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Dominion and Power of Spirit
WILLIAM P. MCKENZIE, CSB

 
         When in the history of a country an epoch is marked by the coming to the throne of a new dynasty, time is frequently dated from the accession of this ruling house. Likewise in human life a new era begins, in effect like a new creation, when there is accession of spirituality. Of this Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 204), "Through the accession of spirituality, God, the divine Principle of Christian Science, literally governs the aims, ambition, and acts of the Scientist."

         The enthronement of divine Principle, which is Love, means the dethronement forever of the carnal mind, whose characteristic is the reverse of love, or hostility to love, described by Paul as "enmity against God." Fleshly beliefs are of course hostile to all that is spiritual, and so they are insubordinate to divine law; they are "not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Consequently when one becomes obedient to the law of Spirit his former manner of life ends and a new kind of life is known, even that life manifested in Christ Jesus; "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

         Human beings have suffered much, not only from pagan theories but from various misconceivings of Christianity. The Master found his disciples slow to apprehend his true mission. They wanted power and self-magnification, and reached an undue point of self-glorification when they wanted to call down upon a village of the Samaritans the destruction of fire because the people would not make preparations to entertain them. Quietly he, their teacher, checked their ardor. He is credited with saying to them: "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Manifestly Christianity could not be established by the thumbscrew and the boot, by rack or tourniquet. The hideous torture of human beings in the name of religion indicates always the design of human will to enthrone itself in power and to control others through fear. Exactly opposite to this is religion itself, because true religion unfolds to each individual the righteous government of God. Of the effects of this government Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellany, p. 189), "The government of divine Love derives its omnipotence from the love it creates in the heart of man; for love is allegiant, and there is no loyalty apart from love."

         We have long admitted that love is the antithesis of hate. Ordinary teaching still respects the ancient adage, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy," although Christ Jesus required love to be supreme; but to the spiritually minded, love becomes the habitude of thought, and they find wonderful results in that not only is hatred dismissed with all its malignancy, jealousy, and cruel imaginings, but fear is likewise disposed of. They then recognize how truly metaphysical John is in giving his assurance that "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment."

         The choice before a man becomes simple when he is asked who or what shall have dominion over him. Will he allow carnality to be enthroned and his life enslaved? Or will he have spirituality enthroned and enjoy "the glorious liberty of the children of God"? The religious life has been depicted by those unacquainted with spiritual joy as gloomy, restricted, joyless, with cross-bearing, disappointment, and thwarting as its portion. The speculative, far-off heaven was to be won by present misery and depreciation, or to be secured at the cost of present wealth by priestly mediation. From none of these standpoints could one see any glowing joy coming to him because of divine goodness. God was as a man magnified, — a chief with his favorites and his enemies, a judge pledged to make out a case against those who resisted the theology of the time. But with the spiritual view comes the Christ for the salvation of the world, worthily revealing the character of God, touching receptive hearts with kindness, and unsealing fountains of gratitude and tender love. With the accession of spiritual love to the dominant place in life comes heaven in foretaste at least, for the quality of eternal life is tasted and known. "This is life eternal," said Jesus, "that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

         The true God, then, being known as Principle, and Christ Jesus as the Exemplar, we have cause and effect understood. We are able to say with great love in our hearts that "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Likewise we understand how man by his practice, that is, his spiritual activity, can reveal Principle, — and how he can demonstrate Truth in righteousness, Life in healing, and Love in heavenly-mindedness. To the spiritually minded, happiness is as normal as daylight. To such a one the shadows are already passed away and he walks in the shining of the true light. Joy is inevitable in the life corrected, so that no hate arises and no fear enters. "Being His likeness and image, man must," as our Leader says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 16), "reflect the full dominion of Spirit — even its supremacy over sin, sickness, and death."

 

"Dominion and Power of Spirit" by William P. McKenzie, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, December 13, 1919


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