The spoken and the written word, imparted to us by means of the so-called physical senses, furnishes but a material means of communication, despite the purity of diction in which it way be clothed. In Science and Health (p. 123) we read that divine Science "resolves things into thoughts." To make a special application of the beautiful words of Paul,—human language is temporal, and forever exhibits the imperfections of the temporal; but right thought behind language is eternal. Considering speech negatively, we remember the saying of Talleyrand, that "speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts," or, in other words, to conceal truth; while, looking at it from the positive standpoint, we have Mrs. Eddy's well-known declaration as to the inadequacy of language as a vehicle for the conveyance of truth: "The chief difficulty in conveying the teachings of divine Science accurately to human thought lies in this, that like all other languages, English is inadequate to the expression of spiritual conceptions and propositions, because one is obliged to use material terms in dealing with spiritual ideas" (Science and Health, p. 349).

As language is practically the sole means of communication between men, in our present state of consciousness its facility for the conveyance of harmful beliefs and of evil suggestion can hardly be overstated. Truly, mortals are slaves to language. The book, the chapter, even the sentence, is not necessary to urge thought into action. The ideas of ages are behind single words and surge forward at their utterance. What opposite but compelling trains of thought are moved forward by the sight or hearing of the word good or of the word bad! The same may be said of hard or soft, of wet or dry, of go or come, or of hundreds of other pairs of opposites; or of many words which travel through the realm of language unattended by opposites. Some of these induce thoughts of the most harmful and damaging character. Every word in language, then, stands for and calls up a throng of thoughts, many of which are evil. These latter should be, and they will be, banished from language as well as from consciousness, when the truth of being is better understood.

Laying aside the idea of positive evil or good, as ordinarily understood, we may take two well-known words, direct opposites, as further example in illustration of our present thought. The word material, standing alone upon the printed page, is far less inspiring and ennobling, far less health-giving, than the word spiritual. Paul says, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace;" and the written or spoken word may indicate the state of the mind or may induce its activity.

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Strength and Humility
April 10, 1915

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