Capacity

The world, which uses all words with extraordinary slovenliness, does a greater despite to genius than to most of them. To hear the man in the street speak, it might be imagined that genius grows on every apple tree, whereas it grows only in the garden of the Hesperides. That, surely, is only what a certain great writer was endeavoring to get said in the well-known line, "Soul discontented with capacity." Landor's philosophy, however, knew little enough of soul, except from a purely sensuous human standpoint. If he had understood that Soul was, in reality, a synonym for Spirit, and so for God or Principle, he would have known that capacity could be nothing except the reflection of Soul or Principle, and that as this capacity broadens into a fuller reflection of Principle, it becomes just all there is of genius. That is what Mrs. Eddy means in writing, on page 313 of Science and Health: "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause." The genius of Jesus, in other words, lay in his perception of spiritual realities: the genius of a Plato or a Shakespeare exists in an almost innate realization of the fact that, in spite of the evidence of their physical senses, there is something to be learned outside the realm of matter.

The genius of Christ Jesus, then, was a purely spiritual faculty which enabled him, in teaching, to personify the belief of life in matter as a liar, and so to dismiss human fatherhood, to the Jews, in the phrase, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jesus, in other words, was the first man to perceive the utter unreality of matter. This enabled him to give the overwhelming demonstrations of its unreality manifested in walking on the waters, feeding the multitude, and overcoming death. Plato showed his genius, while living a sensuous life, in struggling to evolve a theory of mental causation based on the human mind; Shakespeare, in a poetry, instinct with an unconscious Platonism, which could express itself in lines like.

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Editorial
The Work of the Practitioner
December 4, 1920
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