The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.02
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE TEXTBOOK
MATTER is but the subjective state of mortal mind. Matter has no more substance and reality in our day-dreams than it has in our night-dreams. All the way mortals are experiencing the Adam-dream of mind in matter, the dream which is mortal and God-condemned and which is not the spiritual fact of being. When this scientific classification is understood, we shall have one Mind, one God, and we shall obey the commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
If nineteen hundred years ago Christ taught his followers to heal the sick, he is to-day teaching them the same heavenly lesson. Christ is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” “God is Love," the ever-operative divine Principle (or Person, if you please) whose person is not corporeal, not finite. This infinite Person we know not of by the hearing of the ear, yet we may sometimes say with Job, “But now mine eye [spiritual sense] seeth Thee.”
God is one because God is All. Therefore there can be but one God, one Christ. We are individually but specks in His universe, the reflex images of this divine Life, Truth, and Love, in whom “we live, and move, and have our being.” Divine metaphysics is not to be scoffed at; it is Truth with us, God “manifest in the flesh,” not alone by miracle and parable, but by proof; it is the divine nature of God, which belongs not to a dispensation now ended, but is ever present, casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead — resurrecting individuals buried above-ground in material sense.
At the present time this Bethlehem star looks down upon the long night of materialism, — material religion, material medicine, a material world; and it shines as of yore, though it “shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” But the day will dawn and the daystar will appear, lighting the gloom, guiding the steps of progress from molecule and mortals outward and upward in the scale of being.
Hidden electrical forces annihilating time and space, wireless telegraphy, navigation of the air; in fact, all the et cetera of mortal mind pressing to the front, remind me of my early dreams of flying in airy space, buoyant with liberty and the luxury of thought let loose, rising higher and forever higher in the boundless blue. And what of reality, if waking to bodily sensation is real and if bodily sensation makes us captives? The night thought, methinks, should unfold in part the facts of day, and open the prison doors and solve the blind problem of matter. The night thought should show us that even mortals can mount higher in the altitude of being. Mounting higher, mortals will cease to be mortal. Christ will have “led captivity captive,” and immortality will have been brought to light.
Robert Ingersoll's attempt to convict the Scriptures of inconsistency made his life an abject failure. Happily, the misquoting of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” or quoting sentences or paragraphs torn from their necessary contexts, may serve to call attention to that book, and thus reveal truths which otherwise the reader would not have sought. Surely “the wrath of man shall praise Thee.”
The nature and truth of Christian Science cannot be destroyed by false psychics, crude theories or modes of metaphysics. Our master Metaphysician, the Galilean Prophet, had much the same class of minds to deal with as we have in our time. They disputed his teachings on practically the same grounds as are now assumed by many doctors and lawyers, but he swept away their illogical syllogisms as chaff is separated from the wheat. The genuine Christian Scientist will tell you that he has found the physical and spiritual status of a perfect life through his textbook.
The textbook of Christian Science maintains primitive Christianity, shows how to demonstrate it, and throughout is logical in premise and in conclusion. Can Scientists adhere to it, establish their practice of healing on its basis, become successful healers and models of good morals, and yet the book itself be absurd and unscientific? Is not the tree known by its fruit? Did Jesus mistake his mission and unwittingly misguide his followers? Were the apostles absurd and unscientific in adhering to his premise and proving that his conclusion was logical and divine?
“The scientific statement of being” (Science and Health, p. 468) may irritate a certain class of professionals who fail to understand it, and they may pronounce it absurd, ambiguous, unscientific. But that Christian Science is valid, simple, real, and self-evident, thousands upon thousands attest with their individual demonstrations. They have themselves been healed and have healed others by means of the Principle of Christian Science. Science has always been first met with denunciations. A fiction or a false philosophy flourishes for a time where Science gains no hearing. The followers of the Master in the early Christian centuries did just what he enjoined and what Christian Science makes practical to-day to those who abide in its teachings and build on its chief corner-stone. Our religious denominations interpret the Scriptures to fit a doctrine, but the doctrines taught by divine Science are founded squarely and only on the Scriptures.
“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” is not inconsistent in a single instance with its logical premise and conclusion, and ninety-nine out of every hundred of its readers — honest, intelligent, and scholarly — will tell you this. The earnest student of this book, understanding it, demonstrates in some degree the truth of its statements, and knows that it contains a Science which is demonstrable when understood, and which is fully understood when demonstrated. That Christian Scientists, because of their uniformly pure morals and noble lives, are better representatives of Christian Science than the textbook itself, is not in accordance with the Scriptures. The tree is known by its fruit. The student of this book will tell you that his higher life is the result of his conscientious study of Science and Health in connection with the Bible.
A book that through the good it does has won its way into the palaces of emperors and kings, into the home of the President of the United States, into the chief cities and the best families in our own and in foreign lands, a book which lies beside the Bible in hundreds of pulpits and in thousands of homes, which heals the sick and reclaims sinners in court and in cottage, is not less the evangel of Christian Science than is he who practises the teachings of this book or he who studies it and thereby is healed of disease. Can such a book be ambiguous, self-contradictory, or unprofitable to mankind?
St. Paul was a follower but not an immediate disciple of our Lord, and Paul declares the truth of the complete system of Christian Science in these brief sentences: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Was it profane for St. Paul to aspire to this knowledge of Christ and its demonstration, healing sin and sickness, because he was not a disciple of the personal Jesus? Nay, verily. Neither is it presumptuous or unscriptural or vain for another, a suckling in the arms of divine Love, to perfect His praise.
A child will demonstrate Christian Science and have a clear perception of it. Then, is Christian Science a cold, dull abstraction, or is that unscientific which all around us is demonstrated on a fixed Principle and a given rule, — when, in proportion as this Principle and rule are understood, men are found casting out the evils of mortal thought, healing the sick, and uplifting human consciousness to a more spiritual life and love? The signs of the times emphasize the answer to this in the rapid and steady advancement of this Science among the scholarly and titled, the deep thinkers, the truly great men and women of this age. In the words of the Master, “Can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
Christian Science teaches: Owe no man; be temperate; abstain from alcohol and tobacco; be honest, just, and pure; cast out evil and heal the sick; in short, Do unto others as ye would have others do to you.
Has one Christian Scientist yet reached the maximum of these teachings? And if not, why point the people to the lives of Christian Scientists and decry the book which has moulded their lives? Simply because the treasures of this textbook are not yet uncovered to the gaze of many men, the beauty of holiness is not yet won.
My first writings on Christian Science began with notes on the Scriptures. I consulted no other authors and read no other book but the Bible for about three years. What I wrote had a strange coincidence or relationship with the light of revelation and solar light. I could not write these notes after sunset. All thoughts in the line of Scriptural interpretation would leave me until the rising of the sun. Then the influx of divine interpretation would pour in upon my spiritual sense as gloriously as the sunlight on the material senses. It was not myself, but the divine power of Truth and Love, infinitely above me, which dictated “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” I have been learning the higher meaning of this book since writing it.
Is it too much to say that this book is leavening the whole lump of human thought? You can trace its teachings in each step of mental and spiritual progress, from pulpit and press, in religion and ethics, and find these progressive steps either written or indicated in the book. It has mounted thought on the swift and mighty chariot of divine Love, which to-day is circling the whole world.
I should blush to write of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” as I have, were it of human origin, and were I, apart from God, its author. But, as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science textbook.