The system of divination prevalent among the pagan people of Canaan was a menace to the pure monotheism of the Israelites in their occupation of the land. Rigid restrictions were imposed by royal edict to rid the country of "those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards" (I Sam. 28:3) in the endeavor to prevent disobedience to the First Commandment of the Mosaic Decalogue.
The attempt to ascertain through necromancy the course of a country's destiny, as well as the punishment for so doing, is told in Bible records concerning the warlike Saul. There it is recorded of Saul that in fear of the Philistines he disguised himself and sought guidance from a woman of Endor that had "a familiar spirit" (I Sam. 28:7). The penalty Saul paid for his wrongdoing was that he lost the battle with the Philistines and he and his sons perished. The Scriptures read (I Chron. 10:13), "Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it."
In this instance Saul signally failed to perceive that the will of God is always good. God is ever the beneficent Parent, and this spiritual fact requires no human confirmation. The loving Father is ever mindful of His creation, the spiritual universe and man. In contrast to Saul's dereliction from Principle when he attempted to foresee and foretell the future by mortal modes, the Christian Scientist uses the scientific method made plain and practical through the revelation of Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy writes in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 84), ''Acquaintance with the Science of being enables us to commune more largely with the divine Mind, to foresee and foretell events which concern the universal welfare, to be divinely inspired,—yea, to reach the range of fetterless Mind."
The carnal mind, opposed to God, fosters a curiosity to confirm past and anticipate future events. Accordingly it dares to endorse recourse to ways and means which is apostasy from Principle. Credence is accorded soothsayers who impose upon the credulity of the unwary by claiming occult powers which it is asserted the layman cannot utilize. The most casual coincidence between the chance comment of the prognosticator and what is in the thought of the inquirer is regarded as confirmation of their claims.
Mortal mind, Scripturally defined as a lie which fathers itself, is in ignorance of Love's omnipresent goodness. It believes that achievement of happiness and success is subject to the element of chance or fate. It likewise believes that difficulties must be inevitably incident to human experience. Men unaware of God's good government of His creation are prone to dwell with gloomy contemplation upon problems already encountered or upon disasters yet to occur. Christian Science declares all evil to be unreal and acknowledges God as the source of unfailing benevolence. All that the heavenly Father can bestow upon His offspring partakes of His infinitely good nature.
Underlying the sinful temptation to resort to necromancy is the error of fear. One who perceives even faintly the omnipresent goodness of Spirit is unafraid. Fear would spoil the vines of human happiness by tormenting the hearts of men with recollection of an inharmonious past or with dread of an unhappy future. Within the pages of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy expounds the process whereby the unreality of such fears can be scientifically realized. God is forever maintaining man, His idea, within the encircling sphere of His ever-present love. Only good is known to God, and He never withholds His blessing from His children. Man, as God's reflection, is aware of the good ceaselessly emanating from limitless Mind.
On pages 84 to 95 of the Christian Science textbook is found scientific instruction from our Leader whereby the student of this Science can develop the spiritual ability to manifest omniscient Mind. Cultivation of the spiritual faculty which enables one to reflect the prescience of the divine Mind produces joyous unfoldment. The quickening of spiritual sense becomes then the sure and safe guide for making wise decisions, taking sound steps, and formulating proper plans. Spiritual intuition conveys glorious messages from God to man which are the angels of His omnipresence. The impartations of Spirit are heard through prayer and sacred communion with the one God, and they require no human intermediary.
It will be recalled that the Gospel of Mark records how Christ Jesus healed the man afflicted with palsy, the one who was let down to the Master through the roof. Jesus spiritually discerned that the ailment had been occasioned by sinful transgression. The first thing he said to the sick man was (Mark 2:5), "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Jesus saw that in order for him to be recovered of the palsy he must be healed of the sin. Indicating the importance of spiritual penetration of thought in the practice of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 95): "The greater or lesser ability of a Christian Scientist to discern thought scientifically, depends upon his genuine spirituality. This kind of mind-reading is not clairvoyance, but it is important to success in healing, and is one of the special characteristics thereof."
The truth of this statement was conclusively demonstrated in the experience of a practitioner of Christian Science whose help had been enlisted for a man suffering from a dread disease. Humbly praying for the illumination of Spirit to bring to light what needed to be known regarding the problem, the practitioner silently petitioned the Father for His help. The provoking error which had in belief occasioned the condition was uncovered through spiritual intuition, though not a word regarding the history of the ailment had been voiced by the sufferer. As the man rose to take his leave, he exclaimed, "The pain is all gone!"
Christian Science denounces the acquisition of unlawful knowledge and points to the danger of infiltrating thought with concepts alien to spirituality. It is God alone who is all-wise and all-knowing, and the divine intent is to bestow His blessings impartially and universally. It may then be readily understood that because the systems of divination and necromancy do not bless mankind they have been discredited in both the Old and the New Testament. The claims of pretenders to occult powers may make a plausible and trustworthy impression, but such false systems are utterly baseless and incapable of accomplishing the good which God alone has in store for His child.
Throughout her writings Mrs. Eddy turns her followers to omniscient Mind and points to the necessity for thought to be continually spiritualized through constant communion with God. Then we are able to discern His unerring guidance and direction. She writes (ibid., p. 95), "We approach God, or Life, in proportion to our spirituality, our fidelity to Truth and Love; and in that ratio we know all human need and are able to discern the thought of the sick and the sinning for the purpose of healing them."