Lectures on Christian Science
by Peter V. Ross
- A Foreword About Lecturing
- Promotion of Lectures
- The Divine Immanence
- The Destiny of Man
- The Operation of Divine Law in Human Affairs
- The Purpose and Method of Christian Science
- An Outline of Christian Science
- Christian Science: What It Is and How It works
- Assurance to a Troubled World
- Power of Endless Life
- The Cornerstone of Christian Science Practice
- The Promise of a Better World
- A Challenge to the Wrong Thinking of the Ages
- The Answer to Human Problems
- The Challenge to Defeatism
- The Unfallen Man
- Legality of Christian Science Practice
- Platform Attire
- A Closing Word about Lectures
A Foreword About Lecturing
Vividly comes to recollection, after the lapse of nearly two score years, the first Christian Science lecture I attended — the building, an old stone synagogue at Post and Taylor Streets in San Francisco; the people, eagerly streaming into the edifice and filling it to the last seat; the speaker, a woman of pleasing dignity, at home on the platform and in her lines.
About the middle of the discourse she announced, “If you get what I say during the next ten minutes, you will know what a Christian Science treatment is.” Immediately were the people at attention, because, it is safe to assume, everyone present had heard, perhaps experienced that sickness succumbs to Christian Science treatment; that frustration flees before it, in a word, that Christian Science, understood and utilized, puts the struggling individual on his feet and enables him better to play the part of a man. Naturally everybody in the audience desired to comprehend the process.
Well, it must be that I did not get what she said, because I knew little if any more about a treatment when the hour was over than when it began. This does not argue my total unfamiliarity with the procedure, for, months before, on my introduction to Christian Science, I had begun at once to put it into practice and am still with the adventure.
The night before the disastrous earthquake and fire in San Francisco I attended another Science lecture. The introducer put in most of his time introducing himself. The lecturer dwelt on the two stories of creation recounted in Genesis. Little was developed, probably, that was not already understood and accepted by those present.
Certainly people went away with squared shoulders and beaming faces. They had imbibed the atmosphere of buoyancy and comfort generated from the sum total of their fervent expectations. Always has it been the case that when two or three are gathered in His name healing results.
Six months rolled by. A Science lecture to be delivered by a former lawyer was advertised. Now, thought I, comes the opportunity. Here will be a logical and clarifying exposition. The speaker told a few excruciatingly funny stories. Some of them are with me yet. He painted a graphic picture of what an important role Christian Science is playing in the amelioration of human suffering. There were those in the audience who wondered why these men and women, supposedly selected for their ability to expound Christian Science, did not devote their effort to telling what this Science is and how it can be put to work.
Finally came a symposium of clergymen called to present the modern idea of God. Most of the arguments were impressive, one of them was particularly so. The next day found me working out a lecture on Christian Science. It was the first one in this book — The Divine Immanence, by name. I discovered that presenting this subject in a way which will really put it across is no easy task. It becomes easy, if ever, only with full understanding of this Science and wide experience in its practice, supplemented by facility in oral and written expression. The paper finished, I put it aside. There was nothing that could be done with it. This was in the autumn of 1915.
Christian Science Committees on Publication, from the various parts of the world, annually assemble at The Mother Church in Boston to confer on official matters. While attending the conference held in October, 1918, I slipped my lecture to one of the Church Directors as we chatted in his office, not telling him what it was. He read it that night. I know, because his wife, who chanced to meet me on a west-bound train the next day, related one of my stories set forth in the document.
Over three years thereafter, early in March, 1922, to be exact, a telegram came from the Board of Directors, asking me to come to Boston without delay, prepared to rehearse my lecture. A train is not the best place to practice public speaking. I well recall, for example, a brakeman catching me at work from the rear platform and ordering me inside in behalf of personal security.
Arriving in Boston Saturday, I at once sought out a school of expression or oratory. There were three in the directory. For some reason the Curry School at Copley Square attracted me. A young man there took me in charge and gave me a thorough going over for an hour or so. The next day, Sunday, he worked with me another hour, and Monday morning still another. An ideal instructor, perfectly fitted for the task, he handled me about as roughly as I could stand. But I took it and profited immensely.
Dr. Curry’s last book is one of the best of the many works on public speaking. He continually emphasizes the necessity for the development of the interiors of the speaker. With it comes pretty much everything necessary to a pleasing platform production. In other words there must be an aroused man first, last, and all the time if the audience is to get anything worth while. An awakening of the whole nature is requisite. “True work in expression must necessarily be associated with a discovery of one’s self.”
He states, if I remember accurately, that the reading of poetry is one way to develop the learner’s latencies. Be that as it may, I kept up my practice, formed long before, of reading verse, aloud as opportunity presented. No doubt this habit has influenced me tremendously in the right direction.
The Directors, as they looked me over, appeared none too enthusiastic. However, they presently handed me my portfolio. Indeed they had no choice. There was a vacancy. They could find no one to fill it. A schedule of lectures had to be carried out.
Returning to San Francisco, I set my affairs in order and made ready for the road. My first appearance was in the Orpheum Theater in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 31, 1922. When the manager of the house saw the people pouring in, he sought out the lecture committee and demanded thirty dollars additional rental. He got it, too. Hardly an unfavorable omen, you will admit.
From Harrisburg my journey led me westward, with lectures here and there on the way. In Berkeley, California, a letter forwarded by the Directors overtook me. It had been written to them by a lady in Texas who had heard my discourse. She was very much to the point, stating, in effect, “Mr. Ross may be suitable for some lines of Science work, but he will never do as a lecturer. The people go to sleep on him.”
This good woman never dreamed that her letter would be called to my attention, nor did she imagine how stimulating would be her frank opinion. From that time on when anybody voiced something commendable about my work, her criticism came to mind. She would not have written as she did if there were not substantial foundation. Probably her opinion was a composite of the opinions of her friends. Exaggeration, you may say. True, but every interesting writer or talker exaggerates. No one has a right, you know, to be dull or tedious.
So it was that the struggle for self-improvement became a fixed habit and continued to the night of my last lecture twenty years afterward in Miami. In San Fran• cisco Ella Atkinson Putnam frequently coached me; in Los Angeles Theodore Bergey, formerly of Chicago, put me through the paces from time to time. Both of them accomplished wonders in getting my voice out of the throat.
My most merciless instructor was a record of a broadcast of my lecture made by a New Yorker. Three or four sentences were enough to take at a time. Nobody suspects how bad his voice is until the phonograph tells on him. No critic like a mechanical critic, so ruthlessly searching and accurate is it. You cannot accuse it of bias or prejudice. You know it is telling the awful truth.
Trips abroad furnished a continuous inspiration from the polished diction and mellowed tones of the foreigner.
My fundamental mistake lay in assuming, from what the Directors told me and from the general practice of Science lecturers, that a lecture must be committed to memory and recited verbatim. Now a speech, as everybody should know by this time, cannot be delivered effectively in that way. It must be done extemporaneously.
Then the words are charged with thought, because one cannot step out in front of an audience, knowing only in a general way what he will say, and get away with the adventure without doing some fast thinking. And thinking is the essence of discourse. There must be not simply the intake of ideas, but the clothing of them with suitable words. This bold effort grips the audience and enlists their cooperation. They actually work with the speaker. Some audacious listener will even supply an elusive word or fact at a critical point.
Only a fraction of the healings which come as truth dawns on the sight are, in the nature of situations, reported to me, but that fraction would fill a sizable volume. During a well-remembered afternoon lecture one of my friends in the audience was startled by a kick in the back. When the hour was over the woman behind her apologized, saying, “One of my legs has been drawn up for years. Suddenly it straightened as I sat rapt in the lecture and my foot struck out viciously. Hope it didn’t hurt too much.” Yes, truth can work changes in the human structure just that decisively.
What is this remedial truth? You will find a statement of it in one form or another in each of the fourteen lectures herein published. Suppose you consult right now the one titled The Unfallen Man. It is especially brief and lucid.
By the middle of May my itinerary had got me as far as Idaho. While pulling myself together to go out on the platform one evening, a man approached to remark: “You said in your lecture in Twin Falls last night that disease and wrongdoing go hand in hand. Now my wife has had rheumatism twenty-five years. I think she is about the best person in the world. Will you explain?”
There was not time for explanation — the clock pointed one minute to eight, the performance must go on. “Listen to the lecture and you will get the answer,” was my reply. Departing from the prepared text at the proper point, I proceeded to redeem myself. The audience liked the digression.
From that time on my rule, before stepping out on the platform, has been to ask Mind to restrain me from smart or ill-considered statements. Wrongdoers frequently enjoy good health, while altogether too often are right doers grievously afflicted. There is so much mystery about the origin of disease that no one can pretend to have all the answers. The question, “Why does the good man suffer?” has baffled the best thinkers of all ages. Job’s answer is eloquent but none too satisfying.
In a certain Indiana town my introducer hesitatingly remarked, as we watched the clock backstage: “Two of our prominent workers came to an end at a railroad crossing yesterday. Can you not say something comforting? We are very much upset.” There was nothing in my printed lecture that fitted the emergency. So I extemporized fifteen minutes that evening on the continuity of individual life. The audience was interested and helped. Their immediate needs were met. It is the business of the speaker and the editor to swing their idealism into relation with current affairs and problems. People rightly expect more than a nineteenth century essay.
My opening engagement in the summer of 1928 was booked for the outdoor theater in Santa Monica. When the day arrived, the lecture, which I had composed for the occasion, had not got by the Boston censors. Five thousand people assembled. I had to say something — there was no escape. I spoke the substance of what came to mind from the new lecture, though it was not printed in black and white and never has been. It took so well that I followed this system throughout that year. I had begun to learn how to speak from the platform. People no longer went to sleep, crying babies became obsolete, invitations multiplied, and overflows were the rule, not the exception.
During my twenty years on the Board of Lectureship, I took two years off. I started to take a third year but was thrust back to fill an unexpected vacancy. In the earlier days lecturers were permitted a degree of liberty which made their work a joy. Naturally the reaction on the public was highly beneficial. But as time went on restriction after restriction was imposed. One of these was a limitation on the number of bookings a lecturer might make. I was able to arrange my quota so as to be on the road only six or eight months out of the twelve.
Invitations have taken me over the six continents and to all the Science lecture fields of the globe. My recent book, Letters Of A Traveler, put out by the publishers of this volume, tells the story somewhat in detail. A brief outline includes six tours of Britain and Europe, two of the Orient, one of New Zealand and Australia, one of Africa, and another of South America. Naturally my schedule has taken me to Alaska, Mexico, the West Indies, India, and the Holy Land. The Nile, the Ganges, and the Seine are as vivid in memory as the Mississippi.
Audiences have invariably been attentive and cordial. Among my best meetings were those in Rome, Rio, Cairo, and Singapore. It was as easy to speak in Shanghai, Calcutta, and Athens as in London; and as easy to speak in London as in Omaha. The black magic of the foreigner is sheer nonsense.
Joe E. Brown observes that what we need is an understanding of people, whatever their race, religion, or philosophy of life. Clearly in the presence of proper understanding there cannot be unhappy misunderstandings. Sound is the injunction, “With all thy getting get understanding.”
My books show the delivery of over three thousand lectures, with an approximate attendance of three and a quarter millions. One year’s travel in USA and Canada, of which record was kept, adds up sixty-three thousand miles. This means that my total journeyings measure a million miles and more. Not a single accident or injury worth mentioning marks those long and devious distances. How marvelous is His constant care!
Is lecturing hard work? The answer depends upon the quality of the individual. No undertaking is arduous to him who puts his heart and soul into it. Lecturing is made invariably pleasant and doubly satisfying by the never failing cooperation of Scientists in the field. They leave nothing undone either in looking after the comfort of the lecturer or in promoting the success of the lecture. Not a day goes by that I do not meditate on the amazing thoughtfulness and goodness of branch churches and their members. Not one unpleasant incident rises up out of the past to mar my twenty years of service for them.
Peter V. Ross
Promotion of Lectures
Written June 1931 for the Sentinel but not published because questioned by the board of Lectureship and the Board of Directors.
A Christian Science lecture is for everyone. It is not intended for any particular class, whether strangers or beginners or seasoned workers, but for all, including sturdy unbelievers, who feel the urge to attend or who hope to profit by the experience. And every listener, regardless of the degree of his understanding of the subject, will profit if the discourse is what it should be.
The time has gone by, if there ever was such a time, when a lecturer should content himself with telling what Christian Science will do or with exclaiming over its wonders. The public is already persuaded that Science is good. What people expect of the speaker, and they have a right to expect it, is to be told what Science is and how they can use it to bring about better conditions in their lives.
In a qualified sense, therefore, a Christian Science lecturer assumes, and properly so, the role of teacher. This is true of anyone who takes it upon himself to write or speak to the public. A teacher who is at home in his subject, though it be a difficult one, presents it so simply and graphically that all grades of intellectual development, from the man in the street to the finished scholar, will follow and be instructed and even delighted.
So a Science lecturer can and should make his presentation of truth, even its subtler aspects, so clear and concrete, and withal so refreshing, that he holds the attention of casual visitor and advanced student alike, making the occasion one of enlightenment and inspiration to both.
Certainly the active practitioner and busy church worker, grappling daily with trying situations, need inspiration, all they can get, and are entitled to it. They need ammunition — dynamic thoughts and arguments — wherewith successfully to wage the campaign in which they have enlisted. Who, then, has a better right than they, or a more imperative duty, to attend lectures, if thereby they are heartened and better equipped for their responsibilities?
The plausible argument, abroad in the field today, that lectures are intended primarily for the stranger is well calculated to work mischief. It may lead the speaker to assume that an elementary talk will do. It will not. The general level of human intelligence in these days is so high that no Christian Science lecturer need hesitate to do his best. The profoundest truths of Science, palpably put, are intelligible to the novice as they are stimulating to the experienced practitioner. The danger, if any, is not that the speech may go over the heads of the audience but that it may not get off the platform.
The effect, on the audience, of undue solicitude for the stranger, is to discourage attendance, and this, not infrequently, to a discomfiting extent. Here and there are to be found perfectly good people, who, owing to the frailties of human nature, are occasionally on the lookout, in the presence of an approaching lecture, for a valid excuse to stay away. Certainly no better alibi could be demanded than this: “We must be unselfish, we must give the stranger a chance”; which would not be so bad if the stranger could be depended upon to embrace the chance.
Then there are those who say: “I am not going to the lecture; I can read it when it comes out in the paper.” There would be more plausibility in this point of view if a lecture were an essay committed to memory and recited from the platform. But a lecture is not that. If it were, oral delivery might be dispensed with; printing would suffice. The essence of a speech or lecture is thought, not words. It cannot be had, in its vividness, from the printed page, for the reason that it cannot be put there, fully.
Untold millions have read with wonder and delight Paul’s magnificent defense before Agrippa, in the 26th chapter of Acts, but no one ever really got that speech, or any speech worthy of the name, who was not present at the delivery. The printed report, however faithful and valuable, conveys only in part the speaker’s thought and the atmosphere of the occasion. Ideas, in one sense so illusive, are, in another sense so palpable when released through one earnestly voicing the truth, that the deaf, apprehending it, hear the voice of the speaker, while the foreigners, so called, also apprehending the speaker’s thought, suppose they are being addressed in their own tongue.
Certainly strangers should be encouraged to attend, by every reasonable means. The growing practice of issuing cards of admission and reserving seats for them is commendable. The point is that others need not and should not be discouraged. Who, after all, can say, if unfortunately any fail to gain admission, whether it had better be this one or that? Is it not wiser to allow Principle to take its perfect course? The less anxiety entertained, the fewer restrictions raised up, the better. How true this is in all church affairs. Then Mind, unhampered by human planning, governs the situation.
The tendency to be careful and troubled about many things should give place to the calm intelligent confidence which comes from realizing that a Christian Science lecture is a beneficent event, that the community welcomes it, that no sinister influence can interfere with the program, and that no hand can stay the healing truth it releases. This mental attitude puts each worker at his ease. Then the lecture arrangements will be made in that free and natural way which insures success.
Lecture announcements have grown a trifle stilted if not formidable. Ordinarily, as announced from the desk, they carry the names of three cities and three states. Surely some of this particularity could properly be eliminated, in the interest of clarity. The man who, for the first time, hears one of these announcements, may well wonder where the lecture is to be given. A little ingenuity would evolve a less formal and more effective announcement than the one now in general use. Display advertisements, such as occasionally placed on the outside of a streetcar, especially should omit nonessentials, because the eye cannot catch or the mind retain them. In such cases it is enough to say, for example, “Christian Science lecture at the Municipal Auditorium at eight o’clock tonight.”
The introducer will find his task easy if he keeps in mind that the purpose of the introduction is to introduce the speaker. Personal experiences may therefore be omitted. Not more than a moment or two should be consumed, leaving the remainder of the time to the lecturer. The entire program should be kept within an hour. It is the lecturer’s privilege to pay tribute to our Leader and to her works. Extensive quoting weakens any speech, since thought is the substance of a discourse, and thought all but flees the moment the speaker or writer abandons his own phraseology for the words of another.
Expression does not all emanate from the vocal organs. A speaker, to some extent, employs his entire body. Putting a desk or other obstructions between him and his audience is comparable to tying the hands of one confronted with an important piece of work. In arranging the platform, care should be taken to put the flowers and other decorations to one side or in the rear, leaving the space in front of the speaker open.
The radio, because it is extending audiences so tremendously, should be resorted to whenever reasonably available. The microphone no longer occasions embarrassment to the speaker. Nevertheless, he should be notified, at least a few hours in advance, if the lecture is to be broadcast or amplified. Then he will not be taken by surprise when he steps out on the platform. Moreover, he will be afforded opportunity to consult with the operator and to test the amplifying apparatus. Too much caution cannot be exercised in seeing that the equipment is in order.
No one can estimate the amount of good that flows from broadcasting. Thus far no valid argument has been raised against it. The speaker, once he begins to talk, centers his attention on the people whose faces are visible. If he makes his message intelligible and acceptable to them, he will make it so to the whole world if the radio reaches that far.
The search for truth is so incessant and genuine in these times that there need be no apprehension about the quality or friendliness of audiences. The unseen audience is likely to be as sympathetic as the visible audience, for the obvious reason that those who do not care to hear have only to turn the dial.
When it is remembered that the attitude of the public toward Christian Science is, for the most part, cordial today, there will be no hesitancy or shyness in resorting to all dignified methods of advertising a lecture and in extending personal invitations to those who may reasonably be expected to be interested.
There is room and welcome for the doubter and the skeptic. They make an ideal audience for the experienced speaker, to whom nothing is more gratifying than to see the somber countenance of the unbeliever light up with interest, unless it is to watch the lines of care and pain melt from expectant faces.
The Divine Immanence
Nature of Deity
If you and I were to glance out over the vast arena in which is taking place the struggle of mortals to reach the light of understanding, we might well wonder whether, among the innumerable problems confronting different individuals, there could be found one single problem common to all mankind, and engaging the attention of every individual. But if we were to take more than a casual survey of the situation, and enter, if such were permitted, the inner consciousness of men, we should no longer wonder or speculate, we should see and know that, bearing in upon the mind of every human being, at some time or another, and with greater or less insistence, comes the question, What is the true nature of Deity? Who or what is God?
The man absorbed with the cares of this world may give little heed to this inquiry; the man at ease or in pleasure to whom the evil days have not yet come, may ignore it entirely; the man in the pride of intellect or in the exultation of worldly success may even affect to despise it; but come the question will, and every individual, in his better moments, will seriously meditate upon it, and sometime, sooner or later, bitter experience will wring from him Job’s pathetic cry, “O, that I knew where I might find him!”
It may be said, perhaps, that this question does not occupy the thought of the infidel or the atheist, since he rejects altogether the idea of a Supreme Being. It will be found, however, that the man who proclaims that he does not believe in God means nothing more than that he does not believe in the kind of God that has commonly been taught or portrayed. It is hardly conceivable that any thinking person would contend that the earth and the fullness thereof is a matter of chance or accident, and that there is no law or intelligence back of and directing the universe. It can safely be affirmed that whatever difficulties may beset the search for a Supreme Being, the belief that He exists and the desire to know Him are universal among mankind; and this confidence in the existence of God and this longing to understand Him indicate the transcendent importance to man of a correct concept of Deity, and remind us of Jesus’ statement, “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God.”
All down the centuries the Bible has taught and men have supposed they have believed in a Deity who is not only all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present, but who is benign and good, who, as John has said, is Love, and who, moreover, is available in time of trouble. Yet, despite all this, disease and all the hosts of evil have seemed to hold almost undisputed sway. Evidently there must, after all, be a lack of appreciation of the true nature of God and of our relation to Him, otherwise the complete supremacy of good would be apparent, and evil would not seem to occupy the commanding place which it boasts in human affairs.
The trouble has been that, notwithstanding our professions and beliefs, we have regarded God as an abstraction far removed from our daily life and unavailable in times of distress. We have not fully accepted the assurance that His “hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.” Whatever we may have said as to the nearness and goodness and availability of God, we have actually considered Him as separated from us and reluctant to supply our needs. We have pleaded with Him to come, instead of seeing that He is always with us; we have entreated Him to give, instead of knowing that already He has bestowed everything good and needful; we have besought Him to heal us and save our lives from destruction, when we should have realized that, as Paul says, He “giveth to all life and breath and all things.”
What is needed, if men are to escape from the thralldom of evil and attain that fullness of liberty to which they are entitled, is a clearer discernment of the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of God — a fuller sense of the divine immanence. On a subject of such supreme importance, holding as it does the issues of life itself, inquiry should not and cannot rest short of exact knowledge. Blind faith or vacillating belief is inadequate. “Ye shall know the truth,” it is written, “and the truth shall make you free.”
Christian Science accepts the Bible definition of God as omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, that is, having all power, all presence, all knowledge. But Science does more than merely recognize the accuracy of this idea of Deity, it awakens us to the import and significance of that idea, and teaches us how to make it operative in human affairs and tribulations. As showing this, let us take, to begin with, the concept of God as omniscient, and see to what conclusions we are led.
For Deity to be omniscient is for Deity to have all wisdom, all knowledge, all intelligence. Now, what is the one short, everyday word which expresses all these? You at once answer, “Mind”; and Mind is one of the names which Christian Science gives to God. It is one of the names by which Christian Scientists frequently address Him. In short, Mind is God. Since Mind is God, or God is Mind, and there is only one God, it follows that there really is only one Mind, one consciousness; and God, being good and infinite, that Mind and that consciousness must be good and infinite. Manifestly, then, this Mind cannot know or experience disease or any other of the supposed forms of evil. Therefore they are not in fact known or experienced, since there is no other mind and no other consciousness to entertain their morbid pretensions.
Here is where Christian Science takes its high and at the same time practical position, and affirms that the ills of the flesh, and all else that makes for human limitation and suffering, have no actual existence. True, they may appear real to human sense, which sees through a glass darkly; but for the time being let us cling fast, if we may, to the absolute truth and “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” So judging, we are irresistibly driven to the conclusion that divine Mind takes cognizance only of the good, the harmonious, the perfect, and does not cognize the imperfect, the discordant, the distressful. Hence you and I, the real you and I, do not cognize or experience them, because we cannot know anything unknown to infinite Mind.
What, then, do we know and of what are we conscious? Man exists as individual consciousness, and as there is but one Mind, one consciousness, man has that Mind, or consciousness. Herein is the secret of man’s dominion. Infinite intelligence is at hand, and not only is it available to man, but it is actually expressed by him. The mental forces and faculties of Mind are operative through man. Hence he is conscious of good, of health, of harmony, of peace, of power, of liberty; and the presence of these thoughts in consciousness necessarily excludes their opposites, namely, suffering, sorrow, strife, and such like. The real and only man thinks what God thinks, knows what God knows, experiences what God experiences; and he thinks, knows, and experiences nothing else.
Now we begin to discern the unlimited range of man’s mentality, for he is endued with full intelligence. Therefore he is not lacking in the mental capacity necessary to perform any task that may be allotted him; he is not wanting in ability to see that human ills have no hold on him; he is able to realize that there is no actual affinity between himself and wrongful desires and propensities; he rises to a sense of himself as an embodiment of the qualities of Mind, among which are health, harmony, and wholeness.
In speaking of Mind, Paul refers to it as that Mind “which was also in Christ Jesus,” and he counsels us to have that mentality to the end that we may enjoy the perfection, liberty, and supremacy over the powers of darkness which Jesus enjoyed. But Paul also speaks of another mentality, which he styles the “carnal mind” and which he declares is “enmity against God.” Mrs. Eddy refers to that mentality as “mortal mind.”
The phrases “carnal mind” and mortal mind” have not been coined to designate a real mentality, but rather to designate a false or supposititious mind; for in our present imperfect sense of things it is sometimes convenient to give names to the illusory and counterfeit in order that we may more certainly detect their invalidity and guard against deception.
This spurious mentality sends forth intimations of disease and death, which constantly clamor for admission into consciousness. As a result we are continually experiencing the temptation to do wrong, to feel the pains of human ills, and to suffer the thousand and one forms of restriction and discomfort common to humanity. This silent, persistent influence is personified in the Bible as the devil, and James admonishes us to “resist the devil, and he will flee.” But our resistance has seldom been more than partially successful, with the result that sin and suffering have too often apparently gained the ascendancy.
Defense Against Disease and Evil
Our failure to make a good defense has been due to our inability to resist intelligently. We have supposed that sorrow and suffering are the common lot and destiny of man; we have believed that disease and evil are inevitable and invincible, and we have feared them. In this mental condition we have been doomed to defeat from the outset.
Evil approaches us and asks to be admitted into our thoughts and lives, but it cannot enter unless we consent. It is in itself inert, non-intelligent. When we close the door of thought against it, as we have the ability to do, evil vanishes and ceases to be. It is only by opening the door and inviting evil to come in that we are brought under its sway. By our own act of acceptance or rejection we elevate evil to temporary power or return it to the realm of nothingness from whence it came.
Elbert Hubbard, describing his visit to an institution for the care of people of deranged mentalities, says that he found there one man, a guard, in charge of seventy or eighty inmates. Addressing himself to the guard, the visitor inquired, “Aren’t you afraid to be alone with all those people?” “Afraid? No, I’m not afraid,” was the reply. “But don’t you know,” continued the visitor, ‘‘they might get together and make way with you?” “Get together!” said the guard, “They can’t get together. That’s why they’re here.”
The forces of evil cannot get together to accomplish any paltry or vicious purpose. They lack the intelligence, the energy, the animation to initiate or organize any effort or movement. They cannot, as against the impregnable defense of sound thinking, be effectively assembled or set in motion. By bearing this truth in mind, we can disarm and nullify sinister or wicked schemes and organizations. All the supposed activities and possibilities of evil depend upon our fear of or belief in evil. When we boldly, intelligently, and persistently challenge it with the assertion and realization that good is the only power and presence, evil commences to shrink into unreality.
And what has been said of the supposed forces of evil is equally true of the supposed forces of disease. They have not the intelligence and mobility whereby to successfully attack mankind. They are scattered and annihilated by the calm realization that health is the actual, the all-pervading, the all-embracing.
Taking this vantage ground, we begin to see that evil is entirely foreign to true mentality and real selfhood, and is therefore without actual existence, because Mind is ever-active and everywhere present. With vision thus clarified, we can cope with human ills and infirmities successfully, expelling from consciousness the thoughts which produce or believe sickness, or better still, closing the avenues to consciousness against the entrance of sick thoughts in the first instance.
Thus are we brought to realize that the omniscience of God means that a right state of mind — a consciousness of health, of harmony, of happiness — is now and everywhere present, even where sick or fearful thoughts may claim to be. This perfect state of mind, which is for everyone to acquire, is heaven. Its enjoyment need not be postponed to a future world, but is attainable here and now by the mental or spiritual process which rejects the false and embraces the true. Thereby may we all be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Mental Origin of Human Ills
Wisdom and experience constantly remind us of the importance of shutting out of our mental home wrong thoughts of every description, and of welcoming good thoughts only, for everything has its inception in thought. The harsh word would not have been spoken if the hateful thought had not been harbored; the evil deed would not have been committed if it had not first been planned; disease had never made its appearance if mortal mind had not first conceived and pictured it.
But someone may ask, “How can this be true in my case, for I never thought of this ailment of mine until it came upon me?” In reply to this question it may be said that we know very little of what the human or mortal mind is thinking, for the things and the happenings which we see about us are expressions not only of the conscious but of the unconscious thoughts of humanity. When we desire to move the hand, we consciously give the mental order and the resulting movement is visible. We have no difficulty in observing the mental cause and effect. But that same mentality which directs and compels the hand to move also directs and compels the heart to beat, yet we are not conscious of the fact. Illustrations of this kind can be multiplied in connection with other organs and functions of the body, and as they are, it becomes apparent that we recognize only a small portion of what is actually going on in the human mind, for there is unconscious as well as conscious mental action.
It is not necessary for a man to think specifically of rheumatism, for example, in order to have that ailment. It is not necessary that he should hate his neighbor or entertain fearful or worried thoughts. All that is required is for him to depart from the truth that he lives in Mind and accept the mistaken notion that he lives in a material body. Then, at some time or another, the images of disease conjured by morbid thinking are liable to take up their abode with him.
Whereas holding thought in line with the glorious fact that man is spiritual and perfect, because he is the expression of boundless Life, lifts consciousness out of the mortal channel of disease into the realm of health, safety, and harmonious being.
Origin of Evil
Another may ask, “How is it, if mortal mind with its content of evil is mythical, that it seems to exert such an influence and to so disturb the equilibrium of things?” This is the old question of the origin of evil, which no one has so satisfactorily answered as did Jesus when, personifying evil as the devil, after the fashion of the Orient, the Teacher declared, “He is a liar, and the father of lies.” It is hardly worth while to search for the origin of a lie or to seek an explanation of it. Any such attempt is likely to result in imparting to the lie some semblance of genuineness — the very condition which must be overcome if the pretended reign of evil is to be brought to a close.
The wise course to pursue, now that morbid suggestions have been exposed, is to repudiate them and allow the truths and harmonies of Mind to flow in and replace them. As this mental transformation goes on, we find that wrong thoughts become less and less frequent and insistent, and we have confidence that, as understanding expands, wrong thoughts will cease to arrest our attention or influence the course of our lives. Realizing then that suggestion with its train of evils is passing out of experience, giving place to Mind with its expression of good, we can well afford to restrain our desire for an explanation of the source or mysteries of evil.
Searching for the origin of evil is to adopt a happy comparison from a popular author, “like hunting in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there.”
Deity as Life
From the consideration of Deity as Mind, it is only a step, and a very short one, to the consideration of Deity as Life. The Bible plainly implies, if it does not expressly declare, that God is Life. Moses, in exhorting the Israelites to obedience to God, said to them, “He is thy life, and the length of thy days.” John announced, speaking of God in relation to creation and the beginning, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Paul, standing on Mars’ hill and noting the Athenians’ attitude toward God, proclaimed, He is “not far from every one of us; for in him we live and move and have our being.” And again, in his letter to the Ephesians, the renowned apostle writes of “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Abiding thus in God and He in us, our life cannot be less than full, free, joyous, immune from disease, out of danger, and safe from destruction. In the past we have been too much inclined to conceive of God as absent from His creatures and His creation. We have declared, “Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory,” while we have all but overlooked His very presence and His intimate relation to ourselves. Now is our vision opening to His nearness, His immanence, His oneness with man. No longer are we content to view Him simply as the Supreme Being, but rather as Being itself, your being and my being; not alone as the source of life, but as Life itself, the only Life of man and of the universe.
Prayer or Treatment
It were almost sacrilegious to speak of disease in this connection. Yet humanity seems so borne down with suffering that disease cannot be ignored. Christian Scientists are not ignoring it, but are coping with and overcoming it to an extent which compels the attention of all thinking people. They are accomplishing this by discerning that with God as Life, and consequently that Life perfect and everywhere expressed, there is no place or possibility for disease. Their method of healing is prayer, by which “more things are wrought,” as Tennyson says, “than this world dreams of.”
But prayer, as understood in Christian Science, is much more than merely asking God to give us the good things we seem to lack, whether of health or happiness or what not. It consists, rather, in silently realizing that already we possess all needed good and that the seeming presence of sickness or distress or want is not a fact but a false appearance. This mental attitude whereby we reject thoughts of fear and hate and disease and entertain thoughts of health and love and confidence that “underneath are the everlasting arms,” draws us nigh to God. Indeed it brings us into the recognition of that oneness or identity with Him where all that the Father has is seen to be ours.
Right thoughts are invested with power and energy, for they come from the divine Mind. By clinging to them we ally ourselves with omnipotent good. They are the word of God, quick and powerful to heal and to save. And every man, woman, and child can, in a large measure think rightly, that is, insist that good and health are the actual and true, while disease and evil, whatever form they may try to assume, are illusions and falsities. In the presence of such thinking, sickness and suffering lose their place in human consciousness and pass out of experience. They can be no part of true existence, and multitudes of people are today proving this through scientific, intelligent prayer, that is, through right thinking and doing, which lifts them into that consciousness of Life harmonious which is God.
Life Not in Matter
Throughout her writings Mrs. Eddy uses the word “Life” as synonymous with God, and she maintains, in unmistakable language and with flawless logic, that God is man’s life. But in so doing she makes it clear that she is referring to spiritual man, not the material concept of him. She affirms that life is not in matter and does not reside in the material body. She finally disposes of matter in that wonderful statement, familiar to all Christian Scientists and found on page 169 of the eleventh edition of Science And Health: “There is no Life, substance, or intelligence in matter! all is Mind, there is no matter. Spirit is immortal Truth, matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal, matter the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness; hence, man is spiritual and not material.’’
It is admitted that matter seems intensely real to the human senses, and that the material universe appears substantial beyond peradventure. But even physicists now explain matter by explaining it away. Some of them define it as particles of electricity, negative at that, while others define it as bubbles or holes in the ether, which might be more satisfying if they did not follow up their definition with the suspicion that there is no ether, thus leaving nothing but holes in nothing.
When physics treats matter in this disrespectful way, Christian metaphysics may be pardoned for insisting that matter is simply a mistaken concept of that which is spiritual and real. The human mind does not see things as they are. It takes a mistaken or distorted view of everything, and this distortion or misconception constitutes what is called material existence.
The mistaken supposition that matter is real and that man has a material body is the source of a person’s difficulties. With that false notion begin his limitation, his insecurity, his suffering. Believing himself incased in a body of matter, he is confined to the limited area occupied by that body, instead of enjoying the limitless freedom and positive exemption from danger which belong to man born of Spirit.
There need be no apprehension that through the renunciation of material belief the foundation of things will slip away or that man will lose his identity. Christian Science teaches that man’s individual entity persists throughout eternity, never to be absorbed in Deity, nor yet to be disintegrated and lost among the shifting sands of time. And experience in the practice of Christian Science proves that the more one dwells in the spiritual sense of existence the more do beauty and perfection and permanence become apparent, for the false concept of things, which has obscured the real, passes away. The world of nature begins to appear “appareled in celestial light,” the world of humanity commences to lose its blemishes of mind and body and the individual finds himself growing “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
God As Love
Closely related to the idea of Deity as Life is the concept of Deity as Love. Christianity has always associated love with the Supreme Being, though perhaps more as a characteristic or attribute than as a synonym. But Christian Science recognizes that while in one sense love is an attribute of God, yet in a fuller sense Love is God, or as John puts it, “God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
The deductions to be drawn from the conception of Deity as Love are most inspiring and liberating to suffering humanity. Take all the sickness, sorrow, and misery that appear to run riot in the world about us. Could they be imposed upon mankind by a Supreme Being who is Love? “Unthinkable and impossible,” you reply. Could such things be made or countenanced by a creator who is Love? The response is an emphatic “No.” Whence then are they and by whom created? Christian Science replies that they have not in fact been created and that they have no actual foundation or existence, because the one and only creator, power, and presence is Love. The same is true of all the selfishness, malice and strife that seem to infest society. They are the very antithesis of Love and hence can have no place or power when Love is universal and omnipotent.
Anyone who chooses can begin at once to prove this momentous truth; and having demonstrated, though perhaps only in minor details, that discord, whether in the form of bodily ailments or of mental disturbances, can be put out of experience, he will be convinced that the sum total of human wretchedness can be disposed of on the basis of its unreality and nonexistence. This can be done by intelligently and industriously giving place in thought to the good, the devout, the things of Love, and in rejecting from thought, the mean, the gross, the things of the devil. Everyone has it within his power to demonstrate that as he permits Love to fill his consciousness and expel Love’s opposites, he loses his sense of depression and his suffering from its plagues.
It has always been understood that the harboring of malicious or malevolent thoughts is destructive of character and peace of mind. It is now being realized that this same unhappy and abnormal state of thought is disastrous to health, resulting in bodily and mental derangements of the most serious nature. The world is largely indebted to Christian Science for this enlightenment, and is fast learning that righteous thinking and righteous living are essential not only to good character but promotive of good health.
Mind, Life, and Love are not the only synonyms or appellations for Deity. Spirit, Soul, Truth, and Principle are also synonymous or identical with God. The use of the word “Principle” in this holy office may, at first impression, be questioned, but as its meaning is more fully comprehended, it will be seen to be no less apposite than the terms already considered. In fact its immutable and enduring quality runs through them all. Everything good, true, or permanent is founded upon Principle. All right action, energy, intelligence, or life has its vitality and operation by virtue of indwelling Principle. Mind, Life, and Love could not be such if Principle were not their basis, substance, and animating impulse.
The boundless universe which we look out upon moves in perfect accord with what is called the law of gravitation. No place or point of which we can conceive, however distant or remote, is outside the operation of that law. Not a particle of dust so mean, not a heavenly body so splendid, but yields glad obedience to that unseen, unerring, irresistible influence.
This reign of law in the material universe is typical of the invisible action of Principle in the real universe — the universe of Mind, Life, and Love in which we have our true being. The human senses would have us believe that confusion and turmoil abound on all sides, but reason protests against such apparent absence of law and order, while spiritual sense discerns that since omnipotent Principle is everywhere operative, discord is an illusion and harmony is all-in-all.
Once it is realized that intelligent Principle, Love, is everywhere in operation and effect, the tyranny of hate and strife is broken and “on earth peace, good will toward men” is seen to be a present reality. Fear, superstition, and ignorance lose their fancied power of deception, when it is discovered that vital Principle, Mind, “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” and guides and governs all things from the least unto the greatest. Disease, which is ordinarily either too much or too little action in some part of the human system, either an undue acceleration or obstruction of bodily functions, is healed when it is recognized that the law of Life is never obstructed or accelerated, but is everywhere in constant, normal, unlabored, uninterrupted operation.
Jesus referred to Principle as the Father, when having in mind his healing of the sick and his resuscitation of the dead, he said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” And Jesus made clear the availability of Principle to every man when he further declared, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” Today it is being demonstrated that anyone who will try to understand Jesus’ teachings and live up to them, can, at least in some degree, feel the presence, the contact, the power of Principle, which heals the sick and fortifies the fearful as certainly now and here as when the Nazarene walked the streets of Jerusalem or taught on the hillsides of Galilee.
The Discoverer of Christian Science
Thus in our own generation has come the day, prophesied by the poet, “When God is seen with men to dwell.” It has come through the discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy. She has brought God down from His imaginary throne beyond the clouds and made His presence a conscious reality in the minds and lives of men. Here and there throughout the ages individuals in moments of inspiration have discerned the nearness of God, indeed have felt their identity with the divine nature, but however distinct may have been the vision to them, they could not clearly define or impart it to others.
It remained for Mrs. Eddy not only to glimpse the divine immanence, but to retain what she saw and portray it in such unmistakable terms that henceforth humanity should have no excuse for not apprehending the truth of being. She has established by demonstration that the same power which Jesus employed to relieve human distress centuries ago has never departed from the earth, but is an ever-present law to be invoked by anyone who will make the effort to understand Christian Science.
If there has been any event of modern history more remarkable than the discovery of Christian Science, that event has been the successful establishment of Christian Science on an enduring foundation. To discover this Science, required rare spiritual insight; to so establish it that the vital truths of Christianity should not again be lost to sight, required unsurpassed sagacity, resolution, courage, and devotion. These qualities were possessed in a superlative degree by Mary Baker Eddy, which answers the oft-repeated question, Why did Christian Science come through a woman?
To a world sick with materialism, intellectualism, and skepticism, as well as sick with dread and disease, Mrs. Eddy has brought a workable means of regeneration. For the suffering and the sorrowing she has made known the way of escape. Those who are availing themselves of the opportunity thus provided hold her name in love and reverence, while people the world over are coming to recognize her as one of the foremost benefactors of the race. She has fulfilled Emerson’s prophecy: “When a faithful thinker, resolute to detach every object from personal relations and see it in the light of thought, shall at the same time kindle science with the fires of the holiest affection, then will God go forth anew into creation.”
The Destiny of Man
How often are we all impressed with the mystery of human existence! Whence came we? Whither are we bound? What is the purpose of it all? These questions have challenged the wise and simple alike for all times and races. Out of attempts to solve the riddle and satisfy mortal unrest, to fathom the future and determine man’s destiny, have sprung theories and philosophies innumerable.
The fatalism of the Orient, for example, holds that all things which can happen to an individual have been foreordained by fate. By no possibility can a man change or evade the course of events mapped out for him by this inscrutable superhuman power. If fate has decided that his life shall be wretched, or that it shall end in disaster, he is powerless to avert the pitiless decree. The doctrine of predestination, once conspicuous in Occidental theology, is scarcely less merciless than fatalism; for predestination, after appointing a select few to salvation, leaves the majority of mankind to drift helplessly into a future without a ray of hope.
These, and other disheartening dogmas, have not been accepted without doubt and protest. Inborn in every individual is a conviction that there exists a power, good and beneficent, which, at some time and in some way, will lift the veil of mystery and reveal justice, happiness, and understanding enthroned where ignorance, lawlessness, and suffering had stubbornly contended for supremacy. Faith has been a tremendous force in advancing human betterment and enlightenment, but until faith is itself enlightened and based upon understanding, it will fall short of bringing in the millennium.
Faith and Will-Power
While faith steadfastly sustains man’s hope for a better order of things than has yet appeared, reason resolutely rebels against any theory which would make man a victim of chance or caprice, or punish him for aught but his own misdeeds, or withhold a just reward for right effort. In so doing reason may, especially if swayed by human will or encouraged by pride of intellect, insist that man can himself, unaided from on high, order the events of his career to advantage. While this attitude of thought may be a step in advance of such doctrines as fatalism and predestination, it nevertheless overlooks the undeniable fact that
There’s a Divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
And Divinity prescribes and predestinates only that which is good, without favoritism or discrimination, for Divinity is good, is just and compassionate.
But the determination of people to control events by sheer force of will-power, regardless of what may be the divine purpose, is widely prevalent in these days and much encouraged by superficial mental philosophy.
Willing a man to be well, to be successful, or to be happy is not the practice of Christian Science, though it is sometimes mistakenly supposed to be. The grim determination of mortals, typified by the fixed jaw and the clenched hand, to satisfy personal desires and ambitions, may appear for a time to produce results, but eventually such methods fail, and the last state of the man who resorts to them may turn out worse than the first.
The Christian Science method, on the other hand, consists in calmly realizing the indisputable fact that actually and continually God bestows all needed good on His people. It is for the individual to know this and to act accordingly. This process involves a resort to truth instead of to human will. And truth does not need to be projected or enforced by iron determination. It needs only to be understood, accepted, and utilized.
Thus while will-power strives to force a way out of the perilous perplexities of human existence, and faith assures us that a way exists, Christian Science points out the way and invites humanity to walk therein. It was first pointed out by Christ Jesus. Thereafter, for long centuries, it was at most only dimly discernible, until, within the memory of people still living, it was again made plain by Mary Baker Eddy through her discovery of Christian Science.
Many suppose Christian Science to be merely a health system, a sort of substitute for drugs and other material remedies. But it is vastly more than this. It offers a complete salvation — a salvation not only from sickness but from sorrow, superstition, ignorance, unbelief, and all the discomforts, difficulties, limitations, and apprehensions which hold mankind in bondage. It awakens men to a realization that God has planned more generously for them than their expectations have conceived possible.
Now what is Christian Science that it should merit these almost extravagant words of commendation? It is Christianity made plain, understandable, and workable in present•day affairs. At the time of the promulgation of Christian Science, the world had largely come to regard the teachings of Christ Jesus as valuable chiefly for gaining future salvation. Their present value and utility were for the most part overlooked. Yet the Metaphysician of Galilee was not only the most scientific but the most practical man that history gives any account of.
He not only spoke as one having authority, but he demonstrated the truth of his wonderful sayings by releasing people from their diseases and difficulties and arousing them to a sense of their illimitable possibilities as the sons and daughters of God. It was revealed to Mrs. Eddy, after years of patient and consecrated study of the Scriptures, that Jesus taught and practiced nothing less than unequivocal Science, valid not only for his time and his immediate followers but for all people of all times. She, when this revelation came to her, styled it Christian Science, and courageously showed how it could be used to uplift the intellectual, moral, and health standards of humanity.
Christian Science expands the mental powers and faculties of the person who studies and applies it, because it acquaints him with the true source and nature of intelligence. Physiology and psychology associate intelligence with the brain and would equip every man with a mind of his own. Christian Science, however, shows that genuine intelligence is of God, that God is Mind, the one and only Mind, and that man, as an expression of God, necessarily possesses divine intelligence. Brains, then, do not think, nor do other parts of the body, for they are material and mindless. The notion that they think or possess intelligence is only an educated belief, which belittles and befogs mankind. Man truly thinks only as he utilizes Mind, which, like the invisible law of gravity, is everywhere present, everywhere functioning, everywhere and always available.
When man commences to grasp this truth that limitless intelligence is available to and actually expressed by him, mental vision broadens and clarifies. He finds his discernment keener, his judgment sounder, and his capacity for achievement enlarged. When confronted by difficult problems, or when fearful and confused, one should remember that he reflects boundless and ever-present intelligence. Then come the acumen, the sagacity, the poise necessary to cope with the situation. It matters not whether he is a statesman at his high post of duty, a business man faced with intricate affairs, a farmer on his ranch, a housewife in her home, a mechanic in the shop, or a school child at his desk. The availability of allknowing Mind meets every legitimate demand of him who intelligently appeals to it.
Communion with God
Human philosophy may assert that God is unknowable, that He is beyond the reach and apprehension of man. Yet the Scriptures, and history generally, not to mention everyday experience, cite many instances where man has consciously and coherently communed with his Maker. God speaks to man through what is termed inspiration. Whatever is good, noble, and worth while in the thoughts and lives of men is a direct impartation from Divinity. No one is barred from this inspirational communion, for, as Elihu says in his argument with Job, “There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”
This companionship with God, in which man feels the divine impulse and grasps the divine plan, is seen to be perfectly normal and natural when it is realized that since God is Mind, His creature, man, is idea, for in no way does mind express itself except through thoughts or ideas. God and man, therefore, are intimately associated and inseparable as cause and effect. And man, as an idea in Mind, is obviously more than a material form. He is spiritual or mental — an epitome of the goodness, the animation, the intelligence which radiate from God as light and warmth radiate from the sun. We recognize man as spiritual, quite apart from physique, when we admire his manner of thought, his character. These mental qualities, not corporeality, constitute man.
Is it not clear that God is incorporeal and infinite Mind, Life, Love, Principle? Otherwise how can He be everywhere present, all-powerful, and all-knowing, as we all agree that He is? This is but another way of saying that God is Spirit.
When we concede, as we do, that the Creator is Spirit, logic immediately insists that creation must be spiritual. If human sense, on the contrary, sees a material universe, we have a right to suspect that human sense entertains a wrong concept of things. This mistaken concept is all there is to matter, and it is the purpose of Christian Science to change and correct that concept in order, not that things will be destroyed, but seen in their true light.
To change from a material to a spiritual concept of the universe does not destroy the universe or anything in it, but it reveals the universe and all therein as permanent and beautiful. To exchange the physical idea of man for the spiritual does not put man out of existence, but brings into view his real selfhood as perfect and immortal. In all this transformation, or process of correction, nothing is destroyed but the erroneous concept of things.
It may be well to note, before leaving this part of our subject, that scientific intellectual unfoldment does not cause the individual to become self-centered. Quite the contrary. Though Jesus attained the very acme of intellectuality, still his career was marked by tender solicitude for the welfare of others. Even on the cross, almost at the last moment, he was mindful of his mother. Seeing her standing among the sorrowing spectators, he commended her to John, who also was present, for care and protection. And from that hour John ‘‘took her unto his own home.”
Mentally elbowing others aside in order that we may reach a desired objective, in business or in personal affairs, is likely to prove detrimental to us and disquieting to those affected by the unseen jostling. Yet rational unselfishness does not require us to surrender our all to others. It contemplates that we shall be just to ourselves as well as to our neighbor. Certainly Christian Science does not question our right, or for that matter, our imperative duty, to entertain large expectations and wholesome ambitions. It has naught but encouragement for industrious and intelligent effort. But it insists that in our planning and outlining we ought to consult God, which should not be difficult, when He is the all•knowing Mind so near that “in him we live and move and have our being.”
He who prepares himself for service, and gets ready for whatever opportunity may offer, without too much concern as to just what the work or the reward will be, is likely to find his lines falling into pleasant places.
There has been much more of God’s guidance and direction in the career of every man than he is likely to appreciate, however headstrong or self-willed he may have been. Not a person among us, who has reached years of maturity, but in looking back over the events of his life, can see that there has been an influence, probably unseen and unrecognized at the time, but wise and beneficent past all human wisdom and solicitude, which has urged him forward on some occasions and held him back on others — which here has led him by unsought ways and there has kept him from his own undoing.
As poet Neale puts it:
Year by year, Thy hand hath brought us
On through dangers oft unknown.
When we wandered, Thou hast found us;
When we doubted, sent us light;
Still Thine arm has been around us,
All our paths were in Thy sight.
The destiny which Deity determines for man, then, contemplates for him limitless intellectual and spiritual unfoldment with corresponding capacity for achievement. But mental attainments must be balanced by ethical development, otherwise they may be employed to promote unworthy aims. Christian Science, therefore, in awakening latent mental powers, imparts to them the requisite moral tone. This it does by appraising good and evil for what they really are. It insists that since God is good, then all that He creates (and He creates everything) must be good; hence that evil has at most only a fictitious existence, which disappears as truth dawns on the thought. This proposition has not only the support of sound logic but of Holy Writ, for the first chapter of Genesis does not close until it declares, “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
Thus does Christian Science strike at the very foundation of evil, by exposing and denouncing it as a fabrication instead of fearing and dignifying it as an actuality. If critics argue that this doctrine encourages sinful practices, on the theory that there is nothing to them and that they therefore incur no penalty, let it be remembered that he who knowingly indulges in evil makes it, to all intents and purposes, real so far as he is concerned, and is punished accordingly, while he who scientifically repudiates evil as ephemeral, and refuses to indulge in the practice of it, is on the sure and only road to its mastery.
Evil will seem in some degree real to the individual until he reaches the heights where evil makes no appeal to him; but he is mightily helped in attaining that altitude, and eventually will be lifted to it, by realizing, however imperfectly at the outset of his course, that evil is actually nonexistent and hence holds no pleasure or satisfaction for him. Everyone who reads these lines has, in some measure, proved the unreality of evil, for its grosser types, at least, no longer find response in him.
It is man’s responsibility to be well, just as it is to be normal intellectually and ethically. Certainly there is no virtue in being ill; neither is there any necessity for it. Sickness and suffering have sometimes been supposed to be a part of man’s destiny, a divine visitation, having mysterious functions to perform in accordance with God’s will. Yet few indeed are they who do not struggle to escape from disease, even though professing to believe that Providence has imposed it, while many are coming to see that God no more visits His people with sickness than He does with sin.
A God who is perfect fashions all things in perfection; a creator who is good makes all things good; a Supreme Being who is Love does not send forth suffering and affliction, but joy and peace and happiness. Reason tells us this is true; inspiration — the “still small voice” of spiritual consciousness — confirms it; while Christian Science demonstrates the fact by brushing aside the illegitimate claims of disease and establishing in their place a sense of health and harmony.
When we accept disease as real, we combat it with slight success. But when we face it with the conviction that Mind never conceived or produced it, and therefore it is nothing beyond a base belief, we are well on the way to its final overthrow and extinction.
Disease, whatever its name or type, is not what it seems. Both in origin and character it is mental. But how, you ask, can this be true of those ailments which manifest themselves upon the body? The explanation is not difficult when it is remembered that the human body is the product of the human mind. It is what that mind believes or makes it. The human mind thinks disease, pictures it, and fears it as a dreadful reality. The externalization of disease upon the body follows as a natural consequence. That which the human mind outlines in thought it necessarily projects into the body which it constructs and controls.
How important to the individual, then, that he empty his mind of sick, abnormal, hateful, and unwholesome thoughts, and fill it with healthful, normal, kindly, and wholesome thoughts, because as his thoughts are so is he. And remember this, that thinking health amounts to vastly more than contemplating an inanimate, inarticulate truth; it is putting into operation a vital, pulsating element, which will never sound retreat until healing is brought home to him who has sent out the appeal. For truth, when thought or declared, becomes dynamic. It goes forth on its corrective mission with irresistible energy and power, sweeping aside fictitious beliefs of disease to make room for the facts of health.
Faith in Drugs
But, it may naturally be asked, how is it, if disease is mental, that drugs seem to effect cures? The answer is this. A drug has no virtue or power in itself. The individual sufferer believes, and humanity generally believes, that the drug will do something for him, and this faith and belief, rather than the drug itself, accomplishes the supposed cure when the drug is administered. Physicians themselves agree that the less medicine used the better. In fact drugs are steadily disappearing from medical practice, because the human faith in them, which invested them with the only power they ever seemed to possess, has been shattered. The same fate is overtaking them in the realm of medicine that already has overtaken idols in the realm of religion.
It is not so long ago that people purchased immunity from contagious disease by wrapping red cloth about the wrist or by hanging a piece of asafetida around the neck or by wearing a gauze mask over the mouth and nose. Obviously not the device, but the belief in it, afforded the fancied protection. Today human nature, professedly wiser and less unsophisticated than in times gone by, demands something more studied or mysterious, and therefore seizes upon vaccines and serums as preventives. The belief in these things will go out some day, just as it has departed from the red cloth, the asafetida, and the flu mask; and when it has, their supposed effects, whether good or bad, will be no more.
To appeal to a drug or to a serum in order to change a belief of sickness to a belief of health is at best an awkward, circuitous method. Materia medica begins to see this and leans toward affecting the change by suggestive therapeutics. In that system the drug or serum is dispensed with, and the sick belief is reached directly by mental manipulation. The would-be healer, by a process of suggestion or hypnotism, handles the thought of his patient, and by force of will-power tries to eject the sick thought and introduce in its place the well thought, all the time assuming that sickness is as real as health.
Prayer or Treatment
Christian Science expels false beliefs by truths, not by other beliefs or by will•power. It does not mesmerize the individual who stands in need of help. It enlightens and liberates him normally and spontaneously by awakening him to the fact that Life is God and therefore is above and beyond any manifestation or suggestion of disease. With his mentality thus illumined, the erstwhile sufferer relinquishes his thought of pain (and pain is only a thought, it is not a thing), and he accepts the facts of harmonious being. Disease thereby loses its place in consciousness and disappears as naturally as any erroneous opinion vanishes in the presence of truth.
And what is the truth in relation to health and disease? Simply this, that health is natural, real, and Godgiven, while disease is unnatural, unreal, and unknown to God and to His man. Disease is nothing beyond a mortal phenomenon, a false appearance, an illusion. Why is disease unreal or illusory? Because, being wholly bad, it could not have been evolved by an all-wise and all-good Creator. Disease claims to impair and even destroy Life, when Life is God and therefore eternally perfect and indestructible.
Now, instead of doubting this wonderful proposition, as you may be tempted to do, silently declare it, hold to it in thought, live up to it as far as possible, and presently you will find yourself demonstrating it as thousands of others are doing. This declaring the truth, abiding in it, and putting it into practice is prayer, the prayer of the righteous man which availeth much in accordance with the Scriptural promise. It is not the prayer of blind faith nor of agonized pleading. It is the prayer of intelligence and understanding, the prayer which silently insists, and at least in some measure realizes, that man is perfect even as God is perfect, whatever the illusions of human sense may say or suppose to the contrary.
“Prayer,” says Emerson, “is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.” And presently he adds, “As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg.” But prayer has too often been regarded as a petition to move a reluctant God whose purpose may be wrong and whose course can be changed. When it is remembered, however, that God is unchanging Love, and that He confers all that He has upon man, there is no occasion for pleading, but rather occasion for knowing, understanding, appreciating, and accepting Him and His bounty.
The efficacy of prayer consists, then, in changing man’s attitude toward God, not God’s attitude toward man. Its function is to lift and illumine consciousness to the point where man realizes, to some extent at least, that actually he is at one with God and therefore is in the possession of all things good and needful, without any necessity for begging or pleading. This scientific prayer literally unsees disease, together with the fear and ignorance which occasion it, and realizes the goodness of God, the harmony of Life, and the consequent perfection of man.
Who has not observed that his consciousness is a veritable battle-ground where wrong thoughts strive to usurp the legitimate place of right thoughts? Yet one right thought, resolutely held to, puts to flight a host of wrong thoughts, as everyone knows from experience. This is so because right thoughts come from Mind, and hence are true and invincible. While the only strength or hope of a wrong thought, whether of fear, hate, or pain, is to deceive the individual into accepting it as his, instead of disowning and spurning it as an emanation of evil and therefore without origin, authority, or power of persuasion.
Discoverer of Christian Science
It will not be inferred, from what has been said, that Christian Science practice is purely an intellectual process devoid of sympathy and compassion, for while the letter of Science is essential, the spirit is indispensable. Stolidity, indifference, and the hardas•nails quality of thought have no place in the sick-room. But tenderness and patience in dealing with those who appeal for help, accompanied by a clear recognition of the indwelling presence and power of God, the consequent absence and nothingness of everything unlike Him, confer upon the individual ability to speak to disease and evil with authority.
This lofty sentiment furnishes the key to the life and work of that great woman, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. Nothing less than selfless devotion to the cause of humanity could have urged her on and sustained her efforts during the two score years and more through which she labored unremittingly to bring scientific Christianity, with its illimitable possibilities of healing and regeneration, within the reach of every seeker for help and light. Ridicule, persecution, and every form of opposition which obstructs the path and defies the purpose of the pioneer of truth, she unflinchingly faced and overcame in order that you and I might come into our birthright of freedom. The esteem and reverence in which she is held by her beneficiaries need not, therefore, excite surprise. They love her because she first loved them.
Resolved to know how the healings wrought by Jesus and the early Christians were accomplished, she searched the Scriptures until she divested the Master’s teachings and his so-called miracles of their supposed mystery. She found that Jesus, in healing the sick, raising the dead, stilling the tempest, and finally ascending into the unobstructed sphere of spiritual being where materiality and mortality are unknown, was invoking a law, which he understood and which others can understand and apply with like effect.
For Jesus claimed nothing for himself which he did not claim as the inheritance of every man who would intelligently abide in his words and deeds. When he declared, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also,” Jesus gave assurance that what he did others can do and what he was others can be. His life was an example of what our lives must be before the perfect state of existence called heaven is attained. He differed from other men in that he had a fuller realization of eternal selfhood, a clearer discernment of what man is, and a remarkable capacity for demonstrating the ideal. Every man is dimly conscious of a better self and a higher life than he is actually expressing, and every attempt at right thinking or right living is an attempt to express that higher self or the genuine man who knows no sin or suffering or blemish. This real man or true selfhood is the Christ, and the Christ found complete expression in Jesus as it will sometime find expression in every individual.
This is man’s destiny, wrought out, it must needs be, in the interior realm of thought. Thinking precedes all action, inspires all conduct, shapes all things visible. Disposition, temperament, character, health — all are creations or externalizations of thought. A man’s thinking determines what he is and fashions his future for good or for ill. Indeed thinking or consciousness is man’s very existence or being. That is why we say he is mental, spiritual, incorporeal, measureless, immortal — an aggregation of right thoughts or ideas, rather than a physical form with height, weight, and other material accompaniments. Thinking is constant and continuous. Not for an instant can one stay its ceaseless flow, but he can, with divine help, intelligently invoked, control thinking and thereby direct the course of his destiny onward and upward until he awakes in the likeness of the Eternal.
The Operation of Divine Law in Human Affairs
Modern Concept of Deity
When we look out upon the world at large and contemplate the beauty and order manifested on all hands and in every direction, and then consider that what we see through the restricted avenue of the physical senses is not the fullness but at most only a hint of the perfection and grandeur of the spiritually real phenomena which fill all space, we are at once led to inquire concerning the origin of things. We cannot conceive of their being here by accident or chance, nor by virtue of their own power or volition, but we are persuaded, if we think seriously upon the subject, that they are emanations of eternal substance, and that underlying them is some grand, beneficent purpose.
Naturally different people at different periods have entertained widely varying conceptions as to the origin, cause, or creation of things. The ancient Hebrews, for example, conceived of the creator as an enlarged human being — Jehovah by name — a sort of king having the uneven temperament and the local jurisdiction of a chieftain or monarch. But in course of time, with the expansion of Hebrew thought, Jehovah gave place to Elohim “whose presence bright all space doth occupy, all motion guide.”
One reason the Bible holds absorbing interest for thinking people is that it portrays this unfoldment of the Hebrew conception of Deity from a primitive sense of God as corporeal, circumscribed and human, toward an enlightened concept of God as being everywhere present, as having all intelligence, as possessing and exercising all power, unseen and unsearchable to the physical senses. This enlarged conception of Deity was the priceless contribution from the Jewish race to Western civilization, made while paganism and mythology still lingered in cultured Greece and Rome.
Yet there remains, with all races, the necessity for a more tangible concept, a more definite definition of Deity, to meet the practical needs of humanity; and this came, only sixty years or so ago, through the inspired thought of Mary Baker Eddy, when she discerned that God is Spirit, Mind, Life, Love, Principle. This definition is abundantly sustained by Scriptural authority. Thus Moses, encouraging his followers during their struggles in the wilderness, reminds them that God is Life. Paul refers to God as Mind when, in writing to the Philippians, he admonishes them to have that Mind which was in Christ Jesus. Jesus, finding the Samaritan woman at the well in an inquiring mood, says to her, “God is Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” While John, whose association with the Nazarene has transformed him from the impetuous Son of Thunder to the gentle Apostle of Peace, can say, “God is Love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
Nor is there any escape from the logic of Mrs. Eddy’s definition of Deity. For when we concede, as we do, that God is everywhere present and all-knowing, we are driven to the conclusion that He must be Mind.
Nothing other than Mind can be all•knowing and measure up to omniscience. But Mind, ever animate and ceaselessly active, cannot be dissociated from Life. Therefore we are led to see that God is Life as well as Mind. Mind and Life, however, in their true sense, are inseparable from Love.
But mind, life and love, as humanly manifested, are lamentably imperfect. Only as Love is unselfish, Mind unerring, Life above disease, can they properly be held to be Deity. In other words, only as they are sustained, vitalized, and impelled by Principle are they worthy names for God. And on the other hand, only as Principle is not abstract and mindless but imbued with Life, Mind and Love, is it entitled to be regarded as Deity. Then are they all transferred from the realm of the human to the divine.
It is not denied that there appears to be another mind opposed to or at enmity with the Mind which is God. This baser mentality seems to find expression in a material man and in a material universe, whereas Mind, in its full signification, finds expression in a spiritual man and in a spiritual universe. Jesus pronounces the so-called mind a lie and the father of lies, while Mrs. Eddy, recognizing its fictitious character, designates it mortal mind, for its supposed man and creation, being physical, are subject to disease and death.
It is important to keep this distinction between the spiritual and the material, the real and the unreal, in thought, and to remember that when Christian Science insists, as it does insist, that man is perfect, without sin or sickness, it refers not to the mistaken mortal sense of man as physical, but to the spiritual and real man of Mind’s creating; not to the counterfeit man described in the second chapter of Genesis as made by Jehovah out of the dust of the ground, but to the genuine man described in the first chapter of Genesis as made in the image and likeness of God, of Elohim.
At this point someone may say: “It may be true, in the absolute, that God is Mind, and that man is spiritual and perfect, but what has that to do with me in my present seeming material condition with its difficulties and distresses?” It has just this to do with you and your problems. Suppose, for example, that you appear to be sick. Now instead of dwelling upon your aches and pains, try to dismiss them from thought; for they are not yours, they are not real things nor genuine thoughts, they are only false suggestions springing from mortal mind.
Then direct attention, as best you can, to the sublime truth that Life — your Life — is God, and that since God is everywhere and always expressing Himself perfectly, Life is everywhere and always functioning harmoniously and uninterruptedly even where the distress seems to be. The result, as you hold steadfastly to this truth, will be a change in consciousness, whereby your sense of sickness, which is false, gives place to a sense of health, which is true.
Suppose, again, that you appear to be worried or confused, that your mentality seems dull or impaired, or that your personal or business problems defy solution. There is no remedy so near, none so effective, as for you calmly to insist that the all-knowing Mind which is God is never disturbed, never weary, never inadequate, and that that Mind expresses itself as you and guides you in every right effort and undertaking. You will then find your thought clarifying and expanding. You will find, too, that while of yourself you can do nothing, you can with the help of genuine intelligence operating through you, cope successfully with the difficulties at hand.
Or suppose you seem beset by wrongful desires or habits. There is no certain, permanent relief except to know that since God is Principle, you, His likeness, are a man of Principle, to whom evil thoughts make no appeal. Evil thoughts, like sick thoughts, do not originate with God or with man. They are not yours. Therefore you need not harbor nor respond to them. They come from mortal mind and hence are no part of the reality of being, no part of your thinking or consciousness. Taking this stand, and refusing to entertain evil thoughts, you will find that they become less and less persuasive, more and more unreal. Resist the devil, evil, says James, and he will flee. But you can resist evil effectively only as you see that evil thoughts are not your thoughts.
Suppose, once more, that you seem cast down with sorrow or discouragement. It is at least a trifle reassuring to remember that much of the trouble which heretofore has harried you never actually happened, did it? But speaking seriously and fundamentally, is there anything so comforting, so healing, as to remember that God, the only power and presence, is Love? Therefore He does not and cannot visit you with affliction or perplexity, and there is no other power to do so. Really, then, there is no cause or ground for unhappiness. God cannot, by reason of His very nature, do less than surround and sustain you with loving kindness and fill your life with peace and joy.
Thus it is that a right sense of Deity has a most vital and practical interest to people in their everyday affairs and troubles, for it enables them to appreciate that God is not only the controlling and sustaining influence of man, but also the very fount and fibre of man’s being. From this vantage ground people dispute, with measurable success, encroachments of disease, disaster, and every condition threatening their existence or menacing their well-being. They see that they are not held “in the fell clutch of circumstance,” but that they are safely hid “under the shadow of the Almighty” where danger and discomfort cannot find or molest them.
Perfection of Man
But this sense of security is attained only by industrious, intelligent effort, for any one at all given to introspection must be impressed with the apparent controversy, almost constantly going on in consciousness, between right thoughts and wrong thoughts. Each individual seems to find in himself not one but two conflicting persons, the spiritual and the material, the good and the bad, the well and the sick.
Paul speaks of being torn by these two conflicting emotions when in his letter to the Romans he says: “I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” The mental battle, thus vividly described by Paul, is simply the attempt of insidious suggestions to establish themselves in human consciousness and thereby usurp the legitimate place of sound ideas from Mind. This state of thought, this mentality, which seems partly good and partly bad, is sometimes referred to as the human mind.
But every Christian Scientist is proving, since evil has only a fictitious existence, only such power as mortals concede to it, that one right thought can chase a thousand wrong thoughts, which gives promise of an end to the battle sometime, with a desire for and an awareness of good only.
Then there is the more or less constant argument, silently going on in the mentality of every individual, between the forces of health and the supposed forces of disease. The controversy is purely mental, although its results may eventually appear upon the body. This ultimate outward appearance has given rise to the supposition that health and disease are physical conditions, that health is promoted by material processes, and that disease is healed by material remedies.
But the fact is that the individual lives in consciousness rather than in a material body, and that he is well or sick according as his thoughts are wholesome or unwholesome. Health and disease are opposite states of mind, as truly as are joy and despair — a fact which explains why correcting the thought of a sufferer cures his ailments. Since one lives in consciousness, what he thinks constitutes what he is. What he thinks also constructs his environment, shapes and colors all the externals of life. One then is not a creature of circumstance or of heredity, but of his thoughts, and these he can control until his thinking gives way to the thinking of the one Mind which is God, that Mind which was in Christ Jesus and which produced in him, and as given opportunity will produce in others, the man without sickness or imperfection.
For centuries Hebrew prophecy foretold the coming of this perfect man — the Messiah or Christ. But the prophecy was seldom correctly interpreted and eventually came to mean, with the generality of Jews, that in due season a great warrior, comparable to Joshua, would appear and deliver them from their enemies and oppressors. But in the fullness of time, so the Scriptural narrative runs, there appeared one person among the Hebrews, a woman, who was able to glimpse, to at least faintly conceive, the true man. Her conception was mental or spiritual, quite apart from mortal usage, and she named her child, Jesus. Matter and material laws appear creative or causative only because human belief seems to invest them with this power. True causation is mental and spiritual, and, when fully recognized, needs no material accompaniments.
In this incident the Word, to use the language of the Apostle John, was made flesh, that is, spiritual law was made operative in the material realm to the elimination of physical law and belief. And this process continued throughout the earthly career of Jesus. When twelve years of age, for example, while at the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem, he became absorbed in discussions with the learned doctors, engaged in His Father’s business, as he put it. All who heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. The Word was made flesh on that occasion, in that divine intelligence found expression in him to the exclusion of the humanly childish thought which might have been expected at his age. Then there was that moral sense which made him a dutiful son and a good carpenter before he became the Teacher and Savior.
But more conspicuously was the Word made flesh in those remarkable deeds of his later years, often mistakenly called miracles, when the supposed laws of disease and of matter generally were made to yield to the higher law of Spirit, and people were healed of all manner of sickness and even raised from the dead.
Jesus did not make his complete demonstration at once. He did not escape from materiality and mortality at a single bound, but step by step. Tempted at all points like as we are, he began, as we begin, with the easier demonstrations, resisting the ordinary mortal arguments of sickness and limitation. Thereby the human gave way before the divine in him somewhat as it does in other people. Rejecting as unreal and none of his, all thoughts but those emanating from Mind, he gradually escaped from the confusion of a dual sense of man and of things as both good and evil and became cognizant only of the good, the real, the spiritual. At last came the ascension, when the humanity of Jesus gave place entirely to the divinity of the Christ. Then he entered into the unobstructed sphere of Spirit, where the ills and the bonds of the flesh relax their hold and slip away into oblivion.
It is reasonably certain that Jesus’ followers did not fully understand the Science involved in his supreme demonstration. In fact they looked for his early return to complete his work of bringing the world to an end. They did not realize that he had finished his course and brought an end to earthly things so far as they touched him. Thereby he gained his own freedom and showed others how to secure theirs. It remained for Mrs. Eddy, eighteen centuries later, to discover and state in terms intelligible to the masses, the law underlying Jesus’ teachings and practice. Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, discerned the true man; Jesus demonstrated the presence of that man, demonstrated his own identity with the Christ; while Mary Baker Eddy made the basic Science of it all so plain that he who runs may read.
The practical importance of all this is that the way is made clear for everyone in these times to put into effect the Science which Jesus employed and thereby bring out in himself the true man, that is, establish a state of awareness which knows only unbounded good and life harmonious. For spiritual law can be made operative with men today as certainly as it was in the case of Jesus. Students of the Bible there are, it is true, who doubt whether Jesus’ birth, his wonderful works, his resurrection and ascension took place as recorded in the Gospels.
But he who denies the possibility of these things denies, does he not, the possibility of escape from materiality and mortality? If Christ Jesus did not master disease and death, how can others hope to master them? Yet master them the individual must if he would attain immortality. Few things are more pathetic, few more obstructive of spiritual growth, than the disposition to reject portions of the Scripture which run counter to those human opinions and speculations, which, at best, are only partial truths and which in the aggregate constitute what Paul characterizes as “science falsely so called,” when he adjures his friend Timothy: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”
Discovery of Science
When it was revealed to Mary Baker Eddy, as she describes the revelation in her writings, that Christianity is Science and Science is Christianity, she permitted no obstacle to divert her from establishing, for the benefit of mankind, the trust which had been committed to her. First there was, on her part, the receptivity to spiritual truths which qualified her to receive the revelation. Then there was the courage which enabled her to put the revelation into practical operation in the face of all opposition which human ingenuity could fashion or invoke. The receptiveness came because she lived in obedience to the divine will; like the prophets of old, she walked with God and hence could hear His voice and understand His message. Her indomitable courage was born of her inflexible purpose to make known to humanity the way of escape from its difficulties.
People are sometimes heard to say that they cannot accept Mrs. Eddy’s views. They forget that Mrs. Eddy has not put forward her own opinions, she had promulgated the fundamentals of Christian Science as they have been revealed to her. They forget that Mrs. Eddy has not created Science, she has discovered it, discovered those unerring truths which have always been at hand, awaiting recognition and utilization by man. People may like or dislike Christian Science, accept or reject it, but they cannot hold Mrs. Eddy responsible for what it is.
Electricity has always been in the world ready to do man’s bidding and to lighten his burdens, but the penetrative vision of an Edison was needed to discern its subtle forces and harness them for service. People do not blame Edison or hold him responsible for what electricity is. They use it and are grateful to him for the incalculable good he has done. Possibly there are those who scorn to ride in an elevator, preferring to walk up long flights of stairs, or who prefer the tallow candle to the incandescent lamp, or who refuse to listen in on the radio because, they have been told, it is the work of the devil. But the average person is quick to make use of those inventions which tend to brighten and happify existence. So thoughtful people are coming to disregard the advice of hostile, illinformed critics and to investigate and try the Science of Christianity and prove for themselves that it fulfills its promises.
Certain commentators on American civilization deplore what they are pleased to call its materialistic bias and its lack of spiritual or religious leadership. How superficial and misleading such criticism is should be apparent to the most casual observer. For since the early Christian era there has arisen no greater religious leader than Mary Baker Eddy. Nor since that time has the world witnessed a greater religious movement than Christian Science. This movement, launched by Mrs. Eddy scarcely more than half a century ago, has already overleaped the boundaries of our country and encircled the globe, plowing its way through the sullen selfishness and sordidness the virile seeds of truth which in due season will spring into universal health and righteousness.
Let us return to a consideration of the universe of matter and physical objects, briefly alluded to a moment ago, which seems to greet us on all sides. It is important to analyze and dispose of this phenomenon because it is the source of our difficulties. Modern chemistry finds that matter is not the solid substance it seems to be, but resolves it into force, energy, or influence. A recent authority on the subject writes: “It is a crude, inadequate and impossible idea, this naive conception of matter as something solid, heavy, hard, inert, indestructible, impenetrable, colored and surfaced.”
And again he says: “The progress of science (that is, physics and chemistry) is continually toward a dematerialization of matter. Physical analysis resolves the crude, heavy, solid stuff that our senses show us, into finer and finer particles, farther and farther apart, until these practically disappear into mere points of radiating influence.” But all this does not help the situation. It merely changes the form of matter, when what is needed is the elimination of the belief in matter.
Now Christian Science agrees with so-called physical science when the latter asserts that matter is not the hard indestructible stuff it seems. But the agreement goes no further, for when physical science declares that matter is energy and then accepts this energy as real, Christian Science insists that matter is the lower or denser stratum of mortal mind, and then disposes of the whole affair by the bold yet logical assertion that mortal mind has only a seeming existence, since God is the only Mind, of which mortal mind is merely the counterfeit or misinterpretation. Matter is therefore left without foundation or substance. It is reduced to a vagary of a mind which seems to but does not exist. Matter thus becomes a problem not of physics but of metaphysics. Its claim to existence is transferred to the mental realm.
For the human or mortal mind, acting upon the inadequate information furnished by the five senses, misinterprets everything it contemplates, whether a tree, a landscape, or a star. It looks out upon the universe, and, unable to comprehend the beauty, perfection, and vastness of the scene, it forms a limited, cramped, distorted concept of things. This distortion or misinterpretation of real things constitutes matter and material existence.
Matter, then, is mental, or more accurately speaking, falsely mental, for it is simply the imperfect concept which the human mind frames when it contemplates spiritual reality.
But this condition is not beyond redemption, for as the human mind expands and clarifies under the influence of Truth, it gains a more accurate view of things. They lose something of their supposed finiteness and imperfecttion. This process of correction and reconstruction, as it proceeds, will bring about a more and more enlightened perception until finally a melting away of mortal mind leaves only the real Mind and its universe of wonder and glory. Then matter, that is, the mistaken sense of things, will disappear, and with it all the trouble, disaster, and suffering which follow in its train.
Mind and Body
With these truths in thought, let us consider, for a moment, the human body, for it is the form of matter which most vitally concerns us. The human mentality, because of its inability to see things in their fullness, seems to reduce spiritual man to a creature of flesh and bones. It visualizes man, who actually is incorporeal and without dimensions, as a figure normally five feet nine inches in height, one hundred and sixty pounds in weight, and three score years and ten in duration. This is the physical senses’ inadequate concept of man. It is a poor caricature of man, a supposed target for accident and lodging place for disease.
But when we close our eyes and, so far as possible, silence the voice of the material senses, we see how immeasurable and boundless man is. We see that he is not incased in a body of fixed dimensions, but that he is as free and unconfined as thought itself. Indeed man is a thing of thought, a perfect emanation of the one perfect Mind. His absolute freedom and safety are graphically suggested in Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
What one is, then, depends upon what his thoughts are. Otherwise stated, he exists as an individual consciousness. This consciousness of himself today may be small, cramped, sickly, but it has the possibility of limitless expansion through the coming in of Godlike thoughts and the going out of erroneous thoughts. By this process of mortal mentality giving place to Mind, the individual, as time goes on, gains a truer and truer, a larger and larger, a healthier and healthier concept of himself, until at last he enters into that sense of existence which knows no pain, limitation, or imperfection. He is born again into spiritual consciousness. This transformation is not hastened by centering attention on the body, but by directing thought, as Paul advises, to whatsoever things are lovely and of good report. In this way the attributes of immortal Life are incorporated in individual existence to the exclusion of the gross and perishable, for consciousness grows by what it feeds upon.
However we may view the situation, there is no escape from the conclusion that man, in the last analysis, is the likeness of Mind, not of matter. He is not an aggregation of cells, but an aggregation of thoughts. Even the body is a mental concept. It is the lower stratum of the individual’s thinking. That is why it seems to have intelligence and sensation. The action of the various organs changes as thought changes. Joy quickens, while fear slows down, or in extreme cases entirely stops the vital functions. Even the form or contour of the body improves with one’s thinking.
Hence it is that spiritual treatment in Christian Science normalizes the functions of the body and enhances its outward appearance even to the extent of correcting deformities. Functional sluggishness is akin to mental sluggishness. Physical deformity, like moral deformity, is mental. It is said, and it is true, that in Science we do not treat the human body as such. Yet in treating and correcting human thought we, in effect, treat the body, for they are only different strata of the same mentality.
Physiology insists that brain and nerves control the body, but the fact remains that the human mentality, though the individual is largely unconscious thereof, assumes to govern the body and direct its functions. We have no difficulty, therefore, in seeing that when human mentality is supposed to be normal the body functions normally and is, as we say, well; but when that mind is distracted by fear or worry or anger, the bodily functions are necessarily deranged and there is sickness. Even a machine will not operate smoothly or satisfactorily when the power which propels it is erratic.
It should not be inferred that well people are necessarily very good or that ill people are necessarily very bad. The consequences of fear or wrong thinking do not always overtake the individual immediately. Nor on the other hand, does obedience to the letter of the Commandments avail one against incursions of disease, if he believes that germs are deadly or indulges in what he calls righteous indignation or fails to utilize his knowledge of Science to close the door of his mental home against lying suggestions. But to those good people whose healing seems to be delayed let it be said that no right effort is wasted. Every attempt to think and act along the lines mapped out by Christian Science brings you one step nearer to relief. The way of escape is prepared. Others have already found it. That you will do so is as certain as that the Eternal reigns. Until that happy time arrives you will not be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. Gratitude for blessings already received, cheerfulness in the presence of trials, confidence in the Almighty’s purpose and power to heal will speed the day of release. Meanwhile remember the assurance of him who fought the good fight as few have fought it: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The trials and bitter experiences of bygone days, which may seem to have left you mentally impaired or exhausted, have never touched real Mind, that Mind which is God and which, serene and all-comprehending, is the source and substance of your intelligence — your true and only mentality. So the suffering and the hardships which may seem to have shattered your health, have never touched that Life which is God, and which, eternally perfect and unimpaired, is in you and through you, the very fabric of your being. Hold to these truths, live up to them as best you can, for thereby you bring health and strength and peace into your experience; thereby you pray with effect, since such prayer awakens you somewhat to your oneness with Divinity, which necessarily makes you the recipient of all the attributes which go to make up the perfect man.
If the consequences of mistakes, which you may seem to have made, try to rise up out of the past to embarrass or torment you, your protection lies in realizing the fact that everything which is not in accordance with Principle, whether past, present or future, lacks genuineness. The follies and errors of last year, like the dreams of last night, form no part of your actual life experience; and when you repent sincerely and thoroughly, they become as though they never had been. They were written upon the sand. Repentance and restitution have washed them away, for, in Science, the forgiveness of sin is the destruction of sin. They can no longer be read or remembered against you as henceforth you press resolutely forward in righteousness. Repentance is simply a change of thought in the right direction.
The World of Business
It is clear that the individual’s health, ability, and morale are improved as he recognizes his union with the deific nature. In the same way and for the same reason his supply of worldly things, the necessities of life, the facilities for conducting his business, are made adequate so that want and poverty become obsolete. Lack of any sort is, in its last analysis, a mental condition just as disease or ignorance is. In fact deficiency is a type of ignorance, a failure on the part of the individual to realize that God supplies man liberally with everything needful; indeed, that all that the Father has is the son’s also, in so far as the son, by intelligent obedience to Principle, makes it possible for him to receive the abundant blessings which the Almighty bestows.
This inward realization of the abundance of supply compels the outward sense of supply to conform to what is needed to meet the legitimate demands of the individual. It is another case of the Word being made flesh, or of spiritual law being made operative in human affairs, whereby the material world is made to yield whatever is necessary for daily needs. Putting it in another way, the individual’s thought, in response to the touch of Truth, is lifted to the point where it begins to lose its restricted view and take in the limitless bounty supplied to all those who walk the earth soberly and sensibly.
In the practical application of Science to everyday affairs, what is done is to take the things of the Spirit and show them to the creature, that is, present the facts to the individual who is confronted with difficulties. The individual may seem to be cast down with fear, pain, sorrow, or want; but when he is shown the things, the truths of Spirit, that is, the presence of love, peace, confidence, health, and plenty, his mistaken view of himself and of his environment begins to give way to the true vision, cognizant only of the good, the perfect, the plenteous.
Then he finds himself surrounded and supplied with such as he needs in his home, his business, his profession — food, equipment, opportunity, ability, health, happiness. For it is more normal to experience even material abundance and health than to experience want and disease. Eventually, as the individual grows in understanding and grace, he discovers how true it is that the external semblance of things belies spiritual immensity, and that nothing which exists in the universe of good is denied him.
The Purpose and Method of Christian Science
The World of Appearance
Thoughtful observers, and we are all such at times, are impressed with the apparent imperfection of things as they pass before us in the panorama of life. Conspicuously imperfect are the works wrought by mankind, but imperfection, though in less degree, appears to abound in the world of nature, even in the higher realm of animate beings. The plant twisted, the tree gnarled, the beast vicious, while man, the noblest of earth’s inhabitants, seems so deplorably prone to disease and evil that he is described as mortal and fallen.
Not that beauty and goodness and health are absent or unknown. They are not. They are here and in profusion, and, in a way, we see and enjoy them. But always they seem haunted by their opposites, always they seem overshadowed by blight, suffering, age and decay. They appear, struggle for a season, and disappear, to mortal sense.
We are confused by this outlook, this, to human sense, lack of perfection and permanence; confused, because we have an indwelling conviction that the Creator is good, that He is wise, that He is perfect. Therefore, we look for a man and a universe that are perfect. If, then, personal sense informs us that man, and creation generally, are faulty and sickly and transient, shall we accept this testimony as true? Shall we not rather suspect that personal sense, itself confessedly imperfect, fails to see things as they are, but forms a distorted picture of that which, were it seen in its fullness and actuality, would appear without spot or blemish?
May not all the supposed imperfection which lies about us rest in our mistaken sense of things rather than in the things themselves? Unquestionably God has made everything perfect and permanent. Otherwise the universe could not endure. Flaws in the universe would soon bring about general disaster. The source of the difficulty, then, must be sought in personal sense or in the human mentality and the remedy must be applied to this mentality, and a correction therein wrought to the end that a perception be attained that sees man and the universe as God made them.
Under the influence of ordinary processes of education the human mind gains a higher, a more accurate perception. Thus the cultured mind sees in the artist’s picture touches of emotion and character where the undeveloped mentality sees daubs of paint. The technical mind envisages the outlines and beauties of a building from the architect’s figures and formulas, which are all but meaningless to the untrained mentality. So the human mind or consciousness, mellowed and uplifted by that inflow of truth and love which Christian Science brings to mortals, begins to lose its sense of fear, unrest, suffering — imperfection, and to gain a sense of peace, strength, health — perfection and hence actuality.
The Perfection of Creation
If we are to escape the dangers and difficulties which beset the pathway of human existence, our starting point must be perfect God and perfect man. The most of us have recollections of a God manlike in form and in temperament. But this crude sense of Deity, though more or less prevalent to this day, is steadily giving place to a conception of God as Spirit without outline or fixed locality, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Not everyone realizes, however, that this advance toward an enlightened conception of Deity during the past half century has been largely due to the presentation of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy.
Mrs. Eddy defines God as Mind, Life, Love, Principle. Happily enough this definition corresponds with the highest Scriptural conception of God, for the Bible speaks of Him as Life, Mind, Love, Spirit. Moreover, the Christian Science conception of God has the support of sound logic, since only as we conceive of God as Mind can we conceive of Him as all-knowing. And when we think of God as Mind we immediately think of Him as Life, also, for intelligence cannot exist apart from life. Inanimate things do not think. And always associated with Mind and Life is Love. These three, and with them Principle, are inextricably interwoven with one another, for Mind, Life and Love, to be Deity, must be, and they are, in accordance with Principle. They cannot be on the level of human intelligence, life and love, which are so deplorably deficient.
And Principle, in this sense, is not cold, abstract, and mindless, like the law of gravitation, but it is the living, loving, intelligent influence omnipotently forming, sustaining, and directing all things. When we conceive of Principle in this sense, that is, as ever•present, everoperative Mind, Life and Love, we see that Principle is a perfectly accurate name for God; indeed that Principle is God; and we can understand how God can be all presence, all power, all being — the life and intelligence of every animate creature.
This conception enables us to declare for “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” As any individual gains a realization of this indwelling presence of Mind, Life, and Love, his sense of fear, pain, and confusion gives way to a sense of peace, confidence, and strength. This proves that diseases are mental, having their abiding place in human consciousness, and that a change in consciousness, brought about through a right understanding of Life, dislodges these painful beliefs or pictures, and brings relief.
The realization of the divine presence is the prayer or treatment which in Christian Science overthrows sin and sickness. Have you ever been filled with anxiety or resentment? Yes, more than once. And when you were in this condition has something occurred to fix your attention on things above? What happened to the anger, the discouragement, the alarm? They have been put out of thought, and away, by the nobler impulse which took possession of you. The grosser always yields to the finer. So it is that as one realizes the presence of God as Love, this realization, diffusing itself through consciousness, literally melts away the fear and doubt and hate which are tormenting him. Then come enlarged freedom and happiness. Then, too, comes better health, for whatever cures human consciousness cures also the human body, because the body is only the lower layer of consciousness, as we shall presently see.
There is no definite line of demarcation between fear and disease, between hate and pain. They are only gradations of mortal thought or belief, and they are all cured by the same spiritual process, the flooding of consciousness with Truth and Love. I well remember a boy who, as boys are wont to do, one day threw a stone aimlessly, but with all the force he could command. As the stone left his hand his mother unexpectedly came around the comer of a building and crossed the path of the speeding missile. The stone did not hit her, though it seemed as if it would, but the boy, terror-stricken and conscience•stricken, was racked with pain to his very finger tips. We speak of fear, malice, and remorse as companions and causes of disease, and in a sense they are, but in a truer sense they are different names for essentially the same thing. There is no sharp distinction between the grip of rage and the wrench of so-called physical pain. All these things are mental monstrosities. Hence normalizing the human mind normalizes the body.
It is not meant to intimate that ill people are necessarily unkind in temperament, for obviously they are not, though they will often be found to be fearful, unconsciously so many times. But the human mentality believes in sickness, enacts laws of disease, and grows to fear its own creations and illusions. Then you and I become victims, oftentimes without specific fault on our part, to these false beliefs and so-called laws, until we learn to protect ourselves through a realization of the allpresence and all-power of exuberant, eternal Life.
The Realm of Mind
The conception of God as Mind, Life, Love, and Principle has, as we have seen, the support of reason and revelation alike. Reason and revelation likewise insist that man, God’s creature, is like God; is, to use the words of the Bible, the image and likeness of God; or, to employ the language of Christian Science, man is the expression of God. In other words, Life, Mind, Love, Principle are expressed by man. Man must, then, be mental and spiritual; he must be consciousness, rather than corporeality; and, finally, he must be perfect and immortal, whatever the human mind may suppose or mistake him to be.
The human mind, because it is human, catches at most only faint glimpses of what is going on about us. Even in the physical realm, and according to physical science, the eye and ear, since they respond only to a limited range of the vibrations supposed to be the basis of sight and hearing, taking no cognizance either of the lower or of the higher vibrations, recognize only a section, a fragment, of the phenomena of this world. Small wonder, then, that personal sense is unable to take in the beauty and wonder of spiritual things. When it tries to do so it forms a grotesque picture, and instead of visualizing them in their glory and perfection it disfigures them and renders them frail and transient.
So it is not surprising that human mentality should misinterpret, should belittle man; and this is precisely what it does. Mind creates and sees man spiritual and perfect, above and beyond disease; but material sense, unable to comprehend man in his fullness and perfection, visualizes him as physical, as a finite form or figure, swayed by evil, tormented by disease, always limited and imperfect. Thus it is that evil, disease, and imperfection have their source and abiding place in human consciousness. Hence their cure must there be brought about. And it is in the realm of the mental, which after all is the only realm, that Christian Science operates.
Material things, the human body included, seem very real and tangible. But actually matter is only a mistaken sense of things as dense and heavy, as having weight and ends and sides. For personal sense is, so to speak, shortsighted. It gets a blurred concept of things as dimensional and ponderous. This restricted picture constitutes matter. Matter will therefore disappear as mortal sense, under the influence of truth, gives way to a right perception which sees things as they are in spiritual perfection. The disappearance of matter does not mean that the foundation of things will slip away or that the individual will disappear or lose his identity. It means that our heavy, awkward, cumbered, suffering sense of ourselves, and of things generally, will give place to the buoyant, free, spiritual — the true sense of the universe and of ourselves.
A person absorbed in his work, a musician or baseball player, for example, forgets his hands and limbs. Then come lightness, precision, and grace of action. If consciousness were entirely detached from the body, the individual would not lose his identity. He would simply part with his heavy sense of himself, for that is what the physical body is; and he would gain the freedom of movement and locomotion which his thought now enjoys; and thought runs instantly whithersoever it will. It does not know locality, distance, or obstruction.
We experience something of this freedom in dreams, where we do not lose ourselves, but only our heaviness. And should we as incorporeal beings be able to recognize and communicate with each other? Certainly, and with more facility than before, because perception is mental, communion is exchange of thoughts, and what mortals call objects are, if they are anything, ideas.
Suppose three persons are together in a room. The first one, fully awake, and with eyes wide open, sees, as he looks toward the center of the room, a table with people gathered about it eating dinner. The second, with eyes closed, but with attention fixed in the same direction, sees, precisely where the table appears to his companion, a field of waving grain with people hard at work with their harvesting implement. The third, meanwhile having fallen asleep, visualizes, in the same place, not a field of wheat nor a dining table, but a rugged mountain, and, starting to climb it, loses his footing and tumbles over a precipice.
These things, then, which seem so fixed and rigid, and which we call formations of matter, are really formations of thought. And different individuals in different states of consciousness formulate different things and different events, all in the same place at the same time, with no collisions or interferences, the one with the other. And this will continue until we all are awakened and drawn by Truth into the one absolute consciousness, which is Mind, where we shall not lose our individualities, but where we shall drop our beliefs of accident and strife and distress, and gain a sense of security and continuous life.
We live in a mental realm. All things are mental, man himself being an aggregation of thoughts, an individual consciousness, instead of an aggregation of cells or a physical body as physiology declares. And it is toward consciousness rather than corporeality that Christian Science treatment is directed. Science, by declaring perfection in all things and in all places, operates to eliminate from human consciousness its beliefs that matter is actual, that disease is present, that evil is attractive. It sweeps from consciousness the heavy, sickly sense of man, and brings out the true sense of man as healthy and holy, as spiritual and perfect.
For there are not two men, one material, the other spiritual, one bad, the other good, one sick, the other well.
There is only one man, or kind of man, the perfect, immortal man of Mind’s creating. The supposedly physical, imperfect man is only the human mind’s mistaken sense of what man is. This inadequate sense of man must be displaced by the true sense if health and continuous life are to be realized. And this is exactly what Christian Science is doing. It is bringing out in the experience of the individual a sense of true selfhood — a self which knows and manifests good and health and intelligence, and it is putting aside the erroneous sense of man as sick and sensuous and mortal.
Christian Science accomplishes this by presenting the facts to the individual and arousing him to the true situation. It declares to him that the presence of God who is Love and Life leaves no place or possibility for disease and suffering; that man as the manifestation of God is as perfect as God is; that man is an expression of perfect Life and Mind, and therefore that he is well and knows that he is well. The effect of these truths, as they are accepted by the individual, is to work a change in consciousness whereby his sense of pain or unrest, which is false, gives place to a sense of health and peace, which is true.
The Real Man
When Christian Science insists that man is perfect, without fault or blemish, it does not have in thought the misconception of a man as physical, with finite form and outline, but it has in thought spiritual man, the individual’s real selfhood. Do you not at times get glimpses of another self, a self that is, so to speak, in the background, a self immeasurably finer than you present to the world in ordinary affairs? Indeed the world has never seen this better self and scarcely suspects its existence. You do not see it all the time, nor every day, but there are moments when you glimpse it. This is your only self, the likeness of God, the perfect, the spiritual man.
What is the connection between the spiritual, perfect man and the physical sense of man? Simply this: As you get even a faint conception of your real selfhood as an expression of Life, Mind and Love — a man of Principle — and hold to this conception as best you can from day to day, repudiating as none of yours all sickly and wrongful thoughts, you find that the mistaken, sensuous concept of yourself begins to fade away, and the true sense of yourself as free from disease and evil and limitation comes out more and more in your experience. You find your intellectual faculties expanding, your capacity for doing things enlarged, your affection for good increasing, your life moving toward the harmonious and ideal.
By this mental or spiritual process you put off the old, the imperfect, the Adam man, and put on the new, the real, the Christ man. In this way you work out your own salvation, that is, you extricate yourself from the difficulties and distresses which seem to enmesh you. You accomplish this by right thinking, followed up by right doing, a process in which every individual can effectively engage, a process wherein everyone becomes his own physician and his own spiritual adviser.
Everyone has observed that right thoughts, when held to, possess a certain energy which puts wrong thoughts to flight. You have it in your power, by giving audience to healthful and wholesome thoughts and rejecting sickly and mean thoughts, to attain a consciousness which knows only good and harmony. In other words, you can, with God’s help, have that Mind which was in Christ Jesus, and which will, if you give it opportunity, produce the perfect man in you as truly as it did in him. The potentiality of right thinking is boundless, for thereby you find your oneness with God. The way to know one’s true self is, after all, to know God, for man is a compound of God’s qualities.
We have been too much given to regarding God as afar off, whereas God as Mind, Life, and Love is always at hand. He is so near that He is in you and through you. This means that perfect Life is asserting itself precisely where your pain, if you think you have any, seems to be. As a realization of this truth fills consciousness, the belief of distress necessarily melts away. It is impossible for you to entertain a belief of sickness and at the same time realize the presence of God who is perfect Life. Such contraries cannot both stand in the same consciousness at the same time. And as the false concept fades out, you will realize that the true one has always been present awaiting recognition.
Unable, through personal sense, clearly to discern the real man, we sometimes wonder where he is, and whether he now exists or is yet to come into being. Since man is an expression of ever-present Life, he must be, and he is now and here. He is precisely where (though of course not fixed nor confined to that spot) the troubled mortal man seems to be. We look right at him, it may be said, and fail to see him because of our human shortsightedness, our clouded mortal vision. But a right perception, a true vision, on our part, would reveal him.
The True Vision
What we need, therefore, is to gain that perception which will enable us to see ourselves and others cleansed of the “muddy vesture of decay” with which mortal thought would clothe us. How shall we cultivate that perception? By being sensible. By setting the affections on things above. By thinking wholesome thoughts. By departing from the sensuous and, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Thus was Paul caught up into Paradise, where he saw indescribable wonders, and John saw the new heaven and the new earth wherein was no corporeal body with appetites and sufferings. These men were still groping in the dubious twilight of mortal existence, even as you and I, struggling with the same infirmities and temptations with which we struggle, yet at times they attained that consciousness, and we can attain it, wherein men know as they are known.
True vision is realized more or less by people right among us in the hurry and confusion of modern life, but we hear little of what they see because persons of fine sensibilities shrink from voicing their extraordinary experiences. I know a little girl and her aunt — they are both Christian Scientists — who, when they were down town one day, saw a cripple. He was attracting the usual morbid attention from passers-by. The child, after observing him and them for a moment, said, “They don’t see what we do, do they, Aunt Emily?” The girl saw something of the real man, fashioned in grace and symmetry, where the people thought they were seeing deformity, and she naturally supposed that her aunt, as a Scientist, was seeing likewise.
“Know thyself,” says the ancient apothegm. Matthew Arnold gives the reason for this injunction when he writes:
Resolve to be thyself, and know that he
Who finds himself loses his misery.
Why does he who becomes acquainted with himself lose his misery? Because he discovers that he is a beloved son of God. He discovers that, from the beginning, he has been about his Father’s business, and that his follies and misfortunes and sufferings have been no more than excursions of mortal thought into a realm apart from the real — a sort of dream experience. Insist, reverently and intelligently, that you are spiritual and immortal, that this mortal self is not you, but only a mistaken sense of you, and understand the reason why. Then, acting and living as best you can in accord with this exalted truth, you will grow, consciousness will advance toward “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
True selfhood, or the real man, may be overlooked or ignored for a time, but he will not remain forever unrecognized and unheard. Eventually he will assert him• self despite mortal willfulness and perverseness. Shortly after the crucifixion two of the disciples, finding Jerusalem a turbulent, dangerous place, departed from Emmaus. While they were hastening along the road, Jesus overtook and journeyed with them; and, as he talked, their hearts burned within them. They felt the call to duty. They returned to Jerusalem, with its turbulence and hardships, where their work was and where they were needed.
Since that time, and before, many are they who have sought to escape their problems by fleeing from them. Their work has been hard, their position intolerable, they have been misunderstood and maligned, they have been in distress, even danger. Listening to the siren voice that in some other place or at some other time their difficulties can be avoided or more easily overcome, they have abandoned their posts, but they have not always found peace and satisfaction. They may have gained temporary relief and contentment. They have too often felt the sting of remorse that comes when opportunities have been neglected and tasks have been left unperformed.
Sometimes men have found home so uncongenial and uncomfortable that they have contemplated separation from their dear ones. They have fancied that liberty lies in that direction. Generally it does not. Liberty and happiness come through manly and right conduct. Their realization is more likely to be hastened by cheerfully and patiently meeting and mastering the difficulties and irritations which accompany human relationships. The more closely people are associated the more necessary are tact and kindness, and the less excusable are untimely rebuke and plain speaking and uncovering of error. If affection seems to wane, it can be revived by the same kindly attention and consideration which kindled it in the beginning. If mistakes are made, as they are sure to be, they can be overlooked. No mistake is so serious but, when repented, it can be consigned to the nothingness from which it sprang, and be forgotten as something that never was. If we cannot forgive others how can we expect forgiveness ourselves, and certainly every mortal stands in need of forgiveness and mercy and this in generous measure. If we cannot see the perfect man in those close about us, how can we hope to find him in ourselves, and it is only as we find him in ourselves that life will lose its bitterness.
The Supreme Demonstration
Human existence, with its strange contrasts of joy and sorrow, health and disease, life and death, is a mystery; and we wonder why we are here and what is the purpose of it all. Years ago, yet not so many after all when we consider how long mortals have trod this planet, a young carpenter in a small town in a remote part of the world pondered these same questions, for they are the common stock of humanity, until the answer to the riddle and the remedy for earthly woes were revealed to him. But he kept at his work, proving himself a dutiful son and a good carpenter before undertaking the role of teacher and leader.
At the age of thirty, however, he felt ready for the larger, universal service and went forth to teach what had been revealed to him, and to show people the way of escape from their ills and oppressions. Crowds came to hear him. A palsied man induced his friends to carry him. Finding the place packed by those who had already arrived, they took the helpless man upon the housetop, opened the roof, and lowered him, bed and all, into the midst before Jesus. Noting their faith, Jesus said to the sick man, “Arise, take up thy bed and go thy way.” And the man did so, while the audience “marveled and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”
At another time a ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was at the point of death besought Jesus to come and heal her. Before Jesus reached the house the girl had died. Entering the room where she lay and taking her by the hand, he said, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” And immediately she arose and walked, and the friends and people who had gathered about were filled with astonishment.
After reaching this understanding whereby he could see and demonstrate that disease and death are unreal, Jesus one day took three of his disciples up into a high mountain — up into the exalted consciousness which he had attained — and there communed with Moses and Elijah, both of whom had passed from mortal sight centuries before. So vivid was the picture that even the disciples saw these men, because “the face of the covering cast over all people” was, for the time being, destroyed, and it was realized that individuals who are supposed to pass away in fact continue to exist and maintain their identity and carry on their work, for as Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah, they spoke of his decease which he was soon to accomplish at Jerusalem.
For the storm was gathering. Jesus’ teachings could not long pass unchallenged. His spirituality was a constant, stinging rebuke to the grossness and materialism of the times. His example and his marvelous works enraged the forces of evil beyond all bounds. There could be but one outcome. His life would be sought. He could take refuge in flight or he could stand his ground and permit evil to try to destroy him. He chose the latter. One night (you all know the story) he was seized by a mob, given a mockery of trial in the morning, and cruelly executed. Later he came from the sepulcher and appeared not once but several times to his friends and talked with them during a period of forty days. Then he ascended, that is, became invisible to the physical senses. He had demonstrated that individual life is indestructible and continuous.
The Great Discovery
It might be thought that the significance of such a stupendous accomplishment would never be forgotten, but, within two or three centuries, it was, very largely, until some sixty years ago, when, here in America, a spiritually minded woman, apparently approaching the end of mortal existence, turned to her Bible for consolation. While she was reading one of the gospel accounts of healing performed by Jesus, a sense of strength and freedom stole over her. She arose, dressed, and presented herself to anxious friends, sound and well.
But she was not content with this. She must understand the process, the modus operandi, of spiritual healing. To this end she searched the Scriptures and devoted her life. She found, in the course of three years’ study and consecration, that Jesus, in overcoming disease, setting aside material laws, and abolishing death itself, invoked Science, which he understood and which, as he declared, others can understand and apply to the solution of their problems and the alleviation of their sufferings.
As she came into the understanding of this Science she put it in practice. She tested it when sick folk came to her for help, and found that it brought relief to the suffering and sorrowing in her time as certainly as it had done during the early Christian era. In order that the world at large might profit by her discovery, she set forth the fundamentals of this Science, and the rules for applying it, in her great book, Science And Health with Key To The Scriptures — a book which today is read and pondered more in Christian lands, perhaps, than any other book except the Bible.
Afterward she established the Christian Science Church with its periodicals and other means for disseminating the truth. Thus it was, in brief, that Mary Baker Eddy became the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and earned the right to be called the Leader of the Christian Science movement — a movement which has for its purpose nothing less than the overthrow of sin, disease, and death. These three enemies Science is now destroying as they have never before been destroyed, because Science has uncovered their vulnerable spot, namely, their unreality. The time is coming, and let us not needlessly postpone the day by insisting that it is in an inconceivably remote future, when the last enemy shall be destroyed.
The Continuity of Life
The conviction is all but universal that man is immortal. The primitive American Indian, the intellectual Greek, the devout Jew, each in his own time and peculiar way arrived at the same conclusion that life continues beyond the grave. Intuition, reason, and inspiration unite in declaring that life is eternal, and that death is not the end of individual existence, but an incident or transition not yet fully understood. The whole tendency of modern thought is in this direction, with the result that people are losing their fear of the king of terrors and coming to see that Christian Science is entirely reasonable in declaring that death, as well as disease, can be mastered through an understanding of Life.
When we conceive of man as consciousness, instead of corporeality, we place ourselves in a position to appreciate his immortality, for spiritual consciousness persists and continues whatever may happen to the physical body. Thinking is constant and continuous, swifter and freer when we are asleep than when awake. Nothing can check the ceaseless flow of thought or interrupt the eternal course of Life. Sickness or catastrophe may seem to overtake our friend, and we may say that he is dead and gone, but he knows that he is alive and is here. Hence arise two opposite states of consciousness somewhat as when one person falls asleep while his companion remains awake and neither recognizes the other for the time being.
Why do we not see our friend? Because we insist that death has come between us, has even destroyed or carried him to an unknown realm. This self-imposed stupidity or denseness, this clouded mortal sense of existence, which we tenaciously hold to, constitutes the veil of the flesh that shuts us out from the so-called departed. But as thought is clarified and uplifted, a perception, an understanding will unfold which knows no veil, no death, no separation. In this mountain of enlightened consciousness God will destroy, so the promise reads in Isaiah, “the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory,” and “wipe away tears from off all faces.”
Trying by means of physical sense to penetrate the veil or to outline or visualize our friend will end only in confusion and disappointment. Materiality cannot apprehend spirituality. The qualities which endear our friend to us and which really constitute our friend and make him undying, are not of the flesh. They never existed in a material body. They are spiritual qualities — integrity, faithfulness, love, and other attributes of Soul. They are not appreciable to material sense; they never have been and never can be. They are appreciable to spiritual sense only. Let us cultivate this sense. Let us think rightly, live rightly. Let us rise above materiality and mortality. This is what our friend is doing. Then with our thoughts and aims in the same direction our pathways will converge. We shall come out of the different states of consciousness to which mortal sense has consigned us, and which have seemed to separate us, and come together into the one absolute consciousness of Life eternal.
It is humanly natural that we should be concerned about our friend and wonder what and where he is; but if we are wise, we shall trust him to God’s tender, constant care, thinking of him rationally and helpfully. Grieving and speculating can do no good, and may spread confusion where poise and calm are needed. When our friend was here, we emphasized his good qualities, we admired and dwelt upon them in thought, dismissing erring qualities as not representing him. In other words, we saw something of the real man as an expression of imperishable Life and unchanging good. Thus did we speed his progress. We should continue to do so. Right thinking, comprising thoughts of love and life and peace, is always and universally helpful. It knows no barrier. It reaches its destination certainly and instantly.
In Christian Science practice, we observe that right thinking, treatment, or prayer heals the absent or sleeping patient as quickly and effectively as though he were awake or present. Intervening walls, mountains, oceans, and varying states of human consciousness, offer no resistance to the truth liberated by right thinking. In Science the here and there are merged, and we are neither separated from the Eternal nor from one another by walls of matter or walls of consciousness. These supposed barriers exist only to erring physical sense, and they disappear as physical sense yields to spiritual sense or true vision.
An Outline of Christian Science
Perfection of Man
Not far from Chicago, as you all know, is a town which has become widely known in recent years partly because its leading citizen insists that the earth is flat. At once the question arises, Where is the flatness? Certainly not in the earth, but in this man’s mentality. It exists there as a belief or an illusion. Someday the simple truth that the earth is round will dawn upon the man. Then the flatness will come to an end; it will be cured. The whole affair, therefore, exists in the mental realm.
More and more in these days are we transferring all things to the mental realm. Christian Science puts disease there, along with evil, and insists that disease, instead of being a physical condition, instead of being a stubborn reality, is a morbid belief or an illusion, which the truth will cure.
What is the truth that will cure any person of his suffering? Simply this: God has made man perfect and maintains him in perfection; and whenever any individual, whatever his suffering may be, begins to grasp the fact that the Eternal has fashioned him in perfection, he will necessarily begin to drop his distress and step forth into the liberty of the sons and daughters of the Almighty.
It is inconceivable that God should have made anything imperfect. Flaws in the universe would bring the universe to an end. And the perfect man under consideration is not away off in the clouds. He is not a man yet to be born or come into existence. The perfect man is here and now, and you are the man.
Not your outward physical self. Confessedly he is imperfect enough. The perfect man is your spiritual self, the man God has made you. Your supposed physical self is really not a man, is really not you. It is the mistaken sense of what you are. As you begin to realize that God has created you in spiritual perfection, and to hold to this realization as best you can, and repudiate the suggestions of evil and sickness as lying and illusory, the mistaken sense of yourself as material and mortal begins to melt away and pass out of your experience, and the true sense of yourself as spiritual and free comes out in your experience.
Then it is that your health gets better, your morale improves, your intellectual faculties expand, and your capacity for doing things enlarges, because you are commencing to find yourself, you are getting acquainted with the man of dominion God has made you.
Several months ago a woman visiting relatives in one of the great cities of the North found one of her knees so painful that she could scarcely get around the house. While she was in this condition her relatives induced her one evening to attend a Christian Science lecture. She was decidedly interested in the discourse, and the next morning discovered herself moving about with ease. Her knee was all right. It had been so, she then realized, from the moment the lecture closed. In order to make quite sure of her healing she walked up and down a flight of stairs and found her knee equal to the test. The truths she absorbed at the lecture had accomplished their work. They had aroused her from the dream or illusion of fear and helplessness which had enveloped her, and brought her out into a recognition of the harmony and freedom which God designs for every one of us to enjoy.
Nature of Deity
We used to think of the Supreme Being, at least most of us did, as a man magnified, a king occupying a throne beyond the clouds. But in the light of Christian Science we see that God is Mind. Why do we say He is Mind? Because He knows all things and is present everywhere, and there is nothing but Mind that can be allknowing and everywhere. And when we think of God as Mind we immediately think of Him as Life also, because Mind and Life are essentially the same. And associated with Mind and Life is Love. These three are inextricably blended with one another, and they are, as you know, the Christian Science names for God.
They are the Scriptural names for Him also, because as you read the New Testament carefully you find that it defines God as Spirit, Love, Mind, Life — all in accordance with Principle, that is, perfect, unerring, eternal. You do not find “Principle” emphasized in the Bible as a name for God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has stressed that designation. At first you may say that Principle is not an adequate term for Deity. This is because you are accustomed to think of principle as cold and mindless. But Principle in its full sense is intelligent and animate. Indeed Principle is nothing less than a composite of Mind, Life, and Love creating and sustaining all of God’s creatures, man included.
Healing of Disease
When you conceive of Deity as Mind, Life, Love, Principle you at once see that He is everywhere and that you are always in His presence. I know a woman who for years was almost an invalid. One morning, while in unusual distress, she picked up a book one of her friends had left with her the day before and read for a few minutes until she came to a sentence something like this: “If you realize the indwelling presence of God this realization will overcome disease.”
She put the book aside because these words arrested her attention. She tried to get their significance. She, reasoned somewhat like this: “If God is everywhere, and I know that He is, then He is right where this pain and weakness of mine seem to be; and if God is there those things are not there.” Almost immediately she felt freer and stronger. In a short time she was well.
What was this woman doing while thus reverently and intensely declaring the absence of disease and the presence of Life abundant? She was giving herself a Christian Science treatment. There is nothing mysterious about a Christian Science treatment. It consists, for the most part, in realizing the presence of God and the necessary absence of disease or imperfection of any sort.
Presence of God
The presence of God! How seldom do we consider what this means! The presence of God as Life means the absence of disease, means that God is your life, and therefore that your life is unfettered and uncontaminated. Disease and mortality are illusions and dreams, which are broken up and dissipated when you are aroused to the fact that actually you are an expression of boundless and eternal Life.
The presence of God as Mind means that really there is only one Mind, and that this Mind asserts itself through you, giving you the vision to penetrate the illusions of suffering and evil and equipping you with the ability to go out in the world and make your life useful and successful.
The presence of God as Principle means that you are a man of Principle, not a faltering, sickly, frightened mortal. Nothing finer than this can be said of you. A ray of light coming from the sun brings with it all the elements or qualities of the sun. So man, emanating from God, brings with him and possesses God’s qualities. The divine properties are all assembled in you, making your true self a man of Principle, a man of divine intelligence, a man of imperishable Life. This is the great truth which, so far as you discern it, will set you free.
God must express Himself. Otherwise He would be practically nonexistent. And He expresses Himself in individual men and women. Mind, Life, Love find expression in you. Thereby your spiritual self, and truly there is no other self, becomes God’s witness, a witness to limitless intelligence, everlasting Life, measureless Love. In the language of Genesis man is the image and likeness of God, possessing dominion over all the earth.
Now we must keep in thought that the man endued with freedom and dominion, the perfect man we here have under consideration, is not physical man. Christian Science claims neither perfection nor permanence for him. What we call physical man is really not man but only the distorted picture of man, for finite sense has a dull, blurred vision and does not see man as God has made him. Your supposed physical self, with its heaviness and limitation and disease, is not actually you but the erroneous human sense of you. As you gain the true sense of yourself you necessarily lose the false sense. This is what Paul styles putting off the old man and putting on the new.
How near the Almighty is after all! How inseparable from every one of you! You have striven to find Him. You have striven to find the genuine man you believe He made you. And all the time He has been at hand. All the time your perfect self (though not confined to any limited area because spiritual man is unrestricted) has been here, right where your imperfect, suffering self has seemed to be. Paul sums up the whole situation when he declares that God is above you, in you, and through you; and when he further declares that in God you live, move, and have your being. This shows where Life is. It shows where you are. You are in Life, and Life is manifested through you. Hence the at•one-ment of limitless Life and man.
Yet with all this nearness you cannot see God. You cannot see Mind and Life, though you can see their expression in man. Well, you cannot see beauty except as you see it exhibited in the sunset, the flower, or the bird. You cannot see beauty itself as an abstraction. One day when Jesus was talking to his disciples, Philip impatiently interrupted him with the demand, “Show us the Father.” Jesus replied, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” This is, he who has seen the real man has seen God expressed, has seen an expression of supreme Mind and Life.
Constantly you are aware of this expression. You are continuously aware of the presence of Intelligence, are you not? So far as that intelligence is sound and good it is the manifestation through you of all-knowing Mind; and when you feel the energy and movement of Life you are feeling the presence of God, and you realize that He is closer than hand or breath, closer, if could be, than thought. He finds identification in you, making you, to use Paul’s graphic picture, ‘‘the temple of the living God.”
Prayer or Treatment
Why are you well? Because the Life manifested through spiritual man, and hence through your genuine self, is God, a Life which knows no pain, obstruction, deformity, or limitation of any kind. And how is it that you know you are well? Because Mind equips you with a vision that sees through the shadowy illusions of disease and recognizes the perfection in which the Eternal has clothed you.
These sublime truths may at first seem dim and remote. But as you meditate on them, and discern their reason and significance, they become transparent and vital. More than this they become operative in the affairs and conditions of everyday experience and transform your life for the better, supplanting weakness with strength, wavering with purpose, failure and discouragement with confidence and usefulness. Then is the Word made flesh.
Meditation upon spiritual truths and realization of their power is prayer, for prayer consists not so much in asking God for help as it does in realizing that already He has supplied everything needful. Such prayer tends to awaken us from the dream of lack and suffering and limitation to the boundless plenty and opportunity and freedom that the Almighty has showered on all hands. Then we begin to realize that heaven is here and now, awaiting our recognition of it; begin to realize that eternal Life is here and now and that we have already entered upon it.
Discovery of Science
What we know about Christian Science has come to us through Mary Baker Eddy. This Science was revealed to her in the year 1866. She was a New England woman, refined and religious. She had her full share of trouble and suffering. Finally she reached the point in her career where her physician informed her that she could hope to live only a few hours longer. In this extremity she turned to her Bible for consolation. She had always been a profound student of the Scriptures. While reading one of the Gospel accounts of healing performed by Christ Jesus she felt a sense of peace and strength steal over her.
She arose, dressed, presented herself to anxious friends sound and well. Other people have been healed through reading the Bible. Nobody knows how many. But Mrs. Eddy was not content with being healed. She must know how she was healed. She must understand the process of spiritual healing. To this end she continued her study of the Scriptures until it came to her that Jesus in healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead was employing Science. She continued her study until she came into an understanding of this Science, which she afterward most appropriately named “Christian Science.
Then when people came to her in distress she applied her newly awakened understanding to the situation and was gratified to find that it brought relief. Having thus discovered and tested Christian Science, she next set forth its principles in her remarkable book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and gave this book to the world so that all may know this Science and use it.
Sixty years ago this great woman was firm in her conviction that only the good is real. A God who is good cannot, she maintains, create evil and disease. Hence they are at most only the suppositions of the human mind — the carnal mind as Paul has it, or mortal mind as Mrs. Eddy sometimes styles it, a false mentality which he describes as enmity with God and which she logically insists must eventually yield to the divine Mind.
She held her ground against the general current of human opinion until she gained the support of multitudes of intelligent people and inaugurated the Christian Science movement, becoming its Leader and finding an enduring place among the foremost benefactors of the race. In accomplishing all this she exhibited not only marvelous spiritual discernment but a degree of courage and resourcefulness that has never been surpassed.
Temporary Nature of Matter
Her fundamental proposition that God is Mind or Spirit, and therefore that the earth and the fullness thereof are mental and spiritual, has the support of both reason and revelation. Material sense, with its dull, limited vision, would have us believe that we are material mortals inhabiting a material world. But divine Mind finds expression in thoughts and ideas, not in solid physical objects. Only when we rely upon the physical senses of touch and sight do things seem hard and stationary and man a physical figure so many feet in height and so many pounds in weight.
This blurred heavy sense of things constitutes matter. Matter, therefore, is not the substantial reality it appears. It is a mistaken concept of things, and this mistaken concept of things as heavy and localized disappears as physical sense yields to spiritual sense. The disappearance of matter does not mean that the foundation of things crumbles or that you vanish and lose your identity. It means that you part with the erroneous sense of yourself as material and ponderous and suffering, and gain the true sense of yourself as spiritual, free, buoyant, incorporeal.
Incorporeality of Man
Sometimes you get a hint of this lightness and buoyancy in your dreams, for then you occasionally find yourself soaring through the air like a bird. You do not lose yourself; you lose only your heaviness. You get a further instructive hint of incorporeality from your shadow. How light and jaunty it is as it walks down the street with you. It meets and passes other shadows but does not collide with them. A heavy truck approaches, but your shadow, refusing to be run down, leaps up on the wheel. Why does your shadow enjoy such confidence and safety? Because it is incorporeal. It has no solidity, no density, no thickness. Yet, to the physical eye, it has identity, it is there.
You, your real self, are incorporeal, imponderable, impalpable. This is why you are so safe. Really there can be no collisions, no accidents for you, no inflammation, no congestion in you, except in belief or illusion or dreamland. You are more in the nature of awareness than corporeality. You are an assemblage of thoughts and ideas rather than of cells and atoms. You are an individual consciousness not a material body, an intelligence not a physicality. Constantly you are seeing and feeling and knowing, you are aware of things, and, most wonderful of all, you are aware of yourself. Whence comes this consciousness, this awareness? It is the manifestation in you of the all-knowing Mind, the eternal Life, we call God. Thus it is that you are a witness, safe and enduring, amidst the supposed dangers of mortal existence, to Life and Mind boundless and eternal.
Changing Sense of Body
Many are the illusions that throng human experience. But the one that makes you the most trouble is the illusion that you are incased in a physical body and hence that the hurt or destruction of this body means your hurt or destruction. The fact is, you are spiritual. You cannot be compressed within a material habitation. Spiritual man is free and unconfined. You are outside your lead pencil. Likewise you are outside the physical body. Your pencil wears out. It needs replacement. Your body too wears out. It needs repair. And so rapid and radical is the work of repair and reconstruction of the body that you have a new body every eleven months, so the physiologists say. You can readily think of some of your friends who have a new body oftener than they have a new overcoat.
There is not a person in the audience who has not already had several different bodies and every one of you is due to have nobody knows how many more. Some of you have had twenty, some thirty, some perhaps sixty. And you put off one body and put on another without any great amount of distress, did you not? It did not hurt so much. You survived the process. Why? Because you are an individual consciousness wherein God continuously asserts Himself regardless of whether you lose your pencil, your overcoat, or your body.
You have a very different sense of body according to the varying state of your thought. When all absorbed in work you quite forget your body. It neither hurts nor boasts. And how light and precise are its movements! At other times, notably in your dreams occasionally, your body becomes so heavy you cannot stir hand or foot. Sometimes in your dreams you have a long trip before you. You have to reach San Francisco, New York, or London instantly. Immediately you become aware of a body so light and free that you put it on the opposite side of the globe if that is your destination. Meanwhile your friend sees you in your easy chair at home quietly nodding over the evening paper.
Continuity of Life
All this should help you to understand what takes place when death comes and your present sense of body is abruptly abandoned. You still remain aware of an identity invisible to those who stand by. Why invisible? Because of their unbelief and dullness of vision. But when you go through the experience of death you will still find yourself thinking and living, because consciousness, that consciousness the Eternal gives you, continues and persists on and on beyond the grave. It will survive your present body as it has already survived the twenty, forty, sixty previous bodies. Hence the permanence of individual man; hence your eternal life.
Consciousness constructs a body through which to contact the world about. Its quality depends upon the quality of your thinking. Here is suggested the importance of entertaining good and healthful thoughts and rejecting mean and sickly ones. Consciousness grows by what it feeds upon. You grow by the kind of thoughts you entertain. There is no limit to your possibilities for unfoldment if you govern your thoughts.
Right thinking is not far removed from prayer. And he who takes time every day to realize the power of Mind and Life expressed through him will not be disappointed. He will find himself growing in vision and strength. He will come to recognize himself not as a mortal but as an immortal; come to know himself as God has made him, not as physical sense has tried to belittle him. Rising above limitations and dangers, he will come into the enjoyment of energies and opportunities hitherto scarcely dreamed of. Heaven will no longer seem remote, or eternal life a thing of the future.
How may one develop this vision that enables him to see himself and others cleansed of the “muddy vesture of decay” with which mortal sense would clothe one? By holding to right and enlightened and healthful thoughts, rejecting their opposites; by realizing as best he can that Mind now equips him with this vision; and finally by gaining that sense of security which comes as one recognizes that he lives in a world that is safe and among people who are kindly because governed by Principle.
Cultivate the habit of looking out upon the world, and at the people in it, with that intelligent, generous eye which is focused to see in every individual, regardless of his race or religion, the man of Principle that God has made him. The growing sense of confidence which comes to one as a result of this tolerant attitude at once begins to eliminate the fear that has been freezing up his life and clouding his understanding.
As Paul worked along these lines he was, to use his words, “caught up into paradise” where he saw things as they are, and found them so marvelously beautiful that he could not describe them. In somewhat the same way John was uplifted and enabled to see the new heaven and the new earth wherein people do not have heavy suffering bodies. Imagine yourself in a world divested of all heaviness and suffering. Paul and John caught glimpses of such a world here and at hand, and so have others.
These men were not so different from you and me. They were still groping in the dubious twilight of mortal existence even as you and I, still struggling with the same temptations, the same infirmities, with which we struggle, yet at times they attained, and we can attain, that vision whereby men see things as they are in all their wonder and glory.
There are those right among us, in all this hurry and confusion of modern life, who in some measure enjoy this vision, but we hear little of what they see because people of fine sensibilities hesitate to voice their extraordinary experiences. They do not care to encounter the stolidity and ridicule of ordinary mortals.
You are not going to forget that not only do you stand in the presence of a perfect God, but that you also stand in the presence of a perfect man. And that man is you.
If you cannot do better than simply say these things you will be helped, because they are true, and the truth, when thought or declared, becomes dynamic. It goes to work to break up the dreams and illusions of limitation and suffering. But you will do better than merely recite these statements. You will get the reason for them. As you do so you will realize something of the presence of perfect God and perfect man, and necessarily lose the belief of imperfection and distress that has been making your life a burden.
The Works of Christ Jesus
The greater the man, if greatness be measured as it should be by spirituality, the more constant his practice to commune with Mind. This was exemplified in the life of Christ Jesus. The gospels often refer to his habit of prayer. Mark speaks of him on one occasion as rising up a great while before day, going out to a solitary place, and there praying. More and more in this way did Jesus become endued with Mind, more and more was his mentality uplifted, until for him matter and mortality, with the limitation and suffering that follow in their train, ceased to be. He emerged into the unobstructed realm of Spirit.
Then what power he enjoyed! At one time he desired to be across the lake. Immediately he was there. On that same occasion he walked on the water in defiance of the law of gravitation. Gravity cannot pull on incorporeal man, neither can time and space restrain him. Jesus annihilated lack or want, clothing the man whom he restored to reason and feeding the people who followed him out in the desert when no supply, beyond a few loaves and fishes, was visible to physical sense.
His Overthrow of Death
Disease and evil, in their worst forms, became unreal to him and he made them unreal to others. Even death could not make good its boasts in his presence. He stopped the funeral at Nain, called back his friend Lazarus who had been gone four days, communed with Elijah and Moses centuries after they had passed from mortal sight, and finally, in his personal experience, proved the truth of his own words, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”
You all remember the occasion: his stirring the forces of evil to the point where they were bent upon his destruction, his seizure at night in the garden, the tumultuous trial in the morning, the cruel execution, the hurried burial. Afterward he rolled away the stone from his sepulcre, appeared to his friends a number of times, talked with them, ate with them. At one time he was seen by five hundred people at once. Then at the end of forty days he ascended, that is, he became invisible to the physical eye. But this does not mean that he ceased to exist. Every man who has ever lived continues to live. And certainly this holds true of the greatest man the world has ever known.
What had Jesus accomplished in this last scene of his earthly career? He had permitted his enemies to do their utmost to destroy him, apparently they had destroyed him, then he came back alive the selfsame man. He had proved that individual life cannot be extinguished or brought to an end as you come to realize that you are an individual consciousness, not a physical body, a consciousness wherein limitless Mind and imperishable Life find individualization, making you God’s witness. He proved that man’s life is indestructible and continuous; he stepped forth into the freedom and the power of an endless life, a state to which every one of us may rightly aspire.
For if you do not keep in thought that what Jesus said of himself is essentially true of you, if you do not keep in thought that what he did you can do so far as you understand his Science, you are losing the vital part of his message. He did not put himself in a class apart from you and me. He referred to his Father as our Father, which makes us all of the same family. Indeed we call him our elder brother, immeasurably wiser and better than we, certainly, but our brother still. He made it clear that what he did, you can do if you believe and understand him.
Christian Science is awakening you to this fact. It is enabling you to go out into the world and at least begin to prove that materiality and mortality are the illusions not the facts of existence. And as you go on in this work you will eventually reach that point in your career as certainly as Jesus reached it in his when you too will step forth into the freedom and the power of an endless life.
Christian Science: What It Is and how It Works
Responsibility for Disease
Not long ago, after delivering a lecture somewhat like this one, I stood watching the people leave the auditorium. Presently a woman in middle life came along. She was rather more than walking. She was so full of vigor that she was striding. As she passed me, she said, “This is the first time I have walked out of the church.” She had been helped into the place, she had been helped out of it, I do not know how many times, but on this occasion she walked out on her own power.
What had happened? Some of the fear which had been bearing her down into helplessness had been lifted and dissipated. Her thought had been clarified and uplifted. As a result of the truth she had heard. And with the transforming of her thought came the renewing of her body. For the human body is what human consciousness makes it. When consciousness is depressed or confused, it can scarcely be expected to construct a normal body. But when consciousness is clear, buoyant, and confident, it constructs a better, a healthier, a stronger body.
What, then, stands between us and better health, enlarged freedom? Our material beliefs, our belief in matter. This apparently hard, heavy stuff we call matter, scholars in these days explain away. But long years ago Mary Baker Eddy, then comparatively unknown, now a woman of world-wide reputation through the discovery of Christian Science, saw the unreality of matter. She set forth her conclusion in words now familiar to millions on page 169 of the eleventh edition of Science and Health: “There is no Life, substance, or intelligence in matter; all is Mind, there is no matter. Spirit is immortal Truth, matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal, matter the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness; hence, man is spiritual and not material.”
Why all this concern about matter? Because belief in matter is responsible for our diseases and difficulties. Matter is not the entity it appears. If it were it could not be explained away. Matter is a belief that things, and even living creatures, have weight, solidity, location; and therefore that there can be accidents, diseases, destruction. Whereas, in a universe of Mind all things are mental and incorporeal, abiding in peace and safety.
We have to believe that things are dense and localized in order that they may collide with one another. You have to believe that you are a bulky physical mass in order that you may have collisions and accidents and diseases. And yet in the realm of Mind, which is the realm we live in, you cannot be otherwise than spiritual and incorporeal, out of reach of disease and disaster.
Whence comes this belief in matter, this notion that things are ponderous and dimensional? It comes from the restricted human mentality which is itself material and therefore entertains a material sense of whatever it contemplates. Matter, with the limitations and mortality that follow in its wake, will therefore disappear as we exchange the limited human mentality for the limitless divine Mind. This is what happened in the experience of Christ Jesus. He put aside the misleading mentality which speaks of matter and danger and disease, and put on the Mind which voices health and freedom and boundless being. Thereby he was enabled to set distance and solid walls at naught.
On one occasion, it will be recalled, he put himself across the lake instantly. On other occasions he entered rooms without troubling to open doors. That startling material phenomenon, the radio, hints the possibilities in this direction. The radio knows little or nothing of distance and intervening walls. They scarcely exist to the radio. They do not exist to spiritual man. And there is no material man except in belief.
The Human Body
It is no more than an erroneous belief that man is a physical figure, so many feet in height, so many pounds in weight, and occupying a definite amount of space. And out of this belief come the dangers and diseases to which flesh is heir. While out of the fact that really man is spiritual consciousness rather than corporeality, outside the body rather than in it, come freedom and safety and irrepressible life.
The form of matter of immediate interest to each of us is the human body. Physiology would have us believe that the material body with its material mentality is man. Clearly it is not, for man is immeasurably more than human body and intellect, as presently will be brought out. The body is the human mentality’s limited sense of man. In other words, the human body is the product of the human consciousness. Hence the higher and clearer one’s thinking the better his body; and our purpose, obviously, is not to destroy or discredit the body but to improve and normalize it. The human consciousness constructs the body and supposes that the individual lives in it, his capacities thereby cramped and his existence endangered. All this in belief only, for man is not finite and corporeal, but incorporeal and spiritual, unconfined and safe.
Why spiritual and unconfined? Because God is Spirit and man must be like his creator. Certainly no one in this enlightened age would contend that Deity is corporeal, for this would amount to a denial of His omnipresence. Tradition says that when the Roman legions entered Jerusalem, Pompey, their commander, striding through the temple, tore aside the curtain from the Holy of Holies, intent on viewing the Hebrew God. He had expected, presumably, to find a magnificent image or statue. He found — nothing that the eye can discern. He stood face to face with the sublime conception of God invisible. Less than a century afterward Jesus, conversing with the Samaritan woman at the well, defined the unseen God as Spirit. In our own times Mrs. Eddy has more definitely proclaimed Him Mind, Life, Love, Principle.
This concept of Deity is not only in conformity with Scripture but it satisfies reason and silences the unbeliever. For no one supposes that things just happen without cause or direction. Your watch did not happen. There was intelligence back of its construction. There is law governing its movements. There is law, intelligence, purpose underlying and directing all things. And the universal Mind, Life, Love and Principle, underlying, animating, and directing all things is God; and man is God’s noblest witness or expression.
God must express Himself otherwise He would be practically nonexistent and He expresses Himself through man, imparting to each individual divine intelligence and inextinguishable life. His intelligence thereby becomes your intelligence and His Life becomes your life. Hence the oneness, the unity of God and man; hence the harmony, the energy, the continuity of individual existence. Small wonder that, as Henry Vaughan reminds, you feel
through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
In reality, and despite material appearances, there is no escape from the conclusion that man is consciousness rather than corporeality, abiding in the realm of Spirit not matter. Since God is Mind and Spirit, man must be mental and spiritual. You are convinced of this the moment you close your eyes to outward physical phenomena, and, through introspection, observe mental and spiritual processes in operation. Fearfully and wonderfully is man made, not as matter, not of atoms and cells, but of thoughts and ideas.
Thoughts and ideas make up consciousness, and consciousness is the genuine man. Man, therefore, instead of being a physical figure is an individual consciousness, a state of awareness. This helps to explain how Jesus walked the waves. In sleep you have sometimes found yourself walking on the air, material weight gone but yourself intact. In these moments you have approached reality, the realm of freedom and safety as distinguished from the dream of heaviness and danger which in some unaccountable way appears to have enveloped mankind.
Imponderable and impalpable, to physical sense, spiritual man is unreachable and untouchable by any blow or destructive agency. Hints of imponderability and impalpability abound in the material world. The sunshine is impalpable. One cannot seize a handful of it. It is elusive, evasive. Jesus talking to Nicodemus of spiritual things, used the wind as an illustration. He said: “The wind bloweth where it pleaseth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Treatment of Disease
Take the time occasionally to reason along these lines; That God, instead of being a kinglike being off in the clouds somewhere, is Mind and Life. That He is here and now, for certainly intelligence and animation are ever-present. Invisibly here, it is true; He makes Himself visible or manifest through spiritual man, establishing divine intelligence and irrepressible animation in each individual, for man is consciousness rather than corporeality, existing in mind not matter, out of reach of the perils of mortal existence. As you work out this dynamic proposition and grasp its significance you will gradually find yourself lifted out of the realm of disease and danger into the upper realm of health and safety.
When you gain the true concept that God is Mind and Life, you see how it is that you are always in His presence. You are always in the presence of intelligence, are you not? So near is it that it is your very existence.
You cannot get anything between you and intelligence. Whence comes this intelligence? So far as it is sound and true, it is the divine Mind asserting itself through you. God is nearer, if could be, than your thoughts. You are atone with Him; His intelligence is your intelligence, and His Life is your life, for there is only one Life. How then can your life be corrupted with disease? How can your intelligence be so confused as to believe in sickness or evil? How can your well-being or existence be put in jeopardy? It cannot if you understand the truth of being.
Disease and accident cannot come into the presence of God. They cannot come into your presence, for you are never apart from Him. Where do disease and accident and death come? They come in human belief, illusion, or dream. Indeed mortal existence is no more than a dream that we have strayed from God’s presence into a realm of danger, departed from reality. Necessarily, as we lay hold of the fact that actually we are always in the presence of God, in a place of safety, and cannot get away from Him because He is our very life and intelligence, the dream of separation, with its attendant difficulties, dissipates, and we awake to the security which is man’s birthright.
God is more than around or about man. He is in man and through him. He is everywhere. He is all. The realization of the indwelling presence of God works the annihilation of obstruction, inflammation, or any other supposed disorder; that is, it ousts the belief in sickness and reveals the fact of health.
This declaration of truth is treatment or prayer; and anyone can pray. You pray when you think your highest and best; and when you think your highest and best, that is, when you insist upon and recognize the fact of harmonious being, and repudiate the claim of sickness and mortality, you undermine the foundations of disease and death and lay hold of reality and eternal Life. You then glimpse the fact that man is the representative of imperishable Life; that he is “the temple of the living God,” unprofaned and unfettered by sin or suffering.
Never doubt that intelligent prayer is effective. Never suppose that the injunction, “Pray without ceasing,” is impossible. You can be occupied with the sublimest thoughts, and oftentimes you are, while busy with the homely tasks of daily existence. Through meditation and desire for understanding you open the door to heavenly visitors. Inspiration and revelation are not obsolete. God’s voice has not been silenced nor has His interest in man declined. He has health and strength for you, and opportunities for success and usefulness. “Acquaint now thyself with Him and be at peace,” is still the soundest of advice.
The Business World
Intelligent prayer is the reverent and grateful recognition and acceptance of the abundance always at hand. Humble desire is indispensable to spiritual growth, but why plead for what we already have? Man is God’s witness. And by reflection, man possesses His substance and bounty. You may say you are in want, out of work, without opportunity, but that is not the case. In fact, this moment you stand at the open door of opportunity, for God continually makes available every good thing to man. “All that I have is thine,” says the Father to the prodigal’s brother in Jesus’ well-known parable. “What things soever the Father doeth, these things doeth the son likewise.” Take a hint from your reflection in the mirror. Does it not do what you do? You do what God does. You enjoy what He enjoys, you possess what He possesses. Can you ask or hope for more?
Christian Science not only heals sickness, but it brings relief from other difficulties that interrupt the harmony of human existence. Unemployment and business depression are talked on all sides today. They are brought about largely by people arguing for them. There is no genuine reason and certainly no necessity for them. If people would stop their idle, fearsome talk in this connection, and try to realize that Mind directs all things great and small, production, distribution, and the affairs of industry and business generally would become what they should be. If men and women would take the time each day to realize that the divine Mind is in fact the only Mind, hence their mind, they would go forth with the ability to meet their problems and difficulties and make their businesses and professions successful and useful enterprises in the community.
The unemployed are too much inclined to proclaim that there is no work and that the world has no need of them; when if they would insist upon the fact that every individual is important and indispensable, regardless of age or past failures, the situation would improve. There is something of moment awaiting the attention of every individual, something no other person can do. After taking this rational attitude, let the person in need of employment realize that the all-knowing Mind gives him the intelligence and vision to find his work or position.
Then let him go out and look for it, expecting to find it and willing to do the work when found. No one is without opportunity and no one need be without employment. Obstructions cannot be raised between him and it.
God must express Himself, must express intelligence, life, and substance. These, His qualities, He expresses through man. You can therefore say of man, indeed you cannot say less if you would state the full truth, that he is the invisible God’s opportunity for making manifest ever good thing. “He giveth to all life and breath and all things.”
We speak of people being out of place or out of employment, when the fact is that man, governed by Principle, cannot get out of his place or escape activity. Not only does Principle uphold and direct man, but it operates through him. Man therefore really cannot be idle nor can he stray out of the divinely appointed path.
Take a lesson from the heavens. Does not gravity hold each planet in its orbit? One star does not depart from its course or get in the way of another. How little rivalry and lawlessness are there, because the unerring law of gravitation reigns. More certainly does Principle reign in the affairs of men. And Principle is not a blind force; it is a living, a knowing, an all-pervading power that brooks no interference. In a world thus governed by Principle, it is impossible for man to stray from the realm of health and usefulness. He does so only in belief, and this mistaken belief loses its hold the moment he realizes that he is in the grip of Principle. Then his mortal wanderings cease.
Almost incessantly does everyone carry on an argument, in silence most of the time, with himself. The argument is either for or against his best interests, against them too frequently, if he is not on his guard. Observe your mental processes occasionally and see if this is not true. How easy it is, as one converses with himself, to magnify his injustices and minimize his blessings. How almost irresistible it is to say business is bad, morals are on the decline, diseases are multiplying.
And how rather difficult it is to declare the obvious fact that the doors of opportunity were never so wide open as today, that the world is getting better and its people better, that at last disease is being attacked successfully, because the vulnerable spot, its unreality, has been discovered.
We wonder why we are under the mesmerism of bad business and bad health. Have we not argued ourselves into the condition? Can we expect to break it unless we cultivate the habit of talking healthfully and sensibly to ourselves, insisting upon the true and repudiating the false? And the fundamental truth is that God is invisible Mind and Life, made manifest through man, and therefore that man is spiritual, not material, fashioned in perfection for a useful, endless career.
This mental debate, after all, is little else than mortal beliefs trying to array themselves against the invincible truths which God ceaselessly imparts to man. While it is a fact that God has made man spiritual and put him in a spiritual universe, out of reach of all disease and disaster, and in the presence of opportunity and supply sufficient to a full and joyous life, the mortal appearance at times is decidedly to the contrary. For the individual appears to be corporeal and mortal, and the realm he inhabits appears to be a world of danger and limitation. These appearances Christian Science teaches the individual not to ignore, but intelligently and industriously to cope with and rise above them. He will require, in this campaign, all the alertness and fortitude he can command. In his struggles he will be heartened by Paul’s ringing declaration, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Therefore while the Christian Scientist insists that disease, with its contagion and other supposed laws, is unreal, nevertheless he does not overlook its insidious claims. Rather he faces them understandingly and resolutely, declaring and realizing how impotent they must be, however formidable their appearance, when God, omnipotent and irrepressible Life, is in operation everywhere.
So with animal magnetism and evil generally. No person can afford to ignore their pretensions to power or their sinister purpose to influence his conduct. They must be grappled with intelligently and courageously, and actually reduced to their natural nothingness, however insinuating and persuasive they would have the individual believe. They are powerless and can be so rendered, because they are unprincipled, and unprincipled forces can exert no influence where Principle operates incessantly and exclusively. Let him who is confronted with temptation or confusion remember the Scripture, “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
In the world of business and industry, strife, greed, competition, rivalry, dishonesty try to assert themselves and to interfere with the success and well-being of the individual. For him to close his eyes to these sinister forces would be to invite them to snatch from him those good things which are rightfully his. He must not, therefore, be indifferent to these pretended forces, but rather must look them fearlessly and intelligently in the face and see how impossible it is that they should accomplish anything in a realm where Mind controls, meting out justice and abundance to all. He should, as Shelley admonishes:
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
The constant desire for understanding and manliness, coupled with the expectation that the desire will be fulfilled, gradually enables one to put on the Christ consciousness, to have the Mind which Christ Jesus enjoyed and which enabled Him to exercise dominion over those influences which would bear the individual downward.
Science and Health
Christian Science has come into the world, as you all know, through Mary Baker Eddy. It was revealed to her that Jesus in healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and raising the dead, was not working wonders and miracles; he was putting into operation a Science which he understood. Naming her discovery Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy set forth its teachings in her great book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Perhaps some of you have not read this priceless volume. If not do not delay the matter. Do not depend on what people tell you about Mrs. Eddy or Christian Science but get her book and read it. It can be obtained in any public library or in any Christian Science Reading Room. You will be astonished at the good you find in it; astonished at the good it will do you, for it will arouse in you the strength and health and ability which hitherto perhaps have been latent. It will enable you to get acquainted with the man of divine intelligence and irrepressible life God has made you, and to put off the sickly, inefficient mortal that you have appraised yourself.
Mrs. Eddy makes perfect God and perfect man the inspiring starting point in Christian Science practice. While we may concede that man is spiritual and perfect, we are inclined to think of him as a vapory creature somewhere away in the clouds, instead of recognizing that he is here and now the ever-present representation of the Almighty. Indeed this perfect man, this man of divine intelligence and imperishable Life, this man with a world of opportunity and usefulness stretching out before him, is none other than yourself, your true self.
Keep in mind when reading about spiritual man, or immortal man, or the image and likeness of God that you are reading about yourself. Remember that when a Christian Scientist, in his attempt to break some dream of suffering, is talking to you of the perfect man, he is speaking of you.
Our concept of the physical body has necessarily undergone radical changes as our belief that matter is real has yielded to our understanding that Mind is all. We used to speak of the body having a soul or consciousness. Then, as matter receded and became secondary to Mind, we spoke of consciousness having a body. But now that the allness of Mind is dawning, we speak of man as consciousness, or, more specifically, we say that man is mental and spiritual throughout his economy.
This would be clear enough if we were not haunted by an apparent awareness of both matter and Spirit, of both good and evil, of both health and sickness, as distinguished from genuine or spiritual consciousness. This false consciousness is a complex of fear, pain, and other mortal properties. It tries to parade as man and make the individual believe that it, with its heaviness and suffering, is he. Far from being man, it may be likened to Macbeth’s “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”
This false consciousness we call a mortal or mortal man. He makes his entry into the world, at what is called birth, so tiny and dull a creature that months pass by before he becomes aware of himself. Under the influence of education and experience he progresses until, if disease or accident does not overtake him, he reaches his zenith in mortal manhood. Deterioration then begins. And the bundle of sense testimony, thus industriously built up, finally dissolves and the place thereof knows it no more. The extinctionist, viewing this passing phenomenon, and quite oblivious to the presence of enduring consciousness, naturally and mistakenly concludes that man is of few days and full of trouble.
Apartness from Mortality
Entirely apart from false consciousness, and always at hand, is the true consciousness of Mind’s creating. It is a compound of life, intelligence, goodness — a compound of divine qualities. This consciousness knows what God knows, and knows nothing else. It is aware of life without beginning or end, without fear or pain. It is aware of intelligence and power sufficient for all human needs.
This genuine consciousness is man, the real you. Insist intelligently and reverently that it is you. Disown the false consciousness of helplessness and distress which claims to be you. Thereby the bonds of materiality will be loosed and the unobstructed realm of Spirit attained, where, avers Thomas Moore,
Man in the sunshine of the world’s new spring
Shall walk transparent like some holy thing.
There are those who in extremity, or in quiet meditation, have found themselves detached from false consciousness, have viewed it as quite outside of and apart from themselves. This is as should be. The wonder is that the vision does not come to us all, and not only come but abide, so that we may permanently realize our apartness from mortality. For evil cannot blend with good. Disease cannot invade the realm of health. Consciousness cannot become unconscious. Life can never change to death.
Man cannot help but live on and on indefinitely, for he is made up of imperishable elements. Look within yourself; look into consciousness. What do you find? Honesty, purpose, resolution, and an innumerable host of spiritual qualities. Take any one of them, honesty, for example. Can honesty have a collision? Can it be gassed or inflamed or extinguished? Can any spiritual quality suffer accident or pain? Can it experience birth, decay, dissolution? Manifestly not. Then man, as a compound of spiritual qualities, cannot suffer or experience such conditions.
Why not hold to these obvious truths, and reject the false consciousness of disease, accident, physical birth, age, and extinction? Spiritual man, and there is no other, has not fallen; he cannot fall with the everlasting arms of Principle underneath. Your genuine self has not left heaven for earth. It is no more than a dream that you have been born into a realm of danger and destruction.
One of the first steps toward overcoming the belief of death is to overcome the belief of physical birth. So long as one entertains the belief that he has been ushered into this vale of tears, he can hardly hope to escape being ushered out of it. Indeed, one can scarcely expect to gain permanent immunity from sickness and accident, as long as he indulges the supposition that he has come into and inhabits a world of lawlessness and contagion.
When Jesus declares, “I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go to the Father,” he declares a universal truth, which every individual would do well to apply to himself. You have never left the abode of safety, the presence of God; your real self never has. Hence the groundlessness of fear.
When you intelligently claim your present sonship with the Eternal you begin to awake to the man of His creating, and the tottering mortal that physical sense proclaims begins to dissolve and fade out. Then you begin to find in yourself the health and strength and ability the Almighty equips you with. If you are not trying to realize that your true self always has lived and always will live as a tangible witness to imperishable Life, and therefore that birth and death are alike impostors, you are failing to utilize one of the fundamental truths of Christianity. In other words you are not making your practice or treatment as searching and dynamic as you might.
Overthrowing the fear of disease and establishing confidence in place thereof is a fundamental feature of Christian Science treatment. The soundness of this practice is apparent when we remember that the human mentality and body are so intimately related that actually they are one. Therefore when the individual is half-frozen with fear, and this is the usual condition of mortals, inaction or overaction in the body is inevitable. When in place of the sense of fear a sense of safety is established, the body will function as it should.
And in order to gain an enduring sense of confidence, one must do his best to think rightly and live rightly. He who consciously persists in wrong-doing thereby invites fear and its consequences. He provokes the confusion and depression of thought which reacts unfavorably on the body. Whereas the individual who tries to walk uprightly instinctively feels that he is entitled to health and safety. He has the courage to claim and expect them, for he knows he cannot drift beyond God’s care.
Christian Science has a larger purpose, of course, than to establish and maintain physical health, however desirable that may be. Its primary aim is the overthrow of evil. And Science overthrows evil by pointing out its unreality in a universe governed by Principle and its unattractiveness to man as God’s likeness. As one faces and denounces evil as unreal and not his, and fills his life with wholesome work and activity, he begins effectively to conquer evil, for he then not only loses his desire to do wrong, but, what is quite as important, he masters his fear that he will do wrong and thereby incur punishment. To him the ancient prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” becomes natural and dynamic.
The spiritualization of thought which comes as one rules out hatred and its allies and welcomes to his mental home love and its companions, inevitably brings not only peace of mind but so clarifies vision that one begins to see the beauties of earth and recognize the sublimity of man. It enables one to find his God-given confidence and ability to go forth and embrace the opportunities with which the world is packed and thereby carve out a career of usefulness.
How unwarranted after all are our fears when we remember that man is always in the midst of God. Certainly no danger or unrest can lurk “under the shadow of the Almighty.” Accidents and diseases cannot invade a world governed by Principle or jeopardize incorporeal man. Out in the material realm the sunshine, or “the wind that bloweth where it listeth,” suggests the nature of incorporeality. How can incorporeal man in an incorporeal universe suffer bruises or fractures or inflammation? Where in him are the materials out of which to construct growths or tumors? The answer must be that they have not been constructed, that they are not what they seem.
Continuity of Life
Speak the truth to these things and conditions, searchingly and confidently. They are not there, they are not yours. They cannot touch you. They have no substance, no law to support them. They are comparable to the perils of the sleeping dream. How dreadful they are at times! Yet actually they never touch you, and presently you awake and find that throughout the supposed tragedy you have been entirely safe. Some day this waking dream of disease will break. Indeed it is already breaking; for are not our dreams almost at an end when we begin to suspect that we are dreaming? Do more than suspect. Know it!
Almost every day someone confronted with an accident, declares the truth that he is incorporeal, and goes through the experience unharmed or practically so. I know of a woman who one evening attended a lecture where the incorporeality of man was so clearly presented that she grasped its significance. A few days afterward she was hit by an automobile. As friends picked her up and pronounced her gone, she silently and stoutly insisted to herself: “I am incorporeal. I am not hurt. I cannot be. I am alive and safe in the midst of Life.” Presently she was on her feet. The truth she declared saved her. The truth always saves and liberates. She refused to accept appearances. Had she yielded to what her friends were saying, she perhaps had passed on.
And yet, in fact, she would not have come to an end. When a person, according to the verdict of his friends, passes away, he finds that he is still himself and aware of existence. This must be the case because man as spiritual consciousness persists and endures, regardless of what may seem to happen to the physical body or to mortal consciousness. You have in yourself an example of perpetual motion, for, try as you may, you cannot stop thinking. Your thoughts and your intelligence, so far as they are sober and sound, are the thoughts and the intelligence of the Mind we call God, and God cannot be suppressed. Therefore you cannot stop thinking and you cannot stop living. Mortal consciousness may lapse temporarily, and eventually fade out entirely, but spiritual consciousness, individualized in you, can never for an instant be silenced or interrupted.
Assurance to a Troubled World
In recent years the English speaking race, indeed western civilization, has been stirred to its depths by Mary Baker Eddy in her discovery and presentation of Christian Science. To countless thousands this Science has become their avowed religion, and has cast their lives, as they gratefully acknowledge, into a larger and finer mold. Other countless thousands never have read Mrs. Eddy’s great book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Possibly they never have heard her name or spoken the words “Christian Science.” Certainly they have not consciously accepted the religion. They may even disapprove what they suppose it to be.
Yet they have not escaped its sweet persuasion or healing touch, because its beneficent influence now has been at work in the world over half a century, and indirectly, if not directly, has reached multitudes who have not known its name. They voice its truths and live its precepts and enjoy its blessings, in some measure, quite unaware that the power which enriches their lives and makes for them a better world is Christian Science, and that their benefactor is Mary Baker Eddy.
She found this Science in the Scriptures. Its cornerstone is perfect God and perfect man, here and now. To trace the growth of a nation’s idea of Deity is an interesting study, because it is to trace the spiritual development of the people. The Hebrew concept of the Supreme Being was long centuries unfolding. The Bible portrays the unfoldment in word pictures of rare color and vividness. It is a library in itself. Between its covers are sixty-six volumes, the flower of Hebrew literature. He who has not read the Bible attentively, in the light of Christian Science, has awaiting him an experience highly pleasurable and profitable.
Its central theme is the advancing conception of Deity in the thought of the Hebrew race. To Abraham, when four thousand years ago he left the ancestral home in Ur of the Chaldees to sojourn in the Land of Promise, God, it seems, was scarcely more than a chieftain or king, great indeed, yet nevertheless human in form and temperament. Thus in that charming pastoral of the plains of Mamre, portrayed in the eighteenth chapter of Genesis, the patriarch, after the “three men” had turned their faces toward Sodom, remained standing before the Lord, and, drawing near, pleaded with Him to stay His purpose to destroy the city on account of its iniquities, if there should be found therein even ten righteous men. The Lord, having given His promise, went His way, and Abraham returned unto his place.
A slow process was spiritual development in those primitive days, tediously slow, as spiritual progress has always been. Hence it is not surprising that seven hundred years after Abraham, when Joshua had succeeded Moses in the leadership of the Hebrews, Jehovah, to their mistaken sense, was a god of war and vengeance. Therefore, when the Hebrews entered upon the conquest of Canaan, following their spectacular escape from Egypt and forty years of weary wandering in the wilderness, they supposed that God approved their ruthless attacks on tribes whose only offense against the Hebrews was occupying territory overflowing with milk and honey which the Hebrews coveted.
But if progress in spiritual things was wearisomely slow with the Hebrews it was none the less certain, for when seven centuries more had rolled by they could listen to the admonition of Micah, as he preached by the wayside in Judah: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Still another seven hundred years and Christ Jesus entered the arena of human history. By that time the Hebrews had so far advanced in spiritual discernment that they had some appreciation of his statement, made during his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, that God is Spirit. So that in the New Testament whose twenty-seven books were written at various times during the first seventy years following the crucifixion, Deity is no longer referred to as corporeal or manlike but, sometimes by implication and at other times expressly, is defined as Mind, Life, Love.
Deity and Life Identical
It remained, however, for Mary Baker Eddy, in her tireless quest for truth during the last half of the nineteenth century, to grasp the full meaning and significance of this enlightened concept of Deity, and to set it forth in language and logic so graphic and unmistakable that he who runs may read and understand.
From this point of vantage it is easy to see how God can be everywhere and All•in-all, for obviously Life, Mind, Principle are everywhere and all-pervading. No place or purpose, then, remains for man but to abide in Life and be Life. Paul, speaking on this issue with his usual intensity, declares that in God “we live, and move, and have our being”; and that God is “above all, and through all, and in you all.” It is perfectly accurate, therefore, to define man as the expression or manifestation of Life — Life without beginning or danger or disease or end. To contemplate this scientific truth is to look into the perfect law of liberty, is to understand and apply the law which sets man free from the suppositional laws of sickness and decrepitude.
The recognition of this true status of God and man is the basis of Christian Science practice. Treatment or prayer in Science, in the case of sickness, consists largely in realizing, as clearly as one may, the unity of man with Life harmonious and irrepressible, and the consequent impossibility, save in belief or appearance, of inaction, inflammation, or infirmity of any kind.
Indeed, disease is a mesmeric state induced by the erroneous assumption that life inheres in matter and therefore that the material body has pleasure and pain. This mesmerism is broken by a recognition that God in His goodness and love has not made sickness and evil nor does He permit them to torment His creatures.
Eternal Life, of which the Scriptures aver man is the image and likeness, really cannot be in pain or jeopardy. Life knows no opposition and brooks no interference, but, unfettered and uncontaminated, is in operation throughout man’s being, even where disease may seem to hold sway. Having one’s spiritual self in thought as the “temple,” what more reverent, more rational, more potent prayer can one utter than to declare: “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth (error, evil, disease) keep silence before him”?
Did not Christ Jesus have this law, this truth, in thought when he announced, “I and my Father are one”? Out of the sense of power which the realization of his oneness with God gave him, he spoke with authority to the evils and diseases which infest mortal existence, and put them to flight. People flocked to him for help. On one occasion a palsied man was carried by his friends. Finding the house packed on their arrival, they opened the roof and lowered the helpless man, bed and all, into the midst before Jesus. “Son,” said Jesus, “thy sins be forgiven thee. Arise, take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house.” And immediately he arose, rolled up his blanket, and went forth before them all.
“Where’er he went affliction fled,” and this oftentimes without any direct effort on his part, apparently. People who came into his presence, listening to his speech or touching him in the throng, took on new hope and strength. They forgot their hunger, their bodily infirmities, their anguish of remorse. Ears were unstopped and eyes were opened. Three of his disciples, at the transfiguration, realized the prayer
I ask no dream, no passing ecstasy,
No sudden rending of this veil of clay;
Just send thine angel thoughts through
To take the dimness of my vision away.
Then, with spiritual sense quickened, they saw the ancient prophets Moses and Elijah in communion with their Teacher, and realized that individual men and women do not come to an end at the experience called death, but live on invisible to dull material sense.
Every individual, gross though he may be apparently, has some spark of the divine — that is to say, some measure of genuine intelligence and goodness. The divine in these simple folk responded to the boundless life and love of which their Teacher was full to overflowing. Deep answered unto deep. They caught, as by reflection, the thrill and power of endless life which held sway in this supreme figure who called himself the son of man or the Son of God according to his mood.
Jesus declared that it was not he who wrought the remarkable works, but the Father dwelling in him, that is, Principle operating through him to the silencing of material limitations.
His works were wrought not in contravention of law but in accordance with law — spiritual law, understood by him and understandable by others. They were as natural and inevitable as they were significant in showing that spiritual man, real selfhood, is invulnerable to the attacks of mortality. One who gives himself into the hands of Principle attains the mastery of sin, disease, and death.
There are those, it is true, who are skeptical about the New Testament biographies of Jesus, and sincerely so. Yet how has anyone the right to question the acts ascribed to Jesus until he himself has reached the stature of sinless manhood? Who can say what potentialities reside in perfect man?
Truth in Operation
Thus has Jesus brought assurance of relief to a troubled world. He has given cheer, courage, and actual freedom to multitudes who otherwise had been in despair. Many are they who, through the study of the gospels, have equipped themselves to speak with authority to the various difficulties to which flesh is heir. How hope revives in the sick room when a practitioner enters calm and assured because more than once has he seen pain retreat before truth!
And what is the truth which audibly and inaudibly he declares to the sufferer until the distress abates? That Life, his Life, is God, and therefore that strength and energy and harmonious action are his to the innermost recesses of his being; that the ailment, whatever its type, is at most temporary and evanescent, and actually not there, for the presence of God, of omnipotent Life and Love, makes the presence of sickness impossible.
This, and more of like character, will the practitioner affirm, until the insidious belief of suffering — for suffering is in belief rather than in actuality — gives way to the realization that man in the likeness of God is forever out of reach of disease and danger. These enemies exist, if at all, only in the realm of human belief; and when they are faced and challenged as without cause or foundation they cannot do otherwise than retire from the field of human experience.
Sin and sickness are healed in Science by the same process. And what a glorious achievement it is to separate, in thought, disease from the person to whom it would cling, and, with the power of Science, prove its nothingness. There is no achievement more satisfying unless it be to detach evil from the person it would defile and with Truth’s weapons exterminate it. Yet every individual has it in his power, at least in some degree, to enter into the joy of these achievements and have part in the final conquest of sin and sickness.
For he can cease from talking and picturing evil and disease — cease from fastening them, in thought, upon himself and others. Thus he can withdraw, immediately and continuously, his support from these would-be enemies. Unsustained by human fear and belief they cannot long endure. And on the other hand he can cultivate the habit of fearlessly facing these foes as falsities and vagaries, and resolutely realizing that they are unreal, unknown to God and to His man and universe.
The world of industry and commerce has need of Christian Science. Suppose a business is sick almost unto dissolution. At least one of the directors may refuse to be alarmed. He recognizes that the enterprise holds a legitimate even a beneficent place in the community, offering needed employment and producing needed commodities. He courageously insists that such an institution has the support and guidance of Principle, and therefore that the storm of competition and depression cannot prevail against it, nor can internal dissension or inefficiency work its disintegration.
He maintains that unerring Mind directs those in charge of the business, employer and employee alike, and therefore that confusion and mistakes cannot interfere with a right outcome of the venture. In this way intelligence will be brought to bear in the premises, either to save the business or to place those connected with it into some new situation of usefulness and success.
These simple illustrations, which could be extended indefinitely, show how Christian Science, though purely idealistic or spiritual, can be applied to matter-of•fact affairs to improve conditions in daily life.
The fact that Science can thus be utilized accounts for the strong appeal it makes to a world struggling with its multiplicity of economic and social problems.
As men and nations accept the teaching of Christian Science, people begin to part with their limitations. Then they begin to recognize the universe more nearly as it is and to envisage the health, abundance, and opportunity which are the legitimate birthright of man. Thereby does mankind get glimpses of that ultimate perfection which characterizes reality; for it would be a bold man who would argue that God’s creation falls short of perfection.
Biology believes that man began a low, simple form of life, in an inconceivably remote past, and throughout the ages has been toiling upward toward a perfection attainable, if at all, in a future still dim and distant. Theology teaches that man began perfect, only thereafter to fall through disobedience; and that now his chief concern is to recapture that perfection. Christian Science insists that spiritual man, true selfhood, was never less than perfect, never less than eternal Life expressed; and that perfection is man’s real status now.
Perfection is not static, no more than are Life and Mind, which undeniably are in constant and perpetual operation. Jesus sums this up emphatically when he declares, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” A state of rest or completion, without further work, or continued capacity for unfoldment, or higher heights to climb, would be intolerable. To paraphrase Tennyson’s stirring lines
Man desires no isles of the blest, no
quiet seats of the just,
To rest in a golden grove, or to bask
in a summer sky;
Give him the wages of going on, and
not to die.
When it is remembered that God is Mind and Spirit it must be conceded that man, genuinely, is mental and spiritual. It is of God and of man in His likeness that perfection is predicated. Confessedly man conceived materially is lamentably imperfect. There are not two men, one material and the other spiritual. What is called material man really is not man, but simply a misstatement of man; for finite sense, itself limited and material, entertains a limited and material concept of man and the universe.
Hence the importance, in Science practice, of insisting at the outset upon present perfection, perfect God and perfect man, regardless of what corporeal sense may testify to the contrary; doing so intelligently and gratefully. In this mental attitude, which is the effectual prayer of the righteous man, the individual begins to gain the true sense of self and lose the false. In other words, he parts with his heaviness and infirmities and experiences more of the confidence and freedom which inalienably are his. It is an undertaking to which every individual may direct himself, indeed to which he must direct himself if he would work out his salvation.
Fear, danger, limitation — all grow out of the supposition that man is a material creature inhabiting a material universe. All discord, disease, accidents are unrealities of the mesmeric realm in which man and things are believed to be material. Freedom and safety, on the other hand, are assured to spiritual man inhabiting the unobstructed realm of Spirit; and, genuinely, every individual is spiritual. There can be no dangers and impediments to spiritual man, but certain security and inextinguishable existence. Here is the truth which protects him who realizes it from disaster and destruction.
To affirm that man and the universe are spiritual obviously is to challenge the validity of matter. Yet to question the reality of matter, whether it appears in the body or in the external world, is not to question the existence of man or the world or the things therein; it is only to question the accuracy of our concept of them. For matter, far from being the formidable substance it seems, is our limited sense of things. In disposing of matter, therefore, we are not combating an entity but correcting a mistaken conception. And we correct that concept through exchanging limited corporeal sense for spiritual sense full and unrestricted.
Putting matter in its most favorable light, we may say that what corporeal sense vaguely sees in the landscape, tree, bird, or man is not the actual but a symbol of the true and genuine. And as corporeal sense yields to spiritual sense the symbols disappear and the stately structure of reality appears. Hence the force of the admonition, “Let that Mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”; for then will materiality, with the limitation and suffering which accompany it, depart from human experience.
To dim corporeal sense, or the unillumined human mentality, the world may seem dull and drab — a place where strife and privation appear to be in ascendancy. To spiritual sense the world is appareled in celestial light — a place of peace and joy and uninterrupted usefulness. There are those in our midst today who at times get glimpses of this new earth and heaven precisely where Jesus located it; for did he not say, “The kingdom of God is within you”?
The practical man is inclined to scout spiritual things as visionary and shadowy, and to put his trust in material things, for they, he argues, are tangible and knowable. Yet, how are they, how is anything, tangible and knowable, to him or to anybody, except through consciousness. Consciousness tells the most confirmed materialist all the things he thinks he knows even about matter.
It is to human consciousness that iron is hard, the world round, the daffodil yellow, the lark melodious, the body heavy, the heart glad, the man merciful. Without consciousness there would be no form, no color, no sound, no rapture, no life, no world, no man.
Man, far from being the physical corporeality he appears, really is an individualization of divine consciousness. But consciousness seems not wholly spiritual, not wholly good, but a blending of the spiritual and material, of good and evil; and man appears to vacillate between righteousness and sin, health and sickness, life and death. So that consciousness, mysterious in substance and swift in action, may one moment sound the depths of Adam and in another ascend the heights of Christ.
Yet, whatever in man or in consciousness appears material or mortal is seeming or phenomenal only, not actual. That consciousness which testifies of matter and mortality is false and fleeting; and however intimately it may appear to be associated with genuine consciousness, the two can no more touch or blend than can heat and cold.
Life and Mind have always found expression, and always will find expression; and that expression is man, individual spiritual consciousness. Hence man coexists with God, without beginning of days or end of years. Not in the beginning of the ages but in Principle has God created man. Therefore, were the mist of material existence lifted, it would be seen that birth and death are alike unknown to man. In this unassailable truth lies the remedy for fear.
It is so-called mortal man, the false material sense of self, that seems to be born into this vale of tears and appears to die out of it; and this false sense will recede and further recede to one who gains the true sense of self and steadfastly holds thereto.
Material consciousness may lapse at times, as when an anesthetic is administered, or accident or sickness overtakes the individual. It may weaken or fade with advancing years, and eventually come to an end. If one’s observation extends no further than these passing phenomena, one may conclude that man is mortal and that individual ends with the grave.
And yet, were the entire structure of material consciousness dissolved, there would remain the sublime structure of spiritual consciousness, which, like Mind, is from everlasting to everlasting. Spiritual consciousness precedes birth as certainly as it persists after death. Repeatedly does Jesus refer to pre-existence as well as to future existence. “Father,” he prayed, “glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Also, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
True consciousness in its very nature cannot become unconscious. Says Addison:
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds.
Human consciousness is the field where all curative and corrective work must be done. There it is that fear and ignorance would sow that consternation from which germinate disease and despair. And it is there that these components and companions of animal magnetism, of evil and mortality in action, must be intelligently and fearlessly rooted out, not only for the sake of peace and happiness but in behalf of health and longevity.
The reaction of the body to mental moods is as inevitable as it is obvious, for consciousness is the body’s architect and builder and not only plans the edifice but furnishes the materials. Selfish, frightened, vicious thought darkens and disfigures the countenance, but it also interrupts digestion, stifles respiration, clogs every physiological function. So that it is biologically true that he who habitually entertains mean, hateful, fearsome thoughts, when he might beam with love, gratitude, magnanimity, literally does not half live out his days.
Not By Bread Alone
Poverty in the presence of plenty — a strange paradox truly. Now that ingenuity has brought forth machinery which all but abolishes physical labor, mankind is bewildered and knows not what to do with leisure. Still mesmerized by the bygone curse that man must earn his bread by the sweat of the brow, people look about for a ditch to dig or a column to add; and they would make war on the machines that have despoiled them of their drudgery. So the world today, which might be a place of peace and abundance, with cultural and spiritual development as man’s chief occupation, has, to appearances, become a place of alarm and want. And the end is not yet, for the miracle of production is hardly more than well under way. It can fill the world with comforts and luxuries as the waters cover the sea.
Have we not in all this a hint of the coming of man’s dominion? The intelligence which almost miraculously has speeded up invention and released men from toil, can we not trust it to lead him into higher and richer fields of endeavor where work is unlabored and gloriously productive? Labor, in its old sense, is nearing its end, let us hope; but on the other hand, let us not overlook the fact that man as God’s representative cannot be otherwise than active, and that work and business, more and better than have yet been known, are at hand for those who have the vision to see.
And men have this vision just so far as they let that Mind be in them which was in Christ Jesus. That Mind holds the solution for the world’s perplexities; it has a way of escape. Leaning less upon our own understanding and gratefully turning to Mind for direction, we may confidently expect to find that way and that solution.
More than this, we should concede unreservedly that divine intelligence is available to our leaders in public affairs and clothes them with sagacity equal to the exigencies of the day. It is no time for captious or unfriendly criticism but a time for holding up the hands of those we have put in places of responsibility.
The fact is, that after ages of wandering in materialism we are nearing the promised land. The Hebrews, when they reached the borders of Canaan after centuries of privation, were dismayed because of rumors of giant foes and fortified cities ahead. They therefore turned back into the wilderness, where they wandered forty year. Then, more courageous counsels prevailing, they marched on to possess the territory which had been sworn them. There may be temporary confusion with us today, but when we move forward with Him “whose presence bright all space doth occupy, all motion guide,” depression and disputation will collapse as fell the olden walls of Jericho.
Power of Endless Life
Few studies are more inviting than a race’s idea of the Supreme Power that fashions the universe and directs the destiny of man. Primitive people incline to think of Deity as a patriarch or king. He walks in the garden in the cool of the day; He leads His flock by the still waters; the earth is His footstool, the heaven His throne. While these words from Scripture, taken literally, picture God as manlike or kinglike, poetically they hint the neverdeparting presence of God as undeviating Principle. So that in the very beginnings of Hebrew literature are intimations of a Supreme Being too big to take on corporeal form, too gracious to mete out vengeance to His creatures; a Supreme Being without whose light and love gardens were wastes and human lives purposeless.
This benign concept of Deity, gradually clarifying and expanding with the advance of Hebrew culture up through the ages, reached its culmination in Christ Jesus’ pronouncement to the woman of Samaria, “God is Spirit.” They were talking at the time by Jacob’s well in the highlands midway between Jerusalem and Nazareth. He had stopped there to rest on his journey from Judea north to his native Galilee. She had come from the town nearby to draw water. Glancing down the long Roman road toward the Holy City, then up the rocky hillside where they sat, she said: “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” “Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father,” he replied. “God is spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
It was quite natural, in the face of such teaching, for New Testament writers to speak of God as Spirit, Life, Love; and more or less definitely they did so. Thus was Christianity based on the concept of Deity as incorporeal rather than anthropomorphic. This enlightened conception is of tremendous significance. It means that man and the universe, genuinely, must be spiritual and incorporeal, since they cannot differ in quality from their creator. It means, further, that the limitations and dangers of human existence are fanciful and fictitious, for, were they actual, they would dispute the reign and permanence of Mind and Life.
For ages, the Bible in its highest inculcations has declared that God is Spirit and that man and the universe are spiritual, and for centuries multitudes have accepted the Bible as their chart of life. What the Scriptures had portrayed in colorful oriental imagery, Mary Baker Eddy set forth in the direct unmistakable language and logic of the Occident. She did more. She swung her high idealism into relation with the affairs of everyday life, and thereby made Jesus’ instructions immediately available to alleviate human distress.
Disease and danger have their basis in the mistaken assumption that man and the universe are material. They are therefore beliefs which disappear with the understanding that man and the universe are spiritual. To spiritual man in the unobstructed realm of Spirit there can be no perils, no impediments to health. Thus it is seen that sickness is a mental rather than a material condition, an appearance rather than an actuality; and thus is it obvious that a correction in thought, an enlightenment of mentality, will externalize in improved health and longer life. Inevitably will the transformation of the human mentality result in a renewal of the human body. And this change is wrought, with certainty, in one who accepts the truth of existence and rejects the deceptive semblance; accepts the facts that the world is a place of security and that man is an indestructible expression of the everlasting Life called God.
Moods and Emotions
Here it is well to note that the human body, after all, is part of the human mind. Hence its sensitiveness to moods and emotions. Alarm, anger, depression, as everybody recognizes, react unfavorably on health; while faith, hope, confidence induce a favorable reaction. The fact that the body is mental, explains why it responds to mental treatment. Indeed, the effect of a drug depends upon faith, or belief in its power rather than upon any inherent virtue. The universal expectation supplies the supposed energy when an individual takes a drug unwittingly.
Over and over again does Mrs. Eddy declare that God is Mind, Life, Love, Principle, fortifying her declaration both with reason and with revelation. No more heartening pronouncement was ever made. It is a law of annihilation to the discord and disorder apparent in the world. In all the wide universe, there is only one Life and that Life ageless and diseaseless as Life must be, is the life of man; indeed the real man is the tangible representation of that Life. Here is the truth which makes for freedom.
Of the Earth Earthy
Anciently the Hebrews were too much disposed to regard man as a material mortal. Their race would endure indefinitely, they were persuaded, but its individual members were as grass. Yet as far back as Job and Deuteronomy are to be found occasional assurances of man’s spirituality and permanence. “There is a spirit in man,” argued Elihu, “and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” “The Lord thy God is thy life and the length of thy days,” proclaimed Moses to his followers.
Centuries later Christ Jesus met this issue squarely. Luke, in that charming style which places his Gospel among the most beautiful books in literature, tells the story. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem from the north country shortly after the transfiguration there. Certain Samaritans, through whose territory he would pass, refused to receive him into their village when they saw whither he was bound. James and John, disciples who impetuosity had already won for them the title “Sons of Thunder,” asked: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of,” he answered, “for the son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
Of what manner of Spirit did Jesus imply that man is? Obviously of that Love which knows no impatience or boasting or bitterness; of that Mind which endues the individual with ability for success and usefulness; of that Life to which alarm and disease and age and dissolution are strangers. Here is the spiritual and eternal man of God’s creating, as distinguished from the supposititious mortal of the earth earthy.
Exemption from Disability
Christ Jesus did not content himself with making assertions. He accompanied his teaching by definite demonstrations of man’s exemption from disability. Sometimes he taught and practiced on the hillsides, sometimes in the synagogues, as he went about the country. In one synagogue which he entered on a Sabbath morning was a man with a withered hand. Not by chance, can it be supposed, was the stage there set for the dramatic scene about to be played. On the one side sat this shrinking man whose sense of life was incomplete, cramped; on the other side stood Jesus conscious of life, as life really is, unfettered and uncorrupted; while in the congregation Pharisees, their hearts filled with hatred, watched to see if he would heal the obtrusive infirmity, and thereby add Sabbath breaking to the charges they already held against him.
Jesus was not long in sizing up the situation and determining upon a course of action. In one swift moment would he rebuke both the maddened thought which plotted to slay him, and the frightened or mesmerized thought which crippled the man. To the man he said, “Stand forth.” It was not easy in the tense atmosphere of the place, but the sensitive unfortunate arose and came forward. Turning with flashing eyes upon the Pharisees, Jesus demanded: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” His purpose was to save; theirs, and he read it in their thoughts, to destroy. They could make no answer. Again to the man he said, “Stretch forth thine hand.” He obeyed; and the hand was whole as the other.
Through searching study of the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy came to understand the spiritual law which Jesus invoked in relieving human suffering and in breaking human limitations. She took Jesus’ remarkable achievements out of the category of miracle and placed them in the category of Science. Moreover, she confirmed her discovery and conclusions by healing disease as Jesus did, that is, by purely spiritual means. Students of her writings are today doing likewise. In fact people in these times are being healed of all sorts of difficulties by reading Science and Health and other Christian Science literature, by attending Christian Science church services, or by listening to Christian Science lectures.
The development of the Christian Science movement in the past 60 years has been remarkable. Unfriendliness toward it has given place to friendliness and appreciation. In estimating the growth and influence of Science, however, one must not stop with numbering the churches and the persons attending church services; because Christian Science now has permeated universal consciousness to such an extent that people everywhere, at least in the Western world, are talking, yes, practicing, pretty good Science without knowing that they are doing so. Perhaps they never have read its textbook, Science and Health. Possibly they disapprove what they suppose Science to be. Yet they are voicing its teachings and enjoying its benefits, and this in no small measure.
An Example of Courage
For one to defend one’s convictions in some trivial affair in opposition to a few friends requires courage, more indeed than many possess. But for one to stand up in the face of all mankind and challenge its convictions in fundamental matters of theology and pathology — to maintain, for example, as Mrs. Eddy has a done, the unreality of disease and evil — requires a most extraordinary order of courage. She established the Christian Science church with its periodicals and other instruments for disseminating the truth. In thus placing Christian Science on a workable, enduring foundation she exercised a degree of acumen, resourcefulness, and consecration that has become the admiration of thinking people the world over.
No circumstance of Jesus’ colorful career, perhaps, was more striking than the frequency with which he resorted to prayer and the importance which he ascribed to it. Prayer, as Mrs. Eddy insists at every turn, is the Christian Science method of healing. Not simply the prayer of petition, for prayer is composite. It includes desire and request, certainly, but above all, prayer as invoked to lift an individual out of the slough of sickness, to nullify debasing tendencies, or otherwise to promote his growth and well-being, consists in the recognition that man, as the son of God, is of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience. Away with the suggestions of evil that would intimidate and disable man!
Overthrow of Limitation
Prayer, in other words, is the declaration and realization that man, as the image and likeness of God, has that Life which is painless and permanent; that Mind which supplies the impulse and intelligence adequate for every legitimate venture; that Love which puts littleness and envy and injustice outside the pale of reality; that Principle which silences and overrules every unprincipled urge or threat; that Spirit which abolishes the heaviness and restrictions of matter and accords to man existence limitless and unassailable.
For one faithfully to dwell in these sublime truths, and humbly to lend himself to them, is for one to feel life expanding into completeness; in brief, it is to discover, little by little, and perhaps, in the presence of impending catastrophe, become at once aware, that man “is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.”
Prayer consists, then, not so much in asking for the things necessary to human happiness as in admitting that already God has supplied man generously with everything requisite. For God cannot, in His very nature, withhold His affluence. All that He has — His Life, His intelligence, His bounty — is man’s. One should say this, recognize it, admit it; and do so intelligently, unreservedly, gratefully, expectantly. This is the effectual fervent prayer which availeth much.
Paul, in his graphic style, speaks of man as the “temple of the living God.” Certainly there can be in man, therefore, no disease, decrepitude, or other suggestion of mortality. Man must be, and he is, the expression, throughout, of irrepressible and unconquerable Life. To voice these truths of one’s self and to one’s self is to pray.
Man Cannot Be Victimized
Man, endued as he is with divine intelligence and eternal Life, really cannot become the victim of disease. No more can he fall prey to idleness or failure. He has some fine purpose to fulfill. That purpose lies in the line of wholesome endeavor and activity. It will not permit him to rest in ease or end in defeat. The ideal state or heaven is not a place from which problems have been removed. Rather is it a place where pain and stress have been taken out of problems. Why his equipment of strength and ability, if there be no work for man to do, no adventures to run, no heights to climb? Satisfaction is not found in ease or repose but in service and achievement.
There is opportunity wherein to enjoy one’s powers. There is plenty wherein to satisfy one’s wants. No other conclusion can be reached when it is remembered that the creator and governor of the universe is Love and Principle. But there are seeming forces at work in human experience, among them rivalry and greed and dishonesty, which would deprive man of the abundance provided. They would divert from him those good things God expects him to enjoy. One should take intelligent account of these hostile forces, look them squarely in the face, and recognize their impotence. They are impotent, when confronted masterfully, because they are unprincipled, quite helpless to interrupt the reign of Principle which has been established in man and in his affairs. They cannot operate to deprive man of what is justly his.
While in Science good is the real and only, one should not ignore the devices of supposititious evil. One should be quick to detect and resolute to extinguish sinister schemes to undermine his business or to keep him out of employment. Nor can one afford to ignore contagion and other supposed laws of disease which would jeopardize health. They, too, should be reduced to nothingness; and this through a realization that they have no place or power in a world where inextinguishable Life is All. One should not be indifferent, either, to insidious suggestions which would tempt one to depart from the path of integrity. They possess no attraction for him who recognizes that true selfhood is under the direction of Principle and who fills his life with wholesome work and recreation.
The earth swinging in its orbit furnishes a graphic picture of the operation of law. It cannot depart from its fixed course because gravity holds it there. God has set man in an orbit — an orbit of security, of usefulness, of abundance, of opportunity. Principle holds him there. No power, no influence, can swerve him from his path. Mortals may seem to take excursions into the realm of want or disease or danger, but these excursions are dreamlike or mesmeric. Actually man never deviates from his orbit of security.
Dignity of Work and Business
A person in need of employment will be greatly helped by keeping in mind the facts that he has been created for some useful purpose, that there is opportunity awaiting him and that the divine intelligence operating through him will direct him to where the work is and equip him with the capacity for doing it. He will not stop, however, with simply trying to realize these truths. He will act upon them, that is to say, he will prepare himself for work, he will look for it expecting to find it, and willingly accept it when found. Human footsteps are necessary. Simply reading and contemplating the facts of Science, however inspiring they may be, is not enough. He must translate them into action.
A person should remember that his business, if he is conducting one, has a legitimate and commendable place in the community, in that it affords needed employment and produces or distributes needed commodities. He should remember that Principle sustains and directs him in the enterprise, and nullifies unprincipled forces of alarm, depression, or rivalry, calculated to undermine his efforts. He should realize that Mind governs him in his direction of the enterprise, governs everybody connected with it, and therefore that mistakes, confusion, inefficiency cannot interfere with the success of the enterprise. In this way, he will bring intelligence to bear in the premises either to save the business or to guide those connected with it into new positions of usefulness.
Uses of Adversity
It is not certain that any particular business should be saved. It may not be best that an individual should secure the position he is seeking or continue in the one where already employed. Perhaps Mind has something different or better for him to do. Saul went out one morning to find his father’s donkeys. He looked long and faithfully, but in vain. He found, however, something he never dreamed of; he found a kingdom. Let no one get impatient or discouraged, however unpromising the outlook. There may be a kingdom or something comparable to a kingdom, awaiting him a little farther ahead or just around the comer. It is written that eye has not seen or ear heard the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. Those who believe God has made this a world of want and disease can hardly be said to love Him. Men love God who believe that He is good, that He is wise. Who believe that He has made this a safe and friendly world.
Even seeming disaster, manfully faced, may be turned to good account, and oftentimes is. Witness Joseph’s experience. Certainly his prospects were dark when his jealous brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery. But making the best of a hard situation, he in due course rose to a high place in Pharaoh’s court, which enabled him, years afterward, to provide for his brethren when they were overtaken by famine and thus to save a nation.
Release from Toil
In the world of business and industry today are striking contrasts — poverty in the presence of plenty, idleness without wisdom to enjoy it. Now that ingenuity has brought forth machinery which increases the power of production and all but releases men and women from toil, people are bewildered. They know not how to distribute their product or how to utilize their leisure. As yet they have not been able to capitalize their new-found freedom. Presently they will do so, without doubt, but for the time being they appear to be in a world of confusion, even of alarm and want. Whereas, in fact, they are in a world of abundance where their chief occupation, from now on, should be cultural and spiritual development.
Invention is despoiling mankind of drudgery; the curse that man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow is being abolished. Surely this is not disaster; this is not a time to despair. The intelligence which has brought the race thus far can be trusted to complete the journey and lead it into new and higher realms where work is unlabored and gloriously productive. It must not be overlooked that man as God’s representative cannot be otherwise than busy and active, since God has a purpose for him and will not permit him to lapse into uselessness.
There is work and business, of a finer order perhaps than has yet been known, at hand today for those who have the vision to see. And men are gaining that vision. Intelligence is advancing at an astonishing pace. More and more are people coming into the enjoyment of that Mind which was in Christ Jesus. Civilization is destined to reach still higher heights. In the movement toward better human conditions, the guiding and steadying hand of Christian Science is not difficult to see.
Harsh Noises of the Day
Each individual can do something, in these apparently troublous times, to steady the situation. He can at least insist that the Lord God omnipotent reigns, which is another way of saying that Principle governs the world, governs the nations, governs business and industry, governs man and his affairs; making of none effect unprincipled forces which would upset society, precipitate nations in strife, wreck business, or otherwise interfere with man’s well-being. It is time one should face these devastating influences, not in alarm or with concern, but with the assurance that they are powerless to defeat God’s fine destiny for humanity. Amidst the harsh noises of the day every individual may, with the aid of Science, walk the earth in dignity and in confidence.
It was much to be expected that Jesus would display spiritual man’s potentialities in other ways than in his mastery of disease. And he did so. On different occasions he passed unseen through threatening crowds; entered rooms without troubling to open doors; fed numbers of people with a few loaves and fishes. Human limitations were thus set at naught by this man of Galilee, naturally and definitely, as they can be set at naught by anyone who lives, as he did, in the recognition that man and the universe, genuinely, are spiritual.
To that man and in that realm, walls vanish; distance recedes, leaving the here and the there as one; lack is swallowed up in plenty; danger passes into security. Because in the spiritual realm of the real, and for the spiritual or real man, there are no obstructions, no restrictions, no mortality. Perils, hindrances, privations exist only to material sense. Their place, such as they have, is in a world of supposition. They possess, then, no actuality. Hence they disappear as the human mentality gives place to the divine Mind, as material sense yields to spiritual sense.
Resurrection and Ascension
Jesus’ proof of man’s dominion over disease logically led to his proof of man’s dominion over death. There should be no surprise, therefore, to find from the New Testament narratives that on more than one occasion he presented to sorrowing friends people who had passed on. Just outside the city of Nain he went so far as to stop a funeral procession and restore the deceased alive to his mother. In Bethany he commanded his friend Lazarus to come out of his tomb, and Lazarus came forth bound hand and foot with grave-clothes. Finally, after permitting his foes to try to destroy him after the cruel fashion of the times, Jesus himself emerged from the tomb, presented himself to his disciples on divers occasions, talked with them, ate with them, and at the end of forty days ascended — became invisible to finite sense.
The early Hebrews, strangely enough, had little thought of future existence, beyond a fleeting shadowy experience after death in the mysterious underworld of Sheol. Their limited view in this connection is the more remarkable because for four hundred years they lived with the Egyptians, who made immortality a leading tenet. It is explainable, perhaps, on the ground that their thought and religion emphasized national rather than individual life. But when their nation came to an end they began to accord the individual just recognition. Yet as late as Jesus’ time the question was much mooted, the Pharisees arguing for and the Sadducees against the resurrection. But Jesus boldly announced, “If a man keep my saying he shall never see death.” And finally, in his own experience, he actually proved that individual life cannot be extinguished.
Paul early became a brilliant expounder of eternal life as demonstrated by Jesus. Although the two were contemporaries there is no record that they ever met during Jesus’ ministry. But after the crucifixion, while Paul was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus, “breathing out threatenings and slaughters,” Jesus appeared to him in a “burst of light from heaven,” and demanded a reason for his persecution of the Christians.
Leaving Damascus shortly after his extraordinary experience, Paul retired to Arabia. Three years elapsed. Then he went up to Jerusalem and visited Peter a fortnight; he saw James, the brother of Jesus, also. The purpose of the visit must have been to inform himself concerning the facts of Jesus’ career. Further than this Paul “conferred not with flesh and blood.”
After these three years of inquiry, meditation, and testing of experiences, Paul appears to have been convinced, beyond doubt, of the truth of the resurrection, for from that time forth, as he preached about the Mediterranean world, he made the continuity of individual life his central theme. He staked all on the resurrection, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain.”
Continuity of Consciousness
The continuity of individual life obviously depends upon man being spiritual rather than material, an individual consciousness rather than a corporeal body. Life, in order to be endless, moreover, must precede birth as certainly as persist after death. The realization of life eternal, however, is not hastened by trying to recall the past or by attempting to peer into the future; but rather by abiding in the facts of Science, putting them into everyday practice, and thereby gradually awakening to the present possession of that life whose joys eternal flow. “Now are we the sons of God.”
Consciousness appears to be dual. On the one hand is awareness of heaviness, affliction, insecurity. This is material consciousness, deceptive, changing, fleeting. On the other hand is awareness of Life and of Life abundant, unimpeded, unimperiled. This is spiritual consciousness, the genuine consciousness God bestows, which can never become unconscious.
Material consciousness may lapse temporally through some mishap or other circumstance. Then the individual is said to be unconscious; but life still goes on. Material consciousness eventually will fade out entirely. Then will it be said that the individual has expired. But spiritual consciousness, his true identity, will persist as it always has persisted quite apart from the illusions of mortality.
The Cornerstone of Christian Science Practice
Where Are You
God is Life, and Life is everywhere. As Paul describes the situation, God is in you and above you and through you. In Him you live, move, and have your being. When you read about the perfect man, who is the image and reflection of the Creator, do you realize that you are reading your own biography? If you do not, you miss the point. There is no place for man, no place for you, but to abide in Life.
You cannot get away from Life, and nothing remains for you to do but to express and manifest unconquerable Life. This Life knows no disease, trouble, danger; no beginning and no ending. God is Life, your Life. This Life is in you and through you. It is ageless, diseaseless, endless. It is right where your distress seems to be so after all, your distress cannot be there.
God is Life and man is Life expressed and made individual. You can see God or Life only when manifested in living creatures. You cannot see Life in the abstract. God makes Himself visible in the world through men and women. They furnish Him the opportunity to express Life. God, without man to represent Him, would be a nonentity. He needs man to make Himself visible. Man is Life expressed. How close you are to God, since God is Life and you are Life expressed.
What Are You
God is perfect Life and Mind. You then are perfect animation and intelligence. Certainly He is diseaseless, ageless, free, and unconfined; so are you. This is the basis of Christian Science practice. Thinking these thoughts is a treatment, for you cannot contemplate these stimulating facts for a moment without bringing to yourself a degree of health and peace. Such thinking heals disease because disease is mental. The body itself is mental. Does it not tell you when it is comfortable and when it is uncomfortable?
Yes, you are mental all the way through. The mind is the upper layer, and the body is the lower, but both are parts of mentality and you cannot touch one without touching the other. Your body responds to your moods and emotions. When you are happy and confident, the body is light and well behaved; when you are worried and depressed, it tightens and hurts.
Body and mind are parts of mentality. This is why a change in thought inevitably results in a change in the body. Since God is Mind or Spirit, man and the world are mental and spiritual. Obstructions and dangers, therefore, have only a spectral existence. Hence safety is the unchanging condition. Thought is not localized. You may be here this instant, or a thousand miles from here. You are an intelligence. How then can you be injured, weary, discouraged, old? If you feel that way you are deceived, mesmerized.
How Can You Help Yourself
Tell yourself, and do so frequently, that you are the temple of the living God, the place of health, strength, freedom, buoyancy, confidence. Say to yourself, “I am the temple of the living God; the Lord is in His holy temple, let this world of pain and trouble be still. I am eternal Life on exhibition. I am the place where all-knowing Mind is diffusing courage, wisdom, resourcefulness, keenness of vision, and soundness of judgment. I just have no capacity for failure or sickness.”
You are always talking to yourself, and much of the time, if not careful, you are saying what is not true — how old you are getting, how useless you are, how discouraged you feel, and how much you suffer. Every time you think or declare one of these untruths, you add to the mesmerism which is already weighing you down. You would not make another person have any of these distresses, and surely God would not. Stop telling yourself these lies. Refuse to think or argue this way, because every time you do so you take into mentality that which will work against your welfare.
The Creator has not made this dream world of weariness, sickness, depression; and you are not deceived by it. Your vision is so clear that you can look right through it and see beyond a world of health and dominion. Pour into mentality the truth about yourself, think it and talk it; this is treatment. Say to yourself, “Life or God is in full and unobstructed operation in me. Therefore let all distress be silent before Him.” Amplify this statement. Keep up the talking and thinking even when you are busy, your work does not demand all your attention.
Give your thinking intelligent direction along the lines of health and success. Stop this conversation about failure, disease, age, and so forth. Cultivate the habit of talking to yourself sensibly and in a way you would be willing your friends to hear. Thereby will you grow in strength and manliness. All that God has is yours, He withholds no good thing. His Life is your life; His intelligence is your intelligence; His bounty is your bounty. Say it, affirm it, admit it, and stop denying it and thereby defeating your own best interests.
Building a Better Self
This kind of talking is the prayer of a sensible man. So you can, and if wise you will, pray without ceasing, for you never stop talking to yourself except in those brief intervals when you talk to others. The effect of prayer is on the man who prays, not on God, and it is man, not God, who needs to be changed. This right talking and thinking will change you. It will bring you into unity with God, eternal Life, where disease and suffering are unknown. It will enlarge your capacity for doing things, clarify your intellect, make you a man.
As you lay hold of these truths they will correct little by little whatever is deficient or out of order in your life; and in case your need is pressing, they can remedy the situation immediately. You will see why this sensible thinking and talking produces marked improvement when you recognize that you are consciousness not corporeality. Consciousness needs an instrument with which to contact the crude world about, so consciousness evolves the body, holds it in thought and wields it as an implement. It is yours but not you.
When consciousness is alarmed or confused it is likely to project a shaky or sickly body. But when consciousness is clear and confident it will produce a body normal and efficient. As you realize that Life, your very own, is God, and therefore that infirmities are not true, that you are eternal Life made visible in the world, and therefore that you are a man like God or a Godlike man, consciousness, thereby stimulated, will build you a better body, a better intellect, and a better business.
You are an individual consciousness. You tell your body and your intelligence what to do and they obey you. Your body serves you like an office boy doing the chores; your intelligence, more highly equipped than the body, serves you as a secretary. But neither of them is you. You are the power of endless Life. You are that Life individualized.
Largely it is fear that has been freezing up your life, slowing down your energy, stultifying your ability, blinding you to opportunities, and upsetting the functions of your economy. And this fear is promoted by your supposition that you are material and therefore always in danger. Confidence will take the place of fear as you recognize that you are spiritual in structure and therefore forever safe and secure from accident and disease.
When are you going to begin to think sensibly, that is, to pray effectively? A major part of prayer, after all, is desire. Fervent and continued desire shapes events. It literally objectifies the thing desired, whether it be health, raiment, job, companionship, or other legitimate longing. Who said you were not attractive? I am here to remind you that you are. The Great Architect who built you should be pleased with His handiwork, and He is. He always refers to you as His beloved son or daughter, as the case may be. Therefore, do not hesitate to put yourself in the way of opportunity. This is your part and you must play it, adroitly, it may be. This is the adventure, and a glorious one it is, open to every human being. Have faith, be expectant, argue the strong points of the case to yourself. Then will you go forth better equipped for victory.
A Better Sense of Things
But to resume the thread of our discourse, consciousness, as thought is clarified and emboldened by this courageous conversation with yourself, will begin to see the world as it is, that is, a place of security, beauty, promise. You will begin to feel existence in its abundance and glory instead of dread, danger, and misery. You will even begin to say to yourself, “I am aware of Life exuberant and irrepressible without ache or pain or possibility of frustration or destruction.” Anxiety will be broken. Then will inflammation and growths disappear because the functions of your economy will operate unlaboredly and uninterruptedly.
When apprehension has been replaced by assurance, the body will thaw out. It will behave so well that you will scarcely know that you have a body. Assimilation, circulation, elimination will seem to take care of themselves. As you reason out these facts for yourself you will see why it is that the truth makes one free. Free from what? Why, from disaster, restriction, poverty, aches and pains.
As you argue with yourself along these lines, your vision and understanding will be quickened. The material world with its hazards and sufferings will recede to give place to the spiritual world where existence is secure and satisfying. Danger and distress can no longer find you. When I say that the material world will pass away, I do not mean that the world will come to an end but only that your mistaken sense of it as a place of heaviness and peril will fade out. Is it not clear that with a different and a better set of senses you would see a different and a better world, indeed, a different and a better self?
When you come to recognize that you are made of intelligence instead of matter, you will recognize the impossibility of growths and other obsessions, for there is nothing in you from which to make such absurdities and no place to put them even were they made.
Spiritual man, and such you are, roams the world unafraid and unconfined. It is a case of “the wind bloweth where it pleaseth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell when it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
It is clear enough that there is one Mind in this world and that this Mind directs all things and all people. This Mind is in the midst of you. It penetrates every nook and corner of your being. It directs the functions of your economy, whether you call them digestion, circulation, assimilation, elimination, or whatnot. They are all under the control of omnipotent Mind, they are both propelled and steadied by it, and therefore they can neither slowly creep nor madly race. In other words universal Life, ageless and diseaseless, holds peaceful and vigorous sway throughout your entire being.
Lay hold of these truths, practice them industriously and expectantly. If you want to improve, and of course you do, you must do something about the situation. If you would gain relief from present difficulties and protect yourself against new ones, you must get busy and keep busy in the way here indicated. Good health like good business must be worked for, and certainly it is worth working for if anything is.
And you work for it in a way that will bring results when you center your thought and your conversation with yourself on the immensities of being, the magnitudes of existence, the infinitudes of Life, keeping in mind all the time that it is your life, your being, your existence that you are contemplating. Close your eyes to the littleness and the meanness of what is going on about you. Be absent from bodily existence with its risks and its susceptibilities. Identify yourself with that limitless Life which has neither beginning nor ending, which has neither age nor infirmity. And as you do so, say to yourself, “I am that. Away with these illusions of pain and apprehension.”
When you talk to yourself in this way you set the word of God in motion, that word which “is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
House of the Hereafter
Consciousness is constantly at work repairing and reconstructing the body, so that every twelve months or so you have an entirely new outfit or place of habitation. With all this experience in reconstruction work consciousness should build better bodies from year to year rather than frailer or older ones. Hence it is that the house of the hereafter will be of such fine and ethereal quality that friends whom we leave behind cannot see it. They will fancy we are gone or that we have ceased to be. But we always have been and we always shall be.
You do not remember beginning, nor does anyone else. No one begins and no one ends so far as he can see. Life is continuous, eternal. It was better in the past before the heaviness of materiality and mortality enveloped you. It will be better in the future as that mesmerism is broken. It was in this connection that Jesus prayed: “Father, give me the glory I had with thee before the world was.” The sublimest and most effective prayer you can utter is: “Give me the glory I had with Thee before this mesmerism of heaviness and distress and frustration settled down upon me.”
Note: On September 23, 1933, I lectured at the Chicago World’s Fair. Two or three years later there came into circulation typewritten reports of the lecture under the caption The Cornerstone of Christian Science Practice. Evidently someone took notes of this discourse, transcribed them, and set the document afloat. I have no information just how this was done or who participated.
But typewritten copies have multiplied to the extent that this lecture has gone round the world. Scarcely a week goes by that someone does not express to me his keen appreciation. Hundreds have reported definite healings from their study of the manuscript.
So dynamic has been the effect of the lecture, that, in presenting it here, I have not dared do more, in the way of revision, than to correct some of the glaring errors in English which have crept in from time to time in the course of copying. The document furnishes a striking example of the fact that the spirit of a discourse, not the words, produces the effect.
The Promise of a Better World
Many people entertain the notion that Christian Science is difficult to understand. I say notion because the fact is Christian Science is easily understood, and it is rather readily applied to bringing about better conditions in life.
But someone may argue, “Science insists that disease is unreal; certainly this proposition has difficulties.” But do you not resist disease, and evil too for that matter? You cannot remember the time when you have not resisted them, and with more or less success.
One does not oppose real things. One accepts them, recognizing that realities cannot be overthrown. To dispute disease is to question its genuineness. Why, every system of religion or of medicine proceeds, unconsciously perhaps, from the standpoint that disease and evil are not genuine. No one has been able to explain how a wise God could put them in the world. Reason accords them no place except in appearance, in belief, in ignorance. The enlightened mind insists upon perfect God and perfect man.
Well there can be no argument about the perfection of Deity. But does not a perfect God imply a perfect man? If we cannot ascribe imperfection to the Creator, how can we believe imperfection of His creatures? Such imperfection as may appear must rest in our mistaken sense of being rather than in being itself.
True, the fool may have said, “There is no God!” Yes, he may have said it but no man, wise or simple, has ever thought it; for he cannot help observing that there is creative intelligence evolving and directing the phenomena of existence; and this creative intelligence, this causative consciousness, this divinely directing Principle, we call God.
One’s concept of the Supreme Being is progressive. It does not remain unchanged from year to year. You do not think of God tonight as you did ten years ago. Ten years hence you will not think of Him as you do tonight. So it is of a race’s or a nation’s concept of the Supreme Being. It does not remain static from century to century. It advances with the advance of civilization.
Primitive people think of God as a patriarch or king. He has the form, the disposition, of a human being. He talks with Abraham and Sarah by their tent on the plains of Mamre, promising them a son. He repents that He has made man and brings a flood to destroy him.
This ancient Hebrew concept, portrayed in the Old Testament, in the course of long centuries gave place to the enlightened concept emphasized in the New Testament. Today practically all of us have abandoned the olden idea of God as manlike or kinglike. We have come to recognize that God is everywhere, all-knowing, allpowerful. In other words, we have come to recognize that God is Spirit.
The Spiritual Universe
If God is Spirit man and the universe, however they may appear to you and me looking through a glass darkly, truly must be spiritual. They cannot differ in quality from their Creator.
All down the ages seer and prophet have glimpsed, at times, the fact that man and the universe are spiritual, but only within the last generation or so have people in general begun to get the real import of that fact. They have been helped tremendously in this direction through the discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy. As you read her famous book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures you are reminded on almost every page that God is Spirit — that He is Mind, Life, Love, Principle.
Life and Deity, we may then affirm, are identical — one and the same. Life therefore must be everywhere. You cannot get away from Life. Well, you cannot get away from yourself; and is not true selfhood a perpetual exhibit of Life, and is this not the truth which makes for freedom?
Scripture, in vivid, graphic style, pictures the divine immanence, this everpresence of Life, when it declares that in God we live, move, and have our being; and that God is above all, through all, and in you all.
Does not this bring you close to God? Sometimes you think of Him as available, as at hand. Why not think of Him as Life, and therefore conclude that Life is diseaseless, ageless, endless — because we cannot ascribe disease or mortality to Deity — and then insist that this ageless, endless, diseaseless Life is your life, in full and unrestricted operation throughout your being, making disease and infirmity impossible except in morbid belief?
Here we have the basis of Christian Science practice, for as intimated in the beginning, there is no mystery about Science, its practice, its treatment. When you try to realize the everpresence of all-knowing Mind, the absence of the dullness and confusion and alarm which are trying to incapacitate you, you are giving yourself a Christian Science treatment — a treatment which will clarify your thinking, add to your intellectual powers, enable you to better discharge the responsibilities of life.
And when you try to realize the all-pervading presence of irrepressible, incorruptible Life, the absence of the obstruction or inflammation which is trying to distress you, once more you are giving yourself a Christian Science treatment which will relieve the distress and lengthen your days.
Why is it that this mental attitude, why is it that prayer — since to think and talk in this vein is to pray — will heal disease? Because disease is a mental condition and therefore yields only to mental influence. If some material remedy seems to produce results, this is because of the individual or universal faith in the remedy.
But someone may insist, “My ailment is in the body, and how can the body be influenced by prayer or by spiritual processes?” It can be, because the body itself is mental. We often speak of man as though he were two, both mind and body, mind being the upper, the more ethereal layer; body the lower or grosser layer. But they are both mental, both parts of the same mentality. This is why the countenance beams when one is joyous; why one may look cross if he feels or thinks that way.
The body is mental; diseases are mental. Hence it is that every type of disease should yield to scientifically mental treatment. But not only is disease mental, it is mesmeric. It seems to be true but it is not true.
Road to Health
The mesmerism of disease is brought about, very largely, through the mistaken supposition that man is a material creature in a material world of danger. But when we consider that God is Mind or Spirit, we must conclude that however existence may appear, truly the world is spiritual and is peopled by spiritual men and women. And the truth about man, the truth again which makes him free, for truth obviously has many aspects, is that man is a spiritual creature inhabiting the unobstructed realm of Spirit, where no dangers ever come.
He is made of intelligence. This is what we mean when we say that he is mental and spiritual — that he is constituted of intelligence, not of non-intelligence or matter. Well, one has to choose between the two, and it is more acceptable, is it not, to regard one’s self as of intelligence than of non-intelligence?
Really you are consciousness rather than corporeality. Of what are you conscious, of what are you aware? Aware of life, of life abundant. And today if life seems scanty — if you appear to be growing old, if you believe you are sick, if you incline to despair, you are mesmerized. How can intelligence grow old or rheumatic? It cannot, it does not; and if you feel that way to that extent you are mesmerized.
Defense against Sickness
How may the mesmerism be broken? By insisting that Mind, which knows no resistances, directs every function of man’s being.
Disease, as we see it, ordinarily assumes the form of too much or too little action in some part of the human economy. How can there be any inaction, overaction, abnormal action of any sort to the individual who recognizes that Mind propels the machinery of being — Mind which knows no opposition, no acceleration, no interference?
Plenty of instruction in the art of healing may be found in the Scriptures. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.” Witnesses to what? Certainly man is not a witness to age, to disease, to weakness; but to that Life which is irrepressible, incorruptible, unconquerable. The representative not of discouragement and useless and dullness, but of strength, of confidence, of intelligence. Reverently insist upon these truths and the mesmerism of sickness or failure will dissipate little by little and perhaps precipitately.
Man as God’s witness bodies forth intelligence — all that is needed for success and usefulness. At this point you may see how readily Science may be employed in the ordinary affairs of life. It makes no difference what you are doing. If you are not getting along so well as you would like, the difficulty lies not in an apparent lack of ability.
How may you experience the capacity desired? By reverently recognizing, as many times a day as you will, that man is the reflection of all-knowing Mind, and therefore possesses requisite sagacity and resourcefulness. Let the individual in need of employment recognize that man has been brought into being for usefulness, that God has for him an undefeatable purpose, that there is need of him. Then let the individual go out and look for a position, expecting to find it and willing to accept it when found. He is not likely to long remain unemployed.
Let the business or professional man recognize that his enterprise has a commendable purpose in the community in that it affords needed employment and produces or distributes needed commodities; let him further recognize that his enterprise is sustained and directed by Principle and therefore that unprincipled forces of greed and rivalry and alarm cannot interfere with a right outcome of the undertaking. Let him insist that Mind is directing him and his associates and hence that mistakes and confusion and inefficiency cannot defeat the project. In such atmosphere failure becomes well nigh unthinkable.
Fullness of Life
When we conceive of God as Life, and of man as the manifestation of this inextinguishable Life, we at once begin to grasp the scientific unity of God and man, we begin to appreciate the significance of the atonement or at-one-ment of man with God. We associate the atonement with Jesus because he actually proved his unity with indestructible Life. He permitted his enemies to try to destroy him. Apparently they succeeded. Presently he was back alive, the selfsame man. He proved that individual life cannot be extinguished, for the reason that individual life is a manifestation of the everlasting Life called God.
Every time you voice one of these truths, you will move toward the same demonstration which Jesus made. You will prove to some extent that your life cannot be brought to an end, that it cannot be weighed down by years, cannot be frustrated by failure, cannot be tormented by disease. And there is no reason why you should not be silently voicing these truths all day long from the time you awake in the morning until the time you fall asleep at night.
It requires courage to talk with one’s self in this way, so much indeed that many a time, if not on guard, you may say: “How old I am getting, how sick I feel, how dreary are the prospects.” And every time you utter one of these untruths you add to the mesmerism which is already weighing you down.
Then you ask when comes the mesmerism of age, of suffering, of failure? Well, do you not dig these things up out of nothingness and hand them to yourself? But you do not have to argue in this devastating fashion. You can stop it today. You can, if you will, as you stroll down the street or carry on your work, talk with yourself of the omnipotence, the permanence, the buoyancy, the purposefulness, the glory of Life, keeping in mind all the time that it is your life you are talking about. Thereby little by little you will break the mesmerism which has been impairing your health, impeding your progress, even freezing up your existence.
As you think out those truths which we have been developing and make them yours, gradually you will become aware of a healthier body, a sounder intellect, a more satisfying career. Or to put it in perhaps a better way, consciousness, thus uplifted, will build for you a better body, a better intellect, a better world.
How good an intellect will you eventually attain? There are no limits to intellectual unfoldment, are there? How good a body will you ultimately acquire? Find encouragement, if progress toward health seems slow, in the fact that Jesus reached so high a development as he adhered to correct thinking and living that he could stride through the threatening crowd unseen, and, without troubling to open the door, step into the room where his disciples were gathered.
An individual is in a satisfactory condition who can do these things. He is quite out of reach of rheumatism or of fractures. And as one prayerfully meditates upon these truths he inevitably moves toward the acquisition of the same sort of individuality Jesus possessed, moves toward the same freedom and dominion he enjoyed.
He who can perform such feats as Jesus performed, and they are within the reach of everyone who makes himself at home in Science, is fast growing unto the stature of perfect manhood. He is putting resistance behind. He is emerging into spiritual or genuine consciousness. And genuine consciousness cannot become unconscious. Hence the permanence of individual man.
Here is immortality placed on a rational basis; that man, far from being a corporeal figure, is an individual consciousness; and real consciousness cannot become unconscious. But there is a temporary, deceptive aspect of consciousness which views the world as material, sees man as physical outline, and experiences disease and dissolution.
This material consciousness lapses on occasion, whereupon we say the individual is unconscious. His awareness of the material world and of the material body with its pain and limitations then fades out. But life is still present with him; true consciousness is as active as ever. You cannot let go of your sense of life. You can let go of your sense of the physical world. You may even lose your sense of the physical body. But you cannot relinquish your sense of existence. Genuine consciousness, like Mind, is from everlasting to everlasting.
Jesus demonstrated in his resurrection and ascension the continuity of individual life. Prior to this supreme achievement, however, it was quite natural that he should prove man’s exemption from sickness and infirmity. Fever and palsy fled from his presence as definitely as want and remorse. To the helpless man who waited at the pool for someone to put him into the water at the favored moment, he said, “Arise, take up thy bed and walk.” And the man did so.
The fear and mesmerism which had bound his limbs for years was broken and he strode forth to have his part in the joy of living.
This is about what happens when one is released from any ailment or infirmity. It some organ of the body will not function as it should; if sight or hearing is impaired; if hand, foot, or arm is drawn into helplessness, this means that fear or mesmerism had laid its heavy hold there. When the fear or mesmerism is dissolved the organ or the member springs into normal action.
Disease, for the most part, originates in the mistaken belief that man is a tottering mortal in a world where danger and mortality are inevitable, whereas the fact is man is an exhibit of that Life which knows no disease, no suffering, no beginning, no end.
Why the Good Suffer
We have been taught that our diseases and difficulties are traceable to sin. Doubtless many of them are. Certainly no one will counsel another to live carelessly. Yet you may know some rather careless people who enjoy wonderfully good health and whose enterprises prosper. On the other hand you may know some extraordinarily fine people who are sick or whose businesses have failed. Their goodness has not been sufficient to protect them.
Goodness is not to be considered lightly, of course. It is the first consideration always; we cannot get along without it. Yet, all down the ages has come the question, “Why does the good man suffer?” Apparently he does, right along with his evil disposed neighbor. The rain still falls on the unjust as well as on the just.
Why does the good man suffer? The Book of Job undertakes to answer the question. Job was a good man. Yet he was overtaken by affliction. In rushed his neighbors to ask: “Job, what in the world have you been doing? Something dreadful evidently for see how sick you are. Own up and make a clean breast of the affair.” But he would not. He was an upright man and had nothing to confess.
People today sometimes wonder if there ever was a Job. There have been millions of Jobs. You know of some right in this community — perfectly fine men and women who are sick or otherwise down and out. Obviously they are not keeping up their defenses.
Challenge to Failure
If you would protect your health, your life, you may need to do more than simply be good. Be good, of course, and then realize that there is no necessity, no essential reality in disease, since Life is God, and therefore diseaseless. If you would protect your career or your business, recognize that there is no virtue, no necessity in poverty or failure, for are you not in a world of abundance and opportunity? Recognize, too, that avarice, envy, competition, and other enemies to success are powerless to interfere with that useful purpose God has for you to fulfill.
When you challenge failure and disease in this fine courageous fashion you will better defend yourself against their inroads. And you will develop this resolute attitude by emphasizing the truths we have thus far considered. As you think these truths out and gain something of their significance, you will attain that intelligent fortitude which will enable you to walk the earth in dignity, as you should walk it, and not in fear and trembling.
Birth of Science
Christian Science came to humanity less than four score years ago through Mary Baker Eddy. She discovered it; proved, in healing the sick and troubled through its ministry, the soundness of its teachings; set forth its rules in her extraordinary book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; and finally placed it on a workable, enduring basis by establishing the Church of Christ, Scientist, whose activities have long since reached round the globe. Starting out life in an obscure New England community, she became, with the expansion and appreciation of the Christian Science movement during the closing years of the nineteenth century and the opening of the twentieth, she became one of the world’s outstanding figures.
More than once was Mrs. Eddy’s thought arrested by the spiritual healings wrought by Jesus and the prophets. On occasion she glimpsed the realm of reality. She accepted the Scriptural promise of a better world — a world where peace and security prevail.
She refused to believe that Jesus’ achievements were miraculous or supernatural. She saw that he worked not wonders but that he practiced Science. She grew, in the course of years of research and demonstration, into an understanding of that Science. She declined to admit that spiritual laws are beyond the comprehension of the average individual. She stated the Science of Christianity in terms intelligible to every earnest seeker for truth. Today we are all in a world made better by her labors.
Permanence of Life
After studying her writings one can understand how Jesus proved man’s dominion over disease and even over death. On a number of occasions he brought back people and presented them alive to sorrowing friends. Finally he stepped forth from his own tomb, appeared to his friends, talked with them, ate with them. He proved that individual life is inextinguishable.
We can see the possibility of Jesus’ sublime demonstration when we recognize that man, instead of being a physical body, is constituted of intelligence, that he is an individual consciousness quite out of reach of disintegrating or destructive agencies. The human body and intellect lack perfection and permanence. Ordinary observation convinces us of this. But there is no disposition here to ridicule the body or counsel its neglect. It is the only body you and I know, and what we need to do is to improve it rather than to despise or rid ourselves of it. And this improvement will be wrought as we uplift and spiritualize our thinking and living.
Nor is there any purpose to belittle this human life which appears so confused by fear and mesmerism. It is the only life you and I are acquainted with. And when we live it to the full, when we magnify it as we may, we find it expanding into that Life whose joys eternal flow.
The prospect of the end has been a dreadful prospect. The fear of death has been responsible for much of the disease and hell in the world. Now we are beginning to see that this fear is groundless, because spiritual consciousness, which constitutes the real man, knows nothing of death, dissolution, or graves. Even human consciousness, not yet cleansed of all material or mortal elements, escapes the grave. Rather comforting, is it not, to consider that your friends at the funeral will not be dealing with you. They will be quite powerless to seize consciousness and tuck it away in the ground.
Quickened and enlightened by the truths of Christian Science we may all hope to attain that spiritual altitude reached by Christ Jesus where there are no obstructions to vision or to movement, no hazards or impedimenta to continuous being. In that realm of boundless Life men live on and on indefinitely, each maintaining his identity, each recognizable and distinguishable from the others, each made after the power of endless life.
For Life is endless — no end in this direction, no end in that direction. Birth and death are incidents in human experience. One does not mark the beginning nor does the other mark the end of an individual. When Jesus was at his best he prayed for the glory he had before the mesmerism of this material world engulfed him. The clear implication is that pre-existence, indeed all true existence, is spiritual.
Repeatedly does Jesus refer to pre-existence as well as to future existence. On one occasion he said, “I came forth from the Father and am come into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father.” A brief accurate biography. It is the biography of every individual, for most of Jesus’ utterances are statements of universal truths applicable to all men.
He said also, “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he who came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven.” First there was the ideal state, heaven. Then followed the apparent fall or coming down before there was any necessity of ascending; but quite disregarding the mythological fall is the inference that really he never came down.
Have you the courage to claim this of yourself? A moment ago you were brave enough to say, “Genuinely I am an exhibit of inextinguishable Life, a Life to which disease and danger and dissolution are unknown.” Now you should be able to say, “Why, really I have never left heaven for this mire of mortality. Therefore I am not called upon to explain its suffering and misfortune. I will no longer wonder why rheumatism has got hold of me when I have done my best. Neither will I wonder why I do not get over the rheumatism today or tomorrow. Rather will I insist that rheumatism has not got hold of me.
“I will no longer wonder why I am a failure. I will stop digging up the follies of past years and tormenting myself with them. I will insist that at most they were incidents of a dreamlike excursion. I will repudiate, disown, and forget them, being careful not to be drawn in that direction in the future.
“A failure? How can I fail when God has provided a world of abundance and opportunity? How can I fail when God has a purpose for me which cannot be frustrated — a purpose which abounds in activity and usefulness, and wherein idleness and uselessness cannot enter; how can I fail permanently when, regardless of apparent defeat or dismay today, life is still before me with all its possibilities?”
When you think and talk in this vein, and you can start to do so tonight, if you have not done so already, you will begin to dissolve the mesmerism of mortal existence with its failure and limitation and disease, rather rapidly. You will glimpse the fundamental truth we started out with, namely, perfect God and perfect man.
The perfect man is here and now, and you are the man. Your perfection may seem to be obscured today; may seem to be temporarily forgotten. But it is here awaiting recognition. And for you to voice the foregoing truths is for you to bring to remembrance, little by little, the perfect man, apparently so long overlooked, you always were and always will be.
A Challenge to the Wrong Thinking of the Ages
Looking for Disease
A normal, satisfactory life is impossible without good health. Naturally therefore we wonder how disease ever got into the world. In casting about for a reason people have pretty generally reached the conclusion that disease comes as a punishment for wrongdoing. The sick man has been disobedient. He has been pursuing some evil practice. His suffering is the penalty.
The weakness in this logic is seen when we observe that good people as well as bad are subject to sickness. Therefore we shall have to look farther than mere wrongdoing for a satisfactory answer to our question. Here Job’s experience is enlightening. He was a good man. Yet he was seized by a painful malady. Friends who gathered about, ostensibly to sympathize, argued that he must have strayed from the straight and narrow way else he would not have encountered misfortune. Indeed one of them asked, “Who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?” But Job, unconvinced, insisted upon his integrity, though he confessed, “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.”
Job typifies ordinary human beings. All down the ages they have accepted the suggestion of disease thrust upon them by morbid thoughts. Generation after generation have they talked disease, pictured it, built it up into a universal belief or mesmerism. Today this mesmerism settles down upon mankind generally — good, bad, indifferent — as the rain falls upon the just and the unjust.
Hence it is that the best of men and women are occasionally victimized by this mesmerism. It cannot be said that they are being punished. They have not done anything to be punished for. They have, however, failed to challenge the general belief in disease. Thereby they have they left their defenses down. That is enough. That is all anyone need do in order to become vulnerable to the attacks of mortality.
Disease then is not genuine. Of course it is not. This is why sufferers are constantly in revolt against it. This is why every system of healing looks for the time when sickness will cease to appear. If disease were a reality people would accept it without protest. They would have no alternative, because realities cannot be evaded or overcome. People dispute only the unrealities — the things of belief, of ignorance, of appearance. Here is seen the inconsistency of mortals who argue for disease on the one hand and combat it on the other.
When we say that disease is in belief or in appearance or in ignorance, rather than in reality, we place it in the same category with the belief in the flatness of the earth. For certainly the earth appears flat. Obviously the flatness is in the thought of the man who so believes. Some day the simple fact will dawn upon him that the earth is round. Then the flatness will be cured.
Some day the undeniable fact will dawn upon the supposedly sick man that Life is God. Then his sickness will be healed, because disease and mortality cannot be ascribed to Deity. Since God is Life, Life must be diseaseless, ageless, endless.
Diseaselessness of Life
What basis is there for the statement that Life is God? Time after time in Scripture Deity is referred to as Life. When the Israelites were struggling so desperately in the desert on their journey to the promised land, Moses, by way of encouragement, declared to them, “God is thy life.”
Fifteen hundred years later Jesus, in talking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, referred to God as Spirit. Spirit and Life are synonymous terms. They have essentially the same significance. The woman supposed God to be a judge or king who held court in the nearby mountain. Jesus made it clear to her that God is not judgelike or kinglike but that He is incorporeal Spirit or Life.
New Testament writers following Jesus spoke of God not only as Spirit but as Life, Mind, Love. What a word Mind is for Deity! For Mind can know all things and can be everywhere present. But Mind does not differ essentially from Life. It would be rather difficult to differentiate between intelligence and animation.
Life is the one indisputable fact. You may doubt most things. You may doubt everything — except that you live. You may sometimes wonder about other people. You may suspect that they are creatures of your own fancy. But you are absolutely sure that you exist — exist as an exhibit of Life. God’s witness to use Scriptural language.
Where is that Life? Nearer than hand or breath or thought, if could be. Paul gives the classical answer when, in his letter to the Ephesians, he writes of one God “who is above all and through all and in you all.” What sort of Life must this be? Diseaseless, ageless, endless. It is yours to the remotest recesses of being. This is the truth which will make you free so far as you recognize and utilize it.
People have been healed, by the very arguments you are now listening to, of such difficulties as worry, grief, resentment, unemployment, pneumonia, sinus trouble, eczema, personal injuries, impaired sight and hearing. There is no reason why you should not be relieved of your distress. Expect it. You have a right to liberty and usefulness.
Clearly it is a sin to believe that God, who is Love, sends disease to His people. The belief, like other sinful beliefs, brings punishment so long as entertained. The believer stands in the shadow of suffering and mortality. To be forgiven, he needs to abandon the belief and accept the fact that Life is God and hence that true existence is invincible.
We have thought that life comes and goes. We have supposed that life is given at the time called birth and taken away at the time called death. Yet Life does not come. It does not age, it does not sicken, it does not depart. Life is! It was! It will be! There can be no escape from this logic when it is remembered that Life is God. All of which has tremendous significance when it is recognized that man is an expression of Life, its tangible representative. You are.
Making the Right Choice
In his farewell address to his people Moses said: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.
Therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.” To appearances there have always been before mankind both life and death, health and disease, success and failure, plenty and poverty. But human beings, in their ignorance of Life, have overlooked the Scriptural injunction.
They might have chosen Life with all that that implies, but, giving credence the while to devastating suggestions, usually they have chosen to make a reality of disease, mortality, and misfortune. They have done more. They have argued for these impositions. So long and so industriously have they argued that the belief or mesmerism of disease has become part of unconscious thought.
Thus it is that people are sometimes beset by diseases they never have thought or heard of. And this liability to sickness will continue until men and women rise up and intelligently challenge disease as a thing that is not necessary, not true. Such existence as it may seem to have is in appearance or belief or mesmerism rather than in actuality. This is why disease and mortality can be overcome. Were they actual, there would be no alternative but submission.
Human experience consists to a considerable degree in making choices and decisions. Christian Science acquaints the individual with the facts which enable him to judge and choose wisely, rightly. He makes a right choice, he gives himself a Science treatment, when he embraces Life and renounces everything opposed to Life, when he recognizes that Life is irrepressible, unconquerable, incorruptible, when he realizes as best he can that this resistless Life is his, that it is in full and unrestricted operation right where his infirmity may seem to be.
Which means that the infirmity is not there, is not his, is not in existence.
Were it not for the wrong thinking of the ages, the consequences of which mankind inherit, disease could not come near you today. It could not find you. How could it? It has no intelligence. It has no power of locomotion. One encounters it by looking for it. Have you ever found yourself doing this? You will perhaps if you observe yourself critically for the next few days.
Revolt Against Disease
You do not have to listen to disease when it pretends to argue to you. Really it has no voice, no intelligence, no symptoms, no presence, no existence. The presence of God as boundless Life and Love makes its presence and existence impossible. Realize these unalterable truths. The Eternal has given you the power. Assert, in definite thought and word, your absolute freedom and harmony as His representative.
The world abounds with well meaning people who say almost nothing because they fear they will say something unscientific. Any statement, any attitude, any mood which denounces disease as a lying imposition, and which exalts Life and health as everpresent realities, is scientific, is legitimate treatment.
It is even reverent prayer, reverent in this that it absolves God from responsibility for sickness and suffering. It is the sort of prayer which works a change in the individual. For the effect of prayer, after all, is not on God but on the man who prays. Such prayer unites the individual with that Life to which disease and age and dissolution are unknown. It unites him with that Mind which imparts to man all the intelligence he needs for recognizing the foregoing facts.
All down the centuries the belief has been entertained that man is material and mortal, whereas the fact is, as both reason and revelation inform us, man is spiritual and immortal. The individual who insists that man is mortal will be a mortal to all intents and purposes. He will come under intolerable limitations. He will be borne down ultimately by infirmities.
But when an individual stands up and intelligently and thankfully admits that man in the likeness of God is an immortal, an exhibit of Life to which restrictions and distresses are unknown, he enters that reverent mood which is prayer, he makes that rational argument which undermines the belief in disease, he administers that Science treatment which dissipates the mesmerism of mortality. In a word he begins to find his true status as God manifest.
Putting Aside Skepticism
Not a person should walk out of this auditorium the same person he was when he came in. Each one of you should depart with more hope, strength, courage, and endurance than you had an hour ago. Many of you could well spare ten years of age or ten pounds of weight. Why not allow these undesirables to dissipate and depart along with your aches and failures and loneliness? They are not actualities. They are deceptions. You can lose them all if you will suspend your unbelief long enough to permit the truths you are hearing to take lodgment in mentality.
It is not an easy thing for a person to revise his opinions, to subdue his prejudices, to waive his skepticism. It is much easier to say: “These pronouncements are wonderful. They may be true of spiritual man but what have they to do with me?” They have everything to do with you, for are you not in your genuine make-up a spiritual man?
Accept these precious gifts of the Almighty which hitherto you may have been putting aside. Yours is the life that does not come or age or fail or despair or sicken or fade out; yours is the life which, by the grace of the Almighty is invincible.
As you silently talk these truths over with yourself, while at rest or at work, you will become aware of a better body, a better intellect, a better career, a better world. You will come more certainly into the possession of that Life whose joys eternal flow.
Rigidity of Thought
Every instant of his experience does the individual make a choice, a decision. Normally he chooses success, works for it, achieves it. But if not on his guard he may choose failure and work for it. He will have to do this if he ever encounters failure, because failure cannot find him. Like disease failure has no intelligence, no power to move around, no ability to find anyone. It is quite helpless, quite harmless, of itself.
No man is likely to get into a pit without deciding to walk toward it and fool around on the edge after arriving. The pit can hardly come to him. With the same effort he can take at least a few steps in the opposite direction of security.
Not all of one’s difficulties can be attributed to the folly of past generations, of course. One’s own mental attitude has a vital bearing on one’s well-being. For example he who goes about tense with anxiety, resentment, remorse, or other abnormal emotions can hardly expect permanently to enjoy good health or reasonable success.
Tensity of temperament in the upper realm of mind becomes tensity of tissue in the lower realm of body. Rigidity of thought reacts at once in rigidity of bodily functions. Whereas flexibility of mentality, confidence, friendliness, ease, and poise build a sure foundation for soundness of body and attractiveness of individuality.
Acquisition of Attractiveness
Every individual who chooses to act and live his best possesses attractiveness. This must be so in view of the undeniable logic of perfect God and perfect man. He who has the courage and at the same time the graciousness to rise to this height will find needful things flowing to him. His exalted mood becomes a veritable magnet which draws opportunity, position, companionship, all the conditions essential to an abundant life.
No one, of course, denies that human existence appears to have its trials and disappointments. Everyone observes that the good things of the world seem most unevenly distributed. Yet in the face of so-called failure and even despair
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
For the love of God is broader
Than is seen by human mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Conversing in Heaven
The mesmerism of the material world is not a permanent affair. Man’s status of perfection has not departed. It has not even faded. If unseen or forgotten in this wilderness of mortal ignorance, it is nevertheless at hand. It is not a condition so much to be struggled for as it is to be called to remembrance. Life with all its glories is here to be recognized. It is yours this day, yours to be enjoyed.
It makes no difference how busy you are, you are choosing, you are making decisions, you are talking with yourself. If you are not cautious you will be picturing age, fashioning ill health, deploring the inefficiency of government. When you select this line of conversation you add to the mesmerism which is already weighing you down. You make the wrong choice.
With a little more discernment and resolution you can make the right choice. You can order your conversation along healthful and wholesome lines. All day long you can talk with yourself of the vigor, the buoyancy, the resistlessness, the eternality, the glory of Life, keeping in thought all the time that it is your life you are talking about.
In this way you put vital truths to work in your own premises instead of idly contemplating them in the abstract. In this mood you are not far from invoking the injunction to pray without ceasing.
Relation of Body to Mind
At the outset of our argument we agreed, did we not, that God is Spirit, Life, Mind, Love. Which means that His people must be mental and spiritual, that is, constituted of intelligence. They cannot differ in quality from their Creator. A moment’s selfexamination leaves no doubt that man is made of intelligence rather than of non-intelligence. This is why he is so secure. Intelligence cannot grow old, cannot become sick, cannot suffer fractures, cannot be extinguished.
Intelligence does not differ essentially from consciousness. Here again one observes how safe true selfhood must be. For consciousness cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be put in danger. And yet how real, how tangible it is. Immediately an individual’s sense of being quickens as he recognizes that he is a consciousness, an intelligence, rather than a physicality.
What about the body? Science teaches and observation confirms that the human mentality and the human body are one. They are different levels of the same mentality. What we call body is the lower, grosser stratum. What we call mentality is the upper, the more ethereal stratum. Together they make up that intelligence which we call a human being. Not a perfect intelligence, certainly, but an intelligence which appears partly good and partly bad, partly spiritual and partly material. So that consciousness appears to be a mixture of human and divine ingredients. As one emphasizes the divine and repudiates the definitely human, one puts off limitation and mortality and gradually discovers that true selfhood, the perfect man of God’s creating, occupies the whole ground and always has occupied it.
Bodies Come and Go
Since the human mind and the human body are different layers of the same mentality, an improved mentality must bring an improved body. Better thinking must result in better health. No mystery then about the process whereby a Christian Science treatment reaches the body. As one corrects the material beliefs, the ignorances, the mesmerisms which throng the human mentality, one finds that consciousness builds for him a healthier, stronger, younger body — a more prepossessing personal appearance.
Consciousness is continually at work. The physiologists say that it builds each individual a new body every year or so. Why are the same scars and limps and idiosyncrasies imaged forth year after year? Because the individual holds them in thought. He refuses to forget the accidents, the ailments, the misfortunes that have appeared to cross his path in this material world. He describes them, boasts of them, whenever he can find an audience. In short he fills thought with the worst sort of building materials for consciousness to use.
Because consciousness is not only the builder but the building material, it is at once the sculptor and the marble. Serene in tempo and possessed of divine substances — integrity, animation, wisdom, affection — consciousness becomes spiritual and thus is equipped to rear a princely structure. Upset by alarms, anxieties, animosities, and supplied with mortal materials, consciousness becomes darkened and produces forms and figures which do well if they survive three score years and ten.
Bodies come and go but consciousness persists. It refuses to be put underground. Eluding the grave it builds in the hereafter such a body as it may need to operate through. You get a hint of this process in your dreams. The moment you fall asleep consciousness evolves another body. Your friends do not see it. You take it a hundred miles on a visit. It has all its members. You may have only one arm when you awake. You have two in slumber.
Identity in the Hereafter
Does this not help you to understand what takes place when one falls into the so•called last sleep? Immediately consciousness evolves another body untouched by the last illness and invisible to anxious friends. The departed, becoming invisible in the form we are accustomed to, take on another form which our dull senses cannot comprehend. But with vision quickened by the truths of Christian Science we shall some day see that the real man does not come, age, sicken, or depart. He lives on and on indefinitely, distinguishable and recognizable, made in the pattern of endless Life.
Things of Spirit may seem at first approach elusive to him accustomed to deal with the supposedly sure, firm things of matter. But if difficult to define, they are impossible to deny. In number they are as the sands of the shore. In unison they are the substance of spiritual man. Outstanding among them are affection, faithfulness, generosity, acumen, integrity.
Integrity! Can there be time or place from which it is absent? From everlasting to everlasting it endures in form more palpable to enlightened vision than the wayside rock to darkened material sense. So it is of all divine qualities or ideas. They exist in mold and structure as tangible as they are permanent. Not one of them can lose or surrender its identity. And as they are when viewed singly so must they be when fitly joined together in man.
Birth is not the beginning of an individual’s career and death is not its conclusion. Birth and death are events in the voyage of human experience. You cannot trace the beginning of the tiniest thing in the world. You cannot foresee its end. Even a fluffy snowflake, transient and insubstantial as it is, was something before. It will be something after. Silent as thought, it tumbles down to earth bent on an undefeatable purpose. Can you then not believe that you were something before? That you will be something after? That you have come into being for an undefeatable purpose?
Leaning Back on Mind
You have seen the surf riders of the South Sea, at least you have seen pictures of them. They seem to lean back on an unseen power and receive its impulse and propulsion. They glide over the waves with as much assurance as others walk the city streets.
You could cultivate the habit of leaning back on all-knowing Mind and permitting it to give you direction. This Mind would then keep you out of mistakes, out of dangers, out of follies. It would release in you thoughts that would enable you to build a better business or to carve out a finer career than you have yet attained. That Mind might impart to you some idea which would enable you to launch an entirely new enterprise in some hitherto unexplored field where there is no competition.
If the unemployed would lean back on Mind it would direct them to where they are needed. For every individual is needed. No man has been brought into being for idleness. God has an active career for each of his men and women. He has a vital purpose for every one of them, a purpose that cannot be frustrated.
You may fear that the injustice of others can defeat that purpose, can keep from you the good things God has prepared. Nothing of the sort really can happen. Not even your own folly can indefinitely postpone the destiny the Eternal plans for you as you “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
You remember the morning Jesus ·was brought before Pilate, charged with making himself king. At one point in the trial, where he refused to talk, Pilate said to him: “Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee and have power to release thee?” “Thou couldest have no power at all against me,” answered Jesus, “except it were given thee from above.”
Then Pilate delivered him to his accusers and he was executed. But presently Jesus was back alive the same man he was before. How little the conspiracy accomplished except to speed and glorify the career of that amazing man. There was not power enough in the clamorous rabble or even in the Roman government to defeat the purpose the Almighty had for His son.
There is no circumstance, no injustice, no power in this world to defeat the purpose God has for you if you make the right choice and stay resolutely with it. And life is still before you.
Discovery of Christian Science
Christian Science has now been in operation threequarters of a century. Discovered and founded in New England by Mary Baker Eddy, it has long since reached world-wide dimensions. Its churches encircle the earth. Its periodicals, including The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper, are read and appreciated in all lands. The headquarters of the movement are in Boston, Massachusetts, where its affairs are administered by a self-perpetuating board of five directors.
Prior to her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy was seldom free from sickness. Finding no material remedy, she eventually concluded that there must be a spiritual law of healing. She found it. She found that Jesus in healing the sick was not working miracles but practicing Science.
She set forth the teachings of Christian Science in her famous volume, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The book can be read in any public library or in any Christian Science Reading Room. Many people have been healed of serious ailments by studying its pages.
Science in our times has gone so widely abroad as to permeate universal thought. There is hardly a person in Western civilization who is not talking a different and a better language, who is not pursuing a different and a better life, who is not living in a different and a better world because this great woman has lived and labored here.
Remedy for Lawlessness
Every individual can make the world better. He can have part in quieting the present unrest. This he can accomplish by recognizing and insisting that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. We all know that He does reign, reign wisely and absolutely. We should be sufficiently alert and reverent to admit the fact. In this very admission, this very recognition, we help to make of none effect the turbulence at large in the earth.
The world, with its affairs and its people, is, after all is said and done, governed by the one Mind. Chaos and disorder therefore cannot run riot. The world is a place where Principle governs, making sinister intrigue, selfish ambition, attempts at ruthless domination, unavailing. The certain effect of a constant and resolute acknowledgment of these truths will be to still the harsh noises of the day.
The impatient and turbulent utterances of the hour scarcely reach the plane of intelligence. They are more on the level with lunacy. Shall we then be alarmed by their clamor? Rather shall we challenge them as senseless and powerless to deceive or organize or work mischief of any sort. We have the ability to extinguish, noiselessly and finally, the forbidding influences bent on undermining industry and government.
It is time to know that “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.”
We can calm the international suspicions and hatreds which lead to open conflict, we can silence rumors of war, by realizing that Principle holds the nations in their orbits and will not permit them to spring at each other in strife.
Are you not persuaded that God has a destiny for your nation — a peaceful and fruitful destiny, a destiny that as yet is not half fulfilled? Perhaps it will not be fulfilled if we fail to do our part. What is our part? It is to take definite account of the wily attempts to undermine government and civilization itself, and denounce them as unprincipled and therefore as impotent to carry out their designs. Every one of us has a responsibility which he cannot evade. We can do more than we have dreamed toward preserving the stability of nations and of society generally.
If civilization is permitted to go forward at its present pace, toil and pain and strife may well be eliminated from human experience within another century. The millennium cannot long be postponed if the impatience and lawlessness of the times are curbed. We have the means for curbing them; and “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”
The Answer to Human Problems
Is there any ill known to mankind that cannot be remedied by enlightenment? Not if we accept the pronouncement of Christ Jesus, “The truth shall make you free.” Our difficulties, then, must rest in misapprehension or ignorance. Their cure must come in that understanding for which Solomon prayed, and which, when acquired, awakened him somewhat to the fact that then and there was he in possession of all things needful — wisdom, knowledge, riches, honor.
Understanding, it will be conceded, is the universal necessity. Without it one has an inadequate if not a wretched state of existence. With it one begins to see the real universe and the real man; and begins to appreciate the perfection in which God has established His creation. For the universe, viewed as it actually is, assuredly must be an orderly, a kindly realm wherein are peace and plenty for every individual.
And man, as genuinely constituted, must be a perpetual manifestation of divine intelligence and invincible animation. He has the strength and the ability to accomplish all that may be legitimately demanded of him. Governed by the divine purpose, he knows no dangers or limitations to interfere with his progress or frustrate his success.
Understanding is advanced by recognizing that God is the only Mind, and that this all-knowing Mind finds expression through man, constantly imparting to him unerring intelligence. One who gratefully realizes and utilizes this simple yet dynamic truth has the satisfaction of seeing his limitations lessen. He finds his capacity for achievement enlarging and his dominion expanding. He is better enabled to solve his problems, whether social or business or whatnot. A larger degree of success and usefulness is the inevitable result.
What right have we to say that God is Mind? Because we are convinced that God knows all things and is everywhere present. Mind measures up to these requirements. More than once do New Testament writers refer to Deity, either expressly or by implication, as Mind. Thus does Mind, as a name for Deity, satisfy both reason and revelation. In Science, God is also defined as Soul, which reminds us that Mind, in its fullest sense, is much richer than mere intellect. It embraces the finer qualities of sympathy, love, beauty, animation. In other words Mind, in order to be an adequate name for Deity, must be in accord with divine Principle.
The proximate or immediate cause of many of the problems and distresses in human experience is fear; but fear, for the most part, is traceable to either ignorance or conscious wrongdoing. The unknown is peopled with fancied dangers. The unfailing panacea is more light, clearer vision, fuller understanding, unswerving character. Equipped with accurate vision and enlightened righteousness, with which God endues man, one feels secure and unafraid; one sees the futility of evil, the illusory nature of disease, and the groundlessness of poverty, regardless of appearances. For it is inconceivable that a beneficent God has projected man unprotected into an unfriendly universe. “Thou openest thine hand,” says the Psalmist, “and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”
Promotion of Health
Health is promoted by the intelligent and reverent insistence that man is in the present and permanent enjoyment of it, rather than by entreaty or importunate appeal for divine help. For Life is God; and therefore Life experiences no disease, no age, no beginning, no end. And this resistless, invulnerable, resplendent Life is the life of man.
It is by man that everlasting Life is made manifest. Man is the indisputable witness to the presence of Life. Indeed his very essence and substance is Life. He cannot do otherwise than feel its constant exuberance. He cannot know suffering because Life can brook no opposition. The functions of Life cannot be silenced or slowed down. They are in perpetual and unlabored operation even to the uttermost recesses of being. One who meditates on these truths, reasons them out, and assimilates them, will gradually prove the Christian Science proposition that disease is morbid belief, mesmerism, appearance, ignorance as distinguished from actuality.
Intelligent prayer consists, therefore, not in apprising God of our needs and beseeching Him to supply them according to our views, but rather in thankfully recognizing that in providing for man He has left nothing undone. Jesus assures us, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.” Is it not time we began wholeheartedly to admit this glorious fact, instead of, through doubt and fear, virtually denying or questioning it?
How touchingly is this illustrated in the experience of Hagar! Driven from Abraham’s home because of Sarah’s jealousy, she wandered with her son Ishmael in the wilderness of Beersheba. When their supply of water was exhausted she laid the boy under a shrub and sat down out of sight to await events. “What aileth thee, Hagar?” called the angel of God out of heaven. “Fear not.” Then did God open her eyes to a well of water close at hand.
Then did she exclaim, “Thou God seest me.” He knows of our plights and problems and delights in delivering us therefrom.
What authority have we for the assertion that Life is God? The Bible! “In him was life and the life was the light of men,” said John. The disciple was simply restating what Jesus himself had declared when, speaking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, he said, “God is a Spirit.” Spirit and Life are essentially the same. The words are different. The ideas identical.
Life is the one universal, undeniable fact. The most confirmed skeptic never questions the presence of Life; never doubts that he lives. What is man, after all, if he is not a manifestation of everlasting Life?
This is why man, truly, can never know weakness or sickness. Never can lack warmth and joyousness. Disease and mortality cannot be ascribed to Life, if Life is God. Nor can failure or despair. Nothing can intervene between man and Life. He is at•one-ment with Life, as the light is at-one with electricity. Jesus summed up this superlative truth when he declared, “I and my Father are one.”
For an individual to realize his oneness with the energy, the stateliness, the grandeur of everlasting Life, to realize that this Life is in him and through him and all there is to him, is to declare the truth which inevitably arouses him not only to increased strength, endurance, and resolution, but to the finer qualities of kindliness, graciousness, charity, and the richness of true being.
Admittedly we do not, through physical sense, cognize Life in its perfection either in man, the tree, or in the world at large. We see there only a hint, a promise, of the splendor which will appear when physical sense yields to spiritual sense. For it must be borne in mind that there are not two worlds, two creations, two men. Really there is only one universe, and that spiritual; only one kind of man, and that spiritual, in the image and likeness of God. All suggestions and indications to the contrary are of the ignorance and mesmerism which would cloud our vision and make us believe in these two impostors, materiality and mortality.
“Praise ye the Lord” is a frequent injunction of Scripture. We all admit that we should respect and praise God. But how can it be done when He is invisible? You praise God by trying to see how wonderful is His universe, and how glorious is His man, not forgetting that you are the man.
You can begin immediately to get acquainted with this man, in other words, to know yourself by a study of the Bible and of Mary Baker Eddy’s great book, Science and Health. For on page after page in these books you will find man defined as spiritual and perfect. This very man is your true and only selfhood. So that as you peruse these volumes you read about yourself, you read your own biography. This is why you can hardly put these volumes down once you have started to read them intelligently. Every person likes to hear a good word about himself.
Mortals and Immortals
Mrs. Eddy makes perfect God and perfect man the cornerstone of Christian Science practice. But this perfection of man does not at present appear, confessedly. Each person seems to be a composite — somewhat good, somewhat bad; at times sick and at times well. Out of this appearance of opposites has a supposition of duality crept into philosophy. It has come to be assumed that each individual is, to all intents and purposes, not one but two
- the first mortal, the second immortal; the one perfect, the other imperfect. But the undeniable fact is that there is only one kind of man; and that is spiritual and perfect. The supposedly material, evil, suffering man is therefore not a man. He is illusion, a misrepresentation of man. Oneness, not twoness, is the unchanging actuality of the universe.
If all the evil and matter and mortality in the world were gathered together, not a single man could be fashioned from them. Man cannot be made from such ingredients. He is made of the stuff eternity is made of. What is that? Intelligence and animation. Examine yourself searchingly and you will find nothing else on your premises or in your make-up. This is why we say man is spiritual, not material. This is why we say man, truly, cannot be put in jeopardy, cannot suffer accident, cannot be touched by disease, cannot be weighed down by despair, cannot be victimized by evil, cannot fall short of the kingdom of heaven.
Really there is no such thing, no such man, as a mortal. What we call a mortal is the lie or ignorance about man. This misrepresentation of man wisdom admonishes us to put off. How? By the clear recognition of selfhood as an exhibit of that everlasting Life to which materiality and mortality are unknown.
Impartation of Manliness
It is safe to assume that Jesus appraised people as well and strong. He refrained from the injustice of adjudging them sick and demented. Then did they refrain. They caught, as by absorption, his penetrative thought. It was an everyday occurrence with him to accost some supposedly hopeless sufferer and restore him to health. When the cripple was lowered through the roof before him, Jesus was not deceived by the appearance of helplessness. He knew that it was no more than a mesmeric condition. He was clear that vigor and strength were present, although weakness and decrepitude appeared to material sense.
So full was Jesus’ realization of the buoyancy and boundlessness of Life, so searching and glowing was his vision of reality, that the erstwhile cripple himself took on that same sense of Life, that same accuracy of vision. Then did he feel the surge of vitality in his sinews. He stood upon his feet and strode out before the astonished onlookers.
Life took on new meaning to people with whom Jesus mingled. They saw themselves as he saw them. The disciples who met him on the road to Emmaus felt their “heart burn” within them. The sick woman who came behind him in the throng realized her expectation, “If I may but touch his garment I shall be whole.” So do we all feel strength and courage and kindliness renewed in the presence and example of manly people.
Indigestion, high blood pressure, glandular disorders often have their beginnings in destructive emotions — irritability, bitterness, jealousy. Search the Scriptures, read Science and Health, become immersed in the truths they announce. These devastating emotions then give place to the healing concepts of faith, hope, charity. Health and peace are then found to be ever-present. The kingdom of heaven appears close at hand. It rests after all in a normal mood.
It might seem from the apparent prevalence of materiality and mortality that there is little else in human experience. This is a great mistake. The life we are now living, rightly viewed, is that eternal Life for which we have supposed we must depart this world. The disease and despair which appear to abound do not make up a tenth part of human existence. Daily life is largely sound and wholesome. A tremendous purpose runs through it all. This very moment your thought may be so exalted that you all but tread the lofty plains of immortality.
Despair, distress, and physical ills, generally, rest in belief, in mesmerism, in ignorance. No one in these days likes the word ignorance. Yet the word should not stir our pride but rather raise our hope, when it is seen to be the cause or home of sickness and mortality, because ignorance can be extinguished and distress thereby routed by the simple truth that Life, the Life that springs into visibility in man, is the Eternal.
Challenge to Disease
Yet on all sides is heard the argument that man is a mortal. Is it not deplorable what a person will say about himself, instead of insisting upon the fact that he is the noblest work of God? The argument for mortality has been carried on all down the ages. Ever since the race has had a language, people have pictured disease, with the result that there has been built up a universal belief or illusion or mesmerism of mortality.
Today this mesmerism, like the rain, falls down upon the just and the unjust. One need commit no specific wrong or harbor any particular fear or fault in order to become vulnerable to disease. It is enough that he believe in disease or expect it. And this liability will continue until men and women come more definitely into the recognition of perfect God and perfect man. As they advance in this understanding, they will be able to challenge more successfully than before the inroads of mortality.
They will be like David going out to meet Goliath. Goliath had expected a man armed with a sword or a spear. He knew not how to defend himself against David’s sling. Today Christian Science has put a weapon in your hand which disease and evil know nothing about. They cannot long resist it. That weapon is the truth — the truth which you will find on every page of Science and Health and in chapter after chapter of the Bible — the truth which reveals health and goodness as the real and denounces disease and evil as lying impositions.
Isolation of Sickness
Christian Science declines to confuse evil and disease with true being. It refuses to identify them with the individual. However intimately or disastrously disease may have appeared to fasten itself upon a person, actually it has failed utterly to reach his true selfhood. A corporeal mortal, to whom sickness may claim to attach itself, is a mistaken concept of man; for man is spiritual, without a suggestion of materiality or mortality. No other conclusion can be reached when it is remembered that God is Spirit. For an individual to recognize himself as spiritual is to gain the shadow of the Almighty, whence he can denounce disease as illusory and powerless to draw nigh.
A person who with divine help isolates any malady takes a decisive step toward undermining and extinguishing it. He will not ask how the ailment has come about or why it has taken hold of him. Rather will he challenge its claim to presence or existence. He will face mortal argument, which would foist the deception upon him, and deny its insinuations with the truth. And the truth is that there is only one Mind, God, and one real consciousness, a consciousness which is aware of no evil or distress. Therefore mortal mentality, with its arguments of suffering and sickness, is powerless in its pretensions
- indeed is nonexistent, having no part in the universe of eternal Life in which we have our being.
It is not difficult for the person to see and declare that the malady which tries to disturb him is belief, ignorance, or dream, because Life is God, and hence is continuously glorious and immune from disease. But he is prone to nullify in some measure his heroic and heartening declaration by claiming the belief or dream as his own, when in fact it is not. The dream and the dreamer are one, the disease and the diseased are one, but that one is not man. It is the dream’s dream, the illusion’s illusion.
It is, as Jesus said, according to Moffatt’s translation, a “liar and the father of lies.”
More than once has it occurred that a person supposedly in the grip of suffering has viewed the ailment as quite apart from himself and felt insensible to its ravages, while friends were looking on with deep concern. This phenomenon illustrates that not only is disease mesmeric, but that the mesmerism is not the individual’s. Christian Science treatment, therefore, is directed to the annihilation of the mesmeric belief.
Cure for Lawlessness
Every public-spirited person in these days is fired with the ambition to improve world conditions. The world will be better, indeed, it will be well on the way to the ideal realm, as soon as each individual begins to extract from his mentality anxiety, intensity, covetousness, suspicion, and envy, and replaces them with forbearance, kindliness, goodwill toward all, and faith in the ultimate triumph of good. The place to begin to overcome greed, violence, and tyranny is in one’s self.
The lawlessness, too much in evidence in all directions, can be quieted by our realizing how impotent are the ambitions and intrigues of men and women. Designing people have fancied that they could rule the world. Nebuchadnezzar succeeded for a time. But as he walked in his palace one night and meditated upon his greatness, there fell a voice from heaven, “The kingdom is departed from thee.” The same hour he was driven from men till at the end of the days he learned, “The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men.” Then his reason returned.
The impatient and turbulent utterances of the day scarcely reach the level of intelligence. They are more on the plane of lunacy. No cause then to be alarmed by their clamor. But there is cause for taking account of their pretensions and reducing them to their native nothingness. Since they lack intelligence and reason, they are destitute of the ability to plan or organize or carry on.
We are not helpless in the confusion and turmoil of the times. We have the capacity to extinguish, noiselessly and finally, the fanatical influences bent on upsetting industry and government and society itself. And our weapon is of the sort that these inimical influences cannot see or cope with. Our weapon is the truth that Principle governs in all times and in all places, making unprincipled forces of none effect. “The Lord shall have them in derision.”
The leaders in labor, in business, in government must learn that God directs the affairs of men. He rules there today, just as He has always done, regardless of the apparent rule of selfishness, strife, and oppression. “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty.” There is no other government than His. Ultimately this government will be seen to prevail. For any man silently to recognize these facts and to intelligently insist upon their dynamic quality is for him to have part in bringing about a better order of things.
When Moses was engaged in the giant enterprise of leading his people from Egypt through the desert up to the gates of the Promised Land, he at times wavered. He doubted his capacity for the undertaking. Then came to him the word from God, “My presence shall go with thee.” How many times have you, when faced with sudden danger, acted with “presence of mind”? You did what unseen intelligence directed you to do. So imminent was the danger that you had no time to consider or to argue. You acted, without doubt or hesitation, upon the divine impulse, and did the thing, or took the course which brought you into safety.
So Moses, faced by rebellion and starvation in the wilderness, lent himself to that presence, that everwatchful intelligence which always accompanies man, for Science makes plain that in Mind do we live, move, and have our being. He drew upon that presence for the discernment, the courage, the resourcefulness which the occasion demanded. Thereby did he become one of the great leaders in history.
Every man who accomplishes anything worth mentioning in engineering, in business, in government, in scholarship, in religion, learns to lean on the ever-present Mind. He looks to Mind and receives the understanding requisite for solving the problem confronting him. He receives from Mind the liberating thoughts which enable him to conduct his business successfully, to build the bridge or tunnel assigned to him, or to direct the ship of state through troubled waters.
Likewise the man in despair can recognize and actually feel the presence of God as Love, and know that he cannot stray beyond God’s care. He recognizes that somehow and in some way all his difficulties are provided against in that divine solicitude which clothes the lilies and is mindful of the sparrow’s fall.
So the sick, in enlightened expectation, feel the presence of Life as readily as they feel the warmth of the sunshine. They imbibe its glow. They experience its thrill. They appreciate its sublimity and permanence. There is no occasion for struggle, no need to climb the heavenly steeps, for Life is here and theirs in all its glory and exuberance —
A life indwelling, deep and broad
That meets the hearts great needs.
The Fact of Immortality
It is surprising how late were the Hebrews in arriving at the conviction that individual man has everlasting life. Little can be found to the point in the Old Testament. But the New Testament abounds with the doctrine. For early in his ministry, indeed throughout his career, did Jesus emphasize it. In conversing with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well he observed, as she handed him a cup of water, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’’
So startling were Jesus’ utterances, so remarkable were his doings, that the people wondered who he was and whence he had come. One day he answered: “I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” Here in brief simplicity he announces the continuity of individual life. Pre-existence, present existence, future existence are declared in one short sentence.
Then time after time he definitely and openly proved in a doubting world the truth of his statements. For scarcely a day went by that he did not heal some supposedly hopeless malady, thus demonstrating that individual life is above disease. He went so far, on some occasions, as to bring back to this world those who had taken their departure. The case of Lazarus was the most outstanding, for he had been gone four days when Jesus resuscitated him. Afterward, at a dinner given by Simon in honor of Jesus, Lazarus sat as one of the guests, his sister Martha waited on table, while their sister Mary, as the meal drew near the end, anointed Jesus.
Finally Jesus made the supreme test of immortality in his own experience. For he permitted his enemies to try to slay him. Apparently they did so. Afterward he came from the sepulcher. He appeared to his friends and talked with them, not once but several times, during a period of forty days. At last he ascended, that is, became invisible to the physical senses. He had demonstrated that individual life is indestructible and continuous.
Life is endless. It does not begin at birth; it does not end at death. Have you the courage to admit this? A moment ago you were brave enough to say, “I am an exhibit of inextinguishable Life, a Life to which disease and danger and dissolution are strangers.” Now you should be able to insist, “Why, really I have never left heaven for this mire of mortality. Therefore I am not called upon to explain its suffering and misfortune.
“I will no longer wonder why I am a failure. I will stop digging up the follies of the past and tormenting myself with them. I will insist that at most they were incidents of a dreamlike excursion. I will repudiate, disown, and rise above them, being careful to gain spiritual understanding, so as not to be drawn in that direction in the future.
“A failure? How can I fail when God has provided a world of abundance and opportunity? How can I fail when God has a purpose for me which cannot be frustrated — a purpose which abounds in activity, and wherein idleness and uselessness cannot enter; how can I fail permanently when, regardless of apparent defeat or dismay, life is still before me with all its possibilities?”
When you think and talk along this line, you will begin to dissolve the mesmerism of mortal existence, with its failure and limitation and disease. You will glimpse the fundamental truth we started out with, namely, perfect God and perfect man.
The perfect man, invested with these prerogatives, is here and now, and that man is your true and only self. He may seem to be obscured today, may seem to be temporarily forgotten; but he is present awaiting recognition. And for you to voice the foregoing truths is for you to bring to remembrance, little by little, the perfect man, apparently so long overlooked, you always were and always will be.
Enter Christian Science
It would be a skeptical man, indeed, who could doubt the continuity of individual life. Since genuine or spiritual consciousness is beyond all power of disintegration or destruction, it cannot, from its very nature, become unconscious but must endure eternally, whatever fate may seem to overtake the material mind and body.
Is it not clear that with spiritual sense we should see a different world, a different self? With earthly senses all we see of an individual’s life is the brief journey between the cradle and the grave. What occurred before birth, and what will occur after death, we are unable to appreciate. Our better judgment persuades us that we should be concerned with the present and make the most of it. Yet we are convinced that individual life is without beginning of days or end of years. We are coming to see that birth and death are events in human experience.
Christian Science presents life in a new dimension, that dimension which Christ Jesus portrayed when he walked the wave, entered the room without opening the door, passed through the crowd unseen, desired to be at his destination and was there, demonstrated his own assertion, “He that keepeth my saying shall never see death.” To spiritual man, and really there is no other, the ordinary three-dimensional world with all its restrictions is obsolete. He is in the enjoyment of that Life that does not come or go, does not age, sicken, despair, or depart.
It might be thought that the significance of Jesus’ stupendous achievements could never be forgotten, but within two or three centuries they were in large measure, until Mary Baker Eddy entered the arena of religious history some seventy years ago.
To those who would acquaint themselves with the inspiring events of her career, the following books, accessible in most public libraries and in all Christian Science Reading Rooms, are recommended: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Sibyl Wilbur; Mary Baker Eddy: A Life Size Portrait, by Dr. Lyman P. Powell; Christian Science and Its Discoverer, by Mary Ramsay; Historical
and Biographical Papers, by Judge Clifford P. Smith; and her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection.
One hardly knows which to admire the more, Mrs. Eddy’s discernment in bringing the Science of Christianity to light, or her genius in establishing it on a workable and enduring foundation. Viewed in either aspect she has played a commanding part in her generation. No one of her day has exerted more influence in the world — an influence which gathers momentum as the years roll by. And no wonder, for, as writes L. T. Caswell,
To point that living way, to speak
The truth that makes men free,
To bring that quickening life from heaven,
Is highest ministry.
The Challenge to Defeatism
Curability of Disease
In presenting me to an audience the other evening the chairman was optimistic enough to promise, “This lecture will lead your thought Godward.” Human thought is rather inclined toward weariness, infirmity, injustice, lack of appreciation. This is why distress and discouragement seem to become formidable. We help to make them so appear by placing undue emphasis on them. We should turn thought to their opposites, that is, we should throw all our emphasis on Life and its prospects, its richness, its satisfaction. More and more then will heaviness and suffering fade out of experience. For one to be mindful of integrity is for one to forget dishonesty. Likewise, for one to immerse one’s self in the glories of unending Life is to make pain and mortality obsolete.
Turning thought toward Life amounts to turning thought toward God, because God and Life are one and the same. The New Testament abounds with assertions to the effect that God is Life. Reason and observation confirm this pronouncement. For is not Life universal and indisputable? It is the one absolute fact. You may doubt many things. You may doubt everything — almost. But you never doubt that you live.
Along with the certainty of Life runs its continuity. People speak of life, thoughtlessly, as coming and going. But a moment’s reflection will convince anyone that Life does not come, it does not go. In other words Life is, it was, it will be. It is without beginning of days or end of years. You are living this Life today; there is no other.
Beginning and ending are alike impostors. They do not mark the confines of man’s existence. No individual has any knowledge or recollection of his own beginning. He cannot have because an endless Life has no end in either direction. Eternity is as long one way as the other. Is this not why no one has any information either about starting or finishing his course?
Life is self-existent. It is not caused; it is not created. God does not make life; God is Life. Hence it is that Life must be diseaseless, ageless, imperishable. Disease and dissolution cannot be ascribed to God or to eternal Life. Spiritual man, and truly there is no other, as presently will be brought out, is the expression of this Life. He is the highest witness to its presence. Really therefore sickness and infirmity cannot molest him — cannot molest you. Disease is seeming or mesmeric rather than actual. Hence its curability.
Man does not have to leave the present world and take up his abode in a more favored realm in order to come into the enjoyment of eternal Life. He is endued with that Life here and now. So far as the individual realizes his identity with endless Life, and he can begin to realize it today, he will rise above fears, restrictions, miseries. He will emerge into the domain of confidence, strength, freedom, everlastingness.
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in exalting Christ Jesus above all other teachers, describes him as made “after the power of an endless life.” The chief handicap with men and women, generally, lies in their willingness to believe that they are of mortal origin and therefore subject to the limitations that go with materia. This belief can be broken by any individual who chooses to recognize his divine origin and to maintain that as the project of endless Life he embodies the qualities and powers of endless Life.
How understandable, yet profound, is the speech, or rather the conversation, which grows out of the visit of Nicodemus to Jesus on the slope of Olivet in the silent hours of night. Nicodemus has heard of the sayings and doings of the revered Teacher in and about Jerusalem. Now he has come to ask, “How can these things be?” “Except a man be born again,” urges Jesus, “born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Then pointing to the swaying olive branch overhead he symbolizes: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
An individual content with the belief that man is born of the flesh can entertain no more than a limited, inaccurate concept of himself and of his environment. He is bound to assume that existence is material and obstructed. Whereas the individual who has roused himself to the recognition that he is born of the Spirit beholds the unobstructed realm in which he is a free and unrestricted inhabitant.
Are there then two universes and two types of men? Not at all. The unillumined mentality fancies that man is material and mortal and that the world he lives in is of like quality. Whereas the illumined mentality sees man as a spiritual immortal, unfettered and unafraid. Not two men, not two universes, but two appraisals of man and of the universe — the one true, the other false.
No fallacy works more mischief than duality. In the eternal oneness of things lies individual dominion: one God, who is Spirit; one universe and that immaterial and unobstructed; one man, and he spiritual, faultless, inextinguishable.
Duality has the effrontery to define man as soul and body, when, in fact, man is one and that one is soul or consciousness. Appraising man as consciousness rather than corporeality we see why it is that he grows by the standard of thought he entertains and by the quality of conversation he carries on with himself. To think healthfully, intelligently, righteously — to abide in faith, hope, charity — is to be absent from material appearances and present with reality. Then it is that human consciousness clarifies and ascends. There is no limit to the height it may reach. Boundless freedom is the ultimate. The dream or mesmerism of materiality and mortality, thus repudiated, fades out.
Realm of Security
He who glimpses the unobstructed world of reality, the boundless Life in which he moves and has his being, forgets his pain, his fear, his despair, his remorse. He gets to know himself as he is, a spiritual identity. He learns how safe and friendly is the universe of Spirit in which he dwells. The nation in peril, uplifted by days of fervent expectant prayer, is delivered from its enemies. The Red Sea adventure is not a legend. Nor is Dunkirk a miracle. Each furnishes an example of an entire world of security. How close is security after all, involving, as it does, only a change in human consciousness, brought about by a faith that approximates spiritual understanding. Safety is not a question of place but of understanding. Jesus and Peter are only a few yards apart as they walk the waves of Galilee. They tread the same water; they are subject to the same laws. Presently doubt weighs down the valiant apostle and materiality wins — for a moment. But Jesus puts himself, and his confused disciple, beyond the reach of gravity by knowing that man is a spiritual being in a spiritual realm where material forces do not operate. Spiritual man, or true selfhood, can no more be influenced by the law of gravitation than can the multiplication table.
What distinguishes Jesus from other men and women? Simply this: Jesus finds himself. He discovers that he is the Son of God. A like discovery awaits every growing individual. Says Emily Dickinson:
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.
The heroism we recite Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king.
Spiritual growth, with the freedom which it brings, is a slow process, confessedly. No one in these days pretends to have arrived. But every individual who orders his thought and conduct in accordance with Principle has set out in the right direction. Political, economic, and social freedom paves the way. The Christian Scientist is therefore intensely interested in these institutions. He loses no opportunity to advance them through energetic moral and tangible support. He finds that he can seldom do that which is absolutely right. He therefore chooses that which is nearest right under the circumstances, hopefully looking forward to the time when he may attain the absolute. He can never be charged, by practical men, with standing idly by in the presence of vital issues.
Sound idealism recognizes that the loss of social, political, or economic freedom jeopardizes spiritual freedom. Hence it is that the Christian is never an appeaser or compromiser when liberty is at stake. Christianity and spirituality mellow the individual, most assuredly, but in so doing they do not deprive him of the insight, the alertness, the courage, and the resolution that go with patriotism.
People cannot be brought en masse into the liberty of the sons and daughters of God. One by one must they come through experience born of intelligent effort. There must be a development of worthiness and soulfulness in individuals before there can be lasting capacity for any kind of freedom. And the status, once attained, can be preserved only by being prized and practiced vigilantly, constantly, industriously, prayerfully. The unused talent is lost. If the artisan abandons his craft does not his right hand forget its cunning? Travelers during and following the World War were impressed with the efficiency of girls at the ticket window and information desk. These new duties, which had become drudgery to men, were play to newly emancipated women.
Recapture of Enthusiasm
When citizens neglect to participate in politics in order that they may pursue the adventure of business or professional careers, democracy is sure to wane. Like•wise, if Christians do not practice their professions, Christianity must lose its vitality. “Faith without works is dead.” The totalitarians assume that this period of decadence has arrived. They reckon that the hour has struck for demolishing democratic and Christian civilization.
Greatly do they err. Militant materialism, destitute of rationality, must go down in confusion and defeat when challenged by the normal and spiritual forces of Christian Science. “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth” is not sounding brass. Neither is the assurance, “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty.” The Bible promises are kept, because they are more than promises, they are undefeatable facts.
The zeal and enthusiasm for democracy and things spiritual must be recaptured. Lethargy and inertia have brought them perilously near the precipice. There is still time to arouse ourselves and act heroically, but none too much. “Awake thou that sleepest,” cries the apostle, “and Christ shall give thee light.” Every individual should fervently pray that his nation proceed wisely and swiftly in the crisis. Each day he should set aside time to realize: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.”
His prayer should extend to insisting that men and women in places of responsibility will have the courage and resourcefulness to play their part in the world drama. Does not His presence accompany civilians and soldiers alike, and from it can they not gather strength, guidance, and protection commensurate with the demands of the occasion? The forces of evil carry within themselves the seeds of their own destruction. They have no intelligence. They border on lunacy. We should say and know these things, consistently and expectantly. The truth thereby released will not return void. It is the word of God which accomplishes that whereunto it is sent.
Technique of Defense
We should be on our guard against mental aggression from outside sources. Designing individuals and groups try, inaudibly, either to suppress or direct people and even entire nations. Sometimes this practice produces the lethargy we have been discussing. Sometimes it takes on even more mischievous forms. But there is no occasion for alarm; only occasion for alertness and the active, intelligent realization of the allness of good and the consequent impotence of evil.
An outstanding President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson, when warned of the silent unseen hostility of opponents, remarked, in effect: There is no mind to think or voice this enmity; no medium to transmit it; no audience to entertain it. These keen observations hint a technique for successful defense against malicious thought. Mind cannot conceive or project it. Nor can enlightened man feel or harbor its thrusts. “Be still,” then, “and know that I am God.” Here we have the impenetrable shield of faith.
We are not helpless in the confusion and turmoil of the times. We have the ability to extinguish the fanatical influences bent on abolishing freedom of thought and action. And our weapon is of the sort that the mental aggressor cannot see or cope with. It is the verity that Principle — intelligent, animate, benevolent Principle
- governs at all times and in all places, tolerating not one unprincipled thing in the universe. This recognition of the reign of law enables us to walk the earth in dignity.
Overthrow of Fear
Leaders in labor, in business, in politics must learn that the Eternal directs the affairs of this world. He rules today, just as He has always done, regardless of the attempted rule of selfishness, strife, tyranny. His is the only government. Ultimately it will be seen to prevail. The power usurped by despot and racketeer will depart, as did the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, and they will be driven from men till their reason returns. For one to recognize these truisms, and to insist upon their dynamic quality, is for one to have part in arousing public opinion to wise and energetic action.
Fear, more than any other foe, impedes mankind. It is fear that freezes the abilities of the individual and incapacitates him from going out in the world to achieve the fine things he dreams. It is fear that freezes the functions of one’s economy, causing illness and infirmity. It is fear that argues for peace when there is no peace. The major fear of all is the fear of coming to an end. Let any man grasp the sublime conception that Life, the very Life that animates him, is self-existent and endless, and he takes on an intelligent courage which rounds out and enriches his existence.
He becomes a better artisan, a better businessman, a better citizen, a better soldier in every field of endeavor. To him the selfishness of isolation, the littleness of appeasement, the trepidation of defeatism are unthinkable. Men assigned to places of supposed danger should realize that spiritual man, and genuinely there is no other, is quite out of reach of the machinations of evil and the enginery of war. A woman in her home can help to keep her menfolk at the front safe under the shadow of the Almighty by realizing this fact.
Not long ago a woman settled herself comfortably in the auditorium to get the most she could out of this lecture. Presently a man struggled in leaning on two canes. He seated himself nearby and uneasily waited for the discourse to begin. She became so disturbed that she feared the occasion would be ruined for her. The lecture had not proceeded far when she forgot all about the man and her irritation.
As she stood up at the end of the hour she saw the man walking toward the exit. “Mister, you have forgotten your sticks!” she exclaimed. “Will you leave me alone?” he rejoined, “I have something else to think about”; and he strode along as unencumbered as those about him. In following the argument from the platform he had got better acquainted with himself than he had ever been before. He had discovered, to use a homely expression, that man is well made — built of qualities enduring and unimpairable. He had discerned, in some measure, that since man is spiritual, his integrity cannot be touched. Surely it is not too much for one to say, “I am well made,” for is it not written “Man is the noblest work of God”?
Socrates was perfectly right when he used to advise, “Know thyself,” since if a man gets really to understand himself he will lose his supposed impediments and miseries. Every individual is much of a mystery to himself. He would like to be conversant with his biography, so to speak. The best biography of man ever published, if we except the Gospel of John, may be found in that celebrated book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy some sixty or seventy years ago. Page after page refers to spiritual, perfect, immortal man. This man is your true selfhood. Therefore when you read this volume you read about yourself.
This explains why people like to study Science and Health; every person likes to ascertain the facts about himself. This explains too why people are healed reading the book; they find themselves; they learn that truly they are whole, sound, intact. Thousands have been healed reading Mrs. Eddy’s writings; other thousands will be healed by the same process in the future.
Identity with the Eternal
Mary Baker Eddy has stated fundamental truths as they have never been stated before. Her Science and Health is the outstanding volume of modern times. Its influence on human thought has been tremendous and is still under way. The book can be found in all Christian Science Reading Rooms and in most public libraries.
We have attached a certain remoteness to Deity by referring to Him as the Supreme Being when in fact God is Being itself, your being. Suffering must abate when you come into this realization of your identity with harmonious Life. Life must be expressed. Where? At its highest in individual men and women. God must be. But where? The apostle answers: “There is … one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.” Few exercises are more exhilarating than for one to realize, as understandingly and as reverently as possible, the indwelling presence of exuberant and irrepressible Life. Here is the fervent prayer of the righteous man which availeth much.
It must be perfectly clear, to one who indulges for a moment in self-examination, that man is mental, mental all the way through. This explains why mental and spiritual treatment reaches every nook and corner of his being and puts to flight every lurking sense of pain or disorder. The fact that you are mental explains why the argument of this hour searches every avenue of your economy, making crooked places straight, substituting strength for weakness, establishing hope and confidence in place of anxiety and despair.
It is futile to try to explain man’s nature or identity in terms of physicality or corporeality. True identity is an exhibition of Mind and Life. Man then is a compound of God’s qualities — the qualities of resplendent Soul, Spirit, Principle. What are these qualities? Vigor, courage, intelligence, integrity, sympathy, and a score of others that will readily occur to you. Enumerate them, gratefully acknowledging that they are yours as the Eternal’s witness. Almost immediately will you feel uplifted because you have identified yourself with reality. You have repented the sin of appraising yourself a mortal.
When Paul was in this mood he wrote, in his graphic and colorful way, “Ye are the temple of the living God.” A temple is a place where people gather. Gathered in you are the vitalities and graces of unending Life.
All of which reminds us of Jesus’ pronouncement, “I and my Father are one.” If a drop of water in the Mississippi River could speak, it would proclaim, “I and the Mississippi are one”; and the chemist would confirm the statement, for he knows that centered in a single drop are all the properties of the Father of Waters.
The drop is in the river, yes, but the river is in the drop. You are in the mighty river of Life. It envelopes you; it permeates you; you are inseparable from it. Can the wave be disjoined from the water? No more can you be detached from self•existent Life. You are it.
The oneness of man with Life triumphant presents itself in three aspects: first, a oneness in quality; second, a oneness of inseparability; third, a oneness in this, that Life and its expression constitute a completeness, a wholeness under the law of perfect God and perfect man.
Talk to yourself as you have just been invited to talk, and you will give yourself an effective treatment; or talk in the same vein to another who asks for treatment, and you will start him on the road to freedom. In fact you have just been receiving, from the platform, forty minutes of Christian Science treatment, as a result of which you will not walk out of the auditorium the same person you were when you entered. You should expect to leave behind some of the years, some of the depression, some of the aches and pains, some of the poundage that hamper your movements.
What has been said of the freedom and perfection of man has of course been said in relation to spiritual and immortal man. Mortal and material man can claim none of the glory. He is no more than a misinterpretation of genuine manhood. He is the old man that Paul in his poetic way counsels us to put off. We say poetic way because, in a realistic sense, there is no such creature. Man cannot be dualized.
Sway of Mind
As we talk this language we turn thought Godward. We allow that Mind which was in Christ Jesus to speak through us and to endue us with the graciousness and power which animated him. This all-knowing, compassionate Mind knows your needs and satisfies them. As Jesus himself once said, “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” What things? Health, hopefulness, endurance, opportunity, work, business, attractiveness, friends, companions.
Idleness, loneliness, despondency should be ruled out. Little by little, they will be ruled out by the individual who stops voicing them and talks as we have been talking tonight. You can make this change from an idle, devastating conversation with yourself to an invigorating constructive conversation before the day ends. To do this is to repent, that is, to change your thought and talk sensibly. Tremendous is the effect.
He who recognizes the availability of Mind, and turns to it asking guidance and direction, will take on a fuller capacity for achievement. That Mind will release in him the thoughts and ideas which will enable him to solve the problems and master the difficulties which try to obstruct progress. In this way the individual makes divine intelligence his intelligence.
We must not forget that Mind is everywhere and in command of every situation small or great. Mind is in the highways we travel, in the shops where we work, in the homes where we dwell. We should recognize that Mind is enforcing right activity in these places. It directs traffic. It directs the other ordinary affairs of life. We can help to abolish accidents and make our premises safe by realizing this protective might of Mind.
It is a favorite saying that Jesus “spake as never man spake.” It can be said of Mary Baker Eddy that few teachers, since his time, have spoken with the power, the beauty of language, the heartening effect on the disconsolate that this distinguished woman has spoken, putting forth, in the lines of Jonathan Bahmaier, the
Word of Life, most pure, most strong,
Lo, for thee the nations long;
Spread, till from its dreary night
All the world awakes to light.
Simplicity of Truth
Years ago there was a woman who had a strong desire to hear Henry Ward Beecher. One Sunday morning the opportunity came. She heard him preach. Speaking of the occasion to her friends the next day, she remarked: “Mr. Beecher cannot be such a great man after all; I understood everything he said.” Such is the simplicity of truth. Any teacher at home in his subject is likely to make his presentation so vivid and concrete that people will not realize how deep thought is running.
Jesus was always able to make the profoundest truths intelligible and workable. You will observe this as you read the Fourth Gospel, often characterized as the greatest book in the world. Arguing with bystanders one day he maintained, “Before Abraham was, I am.” How stupendous and graphic the declaration, yet how few people, apparently, grasp its meaning.
He intended to convey, did he not, that individual man has a continuous existence? He has existed before just as he will continue to exist in the future. Here is a definite recognition of pre-existence. Christian Science makes it clear that pre-existence, indeed all genuine existence, is spiritual; it does not hold that there have been earthly existences before this one or that there will be earthly existences after.
More comprehensively did Jesus affirm the continuity of individual life when he asserted: “I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go to the Father.” Here, in brief, is the biography of the greatest man who ever lived. Here, if you will accept it, you have your own biography.
If you will apply to yourself the truths voiced by Christ Jesus when he said: “Before Abraham was, I am; I came forth from the Father and am come into the world, again I leave the world and go to the Father; and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” — you will awake, sooner or later, to the endlessness of your life. Having done so, you will be equipped to deal with discomfort and disaster effectively, for a continuous life cannot be exposed to misfortune or extinction.
In the Fourth Gospel, just as certainly as in Science and Health, you can glimpse the highlights of your biography. If you read this book discerningly, you will get acquainted with yourself. You will put off the worries, the dejections, the afflictions which have been trying to make you believe you are a mortal, and you will put on the strength, the fortitude, the capability of the sons and daughters of God.
Arguing with One’s Self
It is remarkable how a man will talk to himself. It is perfectly deplorable how he will argue disease, failure, wretchedness, and thereby persuade himself to believe in those things and to be incapacitated by them. With the same effort he could talk the truth to himself. He could say, “I and my Father are one”; he could say, “Before Abraham was, I am”; he could pray, “Give me the glory I had with thee before this mesmerism settled down upon me.”
The symptoms of disease need to be challenged more searchingly than has been our custom. We should declare, when they try to approach, “You have no voice, no intelligence, no life.” A sentence more withering cannot be pronounced against any offender than to strip him of intelligence, of life, of substance, of presence.
Such intelligence as disease, or any other form of evil, may seem to have, has been borrowed from those who acquiesce in it. It has none of its own. We should denounce disease as a lying imposition and at the same time exalt health and life as the realities and the inalienable rights of man.
Some people seldom think of disease. They do not voice it. They do not expect it. Their attitude is normal, wholesome, defensive. Seldom are they ill. But on the other hand, unfortunately, there are people who picture disease, fear it, expect it. Altogether too frequently they become victims of the condition they argue for.
So it is in the world of business. There are men who seldom if ever think of failure or defeat. They start or carry on an enterprise with an expectation of success. Almost invariably success and usefulness is the outcome of the venture. Then there are those who almost perpetually wonder if the business they launch will succeed. Still others look for employment, hardly expecting to find any. They deplore their years, their lack of influence or pull. They expect failure from the outset. The world is packed with opportunities. Only people without vision fail. And yet vision, stamina, industry, the will to achieve are inherent qualities of man, who is the compound idea or temple of the living God.
Perfect Round of Life
When Jesus announced “I came forth from the Father,” he referred to his pre-existence, did he not? Probably you have forgotten yours. Jesus had not forgotten his. This marks one difference between him and you. When he declared, further, “I am come into the world,” he referred to present existence. And, finally, when he foretold “I return to the Father,” he referred to future existence. Standing in this vale of tears, we see only the broken arc stretching between the cradle and the grave. Christian Science is leading us to the heights from which we shall behold the perfect round of individual life that does not begin, does not age, does not sicken, does not despair, does not fade out.
People take on necessary courage and hardihood as they begin to realize how endless Life is, how undefeatable it is, and how certainly there is place and need for them in the world. There is no virtue in failure or poverty. There is no virtue in sickness or infirmity. No necessity for them. Age and dissolution can be stood off by the individual who takes hold of himself every day and reasons out the leading facts in his biography as the son of God — those points brought out during the past hour, points more convincingly stated in Science and Health, points more dramatically set forth in Scripture.
“Search the Scriptures,” is the divine injunction, “for in them ye think ye have eternal Life.” To which may be added: “Read Science and Health and you will get acquainted with yourself, to learn that all the ingredients of Life and of Mind and of Soul converge to make you, to make you a man upright and Godlike.”
The Unfallen Man
A Challenge to Difficulties
Have you ever given yourself a Christian Science treatment? If not you have overlooked a priceless privilege. A treatment consists in talking with yourself, silently maybe, or aloud if you choose, setting forth what manner of man you would like to be, quite confident, all the time, that the man you would like to be is the man you genuinely are this moment.
So, right at the start, challenge the difficulty confronting you, whether it has to do with your health, your business, or your personal affairs — challenge it as having no more than a temporary or seeming existence. You have done this many times in your experience, even before you heard of Christian Science. You have stood up and stoutly denied and denounced afflictions that were trying to overcome you. You have taken up war against a sea of troubles, and, by force of your protest against the injustice, won the day. You had important work to do, engagements to keep, business to transact. You just could not afford to be incapacitated. You took hold of yourself and faced the traffic, confident that you could carry on; and you succeeded because, in doing your best, you laid hold of that inner energy which permeates every man and constitutes his very being.
Protest Against Imposition
Right now I recall a letter written by Mary Baker Eddy to her brother when she was a girl, wherein she dwelt upon the cold she was suffering from, not so much in giving it a build-up as in protest against the bothersome imposition. Every normal person rebels against distress, and he makes the rebellion more intelligent and effective as he discovers what frail and transient things are the aches and pains or everyday experience. And when he sees one of them go down under his valiant opposition he outwardly proves what he inwardly feels, to wit, that he has dominion.
You are the master of the situations which face you from day to day, not through any personal power of your own but by virtue of the all-knowing Mind which sustains and governs the universe and which sustains and governs you as part of that universe. This Mind is the only mentality there is, since there cannot be two or more conflicting mentalities in a well ordered universe.
This very Mind enables you to follow my argument; indeed it makes that argument. There is no other Mind. It directs, if you permit, your business, your footsteps, your daily affairs. It directs every function of your being, whether you call that function circulation, respiration, assimilation, or whatnot. Which means that you never stray beyond the Almighty’s care and propulsion.
The One Mind
Hence it is that there cannot be any of that inaction or overaction, which constitutes disease, in any part of your system. Mind charges you with the intelligence necessary to perceive that sickness, in all its forms, is baseless deception. It is of purer eyes, as Scripture avers, than to behold iniquity. So too are you. You can see only the healthful, the normal, the pleasing, and truly can experience none else.
There is no mind to conceive disease or produce it or project it into your experience. You have no mentality that can fear or feel or experience disease. For after all there is one Mind only, and that good or God. As you remind yourself of these fundamentals you see why it is that you have always challenged suffering and limitation, and with greater or less success. You simply have been unable to believe or accept them.
You have challenged impediments to success, scarcely knowing why. Now you have the reason. You see that you have that all-knowing Mind. It inheres in you. It is you. It is what you mean when you say I. It affords you the acumen, the wisdom, the resourcefulness you need for finding employment and for doing the work once it is found. It gives you the capacity for carrying on business enterprises or succeeding in the profession you have chosen.
Sight and Hearing
The human senses, so we all recognize, are inadequate. At best we do not see or hear or remember with the keenness we desire, and at the worst these faculties seem to decline. What can you do about it all? You can do a great deal. You can remind yourself, and this frequently, that since man is the noblest work of God, he is well-made and equipped for an indefinite period of usefulness. The Architect who constructed him did a thoroughly good job and guaranteed His product to endure. Therefore do not overlook the importance of declaring to yourself, “I am whole, sound, intact, and at peace. I am made of enduring substances fitly joined together.”
And above and beyond all this, keep in thought that sight, hearing, and other faculties are faculties of the all-knowing Mind, that this Mind is yours, and hence that these infallible senses we are discussing are yours, quite out of reach of impairment. You may be surprised to see how your sight and hearing improve as a result of this sensible argument.
You cannot help but observe, as you look out in the world, that Mind is in operation everywhere, mighty and beneficent. The colors, the formations, the innumerable types of life are constant specimens of the creativeness and government of divine intelligence. And what you see, after all, is only a hint of their genuine grandeur, because we do not discern, through the physical senses, things in their fullness and perfection.
Why is it that we view the world and ourselves so dimly? Because through some perversity or other we have classified ourselves as material mortals, dull and heavy in thought, action, and vision, when the fact is we are spiritual, and that throughout our whole economy. We are made of intelligence. You should say to yourself many times a day, “I am intelligence, and as such immune to restriction and danger.”
In this mood do men go through epidemics, collisions, and battles unscathed. They are knowing the truth, the truth that makes men free and secure. Only in that mistaken state when a man regards himself as corporeal do disease and disaster lurk. In his better moments he well nigh ascends above that treacherous zone. In those moments he nears the height of a Christian Science treatment, for when one is at his best he does not argue a proposition, he knows it.
“This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” And who is this Thee? It is the all-knowing Mind, the ever-pervading Spirit, the abounding Life which not only permeates man and the universe but is man and the universe. It is your very substance and essence. And who is the Christ? He is the ideal man. He is you if you will only admit it and play the part. When you are in this temper, disease and despair will have a difficult time entering your premises.
There is no law more certain of fulfillment to him who accepts it than the law of perfect God and perfect man. You may not be able to prove it in its entirety. I am not asking you to prove it, but only to declare, “Perfect God and perfect man and I am that man.” This very admission will carry you a long way on the road to actual demonstration. Take that step, humbly of course, but also confidently and expectantly.
Certainty of Life
When it comes to certainties, what is more certain than Life? It is the all and the only of your being. You cannot question that you live. You cannot conceive of a time when you have not lived or when you will cease to exist. The learned have sought for the origin of Life. They have wondered how it is initiated. But Life always was. It never was created or made. It always will be. There is no power to bring it to an end, because Life is the sole and exclusive power of this universe. It has no enemies. It is the jealous God who tolerates no opposition or interference. And this Life retains its energy and vitality and endlessness when individualized in you.
Immediately you admit these stirring facts in your own behalf you will grow in health and manliness. And yet, after all, you do not need these verbal reminders. Every moment you feel the thrill, the vitality of Life throughout your entire area. Life is so near that it constitutes your very self. It is you. Jesus was indulging no fancy when he said, “I and my Father are one.” You will be surprised to see how easy it is for you to say, “I and everlasting Life are one.” And when you begin to talk this language of continuous being, recognizing that this existence is your own, you will be well on the road out of the illusions of human perplexity.
When can you talk with yourself? Well, there is little time when you do not talk with yourself. You do so on the side when you converse with others, perhaps questioning, “Had I better tell them this, or that?” In the busy hours of work, in the quiet hours of rest, your conversation runs on uninterruptedly. Make it a sensible, a stimulating, a healthful conversation. Do not let it persuade you that this is a tough world, full of injustice and frustration and suffering. Give it an upward direction of hope and faith. Of course you get a little doubtful at times, but even then you can recall and remind yourself of glorious glimpses of reality you had a day or two before. And if you cannot actually bring them back you can at least recite or picture them. You can say, “All this turmoil cannot be true or lasting because the heart of the Eternal is so wonderfully kind.”
Why do these arguments and realizations and insights improve your condition? Because they are true, and Truth is mighty and will prevail. They are the truth about you. Some day if you will persevere in sensible self-conversation that truth will dawn upon you. You will emerge from the mesmerism of mortality to find that you are not of the earth earthy, for there is no mortal man. You will find that you are of heaven heavenly, the son of the Eternal. Small wonder that men so persistently seek the truth, is it?
The reason that talking as though one were a mortal, more or less miserable and useless, brings punishment, is that the argument is definitely sinful. Sin is any dissent from Truth. Hence be accurate, be truthful in your estimate of yourself, insisting, regardless of present appearances, that you are the temple of the living God, that gathered in you are all the glowing ingredients of exuberant Life, that you are no less than a synthesis of qualities that endure. Yes, Truth imparts its own mightiness to the man who embraces it.
People are in the habit of speaking of man as made up of soul and body as though he were a pair or double. In recent times they have come to use the word consciousness in place of soul; and this is a great help toward clear thinking, because everyone knows, in a way, what consciousness is, while soul is a rather elusive term. About the best definition you could give of yourself is to say, “I am an individual consciousness.” This is quite in line with Mrs. Eddy’s teaching, as you know.
To appearances one seems to be a mixed consciousness of both good and evil, of both health and sickness. But above and beyond all this he has the power to repudiate evil and illness as none of his and to claim health and goodness as his right and heritage. When he does this he practices Christian Science. He will find that indisposition and age will recede while strength and longevity will more definitely come into experience.
Capacity for Expansion
This transformation comes about because man is mental all the way through. It is a mischievous mistake to try to divide him into both a mentality and a materiality. When one recognizes that he is mental throughout, he understands why an improvement in his mentality will result in an improvement in his whole being.
This improvement, which comes about as one habitually rehearses the truths we have heretofore set forth and denounces the evils occasionally referred to, will continue until limitations and infirmities are swallowed up of spirituality with its boundlessness. Then will Soul manifest itself in him in its richness and everlastingness. He will appreciate what Walt Whitman is driving at when he writes, “I do not doubt that I am limitless, in vain I try to think how limitless.”
Then the question comes, what about this avoirdupois of one hundred and twenty or one hundred and eighty pounds, as the case may be. Well, yours has been changing a great deal within the past few years. It has increased or diminished in bulk, maybe, or it has improved or deteriorated in form. This body, in one sense, is only your opinion of yourself, and it is to be hoped that you have changed your opinions on all important issues easily once a year. Your concept or opinion of the body will change, and in the right direction, as you change your talk with yourself.
In the case of Enoch this change was pushed so far that he walked with God and was not. The transformation may not go that far with you, but it can and it will go so far, under the impulse of healthier thinking and talking, that you will be less and less aware of this body and it will be better and better behaved. It will be more prepossessing to your friends. Even this advance is worth working for, is it not? The ultimate cannot be less than pleasant to contemplate.
Let’s forget about these confusing, descriptive words, soul and body. Insist that you are nothing more or less than an intelligence or an individual consciousness. Then are the potentialities for improvement unloosed. If you will begin each day, when you wake up, with the determination to keep thought and conversation under control, you will have the satisfaction, as the months roll by, of finding yourself mentally, soulfully, and even bodily nearer the pattern shown in the mount.
“Hitch your wagon to a star,” recommends Emerson. Lay hold of the immensities of Life, which is not difficult when Life is as close as hand or breath. Then will you gather might from omnipotence, wisdom from omniscience, protection from omnipresence.
Is it not plain that the benign power which sustains and directs the earth in the vast open spaces of heaven upholds, supplies, vitalizes, instructs, comforts, and immortalizes you?
Admit the undeniable fact every hour of the day. Amplify it in your own way and words. Thereby will you protest the truth which removes obstructions. Your wagon speeds up. Strength, vision, and hearing, with which to enjoy the journey, spring into normal action. You are a synthesis of the qualities and powers of Supreme Being. Acknowledge it and be free.
Of course you keep in thought all the time that perfection is your present and constant status. Abnormal action of any sort, whether too slow or too fast, has no more actuality than the emotions and movements pictured on the cinema screen. Hence the nonexistence of disease and mortality. They are shadows to disappear with enlightenment. The whole healing process is a letting in of that Mind which knows nothing about them.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
And the King of glory shall come in.
* * * * * * * *
Abridged report of a lecture given at the Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay,
September 3, 1939.
Legality of Christian Science Practice
Practice of Medicine Defined
Half a century ago the right of an individual to treat the sick by Christian Science for compensation was raised here and there throughout the English-speaking world. As late as thirty years ago the issue came before the courts occasionally for adjudication. At that time this discourse was prepared and given as a legal opinion. Printed in the Yale Law Journal of March, 1915, it attracted wide attention. Now and then the debate still rumbles.
The citations numbered 1 to 33, appearing in the text, are grouped at the end of the article.
Any inquiry into what is meant by the “practice of medicine” may, at first impression, seem purely academic, and so it would have been a generation ago when the healing art was exclusively in charge of physicians schooled in materia medica, and the practice of medicine was essentially synonymous with the treatment of disease; but now that new systems for the cure of human ailments have come into existence which have little or no resemblance in method of treatment to what may be styled the established system, in that they make no use of drugs or medicinal substances, the question as to what constitutes the practice of medicine becomes of practical importance, for if the individual who treats disease without recourse to drugs or any of the agencies employed by regular physicians is to be regarded as practicing medicine, he becomes amenable to the criminal law, where, as is usually the case, he is untrained and unlicensed as a physician.
Moreover, the people who may desire his method of treatment are thereby denied the privilege of enjoying it and resorting to the practitioner of their choice, while experience in the healing of the sick is restricted to practitioners of the established schools of medicine and is thereby hampered in its growth. These are considerations of vital concern, and are now being so recognized, not only as touching the liberty of practitioner and patient, but as affecting research and progress in the healing art at this time when no school or system has reached that stage of perfection in its practice which warrants it in demanding recognition to the exclusion of all others.
If the average person were asked offhand to define the “practice of medicine,” he probably would reply, in substance, that it is the treatment of disease by means of drugs; but if given time for reflection he would concede that the practice of medicine is something more than merely administering remedies, since the physician first examines his patient, searches for symptoms, and decides the character of the ailment, before determining upon and prescribing the remedy. Medical practice, therefore, includes physical diagnosis; in fact, it is founded thereon. More than this, the physician, after he has diagnosed the case, does not always prescribe medicine, butu may advise rest, change of climate, or other remedies having no relation to drugs. Yet in doing this he is ordinarily regarded as practicing medicine, because what he does is based upon facts obtained by diagnosis, and presupposes a knowledge of those technical subjects, such as anatomy, physiology, and pathology, which constitutes a medical education. Broadly speaking, one is practicing medicine when he visits his patient, examines him, investigates the source of disorder, determines the nature of the disease, and prescribes the remedies he deems appropriate. (1)
This question seems to have first come up for judicial determination in New York, and on that occasion the state supreme court used this language: “The practice of medicine is a pursuit very generally known and understood, and so also is that of surgery. The former includes the application and use of medicines and drugs for the purpose of curing, mitigating or alleviating bodily diseases, while the functions of the latter are limited to manual operations usually performed by surgical instruments or appliances.” (2) The same court, however, has subsequently called attention to the fact that this definition eliminates what is styled as the “very corner stone of successful medical practice, namely, the diagnosis.” (3)
That the practice of medicine includes more than prescribing or administering drugs, is recognized in the following statement from the supreme court of Massachusetts: “It would be too narrow a view of the practice of medicine to say that it could not be engaged in any case or class of cases otherwise than by prescribing or dealing out a substance to be used as a remedy. The science of medicine, that is, the science which relates to the prevention, cure or alleviation of disease, covers a broad field, and is not limited to that department of knowledge which relates to the administration of medicinal substances. It includes a knowledge, not only of the functions of the organs of the human body, but also of the diseases to which these organs are subject, and of the laws of health and the modes of living which tend to avert or overcome disease, as well as of the specific methods of treatment that are most effective in promoting cures. It is conceivable that one may practice medicine to some extent, in certain classes of cases, without dealing out or prescribing drugs or other substances to be used as medicines. It is conceivable that one may do it in other ways than those practiced as a part of their respective systems, by either ‘osteophathists, pharmacists, clairvoyants or persons practicing hypnotism, magnetic healing, mind cure, massage cure science, or the cosmopathic method of healing’” (4)
The ‘practice of medicine’ as ordinarily and popularly understood,” declares the supreme court of Tennessee, “has a relation to the art of preventing, curing, or alleviating disease or pain. It rests largely on a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and hygiene. It requires a knowledge of disease, its anatomical and physiological features, and its causative relations. Popularly, it consists in the discovery of the cause and nature of disease, and the administration or prescribing of treatment therefor.” (5)
Legislative Regulation of Practice
Since the advent in recent years of drugless systems of healing, and the falling off in the use of drugs even by medical practitioners, the legislatures of many states have materially broadened the definition of the practice of medicine by amending the statutes which regulate medical practice and make it unlawful for one to engage therein without first having been examined and licensed by a board of medical examiners. Perhaps the present New York statute is as comprehensive in this respect as any that can be found. It declares that “a person practices medicine . . . who holds himself out as being able to diagnose, treat, operate, or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition, and who shall either offer or undertake, by any means or method, to diagnose, treat, operate, or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition.” (6)
While within certain bounds legislatures are doubtless competent to define the practice of medicine and thereby restrict the right to engage in it to those who, upon examination, are found to measure up to a prescribed standard of medical knowledge, yet it would hardly be contended that legislatures may so enlarge the definition as to declare that to be the practice of medicine which in its very nature is not, and then make it a criminal offense for any one to engage therein except a licensed medical practitioner. To admit that a legislature has power to do this would be tantamount to conceding that it can declare that to be a crime which in its nature is and under all circumstances must be innocent; and this a legislature, however omnipotent it may be, cannot do. If a person should read Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality or recite Hamlet’s Soliloquy or repeat the Twenty-third Psalm, to a sick person, for a fee, and with the intention of thereby alleviating his suffering, this would not amount to the practice of medicine and no amount of legislation could make it so; and yet we shall presently see that it has been contended, and in some instances successfully, that other acts as far removed as these from actual medical practice, when performed by one who holds himself out to the public as able to bring relief to the sick, amount to the practice of medicine.
In discussing this matter in reference to the medical practice act of North Carolina, Chief Justice Clark of that state observes: “The act is too sweeping. Besides, the legislature could no more enact that the ‘practice of medicine and surgery’ shall mean ‘practice without medicine and surgery’ than it could provide that ‘two and two make five,’ because it cannot change a physical fact. And when it forbade all treatment of all diseases, mental or physical, without surgery or medicine, or by any other method, for a fee or reward, except by a Doctor of Medicine, it attempted to confer a monopoly on that method of treatment, and this is forbidden by the constitution.” (7)
When osteopathic treatment of the sick began to attract public attention some twenty or more years ago, it was called in question as the practice of medicine, but at that time the statutes defined the practice of medicine, in its popular or ordinary sense, and the courts very naturally held, in a majority of cases, that the practice of osteopathy is not the practice of medicine, and hence that a practitioner of osteopathy may lawfully pursue his vocation without being licensed as a physician and surgeon. The following language of Justice Clark is instructive in this connection:
“It is argued to us that the science, if it be a science, of osteopathy is an imposition. Of that, we, judicially speaking, know nothing. It is not found as a fact in this verdict. We only know that the practice of osteopathy is not the practice of medicine or surgery as commonly understood, and therefore it is not necessary to have a license from the board of medical examiners before practicing it . . . . The state has not restricted the cure of the body to the practice of medicine and surgery ‘allopathy’ as it is termed — nor required that, before anyone can be treated for any bodily ill, the physician must have acquired a competent knowledge of allopathy and be licensed by those skilled therein. To do that would be to limit progress by establishing allopathy as the state system of healing and forbidding all others. This would be as foreign to our system as a state church for the cure of souls. All the state has done has been to enact that, when one wishes to practice ‘medicine or surgery,’ he must as a protection to the public — not to the doctors — be examined and licensed by those skilled in ‘surgery and medicine.’ To restrict all healing to that one kind, to allopathy, excluding homeopathy, osteopathy, and all other treatments, might be a protection to doctors in ‘surgery and medicine,’ but that is not the object of the act, and might make it unconstitutional, because creating a monopoly . . . . Certainly, a statute requiring examination and license ‘before beginning the practice of medicine or surgery’ neither regulates nor forbids any mode of treatment which absolutely excludes medicine and surgery from its pathology.” (8) Statements to the same effect may be found in the opinions of the Kentucky and Mississippi courts. (9)
Other courts, however, under statutes enlarging the scope of the practice of medicine and giving it a “technical” meaning, have taken the view that the practice of osteopathy, or of its related system, chiropractic, is the practice of medicine, in that such practice involves the diagnosis of disease. (10) Speaking on this point the supreme court of Missouri has this to say: “In the main, the cases regard diagnosis as the test to determine whether a practice or treatment is included in the terms ‘medicine’ and ‘surgery.’ This is a practical test. A doctor who advises his patient to sleep in the open air is treating him. Such advice, however, is based upon a knowledge of the patient’s condition obtained by diagnosis. The defendant (a chiropractor) professed to be able to ascertain by examination of the patient the cause of his trouble, a result rather beyond that which ordinarily attends the diagnosis of the regular practitioner. The method or extent of the examination is not the controlling feature. When the practitioner makes such an examination of the patient as he regards as sufficient to indicate to him the cause of the trouble and its proper treatment, he has diagnosed the case.” (11)
Osteopathy, or some form of manual manipulation, is sometimes practiced in conjunction with mental suggestion, as a means of curing sickness. Persons who adopt this system have been held to come within the meaning of statutes requiring practitioners to take examination before and obtain licenses from the board of medical examiners; in other words, such composite method of treating bodily ailments has been regarded as the practice of medicine. In arriving at this conclusion courts appear to have been guided by the theory that where such treatment is based upon physical diagnosis, as it usually seems to be, it cannot be intelligently administered by one not familiar with anatomy, pathology, and other allied branches of learning. (12)
Suggestive therapeutics, practiced without any manipulation of the body, or use of medicinal substances or material agencies of any sort, and not founded upon diagnosis or assumed knowledge of the laws of health and disease, can hardly be said to constitute the practice of medicine. (13) This question has been thoroughly considered in Georgia, (14) where the code provides as follows: “The words ‘practice medicine’ shall mean to suggest, recommend, prescribe or direct, for the use of any person, any drug, medicine, appliance, apparatus or other agency, whether material or not material, for the cure, relief or palliation of any ailment or disease of the mind or body, or for the cure or relief of any wound, fracture, or other bodily injury or any deformity, after having received or with the intent of receiving therefor, either directly or indirectly, any bonus, gift, or compensation”
Justice Hill, in interpreting this statute, observes: “The purpose of the act is clearly indicated by its title, ‘To Regulate the Practice of Medicine.’ It was not intended to regulate the practice of mental therapeutics, or to embrace psychic phenomena. These matters lie within the domain of the supernatural. Practical legislation has nothing to do with them. If they are a part of a man’s faith, the right to their enjoyment cannot be abridged or taken away by legislation. . . . To the iconoclast who denounces these things as the figments of superstition, or to the orthodox physician who claims for his system all wisdom in the treatment of human malady, we commend the injunction of him who was called ‘the Good Physician,’ when told that others than his followers were casting out devils and curing diseases: ‘Forbid them not’
“Going back to the question now under consideration, we deduce the following proposition: That the practice of medicine defined by the code, is limited to prescribing or administering some drug or medicinal substance, or to those means and methods of treatment for prevention of disease taught in medical colleges and practiced by medical practitioners; that the purpose of the act regulating the practice of medicine was to protect the public against ignorance and incompetency by forbidding those who were not educated and instructed as to the nature and effect of drugs and medicine, and for what diseases they could be administered, from treating the sick by such medical remedial agencies; that the law is not intended to apply to those who do not practice medicine, but who believe, with Dr. Holmes, that ‘it would be good for mankind, but bad for the fishes, if all the medicines were cast into the sea,’ nor to those who treat the sick by prayer or psychic suggestion. In the language (15) of Chief Justice Clark, ‘Medicine is an experimental, not an exact science. All the law can do is to regulate and safeguard the use of powerful and dangerous remedies; . . . but it cannot forbid dispensing with them’ ‘All the law so far has done or can do is to require that those practicing on the sick with drugs . . . shall be examined and found competent by those of like faith and order.’
“We are therefore clear that plaintiff in error (who claimed to effect cures by the laying on of hands, the healing resulting from ‘Magic power’) was not a practitioner of medicine in the sense of our statute or in the popular sense; and the fact that he received fees and compensation for treatment in the shape of gifts could not make what would otherwise not be the practice of medicine a violation of the statute regulating such practice, for it must be apparent that, if a mere laying on of hands amounts to the practice of medicine in any sense, it is so without reference to fee or reward.”
It has been affirmed that suggestive therapeutics bears no relation to the exercise of religious beliefs or principles, and hence is not protected by provisions in a medical practice act which exempt from its operation the practice of religious or any kind of treatment by prayer.
(16) It has also been decided that the fact that a practitioner may believe in the teachings of Jesus relative to healing the sick does not save his treatment from being regarded as the practice of medicine, if, contrary to such teachings, he diagnoses disease and treats patients by rubbing and manipulation. (17)
In Colorado it has been decided that one who holds himself out to the public as a “healer,” maintains an office, and accepts compensation for treating the sick, claiming that treatment is a natural gift, practices medicine, although he makes no use of drugs or surgical instruments. (18) The practitioner in this case seems to have regarded the treatment of the sick as a part of his religion, and to have invoked the provision of the statute that “nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the practice of the religious tenets or the general belief of any church whatsoever, not prescribing or administering drugs.” But the court said: “He held himself out to the public as a professional healer of disease, and a practitioner of the healing art. The statute lays hands on commercial healing as a money-making occupation, business, or profession, regardless of the method of treatment or curative agency employed. . . . The practice of medicine, defined by our statute, means the practice of the healing art commercially, regardless of the curative agency employed. The commercial practice of healing by prayer, followed as a money-making venture or occupation, is the practice of medicine within the plain meaning of the statute.”
Here is suggested a novel test for determining whether or not any particular treatment constitutes the practice of medicine, namely, is the service rendered for compensation or gratuitously, is it profitable to the practitioner or otherwise? It is difficult to understand how the matter of compensation can have any bearing on the question, but of this more will be said hereafter.
In a recent New York case it appears that the defendant held himself out as curing all sorts of diseases, and that he was the head of a church which he owned and in which he offered prayers and conducted services intended to heal the sick. When prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license, he sought refuge in the provision of the medical act that it “shall not be construed to affect . . . the practice of the religious tenets of any church,” but the court ruled against him and he was convicted. (19)
It is not easy to reconcile this decision with an earlier case in the same state where a parent, or one standing in loco parentis, was indicted for not calling medical aid for his sick child as required by statute, and he interposed the defense that he did not believe in physicians but that he believed in and relied upon prayer for healing. But that was held to be no defense and he was convicted. (20) Now, if the treatment of disease by prayer or religious ceremonies is the practice of medicine, was not the parent furnishing medical aid when he prayed for the child?
The statutes and decisions referred to in the preceding pages are of course not intended as exhaustive of the subject with which they deal, but merely as representative of the utterances of courts and legislatures in their attempts to determine what constitutes the practice of medicine. Some of the statutes and decisions, but by no means all of them, reveal an unmistakable tendency toward holding that the practice of medicine is coextensive with the treatment of disease, and that any form of treating disease, especially if for compensation, amounts to practicing medicine, notwithstanding the treatment bears not the slightest resemblance to medical practice as understood and conducted by physicians.
The most striking illustration of this tendency is afforded in the case of Christian Science. Its practice, as everyone knows, is purely metaphysical. It takes no cognizance of physical diagnosis, it eschews drugs and other material remedies, and does not depend upon a knowledge of the functions of the human body or of the diseases to which it is subject. In short there is nothing in common between medical practice and metaphysical or Christian Science practice, except that both are striving to overthrow disease, the former having the physical or mental recovery of the patient as its sole object, the latter regarding his physical or mental restoration only as an incident of his spiritual regeneration. And yet, since Christian Science assumes to heal disease, its practice has been challenged as the practice of medicine, and its practitioners have in some instances been prosecuted for pursuing their vocation without being licensed as physicians.
In two of the states of the Union, Missouri and Rhode Island, where this question has arisen, it has been decided that the application of Christian Science to the cure of bodily ailments is not the practice of medicine, and that a Christian Science practitioner, who treats the sick by prayer or metaphysical processes, is not a physician, and hence does not offend the law by carrying on his practice without a license from the board of medical examiners. (21) Said the supreme court of Rhode Island: “Medicine, in the popular sense, is a remedial substance. The practice of medicine, as ordinarily or popularly understood, has relation to the art of preventing, curing, or alleviating disease or pain. It rests largely in the science of anatomy, physiology, and hygiene. It requires a knowledge of disease, its origin, its anatomical and physiological features, and its causative relations; and, further, it requires a knowledge of drugs, their preparation and action. Popularly, it consists in the discovery of the cause and nature of disease and the administration of remedies and the prescribing of treatment therefor. Prayer for those suffering from disease, or words of encouragement, or the teaching that disease will disappear and physical perfection be attained as a result of prayer, or that humanity will be brought into harmony with God by right thinking and a fixed determination to look on the bright side of life, does not constitute the practice of medicine in the popular sense.”
In Nebraska, on the other hand, it has been held that a Christian Science practitioner comes within the statute of that state providing that “any person shall be regarded as practicing medicine . . . who shall operate on, profess to heal, or prescribe for or otherwise treat any physical or mental ailment of another”; and that the practice of Christian Science, for compensation, is an indictable offense, if the practitioner is not a licensed physician. The defense interposed in this case as well as in all other cases where Christian Science has been assailed, was that to declare such treatment unlawful would be to abridge religious freedom; but Justice Ryan, in rendering the decision replied: “It is confidently believed that the exercise of the art of healing for compensation, whether exacted as a fee or expected as a gratuity, cannot be classed as an act of worship. Neither is it the performance of a religious duty.” (22)
In Ohio, also, the giving of Christian Science treatment, for a fee, for the cure of disease, has been held to be practicing medicine within the meaning of a statute which declares that “any person shall be regarded as practicing medicine or surgery or midwifery within the meaning of this act, who shall use the words or letters ‘Dr.,’ ‘Doctor,’ ‘Professor,’ ‘M.D.,’ ‘M.B.,’ or any other title, in connection with his name, which in any way represents him as engaged in the practice of medicine or surgery or midwifery, in any of its branches, or who shall prescribe, or who shall recommend for a fee for like use any drug or medicine, appliance, application, operation or treatment, of whatever nature, for the cure or relief of any wound, fracture or bodily injury, infirmity or disease.”
In construing this statute the court states that it has no doubt the legislative intent was to bring within this definition every person who, for a fee, prescribes or recommends a cure for disease, even though the cure is to come not from himself but, through his intercedence, from God. If the practitioner informed against prayed for the recovery of the sick, says the court, then that was the treatment which he gave for the cure of disease and for which he was paid; he was practicing healing or curing disease. “To assume that legislation may be directed only against the administering of drugs or the use of the knife is to take a too narrow view. The subject of the legislation is not medicine and surgery. It is the public health or the practice of healing.”
These statements the court makes in answer to the argument of the defendant that the word “treatment” is to be given its meaning as used in the practice of medicine, and that as so interpreted it means the application of remedies to the curing of disease, that a remedy is a medicine or application or process, that a process is an action or operation, and that prayer for the recovery of the sick is neither; it being conceded that the defendant did not recommend or prescribe for the cure or relief of patients any drug, medicine, appliance, application or operation, that he made no diagnosis or physical examination, that he gave no directions as to food, diet, exercise or any other directions, and that he made no inquiry as to the nature of the disease with which patients were afflicted. The only thing he did was to give treatment by prayer. He was called to see the patient for rheumatism, but saw him only once, and after that gave him absent treatment for one week, at the end of which time the patient paid him five dollars for his services. (23) A like conclusion has recently been reached, by a divided court, in New York, under a statute providing that “a person practices medicine within the meaning of this act, except as hereinafter stated, who holds himself out as being able to diagnose, treat, operate, or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition, and who shall either offer or undertake, by any means or method, to diagnose, treat, operate, or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, or physical condition.”
This definition of the practice of medicine, declares that court, is broad enough to cover the acts of the defendant, a Christian Science practitioner, “because he ‘holds himself out as being able to . . . treat . . . any human disease,’ and he did ‘undertake to treat.’ The language of the statute is ‘by any means or method.’ This covers the means or method used by him. While he denied the material existence of disease and said it was merely mental, yet he undertook to treat people he called patients for what they told him was the matter with them; in other words, what they thought were diseases. He had an office for that purpose; he received fees therefor; he habitually terms what he did his ‘treatment.’ He conducted a pecuniarily successful business. He called himself a practitioner, but admitted that the popular phrase was healer.”
The court then comes to the conclusion that the acts complained of, that is, the treatment of patients by prayer, in an office maintained for that purpose, for compensation, constitutes the practice of medicine, not the practice of the religious tenets of any church, and to authorize the defendant to administer the treatment, which he concedes he did, he must have first been duly licensed and registered in accordance with the provisions of the public health law. (24)
The circumstance which, according to these decisions of the Nebraska, Ohio and New York courts, seems to stamp the practice of Christian Science as the practice of medicine, is that the patient pays and the practitioner receives money for the services rendered. If the treatment is gratuitous, it is the practice of religion; if it is for compensation, it becomes the practice of medicine, notwithstanding the practitioner makes no physical examination or diagnosis, uses none of the remedies which physicians use, and takes no cognizance of the laws of health and disease as understood by medical practitioners.
This test, that is, the matter of compensation, is not easy to appreciate. It will be noted, by reference to preceding pages, that in determining whether osteopathy or its allied systems constitute the practice of medicine, the test seemed to be, was the treatment based upon knowledge obtained by diagnosis? But now, in dealing with metaphysical practice, pecuniary compensation is made the crux of legality, a thing which has nothing to do with the treatment itself, for the treatment is exactly the same, whether it is paid for or not. If compensation is the test, then the conclusion follows that a practitioner in affluent circumstances may carry on an extensive practice, making no charges, without offending the law, while his neighbor who must depend upon his labors for a livelihood, and who accordingly receives pay for his services, violates the law.
At this point the question naturally presents itself, does a physician practice medicine when he diagnoses and prescribes without receiving any fee, or only when he is paid for his services? It is a matter of common knowledge, and a circumstance that has characterized the medical profession as unselfish perhaps above all others, that the physician stands ready to give his best time and talent to the alleviation of the suffering even of those from whom there is no expectation or possibility of pecuniary reward. Yet in so doing it is safe to affirm that it never occurs to him, or to any one else, that he is not practicing medicine.
Suppose a physician is careless or negligent in administering medical treatment. Does the fact that he is acting gratuitously relieve him of responsibility? Not in the least. That fact does not modify his liability, for it does not qualify his acts and make them any less the practice of medicine. He cannot defend a suit for malpractice, nor mitigate a recovery against him, on the ground that his services were performed without expectation of pecuniary recompense. (25)
Suppose, again, that an individual, untrained and unlicensed as a physician, should presume, without compensation, to diagnose disease, prescribe drugs, perform surgical operations, and hold himself out generally as a physician and surgeon. Would the fact that he acts gratuitously be any defense to a prosecution for practicing medicine without a license? Obviously it would not.
The further the idea of compensation is pursued the more apparent does it become that compensation is wholly irrelevant to the issue. Take away compensation from medical practice, and that practice loses no essential characteristic; add compensation to Christian Science practice — a practice which excludes everything comprehended in ordinary medical practice — and Christian Science practice is not thereby converted into the practice of medicine. If Christian Science is medicine, it must be so for some other reason than because pecuniary reward comes to the practitioner.
Compensation is no part either of medical or metaphysical practice. It is simply an incident thereof. It is recognition of the practitioner’s efforts, which ordinary honesty impels the patient to make if he is able to do so. And every practitioner, be he matter-physician or metaphysician, knows that the patient who pays for his treatment, and thereby attempts to give an equivalent for what he receives, is more likely to obtain relief from his infirmities than the patient who is unwilling to make a just return for what is given him.
But it is said that to pay for Christian Science treatment is to commercialize prayer and religion. Yet the judges who have voiced this sentiment would hardly admit that justice is commercialized because there are salaries connected with their offices. And it has perhaps never occurred to anyone that religion is commercialized when clergymen are paid for their sermons and prayers. No one harbors the suspicion that religion or justice suffers in quality or is any the less religion or justice because clergymen and judges are paid for their time and labors. They could not exist without compensation, and no right-minded person raises any objection to their being rewarded financially for the faithful discharge of their duties.
The unbiased observer can hardly help observing the appositeness here of the incident narrated of Demetrius in connection with Paul’s ministry. The narrative states that Paul, after sending Timotheus and Erastus into Macedonia, “himself stayed in Asia for a season. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands; so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” (26)
The argument is urged that Christian Science forfeits its claim to being the practice of religion and is properly classified as the practice of medicine, because Jesus, upon whose teachings Christian Science professes to be founded, taught and healed gratuitously. This contention does not take into account that society and its ways have changed in the nineteen hundred years which have elapsed since Jesus taught on the shores of Galilee. In those days the custom was for the religious teacher to be lodged and fed by those who received his instruction. The people opened their doors to him and received him as a guest. The same principle was exemplified later, in the history of our own race, when bard and poet were dependent upon the hospitality of those whom they entertained, and even the more serious litterateur might look, with entire propriety, to his admirers for maintenance. But now men of letters sell their production for so much a word or page in quite as matter of fact way as other wares are vended, while singers command salaries not infrequently transcending those paid high officials and dignitaries. In these days all things have, in a sense, become commercialized; people are willing to pay for what they receive and expect to be paid for what they do.
But if the Bible is to be taken as authority on this question, it will be remembered that away back in Deuteronomy (27) the wisdom of compensation was crystallized in the law of Moses, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corm” — an admonition which attorneys even to this day do not forget when their fees are in issue, and which the greatest of lawyers emphasized in his first epistle to the Corinthians, (28) and later, in his first letter to Timothy, (29) coupled with the more familiar aphorism, “The laborer is worthy of his reward.”
Jesus himself announced the same wholesome doctrine when, according to Matthew, (30) he declared, “The workman is worthy of his meat,” and, according to Luke, (31) “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” This he stated in the course of his instructions to disciples when he sent them abroad to preach and heal; and later on, just before his seizure by the mob after that memorable night at Gethsemane, he said to them: “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? . . . But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip.” (32)
Justice Laughlin, in his concurring opinion in the New York case heretofore referred to, draws a distinction in favor of Christian Science practice in a church or at the house of the members of the church. “I am of opinion,” he says, “that the acts performed by the defendant (Science treatments given at his office for compensation), if performed in a Christian Science church or in visiting the members of the church or others, and so administering to them without charge, would not violate the statute.” But no reason for such distinction has been advanced. Possibly, however, the idea that the place where treatment is given is a material circumstance in determining its character as medicine or religion, springs from that limited concept which associates religion with church and home life only, and does not see its application to everyday work and business, or recognize that it may be practiced in all places and at all times.
The attempt to make Christian Science practice unlawful is based on the theory that it is inimical to public health and safety, but no reason is apparent why the practice would be less dangerous in a home or church than in an office. In truth it is not generally supposed that the practice is dangerous; but if it is, its suppression should be for some weightier consideration than that it is carried on in an office rather than at the homes or churches of patients.
In a dissenting opinion in the New York case Justice Dowling differentiates the defendant’s Science practice from ordinary medical practice, and in part says: “I do not believe the pursuit in which the defendant (a Christian Science practitioner) was engaged was the practice of medicine. So far from that being the case, the record shows that the defendant disavowed any personal ability or power to influence or affect the condition of the person seeking relief, and urged in every possible way the view that God alone, whom he called the ‘Great Physician,’ could cure what was called ‘disease,’ and that those who lived honest, pure, and kindly lives would remain well. He emphasized the fact that God was the only healer, and that prayer to God was the only efficacious means for relief. He practiced no deceit, and made no false professions of ability to be of service. He disavowed any mysterious element in his own practices, and told the witness that by reading Mrs. Eddy’s works she could master the means for obtaining relief as well as he had done. Starting with the negation of the existence of disease as a physical fact and following it up with the statement that what is ordinarily recognized as the presence of disease is simply evidence of ‘a lack of harmonious relation with the Almighty,’ he suggested as the only recourse the restoration of a proper spirit of harmony with, and obedience to, the Maker, which condition could be brought about by the person who came to him for help without his assistance, but to bring about which condition, he was willing to assist if she so desired. He made no diagnosis; he made no effort to determine the existence or non-existence of any specific disease; he performed no manipulations, passes, or any physical acts tending to create a belief that he was exercising visibly any power to relieve the witness; he made no claim of any power resident in himself to relieve any condition which might exists in her.
“Herein, it seems to me, is where what he did fails to bring him within the scope of the statute. That statute as quoted defines one as practicing medicine who holds himself out as being able ‘to diagnose, treat, operate or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity, or physical condition, and who shall either offer or undertake, by any means or method, to diagnose, treat, operate or prescribe for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition.’ These four words, ‘diagnose, treat, operate or prescribe,’ seem to me to refer to acts performed by a practitioner which imply not only affirmative action upon his part, but the assumption and claim of ability to produce results by his own intervention and skill. The Century Dictionary defines ‘treat’ as: ‘To manage in the application of remedies, as, to treat a fever or patient.’ This implies action by the person assuming to treat. When one goes to a physician for diagnosis, treatment, operation, or prescription of a remedy, one does so in reliance upon the skill, knowledge, or experience of the physician, and in the belief that he will apply to the best of his ability the sum of his experience and knowledge in the alleviation of the patient’s physical illness. There can be no such reliance called for or expected in one who makes no profession of knowing anything of disease, who, in fact, denies its existence, and who simply undertakes to intercede with the Almighty for the extension of His mercy in restoring the balance of one who deems himself ill.”
While courts have at various times essayed to define the practice of medicine, they have not formulated any definition of Christian Science practice, further than to designate it as prayer. Indeed, the Ohio court (33) makes the frank confession, “What Christian Science is we do not know.” Manifestly a well-defined idea of what constitutes Science practice is a condition precedent to determining whether or not it is the practice of medicine, and hence its definition cannot logically be longer deferred to the present discussion.
Christian Scientists themselves style their treatment of the sick as prayer, and therefore cannot be heard to object if the law so defines it. But what is prayer? It has a different meaning to different individuals, just as the word God has. To some people He is a corporeal being, while to others He is ever-present Life or Mind. To one He is anthropomorphic, having not only a human form, but also being swayed by the same passions that toss men to and fro; while to another He is eternal, omnipresent Principle, without variableness or shadow of turning.
Abraham, when he was about to offer up his only son on the altar, conceived of God as a being who demanded human sacrifices; and Jacob thought of Him as having a local habitation, until the vision of angels ascending and descending on the ladder as he slept at Bethel revealed to him that the Lord was even in that place. On the other hand, Jesus recognized God as Spirit, John saw Him as Love, Paul declared, “In him we live and move and have our being,” and the Psalmist sang:
If I take the wings of the morning
And dwell in the uttermost parts of
The sea, even there shall thy hand
And thy right hand shall hold me.
It is the realization of the divine immanence, the presence, the availability, the allness of God, and the consequent absence and nothingness of disease and evil, which constitutes treatment by prayer. The prayer is not a pleading with God to deliver the afflicted from their suffering, but rather a knowing that sickness and suffering have no existence in His presence, however, real they may seem to human sense looking through a glass darkly. In the consciousness thus clarified and uplifted, pain and disease lose their reality and disappear, while heath and harmony are recognized as the facts of existence.
This, of course, is not intended as a full presentation of Christian Science treatment. It is well understood that years of effort are required to gain an adequate conception of its processes, and it would be too much to expect complete elucidation in a few paragraphs. In fact the subject is one that is likely to suffer from any formal statement, for the case is one where the letter killeth. But enough has been said, perhaps, to indicate that Science practice is, as its name discloses, totally unlike medical practice.
The medical practitioner relies upon physical diagnosis, regards disease as a grim reality, and believes in the efficacy of drugs, serums, and other material remedies. The Science practitioner rejects drugs and material curative agencies, repudiates laws of disease, and proceeds mentally to demonstrate the unreality of the ills of flesh and of mind. His efforts and operations are in the mental realm, and his aim is to make the “word flesh,” that is, to make Truth, which knows no sickness or sin, operative and controlling in the mentalities and bodies of patients.
And so far is he from resorting to diagnosis that, if he has been educated as a physician, he may find the very habit of diagnosing disease, which he has acquired, a positive hindrance when he undertakes to administer metaphysical treatment, because diagnosis may tend to build up and make formidable the disease which he is striving to realize the nothingness of. The same principle is applicable to other branches of medical learning; their possession by the metaphysician is not likely to help him in his practice. Hence it is that he can see no reason why the law should compel him to qualify in pathology, materia medica, and surgery before he may pursue the vocation of metaphysical healing. He can make little or no use of that immense learning that has accumulated on those subjects, and may even find it an encumbrance when acquired.
There seems, then, little in common between the Christian Science treatment of disease and the practice of medicine, and hence no valid reason appears for holding that the first is comprehended within the latter. As a matter of fact they are contraries and each excludes the other. At no point do they approach or resemble one another. They merely have a common purpose, the alleviation of pain and suffering. And certainly there is enough of distress on earth today in the form of sickness and disease, whether they are regarded as stern realities as affirmed by the materialist or as illusions of the human mind as asserted by the idealist, to occupy the attention of all schools of healing, physical and metaphysical; and the world will be pleased to see these various schools direct more energy toward the overcoming of the ills of flesh and less toward the overthrowing of one another.
Suffering humanity is coming to have less and less patience with the controversies which have characterized medical and religious history, and which have seldom been more intense than now. It demands that its ailments be cured, rather than that this or that school or system be given exclusive place as the well-spring of medical virtue. Orthodox medicine has had full sway during all the long centuries that have passed since Hippocrates formulated his first prescription, yet disease and mortality still stalk among men, unswallowed up of health and immortality.
The metaphysicians, after scarcely more than two score years of experience, are already certain that they have the universal panacea; but until they can speak to disease with authority as did the Master, it certainly will not be unbecoming of them to advance their claims with less assurance than has sometimes been their disposition, and to see to it, when their power increases as now seems to be destined, that they do not manifest that spirit of intolerance toward others which they believe has been shown toward them. Meanwhile mankind will gladly accept anything from any source which assures relief from its infirmities, and will stand ready to recognize, without persuasion or compulsion, that school or system which attains the high mark of infallibility.
- State v. Smith, 233 Mo. 242, 135 S. W. 465.
- Smith v. Lane, 24 Hun 632.
- People v. Allcutt, 117 App. Div. 546, 102 N.Y. Supp. 678, affirmed 189 N. Y. 517, 81 N. E. 1171.
- Commonwealth v. Jewelle, 199 Mass. 558, 85 N. E. 858.
- O’Neil v. State, 115 Tenn. 427, 90 S. W. 627, 3 L. R. A. (N. S.) 762.
- People v. Cole, 148 N. Y. Supp. 708.
- State v. Biggs, 133 N. C. 729, 46 S. E. 401, 98 Am.
- St. Rep. 731, 64 L. R. A. 139.
- State v. McKnight, 313 N. C. 717, 42 S. E. 580, 59 L.
- R. A. 187.
- Nelson v. State Board of Health, 108 Ky. 769, 57 S.
- W. 501, 50 L. R. A. 383; Hayden v. State, 81 Miss. 291, 33 So. 653, 95 Am. St. Rep. 471.
- Bragg v. State, 134 Ala. 165, 32 So. 767; Witty v. State, 173 Ind. 404, 90 N. E. 627; Swarts v. Siveny, 35 R. I. 1, 85 Atl. 33.
- State v. Smith, 233 Mo. 242, 135 S. W. 465.
- Smith v. State, 8 Ala. App. 352, 63 So. 28, affirmed 63 So. 70; People v. Trenner, 144 Ill. App. 275.
- State v. Lawson, 65 Atl. (Del.) 593.
- Bennett v. Ware, 4 Ga. App. 293, 61 S. E. 546.
- State v. Biggs, 133 N. C. 729, 46 S. E. 401, 98 Am.
- St. Rep. 731, 64 L. R. A. 139.
- State v. Pratt, 141 Pac. (Wash.) 318.
- State v. Peters, 87 Kans. 265, 123 Pac. 751.
- Smith v. People, 51 Colo. 270, 117 Pac. 612, 36 L. R. A. (N. S.) 158.
- People v. Spinelle, 150 App. Div. 923, 135 N. Y. Supp. 1133, affirmed in 206 N. Y. 709, 99 N. E. 1114, and reviewed in 148 N. Y. Supp. 719.
- People v. Pierson, 176 N. Y. 201, 68 N. E. 248, 98
- Am. St. Rep. 666, 66 L. R. A. 187.
- Kansas City v. Baird, 92 Mo. App. 204; State v. Mylod, 20 R. I. 642, 40 Atl. 753, 41, L. R. A. 428.
- State v. Buswell, 40 Neb. 158, N. W. 728, 24 L. R. A. 69.
- State v. Marble, 72 Ohio 21, 73 N. E. 1063, 106 Am. St. Rep. 570, 2 Ann. Cas. 898, 70 L. R. A. 835.
- People v. Cole, 148 N. Y. Supp. 708.
- McNevins v. Lowe, 40 Ill. 209; Peck v. Hutchinson, 88 Iowa 320, 55 N. W. 511; Becker v. Janinski, 27 Abb. N. C. 45, 15 N. Y. Supp. 675.
- Acts of Apostles 19:22-28.
- Deuteronomy 25:4.
- I Corinthians 9:9.
- I Timothy 5:18.
- Matthew 10:10.
- Luke 10:7. (32) Ibid. 22:35-36.
- State v. Marble, 72 Ohio 21, 73 N. E. 1063, 106 Am. St. Rep. 570, 2 Ann. Cas. 898, 70 L. R. A. 835.
A letter to the Christian Science Board of Directors under date of November 25, 1934.
Your letter of November 6, as I interpret it, invites an expression of opinion as to the propriety of the tuxedo, an evening coat, as against the cutaway, a morning coat, for evening wear on the lecture platform. The statement of the proposition is its answer, I should say.
If a writer omits a comma where good English demands one, his readers regard him as careless. But if a writer inserts a comma where usage forbids it, his readers pronounce him illiterate. Anyone, I fancy, would prefer a charge of carelessness to a charge of illiteracy.
So if an evening lecturer appears in a business suit, his friends note his thoughtlessness and wonder if he has been so busy preparing his speech as to forget or have no time to dress. But if a lecturer, on a dignified occasion in the evening, appears in a cutaway coat, his friends are appalled, because obviously he has tried to dress up and has not known how to do it. The audience is embarrassed and the speaker handicapped from the start.
Dress is no small matter. Its philosophy and psychology should not needlessly be offended. Clothes were not evolved to keep one warm or to screen one’s person. They had their origin, as Carlyle points out, in foolishest love of show. Well, is there anything reprehensible, especially this side of forty, in making one’s self as easy to look upon as may be?
A lecturer’s clothes have a pronounced mental effect, for good or ill, upon both himself and his audience. Right attire meets with instant approval from people of all ranks. It puts speaker and audience at ease, so that clothes are promptly forgotten for weightier things. A messy tie, a wing collar, a tan shoe, a bulky coat on a sweltering day has impaired many an otherwise happy public appearance.
Things have a sort of fitness in this world, or should have, as everybody knows. A famous ambassador to Great Britain was reminded of this by the sudden fall of temperature when inadvertently he whipped out his faithful pipe in the presence of King George. A genial state governor ruined his political prospects by wearing an opera hat to meet the President of the nation at a morning train. A popular German moving picture exasperated English people by making Henry VIII enter his wife’s boudoir without knocking.
“We must observe the established dress,” some lecturers insist. Why, lecturers who have bowed down under drab, cumbersome clothes for a quarter of a century have “established” nothing but their own — timidity. They have not changed the canons of good usage. Those of them who are now dressing in comfort and appropriateness should, it seems to me, be encouraged rather than discouraged; for, believe it or not, men are strangely lacking in courage, compared with women, in the matter of dress.
When a speaker talks down to his audience, uses indifferent English or faulty logic, wears unbecoming or inappropriate clothes, his listeners feel that he is not according them due respect. They resent his attitude, and justly. They may not be up to snuff themselves, but they expect that a man who presumes to address them will do the right thing in all ways, and they instinctively know when he does or does not.
Outside of Science high class lecturers, at night, wear tuxedos or full dress. Not long ago a Harvard doctor of philosophy, then temporarily teaching at a western university, lectured one evening to the townspeople. He was introduced by the president of the university. His subject was Individual Immortality. The lecture was advertised and the public invited, much after the fashion of our lectures. The auditorium was packed with an audience made up of all kinds of people. Both the lecturer and the introducer appeared in evening clothes.
Opposition to the tuxedo may spring from a misapprehension of the role our lecturers play. They are not clergymen that their garb should be somber, ponderable, forbidding. Preachers and preaching are quite all right in their way. But a Science lecturer is not preaching. At least he should not be. He is presenting a dignified subject; and the subject and the occasion demand of him his best in every respect even to conformity with approved attire.
The tuxedo is not a mere dinner coat. Its use is not confined to convivial occasions. It is dignified evening attire for those who do not care to go so far as full dress.
I have been stimulated to wear a tuxedo by what I have observed abroad, where standards of dress are more exacting that in USA. In South America or in British India one would feel quite out of place after 8 p.m. in morning clothes at any function where people are supposed to dress well. Remember the wedding guest who forgot his “garment”? He was promptly hustled out.
Then, occasionally, within the past few years in USA, young men introducing me at lectures, have worn tuxedos with good effect. It is no longer unusual for my introducer to so dress.
Not long ago, when the introducer called to take me to the hall, he remarked: “My, I wish I’d known you were going to wear a tuxedo; I’d have worn mine.” “It’s not too late,” I suggested. Whereupon he promptly detoured, ran into his house, and presently appeared in evening attire. The people liked it. They always do.
A few days ago the reader in an important church in a large city, who was booked to do the introducing, asked me, “What are you going to wear?” “Usually I wear a tuxedo,” I replied; “what do you think about it?” “I’ve been in the men’s apparel business,” he said, “where I’ve had to advise what is proper dress, and I should say a tuxedo is the thing.” He wore his and it was plain to me that the audience approved.
Audiences invariably approve my tuxedo. No doubt about it. A better speech is the inevitable result. People frequently inquire why all lecturers do not keep abreast the times.
Finally there is the question of comfort, not to mention morale. Talking is hard work. I discovered this long before reading Life Begins At Forty. Auditoriums, comfortable enough for the inactive audience, are generally of too high temperature for the speaker. Then there are the Tropics and Semi-tropics, not to mention the hot weather in our supposedly Temperate Zone. The cutaway coat, with vest and striped trousers, makes a heavy, warm outfit, which spells restriction at every turn. My tuxedo suit is of feather weight. Almost nothing to it. The waistcoat can be dispensed with. The equipment affords the acme of ease and comfort. I wonder how anyone can object to it.
Now that I have had my say, I incline my mind to instruction. For of course I will wear, with perfect good nature, whatever you think best.
A Closing Word About Lectures
A letter to the Christian Science Board of Directors under date of December 31, 1928.
I am wondering if it will not be worth while for me to take a few moments from this busy last day of the year and give you some of the impressions that have come to me during the past six months of my lecture work.
It has been said, I am told, that there has been a falling off in interest in the lectures, especially in some of the metropolitan areas. This is a mistake, as far as my experience runs. Invariably have the auditoriums in large cities been filled, sometimes to overflowing. The only exception has been in San Francisco in the Civic Auditorium, which is so vast, having a seating capacity of twelve thousand, that a full house would be a great deal to expect. Even there, however, the attendance has run up to ten thousand.
Not only the attendance but the interest has been satisfactory. Indeed the interest is seldom short of marked. People falling asleep, babies crying, chairs creaking, and other disturbing incidents have been practically unknown. Then that mental comeback, generated when people are inwardly saying, “Oh fudge, I wish I were out of here!” has reached the vanishing point.
And there are newcomers, plenty of them. Not infrequently someone approaches me, at the close of the hour, to say that this is his or her first lecture. To one of these good people I said, “It wasn’t so bad, was it?” to which she replied, “Why, it’s overwhelming. I’ve got to go home and think things over. I can’t sleep. And to think what I’ve been taught and told!”
On a rainy Saturday afternoon in one of the many Long Island towns I frequent, a man who had occupied a seat in the section reserved for strangers, approached an usher at the door, as the audience was filing, out, and handed him four dollars, saying, as he did so, “Boy, this performance was worth as much as a show.” Evidently, from the amount of his contribution, he was accustomed to good performances and qualified to speak.
No small number of people insist, sometimes orally at the close of the lecture and sometimes by subsequent letter, that they have been healed. And their difficulties are of all sorts. Impaired sight and hearing come in for their share. So do wrong tendencies and business troubles. In one audience I noticed two women, well along in years, in the front row. They hardly moved hand or foot during the hour. As I was leaving the hall a man asked me if I had noticed these ladies, saying that one of them was his mother and adding that they were both deaf but that they declared they had heard every word.
Great numbers of people insist that their grief has been relieved in some measure if not entirely dissipated. Very recently a woman, speaking to me at the close of the lecture about her husband taking his own life, declared, “I will never say again that he killed himself; he didn’t, did he?”
The most satisfying experience, perhaps, is that people understand what is said. This is true of individuals of all types, ages, and stages of mental development.
There is a general impression that lectures should be simple and adapted to the beginner. And so they should. But the discourse does not need to be dull or meaningless or childish. The general level of human intelligence is so high these days that no lecturer has any excuse for talking down to his audience. If he understands his subject, he need have no fear about listeners doing their part and responding to what he says.
The speaker who is at home in his subject will present it in a direct and natural way which any listener will follow. But if the speaker only vaguely understands his subject, he will paraphrase and quote and do a minimum of thinking. Then the long-suffering audience may say that the discourse goes over their heads, when in fact it does not get over the footlights. Thinking is the vital part of discourse, spoken or printed, and no person thinks, to any appreciable extent, when he paraphrases, quotes, or recites from memory. When one thinks, he evolves forms of expression peculiar to himself. These may startle the overcautious critic, because he has not seen or heard them before, but, charged with thought, they feed the hungry searcher for truth. He gets the idea back of the words.
In my college and university career I came in contact with a few real teachers. What made their teaching conspicuous was that they invariably presented their topics, however profound, in a way that the average individual could follow. Any speaker can do this, indeed he can hardly help doing it, when he speaks of those things he knows.
I have noticed the same thing with good lawyers. Their manner of presenting a proposition is so clear and incisive, so much in the language of the street, so colored by illustrations drawn from the homely things of life with which everyone is familiar, that the attention of the stupid juror and the learned judge alike is held by the same discourse. Whereas the lawyer who has not mastered his case fails to make it intelligible either to lay or legal mind.
The need is not that the lecturer should simplify his discourse but that he should vitalize it. And no man can say anything about Science, worth listening to, except as he speaks out of experience. When he voices those things which he has seen and proved, in those journeys that try one’s soul, he will talk with effect. There is danger in standardizing forms of expression. This is the temptation, perhaps, which comes to the conscientious critic. And sometimes, in his desire to help, he will project his own way of saying things here and there into the discourse. The first effect of this is to destroy sequence, and without sequence any discourse has little merit.
Not long ago I read several Christian Science lectures, in the hope of improving my own manner of presentation. One of them held my attention from start to finish. It had sequence.
A discourse suited to the beginner in Science is suited to the gray-haired practitioner, and vice versa. Repeatedly have I had this experience at the close of a lecture. One person has said, in effect, “This is just the lecture for beginners, it is so simple and readily understood”; and the next moment another person has said, “It’s high time something should be given to us practitioners, because we need encouragement as well as other folks, and I am so glad that you are giving it to us.”
People are not so different in their mental processes, whether they are educated or uneducated, young or old, whether novices or old-timers in Science. The person who supposes that he can talk beyond the capacity of his audience to receive, incapacitates himself from the start to do the most effective talking.
There is a tremendous difference between the form of expression which must be used by a speaker and the form permissible to the writer. The speaker’s discourse must be conversational. He must talk to a thousand as he would to one. And how do you talk to one, a patient for example? Do you say, “Spiritual man is well and he knows it”? Or do you say, as you would in the freedom of everyday conversation, “You are well now, and you know it”? The latter registers, because the patient sees that he is the “you,” while he may regard “spiritual man” as a stranger remote in the skies. As a matter of fact, of course, he and spiritual man are one and the same, since genuinely there is no material man.
The understanding, the consciousness, back of the words is all-important. When a stranger to Christian Science says, “You are well right now, and you know it,” ordinarily will-power may be called into action; but when the Christian Scientist uses the same words, Truth is understandingly released and healing results.
So with the transfiguration. There is no danger in presenting it to an audience if the speaker realizes that Jesus did not bring Moses and Elias down and back into this realm — an impossible feat — but that he himself rose into the understanding of Life which knows no death. Then it was the most natural thing in the world for him to meet these men and talk with them. To his penetrative discernment they had not gone; and the audience gets the significance of the event.
It is difficult for a speaker to present metaphysics without illustrations. Audiences will not, to any great length, follow abstractions. The average person does not get the significance of incorporeality from the bare statement that spiritual man is incorporeal; but when he is reminded of his shadow, incorporeality begins to take on meaning. Nobody knows better than I that a shadow is not an adequate picture of spiritual man, or that a lead pencil is not an adequate parallel to the human body. A mustard seed does not bear any close resemblance to the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus got by with the figure. Illustrations are never adequate nor final. The listener himself presently forgets them. As he analyzes the situation, he sees their insufficiency and drops them, but meanwhile he has received a hint which enables him to grasp the abstruse proposition which otherwise would have escaped him.
But this letter is getting long.
Peter V. Ross