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Taking the Side of Spirit
NELLIE B. MACE


         The essence of Christian Science is the demonstrable revelation that Spirit and spiritual existence alone are real. When this great truth of being is accepted, whatever is unlike pure Mind or Spirit must, obviously, be conceded as unreal and transitory. By means of this distinction between divine reality and mortal illusion every human problem may be, and eventually must be, worked out. Those who have already perceived and accepted the teaching of Christian Science are immeasurably blessed in being able to look out upon human existence and to face its problems from a standpoint of spiritual understanding and power. Added to this privilege is the duty so to live and labor that the day may be hastened when all mankind shall recognize and seek to come within the healing influence of Christian Science.

         Every conscious endeavor of the Christian Scientist, then, should be ruled by the desire to forsake mortal concepts, so that all things and experiences may be viewed in the light of spiritual reality. Since Spirit is God, and since "with God all things are possible," mortal belief can never restrain or limit spiritual power. It is, therefore, within the scope of scientific demonstration to overcome individual mortal belief "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." The possibility of instantaneous demonstration should never be doubted. If, however, in general human experience, the emergence from materiality the illusive inheritance of the ages appears to be a gradual process, it need not for that reason be a dilatory or a slothful one. There may be continuous advancement. Each day may witness some spiritual victory; each night may register some thought nearer God.

         The acceptance of the truth concerning spiritual existence, as revealed in Christian Science, marks the beginning of a conflict in thought between the real and the unreal; and this struggle cannot cease until every mortal belief yields to immortal Truth. The yielding, however, need not be distressful. Indeed, when one learns lovingly and promptly to surrender his errors of belief, as he detects them, he has already entered upon the fair road of spiritual progress. Mrs. Eddy, who explored the whole process of exchanging the material for the spiritual sense of existence, early learned to take the side of the spiritual and real and to abide by that vision and realization, thereby hastening the end of the conflict of the senses against Spirit. Of this warfare she writes in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 172): "Mental Science, and the five personal senses, are at war; and peace can only be declared on the side of immutable right, the health, holiness, and immortality of man. To gain this scientific result, the first and fundamental rule of Science must be understood and adhered to; namely, the oft-repeated declaration in Scripture that God is good; hence, good is omnipotent and omnipresent."

         The genuine willingness and gratitude with which one takes the side of Spirit in the tedium of daily living or in the more difficult and exceptional human problems must determine the speed of one's progress heavenward; for one can never experience the harmonies of spirituality until he recognizes and realizes spiritual existence as a forever present and practically demonstrable fact. It becomes just as necessary, then, to think of God and His reflection as always having been All, as it is to declare that Spirit is All when endeavoring to demonstrate the truth in some present situation; for, to adopt the phrase from Ecclesiastes, "God requireth that which is past."

         The tendency to dwell in thought, or in audible rehearsal, upon the errors of belief out of which one has risen through the healing agency of Christian Science, is a failure, to that extent, to take the side of Spirit. One may even lose sight of present happiness by undue contemplation of bygone joys. A too vivid remembrance of suffering overcome or of some good supposed to have ended is an admission that one's belief in matter and its woes and ephemeral pleasures is not wholeheartedly surrendered; and so far as one keeps this error of belief active in his thought by dwelling upon it or by rehearsing its former or its present manifestations, one is not bringing himself as rapidly as he should, and can, to the point where he is less liable to believe in any possible future manifestation of error.

         It is true that Mrs. Eddy provided for specific avenues through which Christian Scientists may record or proclaim their healing and their release from bondage for the sake of rendering rightful praise to God and of convincing others of the power of Christian Science to bless and comfort all mankind. She has, however, safeguarded these testimonies with rules in the Manual which forbid graphic descriptions of discords. Otherwise, the too intimate picture of suffering might seem more real to the listener, to the reader, or to the recounter than the less familiar triumphs of Truth; and the unguarded testimony might thus defeat its end. Paul achieved the model and healing testimony to the power of Spirit, when, after declaring that he had suffered the loss of all things that he might "win Christ," he added: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

         The suffering which one person may experience quite naturally seems to him more severe than the experience of others can be to him, for it manifests his personal belief in sentient matter, his outlook upon existence as material. To mortal sense, some may seem to encounter more hardships than do others; but in the end, no one has more to overcome than the belief of life, substance, and intelligence in matter; and no one can ever realize and demonstrate immortality by doing less than overcoming this entire belief in an existence apart from God.

         The tendency, then, to think and speak of one's self as having more to meet than has any one else, as having greater difficulties, afflictions, weaknesses, or sorrows than others have, is both illogical and unscientific, and serves only to prolong one's hesitancy to take the side of Spirit, and to strive thus to end his sense of warfare against Spirit. Each one, soon or late, encounters the world's resistance to spirituality; each one eventually feels the agony of the mortal dream, the whole vast mockery of what mortal sense promises and fails to perform. But always at hand to bless and sustain is the wonderful, ever unfolding promise that "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Referring to the true method of meeting and overcoming the beliefs of mortal sense Mrs. Eddy writes in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 146): "Christian Scientists hold as a vital point that the beliefs of mortals tip the scale of being, morally and physically, either in the right or in the wrong direction. Therefore a Christian Scientist never mentally or audibly takes the side of sin, disease, or death. Others who take the side of error do it ignorantly or maliciously. The Christian Scientist voices the harmonious and eternal, and nothing else. He lays his whole weight of thought, tongue, and pen in the divine scale of being for health and holiness." If, then, one comes to a point in his shifting human experience where error suggests that his strength is unequal to his task, that his so-called life is not worth living, he may even at that moment take the side of Spirit and begin to lessen the sense of conflict in his thought between the real and the unreal. So-called mortal life is, indeed, not worth its struggle; and mortal strength is weakness. But real Life is wholly good, harmonious, worthwhile, and is ever present to be demonstrated.

         Even in the darkest moments of mortal strivings and sufferings, divine Love, although it may seem stern to the material sense which it destroys, is infinitely tender and compassionate toward the least thought which is yearning Spiritward. In fact, the saving influence of divine Love has undoubtedly guided one at every step, even while the wayward mortal wanderings have seemed to bring one to the extremity where the acknowledgment must at last be made that matter is futile and unreal. Then, how gladly may the weary one, awakened by the truth, admit spiritual strength to be the only strength and divine Mind the only Life. Many a mortal has reached the limit of his mortal endurance only to find divine Love waiting to show him how to take the side of Spirit and to begin to lose his weakness and his woes in the newly awakened spiritual sense of eternal strength and living joy.

         Although divine Love waits to bless, each one must himself make an effort, positively and perseveringly, to take the side of Spirit and thus to fit himself to receive the blessing. When Jesus, at the tomb near Bethany, commanded, "Lazarus, come forth," Lazarus himself must needs arise and come out of the beliefs that had held him entombed. And the beautiful miracle of spiritual power shows, as in this instance, that when one really does make an effort to come forth from mortal beliefs, some of those about him soon join in the happy task of removing the material bonds with which mortals bind one another. Others will admit, joyfully or reluctantly as the case may be, but surely in one way or another, that harmony appears where one once seemed to be miserable and unfit.

         The demonstration of infinite, indestructible Life, as in the case of Lazarus, required no more certainly the positive stand of thought on the side of pure Mind than is required, in its degree, in every lesser proof of spiritual power. One should never for a moment admit what he does not desire to have manifested in his experience. If sickness seems to appear, it is possible for one to insist on the unchanging fact of health. If sorrow, want, failure, any of the innumerable illusions of material sense, seem to assail, one can correct his thought about these manifestations of error, and rejoice in ever present divine Love, knowing that all else is but the figment of a temporal dream. On page 10 of her sermon, "Christian Healing," our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, says concerning this power of right thinking: "God is All, and in all: that finishes the question of a good and a bad side to existence. Truth is the real; error is the unreal;" and a little farther on in the same paragraph she adds: "If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy. You are the attorney for the case, and will win or lose according to your plea."

         Probably no Christian Scientist has done so well in applying the truths he gladly acknowledges as it is possible for him to do. If, however, at any time one seems momentarily to forget the vast demonstrable power with which the understanding of Christian Science can equip him, if under the pressure of intense mortal beliefs he seems for a time to fall short of joyous realization of the good side the real and only side of existence, even these failures and lapses and mistakes are unreal, and should not be supplemented by the further error of self-condemnation. The sufferings resulting from false beliefs serve the only purpose they may be said to possess if they arouse one to the need of a greater and more watchful endeavor to hold thinking to the high and holy truth of spiritual reality and changeless harmony.

         It is a very great forward step to have learned the rule of scientific demonstration of spiritual power. It is possible to apply this rule with increasing fervency and success, knowing that, as Paul declares in his epistle to the Corinthians, "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

 

"Taking the Side of Spirit" by Nellie B. Mace
The Christian Science Journal, October, 1925
 

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