Liberty and Government


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Liberty is a theme that has occupied the more or less thoughtful attention of philosopher, statesman, politician, and theologian, since the beginning of mortal history. To-day, more than ever before, students of sociology are applying themselves to the solution of problems relating to the inter-dependence of units, in the aggregation called society. How much one may govern another, how much individual freedom of thought and action each of us has by divine right, are questions still unsettled in practice. Anarchism, socialism, and all other isms of human origin, pretend to have discovered a way out of the difficulties of government. I am well assured that Christian Science alone promises any satisfactory or genuine remedy, for the reason that, as with all other forms of error, it deals its chief blow at the cause, while all other efforts, ancient and modern, confine their energies to the abatement of specific effects, leaving the general cause still, seemingly, operative.

Too much government, civil, ecclesiastical, and personal, is the curse of the centuries. The human mind’s desire to control something or somebody besides itself results in countless forms of mesmerism, although they may not pass for such. The need of liberty, the charm and beauty of freedom, do not become apparent until the opposite condition asserts itself, and we find ourselves without these divine gifts. From the standpoint of Christian Science, it becomes evident that all the distress of government comes from the interpolation of the human, or personal element, in the divine equation of God and man.

The first President of the United States said: “government is not reason, it is not eloquence,—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

“Love alone is the Governor, and no human can interfere or intervene.”

Speaking of the more intimate relations of men, and the deplorable habit of minding anybody’s business but our own, Thoreau says: “The man who goes alone, can start to-day; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”

Turning from inadequate human theorization, we find in Scripture a scientific statement of the divine method of government. “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Jesus proclaimed the liberty of the sons of God, when he said: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Here is a sublime estimate of liberty. Think of the individual integrity which is as free as the air, unfettered, and unharnessed by mortal cruelty or control! Nicodemus, by education, knew only that social system which in politics means monarchy, and in ecclesiasticism, a hierarchy of tyranny and oppression, and he said, “How can these things be?” Christian Scientists naturally turn to their text-book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker G. Eddy, for a satisfactory interpretation of the Scriptures, and the life and teaching of that great teacher who founded no religious government, propounded no creed, and who emphasized man’s unity with his Maker.

“The enslavement of man is not legitimate. It will cease when he enters into his heritage of freedom, his God-given dominion over the material senses. Mortals will some day assert their freedom in the name of Almighty God. Then they will control their own bodies, through the understanding of divine Science” (Science and Health, p. 228).

“God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly, and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love. Man’s rights are invaded when the divine order is interfered with. The mental trespasser necessarily incurs the divine penalty due to this crime” (Science and Health, p. 106).

Thus, in Christian Science we find the consummation of all Scientific teaching as to government, and the responsibility of the individual; for Love alone is the Governor, and no human can interfere or intervene.

Photo by Pete Souza

(Originally published in the November, 1902 Christian Science Journal)

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