Strangely enough, after nearly half a century of healing work done by Christian Science, and the records of thousands of cures accomplished by its means, a question has been raised by critics as to whether the teaching of Christian Science is a menace to the health of the community. It has been charged that because it demands an absolute reliance upon Spirit, God, it thus creates a disregard of material laws; that it ignores sanitation and quarantine, and makes no discrimination as to dietetics, exercise, food, and air.

It is the mission of Christian Science primarily to improve the mental and moral condition of the individual, and as a result of such advancement to improve his bodily condition, and surely no one will argue that this sort of improvement is not beneficial to mankind at large. Every man, in our country at least, by common consent is privileged to choose his own religion and medicine, provided in so doing he does not interfere with his neighbors' rights and privileges. If the general public has not endorsed Christian Science, it is for the same reason that it has not endorsed many other important and valuable discoveries. Christian Scientists are willing to allow the good name of Christian Science and its endorsement by the public to be determined by its good works. They have proved that "a scientific mental method is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health" (Science and Health, p. 79).

The standard of Christian Science is indeed an exalted one. It demands constant devotion to the spiritual side of life. It is in strict accord with the Scriptural teaching, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," which means, Thou shalt recognize and serve no other life, substance, or intelligence but divine Mind. In this respect, however, it does not demand more than does primitive Christianity as set forth in the Scriptures. For example, Christ Jesus declared: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," and yet no one expects to attain perfection at a single bound. We know that each must advance gradually to the fulness of spiritual manhood. Notwithstanding his knowledge of the insistence of Christian Science upon an unreserved dependence on Spirit for the supply of all human needs, the student of Christian Science is sometimes obliged to say, as did the Master of old, "Suffer it to be now;" but he at the same time knows that all material practices and usages will disappear from his life in the ultimate of his spiritual growth. Christian Science comes to us while we are in more or less of an imperfect state. It is considered for the situation in which it finds us, and involves not only an interest in the spiritual estate which it points out, but a wise and sensible disposition of what St. Paul denominated "the powers that be," the material conditions and environment in which we are placed.

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December 16, 1911

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