Criticism

Common usage has emphasized the definition of criticism as censure or unfavorable comment to such an extent that it almost never recognizes the equally correct definition of critical observation, true judgment, or detailed examination. To employ a word in a statement without an understanding of its complete significance renders the statement either wholly or partially incorrect. Hence it is readily seen how quickly and easily the mistaken conclusion can be formed when one speaks of another as having offered a criticism of some one or some thing, when this criticism may have been a detailed examination on the part of the one lending the criticism, an examination resulting in a good conclusion.

The value of understanding and employing words in their complete definition is illustrated by Mrs. Eddy in her original use of the Glossary in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" wherein she gives to the Biblical words both their so-called material definitions and the true or spiritual meaning, which she states is also their original meaning. In the introductory paragraph of the Glossary (p. 579) she says: "In Christian Science we learn that the substitution of the spiritual for the material definition of a Scriptural word often elucidates the meaning of the inspired writer. On this account this chapter is added. It contains the metaphysical interpretation of Bible terms, giving their spiritual sense, which is also their original meaning." The fact that, in a work in which she was entirely concerned with expressing the spiritual truths, Mrs. Eddy emphasized the need of giving both or all the definitions of a word is of importance to the student of her works. It is evidence that she realized that the entire truth about every expression must be known, whether that truth seems pleasant or disagreeable. But one of the many blessings she bestowed on mankind was in showing that the seemingly disagreeable meaning of any word or experience could be so understood spiritually as to rob it of all sense of harm or unpleasantness of any kind. This thought is expressed by Mrs. Eddy on page 428 of Science and Health in these words, "We must realize the ability of mental might to offset human misconceptions and to replace them with the life which is spiritual, not material." Our Leader set for herself the task of showing the truth or the spiritual fact about every phase of existence, and in so doing she utilized all types of definitions, showing the infinite character of her task and pointing her students to no less sweet a task if they would work out their own salvation as Jesus commanded. In Christian Science there is no definition or condition to run from, so to speak, but harmony in all things is maintained through complete understanding, quite as Mrs. Eddy says on page 233 of her textbook, "Ye who can discern the face of the sky,—the sign material,—how much more should ye discern the sign mental, and compass the destruction of sin and sickness by overcoming the thoughts which produce them, and by understanding the spiritual idea which corrects and destroys them."

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"Come unto me"
March 26, 1921
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