Archibald Carey, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Aware of the common anxiety about food and raiment, Jesus gave the following rule of action: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). Is this rule practical? And, if so, what does Christian Science have to do to make Jesus' rule of action both true and practical?
Of course the kingdom of God is the realm governed by God, and seeking the kingdom of God is seeking to be governed by God. Right thinking and right doing, which constitute righteousness, are the result of being completely governed by God. But why should this bring all the things that men rightly desire?
Christian Science is intensely practical. It leaves no gap between the highest ideals and workable, everyday provisions for daily human needs. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, we read (p. 494), ''Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."
This statement by Mrs. Eddy may be considered correlative to Jesus' instruction. Indeed Christian Science is teaching men how to acquaint themselves with God, divine Love, the source of all good.
So let us look into it, "let us reason together" and see just how and why Christian Science has proved its value to so many thousands of people.
First it would be interesting to review briefly the discovery and establishment of Christian Science. Any science has its discoverer, who first recognizes and appreciates the laws upon which the science is based, and the Discoverer of Christian Science was Mary Baker Eddy. While in her day there were not available to women the colleges that we have now, she must be considered as a highly educated woman because she acquired through her own efforts and independent study, as well as through her constant contact with educated people, what would be the equivalent of a well-rounded education. Her family were devout Christians, and she herself from early childhood was deeply religious. As her thought developed, she was disturbed by the apparent conflict between the logical, intelligent thinking which was expected of an educated person and the religious dogmas that she was told should be accepted and believed without question. Her researches in ancient and modern philosophies and various schools of thought could not reconcile these two points of view. The healing of disease by Jesus seemed to her to call for an explanation, and she could not believe the usual statement that he exercised some mysterious, supernatural power which could not be understood.
When, in the year 1866, Mrs. Eddy met with an accident and was told that it would prove fatal, she called for her Bible and studied the account of the healing by Jesus of a palsied man. She grasped the fact that this healing must have resulted from the operation of law, and therefore that the same laws that Jesus understood and used must be available to her. This realization of the unchanging law of God, which was operative in her time just as it was when Jesus applied it, produced a profound impression on her thought, with the significant result that her body was instantly healed.
Like other scientific pioneers, Mrs. Eddy was not content merely to observe the phenomenon, but she must know the laws which produced the effect. Realizing what it would mean to mankind if Jesus' method of healing could be discovered, she dropped all other activities and devoted her entire attention to a study of the Bible and of Jesus' words and works. As a scientific investigator, she looked for facts and laws where others had been content to observe the phenomena and speak of them as supernatural or miraculous. In this way she discovered the laws that Jesus had used and the methods of practically applying them to human needs. Since this was the Science of Christianity, she called her discovery Christian Science.
After broad practical tests of this scientific method of healing Mrs. Eddy wrote a textbook on this Science called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." While there were great numbers who needed its explanation of Christianity and its laws of healing, only comparatively few knew of this book. To meet this need the Discoverer of this Science, with the co-operation of many of those who had been benefited by her teachings, established the activities which, under her guidance, developed into the Christian Science movement. Today The Mother Church with its branches, its Christian Science Publishing Society, and all the activities provided for in our Church Manual stands as a result of the remarkable vision and ability of its Founder.
One of Mrs. Eddy's noteworthy achievements was the provision in detail for the form of government of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in our Church Manual, of which she is the author. The unique service which The Mother Church continues to render in protecting and forwarding the growing recognition of Christian Science has been made possible through the foresight of the author of the Manual.
No one who is well informed can question the ability and wisdom of Mary Baker Eddy; what she accomplished speaks for itself. But those who have received healing and happiness through Christian Science add to their admiration, gratitude and love for the one who made this good available to them. Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, but for them to fail to have a deep sense of gratitude and love toward her would be unnatural.
So Christian Scientists think of Mary Baker Eddy as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. And they recognize her as the Leader whose clear perception of Truth has led them, and continues to lead them, to health and freedom, success and happiness.
The ancient prophets recognized to a degree the unfolding of the laws of God in their experience, and therefore they could foresee that a fuller understanding must come. Jesus declared (John 14:16,17), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." The discovery and founding of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy was then in fulfillment of prophecy.
In considering how and why Christian Science works, it is important to recognize that it is an exact Science. A science cannot stand if it is built upon mistakes. The ancient phlogiston theory of matter was based on error. A science must be based on facts, not mistakes.
A science must deal not only with facts, but with the laws that explain the facts and show their relationship with each other. The mere correct observation and recording of facts does not constitute a science. When Watt noted the lifting of the kettle lid by the power of steam, the significant thing was not that this occurred, but that someone recognized the law back of it. When Franklin received the electric spark from the kite string, the important thing was that he looked for the laws of electricity, instead of just noting the fact. Today, steam and electricity are useful because someone searched not only for facts but also for their laws and relationships.
Christian Science as a Science deals therefore not only with facts but also with laws. In any form of laboratory experiment, if you accurately understand the laws involved, you can reproduce in the laboratory the conditions these laws permit. Today Christian Science enables us to perform the kind of healing which was done by Jesus and his apostles when we understand the laws involved. The facts are that Jesus and his apostles healed disease and also that similar healings are produced today by the same methods which they used. Christian Science supplies the scientific explanation of the laws which produced the facts.
What are the laws of God that can be utilized in healing and in solving other human problems? Perhaps first of all we should be sure that we have a clear concept of what God is. Is God a cruel potentate who loves and hates, and whose laws may either help or harm? Is God an unintelligent automatic reaction which may be beneficent or destructive, with a system of laws that are sometimes good and sometimes harmful? Is God a blind force, sometimes called nature, which makes mistakes and causes suffering and disease? Does God share the government of the universe with a powerful evil or devil who can interfere with or prevent the operation of God's laws? Christian Science does not so define God; but on the other hand it does not merely offer one more definition of God to add to the confusion and conflict of the many concepts of Deity that are prevalent. Because it is Science, Christian Science is concerned with ultimate facts that are logical and unavoidable and with the laws that correlate these facts.
One thing that must necessarily be true is that laws cannot be in conflict with each other if these laws are to operate without change. One mathematical law cannot be in conflict with another. All of the laws of mathematics are maintained in their relationship of noninterference and harmony by the principle of mathematics which governs them all. As in the limited field of mathematics, so in the broader realm that includes all law, there can be no conflict or inharmony between laws, if all laws are to continue to operate. As the principle of mathematics governs and protects its laws, so there must be one great Principle governing and harmonizing, and therefore maintaining, all the laws of the universe. Only thus could we have laws which would continue to operate without interference so that we are able to rely on their unchanging operation. If there were no such laws there would be no science of any kind. If there are dependable laws, there must be one supreme Principle governing all laws and maintaining their existence.
In the scientific study of this Principle, is it possible to find any facts about it which are necessarily true? Yes, there are a number of things which must be true. This all-inclusive Principle is surely good for and to all the laws that exist, as well as the results which follow from their operation, because it maintains their very existence. So we must recognize it as wholly and completely good.
As this Principle controls an intelligible, understandable universe, including intelligent man, it cannot be less than intelligent. Since it is intelligent, it must know the laws and facts that are based upon it, including everything that there is to be known, hence it must be perfect Mind. Being all-intelligent, Principle must appreciate the goodness and harmony of the realities that are controlled by it. Its very nature must be Love. Since all the actualities of life are founded upon it, we can speak of it as Life itself. The basis of all that is true, it is Truth itself. Unlimited by time or space, always active, it is Spirit. Including and maintaining all identity, we can speak of it as Soul.
So in our scientific study of the nature of God and His laws, we logically begin with an accurate consideration of exactly what we mean by the term God, and the Christian Science textbook gives these synonyms of God: divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind. There can be no intelligent doubt that such a God exists. That this God governs all the laws of the universe is also not subject to logical denial. Thus an accurately scientific study of God and His laws not only deals with fundamental reality; it includes within its broad scope all that there is to be known. It is complete Science.
It seems entirely logical, then, if the universe is governed by a good Principle which controls all its laws, that as one conforms to these laws he finds all the laws of the universe working together in harmony for his best interests. As we "seek . . . first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" naturally all the laws that exist work together to bring to us all the good we could desire.
But in order to obey God's laws one must know what they are. On the first page of the Preface of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, we read (p. vii): "Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal." What we have already considered in regard to God and His laws can be of help to us. We can use the synonyms for God that we have been talking about.
For example, which is in conformity to the laws of God — to be sick or to be well? Since God, Principle, is good, and therefore could not maintain a law which would harm or destroy any actuality in His universe, sickness must be opposed to God and His laws. On the other hand, health, being good and in harmony with Principle, is in accordance with God's law. To be sick, to accept and obey so-called laws of disease, would be contrary to God's government, and we should obey the laws of God if we would effectively overcome and destroy sickness. Then if we are to obey the laws of God which would require that we resist and destroy disease, how do we go about it?
Again, our synonyms for God help us. God is Truth, and Truth exercises a unique power. A fact has an irresistible power over a mistake. A truth will always destroy a mistake or error. In adding figures, if there is a mistake, it can always be destroyed by applying the appropriate fact. The fact then destroys the mistake. The mistake does not affect the fact, and it cannot resist the truth. The application of the truth to an error has a powerful effect in mathematics. We find that this is not confined to mathematics but that divine Truth can always destroy error.
Then how can one best utilize the power of Truth over error? If you wished to use electrical power in your home you would learn something about how it works. You would not use a piece of string instead of a copper wire to carry the current. If you wished to use the power of a gasoline motor in driving a car you would not put water in the gas tank. And if you wished to drive a car successfully, you would devote adequate time to learning how to drive. A beginner may step on the gas and get remarkable results, but to continue to drive wisely and well requires both instruction and practice. Similarly, in applying the power of Truth over error, the power of God over all evil and inharmony, we need both to study how to do it and to practice what we learn.
A man applied for life insurance. After a physical examination he was rejected and told it was because he had an incurable heart ailment which might prove fatal at any time. He went to a Christian Science practitioner for help. To the practitioner this was an opportunity to utilize the good power of God, of Truth, of Love. Here was a man who was earnestly striving to obey the Bible command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark 12:30). Were there laws that could govern a man's heart and produce death, stopping Life and its activity? In the light of Christian Science, the Science of God and His laws, it was apparent that this could not be true.
It became clear to both practitioner and patient that God, eternal Life and Love, governs man and everything that belongs to him; that man reflects God and does not manifest false concepts of substance; that there was no law of God that could maintain any defect of action or substance; but that on the contrary God omnipotent controlled man's being, protecting it from anything discordant and destroying with the great power of Truth anything that would obscure or interfere with the perfection of a child of God.
It was necessary patiently and persistently to apply these spiritual facts. However, before long this man found himself entirely free from heart trouble. He went back to apply for the life insurance, and was told that there was not a chance that his application would be accepted. However, he requested an examination, and the medical examiner, even with the record of the previous examination before him, could find nothing wrong. After a series of examinations and a check-up by the home office, the final conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with his heart, though no one could understand how the previous condition could have been cleared up. He was given the insurance for which he had applied.
And why not? Is it not logical that God, divine Principle, infinite Love and Truth, should overcome and render powerless a false theory that would deny the existence and supremacy of the great Principle that is essential to the existence of a harmonious universe?
If disease and all evil are not actualities but errors that can be destroyed by Truth, why do they seem so real? Well, why does a mistake in addition seem real? There is really no good reason for it. It does seem real temporarily to a sort of false consciousness that disappears with the mistake. After you correct the mistake, you wonder how that mistake could have seemed real to anyone. We have to look out for that false consciousness or false self. In Christian Science we call it mortal man. It is not real. It never takes the place of the real man, who is intelligent and conscious only of reality. Your real self is never touched by a mistake. The false self that seems to experience sickness is dropped with the sickness that it feels. But the real man, who is the perfect likeness of God, remains unchanged.
For centuries many of the most important teachings of the Bible have been obscured by ignorance and misinterpretation. Christian Science with its textbook including a "Key to the Scriptures" makes available the deeper truths of the Bible and shows how practical they are. Daily study of the Bible together with Science and Health becomes a privilege and a pleasure, an investment of time that pays rich dividends. We learn to find the far-reaching statements of truth made by early prophets, and to understand how Jesus utilized the laws of God. We recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, and we also understand what he meant when he said, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
Christian Science makes a distinction between the Christ, spoken of in Science and Health as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (p. 583), and Jesus, defined as "the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea . . . " (p.589). That "which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error," is the one and only Christ there ever was or ever will be. Jesus, Mary's son, is the only one who ever was or ever will be vested with the divine title of Christ. The divine law through which the healing Christ operates must be understood and demonstrated by everyone who works out his own salvation from sin, disease, and death. Salvation is not deferred to a doubtful future, but it is here, now, as we realize the presence of God, Principle, Love, saving and healing and providing for us. We learn to put off the old man, the false mortal self, and to put on the new man, the eternal reality of true selfhood which is instant in responding to God's loving, wise government.
But to know that there is a science of mathematics and admire it and approve of it will not help an engineer to build bridges. He must learn to understand it and to use it. To recognize the truth of what we have been considering is a definite step in progress, but to get the full benefit of this tremendous power of Truth, to feel the power of God working with you and through you, requires consistent study and effort.
An essential element of progress in this Science is prayer. But prayer cannot be thought of as an effort to get infinite wisdom and love to do anything other than what is wisest and most loving — and God, Principle, Mind, will do this without any guidance from mortals. Prayer must be communion with infinite Mind, Love, by which we become more Godlike, more responsive to God's wisdom and love. The Lord's Prayer, for example, brings to remembrance the name or nature of our heavenly Father; that it must be consecrated in our hearts, that His kingdom where His laws are supreme must be acknowledged here on earth; and that His will or power must be made manifest on earth as in heaven. We not only talk to God in prayer, but we listen in prayer and put into practice what we learn through this communion. This efficacious prayer of Christian Science is answered and does heal.
Sometimes we hear the question, ''How can mental treatment in Christian Science heal a physical disease?" A fair question. Let us look not only for the facts, but also for the reasons for the facts. That Christian Science heals disease through the power of prayer, as Jesus did, is shown by the many testimonies of healing which appear in the Christian Science periodicals and which are given each Wednesday evening in Christian Science churches. This is the fact. But what are the reasons for the fact? How does prayer heal physical disease? First let us see just what physical disease is.
We are told that the physical body is always in a process of replacement, that through metabolism bodily tissue is constantly being destroyed and replaced, and that in living tissue this process never stops. That would mean that in a certain length of time any organ or part of the body would be completely renewed, According to this, the health and perfection of any organ or any part of the body, or the whole physical body for that matter, would not be dependent upon the present physical condition of the body but rather upon the control of these processes.
To stop a disease process and replace it with healthy activity would seem to be a very practical way to deal with a sick body. Have you ever noticed how thought affects the bodily functions — how fear or worry or depression are expressed by the body, not only in the facial expression and position of the body, but in the overactivity or inactivity of different organs of the body? Nowadays we hear a great deal about how the body is controlled by ductless glands and their secretions, At the same time we hear much about how these secretions depend upon the mental attitude of the patient. Then we are told that if an individual is healthy and unworried his secretions will be all right, but if he is fearful or anxious and is not in good health his secretions will make him trouble.
Christian Science teaches that man is controlled and governed by God, that from Him he receives an endless supply of right ideas. Knowing this enables us to resist and destroy the suggestions of disease and its activity.
Then the question may arise, "Does Christian Science heal instantaneously as Jesus did, and how can prayer affect bodily tissue?" Yes, Christian Science does frequently heal instantaneously. The world for many years believed that there was an ultimate substance that was indestructible and made up of unchangeable elements called matter. No well-informed individual believes this now. One of the teachings of Christian Science, that matter is unreal, no longer meets with the skepticism of some years ago. Some physicists may apply the term "matter" to some of the newly discovered units of energy, but this would not give reality or validity to the outmoded false concept that was called matter. According to modern theories of physics, then, the physical body is entirely made up of energy, activity. If you stop the activity of disease, and allow free scope to the activities of Life, the expression of the perfect action of Spirit, is it necessary to wait for time to elapse before the good result can be experienced? So whether the power of prayer or right thought in healing physical disease seems to operate quickly or slowly, it works effectively because it strikes at the very basis of disease and utilizes the irresistible power of God, the power of Truth over error or wrong thinking.
How can Christian Science solve business problems? Some years ago a very successful business man went to call on a Christian Science practitioner. He said: "I am honest, I work hard, I provide my family with everything they need, I try to be fair with everybody, and I don't knowingly do anything wrong. I like to play golf on Sunday morning instead of going to church, and I see no reason why I should be a Christian Scientist. I've come here to see you because my wife asked me to."
In a few minutes' conversation it developed that business conditions were very difficult. Did you ever know a time when business conditions were not difficult? Plenty of business and nothing to sell, or a big inventory and no customers? Or government controls? Or something else? Well, this man was evidently having his business troubles. He said, "You have to be just as smart as you know how just to keep your head above water." Here was a need that could be met.
The practitioner asked, "Would you be interested in anything that would help you to make your business decisions more sound and sure?" When he requested an explanation, he was told that Christian Science is the law of infinite Mind, and that it develops one's ability to make wise decisions in response to ideas from this Mind. He said, ''I think you've got something there."
He began to study Christian Science and enjoyed not only the study but the results that followed. He appreciated it from a different point of view from that of his wife, but as they both progressed their vision of the underlying truth and love of Christian Science not only solved their individual problems but enabled them to work together with a mutual appreciation that was a great joy to them both. All of their activities were more successful and more helpful to larger numbers of people. He was free from the haunting worry and fear that had tormented him. Incidentally he was healed of a physical difficulty that had bothered him for years.
Scientific obedience to God's laws has a pronounced effect in business. Not long ago business placed very little emphasis upon love. "Caveat emptor" — "Let the buyer beware!" — was an accepted attitude. Economics was supposed to rest upon the assumption that man was primarily a selfish animal who would take care of himself without regard for others. But today, thanks to a clearer appreciation of the relationship between love and intelligence, it is recognized that it is good business to be loving and considerate of the needs of others. The business concern that makes it a practice to be loving and considerate toward its customers is recognized as having a more intelligent policy than one that attempts to be intelligent without love.
Christ Jesus completely understood and obeyed God's laws, so that the added things that are needful in human experience were always available to him. His intelligent obedience to the laws of God explains his marvelous works. When he was asked by an honest enquirer what was the most important requirement in the law of God, he said it was to love God, and that next in importance was loving one's neighbor as oneself. God is Love, so His laws must be laws of Love. To completely conform to God's laws, then, would require that one love God and his fellow men.
Then how can we develop our ability to love, to let this powerful law of Love operate through us and with us? Is not gratitude a step in this direction? When a friend is constantly doing things to add to your happiness, the more you think about these things and recognize that your friend has done them for you because he loves you, does not your love for that friend increase? As we consciously recognize all the good that has come to us from God as an expression of His love for His child, does not our conscious love for God grow deeper and broader and more constant? As we recognize the Godlikeness of our fellow men and gratefully appreciate all the good that they express, do we not love those around us more and more? Through gratitude we develop our love toward God and man. Because God is Love, the more we love the more we are at one with God and the more we are obeying His laws and responding to and expressing His infinite power.
"Love is the fulfilling of the law," the Bible says (Rom. 13:10), One who loves God supremely will joyously accept obedience to God's laws as a privilege rather than a duty. And in reflecting the impartial love of God he will love his neighbor as himself. He will not love himself and be hateful or apathetic toward his neighbor. Nor on the other hand will he love his neighbor and be unjust or inconsiderate toward himself and his family and his associates. To refuse to coddle the false self that is ungodlike is a wise and just unselfishness. But to be less than fair and loving to one's own real self would be to fail to reflect divine Love. God loves you, and it is not Godlike to neglect yourself any more than to fail to love any other of God's children. To love your neighbor as yourself and yourself as your neighbor is just and practical, and can be done not only on Sunday but also on every day of the business week. It will solve international and racial differences, and effectively unite the aims of mankind.
The answer to the question, "Why should I be interested in Christian Science?" may be stated briefly. The first reason is that Christian Science is accurate, intelligent Science that deals with the great fundamentals of reality — God and His laws. It sets up a standard of Truth and wisdom that enables one to exercise the breadth of vision and incisive acumen that are necessary to the best expression of sound good judgment. It develops a capacity not only to discern what is good but to experience the joy of loving deeply what is good, God and His idea. And in this acceptance of the government of God, of perfect Mind, divine Love, we find the needful human things are added.
Then, if Christian Science is worth trying, how do we go about it? The best way to find out what Christian Science can do for you is to try it. You can buy or borrow, at any Christian Science Reading Room, a copy of the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. You will probably be surprised to find how much of it you have already thought out for yourself. If any statement seems involved or questionable, pass it over and read on. Later, after you are more familiar with the terms used, the meaning will be much clearer. Attending church is helpful, not only the Sunday service but also the Wednesday evening meetings with their interesting testimonies of healing. There are Christian Science practitioners who will help you apply this powerful truth. Whether the need is for physical healing, the adjustment of inharmonious conditions in business or at home, overcoming of lack and poverty, or freedom from any condition that is inimical to the happiness that naturally comes with full obedience to God's laws, the remedy is here, and a practitioner may be of assistance.
A study of the Bible together with Science and Health is very useful. You can get a Christian Science Quarterly, which gives citations from the Bible and correlative passages from Science and Health. Whether you are just looking into Christian Science or whether you have been a student for some time, one of the most important factors in your progress will be daily study of the Bible and Science and Health, as well as sufficient time each day for individual prayer and communion with God in the light of Christian Science. It would not be possible to overestimate the importance of this. To start the day with a clear sense of oneness with God and communion with Him, with a fresh and vital realization of His good laws and how to obey them, does much to make the day happy and fruitful.
Christian Science is not a hypnotic state of self-mesmerism in which one ignores evil. Far from it. The keenest mathematician most quickly notices a mistake; the best musician is best able to detect an error. The study of God's laws makes us more alert to detect mistaken thinking. But we do not ignore it, or just hope for the best. We actively and effectively destroy the error, including sickness, lack, discord, or limitation of good in any direction.
Christian Science is very simple in its operation. The power of Truth and Love is here now. As we dwell upon these truths that we have been considering, the power of God is operating in our thought, and because truth is permanent it will continue as an ever-present influence, bringing to us greater health, harmony, success, and happiness. Whether we experience instantaneous healing, or whether patience is required, we are in the presence of omnipotent, ever-present, eternal Love now, and its power will continue to operate in our consciousness. This is the open door of Christian Science.
The joy of accepting the privilege of walking with God, obeying His laws, receiving the unlimited good which He prepares for His children, is ours today. His love and wisdom are ready to guide and strengthen and heal us as we wholeheartedly turn to Him. We can gratefully accept this happiness and in lives of greater usefulness share what we have received with others. In the light of Christian Science the troubles of yesterday make way for the dawn of God's day of freedom, abundance, and harmony. In the Christian Science Hymnal we read:
"Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
Where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path in life is free;
My Father has my treasure,
And He will walk with me."
[Delivered May 7, 1948, under the auspices of Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, Detroit, Michigan, and published in The Grosse Pointe News, May 13, 1948.]