The Duty of Self-Defense

In the Manual of The Mother Church, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, provides two very definite duties which are to be carried out daily by all Christian Scientists. The first duty is that of prayer. In Article VIII, Section 1, "A Rule for Motives and Acts," there is an admonition to watch and pray daily. Then, in Section 4 of the same Article, appears the following: "It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" The second obligation is stated thus, under the heading, "Alertness to Duty" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 6): "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." These two duties go hand in hand, and one who fulfills them certainly "shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty," in that sure defense against every form of evil.

One often hears a student of Christian Science say, "I do my protective work every day," but to defend means actively "to secure against attack; to maintain against force or argument; to uphold; guard." For instance, if we are unjustly accused or attacked, we employ a lawyer to defend our liberty and character and to establish our innocence. But no lawyer, however learned, can defend our thinking from the assaults of sin, disease, or enslaving propaganda; this defense we must maintain for ourselves. Every day, every hour, it is our duty to God, to our Leader, and to mankind to defend our consciousness against accepting and acting upon aggressive mental suggestion, supposedly put forth by the subtle forces of evil. We must guard our thoughts from threatened harm, whether these threats are aimed at the health, happiness, or prosperity of ourselves, our church, our country, or mankind. We must take a firm stand for our rights, as citizens of the heavenly kingdom, and therefore as children of God in whatever country we are humanly living. We must mentally maintain these rights through realization of the truth, aided by truthful arguments as needed, lest these inalienable rights be encroached upon and we allow ourselves to be robbed of our heritage of peace and joy.

"How excellent is thy lovingkindness"
December 7, 1940

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