Improving by Proving

There are few words which occur as frequently in the Christian Science text-book as the words proof and demonstration. Proof sets the seal on faith and illustrates the only possible means by which the Christian Scientist can improve himself and others in health, happiness, or morals. Without demonstration's stamp of approval who will say that there is any day of salvation, here or hereafter? Many Scientists recall that in previous religious experiences the question most frequently asked was, What do you believe about God? Today Christian Science asks, What do you understand about God, Truth, and how much of Truth can you prove? Mrs. Eddy writes on page viii of the Preface to Science and Health: "The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration,—by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men. On this basis Christian Science will have a fair fight."

It is true that in God's eternal creation no improvement is necessary, or possible. His work is done, and abides forever. God's man need not be saved or healed; he does not begin in suffering or go out in fear,—the suffering and the fear being one in the unity of evil; nor does he need to keep on proving the power of God, for his very existence and every gleam of his intelligence denote God's ever-presence and omnipotence. Mankind, however, does need to be improved out of itself, and this process involves proof, or, to use the term so fully explained in Christian Science, demonstration.

In defining the name of Benjamin in the Glossary of Science and Health (p. 582), Mrs. Eddy first sets forth the viewpoint of mortal mind concerning him, and then in phrases instinct with love and beauty she reveals his transformation of character under spiritual illumination. Among these latter descriptive phrases we find "an improved state of mortal mind." A seeming duality was very noticeable in Benjamin's life. At the birth of this her last born, Rachel called him Ben-oni, meaning "son of my sorrow," but Jacob called him Benjamin, "son of the right hand." When Jacob was prophesying concerning his sons, as he prepared to leave them, he seemed to revert wholly to the carnal view of Benjamin and likened him to "a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil." When Moses, just prior to his death, was blessing the twelve tribes of Israel, he said of Benjamin, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long." The psalmist sang lovingly of "little Benjamin," and one of the most tender episodes in Bible history is the pleading of Judah with Joseph for the safety of his youngest brother, beloved of Jacob, lest his absence "shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave." Every individual human being can be changed by Christian Science from a Ben-oni into a Benjamin, from "a wolf" into one with whom dwells in safety "the beloved of the Lord,"—but how? Evidently there is only one possible way, and that is by doing the works enjoined by the Master in demonstration of Immanuel, or "God with us."

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Among the Churches
December 30, 1916

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