Positive Authority

To the thoughtful student of Christian Science it is undeniable that Mrs. Eddy selected her words with definite design, and that due attention to her admonitions will obviate incorrect or strained construction thereof. Vexed questions are to be explained by Mrs. Eddy's own words, rather than by any private interpretation.

Occasionally a student of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is honestly blinded by a too circumscribed reading of the statements by which he is endeavoring to be guided. To such we may be privileged to enact the rôle of Aquila and Priscilla with regard to Apollos, to whom they expounded "the way of God more perfectly," thus confirming faith by clearer perception of divine law. There are, however, some who seem unable to discriminate between negative permission and positive authority, and who thereby repeatedly make the good of our cause to be "evil spoken of." These may presume to translate the meanings of Mrs. Eddy's most profound sentences at sight, and awe the timid questioner into enforced and unillumined silence by an aggressive manner or a bold assumption of authority. They are wont to say that Mrs. Eddy makes no hard and fast rules; that everything is left to individual demonstration.

True, Mrs. Eddy did not "make" rules; she merely stated and elucidated the divine Principle which makes its own rules, the "Deity, which outlines but is not outlined" (Science and Health, p. 591); and so thoroughly did she work that in the pages of the Christian Science text-book and the Church Manual are found abundant guidance for every teachable Christian Scientist. As commonly used, the above statement is both fallacious and misleading. Individual demonstration has nothing to do with the making of rules, but rather with the acceptance and demonstration of Principle; it does not establish the way, but follows obediently. No least word from the pen of our revered Leader authorized the assertion quoted, nor does her rich legacy to the world afford any justification for excusing one's defection from Principle on the ground of extenuating circumstances. We do not find the honest student of mathematics proffering such a flimsy excuse for an unsolved problem. Only two explanations can be offered,—either he lacks sufficient understanding of the laws involved, or he has neglected to apply his knowledge to the answer of the question involved. Neither ignorance nor laziness is accepted by a just teacher as an apology for faulty work.

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The Bees
February 14, 1914

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