Not an Exclusive Privilege

One of the almost threadbare criticisms of Christian Science which is brought forward more or less regularly, is that which assumes the followers of this religion are guilty of impiety and almost blasphemy, because they believe that sickness not only may be, but is, healed today through the practice of Christianity, just as "all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people" was healed by Christ Jesus nineteen hundred years ago.

This criticism is primarily based upon a belief that the healing power exercised by our Master was a personal gift from the Father to him, and was by him communicated only to those with whom he was in personal touch—specifically, "the twelve" and "the seventy" disciples who were his immediate followers. That this belief is without foundation would seem to be amply proved by Jesus' own words, "These signs shall follow them that believe." Even this declaration by the great Teacher is not the only proof which has come to us that the healing power was not a limited gift to a limited few. The apostle Paul did not come upon the scene of action until a later period, and certainly none would dispute his possession of the healing power, to say nothing of the various books in the New Testament for which we are indebted to him and his coworkers.

Again, we have but to turn to the writings of the historians of the early Christian era to find that well into the third century the healing of sickness and even the raising of the dead was regarded as a normal hope and expectation of Christian living and the result of Christian prayer. This in itself is sufficient proof that the healing of the sick was continued after the ascension and the day of the apostles. For example, Justin Martyr said to the opponents of Christianity: "And now you can learn this from what is under your own observation, when numberless demoniacs through the whole world, and in your own city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists and those who used incantations and drugs."

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A Talking Serpent
June 26, 1915

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