Christian Science and the Business Life
Any system of human thought and action claiming to be religion must be applicable to every phase of human living in order to make good its claim. We have a right to expect this from religion, and we may reasonably reject as unsatisfactory any asserted revelation of Truth which does not fulfil these conditions. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, to declare a full salvation. Religion may be defined as the formulated declaration of the Saviour, and as such it must not disregard any condition which needs a Saviour, else it fails to fulfil the mission of the Messiah.
The various subdivisions of the Christian religion have seemingly lost sight of the great need of humanity,—a full salvation from every form of error. We have only to review the life of Jesus, however, to recognize how thoroughly he understood his mission and how fully he accomplished what he came to do. If he taught anything at all, he taught that discord is abnormal and unrighteous, and he did not confine his teaching to the correction of moral abnormity, but included every irregularity which deprives man of his lawful dominion.
While the great teacher plainly deprecated the merely commercial spirit, he showed, by demonstration, that the Christ saves from every form of limitation and provides an abundance of all that is needful. He not only destroyed sinful thoughts and diseased conditions of body, but when he was confronted by the needs of the five thousand, he proved that the Christ—spiritual understanding—is capable of providing for even this human need, and when, as subjects of a civil government, his followers were obliged to pay a tax, he proved that the affluence of a limitless Creator was equal to this emergency. In short, Jesus taught that financial discord, or lack, was a phase of error which could and must be corrected by the true understanding of man’s complete endowment. He knew that this evil one, or one evil, accused men of a lack of the very necessities of everyday life, and he knew as well that these accusations were all false.
To-day, humanity presents the need of a whole salvation, of a full declaration of the benevolent purpose of divine Love, and Jesus furnished his proof of this truism on a human basis, that mortals might clearly comprehend the human footsteps leading up to that spiritual awakening in His likeness, wherein we shall be satisfied. To the business man, staggering under a load of fear and a false sense of personal endeavor, Christian Science offers a salvation so simple in its applicability that all may prove it.
The business man has a natural right to expect that his religion will be quite as usable in his relations with his fellows on work days, as it is in church on Sundays. It is certainly true that wrong thinking produces discord in the realm of the physical, and it is equally true that wrong thinking brings a diseased condition in the realm of commerce. It may be that the understanding of these facts and the realization that there is a remedy, is one of the reasons why the Christian Science movement is growing so rapidly and is attracting to itself men engaged in large affairs, who find this religion of Christ very simple, very sane, and very practical.
The following extracts from letters to a business man, present some of the relations of Christian Science to his needs.
Dear Mr. ____.
At your request, I have been trying to help you, and I have enough confidence in Christian Science to know that you will see good results. Experience teaches that the corrective work is always within; that we need to be protected more from our fears and wrong thoughts, than from so-called evil influences external to ourselves. We need not suffer for another man’s wrong,—for another’s greed, dishonesty, avarice, or selfish ambition. But if we make these claims real and personal, take them into our thought, allow them to disturb us, then we sentence ourselves. We are free to reject every suggestion of discord, and to be governed harmoniously, in spite of what something or somebody may try to do to us.
Fear results from a belief that there is something, somewhere that can affect us injuriously. Whether or not the thing we fear has actual existence, the power to hurt us is unimportant. It is our belief in this thing called evil which does the damage, and we may endow nothing with power to hurt us, and then suffer from our self-created fears. Job said, “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.” The healing truth, which is needed to correct fear and the discords which follow it, is that there is only one Cause and one effect, both infinite and both good. It irresistibly follows that there is no reality in evil, and therefore nothing to fear. This great fact is not grasped at once in its entirety, but a glimpse of it inspires confidence and gives man a feeling of security, and of ability to meet the attacks of that which seemeth to be but is not.
There is certainly a wide difference between the man who firmly believes that evil persons or evil influences can intrude into his business, and the man who knows that the great, omnipotent Principle of the universe governs him and all his relations to men. This last man has no fear that anybody can hurt his business. He enjoys the self-protection which is secured by right thinking on all subjects.
Christian Scientists are advised never to “affirm concerning the body what we do not wish to have true” (Science and Health, p. 219). Never think danger, disaster, failure, limitation, discord, confusion, unless you want to have these conditions of thought manifested on your body or in your business. It is apparent that thought governs the universe. If all mental activity were paralyzed, the universe would collapse. All effects, all our experiences, are the results of some mental cause and it is our business to maintain right thought respecting the governing cause of our lives. So, then, it is important to hold continually in thought that harmony and a limitless capacity for good are ours, in order that we may bring into our experience these scientific states of being. The power of a single right thought—hopeful, reliant, confident—is able to do wonders, even in the face of much opposition from mortal mind, for it is written, One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one. You can have no fear for the future, once you have satisfied yourself, on the basis of Christian Science, that every move you make is governed and directed by the one supreme intelligence we call God. This is the truth about you, and when thought becomes filled with it, it brings assurance, confidence, and peace.
All things are possible to the consciousness which derives its power from God.
Try to impersonalize error; that is to say, resist the temptation to assign discordant results to persons, or to personal activity. The first step in healing any case, I take it, is to see the discord as a condition of thought and not a condition of matter, to regard it as error, or evil, outside of personal forms but expressing itself through these forms. Then the next step becomes easy, which is destruction in your thought of a belief in the reality of impersonal evil, because you are fully persuaded that God is one and infinite.
Let us both know that the truth declared for you does heal. The time for the healing to appear is not next week, or some time in the uncertain future, but now. The leading motive and governing purpose of our life being right, it must follow that all things will work together for good because we love good. All things will work together harmoniously to contribute to our health and happiness. Whatever appears in legitimate business as discord, or confusion, or lack, is not true, and may be removed without causing suffering to the business itself. In other words, whatever comes up in business, as person or general situation, whatever disrupts harmony, whatever purposes to rob us, be it a claim of personality or a trade condition, it is unnatural, unlawful, and untrue, and may be removed without disturbing the other parts of the business. It will be removed by being transformed, or by being separated and expelled; this is the inevitable law of good, ever-active. Let us ask ourselves how much weight we are throwing on the wrong side by believing there can be anything against us, and then adjust the balance in our own favor, by having an abiding confidence in the protection of good. Let us be absolutely fearless.
Under the direction of infinite wisdom, man cannot fail. A thousand business enterprises, governed by the selfish human mind, may be shipwrecked, and ten thousand business men, guided only by their own so-called human minds, may unite in declaring that business is bad, but to the man working consciously under divine guidance, this is not true. All things are possible to the consciousness which derives its power from God. No undertaking is too great for the real man, if that undertaking be legitimate.
The laws of commerce, the laws governing the business world, are many of them capricious, tyrannical, unjust. A wise Creator never made them, and we have a right to harmony in spite of them. Is it reasonable to suppose that man is set adrift in the universe, and told to get his living, and that there are then loosed upon him a merciless pack of laws, the operation of which tends to prevent him from getting his living? Is it reasonable to believe, as we have believed, that popular fancy, whims, climate, the state of politics, any one or all of a hundred lawless elements, are able to ruin a man’s business, while he stands helplessly by, and doesn’t know enough even to make an intelligent protest?
Governed by Science, we are independent of human favor or disfavor, for God, good, alone is the master of our destiny, and He sends us only good. Let us be sure we are right, that our motives are right, that there is no self-seeking, no self-aggrandizement, that we are not being controlled by error. Then let us go ahead calmly, for we are certain of success. Conscious of God-given power, of control over evil circumstances, of dominion, we cannot fail.
Try to realize for yourself that because you are a son of God, you possess all the intelligence necessary to conduct your business. To the man consciously governed by infinite wisdom, all things are possible. It is quite true that when the human mind is called upon to decide big questions, thinking it is going to do the work, it may hesitate, deterred by a sense of great responsibility; but the man who begins to see the great scientific truth that all his acts are directed by a Mind able to govern the vastness of immensity, that man has a power and courage which are afraid of no legitimate task. Our daily work should include the knowledge that God governs us, and that He cannot fail. This knowledge equips us for the battle and makes us certain of success. So natural is the operation of Christian Science in our daily lives, that sometimes we may not see cause and effect, and may fail to recognize that the improved conditions are the results of our scientific knowing.
Our knowledge of Christian Science and the help we are getting, put us above the faulty and erring opinion of the wisest mortal, because the “least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” We are more competent to decide for ourselves than anyone else. This sense of superiority does not bring with it any arrogance. We simply know, beyond a doubt, that divine intelligence acting through its idea, is equal to any emergency. Indeed, the task before us is simple. It is not to force our partners and associates to come into harmony with God; it is to get into that harmony ourselves, and this peace in us will work out success. Let us be individual, a law to ourselves, without trying to be a law to others.
My aim has been to isolate you mentally from the supposed mental forces which would confuse, hamper, discourage, and obstruct you, and to bring to your view the fundamental laws of your existence, already established. In recognizing the operation of these laws you will come to know what is the right thing to do and will be able to avail yourself of these ever-active, ever-present laws of harmony. This, in a nutshell, is the work of the Christian Science practitioner, as I see it.
If you analyze the situation which has confronted you, you will see that it was a claim that there are many minds, many opinions, and that each mortal or human being clings stubbornly to his own opinion. This condition breeds selfishness, resistance, separation, ambition, and will inevitably wreck individuals and enterprises. Now, in every situation it is self-evident that there is but one right thing to do. There may be many different opinions as to what is that right course, but there can be only one right thing itself. The healing truth which destroys a claim of many conflicting minds is that in reality there is but one infinite, perfect Mind. In business, as in other things, unity of all the parts is essential. Self-seeking, selfish interest, resistance to right,—these go down before the mind which is God. Infinite intelligence is working out His purposes through you, and perhaps you are beginning to learn what Jesus meant, when he said, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”
(Originally published in the September, 1904 Christian Science Journal)
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