Principle Precedes Method

Those of us who have had the privilege of participating in church building are aware that economic questions of demand and supply arise as frequently and call for the same measure of demonstration as in the individual experiences of the members. The problem of supplying the need must in both cases be handled in the same way. This question often associates itself with the problem of church administration, frequently giving rise to the consideration of methods in handling collections or encouraging contributions.

It is almost universally true of all Christian Science activities that the most businesslike and practical methods of administrative policy are adopted. It is also equally true that the mere method employed, however businesslike or practical, is not the influence which brings results; hence to pin one's faith to any particular system as the means of accomplishing the end desired, is fallacious. On the other hand, to say that we rely upon Principle, and yet fail to adopt a wise and expedient method, is to neglect the necessary human footsteps in the effort to reach the goal. We cannot wisely claim absolute perfection when we are working in materiality. Human organization is itself finite, and is therefore material. Our progress out of the finite and imperfect comes by improving the human concept,—spiritualizing it,—until step by step the finite is replaced by the infinite. Jesus said, "Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mrs. Eddy showed the same wisdom in her declaration (Science and Health, p. 254), "God requires perfection, but not until the battle between Spirit and flesh is fought and the victory won."

We cannot too often be reminded that true church building in Christian Science is based on healing; that though an organization may increase in membership and succeed in piling stone upon stone until a magnificent edifice has been erected, true church building has not taken place unless the result has come through healing in the broadest sense of the term. Our church is not dependent upon either a large membership or a beautiful edifice, although these will be added when the healing is accomplished. Our church is that which is bringing to the consciousness of mankind the vision of the Christ, whereby sin, sickness, and death—all the beliefs of the carnal mind—are overcome. Then church building is the awakening of the individual, and through him of the multitude, to the allness of divine Truth.

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Active Service
March 23, 1918

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