Our critic speaks of the "cheap dismissal" of pain and...

Blackpool (Eng.) Times

Our critic speaks of the "cheap dismissal" of pain and suffering in Christian Science, and assumes that it blandly ignores their value in spiritual development. Had he read the text-book, Science and Health, he would have learned that the position of Christian Science on this subject is exactly that which he defines as the Christian view. He says: "It [pain or suffering] was the warning voice that something was wrong and needed adjustment. Its intention was always remedial, to prevent the mischief going farther, and to demand the application of the remedy." On page 265 the Christian Science text-book says, "The loss of earthly hopes and pleasures brightens the ascending path of many a heart. The pains of sense quickly inform us that the pleasures of sense are mortal, and that joy is spiritual. The pains of sense are salutary, if they wrench away false pleasurable beliefs and transplant the affections from sense to Soul, where the creations of God are good, 'rejoicing the heart.' " And a multitude of quotations of similar import might be given if necessary. The implication that Christian Scientists pay no price for their spiritual advancement is thus shown to be without foundation, and is in singular contrast to the complaint of another critic that Christian Science is ascetic in its practice.

Attempts are made to justify such criticism as I am dealing with on the ground that Christian Science teaches the unreality, the nothingness of pain. If unreal, how can it be salutary? Undoubtedly there is seeming contradiction here to the superficial thinker. But the contradiction is only apparent, as I shall endeavor to show. The fundamental truth of Christian Science is that "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all" (Science and Health, p. 468). This Mind, being omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, perfect Love and holiness, there can be, absolutely, no reality in what is opposed to it, viz., evil. There are some "orthodox" thinkers who reconcile their beliefs in the reality of evil with the infinity of God by the supposition that He has in some way "limited" Himself, but to most men this is an inconceivable proposition. Christian Scientists therefore give no place to evil except as a negation—just as darkness is the negation of light, So that the varied forms of evil—sin, sickness, and death—have a "relative" reality; that is, they are real only to human sense.

But material sense is not the means of apprehending nor of receiving abiding reality, as the following Scriptural passages plainly show: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God;" "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." Evil is real enough to human sense, real as darkness, because it is the absence of Truth and Love; but in relation to God and Truth it has only a negative existence. And so Christian Science teaches that knowledge of the truth destroys evil—as Jesus declared: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It is on this basis that the works of healing and of regeneration are done in Christian Science. But the overcoming of the material sense of things by knowledge of the truth involves constant effort, prayer, watchfulness, and self-abnegation. Yet this is not salvation by "works;" it is truly of grace, the grace contained in the revelation that man is the image, the child of God, and in the assurance that the resources of divine Love are available in every effort he makes to realize his sonship. "Work out your own salvation ... for it is God which worketh in you."

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