“Lest We Forget”

From the Christian Science Sentinel, September 18, 1909, by

The belief that life and intelligence are material, moving in limited personal orbits, and that, therefore, men can live and act independently of God, is the supreme folly of mortals. Controlled by this belief, the devotion of thought to God is mainly looked upon as a matter of choice or desire, rather than as the necessity of living. Life goes on the same, say they, whether they think much or little, rightly or wrongly, of God, for does not the sun of being shine on the evil as well as on the good? But the suffering and the mortality which accompany the belief of life in matter are its own condemnation, and confirm the Scriptural teaching upon which Christian Science is based, namely, that Life is God, and that apart from Him and His manifestation there is nothing,—no life, no truth, no intelligence, no reality.

We read in Deuteronomy that Moses, after declaring to the Israelites the commandments of God, as revealed to his understanding, went on to say: “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

What does this mean but that God, whom Jesus declared to be “good,” must be held in constant remembrance, must dominate the thoughts and affections, must be with us wherever we go, in all we see or do, must be the burden of our conversation and the object of our desire; and that this truth of the infinitude of good must guard the entrance to our consciousness? If there is any less absolute devotion of thought to God, any less complete surrender of the human to the divine whereby mankind can be saved from evil, the Scripture does not reveal it, neither has human invention or desire discovered it.

An inspired writer has aptly described hell as the condition of those who “forget God.” In Scripture this word forget is frequently used to imply neglect, rather than the mere absence of recollection, for although the fact that God exists may be faithfully borne in mind, it is evident that He is forgotten, to the degree that His requirements are not fulfilled. It is practical rather than intellectual remembrance that constitutes vital Christianity. One’s religious creed may affirm the infinite nature of God, and may correctly declare the divine attributes, yet the actual practice of that creed fall woefully short. But it is the constant living of one’s convictions, the constant reliance upon and demonstration of good, that Truth demands, and for which no amount of creedal belief or religious fervor can be substituted.

But, it may be asked, wherein do Christians forget God, since Christendom is literally dotted with churches erected for divine worship? The Christian religion may indeed be said to occupy the largest share of the attention of the civilized world, while missionaries are bearing its message to every uncivilized land, but in how many of these churches is God worshiped as infinite Love or omnipotent good? How many theological schools and religious publications teach the absolute supremacy of God? How many religious creeds so acknowledge the omnipotence of God that no other power is admitted to exist? In how many places of worship is the First Commandment enunciated in its entirety, so as to exclude the supposition of any life, intelligence, law, or creation apart from God?

On the contrary, does not the preacher too often turn from the exhaustless theme of God’s omnipotence, to descant upon the belief that an evil power exists, and that it can destroy God’s image and drag His likeness down into iniquity? Does not the missionary too often bear a message of fear as well as of hope to his pagan hearers,—fear of a power that is not God? Do not the beliefs of most religionists regard Deity, not only as the passive spectator of their woes, but even as the dispenser thereof,—teaching, in effect, that the same watchful Love which follows the sparrow in its flight afflicts mankind with their ceaseless miseries?

One cannot seriously question that even Christians need to be reminded of the true nature of God as unchanging Love, as the Life of all, when His name is thus coupled with the sufferings of mankind, when He is regarded as causing or permitting the death-dealing earthquake, the blasting thunderbolt, the ruthless, indiscriminate destruction wrought by wind and wave and fire, and the merciless Juggernaut of disease, striking down young and old, sinner and saint. Is not God’s protecting power pitifully forgotten when everything in material belief is acknowledged to have power to destroy human health and life? Is not incense being offered to “strange gods” as much today as in the days of the early Israelites,—incense to the gods that project pain and decrepitude and death upon humanity? Do not even God’s professed people need to be reminded that the understanding of His omnipotence is the only protection from evil, and that their beliefs leave Him out of the question entirely in the healing of their diseases, every material remedy being preferred before God?

A sweet story is told of a child who had healed a sufferer through what she had learned of Christian Science. In answer to the question as to how she had done it, she replied that he (the patient) had forgotten that God is Love, and she had only reminded him of it. There is more practical Christianity, is there not, in this simple object-lesson taught by a child, than in a lifetime of sermonizing with the ever-present, healing power of Christ left out. Indeed, one might acquire all that has been taught in every school of theology, and yet have less real knowledge of God than had this little one.

This incident illustrates the boundless possibilities open to mankind in the working out of their salvation, for what may not one accomplish who always remembers God with such unmixed faith? Can we conceive the result of all Christians thus remembering that God is Love, and actually living in that remembrance? Coming closer home, have we considered the effect individually of remembering, for even one whole day, that there is absolutely nothing real besides good and its manifestation,—no other law, intelligence, power, presence? Would not consciousness rise to better things, and the sense of evil be destroyed by that much? Could we think or talk evilly of another if thought was occupied wholly with good? If we have tried this faithfully for one day, so far as we understand what God is, we know that it can be done, not only for one day but for all days. Does not our Leader teach that the only way to heaven “is to know no other reality—to have no other consciousness of life—than good, God and His reflection” (Science and Health, p. 242)? and that in urging the claims of Christian Science she asks no impossible thing, although it is not implied that this work can be accomplished without toil and struggle, and, at the present period, without defeats as well as triumphs.

It may be said of Jesus that his mission was to remind mankind of God, and he proved God’s presence and power in his healing works; but, in the encroaching materialism of the age, even the church in large measure lost sight of the mission he bequeathed to it. Today, in Christian Science, the voice of the Christ is again heard, calling to human remembrance the eternal truth about God and man which Jesus taught, and for the demonstration of which he suffered. Christian Science is the message of divine Love, recalling mortals from the darkness and the misery of the belief of life in matter to the recognition of Life as God, and that His children are not created to sin, suffer, or die.

The bearer of this God-revealed message, the revered Founder and Leader of the Christian Science movement, has proved through the healing works of Christian Science that her discovery is indeed the Science of Christianity, the living word of Truth which heals and redeems humanity.

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