One of the greatest statements made in all time concerning safety is that found in the Scriptures in the ninety-first Psalm: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
The text of this Psalm goes on to speak of refuge and fortress, of deliverance from snare and pestilence and destruction. It declares that no plague shall come near the dwelling of him who makes God his habitation. Angels shall have charge over him, long life shall satisfy him, salvation shall be shown unto him—all because he has set his love upon the Almighty and dwells in His secret place, under His shadow.
The writer of the Psalm evidently knew much about the safety which accompanies prayerful habitation within divine Mind. Obviously this dwelling in "the secret place," the unity of man with God, is spiritually mental, something which comes through prayer and understanding and spiritual power, and is not a matter of place or circumstance or outward determination. Clearly these promises say that by reason of love for and obedience to divine law and precept, within the sheltering understanding of the omnipresence of God, safety is found.
The world, however, has not found that safety. The race of Adam believes in a material existence separated from God and naturally unsafe because of that separation. By its own nature, having finite beginning and inevitable ending, and having no savior within itself, the material belief of existence is unsafe. And while many Christians have had spiritual comfort and consolation and definite help in these Scriptural promises of safety, for the bulk of mankind that has been no sure bulwark against disaster.
Safety, then, must have its source in something higher than material causes and effects. Safety, to be effectual, not only must cover spiritual welfare and security in some future life, but must include all the conditions of present-day existence. Safety, to be practical, must protect the human body and human affairs, must include all conditions and circumstances. Christian Science is teaching mankind that this safety comes through gaining an understanding of the omnipresence of God as divine Mind; by holding to divine ideas, which are themselves safe, and which by their very nature must always establish and promote safety wherever they are entertained.
Safety is not merely a physical circumstance, but a condition of spiritual understanding. Safety is never inherent in matter, but is found in the operation of divine Mind, overcoming the hazards of mortal mind and matter. Christian Science reveals a safety which cleanses the individual consciousness of sin, preserves the body from sickness, harmonizes all human affairs. This security is expressed as mortals surrender their belief in mortality and come into the faithful reflection of the nature, the will, and the power of divine Mind.
The word "reflection" means much to the student of Christian Science. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy writes (pp. 300, 301), "God is revealed only in that which reflects Life, Truth, Love,—yea, which manifests God's attributes and power, even as the human likeness thrown upon the mirror, repeats the color, form, and action of the person in front of the mirror." The task of the Christian Scientist is to manifest "God's attributes and power" by reflecting, expressing, divine Mind, and this through a fidelity as steadfast as is that of the reflection in the mirror to its original. The Christian Scientist learns, also, to protect the integrity of spiritual reflection from the aggressions of the material senses, that he be not robbed of his conscious oneness with divine qualities. In this spiritual progress he does not take for granted carelessly or casually this profound truth of divine protection. He knows he must secure it by every possible sacrifice of materiality, of the false sense of self. He finds it as he finds the continuity of his true spiritual being in divine Mind, God.
A noteworthy incident, occurring a number of years ago and related in part at that time in the Christian Science Sentinel, testifies to the safety which even in extreme circumstances is provided by the application of Christian Science.
A young mining engineer, accompanied by his wife, both of them devoted students of Christian Science, went deep into a great forest in the northwest section of the United States to examine a mine. The day they arrived at their proposed camp they found themselves menaced by a forest fire of tremendous proportions, and were swiftly surrounded by it so that apparently there was no way of escape. For more than seven hours they, with five miners, battled with the flames, beating out the fire upon one another's clothing, going down to the ground many times for a breath of air, seeking the apparent places of least destruction in the seething furnace of a whole mountainside. During these hours the two Christian Scientists maintained without a break their unwavering declarations of the power and presence of God to save them; declaring that His presence went with them, that the real man and the real earth are spiritual, not material, and that no destructive force could touch them.
Finally, at a terrifying crisis which threatened to sweep them all away, the wife called to her husband: "Oh, let's despise the danger; God never made it! This would have to destroy God before it could destroy His reflection." They clung to that great metaphysical fact, consciously maintaining their stand in Spirit, as spiritual ideas, and rejoicing in their refuge in divine Love. They realized with thanksgiving that the real man, as God's image and likeness, is just as safe as God Himself, and they claimed that safety in that hour. They rose to acknowledge revelation as Christian Science has brought it to the world, and they saw the power of the spiritual idea subdue the danger. This supreme moment turned the situation. They knew their victory, and very shortly all found their way to the back of the fire through a long green, unburned path which the flames had passed around and left untouched.
These students in their extremity applied the revelation, through Christian Science, that spiritual man, as the likeness of God, as idea in divine Mind, is just as safe as is God. They saw clearly that according to the figure of the mirror, the original must be reached before the reflection can be touched. Their years of faithful study and practice of Christian Science had so spiritualized their thought that in the hour of threatened devastation they could become aware of man as God's reflection, and of the universe as spiritual. The tangible actuality of spiritual creation, safe within God's knowledge of His ideas, came to their comprehension as a saving angel.
This instance of inspired deliverance can encourage all to rely upon spiritual understanding for the safety so constantly needed. Spiritually undefended human goodness, in the dream of life in matter, is not secure. To surmount chance and disaster, such goodness must be consciously controlled and protected by the law of God. Seeking spiritual understanding means seeking safety. For the reflection of divine Mind brings into present human experience that which the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science calls, on page 561 of Science and Health, "the human and divine coincidence;" brings into actual demonstration the unity of God and man as Mind and Mind's indestructible idea.
Mrs. Eddy has written on page 424 of Science and Health, "Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection." The word "accident" is usually associated with that which is misfortune or mishap, but according to the dictionaries it means any interference with regular law, order, or purpose. Therefore, a happening or circumstance or condition of any kind not conforming to the intent of the law of God, could, broadly speaking, be classified as accident. The faithful reflecting of divine Mind stands guard against these mortal irregularities as the refuge and fortress, the shield and buckler, the deliverance from snare and pestilence and destruction and plague which the Psalmist discerned in what he called "the secret place of the most High."
Not only understanding, but application and deportment enter into the question of demonstrating divinely established safety. If one is to experience safety, he must make concrete in his daily life the truth which is itself safe. The reflection of divine Mind must occupy one's thought consistently and be expressed accurately in correct conduct if it is to determine one's experience.
That which is concrete is "particular, as opposed to that which is abstract and general." It is too easy a matter sometimes for the follower of Christian Science to have his devotion to the truth, which he acknowledges, abstract and general rather than concrete or demonstrated. It is possible for him to believe in Christian Science and yet keep his business, his home, his affairs, apart, still managed by human opinions, desires, methods. But as the truth he perceives is brought concretely, demonstrably, into the affairs of the day, his safety is assured. All detail of daily living must be rescued from human domination and brought under the government of divine Principle if experience is to be held secure. Christian Science teaches its followers how to do this saving thing. As one dematerializes his own mental attitude about the world and all there is in it, he comes out of belief in danger into the consciousness of safety. By this spiritualization of his thinking he also helps to bring safety to others.
Thus it is recognized that safety does not happen. It is earned. It is realized through uniting thought with divine Mind. As the reflection of Mind is maintained in one's consciousness, the presence and power of divine Mind, which holds secure the divine idea, the likeness and image of God, operate to keep the present human experience safe. This is because spiritual reflection heals human thought of all the fears and dangers which would make one's life unsafe, fortifying it with scientific conviction of the unreality and powerlessness of evil, and the all-power of good.
The student of Christian Science does not boast of safety in his own strength. He depends not upon personal wisdom. Rather does he lean upon the revealed fact that man, as God's idea, cannot stray from the eternal security of God's knowledge of His creation. He enjoys the safety of this divine coexistence in the exact degree of his fidelity to his understanding of it. Clearly, this unity with divine Mind is "the secret place." It is the substance of Christian Science healing. For the realization of this unity every Christian Scientist strives. And though his beginnings may be small, wrought out in trial and patience, he knows that in the measure of his enlightened faith they do bring him assured spiritual dominion, for they link his consciousness of being with the source of all safety—omnipotence itself.
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