Paul, in writing to the Christians at Ephesus, was desirous of arousing them from the apathy occasioned by animality, from the mesmerism associated with material-mindedness; and so he sounded this rousing call (Ephesians 5:14): "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." In a letter previously written to the Romans, Paul had pointed the fact that death is not a physical condition, but is a state of human or mortal consciousness. He stated explicitly that "to be carnally minded is death;" and then he added, "but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). Thus we see that the apostle recognized the tendency of men to fall readily under the spell of material beliefs, even though these men had been touched by the Christ, Truth, and had taken the name of Christian.
Doubtless if Paul were personally with us today he would voice a similar and perhaps an even more rousing appeal to Christian believers, for the world is facing a most flagrant and far-reaching attempt at mass mesmerism, which aims to stupefy, intimidate, dominate, and enslave men and nations. In spite of repeated instances of duplicity and deceit, tyranny and terrorism, achieving temporary advantage and accomplishment, some men and nations have indicated that they are handled by the same claim of mesmerism, for they have endeavored to build around themselves a mental wall of selfish isolationism instead of recognizing that, as the Bible states (Romans 14:7), "None of us liveth to himself."
Students of Christian Science, more than all others, should be awake to the claims of mesmerism, and should be dealing with them intelligently and successfully, because their means are Christian and their method is scientific. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy devotes an entire chapter to the unmasking and denunciation of animal magnetism. And, acting under divine direction, our inspired Leader provided that every six months we have a Lesson-Sermon in the Christian Science Quarterly to study, assimilate, and demonstrate on the subject of "Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced." The thought which is always emphasized in these Lessons is expressed in the last word of the subject, for the evident purpose of this and every one of our Lesson-Sermons is to glorify God, to point and prove the omniscience of divine Mind, the omnipresence of Truth, the omniactivity of Life, the omnipotence of Love, and the consequent never-presence, non-intelligence, and impotence of evil and error, of whatever is unlike divine Principle and its harmony.
An important, indeed a basic point in connection with handling the claims of mesmerism and other phases of sin, is indicated in the title of the chapter in Science and Health referred to, "Animal Magnetism Unmasked." Evil is always presented as if it were personal, because it uses people to become so self-mesmerized that they accept Satan's suggestions, such as selfishness, willfulness, revenge, envy, greed, animality, and express these and their ilk as if they were their own thoughts, intents, and desires. Christian Science, however, enables us to unmask animal magnetism or evil by seeing it for what it is, wrong thought, a lie, "nothing claiming to be something" (Science and Health, p. 591), instead of what it purports to be, namely, a person and therefore having identity and influence. Animal magnetism would mislead us by talking through a person and using him as a megaphone and tool; but Christian Science removes the mask, and thus frees us from belief in and fear of evil, enabling us to help liberate its victims.
For our encouragement and guidance we have the teachings and example of Christ Jesus presented in the light of Christian Science as simple and eminently practical. We are told that our Way-shower "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), which leads us to see that Jesus met and mastered for himself every phase of the belief in a material and evil mentality, called mesmerism or hypnotism, and thus reversed its effects, including apathy, fear, and confusion. His disciples, however, fell under the spell of mesmerism at the time of his betrayal, for they slept while the Master prayed. Christ Jesus' appeal to his personal followers at this time (Matthew 26:40), "Could ye not watch with me one hour?" may well be regarded by each of us as a pertinent and continuous call to alert service for the Cause of Christian Science.
Here the questions may arise with some, How did Christ Jesus deal so effectively with animal magnetism that its claims were nullified for himself? Are the means and method employed by the Master available to us today? The satisfying answers to these and similar questions are found in the Scriptures when they are illumined by the light of spiritual revelation furnished by Christian Science. A careful study of the Bible along with Science and Health and Mrs. Eddy's other writings makes it clear that Christ Jesus' weapons were spiritually mental, were true, loving thoughts, emanations or expressions of the one pure and perfect Mind, or divine Principle, Love. It is equally obvious that Christ Jesus recognized that any and every thought, impulse, or design which did not bespeak God's goodness, justice, harmony, purity, and perfection, was error, a lie, having no inherent law, power, attractiveness, or influence.
Christian Science, the Science of right thinking and living, shows how each of us can, and in fact must, eventually have the Mind that was in Christ Jesus; how we may think as the master Metaphysician would think under such circumstances. Like our Exemplar, we can and must fearlessly face up to and denounce as false and powerless every phase of evil, be it blatant, boastful, and threatening, or subtle, beguiling, and deceitful. This leads us to recognize and consistently acknowledge that good alone is inevitable. With an assurance born of Christianly scientific demonstration, Mrs. Eddy gives us both direction and encouragement in these words in Science and Health (p. 571): "At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity."
Many Christian Scientists who are in the armed service of their country, as well as civilians, have proved that spiritual understanding of the inspired words of the Bible and Science and Health is potent beyond measure as protection against evil of all sorts. These have recognized and acknowledged that our warfare is not against persons as such, but against human will, animality, hate, jealousy, fear, and the like, which constitute mortal mind, and which would use us or anyone to express apathy, materiality, ingratitude, and shortsighted selfishness.
It has been found that one of the most effective antidotes for apathy is gratitude, for gratitude is an active agent of divine Love. And surely everyone who has felt the healing touch of Christian Science has great cause for gratitude to the great Giver of all good. Although Christian Science demonstrations are divinely natural, they should never be accepted by us as a mere matter of course, for "they are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,'—a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
"To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised."
(Ibid., Pref., p. xi.)
So let us be alert to the claims of evil and disprove them by keeping our thought awake to the omnipotence of good, and responsive to the omniactive law of Love.