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Extracts from
Value of the Lesson-Sermons
MARY E. SANFORD


         When Jesus encountered the ignorance of the multitude and the dullness of his own disciples who failed to grasp the import either of his words or of his works, he spoke of their lack of understanding as of those who “having eyes, see . . . not,” and “having ears, hear . . . not.”

         The student of Christian Science who finds familiar passages in the Bible or in the textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, expanding into new and larger meanings, comes to realize that his eyes are beginning to see and his ears to hear. As such experiences multiply, he awakens to the fact that his mental and spiritual horizon is gradually but surely enlarging, for he sees farther into the eternal verities and understands better his daily experiences. He discovers also that these are becoming more orderly and more harmonious. That these results accompany the understanding of Truth, our Leader states on page 255 of Science and Health, where she says: “Eternal Truth is changing the universe. As mortals drop off their mental swaddling-clothes, thought expands into expression.”

         Our Leader has made abundant provision for bringing into the experience of every follower of Christian Science this growth in spiritual understanding, with its wider outlook and its resultant increase of dominion in human affairs. Not content with setting forth her teaching in her textbook, our Leader has protected her followers from the inherent instability and indolence of the human so-called mind by instituting the weekly Lesson-Sermons in the Christian Science Quarterly, which have become for them a part of their daily study. Thus has she encouraged Christian Scientists to be not merely hearers, but faithful students, of the truth she taught. Here is provided daily entrance into realms of thought so profound that they reveal the infinite; yet so simply is the truth unfolded that it is seen to be applicable to the smallest problems of daily living. Questions which have knocked at the door of human consciousness down through the ages are here considered; and ever along the student’s path the revealed spiritual truth is to be applied and proved in his own everyday experience.

         How inclusive are the Lesson-Sermons on that subject toward which thought has for centuries reached out — the Supreme Being! How complete and satisfying are the successive presentations through these Lesson-Sermons of God as Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love! How they help us to know God! The ground beneath our feet ceases to seem a treacherous bog and becomes a rock, as there unfolds to us the life-giving truth voiced by the Psalmist, “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,” and by Jeremiah, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” and, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?” These passages, long cherished by Bible students, become imbued with healing power as we learn to know God as eternal Spirit, as supreme and infinite Truth, as divine Love. Every recurring study of these Lesson-Sermons increases our power to heal.

         The desire to know God can scarcely be separated from the age-old questions about man’s origin, nature, and destiny. With loving foresight our Leader provided Lesson-Sermons to satisfy this longing, to answer specifically these queries which have so puzzled and disturbed mankind. With what ever increasing assurance and gratitude does the student study the Lesson-Sermons which treat of “Man,” “Soul and Body,” “Adam and Fallen Man,” “Morals and Immortals,” “God the Preserver of Man”! Here is revealed the truth that there is but one all-absorbing theme, namely, God and His creation. That “spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost nor separated from its divine Principle,” is the teaching of Christian Science (Science and Health, p. 303). No halfway position can be taken in the light of these words. Not only does it become a privilege, but a duty, to see in one’s self and others the real, the perfect man of God’s creating. Such knowing is a constant healing influence.

         Philosophy and science, so called, have attempted to solve these and other problems engaging the attention of thinkers of all times. Yet how far is the cry from their changing conclusions to the spiritual, eternal truth revealed through Christian Science, and how vastly different is their bearing on the well-being and happiness of men! On the one hand, material theory; on the other, spiritual fact! What a clearing of the mists of speculative theories follows the careful study of such lessons as “Reality,” “Unreality,” “God the Only Cause and Creator”! Neither ancient nor modern philosophy has ever so amply satisfied the human longing to know the truth. But this truth does not satisfy a merely intellectual desire for knowledge; it is the truth that touches at once the simplest and the most complex problems of everyday life — the experiences of childhood, the daily routine of the household, the affairs of the business world, the questions of international relations. And it touches them to bring to them a greater degree of harmony. . . .

         In the Preface to Science and Health (p. vii) is found this brief but significant statement: “The time for thinkers has come.” No conscientious student of the Christian Science Lesson-Sermons can fail to become a thinker. Little wonder is it that hundreds, yes, thousands, can testify to an increasing ability to think, to discern between the true and the false, as spiritual sense is developed through such study. No longer is there the restless wandering through the maze of mortal mind’s vagaries in the search for the truth. The one concern is to see more clearly what has been glimpsed. And how broad and firm becomes the foundation of this thinking, how invincible it stands before the winds and storms of mortal mind’s delusions, ignorantly or maliciously brought to bear against it. More and more of the divine revelation which came to our revered Leader is seen with each repetition of the subjects of these Lesson-Sermons. Not for her alone has this light dawned, for through her untiring efforts she has made it possible for all who will to come into the sunshine of its rays.

         . . . It is the nature of the truth to heal, and there is not a reference in the Lesson-Sermon but voices the truth either as a positive statement or as an exposure of error. It has been affirmed that each reference may be approached with the question, What is to be found here that applies to my present problem? The seeing eye and the hearing ear never fail to find an answer.

 

Extracts from "Value of the Lesson Sermons" by Mary E. Sanford
The Christian Science Journal, January, 1930

 

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