Christian Science: The Summons of Divine Love
Paul A. Harsch, C.S.B., of Toledo, Ohio
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
In 1899, in the full vigor of her splendid mentality and when a large measure of well-merited success had rewarded her faithful labors, Mrs. Eddy in a public address said: "Christianity is the summons of divine Love for man to be Christlike — to emulate the words and the works of our great Master" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 148). "The summons of divine Love"! Legally one may be summoned by due process of law to appear before some tribunal of justice, and sometimes a high sense of duty, human responsibility, may act as a very imperative and arbitrary summons to undertake some grave task. Important as such a summons may be, it cannot compare with that which forms the subject of this lecture; the gentle but insistent call of divine Love to place the Christ-life first in every human experience "to emulate the words and the works" of Jesus.
Throughout her whole life and from the beginning to the end of her writings Mrs. Eddy testifies to the fact that Jesus' surpassing and sublime love for God and man so transcended that of others that no other influence in the history of mankind has more than approached it. Christian Science accepts the comparatively brief Biblical record of Jesus' life and work as entirely true, and classifies his demonstration as altogether Godlike. The words uttered by the "voice from heaven," as recorded in the Gospel according to St Matthew, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," fully expresses the Christian Science thought concerning Jesus, the Christ.
The Summons Repeated
To repeat the story of Jesus to this audience, already familiar with every detail of it, is of course unnecessary. But to point out that there was a very striking similarity in the mental attitude of the world then, and when there came to it nearly nineteen centuries later another summons from divine Love, may not be amiss. The decade 1860 to 1870 was a stirring one in the United States, the "promised land," as the Pilgrim Fathers were pleased to term it. Looking back to that older "land of promise," the Canaan of Israel and the experiences of its children, many felt the trials of these later days were also preparatory for some great and uplifting impulse that would mean the speedy redemption of the world. A hymn then on the tongue of many Americans expressed the hope in the words, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." Many were the hearts who eagerly sought for some sign that would give vitality to the hope kindling within them.
It was at this time of awakened and expectant consciousness, that is, in 1866, that there came to Mary Baker Eddy, since distinguished throughout the civilized world as "the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science," the experience which resulted in her giving again to mankind the always new, always old message of salvation, the message of divine Love, the message so magnificently brought before by Jesus, but seemingly lost through the murky mists of materiality. This message, during the nine years that followed, was translated by Mrs. Eddy into clear, definite, simple, and scientific form, and, as "Science and Health," was offered to the world in 1875. In the edition of this book now used in our church services and by all students of Christian Science, God is defined as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (p. 465). It is of major importance to keep these synonyms or alternative names for Deity fixed in thought if one desires to grasp quickly the teaching of Mrs. Eddy. The close relation of Christian Science to the teachings of Jesus will also be the more readily observed.
God had long been defined as Spirit, and Mrs. Eddy insisted upon the very obvious and logical deduction that His creation must therefore be wholly spiritual. Mrs. Eddy's second deduction, equally as logical as the first, but more disturbing to the human or mortal consciousness, followed; namely, that every other seeming creation, the material universe and all things in it, was only a belief, that is false and untrue, merely a delusion of the physical senses. Consider this for a moment. Matter nothing and Spirit all! How very upsetting to all human calculations — quite as disturbing as was Jesus' statement to the Jews, "I and my Father are one." Nor had God been before considered as Mind, all-knowing, directing His spiritual universe with a scientific exactness and perfection that the so-called human or mortal mind could but faintly conceive; divine Mind ever present and revealing itself to its children, its ideas, at all times. In addition, God is now presented for the first time as Life — divine Life — indestructible and eternal. The human or mortal sense of life, temporal and transitory, is explained as a phase of belief, something to be cast aside for the life-giving reality. In this correct concept of Life as God, it may be added, there is no room for sin, sickness, poverty, failure, or even death itself.
The call of Christian Science is the summons of divine Love to accept the good God as the all and only God; to accept divine Life as the only life; to accept divine Mind as the only intelligence; to accept divine Truth as that which only declares the reality and perfection of God: to accept divine Principle as the source of all supply, ever present and always available.
Originality of Mrs. Eddy's Position
This was Mrs. Eddy's original position and she never deviated from it in the slightest respect. And now, it must be admitted, each day adds its evidence to the correctness of Mrs. Eddy's premise. The world of material science, for example, is rapidly, though sometimes quite unconsciously and rather reluctantly, swinging into line with her position concerning the unreality of matter. Its acceptance of the allness of God as Spirit will follow.
A striking instance of the changing thought of material scientists is presented in a recent book written by an eminent professor at Cambridge University, England. "Where science has progressed the farthest," the writer says, "the mind has but regained from nature that which the mind has put into nature." In language somewhat simpler this statement may be thus expressed: "Where (material) science has progressed the farthest, the (human or mortal) mind has but regained from (the material universe) nature that which the (human) mind has put into (the material universe) nature." Equally significant is this statement: "We have found a strange foot-print on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the foot-print, and Lo! it is our own."
Significant as these and similar statements may be, as indications of an altogether different mental attitude than that which was almost universal six decades ago they still leave the main point untouched. It was here that Mrs. Eddy's great work, in a certain sense, began. The grandeur, strength, and originality of her position lay, not so much, important as this point was, on the emphasis she placed on the elimination of matter as a reality, as in the fact that she explained and demonstrated God to be all, ever-present Mind, filling all space. Thus she left no void in human experience by taking away matter. She replaced the beliefs of mortal mind by the realities of Spirit. The belief of a God conscious of matter, knowing both good and evil, was thus, for all time, set aside, and in its place was revealed an omnipotent and omnipresent Father-Mother Love, conscious alone of His own creation, His spiritual ideas of good.
No one since Jesus had so elevated God to human consciousness and so entirely eliminated matter. Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," and surely there was also something equally new and startling to human consciousness in Mrs. Eddy's declarations. But she never claimed that in presenting this idea of God as all and matter as nothing she had herself originated something new and revolutionary. She asked only to be considered as a discoverer; that is, she regarded the coming of Christian Science to her consciousness as a divine revelation.
It may not be amiss at this point to seek some additional light on the word "revelation" because of its importance in this connection. The great English scholar, Archbishop Trench, said that to get mental pictures of words, pictures which will always recur when the words are used, is a most helpful practice. Let us see if we can get such a picture of the word we are considering, one that will help us realize what this divine revelation really was. God's revelation of Himself through divine Science may be said to have been the drawing back of the veil or curtain of material sense which had concealed Him from man — not man finding God through some unusual gift or quality so much as God declaring, uncovering, discovering — if the word may be so used — Himself to men. An excellent illustration may be found in the New Testament narrative of the rending apart, as by some human agency, of the veil which separated the temple from the Holy of holies at the time of Jesus' crucifixion. So powerfully was the presence of Spirit felt that the material object, which most fully symbolized man's seemingly temporary separation from God, was torn apart and God then stood revealed to man as Life eternal. In some such way, no doubt, Mrs. Eddy saw the final and ultimate disclosing or revealing of God by Himself to her. She then conceived her mission to be that of sharing this revelation with the world.
Man's True Dominion Revealed
Through this glorious revelation there is given to men a positive, definite, and provable method, whereby they may advance themselves to a position to declare with the apostle, "Now are we the sons of God." Declaring this, they may, through the light of the divine revelation, prove what a veritable son of God is. They may prove that God's children have dominion over the beliefs and limitations of the flesh; may prove that abundance and not lack is the Father's plan for His loved ones; may prove health at all times and under all circumstances to be the glorious truth.
What a magnificent declaration of man's spiritual independence: emancipation from the bondage of material sense! Man is now seen, in the revealing light of divine Truth, as made in the image and likeness of God, spiritual and eternal, taking his rightful place in his Father's kingdom of perpetual harmony, there to exercise the full rights and privileges of a son and heir. Surely it would seem that everyone would desire to express such dominion, — the ability to reflect the Christ-nature so fully that all un-Godlike qualities might be entirely ruled out of consciousness, and so out of individual experience. That many do so desire is attested by the ever-increasing ranks of the Christian Science movement; but it may be admitted at the outset that "the summons of divine Love" is rarely heard till there has entered consciousness a definite desire for spiritual good.
"Prayer is the Heart's Sincere Desire"
The poet has told us in words which for years have comforted the hearts of many Christian people that "Prayer is the heart's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed;" and while this desire may be small and may first appear as the result of some sore human need it must be present in some degree at least. Then the hungry heart is forming its first halting prayer, and, this step taken, there is every reason to proceed confidently. The summons to abandon every tendency toward evil and away from good always rings out clearly and firmly just so long as the desire for it is present: that is, so long as humble and earnest prayer continues; and what a boon to mankind is this new understanding of prayer gained in Christian Science. So important did Mrs. Eddy consider the subject of prayer that she deals with it first in the Christian Science textbook. It constitutes the opening chapter. In this chapter she describes prayer as implicit and complete faith; as an understanding of God freed from all materiality: as desire divorced from merely human or selfish will, and seeking only to have the divine will expressed. She also points out that gratitude itself is a most efficient and helpful form of prayer, and fits one who thus frames his petition to receive an abundant outpouring of divine good.
What does this prayer for divine guidance profit, however, if, when the call is heard, there is no willing and ready response? Prompt and joyous obedience is the companion of honest desire. It implies confidence in God, without which little progress can be made in any direction. Given such confidence with unquestioning and whole-hearted obedience, and success is in a large measure assured. "Keep my commandments, and live" is the divine command and the divine promise. To obey the voice of God when in His goodness He speaks to His children would seem to be always the natural and spontaneous thing to do. Nevertheless, it is the lack of this very quality, that is, of obedience, that often seems to dull the heart and ear to the call of Love. Truly enough, failure to obey is more frequently the result of ignorance than of any willful desire to withstand divine law; but neither divine nor human law accepts ignorance as an excuse. Here again, then, a keen desire, an earnest prayer for humility and wisdom, a prayer that self and all selfish purposes may be subordinated, is essential. It places the feet of such a one on firm and solid ground. The treacherous and shifting sands of materiality yield no such permanent foothold. No solid superstructure was ever built on such foundation.
Christian Science makes this clear at the outset and leads to the spiritual rock, the Christ, Truth. Grounded on this firm foundation, the work may proceed. The builder whose consciousness is open only to the call of the divine voice will faithfully insist upon the fact that God's creation, himself included, is perfect and complete now, as always. He will then, from that standpoint of correct thinking, proceed to prove his perfection as a child of God. Nor will he yield to discouragement if faithful, patient, and persistent effort is required, for while Christian Science makes it very clear that perfection here and now is man's inalienable birthright, it also recognizes the fact that the sanctuary of consciousness must be cleansed before this can be fully realized.
Sustained Effort Essential
Today this "summons of divine Love" is louder and clearer than before, and those who are heeding its call are legion. Each life may prove itself a masterpiece, each act a blessing! But the need for patient persistence in all things good is as great today as yesterday. "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little," and this is the unfailing rule now as when it was first laid down by the prophet. Let the beginner in Christian Science, that one whose first somewhat faltering steps are just being taken, remember that one least grain of Truth, clung to faithfully, will bring him unfailingly into a larger understanding.
Through small beginnings and constant, faithful practice truly magnificent results are attained. If, in the experience of one, the few simple and earnest declarations of the power and presence of divine Truth which comprise his knowledge of divine Science have seemed to accomplish little, let that one rejoice over his present knowledge, even though small, and recall the forty long and patient years of preparation in the desert, which enabled Moses finally to speak with God face to face at the burning bush. Let him recall, too, the patient performance of life's humbler tasks that marked so large a part of the life of Lincoln. Let him recall as well the trying years of seemingly fruitless effort that preceded Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science. Then let him still reflect upon the infinite patience and faithful perseverance she continued to express as day by day, in all things great and small, she strove to live the Christ-life so completely that "the summons of divine Love" which had come to her might be passed on to others in all its distinctness and beauty. Thus was her masterpiece achieved, and thus, and thus alone, may the seeker for divine good achieve to any degree of excellence. Because he quickly learns that this is true, the beginner should not weary in well-doing, but each day rejoice anew that he has made some progress in the direction of his higher hope and continue to push on.
"Obedience to Law is Liberty"
Consider also at this point, if you please, how truly the whole long and active career of Mrs. Eddy proved the truth of the ancient axiom, "Obedience to law is liberty," always bearing in mind that that divine law which includes and covers all law is intended. When "the summons of divine Love" came to her she never failed to obey implicitly and wholly. No sacrifice of personal comfort was too great. No thought of self or individual opinion delayed her decision. The mandate of Love, or divine law, was joyously accepted and faithfully executed. She quickly demonstrated to her satisfaction that compliance with each such demand insured a spiritual advance with its corresponding reward. The student of Christian Science who strives to follow her example is doing well. He too is learning the need of exact obedience if he would escape the pitfalls of material sense, and discovers that following the pathway of obedience does lead to liberty in its fullest sense.
Divine Versus Human Law
Law, literally, is that which lies evenly or in a fixed or established position, as in the Scriptural statement, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;'' that is, law is the fixed and established and eternal truth laid down by God "in the beginning." Law, correctly speaking, then, is not a result of human knowledge or experience. It is rather that which is based on God, eternal Principle, alone, and therefore unchangeable and everlasting. It is not law which confines the prisoner to his cell; disobedience alone does that, and a return to obedience, discipline, order, righteousness — right thinking — frequently gains him speedy freedom.
Much that is called law has, however, by our own consent, oftentimes confined us to prison cells of sickness, unhappiness, even misery, and sometimes actual want. Christian Science breaks the mesmerism of these mortal mind laws by pointing out the infallibility of divine law and the inconsistency of everything opposed thereto. Consider, for example, but one of these so-called laws made by the human or mortal mind concerning its own creation, namely, mortal man. This man it declares to be physical, made up of blood, flesh, bones, nerves, heart, lungs, and many other things. The action and reaction, each upon the other, of these various component parts and the abnormality or subnormality of such action can be accurately determined, it says, by the use of certain instruments. Probably no mechanical aid employed in medical practice more fully satisfies this belief than the familiar stethoscope. For many years verdicts based upon the tales it told the listening ear have been put forth with a strong sense of authority.
A recent press dispatch from New York bearing on this subject is of more than passing interest. According to the dispatch, a group of insurance officials gave very earnest consideration to the large number of incorrect physical diagnoses resulting from inaccuracies recorded by this instrument. Dissatisfaction was expressed because many rejected risks had proved, by outliving those who had been accepted, that numerous unfortunate blunders had been made somewhere. Apparently, no remedy was proposed, nor, as far as the dispatch indicated, did any one present suggest that one difficulty with the stethoscope lay, according to human belief, in the fact that the ear of the listener must always be receiving through his instrument only those vibrations he was capable of hearing. Thus to one of abnormally acute hearing certain sounds might be magnified and to his sense appear to be unduly important. To another whose sense of hearing was less acute such sounds might pass unheeded. Everyone knows, of course, that each hears only that which his present consciousness of hearing permits. But this common knowledge seems often to be set aside when thought is dealing with a long-accepted, though upon examination, quite absurd so-called material law.
Similarly the bacteriologist seeking for disease germs through the microscopic lens is supposed to find them or fails to do so according to the ability of his eyes to see. The conclusion is evident and cannot be avoided; namely, that every medical diagnosis and every laboratory test falls back, even according to its own belief, in its final analysis, upon what the variable physical senses are supposed to register. As these physical senses, according to human belief, are weakened, or altered by "chance and change," — and their fallibility is being demonstrated every day, — shall we not be wise in thinking several times and quite seriously before accepting their testimony? Shall we not rather turn to the unfailing testimony of Spirit and reject as false and untrue the testimony of the material senses whenever found? Thus doing, we shall close our mental door to the discord of these latter senses and make place for the grander symphonies of Love's eternal and infinite composition.
Foundation of Hebraic Law
Concerning two of the basic stones in the foundation of Israelitish law Jesus said, "On these hang all the law and the prophets." Of these, the first is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The second, which is like unto it, reads, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." These are equivalent to the statement that love for God and for man is fundamental. The student of Christian Science, accepting this premise, strives to gain a clearer sense of God as Jesus presented Him, and also a better sense of man as brother, as true idea.
Countless men and women in the past have sought to gain this understanding, but few have felt satisfied with the progress they made. One of the earliest recorded instances of a successful effort to teach the goal of better understanding is that of Jacob. He had left his home when there was a cloud of serious disagreement between him and his brother, but he had found a new home in a foreign land and had prospered there. Now at a mature age and with a large family, he finds it expedient to make another change. Fleeing from the more recent danger, that is, the fear of confiscation of his material wealth by his father-in-law, he finds himself about to face the brother whom he still believes he had wronged long years before. Between the upper and nether millstones of his love of material possessions and fear of their loss, he now finds himself in a human extremity from which he at first sees little hope of being delivered. Yet in this extremity, as was his habit, he turned wholly and unreservedly to God, to that divine intelligence that had before so often guided him. His human sense of right and justice had no doubt previously suggested to him that he should make some restitution to the brother whom he had so long ago deprived of his birthright. He now proceeded to act upon this sense of what was humanly right to do. This decision made, he no longer procrastinated, but, dividing his substance in a most generous way, quickly dispatched that portion to Esau which he felt would correct the mistake of long ago. This step seemed to clear the way for a closer communion with Spirit. For, that very night there ensued the wrestling with the angel, as it has been called. In this experience the light of brotherly love so flooded his consciousness that when he met Esau on the morrow he was able to say, "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me." Jacob's false sense of his brother as a revengeful mortal expressing hate and malice had been replaced by a right sense of man as loving, merciful, kind, and helpful. Consequently, when he met his brother he saw nothing else, and the reign of heaven's divine harmony prevailed.
Illumination of Spirit
A quick and complete realization of this true state of brotherhood once provided a Christian Scientist with an unusually rich experience. The healing of a patient, located in a hospital, but not there through his own volition, at first rapid, had been apparently checked by the practitioner's annoyance at the presence of a physician who seemed constantly to interfere with his work. When, upon recalling the experience of Jacob, he was able to see the face of this man as though he "had seen the face of God," that is, to see man as a spiritual idea, loving, compassionate, and equally anxious to serve his fellow-man, peace flooded the Christian Science practitioner's consciousness, for he then realized that love for God and man was the only power that could animate himself, his patient, or anyone. All were alike, in reality, the spiritual "sons of God," made in the image and likeness of the one divine Spirit. Seeing this, no false sense about any person or any thing connected with the case remained, and the sick man was promptly healed, all unnecessary medical supervision instantly removed, and the mental tone of the whole ward so elevated that in a week it was vacant. This healing, it should be remarked, occurred in a military hospital where Christian Science aid was acceptable to those in authority.
Spiritual illumination of this character heals, not sometimes, but always; for it must heal; that is, the operation of an immutable spiritual law has been recognized. When this recognition dawns in human consciousness, healing results as certainly as darkness responding to an invariable physical law disappears with the introduction of light. Furthermore, it is quite as idle to speculate as to what has become of the disease and where it has gone as it would be to seek to locate and segregate the darkness from the light. It is this same immutable and unvarying spiritual law which operates when divine Love destroys hatred, malice, revenge, and jealousy, and when divine Mind destroys ignorance in its varied phases. To grasp even in a degree the positiveness of this law of God and the certainty with which it operates in human consciousness is at least to begin to understand why Mrs. Eddy linked the words Science and Christian and called her discovery Christian Science. It is to understand in some measure why she said that these two words are among the most important in all the category of words known to mankind.
Physical Healing Emphasized
The healing of disease in Christian Science has been likened by Mrs. Eddy in a rather stirring way to the ringing blast of the bugle that awakens and arouses. While she warns that the healing of disease is by no means all of Christian Science, yet again and again she emphasizes its importance. Physical suffering often seems to be the means through or by which mortals are awakened to their real need. It not infrequently shows to their gaze, when uncovered, a mental state quite as unlovely to them as it has been to their friends or family. Once uncovered and destroyed, it leaves them free to progress more rapidly. A patient was quickly healed, for example when, through a realization of the satisfying nature of spiritual riches, he was enabled to relinquish his hard and clutching hold on the material wealth he had accumulated during a busy life. The joy of giving brought into his experience a new and richer sense than he had ever before understood. A desperate physical condition was corrected in another patient when he relinquished his fear, long-entertained, of poverty and lack, and accepted the glad fact that he was a son and heir of a rich and liberal Father, divine Principle, from which source there flowed to him continually and freely a supply adequate for all his needs. Still another was restored from a dangerous condition when chronic gloom and discouragement gave way to the perennial joy that became his when Christian Science revealed to him his heritage as a child of divine Love. In order that the sufferer may be freed from the discordant conditions imposed upon him by the beliefs of mortal mind, it is most helpful thus to locate the mental cause of the trouble.
When discouragement knocks loudly at the door of human sense and the student of Christian Science seems almost overwhelmed by a rush of tormenting arguments, such as uncertainty, doubt, failure, and hopelessness he realizes it to be an especially opportune time for him to listen with more than ordinary care for the gentle summons of that ever-present Love he is seeking to obey. This summons often comes in unexpected ways and as a result of unusual experiences. One whose work had carried him to a distant land, where he seemed quite alone and compelled to work out his problem unaided, and indeed with some seeming disagreement among his associates, finally found himself confronted with apparent failure. Weeks of earnest work seemed to have been wasted, and results that appeared to be highly desirable of attainment were becoming less probable each hour. Standing in a rather hopeless mood before a window of his room, he gazed out upon a scene equally depressing. Clouds were low, gutters dripped from a recent storm, and general gloom seemed to prevail. All inside corresponded with the outward prospect. Human planning and self-will had all unconsciously gained a foothold in his thought, and this had obscured the sunshine of Truth and closed his ear to the "still small voice." But at last the futility of all human ways and means became apparent, and, forced to abandon all reliance on persons or personal plans, he was ready to listen to the voice of God, good.
Instantly the light began to break, — "soft and clear," — and then came the call of Love, like the ringing of vesper bells — came in the words of a familiar hymn (Christian Science Hymnal, p. 259),
"The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and will break
In blessings on your head.
"His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev'ry hour."
And God's purposes did "ripen fast" and in a very definite way. Three days later the Scientist's work was well and successfully established. Harmony marked every step of the way, and the results were even finer than had been anticipated. Thus he learned not only the folly of yielding to a sense of discouragement, but the equally important lesson of being willing to let the divine plan mature and unfold in its own way, unaided by human means. His work, he learned, was to take those steps only that divine Mind indicated as his to take, leaving all else to the direction of that one perfect intelligence.
Price and Arrogance Destroyed
Sometimes the harsh and strident voices of pride, self-love, and self-pity seem to drown the richer, deeper notes of the ever-constant voice of Love, and the latter appears to pass unheeded. It is then, as students of Christian Science quickly learn to know, if the flame of honest, earnest desire has not burned too low, that some experience, possibly not always a pleasant one, but always a needed one, will awaken them to their danger. Numerous incidents of this sort might be cited, but one will suffice. Recall the experience of Joseph, the younger son of a rich and possibly over-indulgent parent. Dreaming of power and authority over his family, he could not refrain from telling his brothers about it. They contrived to sell him into slavery, and through years of bitter experiences which ensued, the elements of his splendid character, that had temporarily been obscured by pride, shone forth in all their perfection.
When all desire for place and power had disappeared, when pride had been silenced, and even self-pity forgotten in the busy round of his prison duties, there came to Joseph an opportunity, almost unparalleled in history, to serve the superabundant multitudes of Pharaoh's kingdom, and to rescue his own family. Through the preceding years he had learned to love and listen for the voice of his ever-present God, and the record bears testimony to the added fact that through many future years of useful activity he never lost contact with that guiding voice nor did his ears ever become dull to its call. He had learned, in the language of Scripture, that "by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life."
Divine Mind the Only Ego
Two very common causes of discord and disease are self-righteousness and self-depreciation. They are a pair of earth-born, earth-bound twins which are so common that few need a special introduction to them. They may easily and must certainly be cast out. Consider for a moment the first of these, self-righteousness. How it deceives and deludes! Its insidious arguments urge to mistaken steps and acts that frequently lead to disaster and disease — sometimes both. Recall one more Bible incident. Miriam, the impetuous sister of Moses, led the rejoicing after Israel's deliverance from great danger. Here she was expressing her real selfhood, joyous, buoyant, grateful. But apparently she had not yet gained a clear concept of the power behind the works performed by Moses. She had faith, but little understanding. Yet she had no hesitation in demanding, almost immediately after, for herself and Aaron, an equal place with Moses in the task which God had entrusted entirely to the latter. Instantly she was stricken with the most dreaded malady known to her people, and was saved only by the intervention of Moses, who was able to pray to God for her heating, as well as for the forgiveness of the foolish ambition and self-righteousness that had seemed to control her. She had responded not to the call of divine Love, but to the call of selfish ambition, the call of ignorance, the call of egotism, which said to her, "I too am some great one." Her ears heard not the summons of the meek and understanding voice until she began to glimpse the fact that God alone reigns — or, as Mrs. Eddy has stated it in this age on page 468 of Science and Health, "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation;" "there is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter." Through this lesson, however, Miriam became a sound and strong link in the chain of those consecrated ones who finally won their way to freedom and a larger knowledge of God as the great I AM.
The lesson of Miriam is one that all must learn: the tremendous lesson that Mind is all and matter nothing: that Love and its summons is powerful to save: that ignorance of God and His idea, man, must be replaced by divine intelligence, the truth of being. This is the magnificent platform on which Christian Science rests, and wherein it differs from all other teachings save that of Jesus alone. But with this platform as the basis for his work, anyone who will learn to apply the teaching of Christian Science may attain to some degree of skill in the healing of disease and sin. Realizing this, each earnest student of Christian Science today will concern himself solely with his own activities: that is, his own thinking and living. He may feel confident that if this thinking be in accord with the divine Father-Mother Mind, his every step will be forward, an inspiration and help to his fellow-man. Furthermore, every such step will be in support of the activities inspired by divine Love. Thus impelled, he is truly and most helpfully forwarding the cause of the Christ and participates in sending out the glorious summons to "emulate the words and the works of our great Master" (Miscellany, p. 148). And, whether it be in the market-place, alone in the field, or about domestic duties, the mental call will go out ringing sweetly, cheerfully, buoyantly, perpetually. He may be assured of receptivity to the summons thus broadcast and that it will not be forgotten. It will fasten itself in consciousness with the tenacity that Love alone comprehends, and at some future time the halls of memory will resound with its welcome appeal.
A Glorious Task
What a glorious task this is and how joyfully all may respond to the opportunity so constantly presented to cast out every quality unlike the divine! To be sure, it is a constant mental warfare in which everyone is required to engage; but only through struggles and victories are lasting honors gained. Thus Mrs. Eddy contended with and prevailed over the so-called powers of mental evil which for centuries had maintained a pall of spiritual darkness throughout the world. Her success has been the inspiration of countless thousands during the past sixty years, and now we in turn, living in the sunshine of this new era of mental freedom, blessed by the presence of its effulgence, encouraged by the association of thousands of others whose hopes and aims are similar, have the indescribably glorious privilege of establishing here and now our own emancipation.
We are told that "righteousness exalteth a nation," and assuredly it is right thinking, spiritualized thinking, which is righteousness, that exalteth every man. Oh, the joy, the happiness, the health, the honor, the wealth, that is ours when our gaze contemplates only that which God, divine Love, summons us to consider. The mean, the unwholesome, and unclean; the selfish, the base, and the common; the shallow and unworthy, all fade away. "Joy cometh in the morning" of this spiritual awakening.
Listen, then, in conclusion, to the words of the great lawgiver:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 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 finally to these of the beloved disciple:
"And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
This is the summons of Christian Science — "the summons of divine Love."