A Retrospect

The semiannual recurrence of the Lesson-Sermon on Substance in "The Christian Science Quarterly," is an unfailing reminder that the first gleam of spiritual light which broke upon the present writer's thought came through Mrs. Eddy's declaration on page 468 of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where she says, "Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay." Years of skepticism, succeeding earlier years of bondage to creedal belief, had not begotten a disposition to accept without proof this definition as correct; but as other lines of research had failed to yield satisfaction, thought immediately began to measure with this unfamiliar rule objects cognized by the senses.

It was readily conceded that the material world and its man could not be made to conform to this standard of measurement; that they were only too apparently capable of both discord and decay. With belief in their substantiality somewhat shaken, search was begun for evidence in support of the newly found premise. To this end healing was sought in Christian Science, but in the somewhat ungenerous attitude of proof before credence would be accorded,—an attitude undoubtedly responsible for the unsatisfactory results attained, which led to the temporary abandonment of the effort. When later the needs of others, near and dear, inspired fresh endeavor, it began to be seen that pride of intellect was a poor foundation on which to seek to build spiritually; and as this was slowly superseded by willingness to become "as a little child," progress became possible.

About this time it became necessary in a business way to witness a demonstration of the possibilities of the X-ray machine, and the writer was invited, with others, to test the power of the light. With great interest it was noted that the flesh, blood, nerves, etc., which seemed so substantial, had practically disappeared from the picture on the screen, showing only faintly around the darker shadow of the bones; and as there flashed into remembrance the teachings of our text-book, it was with something akin to awe that one contemplated the possibility that in the stronger, purer light of spiritual understanding the material man might disappear from view entirely. Thought was becoming more receptive, more willing to relinquish its confidence in the testimony of the senses. Still reasoning in a somewhat halting fashion from effect to cause, however, it gradually became apparent that while the seemingly substantial objects around us might be entirely destroyed, the ideas they represented were indestructible; that a chair, for instance, might be reduced to ashes, but that one could not destroy the idea of a chair; that the figure on the blackboard was only the human sense of the number in mathematics, and that no matter how often it might be used or erased, the idea or number remained forever untouched, unchanged.

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Remedy for Ghosts
March 14, 1914

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