From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Handling the Weather
A Christian Science lecturer once told of a little kitten that was being chased by a dog. The kitten, sighting an approaching automobile, stopped in her tracks and began to run the other way. At once the dog stopped, turned about, and ran with the kitten after him.
In electricity, the direct current in a circuit always runs from the positive to the negative. To those unacquainted with these technical terms, the best illustration is found in a faucet, which we will call positive, and a drain below, which we will call negative. Obviously, the current of water always flows from the positive faucet to the negative drain.
By this same token, the dog, in the above illustration, can be called positive and the cat negative. The picture shows the running from positive to negative, until suddenly the cat loses her fear of the dog, and becomes positive. At once, the dog becomes negative, and the running reverses its direction.
In Job 3:25 we read, “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.” Fear is universally recognized as a negative state of mind. So Job’s statement might be paraphrased in the mouth of the cat as follows: “The dog which my fear, or negative state of mind, had made positive to me, or given power to harm me, ran after me, because positive always runs after negative; but, when I became positive to the dog, the chase was reversed, for he then became negative to me.”
It is evident from this analysis that fear in man makes him a sink, into which the unpleasant things of human experience flow. If man can reverse this standpoint, and take his positive position of divine dominion, because of the infinite power he reflects, he can recognize that he has nothing to fear in all the universe. As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, “Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection. He is lord of the belief in earth and heaven—himself subordinate alone to his Maker. This is the Science of being.”
It must be thoroughly understood that man, as divine Love created him, is God’s representative, or the channel through which the power of God flows out into the universe, and, without man, God would no more be operative than would be the laws of the nation without representatives to enforce them. The first chapter in Genesis says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion.” Thus, man reflecting God is lord of the objective universe.
Through mortal mesmerism, man has been induced to accept the suggestion that the laws of nature have supremacy over the laws of God, with the consequence that, as Science and Health says, “Man becomes the most absolutely weak and inharmonious creature in the universe.” Thus man is tricked into sitting by and believing that, since the control of all external effects has been taken out of his hands, he is perfectly powerless in his own universe. What must one do to regain his birthright of supremacy? Must he not recognize his dominion over the universe as the son of God, and then establish himself as a channel, so that the normal government of the universe, by the divine power he reflects, will become an evident fact? In this process, there is the danger that mortal man will attempt to resume a place of control, without putting off a human sense and taking on the divine Mind. Mrs. Eddy foresaw such a situation. She unfolds it on page 96 of Science and Health. She writes of conflicting forces, discord and dismay, but adds that those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check.
This discussion leads up to the interesting fact, that one of the tasks Mrs. Eddy directed those students who lived with her to assume, was working on the weather. She would call a student to Pleasant View, provide him with an ample yearly salary, and then assign the major part of his work to handling the weather. Perhaps, to the uninstructed, such a condition might seem inconsistent with the majestic operations of Christian Science, where it is concerned with bettering the race, and freeing it from the bondage of sin, sickness and death.
The following statements by Mrs. Eddy show, in no uncertain way, the insistence and persistence with which she held before our gaze this effort, which concerned handling the thought back of high winds, heavy snow or rain, electrical storms and drought. “Now when there is the claim that the weather is sultry, handle it and you will see a breeze spring up; if it is cold, handle it; it is all in Mind; ever the same, harmonious. God did not make sultry weather, etc.; then, if we through belief have made it, we must unmake it. When it looks like thunder and lightning, handle it; there is no sultry atmosphere to cause thunder and lightning. When Clara was here, I would speak about the thunder storms and she would work alone, and they would all disappear. You can do this, and if you are not at first successful, do not get discouraged; keep on trying. When you have the first indication, forestall it. Handle the thought of reversal. You can do it. The reign of harmony is; you can make it rain; it can water the earth; is there a devil that can reverse God’s government? No. Then have faith as a grain of mustard seed. You can. Do not take up, there is no thunder and lightning; know that God governs the elements and there is nothing destructive or harmful. God sends the rain that watereth the earth. Human will cannot come in and govern. In working for the weather, never say: there is no wind, there is no lightning, no rain, etc., for if you do, it will act like mesmerism; it will break out in some other phase; but know the elements are in God’s hand, His [fists]; they are not destructive, but governed by harmony, and express harmony; God gave us dominion over the earth, but it is His dominion; the loving Father gives us what is for us, and nothing else can; He is Love, and Love controls the elements and all things. Do not treat the weather as though a storm could go around and let our neighbor have it. When I take it up, I face the clouds and see God’s face, Love, shining right through; then the clouds scatter and there is no storm to break upon any one. The weather expresses our concept of it, and can be handled the same as any claim, if you do not hold it as something apart from you, governed by some other power or almanac, etc. God governs all; this is the way Jesus stilled the tempest. You have dominion over all. Elijah made a cloud to come; he made it rain; if he could make it rain, he could make it snow. You can do the same; you can produce a sweat until there is no need for one; you can do the same with the rain or snow. When I have made a storm disappear, I did not argue ‘There are no clouds’; I said, ‘God’s face is there and I see it’; and the storm would break and disappear. Did God give you dominion over the earth? Yes. He gave you dominion over all. Then you can control the weather. Handle the weather just as you do any belief of mortal mind. You are not a Christian Scientist until you do control the weather.”
It is evident, then, that man’s task, in the scheme of salvation, is to reinstate himself as the governor of the universe, through being himself governed by God. No man has the human wisdom to know how the universe should be governed; for it requires divine wisdom. Hence, we perceive the significance of handling the weather; for it is one of the finest problems to bring man face to face with the necessity of relying on God radically.
To the advancing student, the elements become an important phase to subjugate, because they represent the most flagrant manifestation of mortal mind control. The effort on man’s part to reinstate himself as the dominating factor in the universe, begins with healing human sickness and lack. The discords in the weather follow naturally as the next important step in the broadening of thought; because it necessitates taking the control of the universe out of the hands of false belief, and putting it into the hands of scientific knowledge. If man governs the universe, he must govern the weather. But mortal belief has robbed him of this prerogative and destiny, and therefore, the training of students to re-establish themselves in this direction becomes an important step in the correction of the error, whereby man has been made a victim of that which he should dominate. Furthermore, by using the ups and downs of the weather as the point at which to begin to recognize man’s divine control over all created things, one sees the necessity for the control of the divine Mind, instead of the human mind, as more apparent than in any other one human phase. Hence, this was one of the ways by which Mrs. Eddy led students under her personal supervision back to their important and larger place in the great scheme of spiritual existence and living.
In selecting the weather as the training ground for man’s thought to reinstate itself into its position of dominion, Mrs. Eddy showed very great wisdom, because man must necessarily know in such a task, that without divine power and wisdom he could not possibly control the storms and tempests. In healing the sick, it is possible for the student to substitute human will for spiritual understanding, and for a season to deceive the very elect. In the activities of the Christian Science organization, it is possible for one to substitute human wisdom, education and experience for the divine wisdom that is needed and thus, fool himself and others. But in working on the weather, the student knows, before he starts, that he must utilize divine wisdom as well as power. Human power would be inadequate to have any effect, and human wisdom could never control the elements so as to bring out the highest good for all. Hence, controlling the weather through spiritual understanding provides a peculiarly appropriate place for the student to begin to re-establish himself in his natural, primitive, and God-given task of governing the universe.
Mrs. Eddy desired that we form the habit of thinking of ourselves from the standpoint of spiritual dominion, and her wisdom recognized the value of this method in achieving our goal. There is much said in the Bible about the weather and man’s control over it. It indicates that the weather, as man perceives it, is not sent by God; whereas the ideal is pictured as weather under the control of the divine Mind. From this teaching, we can learn that in the enlargement of man’s realization of his obligations when equipped with deific power, he must bring harmony in the elements. Nothing can broaden a student’s thought of the universality of the application of Truth, nor give him the feeling that under the divine Mind he is beginning to function according to the divine plan, more than the recognition that the elements can be brought under the law of harmony, as easily as the mind of an individual can be made to let go of falsity, and take on the infinite Mind as the basis of its thinking.
Mortal man as the plaything of chance, buffeted by wind and storm, is like the kitten, negative in thought, hounded by those dreaded elements in the universe which he has made positive through his own fear. The reverse of this status is man’s true being, the Science of his being. Mrs. Eddy demanded the establishment of a positive sense in her students, based on the divine Mind and its control over all created things.
The task of working on the weather, as outlined by our Leader, was in no way related to the prayers of certain denominations that make a practice of praying for rain or fair weather. It was not beseeching Deity for intervention in human affairs, but utilizing His power, as reflected by man, to establish the primitive harmony that mortal belief has claimed to interrupt by a mode of its own.
To say that I was often successful in handling the weather at Mrs. Eddy’s direction, would require of me a lucid explanation of the method used. It seemed to me, that the extremes of weather in Concord were serious only as they affected Mrs. Eddy’s poise of thought. It was apparent that she traced from effect back to cause, even in the weather, and discovered the aggressive action, which she detected in mortal thought, and which disturbed her, as it was being expressed in abnormal weather conditions. Knowing these facts, the work I did was to protect her thought from the consolidation of mortal fear which was active at the moment. I recognized the power her normal spiritual thought had to produce harmony, and I worked to restore her peace of mind. As soon as her thought was quieted and became harmonious, I saw the phenomenon of the weather conditions returning to normal.
In summing up the points connected with working on the weather, we can see that it is a training in learning to trace from effect back to cause, so that one sees consolidated mortal thought as the direct cause of the human manifestation called the weather, just as the individual’s belief is the direct cause of the diseased manifestations on his body. Another benefit from this work, is the development of a person’s perception of the fact that if one of Christ’s little ones reflects the divine Mind, that gives him dominion over all the earth. This vision offers a larger compass to spiritual thought, enabling man to take a fearless positive stand against the fear-inspiring evidence of his material senses. Furthermore, the subjugation of the elements provides a method of unselfing “the mortal purpose.” Miscellaneous Writings, page 204. It helps to break the narrow conception of applying the divine power to one’s self or to individuals; for how could one’s thought reach out to handle the weather, without including the great mass of humanity in a loving and helpful effort that would embody “remembering good and the human race?” Science and Health, page 261.
It is a self-evident proposition that the student cannot possibly work on the weather selfishly. He cannot pray for a private rainfall or fair weather, any more than he can open a private door in heaven through which God will pour a personal blessing, because the door to God’s blessings is a universal door which opens for all. “Heaven in the heart of one, means heaven in the heart of all,” is the beautiful way Mrs. Eddy once expressed this ideal to me. Handling the weather scientifically is one of the best methods of restoring man to his rightful place, which the thought of weakness, subjection and fear has taken from him; for it gives him a glimpse of his infinite possibilities and his need of using them, so that wisdom and Love may again be present in cause, and be demonstrated by man under the government of God. Then they will express themselves in effect.
This discussion would not be complete, unless we answered the question, Why did Mrs. Eddy say we are not Christian Scientists until we can handle the weather? Perhaps the best answer to this question is embodied in the following queries: Can one claim to understand that every manifestation of mortal mind is unreal, so that one is able to control the manifestation by substituting for the human mind the divine cause, until one has given it the broadest application in demonstration? Can the cat, referred to in the illustration given at the commencement of this chapter, claim to have gained the positive sense of dominion over the dog, until it has faced the dog and seen him run off? If one is limited in his outlook concerning the application of his comprehension of Christian Science, he discloses his misunderstanding of the subject. If he did comprehend, so that he could be called a Christian Scientist, he would challenge every manifestation that has its origin in evil, where evil is defined as the arrogance of the claim of a power opposed to God.
Although the weather appears to the senses to be a mindless manifestation, it must be remembered that nothing happens in the universe that is not the objective expression of mind. Thought sustains as well as causes it. Hence, if you substitute for that human mind, the only real Mind that is divine, then the universe will manifest this Mind, and peace will pervade the earth. When Jesus was called upon to handle the weather, he said, “Peace, be still”; however, he was not addressing the weather but the thought from which that storm proceeded. He brought peace to cause, and it was expressed in effect, as inevitably as an object casts its shadow when the sun shines upon it.