Man lives by divine decree. He is created, governed, supported, and controlled in accord with the law of God. Law means or implies a rule that is established and maintained by power; that which possesses permanence and stability; that which is unchanging, unyielding, and continuous,—"the same yesterday, and today, and forever." The efficiency of law rests entirely in the power that enforces it. A law (so called) that is incapable of being enforced is not law and bears no relationship to law. God is the only creator, the only lawmaker. All the power, action, intelligence, life, and government in the universe belong to God and have always belonged to Him. He is the Supreme Ruler, and does not share His power with another.
Paul said, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." So, too, we know that "the law of the Spirit of life" frees us from the law of sin and death. Why? Because all the power there is, is on the side of the law of Life, and that which is opposed to this law of Life is not law at all; it is only belief. In other words, every law of God has behind it infinite power to enforce it, while the so-called law of sin and death has no foundation, has nothing back of it that it can depend upon.
When we understandingly declare that the law of God is present and is in operation, we have invoked or brought into action the law and the power of God. We have declared the truth, God's truth—and that truth of God is the law of annihilation, obliteration, and elimination to everything that is unlike Him. When we have stated this truth, and applied it, as taught in Christian Science, to the discordant conditions with which we are confronted, we have done all that we can do and all that it is necessary for us to do in the destruction of any manifestation of error that ever claimed to exist. Error, which has no place in divine Mind, claims to exist in human thought. When we have put it out of human thought, we have driven it out of the only place where it ever had a foothold, and thereafter to us it becomes nothing.
There is a law of God that is applicable to every conceivable phase of human experience, and no situation or condition can present itself to mortal thought which is outside of the direct influence of this infinite law. The effect of the operation of law is always to correct and govern, to harmonize and adjust. Whatever is out of order or discordant comes under the direct government of God through what may be termed God's law of adjustment. We are not responsible for the carrying out of this law. In fact we can do nothing in any way to increase, stimulate, or intensify the action or operation of divine Mind, since it is constantly present, always operative, and never ceases to assert and declare itself when rightly appealed to. All we have to do is scientifically to bring this law of adjustment into contact with our unfinished problem, and when we have done this we have performed our full duty. Someone may say, "How can the law of God, operating mentally, affect my problem, which is physical?" This is easily understood when it is realized that the problem is not physical but mental. First one must know that all is Mind and that there is no such thing as matter, and thus exclude from thought the offending material sense.
The original definition of the word disease is lack of ease,—discomfort, uneasiness, trouble, disquiet, annoyance, injury. "Disease," our Leader says, "is an image of thought externalized. The mental state is called a material state. Whatever is cherished in mortal mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body" (Science and Health, p. 411). This also applies to heat, cold, hunger, poverty, or any form of discord, which are all mental, though mortal mind regards them as material states. It can therefore be seen how the law of God, which is mental, can be applied to a physical problem.
In reality the problem is not physical, but purely mental, and is the direct result of some thought cherished in mortal mind. If a man were in prison, there is a law of God which is applicable to his condition and which, if properly applied, would procure his release. If a man were drowning in mid-ocean with apparently no human help at hand, there is a law of God which, when rightly appealed to, would bring about his rescue. Does the reader doubt this? Then he must believe that it is possible for man to find himself in a condition where God cannot help him. If one were in a burning building or a railroad accident, or if he were in a den of lions, there is a law of God which would at once adjust the apparent material circumstances so as instantaneously to bring about his complete deliverance.
It is not necessary for us to know in each individual case just what this law of God is nor how it is going to operate, and an attempted investigation into the why and wherefore would only serve to interfere with its operation and hinder the demonstration. Any fear on our part, occasioned by the fact that divine Mind does not know of our plight, or that infinite wisdom lacks the intelligence necessary to bring about a rescue, should be instantly put out of thought. On page 62 of Science and Health we read: "We must not attribute more and more intelligence to matter, but less and less, if we would be wise and healthy. The divine Mind, which forms the bud and blossom, will care for the human body, even as it clothes the lily; but let no mortal interfere with God's government by thrusting in the laws of erring, human concepts." The trouble with us usually is that we want to know just how God is going to help us and when the good results are to be experienced; then we will pass judgment upon it and decide whether we are ready to trust our case in His hands.
Let us see, then, where God's law of adjustment operates. God has no need of being adjusted. The only place where there is any demand for adjustment is in human consciousness; but unless that human consciousness appeals to the divine law, unless it is willing and ready to lay down its own sense of human will and stop human planning, put aside human pride, ambition, and vanity, there is no room for the law of adjustment to operate.
When we in our helplessness reach the point where we see we are unable of ourselves to do anything, and then call upon God to aid us; when we are ready to show our willingness to abandon our own plans, our own opinions, our own sense of what ought to be done under the circumstances, and have no fear as to the consequences,—then God's law will take possession of and govern the whole situation. We cannot expect, however, that this law will operate if we indulge any preconceived ideas as to how it should do its work. We must completely abandon our own view of things and say, "Not my will, but thine, be done." If this step is taken with confidence and a full trust that God is capable of taking care of every circumstance, then no power on earth can prevent the natural, rightful, and legitimate adjustment of all discordant conditions.
This law of adjustment is the universal law of Love, which bestows its blessings on all alike. It does not take from one and give to another. It does not withhold itself under any circumstances, but is ready and waiting to operate as soon as the invitation is given and human will is set aside. "Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love," our Leader says, "receives directly the divine power" (Science and Health, p. 192). When we reach the point where we can in confidence and in trust leave everything to the settlement of God's law of adjustment, it will immediately relieve us of all sense of personal responsibility, remove anxiety and fear, and bring peace, comfort, and the assurance of God's protecting care.
The most satisfying and comforting sense of peace and joy always follows the willingness on our part to allow God to control every situation for us through His law of adjustment. When we understand that infinite Mind is the ruler of the universe, that every idea of God is forever in its proper place, that no condition or circumstance can arise whereby a mistake can find lodgment in God's plan, then we have the complete assurance that God is capable of adjusting everything as it should be. The fact is that all things are already in their rightful place; that no interference or lack of adjustment can really occur. It is only to the unenlightened human sense that there can be any such thing as discord. God's universe is always in perfect adjustment, and all His ideas work together forever in perfect harmony.
When we are willing to give up our frightened and uncertain sense of things and let the divine Mind govern, then and then only shall we behold that "all things work together for good to them that love God." The discord which seems to be apparent is only what mortal mind believes, whether it be sickness, discomfort, annoyance, or trouble of any kind. When we are willing to relinquish our present views, even though we may believe we are in the right and another in the wrong, we shall not suffer by laying down our human opinions, but rather find that the law of God is ready and active in the right adjustment of everything involved. It may sometimes seem hard when we feel that we are oppressed or imposed upon to stop resisting, but if our faith in the power of Truth to adjust all things is sufficient, we should be glad of the opportunity to relinquish our claims and place our trust in infinite wisdom, which will adjust everything according to its own unerring law. There is no such thing as failure in the divine Mind. God is never defeated, and those who stand with Him will always receive the benefits of a victory over error.
What then are we to do when we find ourselves involved in a controversy, in a dispute, or in an unpleasant situation of any kind? What are we to do when we have been attacked and maligned, misrepresented or abused? Should we endeavor to return in kind what has been done to us? This would not be appealing to God's law of adjustment. So long as we endeavor to settle the difficulty ourselves, we are interfering with the action of the law of God. Under any circumstance of this kind it will avail us nothing to fight back. We simply show our human weakness when we take the matter into our own hands and attempt either to punish our enemies or to extricate ourselves through any virtue of our own.
In the Sermon on the Mount, that wonderful message which Jesus left for a guidance to humanity, he said, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." In other words, is it not better to be smitten twice than to fight back? He further adds, "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." Even if we are unjustly deprived of what rightfully belongs to us, it is better to suffer a second invasion than to fight back. Again he said: "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." If the giving is done in a righteous cause and with the right motive, we can lose nothing thereby. Mrs. Eddy had proved this truth for herself when she wrote, "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us" (Science and Health, p. 79).
Jesus again says: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Why all this? The answer is given in Jesus' own words, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Here we see that divine Love is no respecter of persons and makes no distinctions, but showers its blessings on what seems to be evil as well as on the good. Jesus adds: "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
When there seem to be two ways of working out a problem in business or in any of the various walks of life, and a man decides on a way which seems best, how can he tell, when there are so many arguments against that way, whether the decision was based on Truth or error? Here is a question which can be decided only through the demonstration of God's law of adjustment. There are times when human wisdom seems inadequate to tell just what is the right thing to be done. Under such circumstances there is nothing to do but to choose that which seems to be in accord with his highest sense of right, knowing that God's law of adjustment regulates and governs all things; and even if he chooses the wrong way, the Christian Scientist has a right to know that God will compel him to do what is right and not allow him to make a mistake.
When we have reached the point where we are willing to do what seems to be best and then leave the problem with God, knowing that He will adjust everything according to His unchanging law, we can then withdraw ourselves entirely from the proposition, drop all sense of responsibility, and feel secure in the knowledge that God corrects and governs all things righteously. All we ever need to do is that which is pleasing in the sight of God, or that which conforms to divine requirements. If our good is evilly spoken of, this does not affect the situation in any degree. Our responsibility ceases when we have complied with the demands of good, and there we can afford to let any question rest. It makes no difference how much is at stake or what is involved; if we succeed in getting ourselves out of the way, we can then be satisfied to "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord."
We cannot hope to work out of this human sense of existence without making mistakes. We may make many, but will profit by them all. We are at liberty to change our belief of things as often as we get new light. We should not let our vanity compel us to adhere to a proposition simply because we have taken a stand thereon. We should be willing to relinquish our former views and change our thought on any subject as often as wisdom furnishes us enlightenment.
Christian Scientists are sometimes accused of being changeable. What if they are, if it is always God that changes them? Is a Christian Scientist any less a Scientist because he changes his views of things? Is a general less fit to lead his army because in the heat of battle he changes his tactics under the guidance of wisdom? A too determined sense of carrying out a preconceived plan is more likely to be the enthronement of erring human will.
Christian Scientists are minutemen, armed and equipped to respond to any call of wisdom, always ready and willing to abandon personal views or opinions, and to allow that Mind to be in them "which was also in Christ Jesus."
* Publisher's note: This article is a representation of what was printed in the corresponding issue of the periodical. It was later edited before being published as a print and audio Collection. For this reason, this text is different from the audio included with this article. For more information, please visit the FAQ page.
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