It is possible that not all who study the Lesson-Sermons which appear in The Christian Science Quarterly are conscious of the vast scope of the topics considered. There are in all twenty-six subjects, which are repeated twice in each year, and these cover the whole groundwork of theology,—of God, of man's relation to Him, and also of man's relation to his fellow men. No vital doctrine of Christian faith is omitted from these Lesson-Sermons, and the one who studies them prayerfully and intelligently twice a year has gone deeply into the Bible, that treasure-house of spiritual lore, guided by the search-light of Truth. Some of the subjects lead at once into familiar lines, especially so far as the titles are concerned, while others are almost startling in their presentation of themes which are too little understood, but which have no lack of Scriptural authority.

One of these themes is the Lesson-Sermon which has for its title, "Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced." It is probable that many professed Christians fail to see the need for a discussion of this subject, and this on the assumption that Christianity has banished necromancy with all other idolatrous beliefs; but the question is a vital one, and we cannot be too sure that we are lifted wholly above the darkening error which it involves. When the children of Israel were on their way to the promised land, they were given the most solemn warnings against all forms of idolatry, including necromancy, divination, and against "observers of times." They were told that the nations which were driven out before them practised all "these abominations." We however find that on many occasions the chosen people lapsed into these evils, and their failure to be true to the one God, the one Mind, "paved the way, to villain bonds and despot sway," to quote a modern poet.

In the prophecy of Isaiah we find these warnings repeated, and the unfaithful are told that neither "the astrologers, the stargazers," nor "the monthly prognosticators" can save them from the consequences of their disobedience to God's law. Malachi declares that God "will be a swift witness against the sorcerers" and other evil-doers, for the belief in a secret occult and evil influence would "rob God," infinite Mind, of "the glory, honor, dominion, and power everlastingly due [His] holy name" (Science and Health, p. 143). The modern inquirer into necromancy, astrology, or occultism seeks good apart from God, its only source, and inevitably finds evil; indeed the predictions of evil greatly outweigh the prognostications of good, but Christian Scientists surely need no warnings against error other than those found in the Bible and Science and Health.

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December 23, 1911

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