Love Includes All
The tender interest of divine Love in its creation includes every created thing, for Love would be less than Love could it disregard even the least of its own. The Master, Christ Jesus, called attention to the universality of divine Love’s overshadowing protection when he spoke of the great and good God who heeds the way of the sparrow and clothes the lilies of the field. Unquestionably the Mind which maintains bird and beast, insect and blossom, fosters that existence with the tender solicitude impelled by its own divine nature, and can do no less than cherish all that lives. Solomon says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicket are cruel.”
The Christian Scientist who studies well the chapter “Genesis” in the Christian Science text-book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” learns that the same God who fashions man fashions the tiniest thing that lives and expresses Mind, and that a heavenly condition of thought holds harmony for all the universe as well as for man. Knowing this to be true, and granting that the care and love of the creator extend to the infinitesimal, far beyond the present ken of mortal man, what should be the attitude of the Christian Scientist toward all created things, great and small? If he be found reflecting in his thoughts some measure of divine Love,—and divine Love means, in its expression, service, care, and universal good will,—can he bestow such consideration upon his fellow-men and withhold it from bird and beast and blossom? Must not every thing the Christian Scientist thinks about be lifted, in his thoughts, to the realm of the spiritual, and thus rescued from the curse of so-called material existence with its procession of sin, sickness, and death?
According to material sense testimony, every creature from the greatest to the least, is under the blight of a reversed sense of existence, or, as Paul puts it, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now;” and the redeeming truth which liberates man also brings to light the rightful inheritance of all the creatures of God’s creation. Because of this, the student of Christian Science is solemnly bound to the task of making lighter the burden of every moving thing, and this he will do as the boundaries of his love broaden with the increasing spirit of true service. The great and loving God cares for all creatures in the very preservation of their existence, providing for them the same abundant supply, the same broad earth to dwell upon, which He provides for man. Then surely the Christian Scientist, who in all his ways is striving to reflect God, must express protection instead of destruction, consideration instead of neglect, kindness instead of brutality, toward the tiniest or least attractive thing that lives, if he would be a true reflector of that great Love which cares for all.
If the false sense which believes man to be in matter, at the mercy of its so-called laws of destruction and decay, declares the universe as well to be thus bound, the effort of Christian Science to release humanity must necessarily extend to every living thing of earth, for Love is Principle, and Principle includes and governs all. Love operates as law, unbound, unbiased, and unthwarted, and in its lawful unloosing of creation knows no action save that which is impartial and universal. Therefore, no least thing will be left unredeemed as Love’s work is accomplished. This being true, the Christian Scientist cannot overwork or poorly shelter a beast of burden and expect a just measure of labor, or adequate reward for labor, for himself or for those he loves. He cannot allow neglect or cruelty to dominate his attitude toward any creature, great or small, and at the same time reasonably expect a large measure of harmony as the sum of his own present experience, for in all these things the qualities of indifference and harshness, whether they be manifest toward man or beast, do not build for the comfort and happiness of the individual thinker who indulges them. Surely the question of reaping as one sows, and the spirit of the Golden Rule, have universal application, and are not limited to the relations between man and man.
Love operates as law, unbound, unbiased, and unthwarted, and in its lawful unloosing of creation knows no action save that which is impartial and universal.
The Christian Scientist is obliged to face this matter in his growing understanding of the whole great question of relationship. According to the testimony of the material senses, a major portion of the suffering of earth, both mental and physical, is due to a wrong sense of the relationship of persons and things. An individual in his right place, about his right business, is constructive, rather than destructive, in his relation to human affairs. The encroachment of one mortal upon another through the myriad phases of self-interest, means oppression and suffering in one or another form. In like manner the encroachment of the creature upon the mortal, and the preying of the mortal upon the creature, are reversing the God-ordained relationship which really exists. To human sense it is suggested that the infinitesimal and microscopic are preying upon the supposed organic construction of mortals, developing many phases of disease. Mortals, on their part, are destroying the lower forms of so-called material life for their own supposed sustenance and comfort. The creatures which are preyed upon to yield to civilization its food, its furs, its clothing,—yes, its vain decorations,—are receiving from mortals treatment which the lesser creation is returning in kind, and in good measure.
In the face of this disheartening evidence, the message of Christian Science promises relief. The strife to succeed at the expense of others, the suspicion which distrusts others, the dishonesty which robs others, the tyranny which dominates others, the greed which overworks and underpays others, the fear for self which sacrifices others, are all melting away from human experience as the brotherhood of man, the right relationship of creature to creature and creature to creator, is understood and practiced. Multitudinous discouragements, discords, and diseases, the fruits of the wrong sense of relationship, will disappear with the clearing of these mental conditions, and to the one earnestly striving to maintain right relationships toward everybody and everything, a most satisfying foretaste of heaven is vouchsafed. Protection instead of destruction, extended to the greatest and to the least, means heaven instead of hell, means God’s universe understood instead of the carnal mind’s dream-world believed; and in the awakening processes of thought which will eventually transform earth’s scenes, all living things must be included.
It can readily be seen that neither a person, an animal, nor an insect is of itself disturbing. It is the person mentally in the wrong place, manifesting some untrue quality of relationship, which causes trouble; and in much the same way it is the intrusion of the creature, rather than the creature itself, which is a pest. Each individuality has its right to a happy existence in its own proper environment. If, to remedy an undesirable situation, the Christian Scientist deals gently and protectingly with the mortal while removing the encroaching idiosyncrasy, mistake, or sin, he should, to be consistent, show the same tender helpfulness to the lesser creature while correcting the infringement which has caused the annoyance. This is unquestionably the ideal, and the students of Christian Science are moving steadily toward it in their practice.
It may not be at present possible to stay the traffic in food and fur and clothing for which the civilization of to-day has established its shops and its market-places, nor are Christian Scientists required to make any radical changes in their daily mode of living. Each individual can, however, make his beginning, by apprehending the truth concerning the relationship of all created things to their creator and to each other, by alleviating such conditions as are within his reach, and by showering kindnesses upon such creatures as he meets in his daily rounds. Thus doing, he will receive mercy as mercy is given, for he is logically delivering himself from the so-called laws of destruction arising from a false sense of relationship, and can hope to emerge from much of the disease and suffering which now claims to react upon him, and before which materia medica stands helpless.
In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah it is declared: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” With the Science of Christianity to light his candle, the disciple to-day sees that this prophecy enfolds more than sentiment, more than the mere human outcry for peace. It pictures the full fruitage of that right understanding of the fatherhood and motherhood of God which was taught by Christ Jesus, which is reiterated with signs following by Mrs. Eddy, and which will, in its unfolding, reveal all created things to be related in the tranquil bonds of reciprocal acquaintance and good will.
In journeying toward this millennial promise, to-day’s footsteps are simple and easily taken. Thought has to rest but a moment upon the mental outlook of the beast of burden, the household pet, or the outcast animal of the streets, to learn that every domesticated animal looks to the mortal for the sum of its earthly comfort and happiness. A kind word from its master or from a passing friend is the creature’s one source of cheer, and this is easy to give when the heart is right. A cooling drink, good food, comfortable shelter, are asked in return for faithful labor, for devoted affection and companionship; and this is indeed easy to give when awakened interest rejoices in bestowing comfort upon any living thing which can appreciate comfort. What the mortal provides for his horse, his dog, his bird, his farmyard creature, makes that creature’s world, and what the mortal gives of freedom to the wild thing of the woods and the insect in his path, builds for the happiness of lives other than his own.
Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “Love is reflected in love” (Science and Health, p. 17), is an order from heaven which constrains the Christian Scientist to minister so impartially and so universally that even “the lease of these” is not left outside the borders of his ministrations. Blessed indeed is every effort to uplift the weak and oppressed, however little and obscure may be the object of such effort. That one who rescues and protects, in his daily passing, every burdened creature of the home and the streets and the woods, finds less and less inroad upon his own comfort, for he is abiding more and more in indestructible relations of peace with all things; and he is adding to his treasures a joyous spirit of loving known only to those who become such kindly lovers,—known only to those whose quickened apprehension perceives that an infinite Love must include all in an infinite ministry.
(Originally published in the August, 1908 Christian Science Journal)
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