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On the Overcoming of Evil
ALBERT F. GILMORE, CSB


         Christian Scientists are awake to the necessity of constantly being on guard against the attempted encroachments of evil; they know the need of keeping their mental gates closed against the common enemy. The evil belief which is given no standing, and no degree of credibility, never gives one work to do in destroying it for one's self, although one may be called upon to unsee it for another. Once admitted into consciousness, evil assumes some aspect of reality, and its banishment may require persistent knowing of the truth. The Apostle James, recognizing this, declared, "Resist the devil [evil], and he will flee from you."

         The overcoming of belief in evil is mankind's greatest problem; and Christian Science alone furnishes the effective means of its solution. Freedom from evil is won only through the scientific destruction of evil. Moreover, salvation is compulsory and inevitable, and must be won by each individual for himself. Man's perfection must be revealed, and thus brought into realization. Delay in the process but adds to the seeming difficulties of the situation. To continue to sleep in the material sense of selfhood never will lead us to the goal of spiritual freedom; for, at best, the sense-pleasures to which we would cling are temporary and unworthy. Let us awaken from the mesmerism of the material beliefs, which are dead to all recognition of spiritual Truth, and receive the Christ-message of life and love which is awaiting every mortal. How tragic it seems that God's wondrous glory is awaiting all, is to be had for the asking, and yet is shared by so few! It was the poet Lowell who said,

                  'T is heaven alone that is given away;
                  'T is only God may be had for the asking.

         The reasons given by mortals for their delinquency in seeking God are numerous and varied; and all are inadequate. A reason commonly heard is that one is awaiting some more propitious time for turning to spiritual things; as though the protection and comfort of the Christ could ever be more needed than at present! Surely, since God is omnipresent, there is no place where He is not instantly available; and the time is now. And with equal certainty it may be asserted that freedom from the constrictions and discomforts of existence may never be won except as we put our burdens on God, losing them in the fullness of our understanding that however real the illusion of evil may seem to our deluded senses, since He is infinite good, evil has no slightest degree of reality.

         An excuse for delay in demonstrating the power of good to destroy evil which one often hears is, "I have so much to meet, it is impossible for me to undertake the demonstration," hinting that the thoughts of another are in the way; or if undertaken, "I could not be expected to succeed; I have so much to meet." This fallacious argument is greatly overworked. Let us not fail to remember that the only false beliefs we ever have to meet are those which are cherished in our own thoughts. If we still hold to the belief that evil is real, that it has entity and power, then of a necessity we shall meet it at every turn, for the acclaims of evil are countless and persistent. Mrs. Eddy writes of this situation in these inspiring words in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 115): "If one lives rightly, every effort to hurt one will only help that one; for God will give the ability to overcome whatever tends to impede progress."

         Furthermore, we would, it seems, sometimes indulge the luxury of self-pity because we think we have more of erroneous thinking to overcome than others more to meet; and consequently we solace ourselves that we have a very good excuse for our failure of demonstration. Is not this precisely the trap error has set for us? Of course it would have us accept its claims to entity and power, all of them, and render full obedience to its will. The battle ground is in our own mentalities. There is no other.

         We may begin at the standpoint where we now find ourselves, mentally, to seek such new heights of demonstration as will lift us beyond the possible reach of evil's seeming power. The most effective means of destroying error is through gaining the Mind of Christ to rise above its grasp becoming oblivious even of the claims of evil. How manifest to Mrs. Eddy was this when she wrote (ibid., p. 355) "To strike out right and left against the mist, never clears the vision; but to lift your head above it, is a sovereign panacea"! To combat the mists of evil belief, on their own terms, that is, on their own plane of belief, is to accord to them some degree of reality; but to rise above them, excluding them from thought through enlarging our spiritual vision of God and His universe, effectually deprives them of their claims to entity and power.

         The temptation to believe that one's present position or surroundings are not conducive to a successful demonstration of the Christ, Truth, often lulls one into a state of mental inactivity. May we not be perfectly assured that we may think rightly in every place and under all circumstances? Our Leader's words are plain. "Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly," she declares without qualification on page 3 of "Pulpit and Press." May not that "sovereign power" bestowed of God be exercised at all times and under all circumstances?

         Surely the rewards of right thinking will not be withheld. The uncovering of whatever is mentally entertained that is unlike good, and the destruction of it, prepare us for new and greater victories. In all our efforts to overcome evil, let us remember that divine wisdom is at the helm, guiding and cherishing God's perfect universe in the ways of eternal peace.

 

"On the Overcoming of Evil" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, May 8, 1926
 

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