by Albert F. Gilmore
Moral courage is defined in Science and Health as “‘the lion of the tribe of Juda,’ the king of the mental realm. Free and fearless it roams in the forest. Undisturbed it lies in the open field, or rests in ‘green pastures, . . . beside the still waters.’” It is to moral courage that Mrs. Eddy attributes the qualities of fearlessness and power.
Animal courage, at best, is based upon nothing more substantial than a sense of physical strength derived from the belief of life in matter, which displays an attitude of superiority to conditions and circumstances which commonly cause people to fear. However, when an enemy of apparently superior strength appears on the scene, mere animal courage, whether of man or beast, shows its weakness, falters and runs away, overcome by the same type of fear which it has inspired in weaker creatures.
There are many examples in the Bible of true courage, based not upon material strength and superiority, but rather upon an understanding of God as infinite power, the source of all strength. David’s superb example of courage in facing Goliath didn’t have its basis in superior physical strength. Nor was it physical courage that enabled Daniel to continue in prayer, in spite of the decree of the King forbidding prayer. Can anyone doubt the tremendous courage that inspired Paul to go to Jerusalem, in face of the certainty that he would be bound and cast into prison? He calmly went forward, with total assurance that wherever his Christian duty might lead him, he would find the sustaining and protecting presence of God, whom he had so faithfully served.
The Christian Scientist understands that mental qualities that do not come from the divine Mind, are based upon the shifting sands of uncertainty and unreality, against which the storms of error may prevail at any moment.
The word “courage” is most interesting in the light of spiritual understanding. It comes from the Latin word meaning “heart,” and it primarily means that which springs from the heart or “spirit.” As we have learned in Christian Science, that God is the only source of man’s life, and sustains it, we find that true courage has its foundation in understanding the allness and permanence of God and His spiritual creation, indestructible, perfect, and eternal. Courage is a stable quality, not subject to change, and completely superior to any sense of fear.
True courage, then, is not based upon a belief of physical superiority to our enemies, whatever form they may take, but it springs from a calm assurance that whatever dangers may threaten us, divine protection, sufficient to meet every human need, is assured through spiritual understanding. Paul, armed with faith, expressed his courage in a familiar sentence: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”