To live and let live, without clamor for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine Love; to write truth first on the tablet of one’s own heart,—this is the sanity and perfection of living, and my human ideal.
Mary Baker Eddy
(Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 2).
From the December 1889 issue of The Christian Science Journal
This article was later republished in Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896: Mis. 355:1-359:26
The present stage of progress in Christian Science presents two opposite aspects, a full-orbed promise, and a gaunt want; the need however is not of the letter, but the spirit.
Less teaching and good healing is to-day the acme of “well done”; a healing that is not guess-work, chronic recovery ebbing and flowing, but instantaneous cure. This absolute demonstration of Science must be revived. To consummate this desideratum, mortal mind must pass through three stages of growth.
First, self-knowledge. Physician must know thyself and understand the mental state of thy patient. Error found out is two-thirds destroyed, for the remainder only stimulates and gives scope to higher demonstration. To strike out right and left against the mist, never clears the vision; but to lift your head above it is a sovereign panacea. Mental darkness is senseless error, neither intelligence nor power, and its victim is responsible for its supposititious presence. “Cast the beam out of thine own eye.” Learn what in thine own mentality is unlike the Anointed and cast it out, then thou wilt discern the error in thy patient’s mind that makes his body sick, and remove it, and rest like the dove from the deluge.
“Physician, heal thyself.” Let no clouds of sin gather and fall in mist and showers, from thine own mental atmosphere. Hold thy gaze to the light, and the iris of faith more beautiful than the rainbow seen from my window at the close of a balmy autumnal day, will span thy heavens of thought.
A radiant sunset beautiful as blessings when they take their flight, dilates and kindles into rest. Thus will a life corrected illumine its own atmosphere with spiritual glow and understanding.
The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate, need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom.
My students with cultured intellects, chastened affections, and costly hopes, give promise of grand careers. But they must remember that the seedtime is passed, the harvest hour has come, and songs should ascend from the mount of Revelation sweeter than the sound of vintage bells to villagers on the Rhine.
The seed of Christian Science, which “when sown, was the least of all seeds,” has sprung up, borne fruit, and the birds of the air, the uplifted desires of the human heart, have lodged in its branches. Now, let my faithful students carry the fruit of this tree into the rock-ribbed nests of the raven’s callow brood.
The second stage of mental development is humility. This virtue triumphs over the flesh; it is the genius of Christian Science. One can never go up until one has gone down in his own esteem. Humility is lens and prism to the understanding of Mind-healing; it must be had to understand its text-book, it is indispensable to personal growth, and is the chart of its divine Principle and rule of practice.
Guard humility, “watch and pray without ceasing,” or you will miss this way of Truth and Love. Humility is no busybody; it has no moments for trafficking in other people’s business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.
Let Christian Scientists minister to the sick; the schoolroom is the dernier resort. Let them seek the lost sheep who having strayed from the true fold have lost their great shepherd and yearn to find living pastures, and rest beside still waters. They long for the Christlikeness that is above the present status of religion, and beyond the walks of common life quite on the verge of heaven. Without the cross and healing, Christianity has no central emblem, no history.
The seeds of Truth fall by the wayside, on artless listeners’ itching ears and dull disciples. They fall on stony ground, and shallow soil. The fowls of the air pick them up. Much of what has been sown has withered away, but what remaineth has fallen into the good and honest hearts and is bearing fruit.
The third stage of mental growth is manifested in love, the greatest of all stages and states of being. Love that is irrespective of self, rank, or following. For some time it has been clear to my mind that those students of Christian Science whose Christian characters and lives recommend them, should receive full fellowship from us, no matter who has taught them. If they have been taught wrongly they are not morally responsible for this and need special help. They are as lambs that have sought the true fold and the great Shepherd, and strayed innocently, hence we should be ready and glad to help them and point the way.
Love is the substance of Christian Science, the basis of its demonstration, yea, its foundation and superstructure. Love impels good works. Love is greatly needed and must be had to mark the way in Divine Science.
The student who heals by teaching and teaches by healing, will graduate under divine honors which are the only appropriate seals for Christian Science. State honors perish, and their gain is loss to the Christian Scientist. They include for him at present, naught but tardy justice, hounded footsteps, false laurels. God alone is his help, his shield, and Great Reward. He that seeketh aught beside God, loseth in Life, Truth, and Love. All men “shall be satisfied when they awake in His likeness,” and they never should be until then. Human pride is human weakness. Self-knowledge, humility, and love are divine strength. Christ’s vestures are only put on when mortals are “washed in the blood of the lamb”; we must walk in the way which Jesus marked out if we would reach the heaven-crowned summit of Christian Science.
Be it understood that I do not require Christian Scientists to stop teaching, to dissolve their organizations, or to desist from organizing churches and associations.
The first and only College of Christian Science Mind-healing, after accomplishing the greatest work of the ages and at the pinnacle of prosperity, is closed. Let Scientists who have grown to self-sacrifice do their present work awaiting with staff in hand God’s commands.
When students have fulfilled all the good ends of organization and are convinced that by leaving the material forms thereof a higher spiritual unity is won, then is the time to follow the example of the Alma Mater. Material organization is requisite in the beginning, but when it has done its work, the purely Christly method of teaching and preaching must be adopted. On the same principle you continue the mental argument in the practice of Christian healing until you can cure without it instantaneously and through Spirit alone.
St. Paul says: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” Growth is restricted by forcing humanity out of the proper channels for development or by holding it in fetters.
For Jesus to walk the water was scientific insomuch as he was able to do this, but it is neither wisdom nor science for poor humanity to step upon the Atlantic until we can walk on the water.
Peter’s impetuosity was rebuked. He had to learn from experience; so have we. The methods of our Master were in advance of the period in which he personally appeared. But his example was right and is available at the right time. The way is absolute Science, walk ye in it, but remember that Science is demonstrated by degrees and our demonstration rises only as we rise in the scale of being.