Casting Out Evil

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to be derived from the study of Christian Science is the ever increasing understanding of the Scriptures as a practical guide to daily living. To the one abiding in the slightest degree in rapport with the divine Mind, must come wonderful illuminations of Bible passages which have previously been ignored or put aside as incomprehensible. These revelations are individual and generally can best be used in one's own mental work, rather than given out in what may be regarded as an attempt at arbitrary interpretation of the Scriptures. Sometimes, however, the messages come so clearly that in sheer gratitude one feels impelled to share the experience with one's fellows, and it is from this standpoint that the present article is written.

To the writer the story of how Jesus in the country of the Gadarenes cast out legions of devils from a certain man, the evil spirits entering a herd of swine and driving them to destruction, had always seemed particularly difficult to understand spiritually. The persistency with which the account of this healing as given in the eighth chapter of Luke's gospel came to her attention whenever she opened the Bible at random finally convinced her, however, that there must be a message for her in this passage. This vague feeling crystallized into knowledge one evening when the familiar passage met her gaze. Denying the quick argument of error that the hour was late and study had better be postponed until a more convenient season, the prayer was whispered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." Looking back at the book again these words stood forth: "And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain." Instantly the light came. The "mountain" stood for high, uplifted thought, but preying on it, marring its beauty, was the herd of swine—fit symbol of generic animality. The many devils which beset the sufferer,—fear, pride, self-love, self-will, and the like,—when reduced to their common denominator, materiality, were uncovered and destroyed. In the figure of the Scriptural narrative, "Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked." In other words, materiality was the one great evil, embodying all lesser manifestations.

When this interpretation dawned on the writer's thought, she saw as never before how all the evil traits of mortals owe their seeming reality to the belief that there is a mortal, material self, counterfeiting the pure and holy child of God, who alone is real and eternal. It was seen, too, that the only way to awake from this dream of material selfhood was constantly to deny through spiritual understanding that matter enjoys, suffers, or has any real existence, and to strive to order every detail of daily living accordingly. In proportion as this is done, one proves in his own experience the truth of the promise contained in these words of our revered Leader (Science and Health, p. 569): "He that touches the hem of Christ's robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing,—in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love."

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