Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1889)/07 Wayside Hints



The broadening flood swells slowly out, o'er cattle-dotted plains;
The stream is strong and turbulent, and dark with heavy rains;
The laborer looks up to see our shallop speed away.
When shall the sandy bar be crossed, when shall we find the bay?
R. Garnett.
They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward.

BEFORE entering upon the larger subjects of Demonstration and Healing, there are certain other topics, of a more general character, which are worthy of consideration by the way, that we may afterward take up our journey with fresh courage.

In this new departure of Metaphysical Healing, God is regarded as absolute and supreme, clad with richer qualities, as man's Saviour. His fatherliness makes His sovereignty glorious.

The improved theory and practice of religion and medicine are mainly due to better views of the Supreme Being. As the sense of finite Deity, based on material conceptions, is purged of its grosser elements, we learn what God is, and what He does for man. It is the false conceptions of Spirit which make men Christian only in theory, while they are selfishly material in practice.

It is sometimes said, cynically, that Christian Scientists set themselves on pedestals, as so many petty deities; but there is no fairness or propriety in such an aspersion.

Atheism and profanity are opposed to Science, as they are to religion; but it does not follow that the profane or atheistic invalid cannot be relieved. The moral condition of such a man demands the remedy of Truth more than most cases; hence Science is more than usually effectual in the treatment of moral ailments.

The Holy City, described in the Apocalypse as coming down from God out of heaven, is Christian Science. The builder and maker of this New Jerusalem is God, as we read in the Book of Hebrews; and it is “a city which hath foundations.”

The word city conveys the idea of an assemblage of people for high purposes, and is akin to another word, civilization, both coming from the Latin words civis (citizen) and civitas (city or state).

A great city has a twofold life. The worst is to be found in it — the worst criminals, the worst poverty. A city also contains the best things. Towards it gravitate the first fruits and the greatest geniuses. In it are the most eloquent preachers and the most benevolent institutions, the miracles of architectural grandeur, — like Saint Peter's Church in Rome, or the Mosque of Saint Sophie at Constantinople, — and wonderful provisions for public convenience, like extensive aqueducts and well-ordered streets. So largely is this true that one can easily believe that our word polish is derived from polis, the Greek word for city.

Now the Scriptures compare the heavenly kingdom or association to a city, in which Christ bears rule. God is both the founder and foundation of this city. He is at once its centre and circumference. He is the sky above it, the firm earth beneath it, the sun that lightens it, the atmosphere that fills it and eternally surrounds it; for Zion is but the expression of divine will and affection.

The Sacred City is described in Revelation (xxi. 16) as one that “lieth four-square.” It is equal-sided, as long as it is broad. In its way, the square is as perfect as the circle. Four straight lines, each forming a right angle with its neighbors, are the boundaries of a perfect enclosure.

Of course the whole description is metaphoric. Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols. Did not Jesus illustrate by the Mustard-seed and the Temple? Taking the City in its allegorical sense, the description of it as four-square should have profound meaning to Christian Scientists.

Squareness is a synonym for wholeness. What is meant, in modern language, by the phrase, “He is a good square man,” but that the person referred to is upright and downright, true, honest, sincere? Square-dealing is a not uncommon epithet. “On the square?” is the question often asked, when a bargain is proposed. “Parting upon the square” is a phrase which has passed into popular use from the parallelism of Free Masonry.

We need good square men everywhere. Such a man was my late husband, Dr. Asa G. Eddy; and the world needs just such square social organizations as he meant to upbuild, when he became the first teacher after me of the science of Mind-healing, and the director of the first Sunday-school of Christian Science in modern times, which was gathered in Hawthorne Hall, Boston, in 1881. His teachings on that occasion were warmly praised by a city clergy man, of long experience, who was present.

Society needs square and fair dealing, honesty and humanity. My friend Dr. P. P. Quimby never wished to engender error among his fellow-mortals, when he put forth the buds and blossoms of the materialistic ideas which have since been termed mind-cure and hypnotism, healing through belief. His belief was that this mind-healing was to be established upon a material basis. He never told me, or any one else, so far as I can learn, that he argued with a case of disease metaphysically, or that he healed through Mind as the Divine Principle; for he believed firmly in the existence of matter, and also that material truths, so called, would remedy material errors.

So far as I caught his meaning, in my close association with him as friend, adviser, and patient, it was the material mind-cure upon which he leaned, not the spiritual; and this constituted the utmost limit of his hope, as the room, surrounding his cage, seems the limit of the universe to the imprisoned bird. Doubtless his views would have taken a higher flight here, if he had been spared to this hour.

The City of Christian Science is wholly spiritual, as its four sides indicate.

The first side of the sacred enclosure is the Bible. From beginning to end the Scriptures are full of accounts of the triumph of Mind over matter. Moses proved it by what men called miracles. So did Joshua, Elijah, Elisha.

The Bible is not one book, but many. It is more than a collection of books; it is a literature, the record of the ethical work of a monotheistic nation. Nay? more, it records the triumphs of a race; almost of the human race, — certainly, of one of the dominant races of the earth, the Hebrew. The faith of this race welded itself into the Jewish nation; and devotion built their Holy City, with the Temple as its centre.

This faith looked ever to the healing of His people by the Almighty's self. In Egypt it was Mind which saved the Israelites from the belief of the plagues. In the wilderness streams flowed from the rock, and manna fell from the sky; they looked on the Brazen Serpent, and were straightway healed of the poisonous sting of a brood of vipers. In national prosperity, miracles attended the successes of the Hebrews; and when they departed from the living ideal, their demoralization began. Even in captivity, among foreign nations, the Divine Principle wrought wonders for Jehovah's people, in the fiery furnace and in king's palaces.

Nor is the latter part of the Bible, the New Testament, any exception to this divine rule. Its pages are full of Mind-healing.

This leads into the second side of the City which lieth four-square; the East side, it may be called, for into it stream the rising beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Jesus Christ is the second side of Christian Science. The biographies of him are in the latter part of the Bible, but his spiritual individuality (or personality, using the term in its higher, unlimited, spiritual sense) fills historic space, like the light of the risen orb of day He wrought in the infinite order. Men called his deeds miracles; but they were wonderful only as every work of God is, — marvellous to the spiritually blind.

The words and works of Christmas-tide show how the civilized globe bows to Jesus. Thousands of hearts exclaim, in Whittier's words: —

Strike — Thou the Master, we Thy keys —
The anthem of our destinies.

Out of Christ, its personification and inspiration, grew Christianity, and this is the third side of our Celestial City, — the Southern side, looking towards the equator, where there is perpetual summer; type of the spiritual summer, which “pure and undefiled religion” is designed to make, when there shall be no cold, no night, no storm of sin.

Though Jesus is the impetus and pulse of Christianity, yet Christianity is larger than its human founder, as the watch-wheels fill more space than the mainspring, as the body of a man, with its limbs and organs, is larger than the heart. Christianity is made up of “the glorious company of the apostles” and “the noble army of martyrs.” Its history, now covering nineteen centuries, includes within its domain Mary, Paul, John, Athanasius, Origen, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and millions of other men and women.

The prefix Christian implies that Science is in a line with Christianity; and so it is. This religion's golden pages are graven o'er with records of women who were exposed to the wild beasts of the Coliseum, and the wilder license of a superstitious rabble; records of men forced into gladiatorial combats and thrust into boiling oil. Thousands suffered at the stake and on the scaffold, for Truth's sake. They might have escaped by simply throwing a pinch of incense upon some altar-fire, as an act of submission to the Pagan priesthood; or by presence at the Mass, thus signifying subservience to Romish domination; or by forswearing their Saviour in some other way; but they would not, and by the power of Mind these sufferers were raised above materialism. To them the body no longer existed, and could not suffer. They were triumphant over pain and death. The sword and fagot became naught, because neither steel nor flame could touch the Immortal Principle of Life.

As the railway is dotted with telegraph-poles, sustaining the wires over which run the messages of life, so along the line of Christian history may everywhere be seen the upright lives which bore aloft the wonders of Christian Healing. Sometimes the healing power lessened, till it was almost lost, but anon it reappeared among the Waldenses or Covenanters. As the Parsees will never allow the sacred lamp to expire in their temples, because it is the symbol of the creative effulgence, so the healing fire has never been extinct in the Christian Church, even when its Principle was not well understood.

This third side of our City's outline joins the fourth; which in its turn touches the first side, the Bible, forming the last angle of a perfect square.

Westward the course of empire takes its way.

So wrote Bishop Berkeley, on his way to the New World, more than a century and a half ago. He was a great Natural Scientist in his day, and held opinions concerning “absolute idealism” which advance his memory near the border-line of Christian Science; but even Berkeley could not foresee the immense gains which Natural Science would make in the next century. Upon the western slope of the mountains the last sunbeams linger. If there is any thought which is associated with the West, it is the thought of freedom and progress.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the Western Sea.

What one great word is whispered on this wind? Science! And Science, the second term in the title of our form of faith, is the fourth side of our Four-square City.

Science is the watchword of our day. Note its advances! In Berkeley's time men travelled in springless wagons, as they had for centuries. An efficient postal system was barely dreamed of. Telegraphs and railways were unknown. It is said that the first steamer coming to America brought with it a book in which it was logically proved that no vessel could possibly cross the ocean if propelled by steam-power alone. In decade after decade this contradiction has been repeated. Thousands of discoveries have been developed into practical benefits to mankind, which at first were derided both by the educated and ignorant.

In the year 1853 a daguerreotypist said to a youth, whose likeness he was taking for a dollar: “People think pictures will be cheaper when they can be taken on paper; but it is not so. The process is possible, but it will cost too much for practical use.” Within a few years of this prophecy a dollar would buy a dozen photographs, each more enduring than the fading old daguerreotype upon which that artist was at work.

So is it every day. Penny postage is a reality. The ocean-cable and the telephone are omnipresent. Electricity now lights our streets, and will soon move our street-cars. Men can read the answer in the stars, to questions about cycles and comets. Nay, by the stars they can measure forces once unknown.

It is an era of Natural Science, and our City must not lack this boundary. Nor is it found wanting. If Natural Science says one thing more clearly than another, it is this: that law is everywhere, and that there can be no exception to it. Natural Science denies miracles, if by a miracle is meant any variation from the regular order of divine cause and effect.

Herein Christian Science is in a line with Natural Science. Christian Science devoutly believes the wonderful works performed by Jesus, but affirms that his so-called miracles were in accord with the highest law; that they proceeded from the Divine Principle of him, which is the Christ, or anointed imperial humanity; that if Jesus' works were grander than those of his followers, it is because of his less material birth, which grafted him into a profounder spirituality; and finally that all men and women, in proportion as they are true disciples of the Truth, can heal and be healed, even according to the Master's word. In the language of Dr. J. F. Clarke, —

Lord, if Thou wilt, Thy power can make me clean;
O speak the word, — Thy servant shall be healed.

The City of Christian Science is indeed a City of the Spirit, fair, royal, and square. Northward, its gates open to the North Star of the Bible, the Polar magnet of revelation; eastward, to the star seen by the Wise Men of the Orient, who followed it to the manger of Jesus; southward, to the genial tropics, with the Southern Cross in the skies, — the Cross of Calvary, which binds human society into solemn union; westward, to the grand realization of the Golden Shore of Love and the Peaceful Sea of Harmony.

The four sides of our City are the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, Science; “and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; and there shall be no night there.”

By his spiritual reflection of God, man becomes the partaker of that Mind whence the universe sprang. As taught by Christian Science, progress is in demonstration, not doctrine. It is ameliorative and regenerative, giving loftier desires and new possibilities to our race.

Man should be found, not claiming equality with Him, but growing into that attitude of Mind which was in Christ Jesus. He should comprehend in Divine Science a recognition of what the apostle meant, when he said: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs — heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”