The address on Christian Science, given by a clergyman...

Hampstead Advertiser

The address on Christian Science, given by a clergyman and reported in your paper, may be said to have been directed to two issues: first, to a repudiation of the theology of its teaching; and, second, to a criticism of its practise. Now it may be said, without any hesitation, at the outset, that it is as impossible to separate the theology from the practise of Christian Science as it is cause from effect. It is, indeed, largely because the orthodox churches have been, for centuries, in a more or less degree endeavoring to do this, that they have been steadily losing ground and that there has been a corresponding increase of infidelity. If Christianity is to be defined in any of its phases, it can only be defined from the Bible, and if we turn to the Bible for some illumination on the question of cause and effect, we shall find it summed up in the remarkable utterance of Jesus to the Pharisees, in the court of the women, in Jerusalem, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." One of the greatest of churchmen and scholars, speaking of these words, has shown how the Greek text manifestly refers not to any relative sense of truth, but to the absolute, to "that which is;" and this may help to make clearer, to those who have not studied the subject very deeply, the meaning of a not uncommon phrase in the New Testament, translated, usually, knowledge of God, but which should, of course, be translated full, exact, or scientific knowledge of God, and so of Truth. There can obviously be no more scientific knowledge than an exact knowledge of that which absolutely is; and so we see that any knowledge of Truth which is to free the world, must not merely rid the world of ignorance, but enable it to demonstrate that knowledge.

The gospel of Jesus constituted his theology, a theology which was essentially practical, inasmuch as it was essentially demonstrable. No teacher, indeed, ever bound practise to precept with such "hoops of steel." Preach the gospel, he said, and heal the sick; and in order that there might be no mistake that the two were coincident, and that he meant, preach a gospel which will heal the sick, he referred the disciples of John, who came to demand whether he was the Christ, not so much to the preaching as the practise, not so much to the theology as the miracle; while when he wished to define a believer in the theology, he did so in the terms of one who was able to demonstrate practically the truth of it. However the critic may regard the subject, the Christian Scientist accepts the obvious meaning of Jesus' words, that a Christian must prove his Christianity, not by words, but by works; not merely by preaching the gospel, but by healing the sick; and this leads to the second question of how that healing is accomplished. Now it is perfectly certain that Jesus never made use of any material means. The Bible is quite clear on this point; he healed the sick by a word. Sometimes this word was spoken, sometimes it was silent; sometimes those healed were present, sometimes they were absent. The remedy, consequently, was no phrase or formula, it was Jesus' knowledge of Truth mentally expressed, and the mentality which expressed it was the Mind of Christ.

August 3, 1912

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