Watching Point 9
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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9 — WATCH lest, having had a fine demonstration, you become satisfied with the human results, so that you cease further spiritual effort. Whatever retards one’s spiritual growth should be counted as anti-Christ, even though it may be the result of scientific demonstration. Anything is the enemy of the Christ if it causes one to stagnate in his spiritual journey. Human harmony, which precedes the disappearance of the human, is a danger to the student, since, if he does not watch, he may be tempted to accept this condition as the full and complete demonstration. Believing that he has attained the desired goal, he may stagnate in his efforts, and thus the ‚against‛ Christ might become the ‚before‛ Christ, “anti‛ becoming “ante,‛ and the condition of demonstration which precedes the coming of the Christ might become the greatest deterrent to Christ’s coming.
If you planned to kill a dried-up plant by giving it too much water, you would find it blossoming in beauty, as the result of your first efforts. This might cause you to forget that you planned to kill it, perhaps because you knew that it was poisonous. The pleasing nature of its beauty might become a temptation. The purpose of Christian Science is to give human sense such a dose of truth that it will disappear, and the true sense of man will be left, standing forth in its purity, beauty and perfection. Because the first effect of demonstration on the human sense is to bring out a human sense of harmony, this watching point becomes important. Human harmony is legitimate as a phenomenon pointing to growth, but not as a stopping-point on one’s spiritual journey. Mrs. Eddy is reported to have said to some of her students in her home, “I cannot understand why you students become so plethoric, when each day you deny matter. It is because Science brings you a human sense of harmony.”
If you were melting ice in order to make steam, you could not help reaching the stage where you had warm water. If water is used to typify mortal mind, steam the unlimited divine Mind, and ice the cold hand of discord as shown in phases of suffering, sin and lack, then it is evident that it is the whip of suffering that drives mortal man to seek the warmth of divine Love to melt the ice. But when the water has become pleasantly warm, there comes the temptation to cease this effort, since everything is humanly harmonious. The alert student knows that this is just the time to put forth more effort than ever before, in order to gain such a sense of right activity of thought that mortal limits will be thrown off, and divine Mind will stand forth as All. While it is pleasant to have the ice melted, of what advantage is it, if the ultimate goal is not kept in thought, and the scientific process is not carried through to completion? Of what value is the second degree described in Science and Health on page 113, if one does not hasten to the third degree? Man’s truly constructive effort in Christian Science does not stop with human harmony; it begins with it. Thus melting ice should be looked upon as a step towards turning it into steam.
The three degrees in Science and Health are well illustrated in the last picture in Christ and Christmas. The first degree is illustrated by the dark shadow of the cross. When the divine purpose of the cross becomes understood, one loses his fear of it, and it becomes illumined, beautified by the birds and flowers. At this point, however, it might become antiChrist, if the improvement in human thought brought about by Science was considered to be the attainment, rather than that which marks spiritual progress. When one loses his fear of the cross and perceives its divine purpose, that does not make it one’s goal, but a means to an end. The second degree becomes anti-Christ only when one believes that the purpose of Christian Science is to dress up human sense so as to make it attractive for man’s satisfaction. The true purpose of truth is to awaken man from his fleshly dream, in order to replace earth with the things of God, so that man will be satisfied when and only when he awakes in His likeness.