1886 — First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston MA
“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues ; They shall take up serpents ; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
— Mark xvi. 17, 18.
HISTORY repeats itself; to-morrow grows out of to-day. But Heaven’s favors are formidable: they are calls to higher duties, not discharge from care; and whoso builds on less than an immortal basis, hath built on sand.
We have asked, in our selfishness, to wait until the age advanced to a more practical and spiritual religion before arguing with the world the great subject of Christian healing; but our answer was, then there were no cross to take up, and less need of publishing the good news. A classic writes:
“At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay;
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve.”
The difference between religions is, that one religion has a more spiritual basis and tendency than the other; and the religion nearest right is that one. The genius of Christianity is works more than words; a calm and steadfast communion with God; a tumult on earth, — religious factions and prejudices arrayed against it, the synagogues as of old closed upon it, while it reasons with the storm, hurls the thunderbolt of truth, and stills the tempest of error; scourged and condemned at every advancing foot step, afterwards pardoned and adopted, but never seen amid the smoke of battle. Said the intrepid reformer, Martin Luther: “I am weary of the world, and the world is weary of me ; the parting will be easy.” Said the more gentle Melancthon: “Old Adam is too strong for young Melancthon.” And still another Christian hero, ere he passed from his execution to a crown, added his testimony: “I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith.” But Jesus, the model of infinite patience, said: “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And he said this when bending beneath the malice of the world. But why should the world hate Jesus, the loved of the Father, the loved of Love? It was that his spirituality rebuked their carnality, and gave this proof of Christianity that religions had not given. Again, they knew it was not in the power of eloquence or a dead rite to cast out error and heal the sick. Past, present, future magnifies His name who built, on Truth, eternity’s foundation-stone, and sprinkled the altar of Love with perpetual incense.
Such Christianity requires neither hygiene nor drugs ‘ wherewith to heal both mind and body; or, lacking these, to show its helplessness. The primitive privilege of Christianity was to make men better, to cast out error, and heal the sick. It was a proof, more than a profession thereof; a demonstration, more than a doctrine. It was the foundation of right thinking and right acting, and must be re established on its former basis. The stone which the builders rejected must again become the head of the corner. In proportion as the personal and material element stole into religion, it lost Christianity and the power to heal; and the qualities of God as a person, instead of the divine Principle that begets the quality, engrossed the attention of the ages. In the original text the term “God” was derived from the word “good.” Christ is the idea of Truth; Jesus is the name of a man born in a remote province of Judea, — Josephus alludes to several individuals by the name of Jesus. Therefore Christ-Jesus was an honorary title ; it signified a ” good man,” which epithet the great goodness and wonderful works of our Master more than merited. Because God is the Principle of Christian healing, we must understand in part this divine Principle, or we cannot demonstrate it in part. The Scriptures declare that ” God is Love, Truth, and Life,” — a trinity in unity; not three persons in one, but three statements of one Principle. We cannot tell what is the person of Truth, the body of the Infinite ; but we know that the Principle is not the person, that the finite cannot contain the Infinite, that unlimited Mind cannot start from a limited body. The Infinite can neither go forth from, return to, nor remain for a moment within limits. We must give freer breath to thought before calculating the results of an infinite Principle, the effects of infinite Love, the compass of infinite Life, the power of infinite Truth. Clothing Deity with personality, we limit the action of God to the finite senses. We pray for God to remember us, even as we ask a person with softening of the brain not to forget his daily cares. We ask infinite Wisdom to possess our finite sense, and forgive what He knows deserves to be punished, and to bless what is unfit to be blessed. We expect infinite Love to drop divinity long enough to hate. We expect infinite Truth to mix with error, and become finite for a season ; and, after infinite Spirit is forced in and out of matter for an indefinite period, to show itself infinite again. We expect infinite Life to become finite, and have an end; but, after a temporary lapse, to begin anew as infinite Life without beginning and without end.
Friends, can we ever arrive at a proper conception of the divine character, and gain a right idea of the Principle oi all that is right, with such self-evident contradictions? God must be our model, or we have none; and if this model is one thing at one time, and the opposite of it at another, can we rely on our model ? Or, having faith in it, how can we demonstrate a changing Principle? We can not: we shall be consistent with our inconsistent statement of Deity, and so bring out our own erring finite sense of God, and of good and evil blending. While admitting that God is omnipotent, we shall be limiting his power at every point, — shall be saying he is beaten by certain kinds of food, by changes of temperature, the neglect of a bath, and so on. Phrenology will be saying the developments of the brain bias a man’s character. Physiology will be saying, if a man has taken cold by doing good to his neighbor, God will punish him now for the cold, but he must wait for the reward of his good deed hereafter. One of our leading clergymen startles us by saying, that “between Christianity and Spiritualism, the question chiefly is concerning the trustworthiness of the communications, and not the doubt of their reality.” Does any one think the departed are not departed, but are with us, although we have no evidence of the fact except sleight-of-hand and hallucination? Such hypotheses ignore Biblical authority, obscure the one grand truth which is constantly covered, in one way or another, from our sight. This truth is, that we are to work out bur own salvation, and to meet the responsibility of our own thoughts and acts; relying not on the person of God or the person of man to do our work for us, but on the apostle’s rule, “I will show thee my faith by my works. ‘This Spiritualism would lead our lives to higher issues; it would purify, elevate, and consecrate man ; it would teach him that, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The more spiritual we become here, the more are we separated from the world; and should this rule fail hereafter, we grow more material, and so come back to the world. When I was told the other day, “People say you are a medium,” pardon me if I smiled. The pioneer of some thing new under the sun is never hit : he cannot be ; the opinions of people fly too high or too low. From my earliest investigations of the mental phenomenon named mediumship, I knew it was misinterpreted, and I said it. The Spiritualists abused me for it then, and have ever since; but they take pleasure in calling me a medium. I saw the impossibility, in science, of intercommunion between the so-called dead and the living. When I learned how mind produces disease on the body, I learned how it produces the manifestations ignorantly imputed to spirits. I saw how the mind’s ideals were evolved and made tangible ; and it matters not whether that ideal is a flower or a cancer, if the belief is strong enough to manifest it. Man thinks he is a medium of disease ; that when he is sick, disease controls his body to whatever manifestation we : see. But the fact remains, in metaphysics, that the mind of the individual only can produce a result upon his body. The belief that produces this result may be wholly un known to the individual, because it is lying back in the unconscious thought, a latent cause producing the effect we see.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils.” The word “devil” comes from the Greek diabolos ; in Hebrew it is belial, and signifies “that which is good for nothing, lust,” &c. The signs referred to are the manifestations of the power of truth to cast out error; and, correcting error in thought, it pro duces the harmonious effect on the body. “Them that believe” signifies those who understand God’s supremacy, — the power of Mind over matter. “The new tongue” is the spiritual meaning as opposed to the material. It is the language of soul instead of the senses ; it translates matter into its original language, which is mind, and gives the spiritual instead of the material signification. It begins with motive, instead of act, where Jesus formed his estimate; and there correcting the motive, it corrects the act that results from the motive. The science of Christianity makes pure the fountain in order to purify the stream. It begins in mind to heal the body, the same as it begins in motive to correct the act, and through which to judge of it. The Master of’ metaphysics, reading the mind of the poor woman who dropped her mite into the treasury, said, “She hath done more than they all.” Again, he charged home a crime to mind, regardless of any outward act, and sentenced it as our judges would not have done to-day. Jesus knew that adultery is a crime, and mind is the criminal. I wish the age was up to his understanding of these two facts, so important to progress and Christianity.
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” This is an unqualified statement of the duty and ability of Christians to heal the sick ; and it contains no argument for a creed or doc trine, — it implies no necessity beyond the understanding of God, and obedience to his government, that heals both mind and body. God, — not a person to whom we should pray to heal the sick, but the Life, Love, and Truth that destroy error and death. Understanding the truth regarding mind and body, knowing that mind can master sick ness as well as sin, and carrying out this government over both, and bringing out the results of this higher Christianity, we shall perceive the meaning of the context, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall re cover.”
The world is slow to perceive individual advancement; but when it reaches the thought that has produced this, then it is willing to be made whole, and no longer quarrels with the individual. Plato did better he said, “What thou seest, that thou beest.”
The mistaken views entertained of Deity becloud the light of revelation, and suffocate reason by materialism. When we understand that God is what the Scriptures have declared, — namely, Life, Truth, and Love, — we shall learn to reach heaven through principle instead of a pardon; and this will make us honest and laborious, knowing that we shall receive only what we have earned. Jesus illustrated this by the parable of the husbandman. If we work to become Christians as honestly and as directly upon a divine principle, and adhere to the rule of this principle as directly as we do to the rule of mathematics, we shall be Christian Scientists, and do more than we are now doing, and progress faster than we are now progressing. We should have no anxiety about what is or what is not the person of God, if we understood the Principle better, and employed our thoughts more in demonstrating it. We are constantly thinking and talking on the wrong side of the question. The less said or thought of sin, sickness, or death, the better for mankind morally and physically. The greatest sinner and the most hopeless invalid think most of sickness and of sin; but, having learned this method has not saved them from either, why do they go on thus, and their moral advisers talk for them on the very subjects they would gladly discontinue to bring out in their lives ? Contending for the reality of what should disappear is like furnishing fuel for the flames. Is it a duty for any one to believe that “the curse causeless cannot come”? Then it is a higher duty to know that God never cursed man, his own image and likeness. God never made a wicked man ; and man made by God had not a faculty or power underived from his Maker wherewith to make himself wicked. The only correct answer to the question, Who is the author of evil? is the scientific statement that evil is unreal; that God made all that was made, but he never made sin or sickness, either an error of mind or of body. Life in matter is a dream : sin, sickness, and death are this dream. Life is spirit ; and when we waken from the dream of life in matter, we shall learn this grand truth of being. St. John saw the vision of life in matter; and he saw it pass away, — an illusion. The dragon that was wroth with the woman, and stood ready “to devour the child as soon as it was born,” was the vision of envy, sensuality, and malice, ready to devour the idea of Truth. But the beast bowed before the Lamb: it was supposed to have fought the manhood of God, that Jesus represented; but it fell before the womanhood of God, that presented the highest ideal of Love. Let us remember that God — good — is omnipotent ; therefore evil is impotent. There is but one side to good, — it has no evil side; there is but one side to reality, and that is the good side. God is all and in all: that finishes the question of a good and a bad side to existence. Truth is the real; error is the unreal. You will gather the importance of this saying, when sorrow seems to come, if you will look on the bright side; for sorrow endureth but for the night, and joy cometh with the light. Then will your sorrow be a dream, and your waking the reality, even the triumph of soul over sense. If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness ; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful j not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea.
As the mountain hart panteth for the water brooks, so panteth my heart for the true fount and soul’s baptism. Earth’s fading dreams are empty streams, her fountains play in borrowed sunbeams, her plumes are plucked from the wings of vanity. Did we survey the cost of sublunary joy, we then should gladly waken to see it was unreal. A dream calleth itself a dreamer, but when the dream has passed, man is seen wholly apart from the dream.
We are in the midst of a revolution; physics are yielding slowly to metaphysics; mortal mind rebels at its own boundaries; weary of matter, it would catch the meaning of Spirit. The only immortal superstructure is built on Truth; her modest tower rises slowly, but it stands and is the miracle of the hour, though it may seem to the age like the great pyramid of Egypt, — a miracle in stone. The fires of ancient proscription burn upon the altars of to-day ; he who has suffered from intolerance is the first to be intolerant. Homoeopathy may not recover from the heel of Allopathy, before lifting its foot against its neighbor, Metaphysics, although Homoeopathy has laid the foundation stone of mental healing; it has established this axiom, — The less medicine the better, — and Metaphysics adds, until you arrive at no medicine. When you have reached this high goal you have learned that, proportionately as matter went out and mind came in as the remedy, was its potency Metaphysics places all cause and cure as mind, differing in this from Homoeopathy, where cause and cure are supposed to be both mind and matter. Metaphysics requires mind ) imbued with Truth to heal the sick; hence the Christianity – of metaphysical healing, and this excellence above other’ systems. The higher attenuations of Homoeopathy contain no medicinal properties, and thus it is found out that mind instead of matter heals the sick. While the matter – physician feels the pulse, examines the tongue, etc., to learn what matter is doing independent of mind, when it is self- evident it can do nothing, the metaphysician goes to the fount to govern the streams; he diagnoses disease as mind, the basis of all action, and cures it thus when matter can not cure it, showing he was right. Thus it was we discovered that all physical effects originate in mind before they can become manifest as matter; we learned from the Scripture and Christ’s healing that God, directly or indirectly, through His providence or His laws, never made a man sick. When studying the two hundred and sixty remedies of the Jahr, the characteristic peculiarities and the general and moral symptoms requiring the remedy, we saw at once the concentrated power of thought brought to bear on the Pharmacy of Homoeopathy, which made the infinitesimal dose effectual. To prepare the medicine requires time and thought; you cannot shake the poor drug without the involuntary thought, “I am making you more powerful,” and the sequel proves it; the higher attenuations prove that the power was the thought, for when the drug disappears by your process the power remains, and homceopathists admit the higher attenuations are the most powerful. The only objection to giving the unmedicated sugar is, it would be dishonest and divide one’s faith apparently between matter and mind, and so weaken both points of action; taking hold of both horns of the dilemma, we should work at opposites and accomplish less on either side. The Pharmacy of Homoeopathy is reducing the one hundredth part of a grain of medicine two thousand times, shaking the preparation thirty times at every attenuation. There is a moral to this medicine ; the higher natures are reached soonest by the higher attenuations until the fact is found out they have taken no medicine, and then the so-called drug loses its power. We have attenuated a grain of Aconite until it was no longer Aconite, then dropped into a tumblerful of water a single drop of this harmless solution, and administering one teaspoonful of this water at intervals of half an hour have cured the incipient stage of fever.. The highest attenuation we ever attained was to leave the drug out of the question, using only the sugar of mil ; and with this original dose we cured an inveterate ‘case of dropsy. After these experiments you cannot be, surprised that we resigned the imaginary medicine altogether, and honestly employed mind as the only curative principle.
What are the foundations of metaphysical healing? Mind, divine Science, the Truth of being, that casts out error and thus heals the sick. You can readily perceive this mental system of healing is the antipodes of mesmerism, Beelzebub. Mesmerism makes one disease while it is supposed to cure another, and that one is worse than the first; mesmerism is one lie getting the better of another, and the bigger lie occupying the field for a period, it is the fight of beasts, in which the bigger animal beats the lesser; in fine, much ado about nothing. Medicine has not arrived at the science of treating disease, for disease must be treated mentally to heal man morally and physically. What has physiology, hygiene, or physics done for Christianity but to obscure the divine Principle of healing and encourage faith in an opposite direction?
Great caution should be exercised in the choice of physicians. If you employ a medical practitioner be sure he is a learned man and skilful; never trust yourself in the hands of a quack. In proportion as a physician is enlightened and liberal is he equipped with Truth, and his efforts are salutary; ignorance and charlatanism are miserable medical aids. Metaphysical healing includes infinitely more than merely to know that mind governs the body and the method of a mental practice. The preparation for a metaphysical practitioner is the most arduous task I ever per formed. You must first mentally educate and develop the spiritual sense or perceptive faculty by which one learns the metaphysical treatment of disease; you must teach them how to learn together with what they learn. I have never yet had a student who has reached this ability to teach; it includes more than they understand.
Metaphysical or divine science reveals the Principle and method of perfection, — how to attain a mind in harmony with God, in sympathy with all that is right and opposed to all that is wrong, and a body governed by this mind. This Christian Science repudiates the evidences of the senses and rests upon the supremacy of God. Christian healing, established upon this principle, vindicates the omnipotence of the Supreme Being by employing no other remedy than Truth, Life, and Love understood, to heal all ills that flesh is heir to. It places no faith in hygiene or drugs ; it reposes all faith in mind, in spiritual power divinely directed. By rightly understanding the power of mind over matter, it enables mind to govern matter as it rises to that supreme sense that shall “take up serpents unharmed, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them.” Christian Science explains to any one’s perfect satisfaction the so-called miracles recorded in the Bible. Ah! why should man deny all might to the divine Mind, and claim another mind perpetually at war with this Mind, when at the same time he calls God Almighty and admits in statement what he denies in proof? You pray for God to heal you, but should you expect this when you are acting oppositely to your prayer, trying everything else besides God, and believe that sickness is something he cannot reach, but medicine can? as if drugs were superior to Deity. The Scripture says, “You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss,” and is it not asking amiss to pray’ for a proof of divine power that you have little or no faith in because you do not understand God, the Principle of this proof? Prayer will be inaudible, and works more than words as we under stand God better. The Lord’s Prayer, understood in its spiritual sense, and given its spiritual version, can never be repeated too often for the benefit of all who, having ears, hear and understand. Metaphysical science teaches us there is no other Life, Substance, and Intelligence but God How much are you demonstrating of this statement? which to you hath the most actual substance, — wealth and fame, or Truth and Love? See to it, O Christian Scientists, ye who have named the name of Christ with a higher meaning, that you abide by your statements, and abound in Love and Truth, for unless you do this you are not demonstrating the science of metaphysical healing. The immeasurable Life and Love will occupy your affections, come nearer your hearts and into your homes when you touch but the hem of Truth’s garment.
A word about the five personal senses, and we will leave our abstract subjects for this time. The only evidence we have of sin, sickness, or death is furnished by these senses; but how can we rely on their testimony when the senses afford no evidence of truth? They can neither see, hear, feel, taste, nor smell God; and shall we call that reliable evidence through which we can gain no understanding of Truth, Life, and Love? Again, shall we say that God hath created those senses through which it is impossible to approach Him? Friends, it is of the utmost importance that we look into these subjects, and gain our evidences of Life from the correct source. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me,” — through the footsteps of Truth. Not by the senses, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, envy, hypocrisy, or malice, the pleasures or the pains of the personal senses, does man get nearer his divine nature and present the image and likeness of God. How, then, can it be that material man and the personal senses were created by God? Love makes the spiritual man, lust makes the material so- I called man, and God made all that was made ; therefore the so-called material man and these personal senses, with all their evidences of sin, sickness, and death, are but a dream, — they are not the realities of life; and we shall all learn this as we awake to behold His likeness. The allegory of Adam, when spiritually understood, explains this dream of material life, even the dream of the “deep sleep that fell upon Adam “when the spiritual senses were hushed by material sense that before had claimed audience with a serpent. Sin, Truth, Life, and Love. Sin, sickness, and death are error; they are not Truth, and therefore are not true. Sin is a supposed mental condition ; sickness and death are sup posed physical ones, but all appeared through the false supposition of Life and Intelligence in matter. Sin was first in the allegory, and sickness and death were produced by sin. Then was not sin of mental origin, and did not mind originate the whole? And if sickness and death came through mind, so must they go; and are we not right in ruling them out of mind to destroy their effects upon the body, that both mortal mind and mortal body shall yield to the government of God, Immortal Mind? In the words of Paul, that “the old man shall be put off,” mortality shall disappear, and immortality be brought to light. People are willing to put new wine into old bottles; but if this be done, the bottle will break and the wine be spilled. There is no connection between Spirit and matter. Spirit never entered and it never escaped from matter; good and evil never dwelt together. There is in reality but the good: Truth is the real; error, the unreal. We cannot put the new wine into old bottles. If that could be done, the world would accept our sentiments; it would willingly adopt the new idea if that idea could be reconciled with the old belief; it would put the new wine into the old bottle if it could prevent its effervescing and keep it from popping out until it became popular.
The doctrine of atonement never did anything for sick ness or claimed to reach that woe; but Jesus’s mission extended to the sick as much as to the sinner: he established his Messiahship on the basis that Christ, Truth, heals the sick. Pride, appetites, passions, envy and malice, will cease to assert their Caesar sway when Metaphysics is understood; and religion at the sick-bed will be no blind Samson shorn of his locks. You must admit that what is termed death has been produced by a belief alone. The Oxford students proved this : they killed a man by no other means than making him believe he was bleeding to death. A felon was delivered to them for experiment to test the power of mind over body, and they did test it and proved it. They proved it not in part, but as a whole ; they proved that every organ of the system, every function of the body, is governed directly and entirely by mind, else those functions could not have been stopped by mind independently of material conditions. Had they changed the felon’s belief that he was bleeding to death, removed the bandage from his eyes, and he had seen that a vein had not been opened, he would have resuscitated. The origin of disease is not an exception to the origin of all things else. Mind is causation, and the ancient question, Which is first, the egg or the bird? is answered by the Scripture “He made every plant before it was in the ground.”
Heaven’s signet is charity. We need it to stamp out religions and Christianize us as time wears on. Tireless being, patient of man’s procrastination, affords him fresh opportunities every hour; but if time makes a new demand, bidding man go up higher, pointing to eternity, he is impatient and doubts the justice of the demand. But let us go to work more earnestly in His vineyard, bearing our cross meekly along the rugged way, up the steep ascent, into the wilderness, on to heaven, making our words golden rays in the sunlight of our deeds; and ” these signs shall follow them that believe: . . . they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
The following hymn was sung at the close : —
Oh, could we speak the matchless worth,
Oh, could we sound the glories forth,
Which in our Saviour shine,
We’d soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel, while he sings,
In notes almost divine.”
Source: Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellaneous Writings: 1883-1896. Boston: privately published, 1896.
Also: Christian Healing and The People’s Idea of God: Sermons Delivered at Boston by Mary Baker Eddy, Pastor Emeritus and Author of Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures (Boston, Allison V. Stewart), 1917, pp. 15-34.