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Overcoming Evil With Good
HELEN WARD BANKS


         It was Christ Jesus who first taught men that all evil must and can be overcome by good; and after that teaching little by little had been seemingly lost as the ages passed, it was restored to mankind through the revelation to Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. Jesus knew God as all-powerful, ever present, ever active good, and therefore as unchanging Life and Love. He knew that he could of himself do nothing, but by devoted obedience to God could understand His laws and apply them unfailingly, using his understanding to comfort the sorrowing, feed the hungry, heal the sick, raise the dead. So Christian Science, bringing back to the world Jesus' understanding of God, declares that God is divine Principle, the only Ego, the only self-existence, who always has been and always will be, and that we in this age may, as Jesus did, use the law of Principle which overcomes by good the seeming power of evil which has so long held the world in bondage. On page 111 of the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy says, "The Principle of divine metaphysics is God; the practice of divine metaphysics is the utilization of the power of Truth over error; its rules demonstrate its Science."

         Surely, we could not have a clearer statement than the above concerning the overcoming of evil by good; but the declaration that God is Principle sometimes calls out questions like these: If God is divine Principle, why do not sin and sickness vanish at once? Why should people of beautiful character ever suffer? Why should cruelty and harshness, discord and inharmony, endure for a moment in a world where Love is omnipotent? These may seem to be hard questions to answer until we learn that there are rules which may be applied in practice and proof.

         A Christian Scientist sat one night listening to a great musician at the piano, and as she marveled at the depth and beauty of the harmony expressed, she asked herself what hindered her from the same expression. She knew, as he did, that there is an available science of music; she had a piano; she had hands and eyes and ears; and still, if she were in his place, instead of expressing harmony, she would either be silent or express discord; and the reason was easy to see. She had never loved music well enough to study its fundamentals, learn its rules, and practice them diligently, as the musician had done.

         To a world suffering long from the belief that evil can and does overcome good, and that discord is as real or more real than harmony, has come the revelation of Christian Science, which is the law of God, divine Principle. Are not we as Christian Scientists willing to give to the truth that sets free from sin, disease, and death as much time for study and practice as a musician gives to music? We may not expect, any more than a musician may, to leap into understanding. Christian Science offers the certainty that by patient study and practice we can become so acquainted with divine Principle and its rules that we may prove them available in every circumstance. We too, then, after proving our patience and fidelity, shall mount from height to height with ever increasing joy and inspiration, as we pass each test of our understanding, until we are so sure of the truth of divine Principle and its rules that we shall be able to prove it in every emergency.

         There was a faithful student and practitioner of Christian Science whose little daughter one day rushed into the house screaming with pain. She had drunk a poisonous acid by mistake. A quick fear came to the mother, but it was instantly destroyed by the memory of Jesus' words, "If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." Calmly she utilized "the power of Truth over error" with which her study and practice of divine metaphysics had made her familiar; and Truth instantly destroyed the error; the understanding of good overcame the belief of evil. She would not have had time in that instant to begin the study that precedes the utilization of divine metaphysics. It was her previous study and practice that stood her in good stead and enabled her in the emergency to go on proving the rules of divine Principle. In that moment, surely, no past study and practice seemed to have been too hard in order to have won the understanding of the power of God! She had proved Mrs. Eddy's statement in Science and Health (p. 81), "Though the inharmony resulting from material sense hides the harmony of Science, inharmony cannot destroy the divine Principle of Science."

         Is it not a glorious service that we may render the world if in patience we let neither weariness, nor discouragement, nor disappointment stop our study and our practice of divine metaphysics? Whether we are slow or fast; whether we stumble or go smoothly on; whether those about us seem to be manifesting discord because they do not yet know the divine Principle of harmony — none of these things can shake our faith in the Science of being, nor disturb our certainty that harmony is forever waiting for manifestation as we learn by our patient work to utilize the power of Truth over error and to overcome evil with good. Evil is no more a part of Life than is discord a part of music. If everyone in the world understood this truth, the world would be entirely free from discord, — sin, sickness, sorrow, suffering, — since discord is never real.

         Principle never fails; failure can only seem to come from ignorance of the power of divine Principle; and ignorance always yields to understanding as darkness yields to light. Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 390), "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." We can gain this understanding through prayer and diligent and constant study of our textbooks, the Bible and Science and Health; and our progress will be in proportion to our diligence and constancy. If we believe we are too tired or too busy or too indifferent to study; if we think the task given us too difficult for our practice and accomplishment; if we let our thought dwell with material things, then we shall be slower in our gaining of the ability to utilize "the power of Truth over error." But thinking of the goal before us, — the understanding of divine Principle, — we may awake this moment to the study and practice that lead to the acquaintance with God which brings peace and power.

         Principle is. Principle has rules that can be proved. Christ Jesus, growing from childhood to the ascension in the practice of his Father's will, has proved for all time the Principle of being, Life, Love, Truth — all good. Evil has no power no law, no intelligence, no entity, no existence, because it is not founded on divine Principle, God. Is it not the privilege of all who call themselves Christian Scientists, who acknowledge divine Principle, to study its rules and practice them? Thus we shall live more and more by the power of good, and feel less and less the presence of so-called evil. Instead of adding to the discord of the world, we shall be helping it to manifest harmony.

 

"Overcoming Evil With Good" by Helen Ward Banks
The Christian Science Journal, November, 1928
 

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