"An understanding heart"

Solomon's dream, recorded in the third chapter of I Kings, is familiar to the student of the Old Testament. In the dream "the Lord appeared to Solomon," and "God said, Ask what I shall give thee." In response Solomon, after pleading that he was "but a little child" who knew "not how to go out or come in," made the request, "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?" The answer came: "Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart."

The desire which Solomon entertained for an understanding heart should animate every Christian—every Christian Scientist. For are we not constantly being faced with the same problem which presented itself to Solomon—namely, to be able to discern between good and evil, and accordingly to judge righteous judgment? The situations relative to our fellow-men with which we are confronted may not be the same as those in which the wise king found himself, may indeed greatly differ from them, but our desire is the same as his, and the necessities are parallel.

Students: Get
JSH-Online for
  • Every recent & archive issue

  • Podcasts & article audio

  • Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio


What, then, is the position which presents itself to the Christian Scientist? Broadly speaking, he is faced with the many problems which arise out of the belief that evil is real, beset by the beliefs of the world in sickness, sin, weakness, pain, hopelessness; and, as Christian Science shows, every phase of human suffering and sin has its seeming origin in the fallacy that evil is real. The problem to human sense seems a formidable one. The Christian Scientist does not ignore it; and how earnest, how sincere, is his prayer to God for "a wise and an understanding heart," that he may help to remove the burden which often bears so heavily on mankind.

That the prayer of the Christian Scientist is wonderfully answered no one knows better than he. In a short article entitled "Heart to Heart," on page 262 of "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy expresses her gratitude for the help Christian Scientists are rendering to humanity. She says, "I am grateful to you [my dear students] for giving to the sick relief from pain; for giving joy to the suffering and hope to the disconsolate; for lifting the fallen and strengthening the weak, and encouraging the heart grown faint with hope deferred." And our Leader certainly spoke from an understanding heart.

How is the understanding heart to be cultivated? How may one attain to a measure of the understanding which, first of all, will enable him to perceive a brother's need and afterwards relieve it? The understanding may be obtained through Christian Science as it is set forth in the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. Christian Science is the truth about God and His creation; and in proportion as this truth is assimilated by any one, the spiritual understanding is acquired whereby human ills can be met, alleviated, and healed. What a store of spiritual riches the Christian Science textbooks contain: the Bible with its long record of spiritual discovery, its fundamental teaching on the spiritual nature of creation, its persistent avowal of God's presence and power, its steadfast pointing to the constancy of spiritual law, its many examples of the power of the Most High demonstrated in the overcoming of human difficulties and the healing of disease and sin; and Science and Health, from first to last declaring God's allness, His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, making clear the spiritual meaning of the Bible, revealing the nature of spiritual creation and of the law of God governing His creation, elucidating the rules whereby divine law operates in the destruction of evil belief—sin, disease, fear, pain, poverty, hopelessness! But the understanding is gained only through patient, prayerful effort.

The student of Christian Science early begins to learn from his study that which Solomon desired—to be able to discern between good and evil. At the very outset he becomes aware that evil is unreal, since God is infinite good. And what a revolutionary thought it is,—good infinite, evil unreal,—reaching into every corner of human experience! At the same time the revelation dawns upon him that Love is infinite, that Life is infinite, that Truth is infinite. Then the effort is begun to demonstrate the truth which Christian Science makes so plain, by healing disease, destroying sin, restoring hope to the disconsolate and strength to the weak.

The understanding heart reflects the qualities of God; and the greatest of these is love. Mrs. Eddy writes of it on page 454 of Science and Health: "Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching. Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way." More and more does the student of Christian Science strive for a greater measure of love, that with compassion he may bring to bear on the problems of mankind those qualities of Spirit which constitute an understanding heart, and so help in the solution of the problems.

Duncan Sinclair

"The temple gate of conscience"
February 27, 1926

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.