Miscellaneous Writings/Chapter 02
ONE CAUSE AND EFFECT
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE begins with the First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” It goes on in perfect unity with Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and in that age culminates in the Revelation of St. John, who, while on earth and in the flesh, like ourselves, beheld “a new heaven and a new earth,” — the spiritual universe, whereof Christian Science now bears testimony.
Our Master said, “The works that I do shall ye do also;” and, “The kingdom of God is within you.” This makes practical all his words and works. As the ages advance in spirituality, Christian Science will be seen to depart from the trend of other Christian denominations in no wise except by increase of spirituality.
My first plank in the platform of Christian Science is as follows: “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.”
I am strictly a theist — believe in one God, one Christ or Messiah.
Science is neither a law of matter nor of man. It is the unerring manifesto of Mind, the law of God, its divine Principle. Who dare say that matter or mortals can evolve Science? Whence, then, is it, if not from the divine source, and what, but the contemporary of Christianity, so far in advance of human knowledge that mortals must work for the discovery of even a portion of it? Christian Science translates Mind, God, to mortals. It is the infinite calculus defining the line, plane, space, and fourth dimension of Spirit. It absolutely refutes the amalgamation, transmigration, absorption, or annihilation of individuality. It shows the impossibility of transmitting human ills, or evil, from one individual to another; that all true thoughts revolve in God's orbits: they come from God and return to Him, — and untruths belong not to His creation, therefore these are null and void. It hath no peer, no competitor, for it dwelleth in Him besides whom “there is none other.”
That Christian Science is Christian, those who have demonstrated it, according to the rules of its divine Principle, — together with the sick, the lame, the deaf, and the blind, healed by it, — have proven to a waiting world. He who has not tested it, is incompetent to condemn it; and he who is a willing sinner, cannot demonstrate it.
A falling apple suggested to Newton more than the simple fact cognized by the senses, to which it seemed to fall by reason of its own ponderosity; but the primal cause, or Mind-force, invisible to material sense, lay concealed in the treasure-troves of Science. True, Newton named it gravitation, having learned so much; but Science, demanding more, pushes the question: Whence or what is the power back of gravitation, — the intelligence that manifests power? Is pantheism true? Does mind “sleep in the mineral, or dream in the animal, and wake in man”? Christianity answers this question. The prophets, Jesus, and the apostles, demonstrated a divine intelligence that subordinates so-called material laws; and disease, death, winds, and waves, obey this intelligence. Was it Mind or matter that spake in creation, “and it was done”? The answer is self-evident, and the command remains, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
It is plain that the Me spoken of in the First Commandment, must be Mind; for matter is not the Christian's God, and is not intelligent. Matter cannot even talk; and the serpent, Satan, the first talker in its behalf, lied. Reason and revelation declare that God is both noumenon and phenomena, — the first and only cause. The universe, including man, is not a result of atomic action, material force or energy; it is not organized dust. God, Spirit, Mind, are terms synonymous for the one God, whose reflection is creation, and man is His image and likeness. Few there are who comprehend what Christian Science means by the word reflection. God is seen only in that which reflects good, Life, Truth, Love — yea, which manifests all His attributes and power, even as the human likeness thrown upon the mirror repeats precisely the looks and actions of the object in front of it. All must be Mind and Mind's ideas; since, according to natural science, God, Spirit, could not change its species and evolve matter.
These facts enjoin the First Commandment; and knowledge of them makes man spiritually minded. St. Paul writes: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” This knowledge came to me in an hour of great need; and I give it to you as death-bed testimony to the daystar that dawned on the night of material sense. This knowledge is practical, for it wrought my immediate recovery from an injury caused by an accident, and pronounced fatal by the physicians. On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew ix. 2. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence. I learned that mortal thought evolves a subjective state which it names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit. Per contra, Mind and man are immortal; and knowledge gained from mortal sense is illusion, error, the opposite of Truth; therefore it cannot be true. A knowledge of both good and evil (when good is God, and God is All) is impossible. Speaking of the origin of evil, the Master said: “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” God warned man not to believe the talking serpent, or rather the allegory describing it. The Nazarene Prophet declared that his followers should handle serpents; that is, put down all subtle falsities or illusions, and thus destroy any supposed effect arising from false claims exercising their supposed power on the mind and body of man, against his holiness and health.
That there is but one God or Life, one cause and one effect, is the multum in parvo of Christian Science; and to my understanding it is the heart of Christianity, the religion that Jesus taught and demonstrated. In divine Science it is found that matter is a phase of error, and that neither one really exists, since God is Truth, and All-in-all. Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in its direct application to human needs, confirms this conclusion.
Science, understood, translates matter into Mind, rejects all other theories of causation, restores the spiritual and original meaning of the Scriptures, and explains the teachings and life of our Lord. It is religion's “new tongue,” with “signs following,” spoken of by St. Mark. It gives God's infinite meaning to mankind, healing the sick, casting out evil, and raising the spiritually dead. Christianity is Christlike only as it reiterates the word, repeats the works, and manifests the spirit of Christ.
Jesus' only medicine was omnipotent and omniscient Mind. As omni is from the Latin word meaning all, this medicine is all-power; and omniscience means as well, all-science. The sick are more deplorably situated than the sinful, if the sick cannot trust God for help and the sinful can. If God created drugs good, they cannot be harmful; if He could create them otherwise, then they are bad and unfit for man; and if He created drugs for healing the sick, why did not Jesus employ them and recommend them for that purpose?
No human hypotheses, whether in philosophy, medicine, or religion, can survive the wreck of time; but whatever is of God, hath life abiding in it, and ultimately will be known as self-evident truth, as demonstrable as mathematics. Each successive period of progress is a period more humane and spiritual. The only logical conclusion is that all is Mind and its manifestation, from the rolling of worlds, in the most subtle ether, to a potato-patch.
The agriculturist ponders the history of a seed, and believes that his crops come from the seedling and the loam; even while the Scripture declares He made “every plant of the field before it was in the earth.” The Scientist asks, Whence came the first seed, and what made the soil? Was it molecules, or material atoms? Whence came the infinitesimals, — from infinite Mind, or from matter? If from matter, how did matter originate? Was it self-existent? Matter is not intelligent, and thus able to evolve or create itself: it is the very opposite of Spirit, intelligent, self-creative, and infinite Mind. The belief of mind in matter is pantheism. Natural history shows that neither a genus nor a species produces its opposite. God is All, in all What can be more than All? Nothing: and this is just what I call matter, nothing. Spirit, God, has no antecedent;, and God's consequent is the spiritual cosmos. The phrase, “express image,” in the common version of Hebrews i. 3, is, in the Greek Testament, character.
The Scriptures name God as good, and the Saxon term for God is also good. From this premise comes the logical conclusion that God is naturally and divinely infinite good. How, then, can this conclusion change, or be changed, to mean that good is evil, or the creator of evil? What can there be besides infinity? Nothing! Therefore the Science of good calls evil nothing. In divine Science the terms God and good, as Spirit, are synonymous. That God, good, creates evil, or aught that can result in evil, — or that Spirit creates its opposite, named matter, — are conclusions that destroy their premise and prove themselves invalid. Here is where Christian Science sticks to its text, and other systems of religion abandon their own logic. Here also is found the pith of the basal statement, the cardinal point in Christian Science, that matter and evil (including all inharmony, sin, disease, death) are unreal. Mortals accept natural science, wherein no species ever produces its opposite. Then why not accept divine Science on this ground? since the Scriptures maintain this fact by parable and proof, asking, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”
According to reason and revelation, evil and matter are negation: for evil signifies the absence of good, God, though God is ever present; and matter claims something besides God, when God is really All. Creation, evolution, or manifestation, — being in and of Spirit, Mind, and all that really is, — must be spiritual and mental. This is Science, and is susceptible of proof.
But, say you, is a stone spiritual?
To erring material sense, No! but to unerring spiritual sense, it is a small manifestation of Mind, a type of spiritual substance, “the substance of things hoped for.” Mortals can know a stone as substance, only by first admitting that it is substantial. Take away the mortal sense of substance, and the stone itself would disappear, only to reappear in the spiritual sense thereof. Matter can neither see, hear, feel, taste, nor smell; having no sensation of its own. Perception by the five personal senses is mental, and dependent on the beliefs that mortals entertain. Destroy the belief that you can walk, and volition ceases; for muscles cannot move without mind. Matter takes no cognizance of matter. In dreams, things are only what mortal mind makes them; and the phenomena of mortal life are as dreams; and this so-called life is a dream soon told. In proportion as mortals turn from this mortal and material dream, to the true sense of reality, everlasting Life will be found to be the only Life. That death does not destroy the beliefs of the flesh, our Master proved to his doubting disciple, Thomas. Also, he demonstrated that divine Science alone can overbear materiality and mortality; and this great truth was shown by his ascension after death, whereby he arose above the illusion of matter.
The First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” suggests the inquiry, What meaneth this Me, — Spirit, or matter? It certainly does not signify a graven idol, and must mean Spirit. Then the commandment means, Thou shalt recognize no intelligence nor life in matter; and find neither pleasure nor pain therein. The Master's practical knowledge of this grand verity, together with his divine Love, healed the sick and raised the dead. He literally annulled the claims of physique and of physical law, by the superiority of the higher law; hence his declaration, “These signs shall follow them that believe; . . . if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Do you believe his words? I do, and that his promise is perpetual. Had it been applicable only to his immediate disciples, the pronoun would be you, not them. The purpose of his life-work touches universal humanity. At another time he prayed, not for the twelve only, but “for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
The Christ-healing was practised even before the Christian era; “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is, however, no analogy between Christian Science and spiritualism, or between it and any speculative theory.
In 1867, I taught the first student in Christian Science. Since that date I have known of but fourteen deaths in the ranks of my about five thousand students. The census since 1875 (the date of the first publication of my work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”) shows that longevity has increased. Daily letters inform me that a perusal of my volume is healing the writers of chronic and acute diseases that had defied medical skill.
Surely the people of the Occident know that esoteric magic and Oriental barbarisms will neither flavor Christianity nor advance health and length of days.
Miracles are no infraction of God's laws; on the contrary, they fulfil His laws; for they are the signs following Christianity, whereby matter is proven powerless and subordinate to Mind, Christians, like students in mathematics, should be working up to those higher rules of Life which Jesus taught and proved. Do we really understand the divine Principle of Christianity before we prove it, in at least some feeble demonstration thereof, according to Jesus' example in healing the sick? Should we adopt the “simple addition” in Christian Science and doubt its higher rules, or despair of ultimately reaching them, even though failing at first to demonstrate all the possibilities of Christianity?
St. John spiritually discerned and revealed the sum total of transcendentalism. He saw the real earth and heaven. They were spiritual, not material; and they were without pain, sin, or death. Death was not the door to this heaven. The gates thereof he declared were inlaid with pearl, — likening them to the priceless understanding of man's real existence, to be recognized here and now.
The great Way-shower illustrated Life unconfined, uncontaminated, untrammelled, by matter. He proved the superiority of Mind over the flesh, opened the door to the captive, and enabled man to demonstrate the law of Life, which St. Paul declares “hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The stale saying that Christian Science “is neither Christian nor science!" is to-day the fossil of wisdomless wit, weakness, and superstition. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
Take courage, dear reader, for any seeming mysticism surrounding realism is explained in the Scripture, “There went up a mist from the earth [matter];” and the mist of materialism will vanish as we approach spirituality, the realm of reality; cleanse our lives in Christ's righteousness; bathe in the baptism of Spirit, and awake in His likeness.
- The order of this sentence has been conformed to the text of the 1908 edition of Science and Health.