Metaphysical Definitions

WEBSTER defines metaphysics as "the scientific knowledge of mental phenomena; mental philosophy." Sir W. Hamilton is quoted as understanding the word to mean, "a science . . . exclusively occupied with the mind," — evidently meaning that which is known as the human mind. Mrs. Eddy. with far deeper insight into the realm of thought, correctly defines true metaphysics, in her various works on Christian Science, as the Science of divine Mind,—the one and only intelligence. To the person whose studies and preconceived opinions have clothed the word "metaphysics" with the chill of mysticism and uncertainty, and to whom the word "science" suggests dim abstraction and intellectual difficulties, her definitions untold so much of sweetness and light, when understood in expanding measure, that the speculation, mystery, and vagueness which seem to surround the subject are gradually dispelled. As the student obtains a better understanding of the metaphysics of Christian Science, and discovers that it teaches the receptive mind more and more of the common fatherhood of God as Mind, of God as Love, and of man's true and inseparable relation to the Father, the word metaphysics comes to have a most profound and welcome significance. The only scientifically natural result of this rightful evolution of consciousness in the thought of the student is a deep, heartfelt yearning for more light; for a larger understanding, wherewith to assist others to remove the trammels of wrong thinking, and thus to enter into that peace and joy which express the natural and rightful status of the real man,—the image and likeness of God.

As we look back into the fading memories of our own sense dreams we recall our emergence from the sepulchres of our dead hopes and ambitions, "bound hand and foot with graveclothes" of false knowledge. We remember the difficulties experienced in removing the napkin which blinded our own eyes and we earnestly desire to exercise the right conferred by the Christ on those who understand, to loose our brother, and "let him go," when he is ready to come forth from his dead beliefs. We therefore hope that these lines of thought may assist some earnest student to clear away the ambiguities with which a false mortal sense has surrounded the word "metaphysics," and thus help him to attain to his resurrection from material beliefs.

In Science and Health, page 115, Mrs. Eddy admits the difficulty which arises when the attempt is made to express metaphysical ideas in material terms, but she intimates that the demonstration of the truth elucidates statements otherwise difficult of comprehension. Nearly all students of Christian Science seem to experience this difficulty at the commencement of their textual investigations of the subject. A general misinterpretation of the metaphysical or spiritual meaning of many words which are used in stating the truths of Science, and which are also used in describing some action or condition in the material world, very often augments the difficulties to be overcome. A term may be used by our Leader, or by some writer in our periodicals, in its purely metaphysical sense, while an inexperienced or superficial reader is quite liable to interpret the word materially, and thus acquire an erroneous or confused idea of the whole statement.

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Impersonal Guidance
July 8, 1905

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