"In essentials unity, in doubtful questions liberty, in all...

The Christian Science Monitor

"In essentials unity, in doubtful questions liberty, in all things charity." The old Latin epigram is as true to-day as at the moment that it was written. And if only a moiety of those who must have read it had ever attempted to live up to it, its effect in the world would have been much greater than it has been. Unfortunately the human mind is, above everything, autocratic. It would always willingly enforce unity in the essentials of its own selection. But freedom in doubtful questions it regards as weakness, if not taboo. It is, Mr. Bagnet, of the opinion that "discipline must be preserved," but it would never admit with the insouciance of Mr. Bagnet that anybody differing from its view of the occasion ever could be right, whilst as for charity, it will always consent to reduce that to a minimum.

Yet anybody who will take the trouble to think at all must be conscious of the fact that without unity in essentials nothing can be accomplished; without freedom in open questions, there is a certainty of oppression; and that without charity in all things, inharmony must become rampant. At the same time Meldenius, it is quite certain, never intended that unity should be reached by intimidation. To begin with, such unity would not be unity but discord; and, to end with, it would obliterate universal charity. The only real unity is reached in a scientific understanding of Principle. The man who concludes that he is right and that every one who disagrees with him is either a knave or a fool, is quite commonly a knave or a fool himself. At the very best he is Gratiano's "Sir Oracle," insisting that no dog shall bark when he opens his lips. In such a man there is always the element of persecution. He makes trouble, and never ends it.

As a matter of fact, the nearest approach to unity the human mind ever achieves is in connection with the multiplication table, whilst its greatest tendency to discord occurs in matters of religion. This latter fact is distinctly illuminating, seeing that religion, if it means anything at all, means a dealing with the absolute. Now men can only differ over the absolute owing to failure in demonstration, thereby proving exactly what James means when he declares in his epistle that "faith without works is dead." It should then, surely, be a requisite of any religion that it should be capable of proof by demonstration. "The question, What is Truth," Mrs. Eddy writes on page viii of the Preface to Science and Health, "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." Unless, then, a man is steadily demonstrating his knowledge of Truth, he should be careful in advancing his opinion. Unfortunately experience shows that a failure of demonstration goes generally hand in hand with a firm enforcement of dogma. That again, surely, is why Mrs. Eddy wrote on page 92 of the Manual of The Mother Church, "Healing the sick and the sinner with Truth demonstrates what we affirm of Christian Science, and nothing can substitute this demonstration."

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