Many years ago there arose a great storm out at sea which struck terror to the hearts of all but one who were in a little ship into which the waves were beating. Helpless before the raging elements of error, those on board cried out to be delivered, exclaiming, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Christ Jesus arose and rebuked—not the frightened disciples—but "the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still." Then, turning compassionately to his followers, he asked them why it was they were fearful and had no faith. Undoubtedly, he expected them to command the elements. But in blind amazement they exclaimed to each other, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" How had it all happened? Was it a miracle? Had the laws of nature been set aside? Was it the result of a power belonging only to the Man of Galilee? No. With scientific naturalness the Master applied the law of spiritual might to command and calm the threatening elements of mortal mentality expressed in merciless wind and wave.
The phenomena of what are termed laws of nature, it is learned through Christian Science, are the outcome of so-called mental, not material, forces. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 484), we read: "What are termed natural science and material laws are the objective states of mortal mind. The physical universe expresses the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals."The earth and planets, then, are but the objectified expressions of mortal mentality; and the elements, when stormy and destructive, may well denote the passions and forces of human nature. Certainly, tempestuous wind and wave, tornado and cyclone, are but the phenomena of animal and magnetic beliefs. Lightning, floods, and consuming fire express the surging elements of mortal mind uncontrolled. The same mortal mentality which works through the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals, propelling licentiousness, disease and pestilence, drunkenness and war, also propels destructive wind and storm. Did not the earthquake following the crucifixion of Jesus express the animal instinct that would have destroyed, if possible, the spiritual idea? When his disciples reported that they had cast out devils through the Christ-spirit, the Master exclaimed that he saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven.
Not primarily from the outward tempest, but from the raging sea of elementary error did the Saviour rescue his disciples. It was the headlong propulsions of mortal thought, apparently whistling and shrieking through consciousness, which the Master primarily rebuked. In "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 106) we read, "Human mentality, expressed in disease, sin, and death, in tempest and in flood, the divine Mind calms and limits with a word."
Storm-tossed upon the troubled sea of mortal mentality, lashed by the waves of false belief, mankind, unless obedient to divine Principle, is at the mercy of the supposed forces of the carnal mind. Indeed, before these pitiless elements, mortals stand in fear and awe, sometimes even believing them to be forces of God which He uses at will for their destruction. Although, through human intelligence and ingenuity, mankind has gained some measure of control over the elements, yet this has always been accompanied with more or less uncertainty and insecurity. One moment everything may be calm; the next, perhaps, a false belief touches thought as storm, accident, or failure—and all is upset. Before the violent gusts of animal magnetism, even the good man, not understanding how scientifically to apply spiritual might, may cry out in helpless despair.
But, are the moral forces of Spirit to be set at naught? Is the power of man's divine nature to be overruled by the lower elements of so-called human nature? The sovereignty of Love—is it to be mocked by materiality and animality? No! All through the Scriptures, when the moral might of divine Mind was relied upon, dominion over the elements was demonstrated. Through integrity and divine grace, Noah safely sailed over the floods; through courage and vision, Moses parted the Red Sea; and through the majesty of the divine law, the master Metaphysician, Christ Jesus, walked over the waves in complete command.
The moral force of the Mosaic Commandment and the Beatitudes, if metaphysically obeyed, lift mankind not only above the immoral forces of the carnal mind, but also above the destructive so-called laws of nature. Indeed, dominion and power belong to spiritual goodness; unselfed love commands every element of human nature; the might of meekness silences self-will, and the potency of spiritual peace calms the tempests of passion and anger. Man, therefore, through whom the true forces of Spirit are expressed, has dominion over so-called material laws. The majesty of divine individuality is infinitely greater than all the supposed universe of matter, for it images forth spiritual substance, action, and omnipotence. The Scriptures declare, "By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, . . . which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people."
Our realization of spiritual dominion over the elements depends upon whether or not we are ruled by qualities of the divine nature. Though together on the same ship and facing the same storm, the disciples were helpless while the Master was supreme. If we would not be driven and tossed by the contrary winds of material belief, we must utilize scientifically the Mind-power and Love-force of spiritual goodness to quell anger and hate, passion and appetite. Not through human will or mere self-control, but in complete self-surrender to the qualities of the divine character, do we gain dominion over human nature. Assimilating the essence and grace of spiritual love, our natures are changed; they become mellowed and strong, unselfed and obedient to Spirit. As material sense is silenced the eruptions of personal feelings and false beliefs subside, resentments recede, anger ceases, enmity disappears, temptations vanish—all because they are proved to be unreal.
Hence, when mental suggestions beat against consciousness as the waves beat against a ship, the Christian Scientist obeys this divine fiat, as stated by the Psalmist, "Be still, and know that I am God." Silencing the seeming action of the carnal mind through Soul-sense, we attain the quiet authority of the divine nature with which to rebuke and command not only the inward but the outward storms of materiality. So, through prayerful endeavor is the spiritual nature proved supreme over the material, and thus over the physical universe.
Throughout the Bible are related instances where fields, flocks, and fruits were affected by the mental conditions surrounding them. The resistance to spirituality among the Egyptians laid waste their lands and possessions through fire, hail, and plague; but the Israelites, who were seeking to follow the spiritual idea, were unharmed by these elements. Today the same mortal mentality appears to manifest itself in similar destructive elements. May not the heated thought of animosity result in the waste and desolation inherent in such forces as anger, hatred, and revenge? On the other hand, as the blighting elements of fear or hatred give place to qualities of the divine character reflected in the mentality of those connected with agricultural pursuits, may not the land, as well as the owners, be protected by the warm, rich, fertile elements of reflected love?
In Miscellany (p. 265) we read that "the atmosphere of the human mind, when cleansed of self and permeated with divine Love, will reflect this purified subjective state in clearer skies, less thunderbolts, tornadoes, and extremes of heat and cold; that agriculture, manufacture, commerce, and wealth should be governed by honesty, industry, and justice, reaching out to all classes and peoples." Surely, those who, in their professions, are facing the elements—the farmer, the mariner, and the aviator—may intelligently rely upon spiritualization of thought to command the excesses of weather conditions and the so-called destructive forces of material so-called law adverse to humanity's welfare.
In these days of individual and national storms of thought, one should not cry out in fear and despair, but, rather, should welcome the necessity of going against the elements of materiality as affording opportunity to grow stronger and ascend higher in the grace and power of true being. As the sun bursts through the dense fogs of the sea, so the illumination of Soul bursts forth upon the enraptured thought, breaking through the adamant of human nature, and the storm clouds disappear. Then we apprehend the open vision of the unfathomable universe of Mind in all its glory and beauty; a universe of spiritual life, in which there are no destructive forces at work; a universe utterly different from the supposed universe of material sense, because it is the phenomena of God's thoughts, not the thoughts of mortals. With this vision before us, we cannot fear or lose faith, for in the clarity of divine Science we come to understand the dominion of man over all the earth. Then, in humble reflection of Spirit and with a deep, settled peace, we seek to demonstrate man's Godlike nature, through which we exercise the authority that parts the sea of human mentality, or mounts its billows and commands the winds and waves of material sense until there is a great calm.