Spiritual Warfare

Mere human goodness, if uninstructed by the Science of being, is surprisingly helpless in the hour of spiritual warfare. In the advance from depravity to better beliefs humanity reaches the stage of goodness, but this goodness is transitional and must reach the degree of understanding before it can be considered safe from the assaults of perversion or reversal. Thus honesty is a good human quality, but if it is uninstructed by scientific Christianity it is constantly exposed to the danger of becoming dishonest.

This may be illustrated by the hypothetical experiences of two men,—one who enjoys the respect of the community and whose word, as we say, is as good as his bond, and the other a forger whose misdeeds have finally put him into prison. At this stage of their mutual experience they both believe in the reality of evil as constituting part of the truth of being. From the spiritual point of view this is a dishonest position and breaks the first commandment. During his prison term the forger through some means hears of the gospel of Christian Science, and learns that evil is essentially false and therefore cannot be real. At that moment the first beam of spiritual honesty dawns upon his consciousness. The man who enjoys the respect of the community, however, continues to believe in the reality of evil. Therefore at this second stage of their mutual experience which of the two men is nearer the kingdom of heaven, or the consciousness of Truth,—the one who is rated as humanly honest but is spiritually dishonest, or the one who has been pronounced dishonest but is being redeemed by the spiritual sense of honesty?

Unenlightened human goodness generally displays great unwillingness to draw the sword in spiritual warfare, or to gather the tares to be burned before the wheat can be harvested. There is no short cut, no royal road in spiritual progress,—every foot of the way must be earned. The spiritual warfare typified by the angel Michael must precede the tender peace characteristic of the angel Gabriel. Commenting on Jesus' admonition to Peter, "Put up thy sword," Mrs. Eddy in an article thus entitled and to be found in "Miscellaneous Writings," states, "My students are at the beginning of their demonstration; they have a long warfare with error in themselves and in others to finish, and they must at this stage use the sword of Spirit" (p. 215). Due order must characterize spiritual growth, and it would be worse than futile to attempt to circumvent demonstration by forcing a fictitious advance.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Testing Times
June 24, 1916

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.