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Apprehending Spiritual Ideas
ELLA W. HOAG, CSD

 
         "How much more should we seek to apprehend the spiritual ideas of God, than to dwell on the objects of sense! To discern the rhythm of Spirit and to be holy, thought must be purely spiritual." Thus writes Mrs. Eddy, the beloved Leader of Christian Science, in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 510). Here she unquestionably presents the way to enter the heaven of Soul; for only through purely spiritual thinking can men apprehend — understand and lay hold of — the facts of eternal, divine existence. Christian Science shows very plainly that this turning from sense to Soul is the necessity of every individual, and none should hesitate to enter upon the sacred task, since all good must be the inevitable outcome. To the most casual thinker it would seem as though all men would hail the opportunity to leave evil for good, sickness for health, sin for holiness, the temporary and transitory for the eternal and unchangeable — yes, to turn from the belief of sonship with the devil or evil to sonship with God. When Jesus said to mortals, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do," he stated the plain truth in regard to the belief in an existence in matter.

         Now Christian Scientists often talk volubly of their relationship to God, and if words were all that were necessary to demonstrate such relationship, ascension might be expected soon to occur. But the overcoming of all belief in an existence apart from God, Spirit, is not accomplished merely with the grasping of the letter of Christian Science; there is much earnest mental wrestling with the beliefs of the flesh to be done before Spirit can triumph in the thoughts and lives of the votaries of this Science. The way, however, has been pointed out in such multiform fashion by our precious Leader that one can never complain of lack of freshness of viewpoint or of glorious light thrown upon Truth's invincible method.

         Take, for instance, the wonderful statement already quoted from Science and Health, "How much more should we seek to apprehend the spiritual ideas of God, than to dwell on the objects of sense!" And yet how many of us have accepted this fully as God's demand, or how many of us have learned to watch our thinking so carefully that this demand has become a ruling purpose in our thinking and living? It seems so easy to slip along with the tide of human belief, considering the objects of sense, accepting sense-testimony as the real and satisfying, asleep to its mistaken allurements and betrayed inevitably into its final dissatisfactions and disappointments. Instead, how surely must we awaken to the blissful occupation of seeking to lay hold of God's all-satisfying, all-exalting spiritual ideas.

         Too often we are tempted to believe that this latter process is too difficult, too transcendental, to be grasped today. And yet how simple and how joyous should be the mental activity which learns to know and love the things of Spirit, which dwells continuously with the thoughts of divine Mind. All must acknowledge that God's ideas must ever be Godlike; and with this truth accepted, with what ease should the student go forward in his recognition of these ideas. From this premise it is a foregone conclusion that if an idea is Godlike it must be eternal, perfect, unchangeable, reliable, pure, holy, intelligent, real; it can express only divine qualities; it must be wholly spiritual.

         From the very outset, then, of our endeavor to apprehend spiritual ideas we cannot fail to see that they can never be associated with matter. To call an automobile, a printing press, a newspaper, or even a Christian Science church edifice a divine idea would certainly be to present a strange sense of the spiritual objects in the heaven of Soul. Even though an automobile may seem to be carrying a Christian Scientist on a loving, merciful mission; although a printing press and newspaper may be used as a temporary means for proclaiming great statements of Truth; although a Christian Science church edifice may be filled with men worshiping God; nevertheless, the belief of a material agency, even though it be a better human concept, cannot be called a spiritual idea.

         While we unite with Mrs. Eddy in gratitude that "in the material world, thought has brought to light with great rapidity many useful wonders" (Science and Health, p. 268), we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that her teaching always draws a definite and positive line between that which is material and that which is spiritual; for does she not say, "To discern the rhythm of Spirit and to be holy, thought must be purely spiritual"?

         When we remember that in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 307) our Leader also tells us, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies," we cannot fail to recognize the great importance of apprehending these divine ideas and allowing them to fill our consciousness with their heavenly influence. Perpetually to contemplate divine thoughts, steadfastly to cling to the ideas of Soul, is certainly to find our every human experience lifted out of the sordidness of matter into the ever unfolding beauty and grandeur of spiritual good.

         Frequently we start our thinking in materiality and then try from this unreal basis to grasp some concept of spirituality, forgetting that the material object must be completely reversed in our thinking before the spiritual idea can begin to unfold. If, instead, we begin with the contemplation of the holy thoughts of God, of Spirit, Mind, if we allow divine Mind to unfold to us its priceless treasures of good, there cannot fail to be revealed to us the all-satisfying and infinite universe of divine ideas, which are indeed as omnipresent as God Himself, and whose perfections eternally reflect His incomparable glory.

 

"Apprehending Spiritual Ideas" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, October, 1928
 

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