From The Christian Science Revolution in Thought by John Hargreaves
Being is beautiful. It is the beauty of holiness, or wholeness, in which no single element of good is limited or missing, and in which nothing else is being. The Science, or understanding, of Being precludes the belief that anything else is being. As this belief is removed, the errors contained within it, namely, sin, sickness, and death, fade into their native nothingness. In fact, there is no sin, sickness, or death: only the belief in them; and it is not my belief, or anyone’s belief, but it is inherent in a mind that is not God, or good, and which, for convenience, can be referred to as the carnal, or mortal, mind. This mind is nothing other than a term, not a state or condition. Belief is contained in a false sense, or interpretation, of being, and this is non-sense.
Science brings nothing into being, but exposes, or brings to light, what already exists. As the Psalmist puts it, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Ps.119:19). Understanding is the discernment of what is already present. This is what the word “dis-covery” means: taking off the covers, a lifting of the veil or curtain, a disclosure. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Divine Science demonstrates Mind as dispelling a false sense and giving the true sense of itself, God, and the universe…” (Mis. 190:4-6). Light shines, dispelling darkness while remaining light.
Through many experiences that led her into the tunnel of materiality, only to find no light in it, and through her recognition that the cloud of mortal mind had, and could have, no silver lining, our Leader was being prepared to receive the bridegroom. In the darkest hour, she writes, the “character of the Christ was illuminated by the midnight torches of Spirit” (Ret. 23:16-17, 19, 22-23). The “One ‘altogether lovely’” was revealed, and Being was found to be beautiful, because “its substance, cause, and currents were God and His idea.”
The Science of Being is the true sense of everything; it is Mind’s own divine sense, pre-empting any alternative, for consciousness that originates in the divine Mind is unaware of any other sense, even as a possibility. It is this true consciousness, referred to in our books as “pure Mind,” that discovers the Science of Being, to reveal the beauty of holiness and wondrous things out of God’s law. It was not person, but the absence of personal sense, that allowed Mary Baker Eddy to discern and state the divine laws of Truth, Life, and Love that she named Christian Science. It is the same consciousness, or Mind, that allows us to discover the Science of Being.
This Discovery was simple: just three words, “I am all.” Indeed, what more than this “All” could there be to discover? The revelation that this implies, is, of course, profound, for it entails the recognition that every single thing that makes up our experience is, when seen in its correct light, an aspect of this All, and so of God. And it also implies that the capacity to experience this All, and partake of the beauty of being, is inherent in the “I” which is all and is therefore the source and condition of all of which we can be aware.
But though the Discovery was simple, its presentation was such as to hide it in sacred secrecy from the world. These three words appeared finally in a book of seven hundred pages, adapting an infinite theme to every state and stage of human thought. “To one ‘born of the flesh,’ however,” wrote Mrs. Eddy, “divine Science must be a discovery” (Ret. 26:22-23). The treasures of Truth contained in her book could not be unlocked by intellect or stolen by sin. The altitude of thought that read the book had to be the same as that which wrote it if its spiritual sense was to be gained, and this would only happen as individual consciousness, imbued with Science, rolled “back the clouds of error with the light of Truth…” (S&H 557:19-20). Only by the removal of these clouds, the ignorance of belief, would these seven hundred pages of the presentation be reduced, once more, to the three words of the Discovery.
The chapter “Science of Being” presents the core of the Discovery, for Science relates to the knowledge of all that is. It is important to remember this because, as students, it is with this Science that we have to begin, rather than with what might appear to be the more explanatory chapters of the textbook.
Everything has to be read and pondered from the spiritual standpoint of “I am All.” The fundamental difference between Christian Science and mainstream Christianity is that Science begins with what is true and thus rolls back the clouds of ignorance that hide it. All other approaches begin with Truth as a goal, rather than as the present and only fact—that is, as something to be acknowledged and lived.
The Science in which being is known to be beautiful is where we start. “The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only,—that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe” (S&H 502:24-27). It is still the only. Nothing has ever been added to this verity and unity of All. It is still before Abraham was; it is still “the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5), for the history of error has never begun, and its claim to reality is antedated by the fact that I am All. There is only the divine Life; only divine Mind; only the beauty of wholeness, with no alternative even on the horizon. If God is not our actual Life and Mind now, the only “I” of our being, He never could be, however much the false concepts of life and mind have to be subordinated. Mrs. Eddy states that “if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other, sin would be unknown” (S&H 469:19- 20). Our present ability to know and interpret everything as it really is, is the capacity of Mind itself, and of thought that is one with the majesty of this divine source. It is not the capacity of a mortal thinking about Mind, but of Mind itself, whose knowing constitutes thought. Science reveals that the only capacity is Soul, not sense; understanding, not belief.
In the discovery of Science, we find that “now are we the sons of God (emphasis added) (I John 3:2). Only belief says, “it doth not yet appear what we shall be…” Science says with Paul, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…” Belief identifies with what Paul called “the creature,” who lives in expectation and “waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:16,19). And wait it will, for it will always be a case of jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today! The command is, “To grasp the reality and order of being in its Science, you must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is” (S&H 275:10-12). Any reluctance to obey this, stemming from scholastic theology or any other belief of corporeal sense, is not our reluctance and can have no foothold in thought. It is personal sense, reasoning from a supposed standpoint outside Principle, that is inclined to say, “This is too hard, too strong, too absolute.” It is nothing of the sort! But we can remember that Truth is absolute (though not abstract) because it is absolutely true. Error, likewise, is absolute, because it is absolutely untrue.
No one, of course, would deny that a picture of being that is anything but beautiful is often presented. But it is then that we take our stand by subordinating that which is not true from the standpoint of the divine Mind, recognizing it for what it is, namely, a false mental picture only. We close the door on what the Chinese aptly call “monkey thoughts” and keep thought pure, remembering, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord” (spiritual sense) (Prov. 16:1). That which does not measure up to the yardstick of perfect being is forbidden entrance to our mental precincts. It is when false, personal sense is not permitted to speak that we have audience with Spirit; we hear what Spirit alone is saying, and this is the only way we can learn what is true. Beautiful being is then found to be at the heart of all that is real.
Reading Science and Health through the lens of Science, and so from the standpoint of the divine Mind, the mount of vision, we read it as our own autobiography; as the revelation of what I AM, and so as what is true about ME. Every statement in it that is not true of God— and there are many—is not true of ME (for there is only one I, or Ego) and so not true of anything. Therefore such statements are there to be dispelled, disproved, seen through, thus leaving nothing to consciousness but the understanding that I am All. This is how the presentation is brought back to the Discovery.
What could be more beautiful than Truth’s annunciation of the “One ‘altogether lovely’”? In Luke we read, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The “holy thing” is the wholeness of Being; the oneness and allness of God and His idea. Science reveals it, for we know that the Holy Ghost is “Divine Science” (S&H 588:7), and it is this Science that overshadows and outshines the mortal concept, only to reveal the “holy thing” as our very own being. This experience is never personal or partial, but is the truth of everything perceived from the standpoint of Truth itself. In the discovery of this truth, we cease to regard ourselves as fragments of existence, called mortals, subject to threat and limitation, and begin to identify with all-inclusive divinity, the oneness of Principle and its idea (see S&H 116:8-10), so that: “Man in the sunshine of the world’s new spring, Shall walk transparent like some holy thing”. (Mis. 51:27-28)
The Annunciation is Truth’s declaration from heaven of the glory of its own being, and it appears as speaking to the receptive heart in every age. And what is it that Truth is announcing about its own being? Here are some of the things that our books tell us about true Being. We learn that it is freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss; that it is infinite, painless, permanent; that its order is perfection and that Truth perpetuates it; that Life is its law, and its links are unbroken; that its facts shine in darkness, and that nothing can erase it; that it is fresh and fragrant, statuesque, and possesses endless beatitudes; that it is one, self-existent, never divided into beings, and that it has no fallen state; that its harmony is one grand chorus, and that good flows into all its avenues.
And we find that we live as the experience of all this; that man lives and moves in it because it is his being; that he is its glory, and enjoys its safety, royalty, and reality; that he is its conscious identity. We discover that this infinite All allows only one being, not two, for God and man, Principle and its idea, because they do not exist as two entities but as two aspects of one indivisible whole of good: “Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe” (S&H 465:17-1). Indeed, Mrs. Eddy is reported to have said concerning this last clause, “I added this for those who needed it.” In a sense we see that God and man are really educational terms, and perhaps a purer sense is obtained by such phrases as Supreme Being and all-inclusive divinity, for these convey the essential oneness of Mind and its idea. This oneness is the Life of all, being divine and nothing else.
The discovery, in the Science of being, that God is All includes necessarily the nature and character of this allness. Without an understanding that God is not only All but also the altogether lovely, the true nature of man and the practical significance of Science remain obscured. Science and Health tells us, “We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature” (S&H 4:22-24), and this is the nature of God and man. In seeking and finding the nature of God, we find the true nature of man as the expression of God, the experience of all that is good. It is in finding how to live our present divinity—our present oneness with the divine Life—that this Science becomes a practical discovery rather than just a philosophy. And it is in finding our true identity with the one Life that a false and limited sense of identity, with all the ills it contains, is shed.
This is why none of this truth can be attained by mortals: “Matter cannot connect mortals with the true origin and facts of being, in which all must end” (S&H 491:11-12). All that is truly being is instead of matter and mortality; the true instead of the false sense. In I John we read, “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (I John 5:18). All that Mind conceives always remains exactly what it is, untouched by any false sense of it. This means abundance untouched by penury, joy immune to sorrow, good exempt from evil. All that Mind is knowing of itself remains the same “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2), and constitutes yourself. “….I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” [used up] (Mal. 3:6). Nothing in your being can change: it is not attaining or retreating, for you live as the daystar of being, the “noontide glory” (S&H 367:23) of divine Life. Mrs. Eddy tells us of the “Science of being, in which all is divine Mind, or God and His idea….” (S&H 372:8-9). There is nothing else.
The Science, or actuality, of being is our starting point. It is necessary to retain this altitude even when reading passages in our textbook that may not at first appear to be absolute. For example, the chapters on spiritualism and animal magnetism, which are dealt with later on in this book, would then not be read at the level where evil is supposed to occur, but from the standpoint of the allness of good that pre-empts its occurring. The chapters entitled “Science, Theology, Medicine” and “Physiology” would be read with the basic understanding that there are no modes of mortal thought because all consciousness is Mind. “Footsteps of Truth” would be recognized, not as a series of human footsteps that have to be taken before the “Science of being” is reached, but as the inevitable withdrawal of all that would obscure Truth before the presence of divine light. In this way error would subserve the purpose of Truth by turning thought back to the spiritual fact about which the human concept is the misconception.
In No and Yes we read, “For God to know, is to be…” (No and Yes 16:1-2). What Mind knows, Life is. What I know, I AM. There is only one I, declaring “I am All.” What God is knowing is the Science of being because it relates to what is. It is not to be brought about, but brought to light. Belief puts its sense of what is being, or could be, into matter, and so objectifies it. Thus there appears to be a gap between knowing and being. The belief that any good is derived from matter carries with it the gaps of time and space, both of which deny the omnipresence of Truth. There seems to be a slip between cup and lip: nothing is as good as expected, and the grass appears greener on the other side of the fence. Science does not set out to remove the gap, but to show the immediate and indissoluble relationship between knowing and being.
This is why it is abortive to take the incorrect view and then try to improve it, since any picture of inadequacy or lack that emerges is inherent in the false viewpoint, not in the phenomena that are presented within it. But the misconception, while constituting all that is misconceived, is not an alternative to the truth. It is just mortal mind’s upside-down view of that which, to spiritual sense, already constitutes the Science of being. The correct view, seen “in the sunshine of the world’s new spring,” is never absent, but it causes the mists of ignorance to dissolve so that the underlying perfection of being is less hidden. Then mortal mind says, “I am better, freer, happier,” but this is not really so, for what “is termed matter, being unintelligent, cannot say, ‘I suffer, I die, I am sick, or I am well.’ It is the so-called mortal mind which voices this and appears to itself to make good its claim” (S&H 210:25-28). What is called an improved situation is always the Science of being less obscured by the belief that being is a human concept. The one Mind includes within itself its own perfect, unlimited concept, its own spiritual idea of everything. And this is your Mind, guaranteeing an experience that is untouched by belief!
It is impossible to be conscious of anything that is good, worthy, useful, or beautiful unless it is already part of Being. The fact that it is in consciousness assures this. Science does not remove anything from the present totality of good, but interprets it correctly. Jesus said that “the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11) and that he was “not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17). The moment understanding restores that which exists as idea to its rightful home and classification, it ceases to appear lost in material belief and is tangible and appreciable as what it is. Nothing is lost and everything is present in the Science of being. The loss of a false material sense merely reveals it. Experience is fulfilled, filled full, instead of seeming half-empty, because all the good that mortal mind said was limited and out of reach is here, now, and present as your own kingdom within. Science reveals everything to be ME, because I am All. The disappearing mist of mortal mind never touched the landscape of ideas, which, although it remained unseen, was always intact. Our textbook says, “The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal” (S&H 276:12-14).
Our Leader invites us: “Bear with me the burden of discovery and share with me the bliss of seeing the risen Christ, God’s spiritual idea that takes away all sin, disease, and death, and gives to soul its native freedom” (My. 120:9-12). Rather than any personal invitation, is not this a reminder to let “this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”? (Phil. 2:5). This is the one Mind, the one I or Ego, that alone dis-covers the Science of being.