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Spiritual Ascendancy
ALBERT F. GILMORE, CSB


         On page 19 of the Messages to The Mother Church for 1901, Mrs. Eddy definitely states the means by which Christ Jesus was enabled to do the works which have been commonly described as miracles. “Let us remember,” she writes, “that the great Metaphysician healed the sick, raised the dead, and commanded even the winds and waves, which obeyed him through spiritual ascendancy alone.” Spiritual ascendancy, then, was the means whereby Jesus overcame the so-called laws of nature and proved the entity and perfection of God’s kingdom of perfect ideas.

         In her teachings Mrs. Eddy has gone much farther than to point out the means and methods of Jesus’ transcendental demonstration: she has shown her students how they, too, may gain in some degree at least the same ability to overcome the claims of materiality, the so-called forces and laws of nature; and the way is through the dominion which accompanies spiritual ascendancy. A fundamental fact which Christian Scientists learn in the beginning of their study is that God is both omnipotent and omnipresent: that He is the only power and the only presence. This fact alone laid hold of, grasped, and made one’s own, would give one power over every claim arising from belief in another power and another reality than God and spiritual creation. But it seems that this paramount truth is rarely grasped in its full significance, and in consequence mortals struggle to overcome the various types of material beliefs which so constantly present themselves. “Here a little, and there a little,” characterizes the process whereby spiritual truth is laid hold of; and yet, as spiritual truth gains the ascendancy in thought, definite progress is made in the destruction of false belief.

         Material belief, that is, belief in a material universe and human personality as man, is the stumblingblock which seems to bar progress in spiritual attainment. To change our belief, then, is the necessity. In this transformation, faith in God that He is, and that He is ever present and ever available to meet our needs is the rock upon which our house of understanding is to be erected. This foundation securely laid, we go forward in gaining an understanding of God which will enable us to deny and refute the claims of an opposing creator and a false creation. Resistance of the so-called mortal mind would delay and stop progress; that is its character. But it will be successful only to the degree in which we admit its reality. We consent to and accept its claims, else erroneous belief would never encompass us. We accept the claims of material belief because they seem real to us. If, instead, we reject them because we know their falsity, they have no power to control or harm us.

         The gaining of spiritual ascendancy, then, is a dual process, the laying hold of spiritual truth, the truth about God and man, and the ready rejection of error; both are important factors in our spiritual progress. Neither may be neglected if our progress is to be sure and steady. The instant rejection of error is the sure way of protecting ourselves against its seeming power. To meet it at the very portal of consciousness and refuse it admission because its character is understood, is both the quickest and the surest method of destroying it. If our position be wavering, if we halt and quibble, we are giving error some degree of reality and the struggle is on.

         If, however, error be admitted under a mistaken sense that it is real, it may be cast out through the ascendancy attained by spiritual truth. Error admitted to mentality gains nothing thereby of reality. It is false, unreal, whether it be met at the portal of thought or admitted into consciousness. But its unreality must be understood in order to cast it out.

         The common mistake of thinking of error as something, even though it be held to be less than spiritual truth and possible of destruction, is not the proper mental attitude for the gaining of sure relief. Mrs. Eddy is very definite about this, for on page 395 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” she writes, “It is mental quackery to make disease a reality to hold it as something seen and felt and then to attempt its cure through Mind.” And she applies this to the practitioner no less than to the patient. The paramount demand in spiritual healing is that the practitioner shall be absolutely assured on the fundamental fact in order to relieve a sufferer of his illusion. No halfway position is admissible. Nothing but absolute conviction of God’s allness and the unreality of materiality in every phase and form enables one to destroy quickly and effectually the claims of sin and disease. It is because of this that Mrs. Eddy closes the paragraph quoted above thus: “Mental practice, which holds disease as a reality, fastens disease on the patient, and it may appear in a more alarming form.” The perfect protection against such occurrence is to gain something of that spiritual ascendancy which enabled Jesus to say to the troubled waters, “Peace, be still,” and to the impotent man, “Take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

 

"Spiritual Ascendancy" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, December 3, 1927
 

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