From the Christian Science Journal, July 1897, by Ezra M. Buswell
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.—Matt. 12: 36, 37
These words were spoken by one who is quoted as the best authority by Christian people in every land. His language in this text draws the line very closely, but it is nevertheless true. He knew whereof he spake, and gave this commandment with as much authority as the command to preach the gospel. He never gave the impression that part of his instruction was for that age only, while the rest was for all time; so we must conclude that this text is for us now; and it means much to the Christian Scientist. We profess to live and demonstrate the teaching of Jesus, so far as we understand it, and the world’s attention is naturally attracted, by our profession and demonstration, to see if it may not discover some error in it; and it is well it is so. “We have set up a higher standard than is now commonly taught, and this is why we need to so cultivate our thoughts that our works may prove our words. Our idle words find lodgement in some unsuspecting sense, there to grow and multiply their thorns and stings. But our good words are like the showers of spring, cheering and invigorating the thirsty heart, encouraging it to new energy and action. Christian Science brings true joy, but only as we guard well our thoughts can we dispense the right ideas of Love, which reform the sinner and heal the sick.
Our great Teacher continually directed his followers to God as the Author of all that is real and true. His whole earth-labor was to wean man from his belief that joy is found in serving the claims of the flesh, and teach him that he can learn his true being in Life, where joys are not fleeting fancies, but real and eternal. This breaks the bands of wickedness, and lets the oppressed go free from the pains of sickness and sin.
What a grand work is this! If faithfully done, it brings light to the home and peace to the world; brightening the way to the weary seeker for life and rest.
If we were conscious of the ears that are listening to our words, and the eyes that are watching our acts, we would be more guarded in our daily intercourse with our fellow-beings. It is much easier to correct our thoughts than, to destroy the effect of wrong, thoughtless words. The fruits of idle words do not give the joy that sets man free. The heart that goes forth hungering for the bread that is Life, is not only filled with that which quickeneth, but it points the way for others to this bountiful table filled with that which gives health and joy.
People, in general, do not seem to understand why we do not have more relish for that which seems to give them pleasure and joy; but it is because they do not realize that whatever we seem to experience in our physical bodies is but the fruit of our mental condition.
Would you know how to realize health? Then cultivate such desires as will turn one’s attention from the belief of life and pleasure in the flesh, to the consciousness that God is the only Life. This we cannot do while seeking for pleasure where it is not. When we come to give this question a sober thought, does it not seem strange that humanity looks for pleasure in the way that leads to death?
Paul says: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5, 6). And, “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11).
No one can appreciate enjoyment more than the Christian Scientist; for the way that leads to Life is full of joy.
Drunken with the sense of the flesh, mortals are oblivious to the joys of life.
How clearly our dear Mother has pointed the way, on this subject, in the article in her new book (Miscellaneous Writings, page 230), entitled “Improve Your Time;” and also the one entitled, “An Allegory, “page 323, same book.
What a golden opportunity is ours for pruning out the dead branches and digging up the weeds of evil desires, that we may be justified by our words. Truly the work is great and the demand urgent. The people are warned to prepare for death; but Divine Love is leading us to see the need of preparing for life, for “God is Life.”
Christian Scientists, as watchmen on the towers, have no time to turn their attention from their labor of Life and Love. As in Nehemiah’s time, so now, the enemy of Truth is stirred; it declares that the walls of our Jerusalem—the understanding of Truth—shall not be built. And the demand for vigilance is as imperative now as then. There is no time for idle words. Our influence must be on the side of Truth. The hungry must be fed, not with the husks of the flesh, but with pure words of Life. “Where your treasure is, ther
True, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be” who are willing to strive for it; but what is there to be gained in any other? The way of the flesh may seem broad and alluring for a time, but a serpent is sure to be hid somewhere among its flowers. Our dear Mother in Israel has gone over the road that leads to Life, far in advance of us. For more than thirty years she has been placing finger-boards along this way for us. She has not only done this, but she has placed danger signals where needed.
Let us call attention to one of the pictures in that beautiful book, “Christ and Christmas,” by this precious Mother who is doing so much for us. This picture is “Truth versus Error.” Here we see Truth knocking at the door of mortal mind. Within are sensual pleasures; dancing and wine seem to be the sole attraction, absorbing all attention, and none hear the gentle knocking of this angel visitor except the innocency of childhood seen as two little ones peeping out of the window. What a lost opportunity to the dwellers in mortal mind!
Some Christian Scientists may have time and opportunity for social enjoyments; but at such gatherings the Bible occupies the first place, while Science and Health, with other writings by our Teacher, are as often referred to. And why? Because we have learned that in order to enjoy life, we must live in the way that leads to Life. Humanity is glad to receive the message, “Well done,” but few seem to realize how many denials of the way of the flesh are requisite, in order to merit this blessing.
God speed the day when the language of Scripture shall be verified, and “all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”