Christian Science: The Science of True Progress
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Thomas E. Hurley, C.S.B., of Louisville, Kentucky, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, delivered a lecture on Christian Science under the auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Oakland, California, in the church edifice, 1330 Lake Shore Avenue, Oakland, Tuesday evening, October 22, 1940, at eight o'clock.
The lecturer was introduced by Paul F. Hedtke, First Reader of the church, who said: Friends:
In Revelation 3:20, we read, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 323), "The effects of Christian Science are not so much seen as felt. It is the still, small voice of Truth uttering itself. We are either turning away from this utterance, or we are listening to it and going up higher."
Your presence here this evening is an indication that you are listening and going up higher. You have opened the door of your consciousness to receive the message of Truth and Love.
The members of Fourth Church of
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
In the fourteenth chapter of
Exodus there is an account of a nation in extreme distress. A nation seeking
freedom to worship God and freedom from economic servitude – freedom from the
Progress a Divine Demand
It is recorded that the children of Israel became greatly frightened as Pharaoh and the Egyptians drew near, and they immediately started to blame Moses for their seeming predicament and for endeavoring to lead them to freedom, claiming they would have been better off to have remained in slavery.
However, Moses had been working things out with God. He had seen the power of God demonstrated beyond question and he had attained in some measure an understanding of the supremacy of God, of Spirit. So he met this outcry by turning the thought of the people to God. "Fear ye not," he said, "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
This exhortation, admirable as it was,
expressed more of a blind trust than an active faith in or understanding of the
power of God to guide and protect, and so it did not fully meet the need. But
as a result of taking this radical stand, Moses received another unfoldment
which further spiritualized his thought and brought about the successful
solution to the problem. He was shown that negative, passive trust and reliance
was not enough; it must be positive, active. He must use his understanding of
the power and supremacy of God, applying it to the claims of error that seemed to confront him. For the Lord spoke
unto Moses, "Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of
Progress the Result of Spiritual Understanding
This was no command to take blindly some human footstep. The rod, which Moses was instructed to use, represented his understanding of the supremacy of God, which he had already demonstrated on several occasions. Hence the command was to go forward, using this spiritual understanding to divide, to remove, the error that claimed to be an insuperable obstacle. And we all know the outcome of Moses' obedience to this divine guidance – not only the error that seemed to obstruct but also the evil that was claiming to pursue and destroy was completely overcome.
Certainly, the urgent need of individuals and nations today is to go forward. Never has there been a greater need for individual and collective progress. Never has error seemed more aggressive in its claims to oppose, obstruct, and destroy. But, in its search for a way out, it seems that mankind is looking everywhere except to God, and the result is quite apparent on all sides. Yet, my friends, the understanding of the supremacy of God, good, and radical reliance on Him to save and heal are just as effective to meet and destroy these arguments of error today as they were in Moses' time.
Furthermore, there is available to us today a higher understanding of God and His power than was available to Moses' followers. For not only are we blessed with the teaching and example of Christ Jesus, who understood the supremacy of God as Spirit to a far greater degree than Moses, and who demonstrated the power of this spiritual understanding to meet every human need, but we also have the Science of Christianity, which Mary Baker Eddy has given to this age, and which enables us spiritually to understand and demonstrate the Master's teachings. In view of present-day conditions, would it not seem wise for men to give more thought to the words and deeds of the great Exemplar, who never failed to solve a problem and who said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also"?
Jesus the Most Progressive Man
Jesus was the most progressive man that ever walked the earth. Although human invention has broken down material limitations in many directions, it has not even closely approached the Master's demonstrations, and never will, for these can be accomplished only through spiritual means. Men seem to have made particular progress in the realm of transportation, requiring only hours to span this continent and the oceans, yet you will recall that the Master came to his disciples walking on the sea, and when he had entered the ship, "immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." Jesus overcame the belief of distance by spiritually understanding there is no such thing in omnipresent, divine Mind, God.
Through his spiritual understanding of the true nature of God and His creation, Christ Jesus also silenced the storm, and overcame the belief of lack in an outstanding manner by feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes. He also proved the availability and adequacy of spiritual understanding to meet the ordinary needs of everyday life and to heal both the sick and the sinning. Particularly, those in a seemingly hopeless condition – the blind, the deaf, the maimed, the leper, the incurably sick, the insane – he healed, and healed them instantaneously. He further proved in the raising of Lazarus that a case is not necessarily lost when the patient appears to die – that death can be overcome by spiritual means as well as disease. Surely these are things the individual seeking to progress may well ponder.
The Master's work was to mark out the way – the way each individual can and must follow in order to work out his own salvation. Jesus taught his followers to do the works that he did, to use their spiritual understanding as he used his, with the same "signs following" – the healing of the sick as well as the sinning, and even the overcoming of death. And history records that this healing work was carried on by the Christians for nearly three hundred years after Jesus completed his ministry. Then the spiritual meaning of his teaching and works was lost sight of through the materialism of the age, and with the loss of spiritual understanding the power to heal the sick and raise the dead disappeared.
The Final Revelation and Its Progressive Unfoldment
But the Christ, Truth, was still operating in human consciousness. leavening it, as has been the case since the earliest prophets; and so, nearly two thousand years later, a cultured, spiritually minded New England woman, a progressive thinker, Mary Baker Eddy, discovered the spiritual meaning of the Master's words and works and found that she understood and reflected the same spiritual power exercised by his immediate followers and the early Christians – the power to heal. Mrs. Eddy caught the first glorious glimpse of the truth as she lay on what was supposed to be her deathbed. And the result was as remarkable as any early Christian healing, for she immediately arose, dressed herself, and joined some friends who thought they had come to see her for the last time.
However, the complete revelation of the truth of being did not unfold to Mrs. Eddy as a glorious burst of light. After her remarkable experience, she withdrew from society for three years to search the Scriptures and to discover the Science of her healing. She writes that this revelation came to her gradually, and it was nine years after her first experience, which took place in 1866, before she published her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," in which this final revelation of Truth is set forth in such a way that it may be understood by all. During these nine years she had not only reduced this divine revelation to a system that could be grasped and used by the thought of this age, but she had also proved her discovery, which she denominated Christian Science, by many outstanding healings. That her system is a demonstrable Science was further proved when others were able to do the same healing work by following the rules she had established.
Mrs. Eddy's Progressive Demonstration
Mrs. Eddy taught that
"progress is the law of God" (Science and Health, p. 233), and she
manifested this law in her own life to a remarkable degree. To have discovered
this Science of Christianity, to have been the revelator of Truth in this age,
and to have made this revelation available to mankind through her textbook and
other invaluable writings, would have assured Mrs. Eddy of an outstanding place
in Christian history and prophecy. But she did not stop with this; for with
this final revelation of the truth of being, prophesied by the Master and
Mrs. Eddy also founded the various Christian Science periodicals, the first of which was The Christian Science Journal, which is now published each month. Later she established the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly. The Herald of Christian Science, now published in several languages, and the Quarterly, which contains the Lesson-Sermons read in all Christian Science churches and societies each Sunday, and carefully studied by the sincere student each day. Finally, in 1908, some forty-two years after her first experience in Christian Science, she established a great daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. These periodicals not only represent progressive steps or demonstrations by Mrs. Eddy, but they are also essential to the spiritual progress of the student of Christian Science.
Progress the Unfoldment of Good
And spiritual progress underlies
all that may really be regarded as progress in human affairs, because it is
through spiritual progress that whatever is really good is brought into human
experience. And does not progress mean to each of us some further unfoldment of
good or destruction of evil? We certainly do not recognize the seeming loss of
good or development of evil as progress. And is there anyone who does not
desire more of good? To one, progress may mean a better sense of health; to
another, freedom from bondage to some form of sin or false appetite; to others,
a more abundant sense of supply, a more harmonious home, happier
human relationships, a better place or position, and so on. Yet, as desirable
as these things seem to be, they are the "signs following," the
outward manifestation of the spiritualization of thought that must first take
place in individual human consciousness – they are not the reality of good that
must be sought for itself. It is right to bring out these things in human experience,
but we do not bring them about by seeking them for themselves. Rather, our
first desire must be to attain a correct understanding of God and man, and this
desire must be strong enough to cause us to seek – yes, to strive for – this
understanding, knowing that this spiritualization of thought will remove the
seeming discord or lack. Christ Jesus made this quite clear, and gave us an invariable
rule for the attainment of human progress, when he said, "Seek ye first
God as Principle
Now to bring the government of God and His righteousness – His right knowing – into our own lives, we must have a correct understanding of His nature and His law. The term "Principle" as used by Mrs. Eddy embraces the concept of God as the only cause or creator, including and governing its every effect. On page 465 of Science and Health we read: "Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe." This oneness of Principle and idea, God and man, does not mean that Christian Science teaches that God and man are the same, for whereas they are eternally at one, inseparable, God is always cause and man is always effect, and we must never lose sight of this distinction.
God, divine Principle, is infinitely intelligent. This means that there can be no intelligence apart from God, hence God is the infinite and only Mind. Now Mind expresses itself in, or creates, ideas, and His highest idea is man, His image and likeness. It is impossible for an idea to exist outside of or separate from mind, and likewise a mind without ideas would cease to be mind. Furthermore, a mind having imperfect ideas would necessarily be an imperfect mind. So we see that God and man, divine Mind and idea, are inseparable, forever at one, and the perfection of the idea is essential to the perfection of Mind, God. Hence, for God to be eternally perfect, His idea, man, must be eternally perfect as His spiritual image and likeness. So it follows that since God eternally maintains or perpetuates His own perfection, He must likewise maintain man eternally at the standpoint of perfection. Such is the unity of perfection.
In its teaching of the oneness and yet the distinctness of God and His idea, man, Christian Science is in perfect accord with the teaching of the Master, who declared, "I and my Father are one." Yet he never claimed to be the Father, for he also stated, "I can of mine own self do nothing." It is important to recognize that he was claiming this unity with God for his true spiritual selfhood, the Christ, the image and likeness of God. And in following the Wayshower we must likewise claim this unity for our true selfhood, the image and likeness of God, the Christ. This is the very starting point of spiritual progress. As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 91), "Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth."
"Seek ye first the kingdom"
This striving to gain a clear understanding of God as Principle, Life, and Love, and of the real man's eternal unity with Him, together with the effort to demonstrate this in daily life by bringing our every thought and action into obedience to Principle – this is truly seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. But the Master tells us that we must put this first in order to have "all these things" added unto us; and this consecration is essential. In other words, this seeking of God's kingdom is not something to be sandwiched in among human cares, duties and pleasures – it must be first. It must be of first importance to us – first in thought and in daily life. We usually give first attention to that which we regard as of first importance. Thus there are those who regard their business of first importance, and they allow nothing to interfere with it. Others regard social pursuits, sports, keeping the home, dressing up the human body, as of first importance, and you will find that these things occupy first place in their thought and daily lives. Now these things are all right in their place, but that place must never be allowed to be first.
To put the spiritual first in thought and life is really nothing more than obedience to the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." When these other things come first, it means we are making gods of them. In short, it is idolatry. But when we put first things first, when the attaining of a correct understanding of God and bringing our lives under His government becomes of first importance, we not only gain that which is essential to our spiritual progress, but we find that "all these things," such as health, peace, and supply, are added unto us.
When rather a young student of Christian Science I had an experience which illustrates what I have just said. At the time to which I refer I was in business – in fact I was immersed in it! I worked several nights a week until after midnight, I had no time for a lunch hour, I was under constant pressure of conditions over which I seemed to have no control. As a result, I seemed to have little or no time for either study or prayer, seldom saw the Christian Science literature, and often missed the church services. I was not very healthy and I certainly was not happy, but in the face of all this I really thought I was doing the best I could under the circumstances.
Right at this point, I was asked to teach a Sunday school class in the branch church of which I was a member. I had always made it a rule to serve when called on unless there seemed to be a good reason, based on Principle, for declining. It seemed that under these conditions I should find such a reason for refusing this appointment, but I saw quite clearly that the right thing was for me to accept it and to do the necessary studying and praying to be prepared to teach successfully. So I accepted it, but the oppressive conditions still seemed to persist, with the result that I apparently had no more time for study and prayer than before. I had a class of six lovely children about seven years of age, but when I would take charge of the class, they appeared to be anything but lovely. I would try to correct them individually and collectively, but to no avail.
This went on for about six weeks, getting worse each Sunday, until finally I was desperate. Then the thought came to me, Why blame the children? This is your demonstration and you are not making it. And why not? This was a new and rather startling line of thought, but I did not have to seek far for the answer. I had been taught that "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" is a statement of spiritual law, and that this law is just as operative and just as effective now as in Jesus' time. But I obviously had not proved it. So I decided that the time had come in my experience to prove this law. I determined to start each day with adequate time for prayer and thorough study of the Lesson-Sermon. If I worked late at night, I would still follow this procedure, although I might get to the office late the next morning. The suggestion was immediately presented that if I were to do this, I would quickly lose my job, but I decided to put it to the test, nevertheless. I soon had the opportunity, but nothing was said about my coming in late. This encouraged me to take a lunch hour, but to spend it at a Christian Science Reading Room getting re-acquainted with our literature. I was also soon able to work out an arrangement by which I could regularly attend the church services.
My taking this stand to put spiritual things first had a remarkable effect on the Sunday school class. The following Sunday it was a perfect model of obedience and decorum, and from that time on I had no further difficulty, but a very happy experience.
Also, some interesting things took place in my business. About a month after taking this stand, and proving it, my salary was nearly doubled. A little later I was relieved of a great mass of detail work, which removed all sense of pressure and burden. In fact, I was getting about twice as much salary for doing half as much work, although what I was now doing was more valuable to my employer. And furthermore, I was quite healthy and happy.
Spiritual and Human Progress
It may be helpful at this point to consider how spiritual progress – the spiritualization of individual human consciousness – invariably brings about human progress, or improvement in individual human experience. We have seen that God is perfect and that He maintains man, His idea, your true individuality and mine, at the standpoint of perfection – the perfect image and likeness of Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. Hence the truth about each of us at this very moment is that we exist at the standpoint of perfect intelligence, wisdom, and ability, of perfect substance, abundance, sufficiency, and completeness, of perfect spiritual consciousness, or the consciousness of perfection, of perfect government, governed only by Principle, of perfect and immortal life, health, and harmony, of perfect truthfulness, honesty, and integrity, and at the standpoint of perfect unselfed love, pure, compassionate, and forgiving. This is the way that God is knowing us right now.
But we seem to be conscious of a very different sense of ourselves and the universe, conscious of man and the universe as material, limited, discordant – as anything but perfect. Now there is only the one perfect creation, hence we do not suffer because of an imperfect creation, an imperfect man, but only from our wrong thinking about God's perfect creation, about His perfect man. Consequently, the only thing that needs to be healed is our thinking, and as this is corrected or spiritualized, as false beliefs are replaced with spiritual ideas, as we come to know more and more as God knows, we become more and more conscious of man as he really is – as spiritual, healthy, harmonious, and perfect. And as the false beliefs are removed from individual human consciousness, they are removed from individual experience, for we can experience nothing of which we are not conscious. In Christian Science, we learn that our experience is thinking objectified or made manifest; so to improve our experience, we must first correct or spiritualize our thinking. This is accomplished by gaining a right understanding of God and man, and by using this understanding in prayer.
The spiritual fact of the real man's oneness with God, with divine Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, and Love is the starting point of prayer or treatment in Christian Science. Every discordant condition, every belief of sin, sickness, disease, death, unemployment, lack, strife, war, and so on, is merely a phase of the erroneous belief that man is separated from God – that he has something apart or underived from Deity, or that he does not reflect God, good, in some respect. Now we have seen how impossible it is for man to be separated from God. Hence, any belief of man as separated from Him must be a lie which the spiritual understanding of man's oneness with God destroys.
The real man is the perfect and full expression of God's being – he is God expressed as idea. Consequently he expresses all of God's qualities and attributes, and nothing else. Any sense of man as manifesting that which does not express Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, and Love is therefore a mistaken concept of man, which the right idea corrects or heals. Prayer in Christian Science is the process of replacing these false beliefs about man with true or spiritual ideas. In the Christian Science textbook we read (p. 123), "Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas."
Nothing is more important to our spiritual progress than the ability to exclude matter, for nothing is more obstructive to spiritual progress than the belief in the reality of matter. Now the unreality of matter is conclusively proved by the fact that God is infinite and is Spirit. Spirit, true substance, must therefore be infinite, real, and substantial; and consequently its very opposite, matter, must be unreal and insubstantial, entirely devoid of real existence – a false or mistaken sense of substance.
Many recognize this statement as indisputable, but are still troubled by the seeming reality of matter. To them, material things seem so tangible and spiritual things seem so intangible. To such students, it may be helpful to know that physical science has proved that material things are not at all what they seem to be. It may startle some in this audience to be told that everything they recognize through the five physical senses as belonging to or constituting a material object or thing, physical science teaches that there is no sound coming out of the radio, no color or perfume in the rose, no taste in the lemon, but that all sound, color, odor, taste, and feeling are given us by the human mind.
Now that which is given us by the so-called mortal mind must be mental, not material, and can only exist in individual human consciousness. The sound, color, odor, taste, and feeling given us by the material senses, or mortal mind are therefore mortal mind qualities, and the objects they constitute are mortal mind objects, mortal mind thoughts. Since these thoughts claim to be material, since they claim to be something they cannot possibly be, they prove themselves to be lies. They do not trace back to the one Mind, God, Spirit, all of whose thoughts or ideas express Him and so are spiritual. In Christian Science, whatever claims to be material, whether it seems to be good or evil, is seen to be merely a mortal mind concept, or thought; and since mortal mind is "a liar, and the father of it," as Jesus defined it, all of its thoughts are lies, inversions of real or spiritual ideas. Hence, we arrive at or discern the spiritual idea by reversing the mortal mind concept.
In Christian Science treatment we reject and turn from the false material concept presented by material sense, and turn to spiritual sense for the right concept, which is spiritual, perfect, and harmonious. In brief, we recognize the so-called material thing as a mortal mind thought, and this is seen to be an inversion of a spiritual idea. This lie is then replaced in consciousness by affirming the spiritual fact, with the prayerful desire to realize it, and by denying the material evidence as false. Thus we exclude matter, resolve things into thoughts, and replace these mortal mind thoughts with spiritual ideas.
Progress in Treatment
The purpose of this treatment is to bring to our consciousness such a vivid realization of the spiritual fact that the false belief is completely wiped out. And we have seen that when the false belief is removed from individual human consciousness, its manifestation is removed from individual experience. Since the affirmation of truth brings this realization, our treatment should be largely affirmative in effect. As we progress spiritually we should be able to realize the truth for any situation more quickly, so there should be a diminishing of the process of argument. But we should continue to use this process until we can heal every case instantaneously without it. To abandon the process of argument before we have reached this stage of spiritual growth is not progress, but the effect of error.
As we have seen, all false beliefs do not come to us paraded as evil. They sometimes present themselves as "angels of light." Any belief that matter is good, that it can give pleasure or satisfaction; is quite as false as the belief that it can cause pain or suffering. Furthermore, to completely overcome the one, it is necessary to overcome the other. This is why it is so important to overcome the beliefs of matter that claim to enslave, such as false appetites for alcohol and tobacco. One cannot be a slave to matter's claims to give pleasure without seriously limiting his ability to overcome its claims to cause suffering.
Right Activity and Progress
We are constantly faced with the opportunity to replace mortal mind thoughts with spiritual ideas, and it is important that we continue to be just as active in doing this when human experience seems to be harmonious as we are when it claims to be discordant. Persistence in right activity is an essential element of continuous progress. The tendency of mortals is to be satisfied with a material sense of harmony and ease. Now this material sense of existence, whether harmonious or discordant, is a false belief, a dream. The purpose of Christian Science is not to give us a pleasant dream, but to awaken us, to lift us entirely out of the dream into the consciousness of spiritual reality, or spiritual consciousness, which is perfectly harmonious. And nothing is more obstructive to this than a sense of satisfaction with mere material improvement or ease in matter.
The Psalmist declared, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 358), "All men shall be satisfied when they 'awake in His likeness,' and they never should be until then." The student of Christian Science who allows a sense of ease in matter to lull him into inaction is in a dangerous state of thought. Mrs. Eddy has counseled (ibid., p. 340), "Be active, and however slow, thy success is sure." And she also tells us (Message for 1900, p. 2), "The song of Christian Science, is 'Work – work – work – watch and pray.' " Activity, persistent right activity, is indispensable to progress.
Our right activity, our spiritual thinking, should be inspirational, spontaneous, never routine or stereotyped. Someone has aptly said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is that a grave is deeper. Routine is deadly to progress in Christian Science and it requires both alertness and effort to avoid it. There is a temptation to fall into the habit of using certain affirmations and denials every time we handle certain phases of error, thus allowing our treatment to become formulated or stereotyped. This vitiates the treatment and is to be avoided.
As we realize that divine Mind in reality is supplying man, individual spiritual consciousness, with all right ideas, we instinctively turn to this Mind for the right ideas for the case at hand. These ideas may be quite familiar to us, but they should come to consciousness spontaneously, inspirationally, and not as a part of a routine, stereotyped repetition. Then they will bring us the vivid realization of the spiritual fact which the routine repetition fails to do. We need to cultivate this spontaneity of thought, and humility and purity are great aids in attaining it. The purest thought is the least fettered, hence the most spontaneous. As we bring this spontaneity of thought into our consciousness, it will eliminate mere routine action from our daily lives, our business, and our church work, and bring to them inspiration, freshness, and joy.
And let us also cultivate the expectancy that when we turn to divine Love for the right idea to protect, we have it and the protection that goes with it; for the right idea to heal, we have it and the healing that goes with it; for the right idea to comfort, we have it and the priceless comfort that cannot be separated from it. We need to know that as God's image we already have these ideas; and the ability to appropriate and demonstrate them now.
From our brief discussion, we have seen that real progress is spiritualization of thought, that it is essential to individual salvation, and that spiritual progress invariably results in progress along all right lines in individual human experience. We have also seen that radical reliance on Truth, obedience to the Master's teachings and to the Science of Christianity that enables us to demonstrate these teachings, together with consecration, study, persistent right activity or prayer, spontaneity, and right expectancy are essential to this progress.
No Resistance to Progress
But there is also a phase of aggressive evil to which we must be alert and which must be overcome in order to demonstrate the progress we desire, and this is error's claim of resistance to progress. In handling this it is important to keep clearly in thought that we are dealing only with a false claim. God, Truth, is infinite, and in infinite Truth there is no opposing element. But error claims to be something, claims to oppose Truth and to resist our spiritual progress in gaining an understanding of Truth and demonstrating it. Since whatever claims to oppose or resist in this way must be the opposite of Truth, it follows that it is untrue, unreal, neither person, mind, nor power. Every claim of error to oppose or resist Truth or our spiritual progress, every claim of active evil, is included in the term "animal magnetism," as used in Christian Science.
And it is important to realize that we have to handle this belief of aggressive evil in order to progress, just as it is necessary to take into consideration the current of a river if we desire to go upstream. Of course, the current presents no problem as long as we go along with it. Likewise, the claim of resistance to spiritual progress does not confront us as long as we are content to drift with the currents of mortal mind, accepting its false beliefs of evil, sin, disease, and death. But when we undertake to destroy these false beliefs through spiritual means, when we turn against the currents of mortal thought and strive to progress spiritually, we are then faced with the necessity of dealing with and overcoming this belief of opposition to Truth.
We destroy this belief of resistance to progress, of active evil, by understanding the allness of God, good, and the consequent nothingness, of evil. Since the adversary claims to be the opposite of Truth, cannot we obey the Scriptural command, "Agree with thine adversary quickly," – agree that it is the opposite of Truth, hence untrue, unreal – nothing? And consequently all of its arguments must be baseless, powerless lies, wholly incapable of interfering with our progress, or preventing it. Furthermore, let us be alert to detect the various arguments of resistance to progress claiming presence in our individual experience, for this phase of error often claims to operate in the guise of good. Let us recognize that whatever claims to interfere with our spiritual growth, with our putting the spiritual first, is a phase of this claim of active evil, and handle it accordingly, even though in itself it may not appear to be evil.
As we strive to seek first the kingdom of God and to bring out in our thinking these spiritual qualities which we have seen to be essential to real progress, as we strive to use our spiritual understanding to overcome whatever is unlike God, good, in our thinking and living, whatever claims to be obstructive in our journey from sense to Soul, we may have the assurance that we are really living a progressive life. And Mrs. Eddy has said (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 117), "A progressive life is the reality of Life that unfolds its immortal Principle." Such a life assuredly meets the demands which, she tells us (Science and Health, p. 233), every day is making upon us "for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power." And she adds: "These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil."
[Published in The Oakland (California) Tribune, Oct. 28, 1940.]