. An untold volume of holy zeal and consecrated activity have been exercised in the upbuilding of God's cause as you have understood it. To both of these classes we say: "Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?" Christian Scientists are not your enemies; with all respect and honor due to your devoted efforts and worthy achievements, Christian Science comes as a later message from the All-Father, looking toward the fuller establishment of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It is the angel that troubles the waters of his never-failing Bethesda, that the wayworn and weary, the physically, mentally and morally infirm may be refreshed and healed. Its mission is to bring to human knowledge the ever-present healing Christ, the risen Savior, reappearing now, not in person, but in idea, to save and bless mankind.
The magnitude of the work of Christian Science and the boundless scope of its influence are scarcely comprehended, even by its own adherents, much less by the people at large. A needy world cannot afford to neglect such opportunities, neither can it long be kept from such a boon by pride or prejudice. It is surely awakening in glad response to this practical, demonstrable Christianity, whose divine service is in no way limited to time or place, but consists in daily doing good. What a world it will be indeed when uplifted humanity, touched by the divine Truth and Love, shall shake off the fetters of false bondage to ignorance, limitation and sin, and shall rise to fullness of life in Christ — when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
The days of slowness are well nigh spent and the world is less startled and more conformable to the rapid pace of the present time. Even mortal mind begins to recognize that we grow and that we do so because of our insistent and persistent acknowledgement of God, the source of all life and growth.
It must be remembered that this movement has been inaugurated but a short time comparatively, that all things being considered, the rate of its advancement is, beyond question, without precedent since the apostolic times. If we were to look back beyond the beginning of the last quarter century, we should not see a single Christian Science church on the face of the earth, for the original one, the Mother Church of the denomination was organized in 1879. Now there are not less than 950 organizations, many of which are suitably housed in beautiful and costly buildings, dedicated free of all financial incumbrances and filled at services with hosts of earnest, devoted people, bent on knowing more of God and on doing more of good. The Christian Science textbook, published first in 1875, has reached more than 415 editions of 1,000 copies each and the sale of Bibles has correspondingly increased. What does it all mean? It means that deep down in the human consciousness is being laid the foundation of that eternal Truth, the knowledge of which was promised to make us free and that upon this firm substructure is being reared with solid masonry of spirit the superstructure of purer thinking, of more righteous living. It means that there is a large and rapidly increasing body (a peculiar people indeed) who are really learning how to become as a little child and walk in willing, implicit trust and obedience wherever, through their divinely appointed Guide, God is pointing out the way. It means that this Way of righteousness is proved to be [a way of] exemption, not only from the snares of sin, but from the pains and frailties of the body as well; a Way of salvation in the fullest sense to health, wholeness or holiness, harmony, heaven.
[Here the speaker read from "Science and Health," page 98, lines 16 to 22.]
[CSLectures note to the reader: In the final edition of Science and Health, this passage extends from lines 15 to 21 and reads: "Beyond the frail premises of human beliefs, above the loosening grasp of creeds, the demonstration of Christian Mind-healing stands a revealed and practical Science. It is imperious throughout all ages as Christ's revelation of Truth, of Life, and of Love, which remains inviolate for every man to understand and to practise."]
Of course it would be useless to attempt to set forth in one evening anything like a full exposition of so vast a theme; one can but point out some of its virtues and possibilities, sufficiently to commend it to your favorable esteem and to incite you to further investigation. If any ray of hope, or comfort, or inspiration has come to you from this hour's discussion, its object will have been attained. For, if remembered and followed, this ray will become the day star, to lead you to the haven of a practical, provable knowledge of God.
Finally, we who have had experimental knowledge of the value of this advice do not hesitate to recommend most earnest study of this vital subject and association with those who have made some progress in its lore. We especially advocate the daily perusal of the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in connection with the Bible, pondering deeply and applying as far as possible its wonderful precepts, thus coming into closer acquaintance and fellowship with its inspired Author. Then you will find that you, too, can demonstrate the spiritual power of the undaunted thought of Truth, to supplant any and every suggestion of evil; can prove that divine Mind is omnipotent to heal and save to the uttermost.
Progression is the inevitable outcome of all honest endeavor. So if we are sincerely seeking Truth for Truth's own sake, we must all move along under that impartial ruling, gaining continually a greater sense of peace and of power, "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
[Delivered Nov. 1, 1906, at Odd Fellows Hall in North Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in The Cambridge Chronicle, Nov. 3, 1906. The text was carefully compared to a copy of the lecture delivered about six months later. This permitted minor corrections to be made to the Cambridge text and the addition of some material, set off above in brackets. The title was taken from a briefer version of the lecture printed in a pamphlet issued by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Note that part of verse 20 of Ephesians 3 is rendered freely in the first paragraph of the section "Views on Prayer and the Bible," above, but still appears in quotation marks. Other passages from Scripture not precisely quoted from the King James Version of the Bible have been corrected in this transcription.]