AT a vaudeville performance which the writer attended, a professional hypnotist induced a boy who consented to be his subject to believe he was eating ice cream and had spilled some on his coat. He took out his handkerchief and to the amusement of the audience went through the motions of removing the sticky substance. Was the boy's predicament due to the ice cream being on his coat? No, but to believing it was there, to having yielded to the suggestions of the hypnotist. He could not and did not remove the ice cream, for it was not on his coat. Only the mesmerism needed to be broken. When the boy was freed from the hypnotic suggestion, he no longer believed he saw what had never been present.
The recollection of this performance has often helped the writer to see the illusory nature of sin, sickness, and lack. Material systems regard sickness as a reality and attempt to heal it with drugs. But to admit the reality of sickness and then attempt without drugs to cure it is equally fallacious. Furthermore, it is far removed from Jesus' method of healing as practiced today in Christian Science.
Discussing this important point, Mary Baker Eddy writes in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 230), "If sickness is real, it belongs to immortality; if true, it is a part of Truth." Then she asks this pertinent question: "Would you attempt with drugs, or without, to destroy a quality or condition of Truth?" She then continues: "But if sickness and sin are illusions, the awakening from this mortal dream, or illusion, will bring us into health, holiness, and immortality. This awakening is the forever coming of Christ, the advanced appearing of Truth, which casts out error and heals the sick." Our beloved Leader here shows that there is in reality no disease. That which appears as disease is an externalized suggestion of mortal mind that is dispelled and replaced with harmony when one awakens to Christ, Truth.
Earnest Christian Scientists should frequently ask themselves, "Am I attempting without drugs to destroy a disease that is true?" As one grasps the fundamental truths of Christian Science, he ceases to attempt with or without drugs to destroy an actuality, but entertains the forever coming of Christ, which destroys belief in what is untrue and thereby heals the sick. Christ, Truth, "casts out error and heals the sick" because error, or belief in what is untrue, and sickness are not two things, but one and the same thing. That one, though externalized, remains a false belief, an illusion.
In Genesis we read (1:31), "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Only what God creates and sees actually exists. Because infinite Spirit, or perfect Love, creates and maintains all, man, its spiritual idea, must be as perfect as is his divine Principle.
Spiritual man, reflecting the nature of God, divine Love, cannot fail to express all divine Love's qualities forever; he cannot have anything that God does not possess. As in mathematics the identity of each figure and fraction remains constant, so in divine Science God, Mind, governs man not partially, but completely. The one Mind is forever the Mind of man. The conscious sense of good is established in each individual man. The real man has never left heaven, and it is impossible for him to do so.
Man, being inseparable from Deity, is as impervious to evil and as unimpairably perfect as is God Himself. Man being perfect, every right idea and spiritual quality comprising his being must be eternally perfect. Man is the expression of omnipotent, omniscient, and omniactive Mind. He therefore never lacks dominion, wisdom, or harmonious activity. Man, whose consciousness reflects infinite good, is never fooled by evil, since his Mind is the one infallible Mind, which cannot be deceived. He needs no healing, for he is eternally well and knows it. Surely, there is nothing to do, "with drugs, or without," to the real spiritual selfhood of any one of us. God's spiritual man eternally has all the good that God gives to His individual expression.
One can indeed be grateful that these truths can be applied in human experience to destroy discord. The all-important point is not first to accept the testimony of material sense that there is really a sick man or a real disease, and then attempt to heal what is actually present. Instead, we can dismiss from thought the wrong picture by awakening to the ever-present Christ, Truth, which reveals the present perfection of God's spiritual man. In awakening oneself or another from the illusion of sickness, it is most helpful to remember our Leader's Christlike admonition in Science and Health (p. 395): "It is mental quackery to make disease a reality—to hold it as something seen and felt—and then to attempt its cure through Mind. It is no less erroneous to believe in the real existence of a tumor, a cancer, or decayed lungs, while you argue against their reality, than it is for your patient to feel these ills in physical belief."
We can follow Jesus' method and begin with perfect God and perfect man. There can be but one God because God is infinite. There cannot be an opposite to infinite Mind any more than there can be an imperfect multiplication table. There is in reality, then, no mind to be deceived into accepting disease. One who is alert to the ever-presence of health and harmony will not be deceived by aggressive suggestions of sickness and discord, but will find that the truth that he knows dispels such suggestions. When one does not yield to suggestion in the form of sin, sickness, fear, or lack, it has to yield. Only ignorance yields to non-intelligent thought or suggestion. Truly intelligent thought cannot yield, because it knows the truth.
It is essential to remember that animal magnetism cannot create anything. In the illustration given at the beginning of this article, the hypnotist could only suggest; he could not make the ice cream appear. But one may say, "The boy, when mesmerized, did see the ice cream on his coat." But did he? Of course not. Nor was it visible to the audience. To have seen it the audience would have had to be mesmerized. Similarly, mortal mind, the archmesmerist, can only suggest disease; it cannot make it appear as reality, for disease cannot attain actual presence in infinite good. One may accept the suggestion of discord and think he sees or feels a diseased substance or formation. However, God, the only creator, did not make it, does not see it, and therefore it is not present to be seen.
Mortal mind does not see what really exists. It believes a thing first and then sees and feels that which it believes. (See Science and Health 86:29-31.) But since all is divine Mind and its ideas, mortal mind's false concepts never attain reality or existence. Sickness, then, is like the ice cream that never got on the boy's coat. To be got rid of, it needs only not to be believed. When Truth awakens one to spiritual reality, erring belief is banished. Then he no longer accepts and sees what is not really there. That which seems to be obscured— the health and holiness of man's perfect being—is always present. The understanding and realization of this spiritual fact manifests harmony to our thought. In the words of Job (28:11), "The thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light."
Let us suppose the boy had come to a student of Christian Science for help and said, "Please help me to get this ice cream off my coat." The student would immediately have seen that the boy's difficulty was pure delusion and would have aroused him from it. Would not the aim be the same if he came for help when ill? The misfortune in the second instance is just as much a mental illusion as in the first. Neither is going on in God's universe of harmony and perfection.
For this reason a Christian Scientist would not accept illness as real and then attempt "with drugs, or without," to heal it. Rather would he awaken the patient to his true selfhood, at one with God now. Thus we see the significance of the Psalmist's words (Ps. 10:15), "Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none." Leave out the italicized words put in by the translators and the passage would be still clearer, for it would read: "Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil . . .: seek out his wickedness . . . thou find none." Indeed, the only arm or power of evil is in our acceptance of its false claim. When its false pretension or mesmeric suggestion is seen through, its power is broken. Then one will find no disease to be healed. Belief does not support and externalize it; hence it ceases to be.
Christian Science teaches that the claims of frustration, lack, and sin are not real and do not belong to man. It overcomes them by awakening the individual to their unreality. In Christian Science treatment the power of Truth acts upon and eliminates a false belief claiming to be a sick or sinful person. As our Leader so clearly writes (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 62): "Test Christian Science by its effect on society, and you will find that the views here set forth—as to the illusion of sin, sickness, and death—bring forth better fruits of health, righteousness, and Life, than a belief in their reality has ever done. A demonstration of the unreality of evil destroys evil."
Christian Science is an exact Science, which reveals God as All. Nothing can exist outside of His allness. The scientific understanding of perfect God and the present perfection of His idea, man, enables one intelligently to deny and cast out of thought every lying suggestion that man's well-being is in danger. As the angels of God, which always pass directly to man, who is ever at one with God, are entertained, false beliefs cannot be accepted and are destroyed. Thus the Christ, the ideal Truth, appears to us here and now, and it so illumines thought that one proves the words of a hymn,
"The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking,
Unloosing bonds of all captivity."
It is reassuring to see sin, sickness, or lack destroyed by Truth. Yet we have the promise in the epistle to the Romans (8:37), "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Error can indeed be conquered and permanently destroyed. Furthermore, the realization that brings the victory reveals to us that error never existed in the divine Mind or in Mind's reflection, man.
God is so good that He made no evil. Sin and sickness, then, have never been real. One who has attained in some measure this understanding of the all-inclusiveness of God's love gains the conviction that it precludes the existence of any evil. This enables him so to grasp the unreality of sin and sickness that he is healed of attempting "with drugs, or without, to destroy a quality or condition of Truth."
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