CSEC ON-LINE REFERENCE LIBRARY
FRANCES MACK MANN, CSB
Light symbolizes truth, revelation, progress. The capacity of mortals to see the true light is so small today that they are likely to measure the light by their own limited ability to see it and thus attempt to limit the possibilities of those about them. Peter spoke of the "light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." Each one has all the light that he has acquired by earnest effort to prove the Science of being. Had the wise virgins given away some of their oil, their foolish companions would probably have spilled it in the dark, for had they not slept until the midnight hour without replenishing their lamps? Every Christian Scientist must put what he knows into practice or, when the hour of doubt and darkness comes, he will find himself lacking good. One can travel but a short distance on borrowed light. Sometimes counsel is needed; and, if it is given, it should always point the inquirer to a more careful study of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 339), "Love destroys hate." As summer's sun melts the winter's ice, so will a steady reflection of Love destroy fear. Wolves lurk in the wilderness, but the traveler feels safe at night with his camp fire burning brightly. Wolves fear the light and keep in the background. The wilderness of mortal mind seems to be inhabited by fears; but if one keeps the light of Love which consumeth error, steadily shining, he is protected. How usual it is to attribute one's backwardness in spiritual growth to persons or circumstances! Fear of evil gives the victory to it. Hatred, envy, evil-speaking, and malice then draw a veil over his consciousness, so that he cannot see the light. This not only prevents his own light from shining, but at the same time puts him beyond the reach of the light reflected by others.
What is our standard of success? Is anything but spiritual development worthwhile? Are we still clinging to the weak and beggarly elements of this world? Does the pursuit of wealth, place, and temporal power engage our efforts instead of the understanding of God in Christ Jesus the calling which means in practice the constant effort to overcome self? If the prize we seek is to become kind, humble, helpful, who or what but the indulgence of our own idolatrous sense can hinder us? Our one success here is to master everything that prevents us from loving God and our fellow man.
When we are not loving, we are in darkness. It takes the overflowing heart to send out loving thoughts to all humanity, and to prevent an unkind feeling toward someone who has attempted to mar our demonstration. Loving thoughts act as sentinels going out to annul malice and hate before they reach us. At the coming up of the sun, darkness is no more. Likewise, impurity, revenge, and selfishness disappear before Christian Science practiced.
How may we examine ourselves and find whether we are in the light? It is not enough that today we ourselves see it. We can keep it bright only by helping another to see it. If we are free in Christ, the next step is to help to free our brother. Everyone has a right to the light. Although our brother may offend many times, he still remains an heir to infinite health, happiness, and immortality; and we may be the ones appointed to help him to realize this truth. If we dwell in the light, we can see only the light. God, the Father of light, dwells in His own glory and sees only its effulgence. So shall we, as reflectors of this glory, see only light.
The light of Truth was visible to Paul and to others in his day. He saw and felt it. It came to the disciples at Pentecost. Is there any reason why it should not descend upon Christian Scientists today? Has God or His method changed? Never! When we shall all be of one accord, when there shall not be one among Christian Scientists who loves not his God and his fellow man, it shall come. Is our light shining brightly in the Wednesday evening meetings? Are we giving the light that will be reflected back in more light?
An old hymn emphasizes this question:
Say, is your lamp burning, my brother?
The true light as revealed in Christian Science healed us. Its rays penetrated each darkened consciousness, and it was said, "Thou art well." This is the Comforter that Jesus promised should bear witness to the truth. This eternal light of Truth shone upon Mrs. Eddy, and she was healed. It shines upon all who are ready to see it. If we have just one single candle point of light and keep it well tended, it will shine brightly and will help to illumine the path of all who follow after us. One fruit of the Spirit cultivated makes the development of all the fruits of the Spirit more easily possible.
Mrs. Eddy writes (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 117), "God is the fountain of light, and He illumines one's way when one is obedient." Is it not always true that those who have been the most obedient to the heavenly call are those who have manifested the greatest degree of spiritual success? The Bible and Science and Health are textbooks for the teaching of obedience, which the carnal mind resists. To follow in the way our Master walked, we should give up all that is unreal, watching lest we retain something unspiritual. Temptation to be disobedient first comes with the darkness of suggestion. To discern and resist this temptation is the duty of each one. The suggestion may be one of self-will, appetite, or passion; and if we harbor it, it makes obedience seem unpleasant. Both the Old and the New Testament make obedience the cause and the condition of salvation. The Israelites were blessed when they were obedient; disobedience put out their light and was the cause of all their misfortunes.
Jesus always obeyed. Luther felt that he could not go to Worms, where, as he said, there were as many devils as there were tiles on the roofs of the houses, but he went. Behold the wonderful reformation that followed! Emerson has said that divine guidance is revealed through obedience. When we get self out of the way, we see the light that was always waiting to guide us. With obedience and divine guidance comes peace, mental and physical. Mrs. Eddy always held her gaze to the light; and as her life was one of obedience, she received what she sought. What has she done for mankind? She has shown the way out of sickness into health; she has given light for darkness, strength for weakness, joy for sorrow, and above all she has taught the way to worship the one true God.
The light that is being reflected by the faithful [Christian Scientists], blending with that of our great Leader, will illumine the pathway of countless generations yet unborn, who in turn shall see it, and all shall move onward and upward toward the perfect day of understanding, where there is no night nor sorrow nor pain; for we shall dwell in the city which, as John said, "had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Our Leader writes (Miscellany, p. 191): "Children of light, you are not children of darkness. Let your light shine. Keep in mind the foundations of Christian Science one God and one Christ. Keep personality out of sight, and Christ's 'Blessed are ye' will seal your apostleship."
Christian Science Sentinel, February 11, 1922
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