Cause and Effect

         Some time ago my attention was arrested by an unusual episode in connection with the burning of a boat called the "General Slocum." The boat had been chartered to convey upwards of a thousand Sunday school children and teachers on an excursion, and before leaving the dock one of the teachers had such a strong premonition of a catastrophe that she expressed it to a gentleman friend, who, in turn, was so impressed that he took his family and this friend from the boat before it left the wharf. What impressed me in this occurrence was the fact that the accident was detected as a condition in human thought before it had a physical expression, and that a period of time intervened between the mental disturbance and its physical manifestation. When naturally conformed to the teachings of Christian Science, we should resolve "things into thoughts" as Mrs. Eddy tells us on page 269 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and remove the disturbing cause; whereupon there could be no inharmonious physical effect.

         I was required to prove the truth of that fact some time later. I was in a neighboring state and desired to return home, but at a junction point where I had to await a train connection I was touched by the fear of accident. Knowing that the fear of anything, on the one hand, and the consciousness of God's presence, on the other, can no more abide together than fire and frost, I proceeded as best I could to gain a realization of God's ever presence and the protective power of Truth. To the degree that this realization came to me, the fear of accident disappeared. When in the course of half an hour my train came in, I felt justified in securing accommodation on the sleeping car, and woke the next morning at my destination two hours late. Then I learned the reason for the delay, for the story of it occupied the front column of a newspaper.

         The newspaper report indicated that at four o'clock in the morning the engineer was impelled by some power not his own, and a power he could not resist, to stop his train and make an examination of the engine. That examination revealed a defect which required the substitution of another engine; this took about two hours and accounted for the delay. Here we may recall Mrs. Eddy's words on page 84 of Science and Health: "If this Science has been thoroughly learned and properly digested, we can know the truth more accurately than the astronomer can read the stars or calculate an eclipse." Again was I convinced that in ordinary human experience a period of time intervenes between mental cause and physical effect.

         As the leader of an orchestra, by virtue of his long training in harmony, can detect instantly the slightest discord and locate it, so one attuned by experience and demonstration to the harmonious activity of the divine Mind may note with equal keenness the mental disturbance in thought. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and he thus gains the preventive healing, that is, deliverance from evil through what our Leader defines (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 207) as "practical, operative Christian Science."


"Cause and Effect" by Bliss Knapp, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, August 31, 1918

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