Sunday, September 17th, 2023 Roundtable

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Morning Prayers

O Christian Scientist, thou of the church of the new-born; awake to a higher and holier love for God and man; put on the whole armor of Truth; rejoice in hope; be patient in tribulation, — that ye may go to the bed of anguish, and look upon this dream of life in matter, girt with a higher sense of omnipotence; and behold once again the power of divine Life and Love to heal and reinstate man in God’s own image and likeness, having “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

The Christian Scientist’s Prayer – There is no matter and no mortal mind. God is All-in-all. All is harmony, health, holiness. This is the prayer ‘unceasing’ to be used on all occasions and at all times. It lays the axe at the root of unreality, materiality (that forbidden tree) and cuts it down. Preserve a sacred silence on this subject of prayer.

— from People’s Idea of God, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 14

Discussion points

409 — WATCH that you do not pray to God to come down into Egypt to extricate you from its clutches.

Man’s part is to rise from the objective to the subjective, from the belief of intelligent matter, to the consciousness of Mind as supreme and All; while God’s part is to destroy the false evidence of sin, sickness and death. God says, “My child, if you do your part in rising above matter as having any life, truth, intelligence or substance, I will reward you by taking away all erroneous manifestation.”

Mrs. Eddy once wrote to a student, “Do you find any difficulty in healing? If so, strike for the higher sense of the nothingness of matter.” Also in her first rendering of the spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer she wrote, “And Truth will destroy sickness, sin and death, as it destroys the belief in intelligent matter.”

You must not believe that the part you have to play is material, which if you do faithfully, God will do the spiritual. It is better to say that God will take care of the material, if you are faithful in doing the spiritual. See Science and Health, 395:6.

— from 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter

GOLDEN TEXT: John 6 : 63

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The Way Of Escape

Even the casual reader must observe that the Scriptures comprise a continuous record of the lives of those who have escaped some form of evil. Noah passing unharmed through the flood, Daniel escaping injury in the lions’ den, the three Hebrews suffering no ill as the result of being cast into a fiery furnace, are all familiar instances of the escape of individuals; while the children of Israel led out by Moses from their execrable bondage to the Egyptians, and later in their history, when tormented by the Midianites, led by Gideon, victorious over these enemies, are well-known examples of national escape from harm. Moreover, the pages of the New Testament are filled with accounts of distressed mortals escaping from bondage to sin, disease, or death by reason of the ministrations of Jesus the Christ or some of his disciples. All of which goes to prove that one of the great purposes for which the Bible was compiled was to show mankind the divine means that are ever at hand to deliver them from whatever would destroy their health, happiness, or peace.

Humanity, however, fails to find these divine means. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”—because humanity is absorbed in seeking only material ways of escape from its troubles. Consequently, each desperate struggle humanity makes to free itself from social and industrial unrest results only in disorder taking some new form. While studying and relying on material methods to cure their ills, mortals fail to find either health of body or peace of mind. Even when they turn to the Scriptures, if they read them from a wrong standpoint, they make a gulf between their own experiences and those recorded in the Bible, because they believe that the characters of the Bible were imbued with some supernatural power not vouchsafed to the people of to-day.

Christian Science bridges this gulf, however, by revealing the fact that God is divine Mind, hence God’s laws are spiritual laws which are ever operative. Patriarch, prophet, and disciple understood these spiritual laws and applied them in overcoming every form of discord. When, therefore, the Bible records the fact that an angel appeared to Moses, it does not intend to convey the idea that this made Moses’ experience differ from that of other men, since some expression of the power of God and the might of Mind comes to every one. But Moses at the appearance of the angel turned aside, so the record reads; which would indicate that Moses was willing to learn about God and conform his thinking to the demands of God. Study of the Scriptures in the light of Christian Science shows that the great characters portrayed therein were men and women of like passions to the men and women of to-day, but spiritual enlightenment changed their thinking from a material to a spiritual basis. Then, in the words of Paul, they were transformed by the renewing of their mind, and were consequently delivered from their destroyers.

Mankind in general, going heedlessly on their way, disregarding every evidence of the power of God, Mind, and giving little or no attention to their manner of thinking, are in constant dread of some impending evil, and illustrate what Mrs. Eddy means when she says on page 96 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Unwillingness to learn all things rightly, binds Christendom with chains.” When some reference is made to Christian Science the reply is sometimes forthcoming: “Yes, I know of some good cases of healing in Christian Science, but I have no time for metaphysical study of any kind; it takes all my time to make an honest living.” But metaphysical questions cannot be brushed aside so easily, for they intrude even in this matter of making an honest living. Let us suppose, for instance, that a man on his way to business meets a collector with a bill he ought to pay and that although he has the money he does not pay him or other collectors who present themselves during the day. That night, on counting it over, this man finds he has a quantity of matter called money, but he knows that by pursuing the policy of the day he will lose honesty, which is a purely spiritual quality. He is confronted with the metaphysical question whether he will save matter and money or serve God and honesty. If he decides in favor of honesty he decides against the evidence of the physical senses. He decides that it does not profit a man even if he gain the whole world—all of matter—and lose his own soul. If, however, he is willing to learn aright of the spiritual laws of being, he will not merely believe in an honest policy,—he will understand the divine laws underlying this policy, and thereby escape the fears, worries, and anxieties due to ignorance of these laws.

Jesus, to whom the unmoral nature of the belief of life in matter and the unreliability of the evidence of the physical senses was perfectly apparent, declared, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” When he stilled the storm, fed the multitude, healed the sick, and raised the dead, he proved the truth of this simple statement. He knew that what holds the multitudes mesmerized with a fear of lack is their belief in the reality of matter with all its errors of limitation. The Founder of Christianity, who based all his thoughts on the allness of God, could deny the false evidence of the physical senses, break the mesmeric fears of mortal mind, and furnish food for all.

When they brought to Jesus the woman in whom her accusers saw a hopeless sinner fit only to be stoned, the Way-shower recognized an opportunity to apply the Christ-healing. When, therefore, he said to the woman, “Go, and sin no more,” he not only enabled her to escape the result of her sin in the form of stoning, but he healed her of the sin. He knew that stoning sinners does not lessen sin, but that the understanding that there is neither pleasure nor profit in material beliefs, since God, Spirit, is all, takes away every desire to sin and releases the victims of appetite and passion.

Mrs. Eddy, whose one great desire was to show mortals the way to escape sin and disease according to the method revealed in the Bible, says of herself in “Retrospection and Introspection” (p. 31), “From my very childhood I was impelled, by a hunger and thirst after divine things,— a desire for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it, — to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe.” Like the prophets of old she was willing to learn aright about God and man’s relation to God and to order her manner of thinking to conform to this spiritual viewpoint. From the time of her own healing, which came as the result of a clear glimpse of the presence and power of God, she put forth every effort to aid her fellow man to find the healing truth and the spiritual fact that the way to health and harmony is the way of right thinking.

The student who makes the Scriptures in connection with the Christian Science textbook his constant study, does not seek to evade any problem that comes to him for scientific solution. When Paul, in the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians, enumerates his varied experiences of being stoned, beaten, imprisoned, and finally, when the Governor of Damascus sought to apprehend him, of being let down through a window in a basket and thus making his escape, he gloried in the fact that every one of these experiences had given him an opportunity to attain and demonstrate a better understanding of his divine Principle. Like Paul, the earnest Christian Scientist recognizes every untoward circumstance as a temptation to believe in a power apart from God, and does not fear to cross swords with this temptation and overcome it.

There is nothing from which anyone needs to escape except from a false concept of God and man. Jesus, throughout his experience, recognized reality as spiritual. When, therefore, evil hurled itself at him with all the force that a world’s hatred of Truth could claim to give it, he escaped unharmed by reason of his attitude of thought, which was that of love and forgiveness. Had he met this attack with hate and resentment, he would have succumbed by reason of his material concept of the situation. Paul gives a useful hint to Christian Scientists when he writes, “If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” The business of Christian Scientists is to heal and to love, never to fear and condemn. By making a clear separation between the real man and what the material senses call man, which often includes dominating and tyrannical tendencies, and by reflecting only Christlike qualities to all. one can escape both the desire to dominate others and the fear of being dominated by others.

Christian Scientists who have escaped from prisons of pain and disease, of whom it may be said in the words of Isaiah, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined,” have learned that it is because they were immured in the walls of materiality that darkness and the shadow of death fell upon them. When at times the light of spiritual understanding seems slow to dawn on human consciousness and the physical senses clamor for the recognition of sorrow or suffering, the temptation comes to wonder what the material cause may be and what form of error is trying to reach one.

Now when one is in a dark room one does not stop to wonder what kind of darkness surrounds him or what besides the darkness threatens danger; he simply turns on the light. A Christian Scientist can be just as quick to recognize that all discord is the result of materiality,—thinking on a material basis,—and turn to such means as will give him a spiritual viewpoint. With an earnest desire to spiritualize and Christianize thinking and living, one is sure to find the way to escape all evil, the way called by Isaiah, “the way of holiness,” wherein he says, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

— from Christian Science Journal, March 1920 by Julia S. Kinney

The psalmist said, “Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.” Human consciousness apprehends man’s relationship to God, Spirit, in the degree of its quickening through spiritual understanding. As men awaken from the belief that there is life, substance, and intelligence in matter, they begin to recognize Spirit, God, as the only Life, substance, and intelligence. This constitutes the quickening. Thus, in effect, spake Jesus when he said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” He made plain the distinction between spiritual understanding and fleshly belief; that is, between the understanding of Spirit as All-in-all and the false belief that there is life and action apart from Spirit; yet, strange to say, many of his professed followers fail to see this distinction, or to apply the truth which it expresses to the problems of human experience. More than this, they refuse to accept Mrs. Eddy’s teaching, which insists upon the quickening or life-giving power of Spirit and spiritual law as something wholly separate from matter or mortal belief. She says, “Jesus reasoned on this subject practically, and controlled sickness, sin, and death on the basis of his spirituality” (Science and Health, p. 356).

To know Spirit is to unknow matter. Strictly speaking, it is not possible to know matter. Mortals may believe in the existence of matter, but they cannot know that it exists, for its existence cannot be proved. In other words, matter is not susceptible of analysis. That which is not susceptible of analysis cannot, in any true sense, be known. If a thing cannot be known, it cannot be understood; hence the futility of attempting to understand matter, or the flesh. Such an attempt “profiteth nothing.”

History fully proves the superlative wisdom of what Jesus taught. Every effort of human wisdom or mortal philosophy to prove the existence of matter has failed, has profited nothing. The most convincing evidence in support of Jesus teaching is furnished by the physical scientists themselves in their conclusion that matter cannot be analyzed as particles of electricity. The supposititious electron has eluded the grasp of the physical senses even when aided by the most powerful microscopic lenses. Therefore the only fair deduction, so far as physical research is concerned, is that matter cannot be traced to any tangible origin, and hence that it has no origin. It is plain that any desire for aid or relief, whether of a spiritual or of a physical nature, through reliance on matter, is misplaced desire; hence if desire, sincere desire, is prayer, it is evident that depending upon matter we are praying amiss. Such prayer, however earnestly or honestly uttered, “profiteth nothing.”

In his outreaching for the true understanding of prayer, St. Paul said, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” A careful analysis of the context shows that it is the outreaching of the human sense, that is, the human desire, for a higher understanding of God which constitutes the “groanings which cannot be uttered.” The text implies that this was Paul’s state of mind or consciousness. God, or Spirit, is not the intercessor, for did not Christ Jesus say that “the spirit indeed is willing,” and that it is “the flesh,” or rather the “fleshly mind” which is weak? The longing and prayerful desire of the human heart (consciousness) is the intercessor, and our “groanings” (that is, our intense desire for spiritual understanding) are met by the all-presence of divine Love, and thus we learn to pray aright.

“The Spirit Quickeneth” from Christian Science Sentinel, March 28, 1914 by Judge Septimus J. Hanna

If God does not recognize matter, how did Jesus, who was “the way, the truth, and the life,” cognize it? Christ Jesus’ sense of matter was the opposite of that which mortals entertain: his nativity was a spiritual and immortal sense of the ideal world. His earthly mission was to translate substance into its original meaning, Mind. He walked upon the waves; he turned the water into wine; he healed the sick and the sinner; he raised the dead, and rolled away the stone from the door of his own tomb. His demonstration of Spirit virtually vanquished matter and its supposed laws. Walking the wave, he proved the fallacy of the theory that matter is substance; healing through Mind, he removed any supposition that matter is intelligent, or can recognize or express pain and pleasure. His triumph over the grave was an everlasting victory for Life; it demonstrated the lifelessness of matter, and the power and permanence of Spirit. He met and conquered the resistance of the world.

If you will admit, with me, that matter is neither substance, intelligence, nor Life, you may have all that is left of it; and you will have touched the hem of the garment of Jesus’ idea of matter. Christ was “the way;” since Life and Truth were the way that gave us, through a human person, a spiritual revelation of man’s possible earthly development.

— from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, page 75

from “Scientific Translations” Addresses by Martha Wilcox, page — pages 353 to 369

Final Readings

The Experience of Francis Hodgson Burnett and Louisa M. Alcott With a Healer.

An Outline of the Faith of the New Sect Called “Christian Scientists.”

Hotel Vendome, July 2, 1885.—It is easy to live so near to any subject of interest that practically one knows nothing about it. It ceases to be objective to one and that which may be done any day is apt to be done on no day at all. Here in Boston, for instance, we are so accustomed to hearing of the marvels of the “mind cure” that we fail to really learn as much of its mysteries as people often do from a distance, and pondering all these things in my heart one day I resolved to go and see Mrs. Eddy, or Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy, as she is known, president of the Metaphysical College, and the originator, as she claims, and as I have no reason to doubt, of “Christian Science,” popularly known as “mind cure.” Now of this I am neither a disciple nor a scoffer. My mental attitude toward the phenomena is, per se, of no importance or interest, but in view of what I am about to relate I beg to preface that I went to Mrs. Eddy with no positive feeling either way of either conviction or skepticism. In a general way, most persons of average thought in this day and age are quite willing to admit, I fancy, that there “are more things in heaven and earth than we have dreamed in our philosophy,” and I quite share that feeling. But it has happened that I had never even seen a “mind curer,” never heard one of their lectures, and had not read extensively of their special literature, when I suddenly resolved to call upon Mrs. Eddy, if she would permit me to do so. My note of inquiry was met by a very courteous invitation to come to her at an hour named in it, and accordingly at 8 o’clock on that evening I rang the bell of the large and handsome residence on Columbus Avenue, near West Chester Park, known as the Metaphysical College. A maid ushered me.

Into A Daintily Furnished Reception-Room, where pictures and bric-a-brac indicated refinement and taste. Presently Mrs. Eddy came in and greeted me with a manner that, while cordial and graceful, was also something more, and had in it an indefinable element of harmony and a peace that was not mere repose, but more like exaltation. It was subtle and indefinable, however, and I did not think of it especially at the time, although I felt it. The conversation touched lightly on current topics, and finally recurred to the subject of metaphysical cure. Mrs. Eddy preaches every Sunday at three o’clock in the “Hawthorne Rooms,” on Park street, and draws a crowded house weekly. I have intended going to hear her for many weeks, but failed to materialize these intentions, nor do I happen to have met anyone who has been there, but I know from current reports that the hall is always filled, and with a quiet and orderly and presumably more or less intelligent audience. From Mrs. Eddy’s classes in the college the noted “mind curers” of this city have gone out, after a course of many months’ study with her, the instructions taking the form of lectures.

I learned from her that she is daughter of a deeply religious and devout mother, that her grandmother was a Scotch Covenanter, and second-cousin to Mrs. Hannah More, of England. Mrs. Eddy had been an invalid from her childhood until—I pass over details—the day came when she was believed to be dying. It was Sunday morning. The pastor came in on his way to church, and she asked him to come again after he had concluded service. “But you will not be here,” he replied. As what seemed the last moments came she begged her friends to leave her alone. With great reluctance they at last complied. The instant she was alone in the room she felt a CONVICTION THAT SHE WAS TO LIVE, and she said she suddenly felt a new comprehension of the wonderful significance of the words, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” She began to grow strong. She arose from her bed, and walked into the adjoining room, and her affrighted friends were terror-stricken, believing they saw her apparition, and not until they had looked at the bed and seen that it was empty could they believe it was her natural self. From that hour the power was revealed to her.

Mrs. Eddy impressed me as a woman who is—in the language of our Methodist friends—”filled with the spirit.” It seems to be a merely natural gift with her. She is, by nature, a harmonizer. My own personal experience in that call was so singular that I will venture to relate it. I went, as I have already said, in a journalistic spirit. I had no belief, or disbelief, and the idea of getting any personal benefit from the call, save matter for press use, never occurred to me. But I remembered afterward how extremely tired I was as I walked rather wearily and languidly up the steps to Mrs. Eddy’s door. I came away, as a little child friend of mine expressively says, “skipping.” I was at least a mile from the Vendome, and I walked home feeling as if I were treading on air. My sleep that night was the rest of elysium. If I had been caught up into paradise it could hardly have been a more wonderful renewal. All the next day this exalted state continued. I can hardly describe it; it was simply the most marvelous elasticity of mind and body. All this time — it was Saturday evening I called on Mrs. Eddy, and the ensuing day being Sunday, and not attending service that day, I was not out to meet any one — all this Sunday I merely thought a trifle wonderingly, “How well I feel.” In the evening I had callers, and I told of my visit to Mrs. Eddy, and later, in an entirely different connection, I chanced to allude to the unusual, and indeed, utterly unprecedented buoyancy and energy I was feeling. “Why that’s the result of your going to Mrs. Eddy,” exclaimed a friend who had heard of her powers. I had not thought of it before, because you see I went to have my mind stored, not cured, and, in the journalistic, sense, I forgot I was with the most famous “mind-curer ” of the day. Whether my half hour’s talk with her produced this result I do not know. At least, here are the facts.

The healing of his seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch him in life’s throng and press,
And we are whole again.

Still struggles in the Age’s breast
With deepening agony of quest,
The old entreaty: Art thou He;
Or look we for the Christ to be?

— from Christian Science Journal, August 1885, Boston Life The Marvel of the, “Mind Cure” or Metaphysical Healing Practised at the Hub, By Lilian Whiting – “Traveller,” in “Ohio Leader.”

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