Watching Point 89
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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89 — WATCH lest, in your efforts to demonstrate, you steady the ark (I Chron. 13:9). The ark represented spiritual law and its application in symbols. Symbols have no inherent spiritual significance, but offer temporary help to the budding thought, much as figures on the black board aid the beginner in mathematics, to do problems which later he will be able to do mentally.
To estimate symbols as having spiritual significance, as is done in the Roman Catholic church, is to mistake effect for cause, and results in a dead sense of spiritual power. When Uzzah put forth his hand to steady the ark, he betrayed his error in valuing symbols above what they stood for, thus working with shadow, or effect. This resulted in a deadened sense of demonstration.
Roman Catholicism has fallen into the error of putting cause into effect, of attributing to its symbols an inherent spiritual substance and significance, which is the death knell of true spirituality, and forms the basis for its idolatry.
To steady the ark might mean to work from the standpoint of effect instead of cause, shadow instead of substance; it is to substitute what the world calls right action for right thinking, believing that what you do is more important than what you think, instead of having your actions and speech the spontaneous expression of your improving thinking.
It might be steadying the ark to feel impelled to give a testimony just to fill in the pauses on Wednesday night. One should go to the meeting realizing that divine Mind is present, is governing every one in the meeting, and alone voices itself; hence the belief in a human mind is silenced — ruled out. One should make such a demonstration, knowing that that is the true support required. It might express itself in audible testimony according to the need, but the testimony should not be considered to be one’s support of the meeting, but the outward proof of it.
When you know that God’s government is already established and you need only dissipate a limited sense of it, that is demonstration and Science. When you feel that you must do something outwardly to help to establish God’s government, that is steadying the ark. Had cause been supreme in Uzzah’s estimation, and had he steadied the ark merely to prove his demonstration in and of cause, then his act would have been the expression of divine wisdom, rather than fear and doubt. Then his sense of metaphysics would not have been deadened by his act. His thought was wrong, and his act exposed his error.