Some eighteen months ago I attended a Christian Science...

The Onlooker

Some eighteen months ago I attended a Christian Science lecture in the Queen's Hall, Langham Place, recording my impressions in these pages. Friday, May 22, found me again there, drawn partly, perhaps, by the fascination the spoken word holds always for me, but chiefly by the desire to hear more of the work and aim of this most wonderful of modern religious communities. The task Mr. Kimball (the speaker of the evening) had set before him was no easy one. It was to present to a London audience (in so far as it was possible) an accurate statement of the beliefs and ideals of Christian Science, and to answer categorically certain questions set to him by the editor of a well-known religious contemporary for the benefit and information of his readers. In some respects the first question covered many, and in no uncertain fashion did Mr. Kimball give his answer. "What is your idea of God and His relations to man?"

God, said the speaker, stood to them, and he hoped to all, for the very essence and fount of their being, infinite Love and infinite wisdom. In all reverence and humility their creed taught it was possible by reaching upwards and outwards so to bring oneself into communion and true comprehension of the Godhead that we became as it were part of Him, and were able so to readjust our spiritual focus that we saw with His eyes the meaning of life as He had meant it. This new old-world religion was first and foremost a realizing that God is Life; that man, being "made in his image," was not meant to suffer, not meant to sin. "We deny utterly and for ever," said the lecture, "that sickness was sent as a punishment to man." Sin and suffering were brought about by a false conception of the true basis of life. In the All-good can be no possible thought of evil. For centuries men have made hells for themselves and others, for hell is a continuance of mental and physical pain produced by error and sin.

In Jesus Christ, continued the lecturer, we had the most beautiful and perfect presentment of the divine and omniscient Mind. By his working in exquisite accord with the fundamental law of God, he showed forth, forever and to all men, how death and the powers of hell could be overcome and how disease and sin were not our natural heritage here. The fetishes of pain and fear men so long had set up for themselves, Christ Jesus cast down forever; he showed the way of salvation, and to his followers and disciples he said, "Go, and do thou likewise." And that was the work and aim Christian Scientists set before themselves, to show the true way of salvation. Thousands had testified and were ready to testify how in very truth their faith had made them whole. Neither strife nor argument lay within their province, only the desire to hand on the lamp of knowledge so blessedly lit for them through the agency of Mrs. Eddy.

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July 18, 1908

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