While re-reading Laura E. Sargent’s reminiscences in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy: Expanded Edition, Vol. 1, I came across a striking passage in which Mrs. Eddy described how malicious animal magnetism would try to draw a Christian Scientist away from her writings and instructions—away from Christian Science—ultimately thwarting their spiritual progress and ability to heal, and all while making them think that they were being obedient and faithful.
Mrs. Eddy recounted how it was
… like a bird I once saw that was being charmed by a snake. This bird would circle around the serpent, and he could not be stopped doing thus till the snake was driven off. Then the bird flew into the air. That bird thought he was flying in the air wherever he desired to go, and until the serpent’s spell was broken, he was pleased with his flight and thought he had the liberty of a bird and freedom of wing. (p. 120)
From this and her published writings, it’s so clear that this issue was of paramount importance to her. She advised and counseled all of her students—and that includes all of us who are applying Christian Science, to whatever degree, in our lives—to be alert to the tactics of the serpent—of the carnal mind, of error, of evil. Remember, the bird thought that it was free even though it was being beguiled into operating under a wrongful and destructive influence.
More and more, I see the need to pray for alertness in my own life—to stay awake and to be aware of the wiles of error in order to metaphysically destroy them with the understanding of the Allness of God. And I also see it in many of the dear ones who call me for help. They have often inadvertently accepted the lies of mortal mind while thinking—and sometimes adamantly so—that they were being faithful Christian Scientists. Even though they had not been getting the healings from their own work that they desired. Even though they had drifted into unhealthy byways. Even though they resisted any meaningful—or sometimes meager—change in their thinking.
And they have often mistakenly felt that reading the Bible Lesson, attending church services, and participating in church activities—as important as they are—was all that was required of them.
But as I’m learning, it is so much more than that.
It requires a deep and consecrated effort to understand our—and everyone’s—indestructible relationship to God and of His/Her omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and omni-activity. It requires a willingness to confront and destroy the errors that would try to impose themselves upon our thought—often masquerading as our own thinking. It requires an open heart and thought to do the will of God—to be willing to be what He has made us be and is causing us to be—healers not just for ourselves, but for others.
We need to use our God-given spiritual discernment and examine our thinking—to question what we are taking in and what our responses and reactions are—in order to navigate, through God’s direction, the mine field (or mortal mind field) that evil is continually setting before us. Remember, one of the first sentences in Science and Health states:
The time for thinkers has come. (p. vii:13)
Do we actually believe that we can afford to be naïve and fall into the trap of thinking that some pleasant sounding aphorisms are going to get the job done? Or, for example, that eastern or western “metaphysical” systems are similar to or the same as Christian Science just because they use terms like “love”, “peace”, “spiritual growth”, or “God”, etc.? And that we can accept medical and psychological models as being parallels to the Science of Christianity?
We need to ask ourselves if the ideas or concepts that are coming to us—either externally or internally—actually can be found in Mrs. Eddy’s published works or not. If it’s not there, then we can be sure it’s not Christian Science.
And in all of this, we need to be willing to metaphysically oppose error—in any of its guises—immediately.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 177):
Never was there a more solemn and imperious call than God makes to us all, right here, for fervent devotion and an absolute consecration to the greatest and holiest of all causes. The hour is come. The great battle of Armageddon is upon us. The powers of evil are leagued together in secret conspiracy against the Lord and against His Christ, as expressed and operative in Christian Science. Large numbers, in desperate malice, are engaged day and night in organizing action against us. Their feeling and purpose are deadly, and they have sworn enmity against the lives of our standard-bearers.
What will you do about it? Will you be equally in earnest for the truth? Will you doff your lavender-kid zeal, and become real and consecrated warriors? Will you give yourselves wholly and irrevocably to the great work of establishing the truth, the gospel, and the Science which are necessary to the salvation of the world from error, sin, disease, and death? Answer at once and practically, and answer aright!
And Christ Jesus said (Matthew 26:41):
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…
Let’s not be like the bird flying around ignorant of the danger—of the snake—that would attempt to ensnare us!
More thanks Ken and Phil!!!!!!!!!
Thanks so much, Dori!
Wow! Grateful for you willingness to post these tough and true words and to live by them as well.
Thank you, godcanhealit. Much appreciated! And the wonderful thing is that we all get live these ideas! 🙂
Thank you, Ken, for reminding me of this story (and metaphor) I read many years ago (source as you stated). It was very helpful then but human mind tends to be forgetful and needs to be reminded. 🙂 I like James 1:25 in that regard, in addition to the “song of Christian Science”: ..work, work, work, watch and pray (Message for 1900, Mary Baker Eddy). I am also thanking Phil for linking your very helpful post to his website!
Thank you! And without a doubt, we all need to be reminded to “…work, work, work, watch and pray.” Thanks for sharing that citation!
Thanks Phil for the link to this article. And, of course, Thanks to you, Ken. I really appreciate this call to stay alert. RE: “The great battle of Armageddon is upon us.” Whether or not this battle manifests in the physical realm, it certainly is fought, must be fought, and can be won in consciousness. The scientific application of the Truth of being (Christ’s Christianity!) that Mrs. Eddy discovered, proved, and taught, is all we need to recognize and overcome evil (serpent or dragon!) with Good. And so, our ongoing overcoming is winning the battle through the dominion given to us in Genesis, which is the only power we really have. We certainly are not helpless. In fact, we have “Ever-present Help.”
Thanks for joining in the conversation. And thanks so much for your thoughts!
And to all who included thanks to Phil for the link–and I’m one of them!–I’ll pass along your gratitude to him. 🙂
You’re welcome! Thanks to you for offering this conversation to join! 🙂 Actually, I’d like to “finish” my thought. My spiritual study has brought me to this: The battle has already been won. God/Good is sovereign. The “other side” is illusion. Our “fight” then, is in discerning and choosing Good at every opportunity. Christian Science gives us permission and the freedom to be God’s children only; teaches us how to be God’s children only; and through its denominational organization, brings us all together for mutual support. My gratitude abounds!!! Thanks again, Ken.
Wise words. This requires constant vigilance. Thank you Ken and Phil.
Thank you,, Kathleen. That continued and ever-increasing vigilance is so important to our ability to heal!
Thank you Ken – and Phil for posting this. Just what I needed this evening….
Thanks so much! I’m so happy this post met your need!