Handling Error

There is much talk with bated breath in regard to handling error, as if there were a mystery about the process, and only a few knew the secret. But we are called upon, every one of us, to work out our own salvation in the very midst of fear and doubt and while facing the attacks of evil, and we have the apostolic assurance that God works with us so that the benevolence of His will may be worked out. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science opens the door of hope to every one when she says (Science and Health, p. 494), "To all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good." Furthermore, she calls upon every member of The Mother Church to engage in handling error. The By-law entitled "Alertness to Duty" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 6) says: "It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to defend himself daily against aggressive mental suggestion, and not be made to forget nor to neglect his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind. By his works he shall be judged,—and justified or condemned."

This statement is straightforward and clear. It is possible for the child or the young student to understand it; and why should it not be clear and simple when obedience to its requirement is fundamental to success? The effect of obedience is not only blessing to the individual, but harmony in the community. For the individual there is joy, what Nehemiah named "the joy of the Lord," which he said "is your strength;" and for the communal life there is peace—a continual "truce of God." In the old days of small baronies and little kingdoms, it was dangerous for groups of people to come together even for church services or festivals lest quarrels and killings should occur in the church itself or in the sacred processions. So the church invented the "Truce of God," and the fighters agreed to lay aside their weapons and take no advantage to murder one another during specified hours of the week or upon certain saints' days.

Aggressive mental suggestion precedes any overt act contrary to the welfare of man or the community, and its origin is in wrong motives. The clarity and correctness of Christian Science teaching is evidenced in its ruling of motives, thus forestalling the overt acts. The so-called "Truce of God" was merely an outward observance and temporary cessation of fighting and killing. The medieval swordsman might use the day of truce to sharpen his sword and whet his hate for his rival or enemy. He might even in the church during its services be laying plans for some treachery. Christian Science turns the searchlight within, teaching even as Jesus did when he said, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit."

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Wasteful War
May 10, 1919

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