Good. Spirit is the only substance. Spirit is God, and God is good; hence good is the only substance, the only Mind. Mind is not, cannot be, in matter. It sees, hears, feels, tastes, smells as Mind, and not as matter. Matter cannot talk; and hence, whatever it appears to say of itself is a lie. This lie, that Mind can be in matter,—claiming to be something beside God, denying Truth and its demonstration in Christian Science,—this lie I declare an illusion. This denial enlarges the human intellect by removing its evidence from sense to Soul, and from finiteness into infinity. It honors conscious human individuality by showing God as its source.
Evil. I am a creator,—but upon a material, not a spiritual basis. I give life, and I can destroy life.
Good. Evil is not a creator. God, good, is the only creator. Evil is not conscious or conscientious Mind; it is not individual, not actual. Evil is not spiritual, and therefore has no groundwork in Life, whose only source is Spirit. The elements which belong to the eternal All,—Life, Truth, Love,—evil can never take away.
Evil. I am intelligent matter; and matter is egoistic, having its own innate selfhood and the capacity to evolve mind. God is in matter, and matter reproduces God. From Him come my forms, near or remote. This is my honor, that God is my author, authority, governor, disposer. I am proud to be in His outstretched hands, and I shirk all responsibility for myself as evil, and for my varying manifestations.
Good. You mistake, O evil! God is not your authority and law. Neither is He the author of the material changes, the phantasma, a belief in which leads to such teaching as we find in the hymn-verse so often sung in church:—
Chance and change are busy
Man decays and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never,—
God is wisdom, God is love.
Now if it be true that God’s power never waneth, how can it be also true that chance and change are universal factors,—that man decays? Many ordinary Christians protest against this stanza of Bowring’s, and its sentiment is foreign to Christian Science. If God be changeless goodness, as sings another line of this hymn, what place has chance in the divine economy? Nay, there is in God naught fantastic. All is real, all is serious. The phantasmagoria is a product of human dreams.
From various friends comes inquiry as to the meaning of a word employed in the foregoing colloquy.
There are two English words, often used as if they were synonyms, which really have a shade of difference between them.
An egotist is one who talks much of himself. Egotism implies vanity and self-conceit.
Egoism is a more philosophical word, signifying a passionate love of self, which doubts all existence except its own. An egoist, therefore, is one uncertain of everything except his own existence.