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The Law of Progress
ALBERT F. GILMORE, CSB


         In writing of the proof adduced by Christian Scientists of the power of Spirit to overcome sin, sickness, and death, on page 233 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy states, “This [proof] is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.” Then, as Christian Scientists, by destroying erroneous beliefs through the realization of spiritual truth we are proving that the law of God is the law of true progress. The demands upon us for proof do not lessen or cease, but continue with each new day; and we fulfill these constant demands only by daily demonstration of the power of Spirit over all material beliefs.

         The problem of demonstrating perpetual progress as the law of God is simplified by consideration of the spiritual facts involved. Since divine ideas are continuously unfolding the qualities of God, man as the compound idea is forever progressive. This fact has been clearly stated by our Leader on page 258 of Science and Health. Thus she writes: “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” Man’s progress, then, is constant, since the infinite idea through unfoldment forever develops itself.

         Christian Science practitioners frequently encounter with one seeking spiritual help states of doubt and discouragement as to his progress. Failing to bring into immediate realization an harmonious state of health, the seeker for the light gives strength, seemingly, to the claim of error by momentarily doubting the power of Spirit to heal him. By denying progress, he argues against himself, holding the thought that his case is unique, and that there are conditions attending it which are peculiar, hence more difficult to overcome, than have, perhaps, ever been encountered in any similar case. Even perfectly authenticated testimonies of healing of precisely the same type of discord may fail to encourage the sufferer and arouse thought to the need for standing firmly with God, for dismissing every phase of doubt, for holding as real the perfect man, the man who constantly progresses.

         Under this cloud of mesmerism, if one judge the case solely from material sense testimony, one may deny one’s progress. “I see no progress; I am not gaining,” are the cries of material sense; and the sufferer may doubt even the presence of God. Then it is that we need to look to the fundamentals with renewed earnestness; then it is that we need to turn resolutely to the facts of being, to God and His perfect idea, man. Let us ask ourselves, Who says there is no progress? The answer must be, Material sense. But material sense is not a trustworthy witness. Its testimony is wholly false, for Christian Science iterates and repeats again and again that the testimony of mortal mind reveals no slightest fact about the true status of man, who is and ever has been spiritual and perfect.

         The real man progressively unfolds the facts of being, as God is true. Then shall we accept the false, sensuous testimony, which would deny progress? Hardly! A halfway and halting allegiance to Truth will never do. Let us, rather, turn with more zest than ever to gain the realization that the progress which is the law of God never ceases, never halts, but is continuous with Him. As this fact is brought into realization, the clouds of discouragement are dissipated and the law of spiritual truth illumines thought. To hold without wavering to these unchanging facts aids tremendously in bringing them into present realization, and is the only means for insuring growth. Progress in all human experience is spiritual unfoldment. It is the making of good manifest in our lives.

         No greater proof of the divine quality of Christianity, as taught and practiced by Christ Jesus, could be found than is revealed in the progress toward higher idealism which humanity has made since the beginning of the Christian era. Nothing but the unfoldment of spiritual truth in the hearts of men could account for the increasing manifestation of the Christian virtues which were exemplified by Christ Jesus and since have been accepted by a vast multitude. Thus has progress in the larger sense been manifested.

         Mortals, it seems, often hesitate to pay the price of progress. They are unwilling to exchange their sensuous beliefs for the joys of Spirit. Not having tested spiritual blessedness, they are loath to part with that to which they are accustomed to cling, their highest sense of reality. It was with full knowledge of the tendency of mortal belief to cling to its material moorings that Christ Jesus declared, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Although he offered to many, in fact to all mankind, the way of progress in the gaining of salvation, the salvation which is freedom from all the strictures of material belief, yet the Master saw how few were willing to take the steps which lead out of the accustomed paths of material belief into the sure ways of spiritual growth. The reception of spiritual ideas in human consciousness marks the beginning of our advancement. These ideas held to, incorporated in our thought, become our most precious possessions.

         It is through the gaining of spiritual ideas that restrictions are removed and freedom is won. Of this, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 256 of Science and Health: “Progress takes off human shackles. The finite must yield to the infinite. Advancing to a higher plane of action, thought rises from the material sense to the spiritual, from the scholastic to the inspirational, and from the mortal to the immortal.” These are the steps of progress, exemplifying in our lives the continuous unfoldment which characterizes the real man, progress which we may make our own by accepting and demonstrating it as man’s divine right.

 

"The Law of Progress" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, April, 1927
 

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