No Big Power Veto — 1948 Association Address
by Herbert E. Rieke
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One hears much these days on the subject of big power veto of the decisions of the United Nations. There are many who feel that this veto power should be eliminated so that true democracy might be established among the nations.
How about the belief of “little power” veto in our daily experience? Christian Science teaches that God is supreme. False theology, superstition, and so-called material science declare that matter and evil can veto the mandate of God, divine Mind, and the law of eternal harmony. Through Christian Science we are learning that God does not divide His omnipotence and supremacy with the opposite of Himself, called evil; in other words, that the so-called veto power of matter and evil is only false belief to be replaced with the recognition of the supremacy of good.
When Christ Jesus met the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda and commanded: “Take up thy bed and walk,” he knew that Mind was supreme and that matter had no power to veto this mandate of divine Mind. The man arose whole and strong.
On another occasion, there was in the temple a man who had a withered hand. Jesus said: “Stretch forth thine hand.” The hand extended itself proving that it had no power to veto the dictate of supreme intelligence.
At another time, they brought unto him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. The man put his fingers in his ears, spat, and touched his tongue, undoubtedly to show Jesus where the trouble was. But Jesus looked up unto heaven, the reality of all creation, and said: “Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” The auditory nerves had no power to veto the mandate of all-hearing Mind that man should hear good eternally; neither did the muscles of his tongue nor the vocal cords have the power to resist the command of supreme intelligence to be open and free so that man could properly express the qualities of good.
You all remember the experience of the Master when he was called to the bedside of a little girl who had passed on. You recall how the relatives had just laughed at him scornfully because he had said that the little girl was not dead but only asleep. Then, behold, how he took her lovingly by the hand, and said: “Talitha cumi; Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” Death and matter could not veto this mandate of eternal Life; the little girl arose, and walked, and most naturally asked for something to eat.
Or, behold the experience of blind Bartimeus who sat by the highway side begging. He cried out to Jesus as he passed by. The disciples commanded him to be quiet; but Jesus called him, and after inquiring of his faith, told him to go on his way, that his faith had made him whole. What faith? Even this, that matter had no power to veto the dictate of all-seeing Mind to see the omnipresence of good.
Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus. His good friend had already been dead four days. Mary, Martha, and all the relatives believed that death had vetoed the mandate of eternal, undying Life. Jesus did not accept this lie, this baseless superstition. “Lazarus, come forth,” he cried with a loud and confident voice. Lazarus did not remain unresponsive, nor did he reply, “I cannot, I am dead.” His body did not reply, “I cannot,” or “I won’t.” Here was a mandate to come forth from the grave, and there was no mortal mind veto to this command of eternal Life. The evidence of death disappeared immediately. Jesus told the relatives to loose him and let him go. No one resisted this divine idea. They knew they had no power to bind mentally their loved one when intelligence told them to see him alive and well.
I could go on reminding you of the many different healings of the Master; and in each case, you would see that Jesus was demonstrating the simple proposition that since God, Spirit, Mind, is supreme, matter can never veto the mandate of Mind.
Remember when Jesus was on the cross how the priests cried out: “Others he saved; himself he cannot save.” What were they saying? Even this: “In other cases you have proved that Mind is supreme and that matter cannot veto the mandate of intelligence; but here in this case, under this circumstance, matter, death, and hatred are vetoing your whole life work.” This was Jesus’ answer: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” He saw clearly that matter and death could never invalidate the mandate of God that His son should establish true Christianity among men and prove that right ideas prevail over all else.
Jesus said to you and to me, to all mankind: “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This is a command. This is a mandate of Principle. He did not say we should be perfect. This is the law of God. Neither you nor I nor anyone has the power to veto this divine mandate. As children of God we are not free, moral agents to accept or veto at will the commands of God. There is no portion of your human anatomy that can veto this divine mandate to function perfectly. There is no phase of your disposition which can invalidate the mandate of God to be perfect. There is no aspect of your character that can cry out, “No, no, no,” when perfection says, “Yes.” Our Leader puts it this way: “Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death.” Why? Because the mandates of God are righteousness and eternal Life.
See how inspiringly our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, proved this divine proposition in founding the Christian Science Movement. God commanded her to plant and water His garden. Time and time again so-called big powers and little powers sought to veto all her efforts; but she knew that since God is supreme, there is never anything that can veto the will of Mind. Jealousy was stopped in its tracks; hatred and materiality got nowhere and only caused our Movement to be more alert and thus to grow and prosper. Our Leader knew without a particle of doubt that mental malpractice, whether organized and malicious, or unorganized and ignorant, could not veto the mandate of Principle that Christianity must be presented to this age in a scientific light. Sometimes, almost alone but always confident, Mrs. Eddy knew that there was nothing to veto the will, plan, and mandate of omnipotent good in her life work.
Let us apply these ideas to our individual experience. It is God’s will that each and every one of us feel good all of the time, and there is no part of your so-called human body that can veto this mandate of Soul. God says, “You are perfect, every whit whole,” and everything in and about you says, “Yes.” God declares that you see good all of the time – up close in your own experience and far off in the experience of others, and you say, “Right.” Mind says that good is distinct, well-outlined, and positive to you, and everything within you says, “Agreed,” even those little things which we call eyes. There is not a cell of your system that can say, “No,” when God affirms perfection.
The all-hearing Mind affirms that you hear good all of the time, for you are the reflection of this all-hearing Mind; and there is nothing to veto this divine mandate, neither inattention, fear of hearing bad news, or imperfect nerves.
God says there is always perfect locomotion; and every phase of your experience says, “That’s right.” We do not walk with legs, feet, and muscles; we “walk with Love along the way;” we live, move, and have our being in God. We move because He moves. We have perfect self-control because He is the one and only governor of Himself and the universe.
God says, “You are a very intelligent creature who is eternally capable of correct thinking on every proposition” and everything within you responds “Amen.” God says, “Let there be light, or enlightenment, in your every unfoldment;” and it is so. You know that neither false education nor lack of human education can veto this divine fact that you are an intelligent representative of the one divine Mind. Brain cannot veto your intelligence; place, position, environment, relatives, and friends have no big power veto over you and what you are able to do in the way of intelligent contributions to society. God is supreme; and, as our Leader says in Unity of Good: “He ... guides every event of our careers.”
Mind says that each and every one of us shall be of divine service, one to another. We all receive good from our heavenly Father, and Mind commands that we shall share this good with others. Love also commands that others shall share with us the good they have received. This is not what should be: this is what is. This is the mandate of Love. No creature can be outside of this mandate of divine reciprocity. This giving and receiving of good which we have received from our heavenly Father is the only real business there is. It is your business and mine; and it is always excellent because it is in and of God, divine Love. Nothing can hold back the inflow or outgo of right ideas. Neither selfishness, egotism, nor apathy can prevent us from receiving and sharing these ideas with others. There is no force nor presence which can veto Mind’s mandate that each of you has a good position, a fine opportunity to be of service to others. Your background cannot veto this mandate; human relationships cannot invalidate this requirement of God; your location or environment has no power to veto. When God gives you work to do, you do it, for His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Love says that there shall be harmony and peace in your household, and there is no force in heaven or earth that can veto this mandate. Your husband has no big power of veto. Your wife, of course, has no such power. Your children are under the same mandate, and your human, parents or other relatives are eternally held in this same gospel of Love. There is neither person, place, nor thing that can put a veto on your peace, happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. This is not what should be. This is what is. This is the divine fact that you must accept because it is true. God says to each of you: “You are one of the happiest and freest individuals in the world;” and everything within you and round about you says, “Amen;” even all your loved ones and neighbors agree. Personal domination has no power to veto your happiness because there is no personal domination. Love dominates all. Circumstances, situations, and conditions have no power to invalidate your happiness, for all circumstances, situations, and conditions are in and of God, Divine Mind. Hear what our Leader says on page 181 of the textbook: “God is the source and condition of all existence.” There is no condition outside of His love.
As it is in your individual and family experience, so is it in your church. Church is defined by our Leader, in part, as follows: “The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.” That is the function of your branch church and every phase of its activity. Your local organization and The Mother Church have no choice in this matter. They must afford proof of their usefulness. Your church must be found elevating those in your community. This is the mandate of Mind. Nothing can veto this divine command. Organized or unorganized malpractice cannot invalidate your efforts. Poor readers cannot be a part of your church experience. Dominating board members do not exist to veto the effectiveness of your church’s contribution to your community. It is not just enough to say this; we must know it because we acknowledge that the God, who is Love and Mind, is supreme.
There is great healing at every church service, and neither apathy on the part of members, nor malpractice from without can veto the activity of divine Mind in the consciousness of every one that attends your church service. Because of the infinitude of Love, there is no criticism there. God is forever enforcing his own divine will that peace, love, and health shall reign in every heart. There is nothing to veto the effectiveness of our lectures or periodicals.
Church is truly a “structure of Truth and Love.” It “rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.” There is nothing that can veto the activity of this Truth and Love in individual consciousness or experience.
Jesus said “Suffer the little children ... to come unto me,” and they came. Neither he nor they had any choice in the matter. Spirit was and is the only attraction. Our Sunday schools likewise extend a loving invitation to all children and young people up to the age of twenty, and there is nothing that can veto the divine attractiveness of our Sunday schools. Neither inefficient teachers nor human counter-attractions can keep the children away. Human law says that every boy and girl must go to school until he is at least sixteen. He is encouraged to go longer. He has no choice on the subject, and his parents do not even entertain the thought that there might be a choice. Just so, divine law says your children should be taught the Scriptures and be helped to see how they can apply divine law to the solution of human problems. This is a mandate of Mind. This is not what should be or what we wish were true or what we hope to make true; this is the divine fact which is already true. And in proportion as parents see and reverence this law as absolute, and so teach their children, they will have no trouble on the subject of Sunday school attendance.
Now let us turn to the consideration of our Nation. When Mrs. Eddy was asked in 1900 what she considered were the most imminent dangers confronting the century, she answered (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 266): “To my sense, the most imminent dangers confronting the coming century are: the robbing of people of life and liberty under the warrant of the Scriptures; the claims of politics and of human power, industrial slavery, and insufficient freedom of honest competition; and ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule ...” Here is a clear analysis of some of the human problems we need to solve. I would like to consider each one separately and carefully. These are the claims that would seek to veto national and world peace. Let us look at each claim long enough and intelligently enough to take the props out from under it that we may relegate it to eternal oblivion.
First, “the robbing of people of life and liberty under the warrant of the Scriptures.” Let us truly appreciate our American Declaration of Independence which states that God has endowed us all with the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This American Bill of Rights is as a beacon light to millions in other lands. We need to understand that this Declaration of Independence did not just happen. It came about as the result of divine inspiration in the consciousness of God-loving men. We need to see that there is no human law nor man-made legislation that can veto these basic human rights in America. And we need to see further that because of the supremacy of Mind, these basic human rights shall be extended to all men everywhere. It is God’s will that all men be free.
Let us forever be alert and see that it is not just in other countries that human liberties would sometimes seem to be in jeopardy. In America, we need to be alert on the subject of such things as compulsory medical insurance, or State Medicine. Let us realize that no human legislation can ever be passed which can veto the divine right of individuals to choose God as their only healing agency. There is not and there cannot be any law which would prevent parents from giving religious instruction to their children in such a manner as will enable the children to follow the Master in depending entirely upon Spirit as the source of health and all good.
Our Committees on Publication are doing a splendid piece of work in protecting our Cause along these lines; and it is always our privilege to support them not only with positive, confident thinking, but with appropriate action when necessary.
Just as we need to be alert to know that materia medica cannot encroach upon our life and liberty through legislation under the guise of humanitarianism, so also false theology cannot interfere with the religious freedom that is granted to every citizen of America. The founders of our country saw the importance of separation of church and state. Our public school system is reasonably free from the domination of false theology. However, in recent years there has been a tendency to seek to divert public funds for the support of denominational schools of false theology. It is, of course, their thesis, as expressed by the head of their church, that all education should be under the domination of their false theology. In the name of the Scriptures they would seek to take away the life and liberty of the young people of our country. Be very alert to know that no legislation can rob our young people, or the young people of the world, of the freedom to worship God the way their conscience points out.
The second point our Leader speaks of is “the claim of politics and of human power.” We need to declare vehemently and realize without the shadow of a doubt that neither politics, human power, nor political expediency can veto the divine law that there shall be good, effective, and honest government in the world. For you to sit back and constantly find fault with government and government officials is neither Christian nor Scientific; but for you to know daily that nothing can be done to veto the mandate of Truth, intelligence, and Love in government, is for you to be an effective, divine law-enforcing agency. It is interesting that our Leader said that the claim of politics was one of the imminent dangers confronting this century. I have known some Christian Scientists who have given themselves grave problems because they had too much political partisanship. They were primarily Republicans or Democrats and secondarily Christian Scientists. Do not let yourself be sidetracked or confused in this manner. Christ Jesus was never “in politics.” It was his work to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. When they talked to him about the political affairs of the day, he said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” They found it impossible to get him into political controversy. He was neither against Caesar nor for him, because he was one hundred percent for God, the true Governor of the universe.
When Mrs. Eddy was asked about her politics, she replied: “I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government, to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 276) You see, she truthfully followed the example of Christ Jesus in regard to politics and she has told us to follow her only insofar as she followed Christ. You will never know what great blessings will come to you, your country, and the world as a result of following Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy on this important subject of human politics.
Do we mean by this that we as Christian Scientists should take no interest in the political affairs of our community, our state, the country, or the world? By no means! In the same article about politics, we read: “Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy has always believed that those who are entitled to vote should do so, and she has also believed that in such matters no one should seek to dictate the actions of others.” We certainly have a responsibility to our country and to the world. We partly express that responsibility through our vote franchise. We must “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Jesus taught that we all have a responsibility to the state. He was no anarchist, nor did he teach anarchy. But we must not be so busy rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s that we forget truly to serve God, divine Love. We cannot be so busy about human politics that we forget our real purpose in life is to love all mankind and to help establish and maintain in consciousness the kingdom of God.
If you are a Democrat and see no good in the Republican Party ‒ if the Republican Party is only one of reaction, selfishness, vested interests, and monopoly, while in your sight the Democratic Party is endowed with all the virtues of political idealism, you are being handled by mass mesmerism and unintelligent political bias. Or if you are a Republican and can see no good in the New Deal or any of the legislation that has been passed during the past twelve years, while you regard the Republican Party one that never makes any mistakes, you, too, are being handled by mass mesmerism. There is much that can be improved in all political parties. It is God’s mandate that there shall be outstanding ethical progress in all political parties as time moves on, and it is your duty and right to know that neither the claims of politics nor human power has the right or privilege to veto this mandate of intelligence and love.
There is a great increase of independent voters in America who will no longer accept the proposition, “My party right or wrong, my party.” And because of these independent voters, political parties are going to have to clean house and fulfill their honest pledges in order to appeal to the great majority of people in America. We really have made much progress along this line but are destined to make even greater progress in the future.
The next danger Mrs. Eddy speaks of is industrial slavery. We have come far since Mrs. Eddy wrote those words. Some may even feel that we have gone too far. But industrial slavery is an evil, and it must go. It is Mind’s mandate that it disappear. Thirty years ago, my father sold mining machinery in coal mine regions, and the stories he brought back about the filth and squalor in which the miners and their families had to live and work, were unbelievable. The accounts of the company store and their excessively high prices for the miners and their families; the lack of educational facilities for the children; the treacherousness of the mines ‒ here was industrial slavery at its worst. Things have changed for the miners. Conditions are better, much better. And this is the way it must be because it is the mandate of Mind that industrial slavery must go. Be sure that you love to see greater freedom come to the masses. On page 517 of the textbook our Leader writes (line 31) “Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection.” Industrial slavery must go because there is no God in it; and neither reaction, selfishness, politics, nor greed can veto this mandate of Mind.
It is interesting that the next danger our Leader mentions is insufficient freedom of honest competition. Monopoly must go whether it is monopoly of capital or labor. There must be freedom for honest competition. A man must have the right to choose a trade or profession and to render a service therein without the interference of others. This is the mandate of Mind. If the closed shop or other gentlemen’s agreements to limit the number of individuals who can enter a given profession, if such policies seek to interfere with the freedom of honest competition in labor, such policies must go. The rights of man to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are inviolate.
On the other hand, there is industrial monopoly which would seek to prevent competitive products from going on the market; this too must go. There has been some evidence of very dishonest competition on the part of some industries in recent years. Mind’s mandate is that such policies must go. It is said that there are many greatly improved products ready for the market which are withheld because of financial interests in inferior products. This too must go. There shall be freedom of honest competition and restraint of dishonest competition. All legislation shall dedicate itself to this purpose.
The last danger spoken of by our Leader is ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule. I wonder if you have any idea how much hell has seemed to come to us from ritual and creeds. False theology says that there is only one way to worship God, through a church ritual named “the holy mass.” In the Army, Catho1ic chaplains were forbidden by their church to conduct general Amy services for all the men because their church told them they should not give the impression that there are different ways to worship God. In their view, there is only one way, the holy mass, conducted by an ordained Catholic priest. One may steal, kill, commit adultery, but he will be saved if he only goes to confession and accepts the ritual and creed of his church. All of these false concepts must go. Mind declares with vehemence that there is only one rule of conduct, the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Don’t think that the lie of ritualism applies only to what we think of as false theology. In the Army I knew some Christian Science boys who would not attend my general Army service because even though I preached nothing but Christian Science, it was not the service of the Christian Science quarterly. They too were bound by ritual.
But what has all this to do with the subject of this address as to how you can do the most to preserve world peace? It has everything to do with it. The trouble with most people on the subject of peace is that they want to change the other country and other people rather than to begin at home, within. We do not need to expect world wars to cease until individual wars and conflicts cease at home, in our families, our state, and our country. We must be right ourselves before we can be most effective in correcting others. You will remember the admonition of Jesus that we should judge not that we be not judged, for with what judgement we judge we shall be judged, and “... with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38); “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” (Matt. 7:3,4) It is only as we realize that Mind and Life are supreme in our own affairs, that we can begin to demonstrate that this same Mind and Life are supreme in the affairs of all men and nations. It is then that we shall prove there is no Big Power Veto to the mandate of Love, and that there shall be peace in all the world with all people. Certain political forces are putting all their faith in the possible crack-up of the American economic system through another major business depression. They feel that at that time the rest of the world will rally around their system. The only things that can bring about such a crack-up are the claims of politics and human power, industrial slavery, insufficient freedom of honest competition, ritual, creed and trusts in place of the Golden Rule. I am sure you can see how important it is that we begin at home in order to be strong and thus preserve world peace.
Now let us consider our attitude toward people of the world. If you have a dispute with a member of your family, what is the solution? Hatred? Never! If you have a disagreement with a neighbor, will intolerance and recrimination solve the differences? No, love alone is your remedy in both situations. So it is with nations. We shall never bring about world peace through resentment and hatred. These qualities only foster war. It is through love that we win over our enemies and make them our friends. There is no other way to establish world peace.
Let us face the facts plainly that we must love all the people of the world, and especially the Russian people and their leaders, with a sincere, understanding affection if we are to do our part in preserving world peace. During the war I met a few Russian pilots, and some of my men were stationed in Russia for a period while our Group was engaged in shuttle operations between Italy and Russia. My pilots told me they seemed to have more in common with the Russians than any others. They found their Russian friends happy-go-lucky individuals. Many of these Russian pilots had been in America on the mission of ferrying planes. They loved our country and especially the soda fountains that they found on so many of our corners. They expressed a great desire to imitate us along many peaceful lines. Let us not deceive ourselves. The great mass of Russian people no more want war than we do. They possess the sane noble desires for a fuller and better life. Let us love those people as well as all mankind with the same compassion that Jesus had for the multitudes of his day.
How about the leaders? How about Joseph Stalin and politburo? What should be our attitude toward them? We can be quite sure that hatred will not help. You remember in the early days of Christianity there was a leader of the Pharisee Jews named Saul of Tarsus who devoted his time and energy to persecuting Christians, throwing them into prisons and possibly causing some of them to be put to death. What did that little band of Christians do? Indulge in hatred and resentment? Did they curse Saul of Tarsus? No, instead we find that they were all of one accord in one place, of one mind, praying, realizing the omnipotence and omnipresence of divine Love. You know what happened. Saul of Tarsus awakened from his bad dream to become one of the finest Christians of the early century. He took a new name, “Paul.”
What do you suppose would happen if all Christian Scientists sent forth only thoughts of love to people and leaders of the world? There would be no more war. What would happen if we, just this small Association, should really love our fellowmen this afternoon and put away all bitterness and fault-finding? Remember that there is no limit to the power of Love, for Love is God and therefore almighty. Speaking to the March Primary Class, as recorded on page 279 of Miscellaneous Writings, our Leader said: “We, to-day, in this class-room, are enough to convert the world if we are of one Mind; for then the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind; as when the earth was without form, and Mind spake and form appeared.”
This love of God, this divine Mind, is shining through each and all of us this very second; and there are no false beliefs of apathy that can veto the effect of this intelligence and affection. This divine force truly goes over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bounds, and its influence is felt. This “still, small voice of Truth” knows no limitations of time or space; it is the Word of God actively engaged in the affairs of men.
We love everyone this afternoon and forever, because we know that right where we are there is nothing but divine Love manifesting itself. We love through no virtue of our own, but only because we are the reflection of God who is Love. By the same token we know that love is in the heart of all mankind, for the Lord He is Love, and there is none else beside Him. In this universe of ours there is no room for anything but Love.
It is said that Joseph Stalin holds the destiny of one hundred eighty million Russians in the decisions he makes. His influence is felt in the experience of many more millions in adjacent countries. It has been said that he alone is the one who will determine whether there is to be a Third World War. Is it intelligent for us to hate him and ignorantly, or even maliciously, malpractice upon him? There is enough of that which proceeds from false theology. Christian Scientists can counteract it with love and thus prevent our house from coming down on us, as well as on the rest of the world.
Do we mean that we should love mortal men and condone everything the Russian leaders have done or have seemed to stand for? By no means! The early Christians did not love and support a hateful Saul of Tarsus, but they were willing to grant that right where error would claim a hateful mortal to be, in truth there was the son of God awaiting recognition. No, we are not to love a mortal called Joseph Stalin, or Russian leaders, or any fallible mortals, but we are to deny the lie or mortality in order that true and intelligent leadership might assert itself in the world.
MAKING MORE EFFECTIVE DEMONSTRATIONS
Possibly, no question uppermost in the heart of each of us more than this: how can I more effectively and quickly demonstrate the Science of Christianity in healing sickness and sin? At this time I would like to discuss an important paragraph found on page 367 of the Christian Science textbook in which Mrs. Eddy described the qualities of Mary Magdalene which brought to her healing and complete regeneration: “This is what is meant by seeking Truth, Christ, not ‘for the loaves and fishes,’ nor, like the Pharisee, with the arrogance of rank and display of scholarship, but like Mary Magdalene, from the summit of devout consecration, with the oil of gladness and the perfume of gratitude, with tears of repentance and with those hairs all numbered by the Father.”
Let us consider carefully each of these five qualities to see whether we can do anything to bring our thought more completely in harmony with the divine Principle which heals quickly and permanently:
- Summit of devout consecration
- Oil of gladness
- Perfume of gratitude
- Tears of repentance
- Hairs all numbered by the Father.
Consider the difference between consecration and concentration. There is much more of the latter in the thought of many Christian Scientists than there should be. To concentrate is defined as follows: “to bring or come to a common center;” to concentrate is to narrow down on something. It means to think of something to the exclusion of all else. It is a limiting, restrictive word and always implies activity of the human mind. Concentration causes wrinkles on the forehead, furrows on the temple, knitted eyebrows, and often a headache. Consecration is just the opposite, it indicates an outward and upward thought. It is a process of giving up everything unlike God. Concentration holds on to something as though it were limited, accompanied by a fear of being sidetracked. Consecration gives up every limiting thought and trusts the omnipresence and omnipotence of good, knowing that there is no outside to God’s perfection.
If we had a rubber ball here which was out of shape and which we desired to put in shape, concentration would have us apply pressure at different parts of the ball to make it round. Consecration would just remove the forces that were seemingly distorting the shape of the ball and then it would of its own accord go back into its normal shape.
When you are trying to do something to yourself to make yourself well, when you are applying mental pressures here and there, that is concentration. When you have a sick man or a sick woman that you are seeking to change into a well man or woman through your Christian Science treatment, that is concentration. On the other hand, when you acknowledge that you are already and always have been God’s perfect child, when you are willing and ready to give up any belief to the contrary, that is consecration, for it is outward, upward, and toward freedom. If you are seeing your patient as already the perfect manifestation of harmonious being, if your treatment is a process of silencing the lies about God, His universe, and man, through the action of eternal Truth, that is consecration, for you are giving up every concept unlike God.
The verb “to consecrate” is defined as follows: “to make or declare sacred or holy; to set apart or devote to the service or worship of God.” Is not this a good definition of a Christian Science treatment? You recognize your patient as a very sacred or holy creature, the very image and likeness of God. You see him as set apart from the claim of materiality, sin, disease, and death. In your treatment, you are devoting your every thought and energy to the service of God in the establishment of His kingdom on earth. Your treatment is a process of worshiping the infinitude of good.
Consecration always heals. Concentration brings on a mesmeric state which binds and limits. May I illustrate? You attend a Sunday morning service. You are having a hard time following the lesson. You decide you must concentrate on the lesson, and you proceed to do so. You try to get something out of the service. You try to force yourself to stay awake. In the whole process, there is a great deal of a false sense of self. You are doing something. You get sleepier and sleepier until the last section is over and the ushers begin to take up the collection. Then you are suddenly wide awake and free. You blame malpractice or false theology or a late social engagement for the unhappy experience. But ten chances to one it was only an attitude of concentration rather than consecration which caused your trouble. On the other hand, you attend a service with true consecration. You have prepared yourself for church, recognizing that the Word of God shall go forth and heal every member of the congregation. You are completely obedient to the Manual of The Mother Church and are praying for the “congregations collectively and exclusively.” You are not trying to concentrate on the lesson and get something out of it, but you are giving up every thought of a selfhood apart from God. As you listen to the words from the desk, you rejoice that they have infinite healing power for all of those present. Your thought is not inward or upward but completely outward, upward, and Godward, full of compassion and love for all. What is the result? A very inspiring service for you and more healing for everyone at the service.
If ever error does not appear to yield readily to your Christian Science treatment, observe carefully whether you are concentrating or consecrating your thought. Wives often concentrate on their husbands to make them over or to bring them into Christian Science. Poor men! Parents sometimes concentrate on their children and bring about distorted experiences; business men concentrate on their business associates; church members concentrate on the election of certain individuals as readers or board members. This is not Christian Science, but rather mesmerism. It never does any good.
Concentration is the operation of human will power. Consecration is a process of letting God’s will be done. I am sure you can see that concentration or human will power is employed by hypnotism, psychology, psychiatry, psycho-analysis, psychosomatic medicine, medical science, and false theology. Only the Scientific Christian knows what consecration is and how it heals the sick and the sinning.
The “summit of devout consecration!” Please, note that word “summit.” We are not climbing up the mountain of consecration with the hope that some day we may be at the summit. We must, as God’s children, be at the summit now. A little more consecration than yesterday will not bring instantaneous healings, but absolute consecration will do what is expected from a Christian Science treatment. On page 242 of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany our Leader has written: “Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing towards it; it is at this point and must be practiced therefrom.”
I would like to emphasize this point: in your application of Christian Science make certain that you are not employing the psychology of Emile Coue, “Every day in every way I get better and better.” That is concentration because it begins with imperfection and seeks to evolve perfection therefrom. Instead, practice the religion of John, “Now are we the sons of God;” that is consecration because it begins and ends with eternal perfection.
Now, let us turn to the second quality of Mary Magdalene which brought about her healing – “the oil of gladness.” I am happy our Leader put the oil of gladness second, because sometimes when individuals seek to become consecrated Christian Scientists, they become long faced, very serious, and sometimes even sanctimonious. Consecration without the oil of gladness, a joyous attitude, a happy, free sense of things, will not heal. Until the discovery of Christian Science this oil of gladness was lacking from most religions. Yet Jesus taught a religion of joy, and he emphasized the importance of a cheerful attitude in the recovery of the sick. You remember how many times he said to his patients, “Be of good cheer.” On one occasion he encouraged them, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11); and admonished them to see to it that “... your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:22) In order to have perfect results in Christian Science we must make certain that nothing takes the Christ joy away from us. A burdened, joyless Christian Science practitioner cannot heal. When you are bubbling over with joy, you will heal with very little effort.
If you should discover one day that your automobile did not have much power, it was getting hot and beginning to smoke; and if you also heard a noise in the engine, you would take it to a garage or filling station. What is the first thing the mechanic would do? Undoubtedly, he would lift the hood and pull out the little measuring rod to see how much oil you have. Ten chances to one he would show that you need lubricating oil. It is said if you will use a good grade of oil, change it regularly, and always keep it up to the mark designated “full,” you can drive a modern car at least one hundred thousand miles without taking the head off the motor.
It might also be said if you will use a good quality of “the oil of gladness” in your thinking, if you will freshen it up regularly, and if you will maintain a good quantity, way up tothe “full” mark, you can live at least a hundred years without an ache or a pain and with no slowing down of normal activity.
Trying to have demonstrations in Christian Science without “the oil of gladness” is like trying to run your car without oil. It just cannot be done.
Just as the manufacturer of an automobile has provided a measuring rod, or dial, to show you the condition of your oil supply, so our Maker has given us an accurate gauge to measure our oil of gladness. This gauge is your countenance. If you want to know exactly how much oil you have in consciousness just take a look at yourself in a mirror. Do you find a radiant, happy smile? Then you can be sure your oil is O.K. But if you find a frown of disappointment, some sadness or self-pity, if there is resentment or anger expressed, you had better do something about it, and immediately.
The man who persists in running his car without oil will soon find his automobile in the junk yard. If you are going to persist in being unhappy, miserable, sour, and depressed, I would suggest three things: first, take out all the life insurance you can afford; second, pick out a good undertaker; third, write your will, because you cannot run long without, “the oil of gladness.”
Sometimes people tell me that they are really happy but are not very expressive. That is just like having ten gallons of the best lubricating oil in the world in the back seat of your car while your engine runs dry. You can be glad you have the oil there and do not have to go out and buy it, but the oil isn’t going to do you much good unless you put it in the engine where it belongs. Just so, all of the joy and gladness in the world is not going to do you or others very much good unless you express it in your daily living, in the tone of your words, and your constant smiles.
Do you know what I sometimes have these long-faced, serious, sour patients do? I recommend that they go out and buy a good joke book, the kind you can get at every department store. I have asked them to acquire four or five good funny stories or jokes every day and to use these jokes and stories at home and in their business. This prescription has worked wonders for several business men who were becoming “too serious.” You remember what our Leader says on page 117 of Miscellaneous Writings: “I agree with Rev. Dr. Talmage, that ‘there are wit, humor, and enduring vivacity among God’s people.’”
Sometimes individuals say, “I just can’t be happy or joyful as long as I have this unsolved physical problem, or as long as I have this discord in my home or business. When these problems are solved, I shall promise truly to be one of the happiest and most joyful characters in the world.” That is just like telling the filling station attendant, “I can’t, or won’t, put in any lubricating oil until my car stops getting hot, stops smoking, stops making this awful noise, and until it shows plenty of power. Then I shall reward the engine by pouring in oil.” The attendant, of course, would laugh at you and tell you you had better make a deal with the nearest junk yard, for that is exactly where your car is going. Let us not deceive ourselves. The reason we have trouble in our bodies, our home, and our business is because we have not been pouring in enough of a good grade of oil of gladness.
If you were going on a long hard trip up a mountain, would you drain all the oil out of your car? Certainly not! You would double check your oil and take some extra along with you. How about when we are in the process of solving what seems to be a difficult problem for ourselves or others? Shall we let our joy, our oil of gladness, be taken away from us? Never! We shall check and double check the oil to see that we are one of the happiest, most confident individuals in the world. You know what Jesus told us to do when we are going through deep waters or ascending rough terrain. He admonished us to “Rejoice and be exceeding glad;” “Blessed are ye, (and the word “blessed” means happy) when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad...” (Matt 5:11,12) Isn’t that the finest spiritual common sense ever given to the world? When circumstances seem to be going a little tough, pour on more and more of the oil of gladness to make things run smoother. “Rejoice and be exceeding glad!” If Christians would follow this simple advice, it would not be long before there would be no more tough problems.
In my practice, I sometimes require patients to go to a mirror once every hour to check on their oil. Some individuals think this is unscientific to look at themselves; yet they look in a mirror to shave or put on rouge and lipstick. I cannot see why it is unscientific to make sure that they have a radiant smile. After all, a smile does much more to make one attractive than all the lipstick or rouge in the world.
And do you want to know something very interesting? When you are smiling up here on your face, the smile carries way down to your stomach and even to the tips of your toes. You cannot smile with your face and frown with your kidneys or pancreas very long. The oil of gladness reaches to every portion of the human system.
Last winter I saw this fact graphically illustrated. A good friend of ours was elected as a reader in a Christian Science church. I had received a brush tape recorder for a Christmas present, and I suggested that my friend read her lesson into the machine. When she heard herself as we played the lesson back, she was shocked, for it all sounded so sad and mournful. She did not know what to do about it, because the harder she tried, the more mournful it sounded. She was taking her appointment very seriously. I then explained about a smile and the effect it had on the whole human system. I prescribed a mirror, put it in front of her, and had her smile as she had never done before while she read the lesson. You would be astounded by the difference in tone, quality, and expression when we played the reading back. You cannot smile with the eyes and lips and be sad with the vocal cords. It just cannot be done.
When this friend read from the desk, of course, she toned down her smile a little, but she retained that joy in her voice. Just so is it with every organ of the human system. A smile in your heart will lubricate your entire being.
And so, if you want to be an effective Christian Science practitioner, be sure to check your oil regularly. And if you are not sure where to start with your patient, begin by checking his oil. The chances are that is all that needs correcting.
The third quality that is needed for healing is “the perfume of gratitude.” Sometimes we talk so much about the need of gratitude that the expression becomes shopworn, and we fail to give the intelligent regard to it that it deserves. Let us face the spiritual fact that there can be no true and permanent healing in Christian Science without gratitude. Every problem either you or your patient ever had included within it an element of ingratitude. Ingratitude claims to sour the system, wrinkle the face, wreck the home, and ruin business. Ingratitude is not good because it denies the presence and power of God.
Things may seem tough. You may have what almost seems an unsolvable problem. Ingratitude will just make the problem tougher and more unsolvable. One of the first steps always in the solution of every problem is to find something for which to be grateful. You remember how our leader stresses this point in her chapter on Prayer: “We plead for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.” (S&H 3:20-24)
Sometimes you will find patients who think they have nothing for which to be grateful. Unless you can break such stupid mesmerism, you will not be able to do that patient very much good. If you can help him to open his heart to gratitude, you have started him on the path to complete recovery. Often gratitude is all that is needed to bring about a healing. Judge Greene once said at a lecture during the days of depression: “If you are so down and out that the soles of your shoes are worn through, be grateful for the uppers.” Every patient can find something for which to be grateful if he wants to, and it is your job as a Christian Science practitioner to help him so to do.
Most every successful practitioner emphasizes gratitude vigorously with every patient. Mr. Arthur Whitney, the lecturer, told me that with almost every new patient he always gives an assignment that he shall list fifty or one hundred things for which he is grateful and mail the list to him that very first day. This cooperation on the part of the patient often brings about a complete healing in one treatment. At least it opens the mental doors to an understanding of the reality and presence of good. If a patient fails or refuses to send in the list of things for which he is grateful and calls for further treatment, Mr. Whitney tells him plainly that he is unable to help him further. If more practitioners insisted on gratitude there would be a lot more quick healings.
Sometimes you will find a patient who says, “I will be very grateful when I am healed,” or “I would be very grateful if this problem were solved.” These “when” and “if” thankers just cannot be healed. You remember how Jesus stood at the grave of Lazarus. He did not say, “I would be very grateful, O heavenly Father, if you would restore my friend.” Neither did he say, “I will be very thankful when Lazarus comes forth.” Instead, he looked up to heaven and cried, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest ne always.” (John 11: 41, 42) It was then that the demonstration was made and Lazarus came forth. Examine yourself to see whether there is any of that “if” and “when” type of ingratitude in your thought. It will hold up healing.
There was a woman who called on a number of practitioners in and around Indianapolis for help in the solution of a physical problem; and although the practitioners worked earnestly, there was no improvement. Although she had some means, she told each practitioner, “I will pay you if and when you heal me.” When she called on me for help I refused the case, not because there was to be no immediate compensation, for I do a great deal of charity work; but because as long as she maintained that attitude, she could not be healed in Christian Science. I told her that I had to be honest with her, myself, and God, and therefore must tell her truthfully that Christian Science could not help her unless she used it, and the first step in using Christian Science is to express gratitude for the good already received. I am sure that such plain talk did her and Christian Science a lot more good than sweet talk which might help her to coddle the sense of ingratitude which was holding her in bondage. If we do not respect the Principle of our healing religion, how can we expect others to respect it?
John Randall Dunn tells about a man who came to him for help in regard to a discordant condition of a foot. After the treatment he informed Mr. Dunn that he could not pay for the treatment because he only had a dime for carfare back to his home. Mr. Dunn suggested that he pay the dime and walk home. This may have appeared as a rather heartless thing to do, but it brought about the man’ s complete healing, for upon his arrival home he found his foot was well.
May I here say a word about practitioner charges. Our Leader instructs us to make our charge equal to that of reputable physicians in our communities. There is not a reputable physician in America who would charge less than $2.00 a treatment. In cities, most charges are from $3.00 to $5.00. For Christian Science practitioners to charge a dollar a treatment is to cheapen our service and classify it below the cheapest clairvoyants, quacks, or fortune tellers in town. I understand that even most fortune tellers these days charge $2.00. If you do not think the sacred ministrations of your Christian Science treatment are worth at least $2.00, please do not ever go into the Christian Science practice; for the chances are that your treatments will not be worth much more. The dollar today is worth but forty-five cents of the 1939 dollar and thirty-six cents of the 1933 dollar, and so some practitioners are really giving forty-five and thirty-six cent treatments. That is not fair to them, to Christian Science, or to the patients. Of course, if you have not effected a cure or if treatments have been prolonged, you will be obedient to the Manual of The Mother Church and reduce your fee. The “perfume of gratitude,” how it is needed to effect a cure! Thirty-six cents worth of gratitude is really not very fragrant.
But gratitude is not just a matter of dollars and cents. That is the least important way of expressing it. You can say “thank you” countless times every day for services large and small which are rendered to you. A friend once asked me why I always thanked the elevator boy when I got off of the elevator. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I did until it was called to my attention. I told my friend that I certainly appreciated the lift the elevator boy gave me because I would dislike having to walk up seven flights of steps every day. Say “thank you” as often as you can to everyone you meet, and especially at home with your family where you sometimes do it least. This polite and sincere expression of thanks gives your individuality a spiritual fragrance such as nothing else can.
Now I am going to tell you a secret I learned about gratitude during the past year. I hope you will be able to make good use of it. It has helped me a great deal. You know how we all say in Science, “O, there are many things for which to be grateful,” but often in our tone we imply there are other things which are not right. Now gratitude for good already received is better than no gratitude at all; but it is not the supreme height of thankfulness which heals instantly. True gratitude is not an acknowledgment that many things are alright, but rather a recognition that everything is perfect. One time last year, I was helping a woman with a problem. There were inspiring results. In talking to her I mentioned we had much for which to be grateful. I thought her situation certainly looked good. She gazed at me in amazement and exclaimed, “Good, hell, it is perfect!” Then I looked amazed. That experience put me to thinking.
One weekend when international affairs appeared very discouraging I worked for some hours on this simple proposition – that everything is perfect. Of course, I reasoned it logically from the spiritual basis that since God is perfect and the only creator, everything must be perfect. “Do you mean everything is perfect in Berlin?” I asked myself. I affirmed that it was, and that everything was perfect in Moscow, in London, and in Washington. Of course, I had to deny the testimony of the material senses; but that is the daily occupation of every Christian Scientist anyway, and he might just as well do a thorough job of it in denying some of the big lies as well as the little petty lies. I kept going over the proposition, “I am not just grateful for many good things; everything is perfect, and when I say everything, I mean everything and everybody, even Joe Stalin and Harry Truman.” I went over these propositions until I had a great sense of peace and satisfaction. Incidentally, the papers had a much better report the next day.
What are you grateful for? O, a lot of things. No, everything. We are grateful for everything because everything is perfect. Mrs. Eddy says, “Perfection underlies reality. Without perfection, nothing is wholly real.” (S&H 353:16) That means if everything is not perfect it does not exist, it is nothing. That is why it is not enough to say “I am grateful for everything good” because then we are admitting the lie that there is a thing beside good, or God. But when we declare with understanding, “I am grateful for everything (period), because everything is God-like and good,” we are then truly grateful.
Just see what it does to your health, your home, your business, when you with true gratitude affirm times without number, “Things are not just pretty good – hell, they are perfect.”
Next, we come to “tears of repentance.” May I emphasize that it is not tears of self-pity, but of repentance that heal the sick and sinning. There is a great difference. Tears of self-pity destroy and tear down. Even the medical profession has observed a detrimental effect of the tears of self-pity and grief. These tears send poison throughout the system. Watch out for the “poor me” attitude. When you begin to whine, “Why can’t I make my demonstration?” you may be sure those are tears of self-pity.
Tears of repentance are altogether different. Mary Magdalene had been wasting her human experience until she met the Master. Inherently she possessed the qualities of a pretty fine character, but she had been dreaming otherwise. To be really healed, she needed to be thoroughly awakened. Through her tears of repentance, she resolved to live differently and better. She was determined to dedicate her whole selfhood to the Christ. All material interests and worldly aims gave way to her divine passion for Truth. These tears of repentance gave new meaning to every minute and hour of her daily experience. Because of these tears of repentance our Master said that whenever the story of his life was told, what she did would also be recounted.
Now we are humbly grateful for all the fine things each of you has done during the past year. Your demonstrations of Christian Science are outstanding; but let us all be honest with ourselves. None of us, neither you nor I, has done one fraction of what we are capable of doing in the way of helping to establish individual and world peace.
Let us not indulge in self-condemnation, but I wonder whether it would not be well for each of us to have a few tears of repentance this afternoon. Would it not be well for each of us humbly to rededicate our every thought, word, and deed to the Christ, Truth? Would it not be well to resolve to work harder than ever for that peace on earth and good-will toward men?
I believe it truly can be said that if the Christian Scientists had done what they were capable of doing between 1919 and 1939, there would have been no Second World War. If each and every one of us does what he is equipped through Christian Science to do, there will be no Third World War.
During the recent conflict, many men went forth into enemy fire and flew planes through dangerous areas with no thought for their own lives and safety. Our men were willing to make great sacrifices in order that there might be a decent society on earth. It was only because of such self-sacrifice at the front and also back here at home that we won the war. It is only through the same sort of self-sacrifice that we shall win the peace.
Today I am asking you all to enlist in the Christian Army to work for world peace as you have never done before. I plead with you to make better use of your spiritual weapons which are capable of “pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” (II Cor. 10:4,5) I ask you to go directly into the so-called enemy camp, if necessary, to carry “a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences.” I ask you to pour in love on every nation and at every national and international conference. I encourage you to be steadfast in the knowledge that love and justice are supreme. I ask you to have that absolute confidence that your efforts added to the efforts of all other men and women shall bring about lasting world peace.
In her Message of 1900 Mrs. Eddy wrote on page 2: “The song of Christian Science is, ‘Work – work – work – watch and pray.’” On page 340 of Miscellaneous Writings she has written: “There is no excellence without labor; and the time to work, is now. Only by persistent, unremitting, straightforward toil, by turning neither to the right nor to the left, seeking no other pursuit or pleasure than that which cometh from God, can you win and wear the crown of the faithful.” She also tells us that “We should forget our bodies in remembering good and the human race.” (S&H 261:31) If we will do just this, if we will go home and work daily and earnestly for world peace, if we will shed a few tears of repentance because of past lethargy and indifference, we shall not be called upon later to shed tears of sorrow, grief, and self-pity because of the loss of a loved one in another war.
May I also suggest here that you will help all of your patients a great deal more if you will immediately get them to join this same great Christian Army working for world peace. Most people are sick only because they spend too much time thinking about themselves and their own affairs. Their salvation is to forget self. But in order to put self out, a bigger and nobler interest must fill the gap. To work truly for world peace is that nobler life purpose. If you will be a good recruiting sergeant selling individuals on the true satisfaction that comes from doing something for God, their country, and the world through prayer, you will be an effective Christian Science practitioner; and your recruited patients will be healed. There is much selfishness and self-seeking in America that needs to be healed in order to establish world peace. Let us roll up our sleeves and get to work. Only through the message of Christian Science can this healing take place.
Now we come to the last of these five qualities, “those hairs all numbered by the Father.” Think of the compassion expressed in that phrase. Mary Magdalene had been wiping Jesus’ feet with the hairs of her head. In those days, as today, women were very proud of their hair. They felt their hair did much to enhance their beauty and attractiveness. I wonder how many women today would use their hair, especially right after a $25.00 permanent, to wipe the feet of the Master. That was the most gracious and loving thing that Mary knew how to do. Mrs. Eddy said it was a special sign of Oriental courtesy to anoint and wipe a guest’s feet. Is it not inspiring to remember that her love and deed were known to the Father? Yes, every hair was numbered.
So is it with each and every one of you, my students, every deed of kindness, every expression of unselfishness, every effort to help others is known of your heavenly Father, and you never go unrewarded as the result of reflecting divine Love.
Some individuals are disturbed about the truth as expressed in Christian Science that God knows no evil, that He knows nothing about sickness or trouble. They say this fact makes it difficult for them to ask for help. They feel that God’s ignorance of sickness and trouble leaves them cold and with a sense of separation from God. This is only because they have not been awakened to the fact that God knows all the good in them; yes, that every hair of their head is numbered. A child might feel forlorn and unhappy because a parent did not realize his great hunger, until the doors were flung open and he saw before him a banquet table prepared by a loving parent who knew how to supply his every need and disperse every suggestion or claim of hunger.
Remember that we are never alone, there is always Immanuel, or God With Us. You never give a treatment for yourself or another but what the Father is right there with you pouring out inspiration and love that is needed for the healing. Mrs. Eddy says on page 7 of Unity of Good, “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.” God did not know anything about cancer, but He knew of Mrs. Eddy’s sincerity, of her love, of her steadfastness in Truth. God is also acquainted with you and your every virtue which is the result of reflecting Him in your daily affairs.
A few Scientists sometimes want to become so abstract in their mental work that they leave out of their thinking the Father-Mother quality of God. Don’t do this or you will miss much of the inspiration that is needed for good work. Talk to God often just as you would to a loving parent; but don’t waste time talking about evil, your shortcomings, or the shortcomings of others, or you will be separating yourself from Him who knows only infinite good. Rather, tell Him how grateful you are for all the good that is unfolding in your thought and experience and that of the world. Let Him know how sincere you are in your desire to reflect Him in all His glory. But most of all, listen for His answers. You will not hear them through your ears but in your heart. His answers will come in the form of such clear realizations of Truth that healing is instantaneous. Speaking on this point our Leader has written on page 411 of the textbook: “If Spirit or the power of divine Love bear witness to the truth, this is the ultimatum, the scientific way, and the healing is instantaneous.” In an earlier edition of Science and Health this is the way our Leader expressed it: “To let Spirit, through the power of divine Love, bear witness without arguments, to the healing Truth is the more excellent way.” You can see by these statements that healing by argument is not the ultimate way of healing in Christian Science; it is only a temporary method until your thought is in tune with infinite good. The highest form of prayer, or Christian Science treatment is a process of listening to and hearing God’s voice in your heart, bearing witness to the perfection of all. This mental attitude which heals instantaneously can only take place in your consciousness as you realize God’s closeness and love for you, as you truly recognize that your hairs are all numbered by the Father.
Mary Magdalene was not alone. God was with her and very interested in her and her complete freedom. None of you are ever alone. God is with you, interested in you, your family, your business, and your career. His energy is devoted to helping you be the finest Christian Scientist possible. He is intent on enabling you to practice Christian Science effectively and instantaneously. Your hairs are truly numbered by your heavenly Father.
Here then are the five qualities that will help you to bring forth more instantaneous healings in Christian Science:
- Absolute devout consecration
- An abundance of joy and gladness
- Unlimited gratitude
- A sincere resolve to do your best always
- A recognition that God loves you, is thoroughly interested in you, and is always present, enabling you to do a perfect work.
A woman who was becoming interested in Christian Science informed a friend that she was a devoted supporter of a certain political party. Her father and grandfather had both been members of this party, and ever since women had been given the vote franchise she had consistently “voted straight.” If anyone said anything against her party or its candidates, she arose in immediate defense, if anything favorable was said in regard to the opposition party, she was equally vociferous in denunciation. She would not even allow the other party to use property she owned for campaign rallies. With much vigor she asserted that she believed in her party and the principles for which it stood.
Her friend assured her that she could and should vote the way her conscience guided, for the Christian Science church was not in politics and did not dictate to its members how they should vote. Mary Baker Eddy, when asked about her politics (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 276), answered: “I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government; to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself.”
Then her friend observed: “Do you realize that if you would be as loyal to God, the divine Principle of all being and to the idea of infinite good as you are to your political party, you could truly move mountains?” The woman and her friend began to consider what such loyalty to God would mean, and they sought to demonstrate it in daily affairs. In a short time, she was completely healed of her strong political bias and of a disease which the medical profession had proclaimed as incurable.
In seeking to understand the significance of loyalty to God, the woman studied carefully the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah where the author declares of God several times (verses 5, 6, 8 and 22): “I am the Lord, and there none else.” The woman stopped and asked herself: “Do I really believe God is All-in-all and nothing besides Him exists?” She was surprised to see how much she believed in that which was not Godlike, and resolved that such false beliefs had to go to eternal oblivion, for she was determined to be one hundred percent loyal to God, infinite good.
Here she took the seven synonyms for God as found on page 465 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mrs. Eddy, and asked herself some searching questions: “Do I really believe that the divine Mind is All and that there is none else beside Mind; in other words that there is no mortal or carnal mind?” This seemed a difficult thing to say, let alone believe, when there seemed to be so much evidence of wrong thinking in the world. But in order to be truly loyal to God, she saw that she must not only say this basic truth, but believe it. She turned humbly to God’s Word on the subject, and little by little her thought yielded, until she could say and feel without reservation, “I know that there is no mind except the one perfect Mind, God.”
Next the student questioned, “Am I steadfast in knowing that since Spirit is All-in-all there is no such thing as matter?” At this point she was startled to see how far her thinking was from absolute loyalty to God as Spirit. She discovered that she had been believing that matter existed, that it was substantial, sometimes harmonious, sometimes discordant, and that Spirit was a vague indefinite something that came and went. She resolved that there would be no more such thinking. It was only mortal mind that argued for the existence of matter and had just proved the fact through scientific demonstration that there is no mortal mind, for the divine Mind is All. She turned from false material sense and accepted without reservation the statement Christ Jesus made to the woman at the well in Samaria that “God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) She now began to honor Spirit as All-in-all and soon could see clearly that matter is nothingness-in-nothing, just a vacuum-within-a-vacuum.
She next queried, “Do I really believe that the Lord He is God, Soul, and that man is Soul’s reflection and there is none else beside Him?” She saw that here she needed a thorough mental housecleaning, for she had always more or less accepted the belief that there were two parts to her – soul, or spiritual sense, but also a material body. She perceived that to believe that the material body is man is to admit that there is something beside Soul and its expression.
She now understood that she needed to spend less time worrying about what seemed to be a material body and more time, much more time, truly appreciating Soul, God, which was the substance of her true being. She agreed with Paul to strive more earnestly “to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Cor. 5:8) It was not difficult as she first thought it would be, for her resolution to be completely loyal to God gave her spiritual strength and courage.
Now she turned to Principle. “Do I accept without reservation the spiritual fact that divine Principle is All and governs man and the universe harmoniously, that therefore there is in reality no chaos nor disorder?” The daily metropolitan newspaper on the table beside her argued for the presence and power of chaos and inharmony, and she recognized that she had to decide whether to accept this talebearer of woe or the gospel, the good news, as taught by the Master, that “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7) One could not accept both as true.
She resolved to spend the many hours that she had spent listening to analyses of world ills by newspapers and radio commentators to learning more about divine Principle, as explained in Science and Health, which, in the degree it is understood and demonstrated, destroys all discord. Such a daily program would do both her and the world much more good.
“Am I firm in my understanding,” she next asked, “that Truth is so ever-present and all-powerful, so infinite, that there is no error anywhere, and that error has no power? Do I really believe that there are no mistakes in God’s kingdom, and that His is the only kingdom or universe there is?” This proposition almost took her breath away, for she saw how much she had been believing in mistakes. How many mistakes the leaders of the world had made! How many, the members of her family! And herself. Why, it looked as though her whole human experience had been a long series of mistakes! How often she had claimed, “We all make mistakes,” and she believed them to be unavoidable, too! She saw now that all such thinking would have to go if she were to honor Truth, God, as All-in-all. And somehow she wanted to accept Truth and deny all faults, foibles, and failures of mortality.
When she came to divine Love and inquired whether she believed in Love, God, with all her heart and soul and mind to such a degree that there was no resentment, hatred, bitterness, envy, jealousy, or selfishness anywhere, she was prepared to answer, “Yea, Lord: I believe.” (John 11:27) On page 520 of Science and Health she read; “The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill space. That is enough!” She echoed, “That Word of God is truly enough for me.”
When she turned to the synonym of Life it seemed as though evil aggressively said to her, “Well, you may not believe in, argue, campaign, or vote for some of these other evil candidates called matter, error, hatred, material body, mortal mind, chaos, sin, and sickness, but you will all have to eventually choose me, death.” Immediately the woman denounced death and affirmed that she believed in and was “voting straight” for eternal Life. Then the thought came, “Well, if you do not like my name ‘death,’ I have an alias, ‘passing on.’ You will have to pass on someday.” She was alert, and exclaimed vigorously, “I do not believe in, or choose to pass on any more than to die, because I know that Life is eternal, that it is not in matter, but in Spirit, and that man is the perfect manifestation of Life, or Spirit, which includes no death or passing on, no beginning or, end, no coming or going.” Is it any wonder that such loyalty to the wholeness of God brought a measure of freedom from allegiance to any seeming opposite power or reality?
If the citizens of a country should all vote for a corrupt political machine, they should not complain afterwards if this machine passed oppressive laws which took away individual liberty. Just so, if one believes in, argues for, votes for, or tolerates belief in the existence of evil, sin, sickness, and death, he should not be surprised if there are unfavorable reactions and he loses some of his freedom. He has not been truly loyal to God.
But what if one should turn on evil as did this woman, and should mentally denounce it and its candidates, or claims to power and reality; if one should declare with understanding that he did not believe in sin, disease, and death, because he knew that God is All? If he should pledge himself never to give any campaign speeches for evil, what would happen? Even what happens in Christian Science – health and harmony would be established and maintained.
Many individuals in learning to write on a typewriter use this line: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.” We might say, “Now is the time for all true Christians to express undivided, loyalty to God.” When falsehoods are told about a good friend, do we stand quietly by, permitting the lies to be accepted as truth? Certainly not! How about the lies that are told about our heavenly Father, infinite good; that He is not omnipotent and omnipresent, or that this or that form of evil has presence or power? Shall we not mentally declare what is true about Him and deny every such suggestion of evil?
As we refuse to believe in or support the candidacies of evil beliefs, but rather “vote straight” for God and His sons and daughters, we shall find that He is our only governor and that His laws control every function of our being. We shall also discover the peace and harmony which He forever maintains in His heavenly kingdom.
GENESIS – CHAPTER 1
Mrs. Eddy once wrote: “The divine Science taught in the original language of the Bible came through inspiration and needs inspiration to be understood.” (S&H 319) I am sure there is a lot more inspiration in the Bible than any of us has discerned. How can we find this divine inspiration? Only by approaching the book with our own thought inspired.
In order that we might be able to help you gain more from your Bible study, we shall devote a part of each Association to the consideration of a portion of the Bible. This being our first Association, we shall appropriately consider the first three chapters of the Old Testament.
I have asked last year’s class to study these chapters carefully, together with Mrs. Eddy’s interpretation in Science and Health. Possibly, some of your unfoldments may be different from what I present this morning, but that is as it should be. Genesis means something different to me now than it did twenty years ago – it means a lot more. Undoubtedly twenty years hence it will mean even more to all of us because our thought will have grown in inspiration.
Remember you cannot approach the subject in a dogmatic manner saying this or that is exactly what is meant, for Genesis not a historical document but an allegory, designated to teach vital spiritual lessons. It of the nature of Jesus’ parables or Bunyon’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Each reader of such allegories must approach them with receptive thought and true imagination in order to receive the greatest inspiration.
But just because Genesis is a parable or allegory instead of material history is no sign that it is not true. The allegory of Genesis and the parables of the Master come closer to the truth of being than volumes of so-called material history which record only a series of mortal dreams.
When we say that Genesis is not a historical document, we mean that there was no stenographer there recording the events of creation as they transpired. Genesis is not a news item of what happened some four or six thousand years before Christ. Furthermore, it is not a mysterious document written by the hand of a personal God and given to Moses and his people to explain the origin of things. It is a religious, ethical allegory written by inspired religious leaders. Genesis has been called “The First Book of Moses”; but it is highly probable that it was not written by him, but rather by earlier writers. Moses was only the compiler. He brought much of the material together not only for the book of Genesis, but also for the next four books of the Bible.
Most Bible scholars, including Mrs. Eddy, agree that the first chapter of Genesis and the first three verses of the second chapter were written by a different author from the material that immediately follows; and that the first chapter was written some five hundred years after the second chapter. How do they arrive at such a conclusion? In the first place, the style of writing and the choice of words are altogether different. The scholars can trace the writings of each to a specific period of history, just as a more recent literary document could be placed in the period of Chaucer, Shakespeare, or 1948, by the choice of words and the style of writing.
The greatest difference is to be found in the term for God. In the first chapter God is referred to as Elohim, translated in our Bible merely as God. In the second and third chapters God is referred to as Jehovah, translated the Lord or the Lord God in our Bibles. The term Jehovah represents a much more primitive concept of God. He is more like a great king, duke, earl, or lord. He hates as well as loves; he punishes, afflicts, repents, and changes from day to day. This is one of the reasons why scholars feel certain that the Jehovistic document in regard to creation is older, because it presents a more primitive concept of God, which corresponds with the beliefs of other primitive people.
The Elohistic document treats God in a more exalted manner. He is the almighty One. Much light is shed on the difference between these two concepts by a passage from the sixth chapter of Exodus: “And God spake unto Moses and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, (Elohim), but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” From the passages that follow, one would gather that the Elohistic concept of God is true and the Jehovistic concept is false. It is interesting that Mrs. Eddy quotes this passage at the beginning of her chapter of Genesis.
Now what does all this have to do with our present everyday affairs? Even this: the struggle between these two concepts is still going on; and you must be certain that you are accepting God as He really is, “The Almighty” or Elohim, and not as He is not, Jehovah the Lord. On the one side in philosophic and scientific thought today, the primal cause of all things is represented as matter, electrons, atoms. This terrific force is described as just as ruthless at times as the Jehovah of old. The mechanist believes that all things can be explained materially. If one is sick, it is a material condition to be treated by material means. The doctor would seek to appease the wrath of his God, material nature, with some material remedy. Just as the worshipers of old sought to appease the wrath of Jehovah by making material sacrifices of sheep, cows, and doves.
In the theological world of today you find the Jehovah worshipers trying to appease the wrath of God by the so-called Holy Mass and other rites and ceremonies. You also find false theology of today calling upon Jehovah to curse individuals, nations, and other religions.
By contrast, Christian Scientists, and Christian Scientists alone, accept the Elohistic concept of God. We really accept God as the Almighty, for our religion is the only one which teaches that evil in the form of sin, disease, and death, has no power, presence or existence, for God, good, is almighty, ever-present, and omniscient. You can see that we are following the example of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, and Jesus, in worshiping God as the Almighty or Elohim.
The word “Genesis” means the beginning, origin or cause of things. Everyone is interested in Genesis. Hear how the little boy or girl of four or five is constantly asking, “Why, daddy?” They want an explanation of things. Note how the child when a little older seeks to understand the origin of himself. Observe the student in the Laboratory of chemistry, physics, electronics, botany, nuclear physics, trying to figure out the why, the cause of things. Just as today, so of old, people were interested in Genesis, or the origin. As the philosophers, material scientists, religionists, and Christian Scientists of today are seeking to give a satisfying explanation of cause, so the thinkers of old sought to answer the same questions of the people.
Let us consider first the Elohistic, or true presentation as found in the first chapter of Genesis. There are certain facts in regard to Elohim about which we must be clear. First, He is the Almighty One, Good; therefore we need not expect an account of the creation of evil in this chapter. In the second place, He is not a material God, but the divine Spirit, forever invisible to physical sense. In Exodus we read: “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live.” Jesus, following the same theme of thought said, “God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Now remember that since Elohim is Spirit, His creation must be like Him and must therefore be spiritual. The first chapter of Genesis does not pretend to explain the creation of material objects; it explains the unfoldment of spiritual ideas. Elohim is also defined as the Eternal One, and therefore His creation is not one of time but of eternal unfoldment, in other words, the first chapter tells about what is going on in consciousness now rather than what went on in a so-called material world yesterday. Mrs. Eddy asks on page 504 of the textbook: “Was not this a revelation instead of a creation?” You will be interested in noting that Mrs. Eddy has used only present tense verbs in explaining this chapter. She did not say God blessed, God imparted or God gathered unformed thoughts; she said God blesses, imparts, and gathers unformed thoughts. On page 507 she has written: “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.” This first chapter of Genesis tells the story of your spiritual development and mine as the result of the inspiration we receive through the study of Christian Science. It tells the story of what is going on in our consciousness now! It tells of the present unfoldment of spiritual ideas. It is only as we study it in that light that we can find true inspiration.
There are six aspects of unfoldment discussed in this chapter:
- A glimpse of the light of Truth
- Understanding of Truth
- Bearing fruit as the result of understanding
- Reflecting the light to help others in their unfoldment
- Aspiring after heavenly good
- Courage, strength, and a sense of the substantial nature of God’s ideas
The chapter starts: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The word “beginning” in Hebrew means source, cause, or Principle. And so the first line might well read: “In Principle God creates or reveals or unfolds all reality.”
Were you ever confronted with a chaotic condition of some kind, a “void” or lack, as it were, a lack of health, a void of supply, a void of friends? Were you ever in darkness, sick, weary, discouraged, way down in the dumps? What brought you out of the depths? Remember how you took your Bible and textbook and began to study? You soon saw God, good, the source or Principle of all existence; spiritual ideas began to unfold; and before long where there had been darkness upon the face of your deep waters, now there was spiritual light and harmony. Whenever an individual turns sincerely to God in prayer; whenever he reads his Bible and textbook intelligently, humbly, and gratefully, “the spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters;” and God says, “Let there be light: and there (is) light.” Speaking of this creation or unfoldment of good, Mrs. Eddy says: “This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected.” (S&H 502:29) Before we studied Christian Science, we had a material sense of identity, but as a result of this revelation, something happened. The spiritual sense of identity unfolded and forever continues to unfold. Where is this true identity to be found? In divine Mind, of course. It is embraced lovingly in divine Mind and reflected by you.
And as your healing took place you realized the next statement of our Leader: “Divine Science, the Word of God, saith to the darkness upon the face of error, ‘God is All-in-all’ and the light of ever-present Love illumines the universe.” (S&H 503:12) Your universe was illumined; you saw yourself and all in a new light, it was just as the writer declared: something (the eternal Truth) within you said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” You remember how good that enlightenment was; you could certainly divide it from the darkness out of which you had just come.
It was here that you began to rejoice, “This is real living. I feel as though I were born again. It appears as a new or first day for me in Science.” Mrs. Eddy asks here: “Was not this a revelation instead of a creation?” Why, of course it was! You always were perfect; Science just revealed this divine fact to you. You remember how in that healing the rays of infinite Truth were gathered into the focus of ideas, and suddenly there was light. Before then God and the perfect man were rather vague and ill defined, but now in one second you learned more than your Methodist or Lutheran creed had taught you in years.
You took the first step – you had a glimpse of Truth.
Now you wanted to get more of this spiritual understanding. You studied your daily lessons, attended and joined church, and applied for class instruction. You saw clearly that there was a right way and a wrong way to think about Life, and you were determined to choose the right. The allegory puts it this way: “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Mrs. Eddy says that spiritual understanding is this firmament and that “Spirit imparts the understanding which uplifts consciousness and leads into all truth.” The Spirit which is God not only gives you a glimpse of truth, or reality, but leads you into all truth, gives you a complete understanding of things as they are!
It here that our Leader cautions that “This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light.” It is divine revelation and inspiration. As you gained spiritual understanding, you passed another mile post. You had been healed, but now you understood how you had been healed. Is it any wonder that this firmament or spiritual understanding is called Heaven? Our Leader says: “The calm and exalted thought or spiritual apprehension is at peace.” Thus, ends your second day or stage of progress.
Next we read that God gathered the water together in one place, and the land appeared; it is added, “God saw that it was good.” Last spring, I flew down to Florida and saw from the air square mile after square mile of the interior which could not make up its mind whether to be water or land. And that was not good acreage. Men have been trying by means of ditches, dams, and irrigation to separate the water from the land so that they can raise oranges.
Before we gained an understanding of Christian Science, we were rather like the interior of Florida, half dry and half wet, half solid and half fluid. We were not so sure where we came from, why we were here, or where we were going. We often felt like “nameless offspring, – strangers in a tangled wilderness.” But through our understanding of God’s law we began to experience the fact that “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear.” Life began to take on new meaning. We caught a glimpse of our purpose in being. We were no longer beating right and left at the air, we were no longer like a Don Quixote fighting windmills. Our prayer “Shepherd, show me how to go” was being answered. We saw that our purpose is to bring forth good fruits. Jesus put it this way: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The seed of Truth was sown in our hearts, and now it began to bring forth fruit after its kind. Our dispositions improved; we laid off liquor and tobacco; we no longer gossiped nor became angry. Our reading and studying, our praying were not in vain – something happened. Sometimes we did not even know all of the good that was multiplying in our daily experience.
The Bible writer puts it this way: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”
In interpretation Mrs. Eddy writes: “The universe of Spirit reflects the creative power of the divine Principle, or Life, which reproduces the multitudinous forms of Mind and governs the multiplication of true manhood in consciousness.” There is never a static condition in Science. There is always growth, unfoldment, multiplication.
Did you ever picture a world without grass, herbs, flowers, and trees – no vegetation? It’s not so pleasant, is it? During the late war, our Air Force group was stationed for a period on the edge of the Sahara Desert. I can never tell you how we longed for the sight of a tree or a flower, or even a blade of grass. Many of us take these things too much for granted.
Of course, the human concepts of grass, trees, and flowers are not divine reality, but may I quote here a statement from our Leader: “To take earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: ‘I love your promise; and shall know, sometime, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied.’” She also said in the same article: “Earth is more spiritually beautiful to my gaze now than when it was more earthly to the eyes of Eve.”
Mrs. Eddy and Christ Jesus both loved the beauties of nature. Let us also. But our Leader also wrote “How much more should we seek to apprehend the spiritual ideas of God than to dwell on the objects of sense.”
Just as it is unpleasant to contemplate a world without vegetation, so a life without the fruits of righteousness has no meaning. Paul said to the Galatians; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ...” May these fruits multiply and ever continue to multiply in your experience. So shall you pass the third stage of ascending thought, showing that by your fruits men shall know you.
Through these fruits you bring enlightenment to others. This is the next phase of unfoldment. The Bible puts it this way: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”
Do you feel this divine light with you always? Then you see that you must inevitably reflect this light to others. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: “Truth and Love enlighten the understanding, in whose ‘light shall we see light;’ and this illumination is reflected spiritually by all who walk in the light and turn away from a false material sense.” If we accept the false material sense testimony in regard to ourselves or others, we reflect no light. But what a joy it is to turn from material sense that we may reflect the light of Spirit to others! You know how essential the light and warmth of the sun is to our planet. Nothing would grow without the sun’s rays. Just so is the light of Truth most essential to our growth and progress. But we cannot absorb the light, we can only reflect it; and in so doing we enlighten the experience of others along the way. You know the moon is not a source of light. It only reflects the light of the sun, but how by this reflection the darkest night is made luminous! Just so, we, by reflection, can be the light of the world.
Or consider the stars. For centuries, they have guided the mariner over vast areas of ocean. More recently they have guided the pilots of the air. These points of light may have seemed to be quite insignificant of themselves, but in relation to the whole they have had an important part to play in the safety and dominion of man.
Just so with the light we are capable of reflecting toward others. It may seem ever so little at times, but remember it is often the one star in someone’s heaven to bring him safely home.
In interpretation of this passage, Mrs. Eddy says: “Science reveals only one Mind, and this one shining by its own light and governing the universe, including man, in perfect harmony. This Mind forms ideas, its own images, subdivides and radiates their borrowed light, intelligence, and so explains the Scripture phrase, ‘whose seed is in itself.’” in the marginal heading we find “Darkness scattered,” and in the text, “in the eternal Mind, no night is there.”
When we are busy about our one business of reflecting light, when there is a smile on our face, a song in our heart, a word of good cheer on our lips, and our thinking includes only good, we can be certain that there will be no night in our experience or the experience of others with whom we come in contact. In reflecting light we have passed the evening and the morning of the fourth day of Spirit.
Next, we read about the creation of the creatures of the sea and the birds of the air. Mrs. Eddy gives as the marginal heading for this paragraph, “Soaring aspirations.” Do you know the definition for aspiration? Let me read it: “Act of breathing; a breath; act of aspiring; a longing for what is elevated or above one.” Do you desire that “freer step, the fuller breath, the wide horizon’s grander view?” It is through holy aspirations that you gain them.
Mrs. Eddy here writes; “The fowls, which fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven, correspond to aspirations soaring beyond and above corporeality to the understanding of the incorporeal and divine Principle, Love.”
What are your ambitions? to make money? to acquire a prominent place in society? in your church? Or do you aspire just to understand and reflect more Love? Do you aspire to understand God and reflect Him completely? Do you aspire to be the best Christian Science practitioner possible? Such are holy aspirations. All else should take a back seat in your progress. Those material things for which you have sometimes worked so hard, will sooner or later seem terribly empty, but a better disposition, more humility, more Christlikeness, these aspirations bring true happiness. Mrs. Eddy once gave to one of her Associations this prayer for aspiration: “Give me higher, holier, purer desires, more self-abnegation, more Love, and spiritual aspiration.”
“And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas; and let fowl multiply in the earth.” Remember that holy aspirations beget holy aspirations. This unlimited multiplication of divine ideas in consciousness is blessed of our heavenly Father. Mrs. Eddy says: “Spirit blesses the multiplication of its own pure and perfect ideas.”
Be willing to soar mentally, not in empty dreams but in the highest, holiest aspirations. So shall you have unfolded in the fifth stage of progress. Our Leader says at this point: “Advancing spiritual steps in the teeming universe of Mind lead on to spiritual spheres and exalted beings.” That is what is happening to us in Science. We are discerning this perfect, teeming universe of Mind and Love, this spiritual sphere. And we are seeing man not as a fallen creature, but as exalted being made manifest. This truly is progress.
Now we come to the creatures of the earth. If the creatures of the water symbolize creations of the elements of Mind, and the creatures of the air holy aspirations, the creatures of the earth must symbolize the “absolute formations” instituted by Mind. In our progress, divine reality is no longer just an element or quality; neither is it just an aspiration after heavenly good. Reality is now seen as concrete being, something very positive, substantial, and changeless. In Miscellaneous Writings, page 82, Mrs. Eddy says: “Infinite progression is concrete being, which finite mortals see and comprehend only as abstract glory.” But we are not finite mortals. It is important for us to claim this. Because we are immortal, we see this so-called abstract glory as concrete being, the one and only being there is.
In describing this positive concrete being Mrs. Eddy says: “Spirit diversifies, classifies, and individualizes all thoughts, which are as eternal as the Mind conceiving them.” There is no fuzziness of ideas here. All is specific and positive. Your class instruction should help you all to classify thoughts correctly, dismissing the wrong and making proper use of the right. Your daily study should give you diversity of unfoldment. There must be no formula in your unfoldments, no mental ruts. Mind has an infinite diversity of ideas. When we write for the periodicals let us try to do it interestingly and differently. When we give testimonies let us not use stock phrases. Let the divine Mind individualize itself in you and your expression of being.
Speaking of the creatures of the earth, Mrs. Eddy says: “His thoughts are spiritual realities.” Then she goes on to show how substantial they are: “Mind, joyous in strength, dwells in the realm of Mind.” She continues discussing moral courage and how it roams free and fearless in the forest. She relates how Spirit is symbolized by strength, presence, and power. Here you come to this stage where you see there are no evil forces, no beasts, to harm us. “Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit.” We read, “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible.” Daniel felt this divine courage from Mind and was safe in the lion’s den. Paul proved the viper to be harmless. Mrs. Eddy says: “A realization of this grand verity was a source of strength to the ancient worthies.” A realization of these substantial ideas is also a source of strength to us in the practice of Christian Science.
Now we are ready to discuss man, the full and perfect expression of God’s being. But we are only ready because there has been true unfoldment. Let us review it:
1st. A glimpse of the light of Truth – “Let there be light”
2nd. The understanding of Truth – firmament
3rd. The bearing of fruit as the result of understanding
4th. Reflecting the light to help others
5th. Aspirations after heavenly good
6th. Courage, strength, and a clear discernment of the substantial nature of God’s ideas.
Can you see that this leads to a true and full sense of manhood? The Bible now reads: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” This “us” is, of course, the seven definitive terms for God: – Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Mind. It is as we reflect each of the seven synonyms that we express the completeness of God. As we reflect these divine qualities in daily experience, we demonstrate perfect dominion over our bodies, our business, and all our human affairs.
Here Mrs. Eddy says: “The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.” What a joy it is to subordinate the corporeal senses to the facts of Science!
Next we find it emphasized that man includes the masculine qualities of strength, courage, and intelligence, and the feminine characteristics of tenderness, Love, compassion, and forgiveness.
God forever blesses this perfect man, the true identity and individuality of each one of us; and He causes this true man “to multiply – to manifest His power.” This man is never a slave to anything. His birthright is dominion not subjection.
And then further describing the nature of this full and perfect manifestation of God, Mrs. Eddy gives us this beautiful passage so full of Love and compassion:
“God gives the lesser idea of Himself for a link to the greater, and in return, the higher always protects the lower. The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good. Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud.” This is the essence of man who is forever the image of Love.
And now it is emphasized that God sees everything that unfolds in your divine consciousness and mine, “... and, behold, it (is) very good.” How could it be otherwise when the divine source of this unfoldment is infinite good itself.
The recognition of infinite eternal perfection is the culminating phase of spiritual unfoldment. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: “The divine Principle, or Spirit, comprehends and expresses all; and all must therefore be as perfect as the divine Principle is perfect ... Deity was satisfied with His work. How could He be otherwise, since the spiritual creation was the outgrowth, the emanation, of His infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom?”
So ends the story of your spiritual unfoldment and mine. It is not something of yesterday but of today. It is not something that is finished, but unfoldment that goes on throughout eternity.
This is the Elohistic account of creation, not as to how a spiritual force created material creatures, but how Spirit creates and maintains spiritual ideas, the sum and substance of each and all of us.
GENESIS - Chapters II and III
In the first chapter of Genesis we have considered the Elohistic account of creation. It is an allegory presenting a perfect all-powerful God and a perfect spiritual creation or revelation of divine ideas. In the second and third chapters we find another allegory of the Jehovistic or material and imperfect concept of God, creation, and man. The first chapter presents the teachings of Christian Science in its pure form. The second and third chapters present the misconceptions of false theology, material science, and human psychology. In these chapters is the lie about God, creation, and man, to be denied and rejected. It is the same lie that is presented to the world through false theology, material science, and human psychology today.
I have often been asked, “If this second account is a lie or falsity, why is it included in the Bible?” On page 214 of the textbook our Leader points out that it is an “object-lesson.” These chapters tell you what you shall not believe. They show you what false concepts you must avoid in order to find heaven and peace on earth. This false account is like the Ten Commandments with the “thou shalt nots,” whereas the first chapter compares favorably with the affirmative commandments of the Master, “Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and “Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37, 39) We do not object to the Ten Commandments. They have helped us to avoid evil and find a fuller human experience. Just so, the second and third chapters of Genesis can be of real inspiration to us if we read them in an intelligent manner.
Here, someone may ask, “if this is the lie, the mist, to be rejected, why was not the chapter introduced with this fact so that the reader would not be confused?” Let us be fair to the compiler of this material. Here we find presented two diametrically opposite accounts of creation; the first, the spiritual, or Elohistic, leads to heaven, eternal harmony; the second, the material, or Jehovistic, leads to the hell of human bondage. The compiler certainly expected us to accept the good account and to reject the other. Mrs. Eddy uses the same technique on page 252 of the textbook where she writes: “The false evidence of material sense contrasts strikingly with the testimony of Spirit. Material sense lifts its voice with the arrogance of reality and says: I am wholly dishonest, and no man knoweth it. I can cheat, lie, commit adultery...” etc. You remember the rest. It ends this way: “Like bursting lava, I expand but to my own despair.” Mrs. Eddy then continues: “Spirit, bearing opposite testimony, saith: I am Spirit. Man, whose senses are spiritual, is my likeness.” She goes on describing the glories of spiritual perfection. She concludes: “I hope, dear reader, I am leading you into the understanding of your divine rights, your heaven-bestowed harmony ...” She does not specifically tell you to reject the material concept, but she makes it very unattractive and shows the beauty of holiness, the glory of Soulful experience.
Just so in every-day experience: on the one side, there is presented the mechanistic, pessimistic, material, selfish, imperfect concept of existence; on the other hand Christian Science presents spiritual perfection. We learn to reject the lie and accept and demonstrate the Truth.
The first chapter of Genesis and Christian Science explain the good and show that it is infinite – that is, All. Many people today, as of old, will listen to your explanation of good, God, but will come back with this question: “Yes, but how about the evil in the world, the sin, disease, and death? How do you explain them?” The second and third chapters would seek to explain evil. But evil is really nothing because God is All, and when you try to explain nothing, you will always get into trouble. Mrs. Eddy says on this point (S&H 555:6): “An inquirer once said to the discoverer of Christian Science: ‘I like your explanations of truth, but I do not comprehend what you say about error.’ This is the nature of error. The mark of ignorance is on its forehead, for it neither understands nor can be understood.”
As has been mentioned before, the second and third chapters present the false concepts that we must reject in order to find eternal harmony. There are thirty-nine errors presented. One could preach a whole sermon on each of these errors. Possibly, in the original they were complete dissertations which through the years have been boiled down to just a few words or an outline. All of these thirty-nine errors have something to do with everyday thinking and experience. They are the same lies of false theology, material science, and psychology that you hear over the radio, read about in your newspapers and magazines, or contact in conversation with your neighbors and friends. We shall look at each lie long enough and intelligently enough to wholeheartedly reject it as a lie about God and creation.
Have you ever wondered why the first three verses of the second chapter were not included in the first chapter? I often have until I discovered that in these three verses we find the introduction to lies about God.
The first falsehood to be rejected is the concept that creation is a thing of the past: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” You may think of creation as complete and therefore finished in that sense; but if you regard God as a force which created things sometime in the past and then permitted His creation to carry on by itself until it went to rack and ruin, you are in for trouble. We must think of God as a present creator, “a very present help,” unless we want a lot of trouble.
May I again call your attention to our Leader’s statement, “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.” (S&H 507:28) I would also like to emphasize again that in her entire translation of the truth about creation, she uses present rather than past tense verbs. Creation is something that is going on; it is not something that went on. Creation is always active, never static.
It is interesting at this point to relate a conversation I had with a Jewish Chaplain during the late war. He said that in the Hebrew language, and in fact all primitive languages, there are no past nor future tense verbs. You have to tell from the content whether the past, present, or future, is referred to. Even today many foreigners in learning our language use only one tense of verbs. For instance, they say: “I go downtown today; I go downtown yesterday; or I go downtown tomorrow,” and one has to tell by the context which tense is intended. This Chaplain agreed that the writer might very well have meant the allegory in the first chapter to have been in the present tense. It is also highly possible that it was the translator who used past tense verbs in his translation because he accepted the false concept that creation must be an event of the past.
The concept that “God made everything perfect and that it must therefore be perfect” does not bring out the most inspiration, although many Christian Scientists put it that way. This approach is too static. How much better it is to realize that God is forever, even now, this very second, revealing perfection to you, to me, and to all mankind! if you want hell in your human experience, just think of your heavenly Father as a God of the past; think about creation as over; regard God’s work as ended. If you want love and inspiration abundant, realize that “it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)
Do you remember the man in the Bible who was born blind? The disciples wanted to know whether it was the man’s sins or his parents’ which had created blindness. Jesus, knowing that creation is never a thing of the past or of matter, but always a present spiritual unfoldment of good, said: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3) Then he healed the man. There was no God of the past here. There was only the ever-present Creator, or Revealer of unlimited good.
Now let us turn to the second false concept which we must avoid: “He (God) rested on the seventh day from his work which he had made.” Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? But is this concept so innocent? Here we see the idea of an inactive God. For six days God worked, then He rested on the seventh; and it is not recorded that He ever went back to work. If you want hell in your human experience, just think about the divine Principle as not working, even for one second. When the Principle of the universe is not working, what do you have? Why, chaos, of course. Did you ever say, or hear anyone else say, “I don’t seem to be able to make the Principle work for me? I read and study, but it doesn’t seem to work.” Here is the same lie of an inactive God. When Love is inactive, what do you have? Why, hatred, or at least indifference. When Truth rests on its oars, of course we find falsehood, lies, and mistakes. When Life takes a holiday, why right there is death around the corner. When Soul goes on a vacation material sense would run rampant. When there is no presence of Mind working, acting, creating, we find ignorance, carelessness, and accidents. No! in the name of common decency, never think of God as inactive on the seventh or any other day, never even for a second. Never believe that God finished His work and went on a vacation, leaving you to paddle your own canoe hence-forth – that is, unless you want plenty of hell.
Mrs. Eddy is vigorous in rejecting the concept of an inactive God. Hear her words: “God rests in action. Imparting has not impoverished, can never impoverish, the divine Mind. No exhaustion follows the action of this Mind ...” (S&H 519:25-28)
It was on this very point that Jesus ran into difficulty with the Pharisees. They complained often because he healed on the Sabbath. God was not to be disturbed on that day because He was resting. Jesus knew that divine Principle is eternally working, and especially on the Sabbath when men naturally turn their thoughts to God. Jesus taught that we should do good every day, and especially on the Sabbath.
This brings us to the third lie. We read, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” How about the other days? Did not He bless and sanctify them also? Throughout the true record of creation in the first chapter it is recorded that God blessed everything that He made. Does He not bless every day? The Psalmist saw the need of correcting this false concept about day, saying: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) If you want trouble, just think about Sunday as the only day in which to worship God and glorify His being. If you want hell, just believe that you can be a hell-cat during the week if you will only be a saint on Sunday. What do you suppose would happen in this world of ours if people practiced during the week what they profess on Sunday morning?
The belief that there is only one holy day in seven is responsible for a great deal of human discord. If you want heaven on earth, just realize that every day “is a sabbath unto the Lord”; then you will find every day blessed, made happy, and sanctified.
This does not mean, of course, that it is not well that all of us congregate on the Sabbath for church services, and be careful about our form of recreation on Sunday. Let us not lose sight of the grand opportunity for true spiritual devotion and spiritual activity. Jesus was always about His Father’s business, and especially on Sunday. The Bible records, “and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day ...” (Luke 4:16) The sabbath is not a day to sleep or indulge in selfish entertainment. We can help ourselves and others a great deal by consecrating our Sundays, making them one of our Father’s business days in which we bring comfort, joy, and freedom to others. But Science does not teach us to be sanctimonious on Sunday while we disobey God’s law during the week. Our heavenly Father sanctifies every day.
In the fourth place, we are told to guard against the false Jehovistic concept of God. Here we read: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Here we are introduced to Jehovah, or the Lord God, the false concept of God, who Loves and hates, blesses and curses, gives Life and takes it away in death. Reject this false concept of God as wholeheartedly as you would a drink of hydrochloric acid. No good comes from accepting and worshiping false gods.
Are you accepting any of the Jehovistic concepts of God? Here is a good test question: What would make you supremely happy? If you ever get the answer, money, a better job, a husband or a wife, the position of first reader in a Christian Science church, or a Republican victory this fall, you can be sure that to that extent you are a Jehovah worshiper, for you are believing that material things and human circumstances are the happiness-maker or the heaven-creator in your experience. When you can honestly say, “God, divine Spirit, alone, makes me happy always, for He is the one and only Maker,” you are then on the right track and are worshiping God as He really is. If you find yourself begging God or pleading with Him to do something, you can be sure that you have reverted to worshiping Jehovah rather than the Lord Almighty.
The fifth “don’t” is most interesting. It is the shortest one and therefore I hope you will never forget it. It is just one little word “but.” “But there went up a mist from the earth ...” You all know what the little word “but” means. It is a reversing conjunction, and you know what it does. You have heard, “Mrs. Jones is a very good mother and wife, but ...” and you know what comes after, something not so good. You all have heard the student of Christian Science say, “Yes, I know I am really God’s image and likeness, but ...” Look out for what follows! Here comes the mist that would cause you to lose your way and stumble.
When you say, “I know I am God’s perfect child, but I seem to be sick and weary,” you have reversed the truth. The word “and” is a continuing conjunction. Use it in place of “but,” as our Master did when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” You are well and you know it; and that is the way it appears; and you realize it; and you demonstrate it; and everyone sees the demonstration; and you are grateful; and, and, and, on unto eternity ‒ no “buts” here. Avoid the buts in your thinking and your treatments just as you would a deadly poison.
The sixth false concept to avoid is the mist. This mist is the sense of mystification, mystery, superstition. The mist is the material sense of things. Do not accept it. You possess a spiritual sense of all things. That is your eternal heritage. If you accept anything besides this God-sense of creation, you will have trouble. Mrs. Eddy calls the mist “the material view of creation.” You don’t have to accept this view. Our Leader says further: “The creations of matter arise from a mist or false claim, or from mystification, and not from the firmament, or understanding, which God erects between the true and false.” (S&H 523:7)
False theology is full of mystery. God is still regarded in false theology as “The Great Unknown,” spoken of by Paul at Athens. So-called material science is nothing but mystery from beginning to end. Matter itself is an enigma.
Human psychology has no solid principle from which to work, but deals entirely with that mysterious thing called the human mind. We in Christian Science accept no mystery. We understand that there is one all-knowing Mind, and that Mind is synonymous with Omniscience. Nothing is clouded nor mysterious. All is clear and understandable. In Science, our reasoning begins with a perfect, understandable God and ends up with the realization of perfect creation and understandable man.
The seventh lie to be denied and rejected is this: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ...” If you want hell, just accept this lie. Think of yourself and others as entirely material, made up of material cells, motivated by material laws, claims, and beliefs. Isaiah saw the importance of denying this lie when he said (Isaiah 2:22): “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Mary Baker Eddy asks (S&H 524:20): “How then could a material organization become the basis of man?” She goes on to say, “It must be a lie ...” If you are material there isn’t much hope for you. But if you are the spiritual reflection of all of God’s qualities, the kingdom of heaven is yours to reflect and possess.
Here is the eighth lie: that a false sense of God environs and places you. The Bible reads: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Jehovah did not create your universe, your environment, or place. God, divine Love, creates your world and it is a perfect environment. You are placed in this divine perfection by God, the Almighty. We sometimes ask, “Why am I here anyway?” What do we mean by the word “here?” Do we mean a material mortal world? Then we are accepting this lie that Jehovah has placed us in mortality. The alert Christian Scientist knows that the only “here” is the omnipresence of God, spiritual perfection. It is Elohim, divine Love, who places us in this heavenly kingdom. Be alert on this subject and its relationship to your home, environment, position, family, relationships, etc. Our Leader says in Unity of Good, page 3: “He ... guides every event of our careers.” You know, in the study of the subject of psychology one hears a great deal in regard to the part that heredity and environment plays upon an individual. Here is a phase of this same lie, that your environment determines who you are, what you can do, and what you will finally accomplish. Don’t you accept this lie that a false sense of environment has any influence over you whatsoever, either the environment of yesterday or today. God, divine Love, unfolds the good in your experience, for He has environed you in the kingdom of heaven.
The ninth lie or false concept to be avoided is this: that there is something besides God, or good, called evil. It is a supposition that Good is not All-in-all. When we regard good as infinite we experience heaven, but when we think there is something beside good, we are in for hell. Here is the way the Scripture puts it: “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” This lie comes to us today in this form: “I don’t want to be altogether good. I’d like to taste some of the evil in the world. I know I should not drink or smoke and that I should maintain the highest sense of morale, but I would like to see how it feels to do that which one should not do.” To admit that there is something beside good in your practice of Christian Science is fatal. God is the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Being; and since He is all good and all-knowing, He can only know that which is absolutely good. You are His reflection and therefore can only comprehend that which He knows. This is not that which should be. This is what is in the eternal order of being. This lie comes under another guise: What would you do supposing you should break your arm, get sick, lose your husband, lose your job, and the like? It is a subtle supposition of the absence of God and it is only through such stupid and ignorant supposing that discord and inharmony would ever claim to enter our experience. Shut the door thoroughly. You are not going to answer and say what you would do if God were not All-in-all.
The tenth lie would have us believe that God puts man into matter and that man is obligated to dress matter and keep it. What a gross lie. Man was never born into matter and he does not have to keep that which is not his by reflection. Our true heritage is spiritual. And the supreme Spirit, which is God, keeps us rather than requiring that we should take care of matter. On this subject, our Leader has written: “God could not put Mind into matter nor infinite Spirit into finite form to dress it and keep it ... Man is God’s reflection, needing no cultivation, but ever beautiful and complete.” (S&H 527:1-5)
The eleventh argument to be met comes this way: That there is a thing called punishment, even the extreme punishment of death. The false sense of God, Jehovah, prophecies, predicts, and promises death for us if we partake of the knowledge of evil. You can see that if you accept the foregoing lie that evil exists, it follows naturally that there must be punishment. This is way the Bible reads: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” What would you think of a father who put a bottle of poison and a bottle of orange pop on the table and told his child that he might drink of the orange pop, but if he touched the other bottle he would be punished even with death. What right has a human parent to so tempt his child? Our courts would condemn and punish such a parent for leaving poison around so that the child might get it instead of his pop. Mrs. Eddy denounces this lie that God tempts His children: “No punishment from God.” The theological argument that God made man a free moral agent to choose between good and evil is one of the most hideous of beliefs. It is responsible for much error in human thought in regard to God and man’s relationship to Him. I shall never forget a conversation with a Lutheran Minister who had preached some sermons against Christian Science. I asked him whether he thought that God caused disease. He said “No, but God permits disease to strengthen His children.” I asked him what he would think of a parent who poisoned his children’s food. He said such a parent should be punished. I asked him what he thought of a parent who stood by and knowingly permitted a murderer to come into the home and poison the children’s food. He said such a parent would be equally guilty. I told him that is what we think of the false concept of God as one who permits evil for a holy or unholy purpose. He could not be God, and if there were such a God, He should be incarcerated. I think this was the first time this Lutheran minister really realized how inhuman his concepts of God were.
The twelfth lie is that man is alone. We read: “And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone...” Here is the argument that someone is alone, everything is not good. What a lie! Man is never alone. Do you know what the word “alone” really means? “All one.” Man is forever completely altogether “all one” with God. Hear Jesus’ ringing words on this subject (John 16:32): “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone...” And then after a pause he continued: “... and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” If you want human hell just think of yourself as all alone and then self-pity and loneliness will consume you. There is only one thing worse than being alone and that is to believe that you have to get some material creature as a helpmeet to take away your loneliness. God is forever your one and only helpmeet and you can say as did Jesus: “And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Now, I don’t want any of you to misunderstand what I saying. I am not speaking against marriage. It is a wonderful institution. What the writer of Genesis is bringing out is that we must not be slaves to human relationships. I know some people who have made themselves miserable and others who have made themselves fools trying to get a husband or a wife to overcome loneliness. The only way to overcome loneliness is to recognize your all-oneness with God, infinite good. As you recognize this all-oneness with God, you certainly make yourself much more attractive. You may do such a good job of it that a very good companion finds you; but this companionship is just one of the added things which come with the realization of your all-oneness with God and the recognition that all of His ideas are related harmoniously together according to His law. Here, however, I would like to caution you on the subject about God as your husband. You have read some articles recently on this subject in the periodicals. The quotation is given from Isaiah 54:5: “Thy Maker is thine husband.” Of course, the writer means to bring out that God husbands us, which indicates that He supports and protects each and every one of His children. In that sense a man, as well as a woman, might well say, “Thy Maker is thine husband.” For an unmarried woman, this might be a very comforting thought, but I would recommend that you married ladies be careful about ever giving the impression to your companion that he is not your husband, for your Maker is your husband. I have threatened to write an article with the title, “Thy Maker is thine wife,” and I have a feeling that many ladies would object to this concept if their husband always rubbed it in that he was married to God alone. Let us be wise in recognizing that all good truly comes from God, but be sure to express Love, compassion, and understanding toward your husband or wife, recognizing that they reflect the divine qualities of God which make for harmonious living.
Here is the thirteenth lie – that animals, birds, etc., as well as man, are made from the ground or matter. Don’t believe it for one second. Trouble lies in this false belief of material creation. There are no material creatures in a material universe. “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.” Mrs. Eddy calls the material concept of creation “Creation’s counterfeit.” Here is the way the Bible puts it: “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” What is your concept of all creatures? What names or natures do you attribute unto dogs, cats, bees, spiders, and snakes? Great naturalists have observed that animals behave themselves just as man expects them to; therefore, such naturalists as Sam Campbell can be friends with many animals which appear as enemies to ordinary folk. Some Christian Scientists are willing to grant that man is spiritual and perfect, but they still see animals as mortal and material. Be sure that you uplift your concept of all of God’s creatures and then they will never harm you. We need to be clear along these lines in regard to crops, gardens, etc.
The fourteenth mistake to be avoided is attributing evil natures or names to man and animals. Here is the first mention of the name “Adam,” a false concept of man. Do not accept the lie about man any more than you would the lie about God. The name for all of God’s creatures is: “ideas of divine Love.” In this verse is emphasized that Adam, the false concept of man, has no helpmeet. Of course not, because he is only a belief in existence apart from God and therefore with no help of any kind.
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept ...” This is the fifteenth phase of error to be avoided ‒ a deep sleep. Christian Science teaches us how to make certain that we do not mentally fall asleep and dream the nightmare of mortality ‒ sin, disease, and death. There is no record that Adam ever awoke. Mrs. Eddy calls the experience of Adam “a dream-narrative” and says, “The dream has no reality, no intelligence, no mind; therefore, the dreamer and dream are one, for neither is true nor real.” (S&H 530:26-29) Let us all make certain that we remain constantly awake to the spiritual reality of all things. We can do this by studying our Bible lessons regularly and intelligently and by being daily about our Father’s business.
The next lie is for gentlemen only. The ladies of the Association may dream for a few minutes. If you want some real hell, men, just let your wife or your secretary, or women in general, know that you think man is more important than woman. Rub it in on the little lady at home that man came first and that woman was taken from a rib of man, and I can guarantee that such an attitude will sooner or later get you into much trouble. Thank goodness the world is awakening from the concept of man as a masculine, dominating tyrant. For heaven, harmony, in human relationships, it is well to remember that God created man and woman equally perfect in His image and likeness.
The seventeenth lie is that there is another mind beside God to tempt His creatures with evil. This is the way the Bible reads: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Our Leader asks, “Whence comes a talking, lying serpent to tempt the children of divine Love?” (S&H 529:21) Then she brings out that this is all just a dream, a lie about the experience of man. If you believe in another mind besides God, called mortal mind or carnal mind or serpent, mind, you are in for trouble. Mrs. Eddy says that the basic error in human thinking is mortal mind. You know what “basic” means: it is the first and foremost error. Make certain daily that you are not accepting this basic mistake that there is such a thing as mortal mind. Whenever you use the term mortal mind in your thinking or practice of Christian Science, make certain that you add the truth that there is no such mind. There can be no temptation for God does not tempt man, and the divine Mind is all that exists. James writes, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) Since “The Lord He is God and there is none else beside Him,” it follows that there is no temptation. Discard from your thought and speech such statements as “the devil tempted me” or “error tempted me to think wrongly.” Recently I heard a testimony at a Wednesday evening meeting in which the speaker said over and over again that he was tempted in one way or another to think wrongly. This was just the old Methodist religion expressing itself. There is no temptation in God’s kingdom.
The eighteenth error to avoid is a very rude one, calling God a liar. Eve had just told the serpent that she was not to partake of the knowledge of evil lest she die. The serpent replied, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth how that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Whenever you accept the belief in sin, sickness, or death, you are virtually calling God a Liar, for He says; “I am the Lord, and there is none else beside me.” If you believe there is something beside God, infinite good, you make Him out a liar and you set up evil as true or existent. From such stupid thinking come such absurd statements as “Too good to be true.” Thanks to Christian Science mankind is learning that devil, evil, is a liar and the father of it, but that God, good, is eternal Truth.
Here is the nineteenth lie. If you believe that God knows good and evil you are in for trouble. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that we all tend to become like the God we worship. If your God, the creator, knows good and evil, it follows logically that you, His product, must know and experience good and evil. When we in an orthodox manner plead with God to forgive our shortcomings as though He knows all about them, we are then indulging in the practice of false theology. In her book “Unity of Good” Mrs. Eddy deals vigorously with the lie that God knows evil. She indicates that her best healings have been brought about when she clearly saw and sensibly felt the Infinite did not recognize or know evil. Let us daily and wholeheartedly accept the divine fact that our Creator is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look on evil. Then it will be easy for us to comprehend that as His reflection we cannot know or experience discord of any nature. Not to know evil is to enjoy heaven. Knowing evil does not make man Godlike, but ungodlike.
The twentieth lie is that a knowledge of evil will help you to prosper ‒ “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food ...”! You are not going to be well supplied with food or anything else by indulging in a knowledge of evil. Cheating, gambling, dishonesty, getting angry, partaking of liquor for business reasons, smoking, and the like, none of these will help you in demonstrating true supply. Indulgence of evil takes away the support of infinite good which would otherwise be a complete law of annihilation to lack and limitation.
The twenty-first lie says that “... it (evil) was pleasant to the eyes.” Evil is not pleasant. There is no pleasure in evil whatsoever. Our Leader says on page 404 of the textbook: “This conviction, that there is no real pleasure in sin, is one of the most important points in the theology of Christian Science.” Have you ever heard the argument, “It is fun to be naughty, but boring to be good?” Then you know how this argument sounds in modern language. In the Old Testament, we find it this way: “stolen grapes are sweeter.” They are not.
Mrs. Eddy had a clear sense of true pleasure. In No and Yes, p. 3, she wrote: “How good and pleasant a thing is to seek not so much thine own as another’s good, to sow by the wayside for the weary, and trust Love’s recompense of Love.” Speaking about pleasure, she also wrote on page 362 of Miscellaneous Writings: “And pleasure is no crime except when it strengthens the influence of bad inclinations or lessens the activities of virtue.” There is much wrong teaching in false theology on the subject of pleasure. Sometimes all pleasure is condemned and this is certainly contrary to the whole teaching of Christianity. On the other hand, some churches tolerate and even encourage drinking, smoking, and gambling. Christian Science alone teaches the truth that there is no pleasure in evil. Some individuals have said that you cannot have a good time if you are a sincere student of Christian Science. The fact is that you only have a really good time (time filled with good and no evil) when you are a scientific Christian. When I first took up the practice of Christian Science a good friend was quite disappointed because it was thought that I was going to miss so much fun. Well, I haven’t missed any true pleasure, but have been spared a great many heartaches that come from a false sense of pleasure in evil.
The twenty-second lie suggests that a knowledge of evil makes one wise. This argument of sophistication, that it is smart to be acquainted with evil and the sordid things of human society, brings on much trouble. Many young men and women take up the use of tobacco and liquor only because they think it is smart and they want to appear wise. Through much suffering individuals have learned that a knowledge of evil is not wisdom, but abject stupidity, whereas a knowledge of God, infinite good, is the only true wisdom. One of our great poets once wrote: “Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.” Ignorance of evil is certainly bliss, and it is folly to know anything except the allness of good.
Corporeal consciousness is the twenty-third lie. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” If you want plenty of hell just think of yourself as a physical or corporeal creature. Jesus presented man as “clothed, and in his right mind.” This right mind is spiritual consciousness. On almost every page of our textbook Mrs. Eddy refutes the lie of life, truth, and intelligence in matter. We need to be constantly awake to the divine fact that our only individuality and that of our family and patients is spiritual identity.
Next, we find Adam and Eve hiding themselves from God. This is the twenty-fourth mistake. If you want hell, just try to hide yourself from the omnipresence and omnipotence of good. In modern language, it comes this way: “I don’t care what God or Christian Science says about it, I am going to do this evil thing anyway. No one will know.” Christian Science has come to the world to awaken men to recognize their oneness with God. You cannot declare too often “I and my Father are one.” Never try to hide from Truth or Love. It just won’t work. There is no pleasure attempting to hide from God.
The twenty-fifth mistake is fear of God. “And he (Adam) said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked ...” Mrs. Eddy interprets, “Knowledge and pleasure, evolved through material sense, produced the immediate fruits of fear and shame.” (S&H 532:17) She goes on to say, “Fear was the first manifestation of the error of material sense.” Man is never afraid of God because he knows that the heavenly Father is altogether good with no capacity to hurt or harm his child. Never fear God. To do so is to show your ignorance of God’s nature.
The twenty-sixth mistake is to blame your shortcomings on others. “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Have you ever heard the same argument? It runs something like this: I would be a better Christian Scientist if only my husband or wife were interested. Again, we hear: if I only had a more congenial place to work, I would be a better Christian Scientist. If you want hell, just go on making excuses for yourself, always blaming others for your lack of progress. But if you want success and heaven, devote your thought to proving immediately and constantly that you are the faultless, perfect, harmonious expression of God’s being.
Some Scientists do not blame others for their shortcomings, they just blame error or mortal mind, and they then think they are being scientific. This is the twenty-seventh error. Eve said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” When you blame mortal mind, or error, for your trouble, when there is no mortal mind or error, it is just like blaming your trouble on the elves and goblins ‒ a most stupid thing to do. In Christian Science, we do not explain shortcomings. We deny them and explain them away with the truth that man is forever the perfect child of a perfect Father.
The twenty-eighth lie is that God is in the cursing business ‒ “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle ...” If you want trouble, just think of God as in the cursing business. When I was serving as a chaplain in the Army men would sometimes use profanity in my presence and then on recognizing me, apologize. I would tell them not to be disturbed because they had just been wrongly taught about God. Then I would explain that God is in the blessing business and when an individual says “God damn it” or “God damn you” he just shows his ignorance of God’s business. It is just like calling up the lumber yard to order a pound of beefsteak ‒ nothing will happen, there will be no delivery. Just so, when we supplicate God to damn or curse something, nothing will happen, we only show our ignorance of God’s nature and business. The churches of false theology which would employ anathemas ‒ a religious or ecclesiastical curse to accomplish their ends, just show how ignorant they are of God. Divine Love never cursed Adam, the serpent, the ground, or anything. He only knows how to bless and to make everything and everyone prosperous and happy.
For the twenty-ninth lie we find the Lord God put enmity between two creatures. How far such a concept is from the statement of John, “God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Don’t you ever believe that there is any good in hatred. There is no such thing as righteous indignation. There is nothing Godlike about anger, hate, or resentment. These lies are never to be found in divine consciousness nor in the reflection thereof called man. Check yourself with this question: Do I have an aversion for anything such as snakes, dogs, cats, or certain people? Of course not, because the infinite all of Love does not cause nor permit hatred or aversion in the consciousness of one of His children.
The thirtieth lie indicates that God multiplies sorrow. In the first chapter we read that divine Love was constantly multiplying good. Could God multiply good and evil at the same time? The false theological belief that God brings evil upon us stems from this lie. How good it is to know through Christian Science God takes away sorrow; He never causes any!
The next lie is that having children will be a sorrowful, painful experience. The Bible reads: “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children...” Many sincere individuals have taken that statement literally and have experienced pain and sorrow in the birth of their children and later. But through Christian Science the world is learning that birth can be without pain or sorrow. Even the medical faculty is coming around to a great change of thought on the subject of obstetrics. Possibly you have read articles in The Readers Digest and other popular magazines of the day about this change.
Prospective mothers are taught now to relax and be unafraid. It has been emphasized that the experience of bearing children can be beautiful and full of spiritual inspiration. Be certain that you never accept the lie “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children...” You remember how in class we brought out if you think of your children as material and mortal they will hurt you at the time of birth and forever after, but if you see them as spiritual and perfect, your family life will be a happy experience.
Don’t try to keep the feminine sex in bondage to the masculine. This is the thirty-second mistake. The Bible reads: “... and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” I wonder if any of you really appreciate how women were in bondage to men before the discovery of Christian Science. They did not even have the right to vote in America until 1919. In Africa and Italy during the war I realized how women are almost considered as chattel. In the movies of Palestine which I showed to most of you, you observed how men ride while the women walk. Not so in America. We can also be grateful that world thought is changing rapidly on this subject. During the past year women were given the vote franchise in Italy. I am sure that the example of Mary Baker Eddy has had much to do with the freedom that women are enjoying in the world today. May we hasten the time when there is a true and complete balance of the feminine quality of Love together with the masculine qualities of courage and strength in the experience of individuals, families, communities, and government. In that day there will be no more war.
The next error to be avoided is this: that the ground is cursed and is directed to bring forth thorns and thistles to choke out the supply of food for men. In order that we might be doing our best to help solve food problems of the world, let us deny this godless lie that the earth is ever cursed. God always blesses and never curses anything. There is no curse of drought, hurricane, flood, pestilence, seeds, untimely frost, abnormal heat or cold, in the one and only kingdom of God. Help yourself and all mankind by helping the agriculturist along this line.
The thirty-fourth lie says that man shall work by the sweat of his brow. Our Leader declared in this connection: “Spirit acts through the Science of Mind, never causing man to till the ground, but making him superior to the soil. Knowledge of this lifts man above the sod, above earth and its environments, to conscious spiritual harmony and eternal being.” (S&H 520: 30) Many people today accept the lie that all supply comes from the sweat of the brow and material activity. Increasingly, however, through a comprehension of the supremacy of Mind, modern inventions are releasing men and women from material drudgery. As time glides on even greater freedom will show up and men will have more time for spiritual development. It is divine Love and not the sweat of the brow that meets every human need. I would here caution you, however, not to look upon work or a normal amount of physical activity as undesirable. On page 2 of her Message for 1900 our Leader demands us to “Work ‒ work ‒ work ...” Work can be a very pleasant rather than an irksome occupation if we only accept the truth that man is not a slave to matter, but is always the master, having been given dominion by the one and only Creator, divine Love.
Guard against this one ‒ the thirty-fifth lie: “... dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” No greater falsehood was ever declared in regard to man. He was not originally dust and therefore he does not have to return to senseless matter. He always was the image and likeness of God, the one perfect Spirit. Even the poet Longfellow saw the absurdity and Godlessness about this lie of creation when he wrote: “Dust thou art and dust returneth was not spoken the Soul.” Remember how in the orthodox funeral services they habitually go through the ritual “dust returneth unto dust.” When we silence this lie that life is material and therefore can be lost, we shall no more die nor pass on, and funeral expenses will be over.
A short time ago we noted the error in exalting man above woman. Now we see the mistake of exalting woman above God: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Woman is not the mother of all. God is the Father and Mother of His creation. It is just as wrong to exalt woman above God as is to exalt man above woman or woman above man. Sometimes, in fact, quite often when men fall in Love they make a god out of a woman and literally worship her as the source of all happiness and things worth living for. Such an attitude is not reasonable nor scientific. On the other hand, I suppose that sometimes women also put men on pedestals and do a little false worshiping themselves. Let us love the Lord thy God with all our heart and soul and mind and not indulge in personality worship. The latter only leads to trouble.
The thirty-seventh lie is that man is not entitled to partake of the paradise of eternal life. This is the way the Bible puts it: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Don’t you believe one word of it! Man has the divine right to eternal Life because God is His life and man can reflect nothing unlike this eternal Life. God knows only the everlasting continuation of good. Man by reflection is conscious of this heavenly eternal kingdom.
The thirty-eighth lie describes man as thrust out of heaven. Jesus came to refute and correct this falsity. He taught that the kingdom of heaven is forever at hand and that the kingdom of God is within us. What a contrast between the true theology of our Master and the false theology which would put man out of heaven, eternal harmony. You remember well our Leader’s statement on this subject: “The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.” (S&H 470:32 - 471:5)
The thirty-ninth and last lie is this: that when you are thrust out of heaven, or harmony, there is just nothing you can do about it. You cannot get back into harmony with God for there are mental forces called “cherubims and a flaming sword” which make certain you stay out. Don’t you accept this lie or any part of it. Christian Science does heal. Christian Science does restore man to his original integrity. It makes no difference what you have experienced, no matter what you have done, no matter how far you may have seemed to stray, you have a divine right to correct your thinking and living and thus enter through the gates of the City. In interpretation of this our Leader has written: “The literal meaning would imply that God withheld from man the opportunity to reform, lest man should improve it and become better; but this is not the nature of God, who is Love always, ‒ Love infinitely wise and altogether lovely, who ‘seeketh not her own.’” (S&H 537:29) Christian Science presents universal salvation which means that all shall sooner or later find their God-given heritage of freedom and dominion.
So ends chapter three of the Jehovistic allegory of creation. Remember it is all a lie throughout. The account is in the Bible as a contrast to the attractive and true story found in the first chapter. This second allegory is helpful when we study it from the basis of what we shall not do in order to find and maintain eternal harmony. For your help, I shall review these thirty-nine don’ts:
- Don’t think of creation as an event of the past
- Don’t think of God as inactive
- Don’t be good just on Sunday
- Don’t accept a false concept of God
- Don’t let in the “buts”
- Don’t accept the mist of material sense
- Don’t think of man as made of matter
- Don’t believe that the false god of chance blesses you
- Don’t suppose there is something besides God, infinite good
- Don’t think your purpose in life is to dress up matter and keep it
- Don’t believe in evil and consequently don’t believe in punishment
- Don’t ever think of yourself as alone
- Don’t regard creation as material
- Don’t accept a false sense of yourself and other creatures
- Don’t fall asleep to spiritual reality
- Don’t think man is more important than woman
- Don’t believe in a mind apart from God which can tempt or sidetrack man
- Don’t regard God, infinite good, as a liar
- Don’t believe that God knows evil
- Don’t believe that a knowledge of evil brings prosperity
- Don’t believe a knowledge of evil brings pleasure
- Don’t believe the knowledge of evil brings wisdom
- Don’t accept a corporeal sense of things
- Don’t try to hide from God
- Don’t be afraid of God
- Don’t blame your shortcomings on others
- Don’t even blame them on mortal mind or error
- Don’t think of God as in the cursing business
- Don’t think of God as causing hatred or righteous indignation
- Don’t see God as bringing or multiplying sorrow
- Don’t think that having children is a sorrowful, painful process
- Don’t keep the feminine sex in subjection to the masculine
- Don’t believe the earth is cursed
- Don’t believe that man is made to work by the sweat of his brow
- Don’t believe that man was originally dust and must return to dust
- Don’t worship women or men
- Don’t think you cannot demonstrate eternal life
- Don’t think of yourself as thrust out of heaven, eternal harmony
- Don’t think you cannot get back in if you seem to be out. Christian Science does heal