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Demonstration
JOHN C. LATHROP, CSB

 
         Probably no word is used more conspicuously by Christian Scientists than the word demonstration, and it is likewise probable that no word is more frequently misused.

         A student of Christian Science is taught that Spirit does not produce matter, and therefore Christian Science cannot be used to "demonstrate" material things, as such. The distinct separation of Spirit and matter is a vital point in this teaching, one which it urges uncompromisingly. Did it not insist upon this cardinal discrimination, thought would inevitably be lost in the mazes of materialism, Science become confused with personal sense, and the problem of being again be left to the mercy of the human will.

         To demonstrate is to prove, and what the Christian Scientist does demonstrate is divine Principle, divine Love, Life, and Truth, divine Science or Christian Science, harmony, etc. If he is scientific and wise he will keep no model in his consciousness other than the perfect and spiritual, he will seek this alone; then his false material and discordant sense will yield to the true or spiritual sense, and the practical outcome will be a natural and proportionate harmonizing of all physical conditions. "Christ, Truth, gives mortals temporary food and clothing until the material, transformed with the ideal, disappears; and man is clothed and fed spiritually" (Science and Health, p. 442). The harmony thus produced is the effect of a true demonstration, and can be called by this name. A hypnotist or a magician, might possibly assume to demonstrate material things; but the Christian Scientist seeks first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things are added.

         It is sometimes claimed that this promise of "all these things" signifies an affluence of material things, to which one should be justly entitled, the natural result of holding what has been called an "unlimited thought." At this point one is treading upon dangerous ground, and if not very cautious he will build upon the quicksands of vanity, which eventually engulf and destroy.

         It is clear that an unlimited sense of Spirit does not manifest itself in unlimited matter, nor through it: but rather in unlimited goodness, love, truth, life, etc. In the proportion that one attains to this state of spiritual consciousness, his material desires will naturally become fewer, more simple, more plain, humble, and pure, as well as more honest and secure. "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." "He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me."

         This "large place" is manifestly a spiritual place, an enlightened consciousness, and not anything material; instead, it is the glorious kingdom of heaven within, even the new Jerusalem, to be sought and found alone with God. Said Jesus, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

         Matter is not nor can it ever be the vestibule of Spirit, or its representative. Harmony is not reflected by nor through discord. Things absolutely opposite neither coalesce nor cooperate; hence one should greatly hesitate to proclaim any material thing a "creation of God," or a demonstration of Spirit. Much possible misapprehension and misapplication of the true sense of Science results from this human course. Our textbook says, "Beauty, as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief. Custom, education, and fashion form the transient standards of mortals" (Science and Health, p. 247).

         Christian Science teaches that the true beauty and harmony are never in matter, but in the eternal Mind, and its manifestation, to be discerned there, and to be understood and reflected mentally by each individual consciousness. Thus only will the true standard of beauty and harmony be found, and in this measure will the temperamental disagreement which traditionally exists among mortals, give place to a unity of sense and system in Soul, where division and discord is never found.

         Thus it is seen that the useful term demonstration as employed in Science, is a sacred word, and that it is not to be trailed in the dust by making it a byword to credit experiences which are often but the forced result of some wilful desire. The spiritual signification of the term is an eminently practical one, and the fruit of a truly honest demonstration is the most gratifying and satisfying thing on earth. No human experience can equal it, and no one can measure or describe the real joy which follows the sense of having been an humble instrument in destroying disease and suffering, and above all in turning thought from despair to the understanding of true happiness and Life eternal!

         Need we wonder, then, that, as the real significance of the term becomes apparent and its glorious fruits are realized, one is more inclined humbly to place the finger on the lips and give to God the "kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever"? He has now come to understand better that paramount lesson of the apostle, in which he reveals the pathway to true demonstration, to happiness, and to heaven in these words: —

         "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the. lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

 

"Demonstration" by John C. Lathrop, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, October 8, 1904


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