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The Test of Progress
ELIZABETH H. HUNT


         It was Jesus' clear concept of God as divine Love that enabled him to heal the sick, reform the sinner, and raise the dead, and that set the standard of progress for all time. He proved divine Love to be the dissolvent of every fear, the ever present supply for each day's needs, the adjuster of every mortal discord. The progress of each succeeding age has been measured by its understanding of this Love and its demonstration of higher ideals in human living.

         The deep significance of this term, Love, for God, as given in the words and works of the great Way-shower and his apostles, is illumined with the light of spiritual understanding in the pages of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. The study of God as Love, as there revealed, makes clear to Christian Scientists the effects of the practical application of the law of Love in their daily thoughts, words, and deeds; and by its fruit each one can judge of his own spiritual progress. Of this Mrs. Eddy writes in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 181): "Progress is spiritual. Progress is the maturing conception of divine Love; it demonstrates the scientific, sinless life of man and mortal's painless departure from matter to Spirit, not through death, but through the true idea of Life, — and Life not in matter but in Mind." This is the standard by which mortals can ascertain their progress.

         The joyous task of applying this test to all human relationships brings some illuminating discoveries to the seeker for Truth. He finds himself constantly correcting the false concepts of man which may have crept into thought regarding his friends. He displaces sensitiveness, distrust, fear of loss, and jealousy with unselfishness, confidence, the desire to share, and the realization that nothing can separate God's ideas. He lays down a false concept of Love for the true, and finds a freedom and joy in companionship such as he has never before experienced. He finds that his sympathies are becoming more Christlike, his joys more spiritual, his judgments more righteous; that his thoughts are blessing all those with whom he comes in contact. In all his relations Christly tolerance, born of an understanding of the nothingness of the seeming power which error claims to wield over mortals, and of a dawning vision of the real man, incapable of sin, disease, and death, forms his judgments of his brother and of himself.

         More and more as this Christ-ideal, divine Love's measure of His sons and daughters, unfolds its healing image to the human consciousness, will Christian Scientists find the frictions of family, social, and business contacts lessening. They recognize that man, the idea of God, cannot be dishonest, cannot wrong, defame, or misunderstand, because, as the image and likeness of infinite Love, man must be honest, pure, loving, tender, and unselfish. Clinging to this concept of man in the face of all material sense testimony to the contrary, realizing the omnipresence of the healing Christ, and refraining from accepting as true the testimony of these senses by refusing to think of or discuss the faults of others or to give consent by silence when a right word would help, will break down the barriers toward harmonious relations between men. Misconception cannot exist in the light of such an understanding of divine Love.

         A consciousness in which this concept of Love is unfolding finds itself becoming less and less susceptible to that subtle form of selfishness which accepts the lie that man can either hurt or be hurt, either wrong or be wronged. Instead of letting the claim of self-pity enter and rankle, and breed resentment or hate, growth in the true understanding of divine Love will enable one to turn on such suggestions of malicious animal magnetism, and reject these false witnesses against man with the grateful consciousness that neither Love nor its ideas has any cognizance of anything contrary to good. Whatever the seeming wrong has been, either on one's own part or on that of one's brother, the Christian Scientist knows that his progress is sure if he can so impersonalize the wrong as to behold only the real and veritable man of God's creating. It is self-love which has seemed to cause and which clings to resentment; and true progress in the understanding of divine Love dissolves the obstruction which prevents one from going to the offending or offended brother with his gift of love. Ingratitude and resentment must be rooted out ere one can pass the test of true progress. In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 117) Mrs. Eddy states, "We see eye to eye and know as we are known, reciprocate kindness and work wisely, in proportion as we love." There is no other way to the heights of demonstration than through thus proving our sincerity.

         The Christian Scientist into whose thought divine Love is shining finds that less often does the word of condemnation, either of himself or of another, spring to his lips; for in Science he is learning that to be true to others he must also be true to himself. It seems the easiest thing in the world to criticize, but the most difficult to do it constructively. In Christian Science true criticism can be only the supplanting of the false testimony of the material senses with the spiritual concept of man — man as upright, truthful, humble, loving, possessed of every quality of his infinite Father-Mother God, and incapable of anything unlike Him. With a broad, Christlike understanding the student should hold up the hands of those standing in the front ranks of our movement, knowing that the one Mind governs the motives, words, and acts of every faithful worker, and that divine Love protects, directs, and guides each thought and deed. He should, through watching and by daily seeking to know and express more and more of that love which animated the Master, beware that he does not allow himself to become one of those through whom malicious animal magnetism can claim to work.

         This progress in the understanding of divine Love is daily removing from such a Christian Scientist fear of disease through the quicker awakening to its approach, and the revealing of the infinite presence and power of Truth to protect and heal. It lifts the carking load of lack by the perception that through all eternity God has given man his rightful place, joyous activity in that place, and equipment to meet the demands of that activity. This understanding brings to human experience abundant opportunities for service, and supplies every need. It looses one from the chains of self-depreciation and self-condemnation, by revealing the true concept of man as possessing the power to reflect the infinite intelligence and ability of divine Mind, in full measure with every other child of God, divine Love. One may have such a clear concept of the all-protecting power of divine Love that he perceives the truth of the Scriptural passage, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." The clouds of sense will roll away before this "maturing conception of divine Love," revealing more and more the nature of the real universe, in which man, reflecting the Mind of Christ, sees face to face, understands as he would be understood, judges righteous judgment, and knows and is known only as God sees man. As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p. 569): "He that touches the hem of Christ's robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing, — in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love."

 

"The Test of Progress" by Elizabeth H. Hunt
Christian Science Sentinel, March 20, 1926
 

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