The Sound Mind
From the Christian Science Sentinel, November 9, 1918, by William P. McKenzie
The teaching of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science is both comforting and disturbing. It is of comfort unspeakable to that vast host of those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” since it proves the truth of Jesus’ promise by enabling them to find healing and fullness of spiritual satisfaction. On the other hand it is very disturbing to all the wolves in sheep’s clothing, who have cloaked their evil designs with the camouflage of blandness and formal courtesy and have mingled with the flock only to prey upon it secretly. Mrs. Eddy’s words truly lay the axe to the root of the evil tree when she says (Science and Health, p. 407): “There are many species of insanity. All sin is insanity in different degrees. Sin is spared from this classification, only because its method of madness is in consonance with common mortal belief.”
Now the sinner has taken credit to himself for being a truly clever fellow, and in seeking his earthly portion and the gratification of his evil desires, he has seemed to himself to have the right of way. He has often utilized other men or peoples for his purposes like the enslaved men who were made draft animals for Basta’s carriages and lashed by his myrmidons. Mrs. Eddy has attempted to give the very words of material sense, which in its pride seems to say: “What a nice thing is sin! How sin succeeds, where the good purpose waits! The world is my kingdom. I am enthroned in the gorgeousness of matter” (Science and Health, p. 252). It is, therefore, rather troubling to a self-confident and sinful mind when its position is correctly diagnosed as insanity, and yet, truly enough, sin being disorder or lawlessness is just insanity. For those who turn from material sense there is always the comfort of knowing that God’s goodness waits to bless, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The ancients admired the mens sana in corpore sano, which was the well ordered mind in the well disciplined body. A mind that is in a ferment with caprice, selfish desire, envy, hatred, self-will, murder, knows not at all how “order is heaven’s first law,” but goes on sowing the wind, to reap, as Hosea so graphically says, the whirlwind. This evil sowing is most usually done in the effort for the aggrandizement of personal sense. The desire for super-place and for the subordination of others is evidenced by the boastful drunkard as well as by the magnificent, megalomaniac conqueror. The fault of the whole belief is that it avoids demonstration, choosing rather to take the gambler’s chance than to be held down to lawful and honest endeavor. But demonstration is necessary. No true life can be known without real believing, that is proving, of the truth to which Christ Jesus bore witness. Greatest of all, he came not to exploit mankind. Speaking of himself as the shepherd, he said of the flock, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The sound mind, then, truly is that very mind that was in Christ Jesus, which we may have in us if we are willing to be sinless; and all the attitudes of Antichrist are nothing but bedlam.
The highly self-important human mind that sets out to achieve for itself kingdom and power and glory, usually begins by being unfilial, giving no honor to father and mother; nor can it honor God, for it continually acquires other gods, imaging forth their characteristics in actions. It plans to steal the thing desired, without regard to the rights of others. It respects not the chastity of the home nor the sanctity of innocence. It will destroy without compunction the human life of anyone who stands in its way. It covets the visible good of others with an unslaked thirst. This, then, is insanity, but men have too often termed it greatness.
Sanity comports with humility, gentleness, forbearance, moral courage, and the glory of divine strength in doing well. It means love for one God, honor to parents, truth to friends, fairness and friendliness to all mankind. The sound mind is cleansed of sin as well as of sickness, and this purity is Christianity scientific.
When mortal man thinks of himself as a creator, that is, as the possible origin of life, or of truth, or indeed of love, it is found that only a troublesome cycle of mortal mind arises,—life with mortality as its end, truth that turns out to be fallibility, and love that shows itself only as encircling selfishness. Without God there is nothing. The dream of power for man or nation destroys itself through actions which it inspires. History records how the tyrant raises against himself the assassin, how the kingdom of the great conqueror wanes, how the individual sinner piles up accumulating distresses, since even from the heathen standpoint, “The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us.”
The unprofitableness of sin, the fact that sin is indeed insanity, is being shown upon a vast stage at the present time. Let us be thankful that at this very hour the power and glory and gladness sufficient to meet the whole world’s need, the truth of Christian Science, is being accepted and is teaching men sanity. Of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” its author, speaking reverently of the message given her from on high, humbly says (Miscellany, p. 114): “You can trace its teachings in each step of mental and spiritual progress, from pulpit and press, in religion and ethics, and find these progressive steps either written or indicated in the book. It has mounted thought on the swift and mighty chariot of divine Love, which to-day is circling the whole world.”