Consciousness and Capacity

Every profitable order of thought must be rooted in axiomatic truth; it must lay hold on the things that no normal person can question and be serious with himself. This fact remains true though it may commit the bulk of human dicta to the dust heap, and in keeping with it we learn in Christian Science that one's conscious capacity, his potential efficiency, is measured by his realization of man's relation to God; his inheritance of the divine nature, his enduement with that spiritual power which gave Christ Jesus irresistible authority over every claim and effect of so-called material law,—sin, sickness, and death.

In an important sense it thus comes about that one's working value is determined by his thought of himself, and that true self-denial and true self-assertion are always found hand in hand; indeed they are but opposite sides of the same fact, the apprehension of man in God's image. It is just here that many sincerely consecrated and aspiring people "gang aft a-gley," as Burns would have said, for the instrument of righteousness they would fain become is given a relation to God which is kindred to that of the broom to the sweeper or the piano to the pianist. The touch is intimate, but there is no likeness asserted or realized in their thought.

Relatively speaking, this concept is an advanced one, and it may be conducive both to piety and spiritual usefulness, but it does not express the truth of being, because it does not recognize man as incarnate Truth, God manifest. Strictly speaking, man is not the channel of a stream of divine manifestation, but the stream itself, flowing ever from that inexhaustible spring, the infinite Life and Love. To regard one's self as the tool with which the great artist expresses his wisdom and beauty of thought, is indeed to deny mortal self-sufficiency. It is to evince humility, freedom from presumption; but it involves no true self-assertion. It quite fails to recognize God's man, and in so far it wanders from the path and misses the goal, the summit of consciousness. It is well to be humble, but without daring this virtue is weak and relatively incapable.

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Among the Churches
November 28, 1914

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