Watching Point 210
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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210 — WATCH lest you attempt to pull down some of the main foundation stones in your spiritual building, simply because they appear to be human. Actually they are to be applied spiritually, and must be restored to their rightful category and understanding. This watching point is intended to cover such terms as inheritance, death, bondage, fear, desire, love, expectancy, obedience, and the like.
For instance, the law of inheritance is not something to be wiped out, since it is the law whereby all of God’s goodness is made available for his children. Our work is to wrest this law from being applied falsely to a belief of human parentage.
We seek to overcome death as applying to man; but we work for the death of falsity, since its end results from the law of God.
Bondage is to be thrown off as it relates to the socalled human mind; but when related to divine Mind it takes on a new significance, which is embodied in what Paul refers to as “adoption.” Our bondage in Science is our recognition that we are free to reflect God and to obey God, and free from any false belief in any other power or mind.
Fear in relation to error is to be overcome since it is the very basis of finiteness. But there is a fear of the Lord which at our present stage of growth is helpful. Mrs. Eddy once said that ‚fear to offend God is a wholesome idea.” Fear as mortal belief defines it, as being mental suggestion attached to sense testimony, must be overcome; but at present we need the wholesome effect of it as it appertains to a failure to measure up to the requirements of God. The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We need the fear of the Lord to help us to overcome lethargy. Fear from any other standpoint is to be handled. Mrs. Eddy once wrote, “God is All, you need not be afraid. Anything you can be afraid of is unreal, and this fear is both senseless and useless.”
Love or desire is in reality a yearning for the things of God; it is a heavenly homesickness. Man’s underlying desire is for God. Hence it represents his very hope of salvation; but animal magnetism preys upon it and interprets it in terms of matter and personality, suggesting that an infinite, pure desire and love can be gratified and satisfied through that which is finite and impure. Love is not something to be frowned upon or destroyed; it is something that must be freed from the manipulation of suggestion. Man’s hope of salvation lies in love and in the fact that it cannot be satisfied with that which is finite. The Bible says, “As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” This expresses man’s heavenly homesickness.
The Master did not destroy love or desire in Mary Magdalene; he handled the mesmerism so that she saw that her desire, which seemed to be material, was really for the things of Spirit. When she gained the object of her desire spiritually, she was instantly healed of the belief that her desire was for anything human. When one learns that his only capacity to love extends to God and His creation, he will seek after Him with his whole heart and be healed of the desire for anything human.
Expectancy is a very important quality in Christian Science that mortal belief should not be permitted to tamper with. Expectancy is the open door through which all good flows in to man; but the humanizing of expectancy, so that it becomes the agency through which animal magnetism brings forth its brood of evils, must be nullified, so that expectancy shines forth alone as a God given medium.
A sick man is apt to pray to God for health without expectancy, and then to wonder why his prayer is not answered; yet God is already pouring forth all that man needs, and more than he can ever comprehend. The sick man’s expectancy that nothing will result from his prayer, is greater than his hope of a change coming through spiritual means. Expectancy, therefore, must be taken from the grasp of false belief, and cherished as a God-given quality. Then man will find that he will daily expect and reflect more and more the presence of good.
Obedience must be taken from effect and put into cause, so that it becomes what Mrs. Eddy meant when she said, “Obedience is reflection.” On page 182 of Science and Health we read that the demands of God appeal to thought only. Thus a sense of obedience that relates to action apart from thinking is actually harmful in Christian Science, since it fosters the notion that the mere correction of effect — apart from cause — has spiritual value. Literal obedience that follows blindly is apt to quiet and satisfy thought with a sense of having fulfilled its duty to God, when it has not.
True obedience is yielding to the demands of God. Since these appeal to thought only, it follows that all true obedience is fulfilled in the mental realm. Then the correction of action follows as the result of this inward correction, and man goes up higher.