By Duncan Sinclair
From the July 1922 issue of The Christian Science Journal
The Christian Scientist has great cause for gratitude because of the spiritual freedom that has come to him. We are living in an age in many ways the most enlightened in the world's history. The arts flourish in peace; politics, no longer the sport of the privileged, is now the rightful study of every thinking person; the natural sciences are revolutionizing every phase of the common life, bringing the ends of the earth closer together than they have ever been before, and by the very integrity of their general purposes, striking forcibly at the material basis which claims to support them. What is making all this possible? What is at work among men enabling them in comparative quiet to prosecute these various agencies? The answer lies in the fact that the world to-day is enjoying a measure of spiritual freedom such as it never has before enjoyed.
The seeds of this spiritual freedom were sown when the Ten Commandments were formulated on mount Sinai. Christ Jesus brought out the spiritual significance of the Decalogue in the Sermon on the Mount; and revealed the nature of God as Truth, and the spiritual fact that Truth, although absolute in its nature, can be known by men. The understanding of spiritual truth leads to spiritual freedom; and of it the Master said: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
What long years of patient waiting, what strenuous years of struggle this has meant! Every inch of the way has had to be wrested from the hands of ignorance. Mortal mind, the would-be destroyer of liberty, the enemy to progress, has resisted every step taken for the emancipation of the human race. One is profoundly grateful for the heroic work of the past; for all that men have braved for Truth's sake; for the purity and sincerity of the motives which have enabled them to perceive the virtue of goodness; and for the courage that has made it possible for them to put that virtue to the test of practice.
Every reformation, at whatever period, has been a protest against lack of the understanding of divine Principle, a revolt against the ambition and arrogance of finite personality, with its attendant belief in good and evil. And each reformation has left the world in the enjoyment of fuller spiritual freedom. "Ages pass," writes Mrs. Eddy in ''Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 118), "but this leaven of Truth is ever at work. It must destroy the entire mass of error, and so be eternally glorified in man's spiritual freedom." The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science here lays her finger exactly on the point. Truth, the divine Principle, is omnipresent and ever active. It is this active Principle, reflected by man, that inspires every reformation, destroys error in all its forms, and brings about that spiritual freedom which is becoming more pronounced with each succeeding generation.
What, more particularly, is spiritual freedom? The definition will vary according to the standpoint of the individual. The evildoer, indeed, may deny there is such a thing at all; for is not his god matter, —not Spirit? The sick person, even, may argue in a similar manner; because, is he not living in the belief that matter is governing him, and that he is under the thralldom of its so-called laws? Am I not bound by material forces over which I have little or no control? he may ask. What measure of spiritual freedom can be mine, so long as I remain under the bondage of matter? This is undoubtedly the position of the sick person, and the evildoer. They are not aware that to-day a measure of spiritual freedom can be more readily attained than at any previous time. The revelation of Christian Science has made this possible. The purity and consecration of Mrs. Eddy's life enabled her to receive the revelation of divine Science, and to embody it in her writings in such a manner as to make it possible for any one to perceive the revelation, make it his own, and thereafter demonstrate it for himself.
The basis of the revelation of divine Science is the truth about God. One wonders why men did not know it and practice it earlier. God, they believed, might be Spirit; yet, matter was real! God might be good; still, evil was a mighty power! Can one wonder at the delay in the coming of spiritual freedom to the world, when such mixed and erroneous views of Deity dominated the thoughts of mankind? The reason why the world is now in possession of a larger measure of spiritual freedom than before becomes obvious. Christian Science declares for the allness of God. It states that God is infinite good, and evil, therefore, unreal; and it maintains that, since God is infinite Spirit or Mind, what men call matter is likewise unreal,—an erroneous belief of so-called material sense. Let the evildoer and the sick person understand but a little of these fundamental truths, and they will begin to experience some degree of spiritual freedom: evil thoughts will give place to better desires, purer motives, nobler aims; and sick beliefs will be replaced by the realization of harmony and health,—all the direct result of the spiritual understanding of the omnipresence and omnipotence of good.
No one has as yet realized more than a little of the spiritual freedom which is man's God-given heritage. There are leagues to go before that heritage is completely secured. What, then, must be the manner of one's progress towards this great and desirable end? Obedience to divine Principle. Principle is infinitely moral, because infinitely good. Each Christian Scientist must, therefore, strive to reflect the morality of Principle. It is a necessity to the attainment of spiritual freedom, and the power to heal the sick. On page 366 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says: "In order to cure his patient, the metaphysician must first cast moral evils out of himself and thus attain the spiritual freedom which will enable him to cast physical evils out of his patient." It is deeply significant that Mrs. Eddy here establishes spiritual freedom on a moral basis.
Christian Science is doing wonderful things on earth to-day; but it has done little compared with what it will accomplish, through consecrated effort in the near future. Its agencies, established by our Leader, are more active than they have ever been; and as each is based on Principle, as interpreted by Mrs. Eddy in the Church Manual, they have behind them a sanction against which no earthly power can prevail. As one thinks of these things, and of the spiritual freedom Christian Science is bringing to the world, one also remembers Mrs. Eddy's words in ''Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 120): "Beloved students, loyal laborers are ye that have wrought valiantly, and achieved great guerdons in the vineyard of our Lord; but a mighty victory is yet to be won, a great freedom for the race; and Christian success is under arms,—with armor on, not laid down." It lies with all who wear the armor of God, which Christian Science has enabled them to put on, to keep it untarnished. This armor is spiritual understanding. Clad in it they are protected from every false belief of evil; able to overcome these beliefs when assailed; and, consequently, are equipped to aid in the bringing about of the complete emancipation of mankind.