If a child were disturbed by a belief in ghosts and were to cry out in terror at the delusion, the average parent, unacquainted with mental processes and ignorant of the fact that the child was suffering from a false sense of something, would be in a position to offer nothing more than mere human consolation. The alert Christian Scientist mother, however, would under such circumstances tell the child that there were no real ghosts and that he need not be afraid of them, assuring him at the same time that God, good, is ever watching over and guarding His little ones. In the one instance the mother might succeed in temporarily quieting the child, but his belief in the reality of ghosts would be as strong as or even stronger than ever, because the fear of them would be still undestroyed. This would leave the way open for a possible recurrence of the experience. But in the other instance the mother would strike straight at the root of the trouble and destroy it by specifically denying the error and antidoting the fear with the truth of being. This illustration shows the value of knowing the nature of error and how to destroy it.

There are a great many people (perhaps some of them are Christian Scientists) in the world, who are laboring under the false belief that there is no difference in meaning between the words ignore and deny as used in Christian Science. In fact, the writer was at one time in this class, and he invited much criticism of himself after coming into Christian Science by taking the stand that evil—sickness and suffering included—could be ignored with impunity. This brought him many unpleasant experiences. One day, however, while studying the text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," he came across this passage on page 339: "You conquer error by denying its verity." Up to this time, he had been laboring under the belief that merely to declare that God is good and that God is All, was sufficient to solve his problems. The passage quoted above, however, set his thoughts at work in new channels. Turning to the dictionary, he found that, according to Webster, to ignore a thing was wilfully to disregard it; while to deny a thing was, according to the same authority, to declare it to be untrue. Then the realization came that nowhere in her writings does our revered Leader say that we should ignore or wilfully disregard error, but that she does repeatedly exhort us to deny it as unreal, untrue; as devoid of intelligence, law, activity, or power.

To ignore the claims of evil to intelligence and power is foolhardy. To deny them scientifically until we realize entire freedom from the entanglements of the senses, is the part of true wisdom. Jesus, the greatest of all metaphysicians, did not prove absolutely the non-existence of so-called material substance and law until, in what Mrs. Eddy designates as "that change which has since been called the ascention" (Science and Health, p. 34), he rose wholly above all mortal belief about them. Throughout his ministry on earth, however, the Master was continually denying and rejecting the claims of error and declaring the ever-presence of good, and can we hope to improve on the Master's method? As well might the soldier of the battle without arms as for one to announce himself a Christian Scientist and not know how to handle error in its various phases and subtleties. Evil suggestion materially embodied ever seeks to mesmerize Christian Scientists into indifference, or to put them to sleep regarding its means and methods; for its only hope of success in preserving or perpetuating its seeming existence lies in its ability to deceive willing workers. And why should we not be active in working at our task of self-preservation, since the putting into practice of Christian Science, or right thinking, means the certain destruction of all that is unlike God, good!

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 20, 1912

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.