There Is No Love in War
Willard S. Mattox
In these days of “‘wars and rumors of wars,” who can doubt that too much of the thought of those “that dwell on the earth” is given over to a saddened contemplation of carnage and destruction; as Keats puts it,-
Hear ye not the hum
Of mighty workings?
There is, however, a metaphysical definition of war which corrects and cures all misconceptions. The fear of war is healed by these words of Mrs. Eddy (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118): “Be of good cheer; the warfare with one’s self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,—and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory. Every attempt of evil to harm good is futile, and ends in the fiery punishment of the evil-doer.”
In this passage Mrs. Eddy clearly removes war from the zone of governments or nations to the territory comprised in the individual state of mind called a mortal. In its ultimate rendition, war is seen to be nothing less than the primitive struggle of mankind to be good, to overcome the pretense of evil with the power of Truth. The beloved disciple, on the island of Patmos, was vouchsafed a revelation of this contest between Truth and error. His enlightened thought visioned the seeming combat in heaven, and heaven may be defined scientifically as individual consciousness in which peace and harmony prevail. What John saw was the allegorical strife between the flesh and Spirit, and he also prophesied the final destruction of all error when he said, “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” There is indescribable comfort and confident expectation of the ultimate triumph of good in this spiritual outlook.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” This is understood in Christian Science to mean that heaven is an individual reflection of God, which is equivalent to a consciousness of perfection. The heaven of spiritual understanding does not include discord. Against this spiritual comprehension of harmony the belief of evil wages war only to be defeated. Paul says plainly, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” So then it would appear that all war is, in its last analysis, only a supposititious conflict in the individual understanding called man, between life and a belief of war, or that which is fundamentally opposed to life.
There would be no war if every man obeyed Jesus’ commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This means more than the man on the street can comprehend. In the first place, he does not know just what love really is. When Love is known to be divine, perfect, and eternally ever present, the man who is seeking to know more of Truth and Love will love his neighbor as himself. Human love needs to be directed by divine Love, which is never selfish, egotistical, critical, and intemperate, as human love may be.
There is no war in Love, and those who are obedient to the beneficent and considerate law of Love will never be at war with their neighbor. Love promotes peace between men and nations, and the right time will surely come when men will love their neighbor as themselves and nations will be just and fair in their dealings with other nations. Isaiah foresaw the day when war would cease to be, when he said, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” This will be a happy and joyous day for men and nations.
“The heaven of spiritual understanding does not include discord.”
Today Jesus’ prophecy is being fulfilled. “For nation shall rise against nation,” he declared, “and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Mrs. Eddy’s explanation of the events now taking place becomes doubly significant. “The hour is come,” she says. “The great battle of Armageddon is upon us. The powers of evil are leagued together in secret conspiracy against the Lord and against His Christ, as expressed and operative in Christian Science” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 177). To this it is apropos to add that “he that runs may read. Diplomats and statesmen, military and naval experts, rulers and lords and governors, may explain the casus belli and describe the secret political or sectarian combinations which are supposed to lie back of it, but the metaphysician alone understands. To the materialist who ascribes the present contest to surface causes Jesus would have said, “Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
The world of mortal mind should have learned, and would have learned if it had known enough, that war has never supplied the race with a solution of any problem, nor has it ever offered a remedy for any evil. Milton’s lines in “Paradise Lost” illustrate this:-
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
It has been estimated that during a period of about thirty-three hundred years the world has been permitted to enjoy only three hundred years of peace, as opposed to three thousand years of war, which works out a general average of one year of peace to every ten of war. A writer in the Revue des Deux Mondes has called attention to the fact that from 1500 B.C. to 1860 A.D. “more than eight thousand treaties of peace, meant to remain in force forever, were concluded. The average time they remained in force is two years.” When it is known that a conservative estimate of the cost of all the wars of history aggregates an almost unthinkable sum, eight hundred billion dollars, the man who thinks may conclude that progress or success by means of war is as futile as the task of Sisyphus.
The very nature of war is to disrupt unity, for it is unity’s antithesis. Unity is peace, and war is the opposite of peace. The Christian Scientist knows how impossible it would be for God to be in a world that is at war with itself, for where He is there is peace. In the Mind which is God there are no contests. It follows, then, that a world where war prevails is not the universe which is governed by divine Love. The mortal nature which is at war with immortality is fiction, and is not to be found in the universe of which intelligence is the governor. War typifies the accuser, the adversary, whatever opposes or seeks to destroy the substance of life. War is the enemy of unity and all that unity means.
Carlyle glimpsed the truth when he said, “A mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one.” Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual vision was so clear that she was able to write that wonderful passage on page 340 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures which proclaims a remedy for war, and which is so pregnant with potentiality that it will be memorable long after wars have been forgotten: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thy self;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”
(Originally published in the September 2, 1916 Christian Science Sentinel)
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