Altruism and Healing

Universality of comprehension and effort has characterized reformers and their work in all ages. Enlarged perspective, even to the point of a universal scope, has made possible prophecy and achievement throughout all history. Looking beyond the narrow confines of local and racial conditions, the patriarchs and prophets were said to commune with Deity, but he who was designated the great Teacher surpassed all others by virtue of his universal compass of human need, past and to come. He looked back through the ages and detected the fallacy of the superstitions which had held mankind in cruel thraldom, and was thus able to astound scholastic theology with the paradoxical assumption of antecedence over Abraham. With clear vision he anticipated history's ponderous unfolding of cycles and set a definite bound upon human ill. He heralded with authority the reign of Truth, and issued, in the promise of the Comforter, a proclamation of universal freedom. He thus frustrated on the one hand the selfish zeal of the chosen people for a restoration of temporal power, and on the other provided a new calendar for the world in the proposal of universal peace. We have a further illustration of this all-embracing compass of thought in epoch-making Paul. From Saul the Pharisee, an intellectual bigot who was dominated and actuated by the spirit of egotism, there was evolved, in a single vision of the Christ, a saint, a brave champion of human rights, who in emulation of the erstwhile despised Master became "all things to all men," that he "might by all means save some."

Had our revered Leader been content with her own initial glimpse of spiritual truth which resulted in a marvelous healing, she would have differed little from other godly men and women known to the world as reformers, and there would not have been evolved from Puritan womanhood an acknowledged world benefactor. It was when with prophetic clarity of vision she saw universal humanity in cruel servitude to evil; when, despite the fact that this same grasp of retrospective and prospective vision included the unpleasant certainly of mortal conflict with false claims to power, she wavered not, that she was able to hear and to heed the divine call to expound to this age a scientific system of spiritual healing.

It is significant in this connection that when the great Founder of Christianity gave the world the model prayer, he couched its every phrase in the plural, so that the prayer, which Mrs. Eddy declares "covers all human needs" (Science and Health, p. 16), is in its inception and in its essence universal. Little wonder, then, that in her present-day attempt to unfold and reestablish the Science of Christianity Mrs. Eddy has outlined, as primarily essential in connection therewith, an appreciation that regenerative and healing prayer is in the last analysis true altruism, containing neither in expression nor in spirit any intimation of an "I," a "me." or a "mine." Of further significance in this connection is the fact that in the prayer outlined for members of The Mother Church, as given in the Manual, she has used the specific singular in dealing with evil and its elimination, but the universal plural in dealing with Truth's dissemination and race salvation. "Prayer in church," according to this same wise criterion of worship, "shall be offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 5). Frequent impersonal healings at our church services attest the wisdom and utility of such comprehensiveness and altruism in the compass of prayer. The apostle James definitely and tersely outlines the essentials of genuine religion as being a universal comprehension of humanity's need coupled with self-purification, and this is further set forth in the Christian Science petition that sin may be ruled "out of me," and that "the affections of all mankind" may be enriched, as stated in Section 4 of the article above quoted.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Overcoming Error
March 20, 1915

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.