The Understanding of Manís Oneness With God
Richard J. Davis, C.S.B., of San Jose, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The following lecture entitled "Christian Science: The Understanding of Man's Oneness With God was delivered by Richard J. Davis, C.S.B., of San Jose, California, member of the Board of Lectureship of the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., in Fair Park Auditorium, Tuesday night, Nov. 11. This lecture was given under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Dallas, Texas, and the lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Mental freedom, continuity of health and happiness are conditions that every human being instinctively desires but has seldom seemed to attain in any satisfactory measure. For centuries men have worked and struggled for freedom. They have sought in many directions for health and they have tried devious ways to find happiness, but the evidence before us today would indicate that no degree of success has attended humanity's search for these legitimate and altogether desirable states of being.
It must be apparent to anyone who thoughtfully considers the subject that, if the race had demonstrated the necessary intelligence and understanding, it would have long since attained its goal, and that what is needed is obviously more light - enlightenment. The progress of humanity seems to be slow, but it is inevitable; and it appears in direct proportion to its acquirement of greater spirituality. In other words, the progress of the race is really dependent on its increased spiritual understanding and its abandonment of false religious concepts. Therefore in coming before you tonight, with the message of Christian Science, it is encouraging and reassuring to recall the words of Isaiah: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Today there are thousands of people who for years have stumbled and walked in mental darkness, and who, figuratively and literally, have lived in the shadow and dread of death, but who are now emerging into light through a rational and intelligent understanding of God, and of what being really means.
It is clear that great discoveries and light along any line come to those most mentally prepared to receive them. An inventor receives the unfoldment of progressive mechanical ideas because his thought has been turned in the specific direction to receive them. So it is with spiritual revelation. That state of consciousness most devoid of materiality will be the one most naturally receptive to the spiritual importations of God to man. Mary Baker Eddy, the revered Discoverer of Christian Science, had from childhood been a seeker after God. Her thought inclined naturally towards the things of Spirit; in other words, she was a spiritually-minded woman. It is not surprising, therefore, that the great facts of God and divine Being, as set forth in the teachings of Christian Science, should have appeared to her. They appeared because she was spiritually ready to receive them, and in our own study they will appear to you and me in proportion to our readiness to take them in. The Revelator, describing this call of the Christ at the door of consciousness, wrote, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Prior to her discovery, Mrs. Eddy had for twenty years or more been endeavoring to trace all of what might be termed physical effects back to a mental cause. In 1866, however, culminating in her recovery from a severe injury and at a time when she was not expected to live, she perceived the great and irrefutable fact that God, or causation, is Mind - that divine Mind is the source of all existence or being; that God is self-existent Cause, and that, therefore, all real or actual being is in and of God, and that all true being or existence must be an expression or evidence of one infinite Mind or intelligence.
The revelation of the Science of Being did not appear at once in its entirety to Mrs. Eddy. It came more or less gradually, but she was continuously conscious that back of the unfolding ideas was divine power. It is important also to note that the appearing to her of these great spiritual facts was supported by reason and demonstration. That is, Mrs. Eddy perceived that her concept of God was intelligent, rational, and logical, and most important of all, that it was usable, practical, and could be demonstrated in the ordinary affairs of human life. In a certain sense, it may be said that everyone who takes up the study of Christian Science follows the same course. First, there is a perception of its truth; second, its reasonableness appears; and then inevitably we discover and demonstrate its practicality. A tree is known by its fruit, and the fruitage of Mrs. Eddy's great life of service to the race is witnessed in the grateful testimony of the thousands who have been healed and regenerated through the study and application of Christian Science.
As far as you and I are concerned, any so-called science remains a closed book if we do not understand it, and no science can be said to be really understood unless it is studied, applied, and in some measure demonstrated. The science of chemistry would remain entirely abstract if experiments were not made in the laboratory, and only those who go into the laboratory and actually demonstrate their knowledge of chemistry may be called practical chemists.
This leads me to say something to you regarding Christian Science which I hope may be helpful, and it is this: If you really expect to grow and unfold spiritually and to get out of this Science all the blessings that are there for you, you will have to be a student and not a mere reader of Science and Health, the textbook of Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy called it a textbook, and that means that its contents need to be pondered and quietly assimilated through reason and spiritual unfoldment. A real Christian Scientist assimilates and appropriates the inspired contents of the textbook, and then, like the chemist, he goes out into the laboratory of human experience, into his business, his home, and his social life, and there he applies it. Indeed, it can be said that Christian Science, or the understanding of being, is not primarily something about which you and I think, but that sooner or later we have got to actually approximate that understanding. We have got to live it and make it a part of our daily experience.
Many, no doubt, have come to this lecture, with something in the nature of a problem. Possibly it is lack or poverty. Possibly it is sickness or sin, and the struggle to be free. If such be the case, what, my friends, do you think is the source of much of your trouble? In the light of Christian Science, we see that it is the belief that man is separated from God. No matter what condition or situation any one of you may be facing, the belief that you are separated from God is the root of the difficulty. Unwittingly, perhaps, we hold to the traditional concepts of Deity, and certainly if God is regarded as a personal, remote entity, we have no definite assurance of present protection or safety. Christian Science declares that God is Mind, but that does not mean a distant Mind. It does not mean that the ideas or thoughts of the one infinite Mind come to man from some remote or faraway place. You and I cannot conceive of infinite Mind other than as omnipresence. Omnipresent Mind necessarily means all-inclusive consciousness. Indeed, the fact that you are conscious, that you can think, that you express that divine power to reason and know, is the evidence that Mind is ever present. We even hear it expressed in the phrase, "He had presence of mind."
We see, then, that in Christian Science the infinity and omnipresence of God or Mind is not accepted as a theory, but absolute fact, a fact that may be intelligently and practically applied in meeting the difficulties and problems of human life. We apply the absolute fact of God's omnipresence to the relative or mistaken belief which says that He is absent or far away.
Then it may be asked: Where, is the practical connection between divine Mind and man? Christian Science declares that, since divine Mind is the one intelligent cause, all true thought necessarily finds its origin there and only there - that all is infinite Mind and its infinite ideas or manifestation, and that man, declared in the first, chapter of Genesis to be the image and likeness of God, must be the mental image or embodiment of Mind. Indeed, the Icelandic translation of Genesis puts it in just that way. "And God said. Let us make man after our mind and our likeness; and God shaped man after His mind; after God's mind shaped He him."
What enables you or me to say, I am, I exist? What enables us to know that fact?† Mind.† When thinking ceases, does not consciousness also cease? What is man without Mind or ideas? A nonentity or nonexistence. As a man "thinketh . . . so is he," and Mrs. Eddy says on page 42 of Science and Health, "The belief that man has existence or mind separate from God is a dying error." Divine ideas do not leave Mind; that is, they are not separate or separated from the Mind in which they exist. They are forever one with Mind and partake of the character and substance of Mind. So we understand in Christian Science that man, being the compound idea or full representation of Mind, is forever one with Mind.
It was his understanding of God as the only Mind that enabled Christ Jesus to prove his sonship with God. He perceived that undeniable, absolute fact, the inseparability of God and man. Never at any time did he disassociate himself from his divine source. He constantly declared his unity with God, his unity with Life and Love. He said, "I and my Father are one." To him oneness with divine Being was not a theory. It was a fact to be lived and demonstrated. He recognized quite naturally that God was actually his Mind, and he acted on that spiritual fact. Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 136), Jesus "claimed no intelligence, action, nor life separate from God."
Naturally, if we live, move, and have our very being in God, as Paul declared, the oneness and eternal unity of God and man is established forever. This being the case, let us see how this divine oneness operates in human experience.† Suppose, for instance, that the so-called law of heredity has put upon an individual the cruel belief that he is constitutionally weak, lacking in strength, vigor, and vitality; that he has no force or energy and is easily fatigued. What are strength, vigor, vitality, and power? Are they material? Did anyone ever see them? No; they are wholly qualities of divine Mind. And how much of strength and power is there? Is it not infinite and immeasurable? And where is all this power and strength? Does it reside in some place, and does man have to go somewhere to get it? Not at all! Man, God's image and likeness, is not separated from strength, energy, and power. They are inherent in his very being. He is himself the very manifestation and expression of infinite strength and power. Man is the very manifestation of God. Man is God's witness, the proof and evidence that God is.
Sometimes people seem to be afraid to declare their sonship with God. Are you afraid to claim your inseparability from your Father-Mother God? What did Paul mean when he said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus"?† If infinite Mind is not your Mind, upon what are you relying for your intelligence and thinking capacity? Right now it is our privilege to become spiritual thinkers. The study of Christian Science shows us that since Mind is infinite and man is the embodiment or expression of that Mind, there is no limit to our ability to think and know spiritually that we can now claim as ours infinite intelligence, infinite wisdom, infinite understanding. Is it presumptuous to claim that you and I reflect infinite intelligence? You may claim all there is and yet there will still be enough for the rest of us - all this, because Mind is one and infinite.
What is a birthright or a heritage? The dictionary defines it as the right, privilege, or possession that belongs to an heir. Suppose that someone were to tell you that by inheritance a fortune was awaiting you, and that all you needed to do was to claim it. Wouldn't you do so? Or would you sell your birthright, as did Esau, for a mess of pottage? Paul tells us, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;" and Christian Science awakens us to a realization of our true birthright. It reveals our immeasurable legacy. If we may compare God's supply of spiritual ideas to a bank, we see that we may every day, yes, every hour, make our rightful demand on infinite Love or Mind for the intelligence to carry on our business, for the capacity and capability to fill our positions in a better way, and to demonstrate progress. There is never a time when the bank of infinite Love will refuse payment. You can write out a check on that bank at any time, and it will never be protested. Moreover, the bank of infinite Love never closes its doors; it is open for the Father's business at all hours. Your check will never come back marked "not sufficient funds." There is always enough, for the resources of the bank of infinite Mind or Love are infinite, its capital and funds immeasurable.
What is a failure? What has happened to the thinking of a man who fails, and why has he failed? We recognize that the world is filled with men and women carrying within their hearts the consciousness or fear that they have not succeeded. Possibly they have started out well enough, but somewhere on the road they have run into difficulties. They have reached a point where they find themselves saying: "I can't. I don't know how. I am afraid. I am discouraged. I'm a failure."
Now what is operating here? The belief that man is separated from the source and origin of his intelligence. Through Christian Science we see how failure or lack of success may be scientifically and spiritually overcome. It does not tell a man or woman suffering with the belief or fear of failure, "Just say, 'I can, I can succeed, I am a success,' or something of that kind." That is not the process of Christian Science at all; instead it explains the true nature of God and His creation. If God is the one immeasurable Mind and hence the Mind of man, it follows that man cannot have a failing and incapable Mind. Failure could never originate in nor emanate from the divine Mind. God never made a failure, could not make a failure, never knew a failure, because His universe, including man, is a complete success, finished, and very good.
In demonstrating Christian Science, it is important to understand that we are not two kinds of man. It you have perceived your true identity as an individual spiritual consciousness, then stick to it. We cannot work successfully from two opposite standpoints. There is no duality in divine metaphysics, and all successful demonstration is from the standpoint of absolute truth. If you are a divine being, and you are, then you are not really a human being becoming divine, or a sick man becoming well, even if the testimony of the senses declares that to be the case. Spiritual thinking is not based on sense testimony, but on divine facts.
It is important, therefore, to understand the value of spiritual affirmation. The Apostle John tells us that one night, shortly following the resurrection of Jesus, Peter and several of the other disciples had taken a fishing boat out on the Sea of Tiberias and, although they had labored the entire night, their toil had been fruitless. John relates that in the morning Jesus appeared on the shore and questioned them regarding their catch. They replied that they had caught nothing. The Bible then tells us the Master's reply, "Cast the net," he said, "on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." Mrs. Eddy points out in her textbook an important lesson to be drawn from this incident. Have you ever considered how, from the time you wake in the morning until night, you are continuously casting your net? Every one of us is always casting his net on the right or wrong side of thought. We are either affirming and recognizing that which is true, or we are casting our net on the side of materiality, giving recognition to a false sense of being. To be sure, humanly there is every aggressive inducement to accept the picture that the material senses present - a picture of disease and inharmony. Shall we cast our net on that side? Shall we accept and admit its reality, or shall we affirm what we spiritually know to be the absolute fact - the perfection of God and His infinite being?
Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 149), "We need to understand the affirmations of divine Science, . . . and to demonstrate truth according to Christ." So we see in Christian Science that the whole spirit of its teaching is affirmative, that is, we assert and establish that which is true. As we learn to be ever conscious of good, of God, we are making right thinking habitual. We are learning to cast our net on the affirmative side, on the side of Truth, instead of error. It is, of course, the experience of everyone that the negative, discordant argument tries to present itself. But let us not be discouraged. God has endowed us with divine power to reject that which is untrue and affirm that which is the fact about ourselves and all being. "We must realize," as Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 428), "the ability of mental might to offset human misconceptions and to replace them with the life which is spiritual, not material."† That "mental might" is, of course, your mental might, as you reflect the divine Mind, which is the Mind of every man.
But someone may say: "Yes, but is there no human mind? Does not Mrs. Eddy refer to the human mind in her writings?" Yes, she does. Mrs. Eddy frequently speaks of the human mind, but never from the standpoint of absolute reality. Her use of the term "human mind" refers solely to the relative, material, and unreal picture which Christian Science seeks to dispel. On page 151 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "The human mind is opposed to God," and on the following page in the same book, she declares this so-called mortal or human mind to be a myth. To be sure, she indicates that, as thinking improves, it is evidenced in states and stages of belief, which, for lack of a better term, she calls the human mind; but, first and last, all so-called thinking that is not the expression of absolute Truth or God must be part and parcel of that false, unreal mental state which is ephemeral or human, and which eventually disappears into nothingness, as divine facts are perceived, established, and maintained. Obviously, then, for right results, we do not work from two bases; that is, we cannot claim two minds, one divine and the other human.
One of the most radical declarations of Christian Science and one of the most resisted by human thought, is its statement that disease is unreal. When we declare that disease has no basic reality, but exists only as a belief, a faulty mental picture, some people are inclined to be quite disturbed and resistant. And yet it may be asked of those individuals: Do you want to be told that you have a real disease, that you are suffering and may shortly die? Why does one go to a doctor? To have disease made unreal and destroyed. If disease actually exists as a reality, what could anyone do about it? If disease were real, neither Christian Science nor any other method of healing would be of any avail. We would be hopeless. If disease be a fact, can medicine or surgery destroy it?
When we say that disease exists only as belief, we understand that it is primarily mental. Without some kind of thought, there would be no consciousness of disease or pain. In other words, sickness, sin, or discord of any nature appear, and can only appear, as false mental pictures in what is termed human consciousness. We call sickness a claim, but it is a false claim to reality. If it had actual entity, it would be eternal, and all that we call scientific thinking would have no basis. All sickness is, of course, the belief that man is separated from God, the source of his well-being and harmony. The reason why disease and discord disappear under Christian Science prayer or treatment is because they never did have actual existence. The unreality of sickness and disease is based on the scientific and logical knowledge that a self-existent and wholly good cause could not possibly be their origin, and that therefore they have no existence in God or in man, His perfect creation. In order to demonstrate the truth of these statements, you are asked to turn away from the material picture and physical symptoms. You are asked to maintain, both audibly and mentally, what you perceive must be the spiritual fact about yourself and all being, your inseparability from Love. from Life and all that means perfection. You are asked to cast your net on the right side, on the side of Truth instead of error. Develop the habit of thinking correctly about yourself. You say, "I am ill." Now what is this I, that talks for you and me when it says, "I have a headache; I have a pain in my side; I have rheumatism"? Mortal mind or false personal sense. And what is personal sense? It is the mesmeric suggestion that you and I are corporeal entities, instead of divine, spiritual ideas of Mind. Corporeal sense is the belief that you have a material existence separate from God. I realize that it takes a certain amount of courage, perception, and even character, to reject the suggestion of corporeality and to refuse to let personal sense speak for us and say, "I am this, or I am that." But as a matter of fact, what is the I that you or I am? In Science and Health (p. 281) Mrs. Eddy gives this definition of the Ego: "The Ego-man is the reflection of the Ego-God; the Ego-man is the image and likeness of perfect Mind, Spirit, divine Principle." Then the I or Ego that you are and the I that I am, is the individual reflection or manifestation of the one and only Ego, and on that basis we can and must declare: "I am perfectly well, because I am the expression of omniactive divine Mind. I am the embodiment of perfect Being or Spirit."
Suppose someone were to ask you the question, "How do you know that you are alive?" What would you answer? You would probably say: "Why, I know I am alive, because I am conscious. I exist. I know I exist. It is through consciousness that I arrive at my perception of being. I am conscious of life. I am positively aware of being. I think, therefore I am." Then does it not follow that your awareness of life is mental?
Life, as revealed by Christian Science, is not something that is here today and gone tomorrow, something from which you and I can be separated. Life is as infinite and all-inclusive as Mind, indeed Life is Mind. And if you and I have no life but God, does it not follow that God is our very life and being? Naturally, a distant God might imply a distant, separated source of life, but a present God means for us a very present, unending Life - an eternal continuity of being. Now in the same way that we learn to claim our inseparability from Mind, so we perceive that we can and must positively assert and maintain our oneness with the infinity of Life. If Life is infinite, how much have you got? All.† Then claim it, insist upon it. And it is everyone's Life, just because it is infinite. We are the very expression of Life, Life in evidence. Even humanly our consciousness of one another is the indisputable evidence of Life. Our oneness with Life is not theoretical; it is practical; nor is our eternality or continuity of being to be accepted only as a theory. Eternity is not something you will experience some years from now. If we are ever to experience eternity, we are experiencing it right now. Eternity is not something that begins and ends. It has nothing to do with time. We are in eternity right now, because here and now we are the exemplification of unending Life. Like Melchisedec, every man's true being is "without father, without mother, . . . having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; . . . made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life."
As you continue in the study of Christian Science, you will find that the emphasis of its teaching is very definitely laid on the demonstration of life, right here and now. We are concerned very much with living - more abundant living, right here. We are concerned with proving that God is our Life right now, and we are learning in a measure how to express the Life that is God. Naturally, therefore, we do not find it profitable nor expedient to speculate on death, on a future-world salvation, nor even on a future life. On the contrary, we see the wisdom of beginning the demonstration of unending Life, right where we are today. It may also be said that Christian Science does not prepare you and me for death, but it opens up the continuity of Life in such a way that we may begin to exemplify it, in better health, vigor, and longevity. The belief of death is not truth, but error; and therefore we can never think correctly from the standpoint of death. The probability or inevitability of death could not possibly have any place in Christianly scientific thinking. Henry Drummond, for whose spiritual thought Mrs. Eddy had great respect, said one day to a group of students in Yale University: "We come not to save your souls, but to save your lives.
We want you to be Christians, not because you might die tonight, but because you are going to live tomorrow." Speaking to these students, he changed the entire emphasis from death to life. It is perfectly obvious, then, that there can be no legitimate expectancy of death, but, on the contrary, the joyous anticipation of unending life.
Everyone instinctively wants to be happy, and yet it you were to ask the average person, "Are you happy? Are you completely satisfied and contented?" in a large majority of cases the answer would not be affirmative, but negative. Look at the faces of those whom you meet and pass in the crowded streets of the city. Do we see there the evidence of joy and serenity? Not very often. As long as man believes he is separated from God, it is also clear that he is separated from happiness.
Everyone is entitled to be scientifically happy, scientifically well, and scientifically prosperous. But if we study the experiences of human beings, almost everywhere there appears to be a sense of incompleteness - something missing, something necessary that appears to be lacking. What is poverty but the belief that man is incomplete, that God has not provided him with the sense of complete supply and substance? The cry of humanity today seems to be: "I lack; I desire; I want; give me success; give me peace; give me satisfaction; give me companionship." Even with little children, we sometimes see this manifestation of incompleteness expressing itself in fretfulness and discontent. Every evidence of lust, longing, or false appetite may be traced to the belief that man is reaching out for completeness, for something of which he believes he has been deprived and which he greatly desires. In his true being, the natural state of man as the complete expression of Father-Mother God is possession. He possesses, and he knows he possesses, all good. He is not a state of longing or desire. No one can be lonesome or alone when he perceives his proper relationship to, and unity with God. No one can be homeless, homesick, or friendless, if he has demonstrated spiritually his completeness as an expression of God. So, if any of you find yourself in a mental state of longing, of desire, or of restlessness, cast your net on the right side. Declare gratefully what you know to be the fact about yourself. Man is not a state of longing or of incompleteness, but is the natural and eternal possession of all good.
The civilized world has to some extent abandoned its belief in physical devils, in evil spirits, and the concept that Satan is a wicked entity that has to be placated and feared. But the worship of, and the belief in, the power and reality of evil has by no means disappeared. Is not the first and great commandment of the Decalogue, "Thou shall have no other gods before me," broken every time we believe in the presence and power of evil - every time we believe in the reality of evil minds, instead of one infinite and omniscient Mind? But someone may say: "It is all very well to tell me to have a confident outlook, to smile and not to worry, but I am confronted with many difficulties, and life is a very serious matter with me. Besides, I've always worried. It's natural to me - my disposition." Christian Science says: Then change your disposition. Cast your net on the right side, on the side of a serene and hopeful disposition.
The reason you can change this so-called disposition is because it never was yours - just an imposition of false belief, which you have the power to reject. Christian Science declares that, since fear and worry are no part of the divine Mind, they are naturally no part of man, the exact image of Mind. The understanding of man's true selfhood as the very expression and evidence of divine Love lifts thought into that atmosphere of true freedom where every restricting and fettering fear falls away - worry for which we know there is no real cause; fear of lack, when God is the omnipresent supply of the universe; fear of disease, disaster, or death, when His loving promise is eternal life.
If Life is God, it certainly has no dark side - only joy and anticipation of good. Ask yourself: If God is one and infinite good, is there any logical basis for the expectancy of evil? What can come to us from God, good, but good? "What must we expect today? Good. What tomorrow? Good. Next week, next month, next year? Good, more good; good in infinite measure. It should be noted here, too, that we have a legitimate expectancy of good not because we simply believe, but because we know that God is good.
Now, where is this good coming from? As a matter of fact, it isn't coming from any place; it is already here. If it came to us from some place, again we would be thinking from the standpoint of a distant God, and there might be some uncertainty as to whether good could reach us. Christian Science shows us that, since good is omnipresent, this good is appearing and constantly appearing right where you and I are thinking. It appears as spiritual healing, helpful ideas, unfolding in and as your consciousness - the evidence of your inseparable unity with omnipresent Mind.
This question of disposition reminds me that, as long as we are on that subject, it might perhaps be just as well to say a word about what is known as temperament. I wonder if any of you have a temperament in your family, or perhaps you yourself are upholding the honor of the family in that respect. The phrase "artistic temperament" has a fine sound, but it does not work out so well in practice. We have discovered that prima donnas and leading ladies are not the only ones upon whom mortal mind has conferred the artistic temperament. It is a strange thing, too, how people frequently imagine that the artistic temperament is a badge of distinction.
Mortal mind, in its pretense to be a creator, appears to confer upon some human beings a certain amount of artistic ability, and then at the same time loads them down with a lot of afflictive and unlovely qualities, under the name of disposition or temperament. It tries to make us accept the belief that, because a man or woman is inspirational or gifted artistically, he must also be the victim of moods, tantrums, and mercurial emotions. Indeed, false human thinking has saddled upon many great and talented individuals some of the most afflictive beliefs of disposition.
The understanding of man's inseparability from God naturally does away with all of this. It shows us that there could not possibly be such a thing as an afflictive inheritance, a temper or temperament. Is it conceivable that the divine Mind could at any time be in a state of up or down? Is depression a characteristic that man reflects from God? Why, my friends, if it were possible for you or me to walk through the corridors of infinite Being, we would never find depression or unhappiness. Joy is the very nature of God's being, and it is forever yours and mine by reflection. Man has no underived capacity. There is not a single quality or characteristic that he does not possess through divine inheritance; therefore, we see how everyone may legitimately express all the artistic qualities of God, the art side of God, and at the same time manifest the purity, peace, and harmony that should logically be allied with spiritual and inspirational unfoldment.
One may be artistic, spontaneous, and inspirational, and still be poised. Poise is a wonderful quality under any circumstances, but it is particularly so as understood in Christian Science. It is that expression of divine Mind which means serenity and the majesty of calmness. When you are expressing spiritual poise, it indicates that you have cast your net on the right side - that you are maintaining and claiming the one Mind as your Mind by reflection. Poise is the indication that you are recognizing one governing divine Principle and law, and that you are letting Principle assert itself as your consciousness.
As long as men believe that they have private minds and private intellects, and permit themselves to be governed by the uncontrolled force of human impulse and will, it is not surprising that this kind of thinking externalizes itself in evil and arbitrary forms of government. The Psalmist wrote, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." And so today, as we contemplate the entire world in a state of fear and discord, we realize that men seem to be learning through affliction and suffering, as did the king of Babylon, that human will and evil mental manipulation cannot set aside the divine fact that the one Mind alone rules in the kingdom of men and that, whether they acknowledge it or not, God alone is the governor among the nations. Through the discipline of human experience, they are being forced to bring God into their thinking. Even if human beings attempt to outlaw God and what they call religion, they cannot annul the inescapable government of divine Principle.
Christian Science reveals the fact that government, if it is to be right, must find its source and expression in the consciousness of the individual, and that as man recognizes himself as the reflection or manifestation of Principle, he will be properly self-governed.
What is government? Is it matter or mind? Without mind there would be no government, either good or bad. It is the aggregate thinking of the citizens which determines the kind of government we have humanly, but we must remember that this is only a belief of government. God's government is going on, regardless of what the material senses are attempting to affirm. Right thinking, and that, of course, means thinking that has its basis in divine Mind, constitutes today the actual government of the world. Therefore, in the measure that our thinking approximates the divine standard, it is aligned with the law, power, and government of God. Regardless of what appears as government or man-made law, true spiritual knowing is the only potent factor in any situation. We learn, therefore, in Christian Science to spiritually maintain the facts of divine government, and each one of us must cast out the fears and doubts that would tempt us to believe in the power and reality of evil. "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?"
Today, if we accepted what the testimony of the senses presents, we might be tempted to believe that evil had both place and power in the affairs of mankind; but we are not idolaters. Spiritual understanding demands that we stand squarely on the great command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." There are not two Gods - a good God and an evil one. There is just one; and so we stand unwaveringly on the divine fact - one God, one Mind, one government, one divine consciousness - and work from that great premise.
In the Old Testament, it is related that the servant of the prophet Elisha, arose one morning to discover that during the night the enemies of righteousness had surrounded them. In terror the young man came to his master with the alarming news. But Elisha, the man of God, that is, the Godlike man, faced the mental picture, for that is all it was, just as Christian Science teaches us to do today. Looking beyond the sense testimony, he realized the presence of the one God, and calmed the young man with the assuring words, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And then the Bible says that Elisha prayed; that is to say, he spiritually knew the all-presence and all-action of God, and that prayer opened the spiritual perception of the young man, "and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." My friends, today you and I can decide for ourselves whether we shall, like the young servant, accept as real a disturbed and warring world, or, like the man of God, rest secure in the spiritual realization that evil is unreal, and that good alone is power.
Spiritual understanding shows us how we may live from the standpoint of infinity, how we may think from the standpoint of infinity. Lifting thought to that spiritual altitude, can there be such a thing as hate or war in the infinite universe of good? Is it conceivable that infinite Love would express itself in discord or conflict? Is infinite Spirit having a world depression or economic turmoil? If we lift our thinking to the hills of spiritual revelation whence truly cometh our help, what do we see and recognize? Just one infinite consciousness, declaring and uttering its divine glory, in harmony and order; infinite Love, expressing itself in abundance of good and peace for all.