The Hon. William E. Brown, C.S.B., of Los Angeles, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The following lecture by the Hon. William E. Brown, C.S.B., entitled "Christian Science: The Religion of Spiritual Vision," was delivered several years ago.
The lecturer, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., spoke substantially as follows:
Perhaps it would be difficult to frame a more important or comprehensive message to mortals than that given by Paul when he wrote to the Corinthians, "For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." From this it will be seen that the highest possible attainment is to gain the ability to know the unseen things of Spirit.
Ringing down the centuries comes the question of Christ Jesus, the master Scientist, clearly indicating the cause of all human discord "Having eyes, see ye not?" Paralleling this fundamental question, there arises from those who in a measure comprehend the meaning of the Wayshower, the age-long cry, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened."
In these two utterances there is indicated the cause and cure of much human discord. It is, of course, well known that Biblical terms have both a literal and spiritual interpretation, and of the latter, Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures," "Take away the spiritual signification of Scripture, and that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice" (Science and Health, p. 241). It is therefore extremely important that we understand the spiritual meaning of the term "eyes." Turning again to the textbook, we find that the term "eyes" is defined in part as follows: "Spiritual discernment" (Science and Health, p. 586). Clearly then, is it not established that what the Master wished to impress upon his disciples was that they lacked spiritual vision?
"Lord, that our eyes may be opened." In response to this cry, Christian Science comes to you tonight showing how this age-long yearning may be answered in a practical manner.
Permit me to call your attention for a few minutes to the title of this lecture, "Christian Science: The Religion of Spiritual Vision." The term Christian Science will indicate to you that this religion is a practical religion scientific in every aspect, based upon a demonstrable premise. It is not blind faith or superstition.
The term "Spiritual Vision" is, of course, more or less explanatory and deals with the ability to perceive things as God knows them. Here someone may ask what that statement means, "As God knows them." This is an important question and its consideration will be helpful. Christian Science defines God as infinite Mind, an omnipresent intelligence in which all things exist. Since God is the only cause, an infinitely perfect cause, it is clear that all which He creates is perfect, forever expressing the divine qualities; or, as it is expressed in Genesis, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." So here we have our answer, God beholds everything as "very good." Truly a vision of this kind is well worth striving for, is it not?
Thus, we are to discuss tonight a truly scientific religion which exists for the ultimate purpose of providing spiritual perception to mankind, to the end that all may perceive the things described by Paul: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
To show the advancing steps in religious beliefs which preceded Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science, it will be helpful to consider briefly Professor Einstein's admirable analysis of the religious beliefs of humanity. In substance, he tells us that in primitive peoples it is first fear that awakens religious ideas: fear of hunger; of wild animals; of illness and death, and in these extremities he tells us that the human soul forms a being more or less like itself on whose will depend the experiences which it fears. The primitives hope to win the favor of this being by deeds and sacrifices, which, according to tradition, are supposed to appease this being or make him well disposed to men. This may be called the religion of fear. As mankind advances out of these primitive fears, another demand formulates itself, founded in the social feelings. In this experience, the individual longs for guidance, for love and assistance. The God of this religion is a providence who protects, decides, rewards, and punishes. This religion may be called the social or moral idea of God.
Finally, when these foregoing religious ideas have failed to satisfy more spiritually inclined individuals there begins a third level of religious experience which does not involve an anthropomorphic idea of God. Professor Einstein designates this advancement as the cosmic religious sense, and declares that indications of this can be found even on earlier levels of development: as, for instance, in the psalms of David and in the prophets. This advanced state of religion creates first, in the individual, a recognition of the vanity of human desires and aims; and second, begins to establish a consciousness of the nobility and marvelous order which are revealed in nature and in the world of thought.
Professor Einstein further declares that the religious geniuses of all times have been distinguished by this cosmic religious sense, which recognizes neither dogmas nor a god made in man's image. This admirable analysis of the religious phase of mankind shows the advancing steps which preceded Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science, the religion of spiritual vision; but it was not until this discovery that a satisfying and demonstrable religion was given to the world.
It is well to bear in mind that Christian Science and the teachings of Jesus are identical. It was Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the spiritual meanings of his teachings and of the divine Principle underlying them which enabled her to give to the world a complete, scientific, and demonstrable Christianity.
The importance of gaining spiritual vision is stressed by Solomon, who declares, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." A careful study of the Bible in the light of Christian Science shows that a lack of spiritual vision is the cause of sin, sickness, and death; and that the only permanent and universal remedy for these evils is to acquire spiritual vision and finally to instruct others how to gain this vision.
It is doubtless occurring to some here for the first time. Why the need for spiritual vision, and what is to be visualized? The need is shown by the fact that all mortals desire health, happiness, and security, and it is evident that material vision has not been able to confer these blessings upon mankind. So, we must look elsewhere. The Bible tells us over and over again that spiritual understanding is the open door to all that is good and desirable. The Bible also reminds us that the things of God are foolishness to the natural man and that they can only be spiritually discerned.
In the fourth chapter of Proverbs we are admonished, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." So the need of spiritual vision and its reward is succinctly summed up by the Psalmist, who declares, "Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish."
At this point I am reminded of a colloquy between a Christian Science practitioner and his patient to whom he had been explaining the importance of gaining spiritual vision. After admitting the logic of the situation the patient exclaimed, "But how can I gain spiritual vision?" The practitioner replied, "By acquiring the mind of Christ." "Why," said the patient, "is this necessary?" "Because," said the practitioner, "the mind of Christ is the only mind that can perceive the universe of Spirit." This fact is clearly brought out in the Scriptural reference which reads, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." To this the patient replied, "This reasoning seems clear and rational, but how can one acquire the 'mind of Christ'?" The practitioner said: "The process is simple, but requires constant alertness in gaining an understanding of the truth, and, stated negatively, consists mainly in standing porter at the door of thought and refusing to entertain or express any and every thought which is opposed to the mind of Christ."
Before the discovery of Christian Science, the ability to refuse to entertain or express any thought which is opposed to the mind of Christ, and the benefits flowing from such activity, were not known or understood. All were constantly urged by ethical teachers to seek the good and shun the evil, and mortals were urged to depart from evil because it would please God. It remained for Christian Science to point out the real benefit accruing from such mental discipline. Christian Science points out that the real reward or gain arising from refusing to accept, entertain, or express error is, that by such refusal the vision is clarified and the day hastened when all shall be able to see the universe as God sees it; in other words, the gaining of spiritual vision.
It is apparent to all who have given the matter sufficient consideration that what we term our environment or experience in life is a matter of consciousness; or in other words, one's environment is only the expression or external objectification of one's thinking, and consequently can be changed only by a change in thinking. Paul summed up the entire matter by declaring that "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Since in one's present environment there occur the experiences termed sin, poverty, unhappiness, disease, old age, and death, it is evident that their supposed necessity or possibility must have existed first in consciousness before they could be expressed in environment or experience. This simple analysis immediately suggests the remedy; that is, permanently to expel these so-called activities from consciousness, to the end that they may be forever expelled from one's environment.
The ability to expel discordant conditions from consciousness is one of the many blessings conferred upon mankind by Mrs. Eddy. Her clear and logical teaching that God, infinite Mind, is forever expressed in universal harmony immediately exposes the falsity of all opposing beliefs, and when their falsity is discerned they disappear from human experience. Of this process, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, Pref. p. xi), "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation."
To attain this very desirable and necessary state, so that one may be satisfied with life, a multitude of ways and plans have been formulated and advocated, each proclaiming itself the true and the only way. To know that such ways have failed, one has only to view the discordant experiences of this generation. A similar condition confronted the great Master of men when he began his mission of salvation upon the shores of Galilee. In order to divorce false hopes and expectations from his hearers, based upon the prevailing plans of redemption, he declared, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers"; that is, they robbed man of his true or spiritual birthright by their misleading and false teachings.
Accompanying this complete condemnation and rejection was his spiritual and provable declaration, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." It is clearly understood that by this saying he was referring to his teaching and doctrine, and not to his personality.
A careful study of Jesus' teaching shows unmistakably that the sad plight in which the race of Adam seems to find itself is the result of unspiritual thinking. This is evidenced by Solomon's unsatisfactory experience, which he tells us brought him only "vanity and vexation of spirit."
Inherently, there exists in the minds of mortals a latent hope that there is a way of escape from all discordant conditions and they have felt intuitively that the Bible contained this way. This hope has urged mankind to search the Scriptures; but until the advent of Christian Science the way was not well defined.
The inherent conviction, that the way of life is found in the Bible is shown by the modern scientist's declaration: he says that our civilization, like the mills of the gods, grinds "exceeding small" and the grist is what? Money, riches, vanities, envies, vain display. Why? Because we do not take to heart what we might learn from the Bible. It points out the path to true happiness.
What of the woman, Mrs. Eddy, who brought to this age the fundamental necessity of gaining spiritual vision? From whom did she receive this ability; this impelling spiritual urge to seek the things of God, to the end that she might show them unto the creature? She was led step by step, and proof by proof, to discover what she intuitively believed to be true. Of this she writes in her book: "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 24): "The discovery came to pass in this way. During twenty years prior to my discovery I had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause; and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty that all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon."
Her research, discovery, and demonstration were orderly, scientific, and convincing. She did not ask the world to accept Christian Science because she discovered it, but offered the most convincing proof. Of this she writes in her book ''Unity of Good" (p. 7) as follows: "When I have most clearly seen and most sensibly felt that the infinite recognizes no disease, this has not separated me from God, but has so bound me to Him as to enable me instantaneously to heal a cancer which had eaten its way to the jugular vein.
"In the same spiritual condition I have been able to replace dislocated joints and raise the dying to instantaneous health. People are now living who can bear witness to these cures. Herein is my evidence, from on high, that the views here promulgated on this subject are correct."
It is interesting and significant to note that Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science in 1866 is now being substantiated in considerable degree by leading physicists of today.
In speaking of the achievements of natural science, Dr. Eddington, professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, writes in his article entitled "The Domain of Physical Science," published in a volume of essays, entitled "Science, Religion and Reality," as follows: "Of the intrinsic nature of matter, science knows nothing and can never know anything," and he continues: "For all we know, matter may itself be mental." In speaking of "iron laws of nature" he declares: "As the result of recent scientific work, it can be shown that these laws are the result of the mind's own action." He finally reaches this most important conclusion: "To an altogether unsuspected extent, the universe we live in is a creation of our own minds."
Of his conclusions Professor Eddington declares: "These conclusions, although some of them have occurred to philosophers and mystics in the past, are now the results of the severest science and are therefore of extraordinary importance." It is interesting to realize that this dictum of modern science finds a prophetic correlative in Mrs. Eddy's declarations made over a half century ago.
Let us speak for a moment of the final mental cause of the universe: Christian Science teaches that cause and effect are mental. Since Christian Science also teaches that God is the only cause, it does away with the perplexities involved in the popular theological concept of a spirit or soul resident in a material body; for, starting with a perfect God as the only cause, it is perceived that the universe, and this includes man, is perfect, spiritual, in short, is the full effect of perfect cause.
In other words, Mrs. Eddy received directly, through spiritual revelation, the facts concerning the universe, while the efforts of natural scientists, ranging over hundreds of years of investigation, are only dimly perceiving hints of some of the simpler truths discovered by Mrs. Eddy.
In speaking of the qualities inherent in truth and in error, Benjamin Franklin wrote as follows: "Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists. Error is endlessly diversified. It has no reality, but is the pure and simple creation of the mind that invents it." And Herbert Spencer gives the following excellent definition: "That which is real is permanent; that which is not permanent is not real."
Mrs. Eddy, following the teachings of Jesus, taught and proved the unreality of evil. Moreover, Mrs. Eddy's teaching is wholly consistent with its divine Principle, God. Accepting in its fullness the allness of God, she remained loyal and consistent throughout in her reasoning and deductions. When confronted with the seeming claim of evil, she did not attempt to account for its so-called existence by calling evil "good in the making" or stating that there might exist some reason unknowable to mortals. She instantly knew its unreality; in other words, she agreed with the adversary quickly; that is, she instantly recognized the unreality of its claim and promptly dismissed it as unreal.
What a godsend to mankind the ability to know the nothingness of evil and its manifestations and thus to free the victim of the material senses! What a relief to know that we may be forever excused from indulging in criticism, faultfinding, and condemnation! Think of the joy and privilege that is ours to endeavor constantly to see our fellow men as God sees them!
Let me show you how very practical this line of procedure is. A number of years ago, during one of my early visits to a practitioner, she said very many helpful things to me and among them was this: "To love, is the fulfilling of the law." This immediately arrested my attention and I said to her: "Well, that must be a very important thing. Anything which can fulfill the law must be very well worth knowing. I wish you would please tell me what it means in Christian Science 'to love'." I never forgot her reply, as it has enabled me to solve many perplexing problems and it will aid you likewise. She said, "To love, means that you must constantly know the truth about God and your relation to Him and the same thing about every other living creature." At that time I was in a commercial business, employing a number of men, and one of them, a traveling salesman, did not seem to be very efficient. He made a number of mistakes and it cost me considerable money. I did not want to discharge this man, for he too was a student of Christian Science; nevertheless, I chafed under this situation and frequently asked the question, "Why is it necessary for me to be encumbered with this incompetent man?" Suddenly, one morning, recalling the words of the practitioner, I realized that I was not using Christian Science to solve this problem. I was constantly thinking of him as incompetent, stupid, inefficient. I might just as well have said that he had the smallpox, measles, and hives. And so I began to reverse my thought processes and declare that because man is the image and likeness of God, expressing infinite wisdom and intelligence, he must necessarily be competent and efficient in the highest degree; moreover, I declared that because the universe is an orderly universe, every idea must be in its proper place all the time, forever doing what it ought to do and doing it well and expressing infinite abundance. In a few days this same man came to me of his own volition and said: "I have just been offered a position in my own calling with which I am familiar and I think I would do better there. If you have no objections, and it will not inconvenience you, I would like to leave you on the first of the month." That is the way that a Christian Science demonstration always works; it blesses all concerned.
My friends, I want to impress upon you the fact that there is nothing sweeter in life than to go through the day endeavoring to see our neighbors and friends as God sees them. It removes criticism, condemnation, self -righteousness and indeed makes life well worth living.
Of the spiritual universe which God knows and governs, all Christian Scientists bear testimony that while this spiritual universe seems scarcely discernible at times, at other times the light of revelation brings such an illumination that it removes the false concept of a material universe and its beliefs of time and limitations of every sort.
In Mark, we find a wonderful story of the transfiguration, wherein Jesus, together with Peter, James, and John, beheld Elias and Moses, with whom Jesus conversed. This story illustrates the ability of spiritual vision to perceive the things of God, which the material senses cannot comprehend. As a further illustration of the power of spiritual sense, we have the vision of St. John on the isle of Patmos, where he beheld the new or real heaven and a new earth, and the former things had passed away. In this connection Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 264): "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible."
Proceeding with the question of spiritual vision, Christian Science maintains that the spiritual universe must be complete and indestructible, and that the most important thing in life is spiritually to discern this fact and to establish by demonstration that man is, not shall be, immortal, and not subject to sin, disease, and death.
This question concerning divine facts, or, as someone has called it, "the essence of things," is a most important one to Christian Scientists. Of this spiritual universe, the Bible assures us that it is finished, complete that nothing can be added to it nor taken from it. The question may here be asked, What is it that obscures from our vision the divine universe which is all about us? and the answer is: the false testimony of the material senses. This obscuring veil must be done away with, and of this Isaiah writes: "And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations."
It sometimes happens that earnest seekers for Truth are impatient because they do not seem to gain spiritual vision rapidly, and Ezekiel informs us that there were certain friends in his day who had the same things to contend with, where he says: "Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision." This is being fulfilled today in the practice of Christian Science.
Spiritual vision does not introduce us to another world, but gives us a correct concept of true existence. When one begins to get this correct concept, one immediately notices an improvement in all directions, and with "signs following." The Psalmist declares, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
Before Mrs. Eddy gave the world her discovery it was generally believed and taught by the schools that the universe was composed of mind and matter. This fallacious combination Mrs. Eddy showed to be impossible. Through revelation, she discovered that all is Mind and its infinite expression, and, like David of old, went to meet the Goliath of materiality. It is gratifying indeed to realize that many of the leading thinkers of the world are indirectly, though incompletely, endorsing Mrs. Eddy's discovery, as summed up in her wonderful "scientific statement of being" (Science and Health, p. 468), in which she declares, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all." In this connection, Sir James Jeans, in his book called "The Mysterious Universe," reaches the following conclusion: "If all this be so, then the universe can be best pictured, although still very imperfectly and inadequately, as consisting of pure thought, the creator of what, for want of a wider word, we must describe as a mathematical thinker." In other words, this eminent natural scientist declares that the universe is mental and governed by law, thus rejecting the idea of a world of chance. Mary Baker Eddy discerned the exact truth about God and the universe more than half a century ago when she declared that God is Mind, that God is divine Principle, and that the universe is the expression of Mind.
In speaking of the blessing which flows to one who is sufficiently spiritual to receive this interpretation, the book of Job declares: "If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: . . . His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth." The fullness of this wonderful promise can be gained only through Christian Science. The phrase "to shew unto man his uprightness" clearly establishes the great fact that man is upright now and that since this is true, he has always been upright. This divine fact can only be discerned through spiritual vision, and it is the mission of Christian Science to give us this interpretation.
Before the advent of Christian Science, mortals, buffeted by sin and disease through a few weary years, frequently looked upon death as a way of escape, but now, through the teaching of this science, they are given the ability to master sin and disease, and to realize that death is not a friend, but an enemy. Do not be trapped into speculating about or contemplating the mortal mind activity called death and the supposititious planes of existence. There is but one thing to do when this lying suggestion presents itself, and that is to know its utter unreality. The Master said that those who kept his sayings should never see death and Mrs. Eddy tells us that death cannot present itself to one who is ever conscious of Life.
Time is far too precious to waste in dwelling upon the unreal activities of the carnal mind. Through the instructions given in the Christian Science textbook mortals are provided with wholesome mental occupation, striving to realize and demonstrate their own true selves their sonship with God. As the student of Christian Science begins earnestly and sincerely to prove his divine sonship, he commences to experience in ever increasing degree the blessings promised to such seekers.
Our one object in life is to identify ourselves with divine Life. The reward for doing this is great and is eloquently summed up by Mrs. Eddy (Pulpit and Press, p.4): "Reflect this Life, and with it cometh the full power of being."
Let us consider briefly the wonderful achievements of the man of Galilee the man who gave the world a demonstrable understanding of the religion of spiritual vision. He understood the spiritual meaning of the Bible verse, "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." Reasoning from this Scriptural premise, he knew that all which did not proceed from God must be unreal. As a correlative of this, Mrs. Eddy wrote (Science and Health, p. 207): "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause." It is very important that you fix this scientific deduction indelibly in your minds, because it will aid you in grasping the facts which I am presenting to you tonight. Christian Science, the religion of spiritual vision, is the only true concept of religion, and this for the simple reason that the Scriptural declaration just referred to could not permit of any other kind of religion.
In this day and age we pride ourselves on being scientific. We like to think of ourselves as having outgrown blind faith, superstition, and chance, and so we have applied the term "science" to a number of human activities which are merely an aggregation of human beliefs; but, in truth, there is but one true and exact Science, the Science of Christianity, perceived and taught by the master Scientist, Jesus. Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 313): "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause." In this connection Professor Eddington of Cambridge University writes as follows: "The nature of it (the universe) is forever outside scientific investigation. If we are ever to know anything of that nature, it must be through something like a religious experience." And this, of course, accounts for the successful method of Jesus.
Christian Scientists find much joy in the fact that through Mrs. Eddy's discovery they have the privilege of sitting at the feet of the greatest Scientist the world has ever known; and from him, learning the so-called mysteries and secrets of life. They owe everlasting gratitude to the Discoverer of Christian Science for imparting to them the ability to duplicate his works in an ever-increasing degree.
Jesus made it plain that thought is the important factor. This is clearly shown in his declaration contained in Mark, "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house." Furthermore, Jesus emphasizes the importance of not sinning in thought, as this precedes the outward expression. And Christian Science teaches and proves that sin and disease originate in thought before they can come into one's experience. Evil thoughts must be expelled when first presented or they will dominate one's consciousness.
One of the most helpful statements in the Bible is found in Matthew, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
This promise, through the realization conferred upon Christian Scientists, has brought untold blessings to thousands; but frequently the question is asked: "What connection is there between 'seeking the kingdom of God, and his righteousness' and my unpaid obligations which are giving me much anxiety and worry?" In other words, the question amounts to this: "Please, explain the modus operandi of a Christian Science treatment."
A Christian Science treatment may be epitomized as a realization of the truth the truth which the Master said would set us free from all discord mental, moral, physical, or financial. While that which I am about to say will be more readily comprehended by those who are familiar with the Christian Science textbook, I am sure that I shall be able to say some things which will be readily grasped by all, and which will be an encouragement to seek a fuller knowledge.
To begin with, we must realize, as I have told you, that what one calls his environment, or experience in life, is only an expression of that which is in his consciousness. Let us suppose that one is suffering from poverty: it will be clear that this manifestation could not be expressed in one's experience unless it first found admission or lodgment in one's consciousness. From this it will be seen that if one desires to eliminate discordant experiences from his environment, the first thing to do is to eliminate it from his consciousness, and then the question arises: How is this to be done? Primarily, one must cease to consider the discordant conditions and, instead, contemplate and dwell on the facts of spiritual existence. In this particular case, it is essential to know that in God's universe there could be no such manifestation as poverty, because all of God's ideas are eternally provided for. It is very plain that continued contemplation and affirmation of this spiritual fact of being would soon establish it in one's consciousness, and this establishment would, in turn, crowd out the belief of the possibility of poverty and, naturally, when it is crowded out of one's consciousness it is expelled from one's experience. Of this, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 261), "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionately to their occupancy of your thoughts."
Through the consistent contemplation, affirmation, and reflection of the divine activities, one gradually rises into a higher state of consciousness, and enjoys in increasing degree the calm of Spirit being in the world, but not of it. As one rises into the atmosphere of Soul, he finds himself above the storms and cross currents of mortal thinking and begins to understand, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." A recent article in The Christian Science Monitor furnishes an apt simile. The subject matter of this article was the stratosphere. The speaker brought out the fact that while at sea level in our atmosphere the pressure is about eighteen tons on each individual, in the stratosphere the density is only about one-eighth. Moreover, in discussing the cause of storms in the earth's atmosphere, he declared that such causes do not exist in the stratosphere; hence, there are no storms there.
Through spiritual thinking one rises above the pressure of materiality, poised above the conflict of mortal excusing and accusing. With Paul one can say, "None of these things move me."
I believe it is a reasonable presumption that because you are present at this lecture you are desirous of learning something of Christian Science, and that you will naturally desire to know more.
It is self-evident that in the brief time allotted to a lecture it would not be possible to go into the matter in an extended manner. However, I believe enough has been said to convince you that Christian Science is a logical and demonstrable religion practical Christianity and in this brief discourse you have received in a measure, I trust, the true idea of God, infinite Mind, in which resides the qualities of life, peace, and joy.
It has been shown that these qualities are to be obtained through true prayer, or spiritual understanding, and we have the Christian Science textbook to instruct us how to conform our lives in accordance with the divine will, so that we may enjoy these qualities. Finally, we have the Master's loving invitation, whosoever will let him come.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science not only presented to the world the way of escape from the bondage of materiality, but she also provided channels whereby mortals could acquire progressive understanding of the Christ Science. Prominent among these are the Sunday services and the Wednesday evening testimony meetings conducted by the Christian Science church.
In the Sunday services helpful Bible lessons are analyzed and illuminated; the experiences of Bible characters are reviewed and the application of these experiences to present-day problems made usable, and the way to eternal Life is made plain. The purpose of these Lesson-Sermons is comprehensively set forth in the second paragraph of the Explanatory Note in the Christian. Science Quarterly, which reads, "The canonical writings, together with the word of our textbook, corroborating and explaining the Bible texts in their spiritual import and application to all ages, past, present, and future, constitute a sermon undivorced from truth, uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses, and divinely authorized."
In the Wednesday evening testimonial meetings a portion of the time is devoted to experiences of those who have been benefited by Christian Science, and many testimonies are given by those who have been rescued from so-called incurable diseases, from lives of sin, and from engulfing business and financial difficulties. One who desires to know more of Christian Science and its operations will do well to take advantage of these services by regular attendance.
One of the mistaken notions which has prevented many worthy persons from enjoying the blessings and freedom conferred upon mortals by Christian Science is the erroneous impression that by looking into this subject they will be departing in some manner from the way of the Master, and that they will be doing something queer and unusual, and that some of their friends may possibly consider them peculiar or spiritually lost. Because of such unfounded fears and misconceptions many who have been healed and blessed in Christian Science are today secretly studying its textbook. Failing to come out and take a public stand for Christian Science they are being deprived of the many blessings which flow from co-operation with fellow Christians. All this is, of course, unnecessary, because of the fact, already stated, that Christian Science is wholly and purely the Christianity of Jesus.
The culminating point of spiritual vision centers in the revelation of St. John, and the world owes much to Christian Science for the illumination it has shed upon this mountain peak of revelation.
Through false theology and religious superstition the book of Revelation has acquired a mysterious supernatural aspect, and its contents have been considered beyond the ken of mortals. This mistaken notion is dispelled when the word "revelation" is understood. The meaning given by one of our dictionaries is very helpful in this connection: "Immediate consciousness of the real."
One does not have to go any particular place nor create any special environment to gain this spiritual vision. Through the teaching and practice of Christian Science one is enabled to purify thought so that the things of Spirit may be discerned.
The ability to see the universe as God sees it is the ultimate goal of Christianity. This ability is not dependent upon intellect nor a wealth of empirical knowledge, but sound morals are an absolute necessity; in other words, only the pure in heart can see God.
In stressing these points, do you not see what a great moral force Christian Science is? Do you not see how its method of salvation the gaining of spiritual vision begins immediately to improve all conditions? Do you not see that Christian Science is encouraging and helping individuals, and is bringing to the world real, permanent salvation?
Once convince an individual through proof, that spiritual thinking confers upon him improved morals, health, and prosperity and you have created an important factor in the work of redeeming the world, a factor which immediately begins to shape his life activity in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount and to cause him to put into practical operation the Golden Rule. Such a one is as much interested in giving as he is in receiving, and thus he encourages others to acquire spiritual vision, the only real remedy for the woes of mortality.
In this brief discourse I have attempted to impress upon you that the way of salvation from all material discords is to gain spiritual vision. I have pointed out the way to secure this. If you faithfully put into practice the teachings of Christian Science, gradually this vision will be yours. If your progress seems slow and unsatisfactory, do not become slothful nor discouraged. Let us recall the comforting words of Habakkuk: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come."
[Published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Brooklyn, New York, Aug. 21, 1937. Delivered March 18, 1933, at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 67th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, Brooklyn, and published at that time in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 18, 1933.]