Watching Point 48
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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48 — WATCH lest you place too high an estimate on the human intellect enlarged and improved by Science, or the reasoning powers of the human mind developed by education and culture, and believe it to be an adequate agent for talking or writing Science.
Inspiration from God is the only right basis in Science, since only in that way can we be sure, when we write or speak, that it is God writing or speaking through us. When this spiritual vision seems to be lacking, however, it is a temptation to turn to the human intellect as a substitute. Yet to do so is to put forth the letter without the Spirit, and is as blameworthy as to turn to medicine because Science does not bring an immediate healing. You impair your radical reliance on Truth when you fancy that human methods may successfully be employed, if demonstration or inspiration fails.
Sometimes those who have had previous business experience, financial training, or higher education, feel that this human attainment is of great value, when they are called upon to play some part in our organization. This notion prevails in the business of our branch churches and in the meetings where such business is transacted. Yet if God built the church, He should still be permitted to care for it; it should not be turned over to the enemy of God, namely, the human mind. Such a course betrays the church into the hands of the Roman Emperor, Constantine. When he was admitted into the early Christian church, the healing power went out of it. The human mind is not a healer, Mrs. Eddy says. It is mental inertia and pride that cause some students to seek what seems to them the easier way, when the metaphysician knows that demonstration is always the easier way. If a man was ploughing a field by hand, would that not be harder than to use a tractor? Demonstration means using divine Mind and its omnipotent power, in contrast to the feeble efforts of the human mind.
Students who have had business training, but who have accepted the suggestion that they are lacking spiritually, often seek to use the church business meetings to rehabilitate their pride in their own attainment, by trying to show the congregation how smart they are humanly, in order to compensate for their spiritual lack.
If one’s business experience, education, etc., equip him with abilities which appear superior to those of the average mortal, it becomes a persistent temptation to substitute the results of one’s human training for demonstration. While human training and education can be of help in Science, yet when they tend to shut out God, they become deterrents. Whatever you think you know how to do well from the standpoint of the human mind and experience, forms a definite temptation to keep you from demonstration, or seeking God’s help. On the contrary, when one feels that he does not know how to do a thing humanly, he is left with but one way, namely, the spiritual way.
At Pleasant View, Mrs. Eddy was spiritually attuned so that she could detect whether the service rendered in her home was demonstration, which means it was done by one seeking God’s help. God required her to reject — sometimes forcefully — service that was not the manifestation of demonstration, no matter how faithfully and lovingly done, since it indicated an effort to satisfy her with something less than God. It showed that the one who did it, fancied he could do something of himself satisfactorily, without the aid of divine Mind, which is the exact opposite of Christian Science. She only asked that the tasks in her home be done from the standpoint of right thinking, that is, of reflecting divine Mind. How could a student expect to please her — which meant to please God, since the Father’s standard was hers — from the standpoint that he could do something of himself, or with the human mind, that was satisfactory? Her whole life was devoted to teaching and practicing spiritual reflection. Was it so strange that she did not want the humblest task, — making her bed, sweeping her rooms, or preparing her meals, — done from any standpoint but that of reflecting divine Mind, or the ability of man equipped by God to do all things well?
Mrs. Eddy set the standard, namely, demonstration as the only method one should employ under any circumstances. When it came to the Christian Science periodicals, for instance, she did not want articles accepted which were the product of the human intellect — perhaps ground out like sausages. Such would be the letter without the spirit — the product of the head rather than the heart. She wanted God to write the articles, and she knew that He did this only when man subdued the human sense so that the divine Mind might shine through.
On page 232 of Miscellany is to be found one of the most enlightening and yet perhaps baffling criticisms Mrs. Eddy ever wrote — that is, to the human mind. John B. Willis, who for years had been a trained writer, being on the staff of the Youth’s Companion at one time, wrote an editorial called, “Watching versus Watching Out.” Students liked the article, declared it to be helpful, and could see no flaw in its metaphysics. Yet Mrs. Eddy assailed it vigorously, declared that it misstated Christian Science, and required the Sentinel to publish an apology stating that no more such misteaching would be permitted to appear in its columns.
What could Mrs. Eddy have meant but that this editorial was lacking spiritually, meaning that there was a lack of inspiration in Mr. Willis’ thought when he wrote it? She sensed the lack of the healing consciousness in it, and since the presence of this healing thought is all that makes anything worthy of the name of Christian Science, she rejected it. It was a spiritless article. People love pillows made of the needles from the balsam tree, because of their sweet odor. But what would one say of such a pillow that had no fragrance whatsoever? It would be labelled a fraud. Mr. Willis’ article was a fraud. It claimed to be a Christian Science article; yet it lacked the essential element which would make it Christian Science! Reading it would not heal the sick.
Thus it was that Mrs. Eddy set the standard for articles for our periodicals, as well as all writing, reading and speaking Christian Science, namely, that a student should write, read or speak only from the standpoint that God is writing, reading or speaking through him. If his spiritual consciousness and conviction seem to wane, he should never feel that it is right for him to fall back on his intellectual training as a satisfactory substitute, which is what Mr. Willis evidently did.
Mrs. Eddy’s most stirring rebukes were reserved for students who forgot that, apart from God, they were nothing and could do nothing. Pride, fear and neglect are responsible for this fatal mistake, fatal because it throws man back to the dead level of mortal belief, and thus robs him of God. Mr. Willis omitted God in doing God’s work! No wonder God rebuked him through our Leader! Furthermore it should be remembered that Mrs. Eddy regarded every task as God’s work, from the least to the greatest, and, if done rightly, as an opportunity to draw nearer to God.